Brazilian race car driver Hélio Castroneves sizzled on “Dancing With the Stars” Monday night as he put on what the judges called a “top notch” quickstep in the ballroom.
Castroneves, who won the coveted DWTS Mirror ball trophy back in 2007, was praised for his routine with dance partner Chelsie Hightower but was also criticized for a minor flub with Hightower’s dress.
“It was so good,” said judge Carrie Ann Inaba. “You’re the quick step king! I love it when you do quick step because all of the joy that you are comes out. There’s this authentic joy and dance. To me is all about joy and that is what you bring to the table.”
Still, Inaba said it was hard not to notice when he “stepped over her and got caught up in her dress.”
For no nonsense judge Len Goodman, Castroneves flub did not take away from the precision and execution of the dance routine.
“The thing that I will tell you is this dance deserves to be back next week because it was so good,” Goodman said. “It really was. It’s top notch.”
Flamboyant judge and dance expert Bruno Tonioli agreed with Goodman but felt that “after the little slip of the dress,” Castroneves “kind of collapsed and then you lost [it.]"
“Hélio started with a blast,” Tonioli said. “Absolutely brilliant. You were on top of the game.”
Castroneves and Hightower earned an overall score of 25.5 (out of 30) points for the evening, with each judge giving the race car driver an 8.5.
Earlier that day, Castroneves made headlines saying he felt “it was very shocking” to be in the bottom two the previous week. He added that he will “just turn the page” and focus on doing well throughout the rest of the competition.
"It was very shocking, actually, and surprising, to be honest, to be in the bottom two," Castroneves told People magazine. "I was like, 'Whoa, what happened here?' "
"[We're] moving on," he added. "Like in racing ... Sometimes we have a bad race. When you lose a championship, it just means sometimes you have a bad pit stop."
Other DWTS All Stars who stood out included US Olympic-winning gymnast Shawn Johnson and dance partner Derek Hough for their explosive quickstep, and Bristol Palin, who got praised for stepping it up with her paso doble after some tension backstage with dance partner Mark Ballas.