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Ne-Yo, Pitbull Work It on ‘Dancing With the Stars’; Hines Ward Going to the ‘Dance-offs?’

It looked more akin to a music concert on Tuesday night’s  “Dancing With the Stars” elimination show as crowd-pleasers Ne-Yo and Pitbull commandeered the ABC studio with a live performance of their new dance groove, “Give Me Everything.” Nayer, a self-proclaimed model, actress and Pitbull protégé, joined them. Her sole purpose appeared to be sashaying around the stage to add to the party atmosphere, and a party it was.

Although the live music seemed a bit disjointed in the beginning, the ensemble had the audience out of their seats, rocking to the house-style beats. That was just what ABC needed to break up a monotonous two-hour program with a focus on “freestyling,” which will be the theme next week of the routines performed by show’s three pairs of finalists. The freestyle finals are considered the toughest performances of the season and can make or break contestants. In freestyle, the usual dance technique “rule book” is tossed, and the dancers’ creativity is unleashed, which is actually more difficult because judging becomes more subjective.

Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers continues to feel the love of both football and dance-reality-show fans as he heads to the play-offs … oh, um … the dance-offs to compete against Disney’s Chelsea Kane and, suprisingly, actress-comedian Kirstie Alley. The original Karate Kid, 50-year-old Ralph Macchio, who started off as a leading contender this season but who seemed to lose steam, danced his last dance this week.

It is an undisputed fact that the “Terrible Towel”-bearing Pittsburgh Steelers fans, known as the Steeler Nation, are a die-hard bunch. They probably have organized an underground campaign to insure that their “golden son” wins or, at least, comes close. With or without Steeler fans, Ward is a winner in his own right and deserves to win this competition because his talent extends beyond the gridiron. His quiet, humble, steady demeanor and his beaming, youthful smile have been the heart and soul of the show this season, and, above all, the man can dance.

arnell pharr