The cards were already stacked against Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco heading into the Final Four of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars.
Pitted against an ice skater, a pop star and a former college dance teamer, The Ocho responded in the underdog role with some of his best dancing of the show. Topping off his last dance by ripping off his top during a torrid Samba, he gave it a good go with a solo that took him sliding across the floor on his knees.
But he could only get a 25 from the three judges. Together with three 9s for a waltz, that put him in fourth and last place heading into Tuesday’ night’s results show at 8 p.m. He ended up with 52 while skater Evan Lysacek and pop star Nicole Scherzinger went 59 out of 60 to finish tied for first with former University of Florida dancer Erin Andrews putting up 56 in her two dances.
A couple of hours before he went on, he revealed that he wasn’t as nervous as he was on Sunday and sounded pretty loose when he put Burke on the line.
“Do or die,” said Burke, a multi-winner of the Mirror Ball.
The episode was spiced with background stories on the four contestants, and The Ocho’s segment included interviews with his grandmother, daughter, Terrell Owens, and Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. Lewis allowed that Ocho didn’t think the experience would be as hard as it has become. It has been a little bit harder because Ochocinco says he’s been getting up early to lift weights.
Now he finds out Tuesday night if the fan votes have brought football season, or if he’s dancing for another week and into next Monday’s last episode.
“I don’t want to go home,” he said.
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The Ocho hasn’t been this graceful since he caught that six-yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer for the AFC North title as he was going down on his back against the Chiefs.
After showering partner Cheryl Burke with a raft of gifts on her 26th birthday (the diamond heart necklace has the tongues wagging), Chad Ochocinco logged his highest score of 25 on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars in all but wrapping up another shot next week.
The Ocho finally sold his most harshest critic this side of Marvin Lewis when judge Len Goodman gave him a nine for the waltz because of his “fluid arms.”
“I don’t know why, but for some reason tonight, it clicked. I was able to flip the switch,” said The Ocho a few hours after the show. “For the first time I felt like I do on the field. I had that same swagger. That same confidence. It’s about time. I’ve been working so hard, I feel like it’s been paying off.”
Goodman declared that he will remember “May 3, 2010” as the day Ochocinco became a contender.
“To hear that from a professional dancer was big thrill,” Ochocinco said. “I’ve got my competitive juices going.”
If it was a game?
8-137, 2 TDs.
And he is thinking about football, too. He says he’s getting up at 5 a.m. to lift and run. He got a text from Lewis telling him No. 1 pick Jermaine Gresham looked good at rookie camp. Ochocinco says he’s still on last year’s sked, when he came into the on-field workouts in mid June.
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As Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco prepared to hit the stage on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars Monday to do the quick step with Cheryl Burke, he tweeted that he was dedicating the dance to late teammate Chris Henry.
“I have the quickest feet in football, I’ve (got) to translate it to the QUICKSTEP tonight, 2night is for #15,” he said.
But they didn’t get the number they were looking for when the three judges each offered only a six. Not even a jungle theme could jump start The Jungle’s greatest receiver. The Ocho and Burke did a pretty brisk version of “The Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book, but the judges rung up The Ocho for being sloppy with his steps and not having enough contact with his partner.
Which was kind of ironic because most of the attention during their spot was paid to a tense week of practice by the couple with the hosts intimating it was lover tension. But The Ocho still denied there is anything going on off the floor.
Ochocinco wrinkled his forehead at the scores. But he seemed to take it pretty well. They won’t know if they survived until Tuesday’s 8 p.m. show. The Ocho told Bengals.com a few weeks ago that the pair planned to head to Cincinnati after Tuesday’s show so he could get in some workouts at Paul Brown Stadium during the mornings before they practiced for next week in a downtown studio duirng the afternoon.
No word Monday night if the trip is still on.
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