Ricki Lake was ready to quit "Dancing With the Stars" in the days leading up to her latest first-place performance.
Lake said on Monday's episode that she was on the verge of a breakdown during rehearsals before she performed a tango that one judge called "brilliance in the ballroom." She earned two perfect 10s, scoring 29 points out of 30 and topping the judges' leaderboard for the third week in a row.
At the bottom of the scoreboard was Carson Kressley, who earned 20 points for his pirate-themed Viennese waltz. Judge Len Goodman said the dance was "like childbirth: terrible while it's happening and enjoyable when it's over." Still, he called the routine "great fun."
"If I was at home, I'd be (voting) for you," he said.
Judges' scores are combined with viewer votes to determine which celebrity is ousted each week. One of the nine remaining stars on the hit ABC show will be dismissed during Tuesday's episode.
Kressley, one of two contestants who donned fake facial hair Monday, said after the episode that he has faith that fans will keep him in the contest.
"I think they're going to vote like crazy to keep us alive," he said, stroking his ponytailed goatee.
But professional partner Ana Trebunskaya wasn't so sure.
"We're not confident," she said.
Chynna Phillips' confidence was shaken during her performance with partner Tony Dovolani. Phillips appeared to forget her steps half way through the routine.
"It all went up the Suwannee River," Goodman said afterward. "You lost it."
Dovolani descended from the ceiling to begin the dance to the theme from "Mission Impossible." Phillips said she was thrown off by the fog on the dance floor and the band's interpretation of the music.
"It is really difficult to get back into the dance once you've pretty much lost where you are," she said. "It's pretty much impossible."
Phillips scored one better than Kressley, earning 21 points for her tango on a night when all the routines were set to famous film scores.
Nancy Grace and Chaz Bono also scored 21 points each. Bono was especially happy with his night in the ballroom: He danced to the theme song from his favorite movie ("Rocky"), mom Cher was in the audience and he earned his best scores yet.
Bono said after Monday's episode that he's loved "Rocky" since he was little.
"Literally, I wanted to be Rocky," he said. "I walk kind of funny and part of it is _ people would always ask me, `Are you limping?' _ But I think I tried to copy his walk when I was a kid, and I still kind of walk bad like that."
Cher wasn't the only star in the audience Monday. Courteney Cox, Kris and Bruce Jenner, Patricia Arquette, Rosanna Arquette, "Dr. Phil" host Phil McGraw and former "Dancing" champ Donny Osmond also watched the dancing action from inside the ballroom.
Rounding out the scoreboard was David Arquette, who finished in fourth place with 23 points for his "Indiana Jones"-inspired paso doble; Rob Kardashian and Hope Solo, who tied for third place with 24 points each; and actor and Iraq veteran J.R. Martinez, who earned the night's second-highest score of 26 points.
Martinez said the most exciting thing about his foxtrot to the "Pink Panther" theme was his pink tuxedo costume and fake moustache.
"I'm rocking the pink tuxedo," he said. "I want to buy this now and wear it grocery shopping."
Basketball star Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest), Italian actress Elisabetta Canalis and reality star Kristen Cavallari have already been dismissed from "Dancing" this season. A fourth celebrity will join them on Tuesday.
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter. Follow her at http://www.twitter.com/APSandy