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Latin week brings mixed results for Davis, White

Davis continues dominant season, White fails to impress judges
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Charlie White and Sharna Burgess perform the paso doble, a dance familiar to fans of figure skating, during week seven of 'Dancing with the Stars.' -ABC

The costumes were sexy and the music was spicy for Latin week on Dancing with the Stars. With music icon Ricky Martin serving as the guest judge, the couples did their utmost to be muy caliente (very hot).

Charlie White and partner Sharna Burgess performed a paso doble, a dance very familiar to skating audiences. It is based on a bullfight, with the man portraying the matador and the woman the cape. White bowed to DWTS tradition, going shirtless under his matador jacket. Popular in Latin dance, he had even removed the hair from his chest. (We don't whether he waxed or shaved.)

"The paso doble is one of the most intense dances you can do. You need strong lines from the male and beautiful, also-strong lines from the woman," said DWTS troupe member Lindsay Arnold, also a top-eight finisher on So You Think You Can Dance in 2012.

Arnold said she thought White and Burgess' paso doble was one of the best she's seen on the show and she disagreed with the judges' assessment, which was two 9s, an 8 and a 10.

"He was able to get strong lines, but then he was able to show fluidity through his motion," Arnold said.

Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy performed a salsa. This season, the couples have been allowed to incorporate into their routines members of the troupe as well as pros who have already been eliminated. Arnold was one of the pros, and she said she loved working with them. They set the routine last Wednesday before Davis and White and their dance partners headed out on the road for Stars on Ice. The pro dancers actually camera blocked the routine Sunday without Davis and Chmerkovskiy and then rehearsed it on show day.

"The salsa started from clubbing," Arnold noted. "It should be upbeat and have a lot of character. It's definitely a very grounded and saucy dance.

"I thought Maks did an amazing job with choreography; he really brought the dance to life," she continued. "Meryl pays attention to details so well that when she goes on stage, she stands out."

Davis and Chmerkovskiy received three 10s and a 9.

Arnold was previously part of White and Burgess' jive in week three and Mary Poppins jazz routine during Disney week. She was equally strong in her praise of his commitment to dance.

"Charlie never disappoints," she said. "I feel every single week he goes out there and does his absolute best. He's able to work through any problem he has. ... He already has a smart dancer mentality."

The evening concluded with two Latin freestyle team dances. White and Burgess were on Team Vida with James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd, and NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani. They received two 8s, a 9 and a 10 from Martin (it was a Spanish version of his song "Cup of Life").

Then Team Loca (dancing to Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca"), with Davis and Chmerkovskiy, Danica McKellar and Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas, and Amy Purdy and Derek Hough, was supposed to dance. However, Purdy was taken to the hospital after she and Hough performed their rumba, so plans changed.

Initially, Arnold was asked to learn the routine and perform in Purdy's place, but then producers decided to show the judges and TV viewers a tape of dress rehearsal, which scored three 10s and a 9.

"I thought both team dances were great," Arnold said. "They both played to their character.

"I think [Team Vida] was underscored a bit," she added. "With [Team Loca,] that was one of the best group dances I've ever seen. They were very clean; the choreography was great. They were able to show off everyone's strengths.

"When you're a dancer and you're doing group performances, it's important to be able to learn to dance with people and dance to make it clean -- but also be able to show off yourself. Not fade into the crowd, but really stand out while keeping the integrity of the routine."

Next week each couple will perform two dances. White and Burgess will perform a quickstep, and Davis and Chmerkovskiy will dance the rumba. Then DWTS will introduce a new concept. They will have two couples dancing side by side. White and Burgess will perform with Cameron Bure and Ballas, and Davis and Chmerkovskiy are paired with McKellar and Chmerkovskiy. The styles have not been announced.

"Both Charlie and Meryl work so hard," Arnold said. "No matter who you are, starting out dancing is always going to be tough. This show is hard for everyone, and I think they're doing an amazing job."