- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 11, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Ricki Lake was ready to quit “Dancing With the Stars” in the days leading up to her latest first-place performance.

Lake said on Monday’s episode that she was on the verge of a breakdown during rehearsals before she performed a tango that one judge called “brilliance in the ballroom.” She earned two perfect 10s, scoring 29 points out of 30 and topping the judges’ leaderboard for the third week in a row.

At the bottom of the scoreboard was Carson Kressley, who earned 20 points for his pirate-themed Viennese waltz. Judge Len Goodman said the dance was “like childbirth: terrible while it’s happening and enjoyable when it’s over.” Still, he called the routine “great fun.”

“If I was at home, I’d be (voting) for you,” he said.

Judges’ scores are combined with viewer votes to determine which celebrity is ousted each week. One of the nine remaining stars on the hit ABC show will be dismissed during Tuesday’s episode.

Kressley, one of two contestants who donned fake facial hair Monday, said after the episode that he has faith that fans will keep him in the contest.

“I think they’re going to vote like crazy to keep us alive,” he said, stroking his ponytailed goatee.

But professional partner Ana Trebunskaya wasn’t so sure.

“We’re not confident,” she said.

Chynna Phillips’ confidence was shaken during her performance with partner Tony Dovolani. Phillips appeared to forget her steps half way through the routine.

“It all went up the Suwannee River,” Goodman said afterward. “You lost it.”

Dovolani descended from the ceiling to begin the dance to the theme from “Mission Impossible.” Phillips said she was thrown off by the fog on the dance floor and the band’s interpretation of the music.

“It is really difficult to get back into the dance once you’ve pretty much lost where you are,” she said. “It’s pretty much impossible.”

Phillips scored one better than Kressley, earning 21 points for her tango on a night when all the routines were set to famous film scores.

Nancy Grace and Chaz Bono also scored 21 points each. Bono was especially happy with his night in the ballroom: He danced to the theme song from his favorite movie (“Rocky”), mom Cher was in the audience and he earned his best scores yet.

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