She blogged for E! News before the show about her portrayal of the “101 Dalmatians” villian: “She has a big personality, she's take over and she is that lady, hunni! What an attitude! So I'm going to try and get out there and bring (her) to the stage.”
Last week’s show mixed up the pairings, so instead of dancing with professional partner Tony Dovolani, Leakes was matched with Derek Hough for one night only and praised his choreography. Their tribal-flavored jazz dance was praised as her best dance to date, and earned her 32 points out of 40.
Leakes danced Monday night knowing that she was in danger of being sent home. So how did her return pairing with Dovolani rate with the judges? They nabbed a total score of 36 points – 9s across the board – and the highest personal score of the season brought Leakes to tears.
Last week Leakes said that Dovolani might not have known how to bring out her “fabulousness” as well as Hough. A reunited Leakes and Dovolani went into rehearsals this week with sniping and drama.
“Becoming a character is a strong point of mine,” she told Dovolani as they planned their foxtrot. But she mentioned how Hough had coached her the week before, and Dovolani rebuffed her suggestions.
“You don’t pay attention to anything I say,” Dovolani told her.
“I am an excellent student,” Leakes shot back. “I don’t need you to give me a compliment. … You are gonna have to come with a better attitude tomorrow.”
She left the rehearsal studio saying he could call the producers and ask to be reassigned.
Tonight’s dance was a slinky showcase for Leakes’ sass, and her high kicks matched her spunk.
On Monday, teen singer Cody Simpson was sent home from the ballroom, sparing Leakes, who was in the bottom three of the celebrity contestants. Earlier in the quest for the glitter ball trophy, endurance swimmer Diana Nyad and former professional hockey player Sean Avery were eliminated.
Tonight’s eliminations were based on scores from the past two weeks combined with audience support to determine who stayed, and who went home.
All four judges gave Leakes rave reviews for her sultry Cruella foxtrot.
Guest judge and former DWTS champion Donny Osmond said, “You owned that dance floor. I’ve never seen anybody work their hips like you. It was fantastic.”
Judge Bruno Tonioli called Leakes “a mean and nasty girl. You put some bump and grind into the foxtrot, but you never lost the style. It suited your personality.”
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba said, “Girl, you can rock the villain. Tony, your best choreography ever. The switch up was the best thing that ever happened to you.”
Head Judge Len Goodman said, “Sometimes you think you want a divorce and you realize it was the folly of your ways. You two are a match made in heaven. It was feisty, it was fun … it was your best dance.”
"The Real Housewives of Atlanta” series star couldn’t speak when co-host Erin Andrews asked for her reaction to the high scores, instead wiping tears from her eyes. Dovolani jumped in to say that the footage of their disagreement didn’t reflect how they worked together throughout the week. Instead, the pair enjoy their partnership and want to continue, he said.
Leakes’ TV Background
Leakes has branched out into acting on shows like "Glee," “The Game” and “The New Normal.” She is also the author of “Never Make the Same Mistake Twice,” discussing her fractured childhood, abusive relationship and struggles with being a single mother.
Other celebrity contestants include:
· Former professional hockey player Sean Avery
· Actress and former “Full House” star Candace Cameron Bure
· Heartthrob singer with Big Time Rush James Maslow
· Author and former child star of “The Wonder Years” Danica McKellar
· Endurance swimming legend Diana Nyad
· Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy
Tune in to “Dancing With the Stars” Monday at 8 p.m. ET on WSB Channel 2 to see the next round of eliminations.
How to Vote for NeNe
Viewers may cast their votes for their favorite teams via phone on Monday nights during and up to 60 minutes after the end of the “Dancing with the Stars” broadcast in each time zone. Online voting at www.ABC.com and on Facebook at https://apps.facebook.com/votedwts/ is open for 24 hours, beginning from the start of each episode on the East Coast at 8 p.m., ET.
Earlier DWTS coverage on Patch:
- Will NeNe Leakes Bring Home a ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Glitter Ball Trophy?
- 'Housewives' Star NeNe Leakes to Compete in 'Dancing With The Stars'
- Dancing With the Stars Results: NeNe Leakes Hits the Ballroom First
- UPDATED Dancing With the Stars Results: NeNe Scores First on Week One
- 'Dancing With The Stars' Results: First Elimination
- 'Dancing With The Stars' Results: Week Three Scores for 'Naughty' NeNe Leakes
- 'Dancing With The Stars' Results: Week Four Brings Highest Scores Yet for NeNe Leakes