With the theme of the week being “Most Memorable Year” the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver and partner Sharna Burgess performed a tango inspired by his comeback from his wreck in practice for the 2015 Indianapolis 500.
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Their routine was set to the song “The Right Time” by Yves V featuring Mike James, and it was the right stuff for Dancing judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Julianne Hough and Bruno Tonioli.
Inaba and Tonioli each gave the routine a perfect 10/10 score, while Hough’s 9/10 was the only thing keeping Hinchcliffe and Burgess from perfection.
Overall the 29/30 mark was one point up from their result last week and equal to the duo’s scores in Week 2 and Week 3.
More importantly it was the highest score of the week, putting Hinchcliffe on top for the first time all season.
Two couples – Marilu Henner and Derek Hough, and Terra Jole and Sasha Farber – tied for second place with 27 points.
Meanwhile, Olympian Laurie Hernandez had her first miscue and scored just 25 points with partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy while four of the nine couples shared Monday’s lowest score at 24.
Watch Hinchcliffe and Burgess’s winning routine – as well as the video package that also includes rehearsal footage and interviews with his parents and his trauma surgeon – below:
James Hinchcliffe fans will have some time to bask in his top status; there will be no elimination on Dancing with the Stars this week, as the Tuesday results show is pre-empted by the premieres of ABC’s Tuesday sitcoms.
But even if you’re not a fan of the reality show this is something to be proud of. As Burgess notes in the video package, the fact that Hinch came back from the brink of death and is now competing as both a racer and a dancer – and doing well on both counts – is pretty remarkable.
And of course, the higher he scores and the longer he lasts, that’s more welcome exposure for the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Considering that when he took the gig even James Hinchcliffe himself wasn’t sure he’d get past Week 1 of Dancing with the Stars, his work so far has been nothing short of fantastic. Not only is he making it, he’s consistently toward the top of the leaderboard.
Could he possibly be the dark horse to win Season 23? IndyCar fans will have to keep watching, and keep voting for him at ABC.com, to find out.