Joeyfatone_kymjohnson_dancingwiththIf you’d been thinking that perhaps the Dancing with the Stars judges had been a little too forgiving so far this season, never mind.

Monday’s show saw Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli all getting a case of the cranky pants, and maybe correcting the somewhat inflated scores they’d been handing out in the first couple weeks of the competition. I mean, if you’re handing out three 9s in the second week (and granted, Laila Ali was really good that night), how much room for improvement does that leave?

And, to these untrained eyes anyway, several people deserved the weak scores they got this week. Joey Fatone‘s paso doble (28, including the first 10 of the season) and Apolo Ohno’s waltz (26) probably were that much better than anyone else’s.

That said, though, the paddle-wielding trio doesn’t seem terribly consistent from dancer to dancer. There didn’t look like there was a whole lot of difference between John Ratzenberger and Billy Ray Cyrus, who both danced the paso doble and who both let their partners do most of the work. But Cyrus gets a middle-of-the-pack 21 because, hey, he was really trying out there, while Ratzenberger is one point from last place with a 16 and is told he’s a goof.

Joining him at the bottom of the board are, once again, Clyde Drexler, and last week’s near-bootee Leeza Gibbons. Drexler got feisty only after the judges told him it didn’t look like he was trying very hard. But I’d sort of agree with Carrie Ann that his dances tend to look the same — kind of mellow and easygoing, but without a whole lot of flair.

Leezagibbons_tonydovolani_dancingwi Gibbons, meanwhile, enlisted the help of UFC legend Randy Couture to help her get in the spirit of the paso doble. I can’t imagine that the ultimate fighting-Dancing with the Stars crossover audience is that big, but I then again I can’t imagine he’s doing a ton for his street cred here either. As UFC cameos go, I think I’d give the edge to Chuck Liddell, who appears in an upcoming episode of Entourage.

Leeza may also fall victim to the bad band arrangement curse: She danced to truly lame version of Bon Jovi’s "You Give Love a Bad Name" tonight.

As for the other three competitors, no one did a whole lot to distinguish themselves. Ian Ziering, who earned a 24 for his waltz, is maybe a notch above everyone but the two leaders, mostly because of his consistency from week to week. Heather Mills (23) was pretty graceful in her waltz, but she still seems to be getting some sympathy points. And Laila Ali (21) was surprisingly reserved in her paso doble.

Given how narrowly Gibbons — who tied for the lead with the judges last week — avoided elimination last time, I’m not sure how to call it. Joey and Apolo have got to be safe, but everyone else? Who knows? I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the other seven competitors went home.

How’d you see it? Were the judges right to get harsh this week?

Posted by:Rick Porter