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Week 2: Sept. 27

Welcome back for Week 2 of “Dancing with the Stars”!

The show opened with a montage showing how frustrated all of the contestants are. Could this be because the teams had three weeks to work out their first routines and only four days to craft the dance for this week? Probably. The teams can choose between the jive and the quick step, and both dances require fast feet and sure steps.

I watched all of the Week 2 performances and was struck by how evenly matched many of the teams are. A good number of the stars have picked up the dances and choreography fairly well. None of them appears to have a dance background or is super sporty – besides Hope Solo. I was surprised, too, by which celebs I’m enjoying – Nancy Grace and Rob Kardashian both gave good performances. Judge Len Goodman was thrilled that Grace’s dance actually was the quick step.

As J.R. Martinez is tied for first place with Chynna Phillips, he went last. Before Martinez and his partner Karina Smirnoff dance, there is a montage of #TeamMartinoff’s rehearsals for the jive. Martinez is really working it and explains that his partner made the choreography very challenging. Martinez says he feels like he’s not as well-known, so he has to get the dance down so he has the judge’s scores to give him a boost. I was surprised by this, considering he had daily exposure on the popular, recently canceled “All My Children.”

The team’s jive started with the couple delivering newspapers. I took that as a shout-out. The pair gave a high-level, high-energy dance to “Jump, Jive An’ Wail,” by The Brian Setzer Orchestra. I admit, I not only cheered during the performance, I applauded. I’m not a dance critic, but I liked it. It played well to the crowd. His “AMC” costar, Shannon Kane, who played his fiancee Natalia, was in the audience and cheered too.

After the performance, Martinez said: “I fed off the crowd and they gave us so much energy. So you know what, the judges gave their opinion, but the crowd loved it and we loved it.”

Host Brooke Burke-Charvet called him a natural and asked him if he had any prior dance experience. Martinez says he doesn’t.

From the judges:

Bruno Tonioli: “J.R., you’re born to dance! … The most satisfying overall performance of the night. … Overall, I’m ecstatic with the performance.” His score: 8.

Carrie Ann Inaba: “It was great, it was fantastic, but there was a lift!” But overall, she liked the performance. Her score: 7.

Len Goodman: “What’s on the label is not what’s in the tin. I was looking for a jive, and I got a lindy hop. .. It was a great dance, [but] it wasn’t a jive.” His score: 7.

The total score for #TeamMartinoff is 22, which puts Martinez in a tie for second place. In first place is Ricki Lake and her partner, Derek Hough. Kristen Cavallari and her partner, Mark Ballas, also got a score of 22.

Update, Sept. 28J.R. Martinez and his dance partner, Karina Smirnoff, made it through the Week 2 elimination on “Dancing with the Stars.”

In the clips before the results were announced, Martinez joked that he’d been robbed when it came to the judges’ scores. He scored a 22 after a jive that the judges gave mixed reviews.

Eliminated this week was Elisabetta Canalis, an Italian actress who dated George Clooney. Arrivederci, Elisabetta!

Next week, Team Martinoff will be performing the rumba, according to Martinez’s Twitter feed. You can follow it here: @knowjr. He tweeted Wednesday morning: “I wake up being grateful I’m safe to dance another week. Considering the judges feedback~I know I passed b/c of ALL of you! THANKS!”

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