Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas tied for second place on “Dancing With the Stars” Tuesday night, earning eight points from each of the judges for a total of 24 out of 30.
“I practiced several hours last night after the show,” said Stirling after dancing the salsa. “I was ready.”
Stirling and Ballas performed a “caterpillar quickstep” on Monday’s episode, scoring 21 out of 30 points for the evening. But Tuesday’s number had all three judges raving about the pair’s energetic delivery from the moment the music started.
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“That showgirl is a firecracker!” said Bruno Tonioli. “What is incredible is the way you kept the speed and the rhythm all the way through. You really never dropped the energy. It was constant. It left me breathless. Well done.”
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba also had high praise for the performance, although in the past she has given fewer points to the pair for Stirling’s neck and shoulder placement.
“What I loved most about you tonight is I got to see the way you dance,” she said. “You are the music. You don’t dance to the music. You become the melody. You become the rhythm track. You become the conga. You got it all going on. That was a fantastic way to do this.”
Salsa was uncharted territory for Stirling, though, who said in footage recorded before the show that she was unaccustomed to the Latin style of dance.
“You realize up until a week ago, my hips had never done anything like this before,“ she told Ballas while they rehearsed their number.
But Stirling, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also shared that her upbringing has helped her learn and execute each dance that she performs.
“I come from a very conservative family and a pretty conservative community, really,” she said. “I remember milking cows as a kid. We had to take care of the yard. We’d clean the chicken coop. So, work ethic was a part of the way I was brought up.”
Ballas also agreed that Stirling’s drive and determination has played a large part in their success.
“Lindsey is a workhorse. She gets in there. We rarely take breaks,” he said. “No one works harder than this one and I’m really proud tonight.”