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Johnson Salsas to High Scores on 'Dancing'
(112 votes, average 4.73 out of 5)

Performing the salsa, Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson and partner Mark Ballas earned a huge ovation and the judges' third-highest total on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" Monday.

"I'm out there to entertain people and win over America," Johnson told IG.

Johnson and Ballas, who performed sixth of the 13 couples, had many audience members on their feet when they finished their precise, confident salsa.

Speaking with IG backstage after the show, Johnson said diligence and teamwork are helping her and Ballas improve with each performance.

"I don't go out there for a score or placement," said Johnson, who at 17 is the show's youngest contestant. "I've been working really hard just to learn dancing. Mark's been great at teaching me, and when I went out there, I just wanted to show everyone what I've learned."

Johnson and Ballas emerged as one of the early favorite couples in the competition, after scoring 24 out of a possible 30 points for Monday's dance, and 23 points for their waltz last week.

Telephone and online voting, factored in with the judges' scores, will ultimately decide which couple is eliminated in Tuesday's results show. Fans could vote for the couple by calling 1-800-868-3409 up to 30 minutes after the end of the show. Online voting is possible until noon Eastern time on Tuesday.

Ballas, who partnered with 1992 Olympic figure skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi to win the title two seasons ago, said Johnson is proving to be a versatile dancer.

"I think it's a big improvement from last week," he told IG. "Obviously we danced completely different styles, so you can't really compare the two. I was really proud of Shawn tonight. She did everything I asked her to, and she looks amazing."

Johnson admitted that mastering the energetic salsa required her to break free from the rigidity of her gymnastics routines.

"The process was very slow, and I was so shy to begin with," she said. "I was like, 'There's no way I'm going to be able to do this.' But like on [the footage from rehearsal], Mark was always dancing like I was supposed to, dancing like a girl and dorky, which made me feel good. It made me feel I could let loose and go crazy, and it would be fine."

Dancing in a floral costume that Ballas designed, Johnson said she has quickly adjusted to performing in outfits other than gymnastics leotards.

"How does a girl get used to wearing a gorgeous dress? It doesn't take much!" she joked.

UPDATE: On the results show held Tuesday, Johnson and Ballas advanced to next Monday's performance show. Singer Belinda Carlisle and her partner, professional dancer Jonathan Roberts, were eliminated.

External Link: Dancing with the Stars

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