After nine weeks and an improbable run to the semifinals, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco’s time on Dancing With The Stars came to an end with partner Cheryl Burke. The Pro Bowl wideout fell just short of the finals with Erin Andrews, Evan Lysacek, and Nicole Scherzinger advancing to next week’s season finale.
Ever since the season debut in March, the judges saw something special in Chad. While he struggled at times in the beginning, each performance displayed a type of potential the other contestants didn’t have. They knew he was capable of performing at a type of level where he would be considered a serious contender; it was just a matter of time before he reached that level.
Thanks to nine weeks that consisted of endless hours of practice with Cheryl, Chad can finally consider himself a serious dancer. He may have fallen just short of the finals, but Ochocinco was still happy for the life-changing experience.
As a tribute to Ocho’s nine-week run on the show, here’s a ranking of all 12 of his performances on Dancing With The Stars.
12. Week Two: Cincinnati-Bengals-Examiner%7Ey2010m3d29-Chad-Ochocinco-and-Cheryl-Burke-receive-heavy-criticism-from-judge-on-DWTS-after-Foxtro-performance">Fox Trot
This dance seemed to bring out a side of Ochocinco his fans have never seemed before. On the football field, Chad was always considered one of the best at his position. With dancing, it was a different story.
The look on Ocho’s face after the judges criticized him for his performance of the Fox Trot was one never seen before. It was as if Chad had been told for the first time he couldn’t do something. His posture was terrible and he looked uncomfortable, but there were still signs of potential.
“It was like the snow; you’re just glad when it’s all over,” Len Goodman said about his performance.
11. Week One: Cha-Cha
During the first nine years of his career, the only dancing seen from Ochocinco was in the end zone as a celebration following a touchdown. The season premiere was the first time Chad displayed what he was capable of doing as a dancer off the field—and there was definitely potential.
The judges all seemed to agree there was high potential for Ochocinco, but he had a lot of work ahead of him as a competitor on the show. If he could manage to look sharper and improve his posture, they all believed he would eventually become a serious contender.
10. Week Five: Quick Step
One week after an impressive performance of the Rumba, Ochocinco struggled in Week Five with the Quick Step, but he still looked good considering the difficulty of the dance.
While he was beginning to improve his posture, there were a number of areas that stuck out during the performance. Still, he did receive some positive feedback from Len who was willing to acknowledge Chad for his effort with such a difficult dance—which means a lot coming from the head judge.
9. Week Three: Paso Doble
The posture issues were still there, but Ochocinco seemed to thrive off the negative feedback from his Fox Trot performance to bounce back with the Paso Doble dance. He and Cheryl received a 20 out of 30—which at the time was their best score of the season.
The judges all raved Ochocinco for the difference from his performance the previous week, but knew there were still issues throughout his routine. He was more focused, the energy level was increased, and Chad showed higher determination during his third performance of the season.
8. Week Eight: Tango
Chad and Cheryl faced the challenge of learning two dances in less than a week—which showed during their dance of the Tango.
Instead of improving off their impressive 25 score the previous week, Ochocinco took a step backwards after receiving a 21 for the Tango. Still, the judges realized the extra challenge he faced this week by learning two dances and were still willing to acknowledge him for a solid performance. They said his attack was great and he provided good movement, but still needed more polish and refinement.
7. Week Four: Rumba
At the time, Chad and Cheryl’s Rumba routine was their best of the season. For the first three weeks, Ochocinco had been heavily criticized for his lack of posture throughout his routines. Finally, he had improved in that area and was evolving into the type of dancer the judges expected him to be throughout the season.
For the first time in the season, the contestants received two separate scores—one for technique and one for performance. Along with the improved posture, Chad’s hips were alive during the dance and the couple received a combined 44 out of 60.
6. Week Eight: The Jive
Coincidentally, one of Ocho’s top performances came when he and Cheryl danced the Jive to The Love Man .
