Bull rush: Emmitt does the paso doble
10/03/06 07:55 PM
By ED BARK
Steeled by a silly trip to the Texas State Fair, where he stared down a bull, Emmitt Smith and pro partner Cheryl Burke found a safe middle ground on Tuesday's fourth episode of Dancing with the Stars.
A vigorous but stately paso doble gave the couple their third serviceable score of 24. It put the former Cowboy deity in a three-way, fourth-place tie with actresses Vivica A. Fox and Monique Coleman. Topping the remaining field of eight was erstwhile renegade Mario Lopez, who had been a "bad boy" by this show's standards. This time, though, he largely followed the structured rules for the paso doble, tallying a 29 score that met with enthusiastic approval from ad hoc in-house cheerleader Eva Longoria of Desperate Housewives.
So far no NFL players have hit the peanut gallery to root for Emmitt, who shucked his usual tux and wore a shimmery red shirt with black, pinstriped vest. Last week, Emmitt and Cheryl had bombed with their tango (pictured above), prompting host Tom Bergeron to deduce, "For once in his life, the nice guy finished last."
Shown sprawling to the floor in paso doble rehearsals, Emmitt made a supposedly impromptu visit to the State Fair, where Cheryl felt he could develop a matador's attitude by getting close to a bull.
"He's slobbering all over me," said Emmitt.
Actually, the animal was busily slobbering all over himself. But Dancing with the Stars misses few opportunities to spread it thick. OK, Emmitt, be a good trick pony and say, "I feel like I can take this bull." Ole!
Emmitt again had his serious game face on, but this dance called for it. Ending on bended knee with Cheryl in his arms, he received a boisterous ovation that seemed to presage a higher score. But a so-so 24 it was, even though excitable judge Bruno Tonioli exclaimed, "Power, passion and command!" before dubbing Emmitt "The Raging Bull."
Re-smitten judge Carrie Ann Inaba declared, "You are a beast! That was amazing!"
Backstage, Emmitt said a score of 24 was better than last week's rock-bottom 19. A zippy quote-meister he's still not.
Meanwhile, game Jerry Springer danced to the Tennessee Waltz in honor of his soon-to-be-married daughter, Katie, whom he hugged at the finish. The judges were moved enough to give him a 22-score, two points better than the night's last-place finisher, country singer Sara Evans.
Another couple gets bounced on Wednesday night's results show. Don't worry, it won't be Emmitt. No bull.