With the competition heating up, Week Eight consisted of two individual dances from each couple. After receiving a disappointing 21 earlier in the night for the Tango, Chad bounced back with a high-energized Jive dance that may have saved him in the competition. Week Eight was the first time Chad and Cheryl ended up in the bottom two, but they managed to outlast Niecy Nash and Louis Van Amstel.
5. Week Seven: Cha-Cha Challenge
ABC added an extra twist to the seventh week of the competition by adding a group dance on top of each couple’s individual performance. Chad and Cheryl joined Pamela Anderson, Damien Whitewood, Nicole Scherzinger, and Derek Hough to dance Telephone as part of “Team Gaga.”
The group received a 27 overall for their performance, with Chad “turning up the heat” according to Carrie Ann. However, she also pointed out there were a number of areas he struggled with during the dance.
4. Week Six: Argentine Tango
“On Dancing With The Stars, you either grow, or you go. You grew tonight.”
Len and the rest of the judges explained to Chad why they had been so harsh on him during the first five weeks of the show; they knew he was capable of dancing at a higher level.
In the week leading up to his performance of the Argentine Tango, Chad decided to head back to Cincinnati with Cheryl so he could get in some workouts with the Bengals. Turns out, his trip was exactly what he needed after struggling with the quick step the previous week.
While in Cincinnati, Ochocinco attended a Bengals’ Draft Party in which he was greeted by hundreds of fans. Chad seemed more energized after interacting with fans and drastically improved his dancing after receiving a 24—his best score of the season at the time.
3. Week Seven: Viennese Waltz
“Chad, remember this day, May 3 2010…the night you became a contender.”
Nobody could have said it better than Len did after the type of performance Chad and Cheryl displayed with the Viennese Waltz. Finally, he had evolved into the type of dancer everyone had been waiting to see all season.
The judges raved Ochocinco for the job he did at extending his arms throughout the dance as they were full of fluidity. The look in his eyes said it all as he was holding back tears of joy.
2. Week Nine: Samba
One of the toughest tasks at making the semifinals on DWTS was learning not one, but two individual dances in less than a week to impress the judges and fans. For his second dance of the semifinals, Ochocinco realized he couldn’t hold anything back with the finals on the line. Not to mention he was considered a serious underdog against three contestants all capable of winning the competition.
As unfortunate as it may have been for Chad to be performing the toughest of the Latin dances this late into the competition, he still displayed an impressive routine that earned him a 25. The judges were impressed for the most part—especially with the way he lit up the audience.
The key to a successful Samba is excitement—and Chad nailed it when he ripped his shirt off during the performance. It’s more fun to watch Ocho perform with a smile on his face because it shows how much fun he’s having. In his final performance on the show, No. 85 was all smiles.
1. Week Nine: Waltz
Without any question, the Waltz was Ochocinco’s best performance during his nine weeks on the show. After a long journey with many ups and downs, he finally displayed the type of routine the judges and his fans knew he was capable of performing all season.
All three judges raved Chad and gave him his best score of the entire season with a 27. All along, the potential was there for Ochocinco and after the Waltz, it was clear he finally evolved into a serious dancer after weeks and long-hours of training.
He deserves a lot of credit for the progress made since the premiere considering Chad was the only contestant in the semifinals with no previous dancing experience. Any other season, the argument can be made Ochocinco may have had a better shot at advancing to the finals.
Here’s what the judges had to say about his best performance:
Carrie Ann Inaba: "Chad Ochocinco just nailed the Waltz! Chad, where did you come from? This new Chad with the new posture and the new elegance and the never ending movement—one movement going right into the next movement, fluidity refinement."
Len Goodman: "Chad, I don’t know where to start really. You’re the only one with absolutely no dance experience in the semifinal. The others, they’ve got some. They’ve climbed here, you’ve climbed mountains. And to come out in the semifinal and produce a Waltz like that—fantastic."
Bruno Tonioli: "Respect! Tonight, you are one of the guys that had the toughest criticism from us from day one. We’ve been so harsh because we knew there was something there for us to see. Tonight, you showed it to us. You’re a star!"
Dan Parzych is the Cincinnati Bengals Examiner for Examiner.com.
He is also the founder of WhoDeyBengals.com.
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