LOS ANGELES — Rob Kardashian swung to the top of the "Dancing with the Stars" leaderboard Monday.
The 24-year-old reality TV star and his professional partner, Cheryl Burke, waltzed ahead of the competition on the ABC ballroom contest's final dance-off. Kardashian and Burke nabbed a combined 57 out of a possible 60 for a breezy waltz and dizzying swing-era freestyle routine that garnered Kardashian his first perfect 30 of the season.
"Never would I ever have thought that I'd get a perfect score, and we did it with the hardest freestyle," he said.
U.S. Army veteran J.R. Martinez and TV personality Ricki Lake tied for second place with 54. Lake remained consistent with a 27 for both her cha-cha and a freestyle number that incorporated everything from quickstep to salsa moves, while Martinez earned a 24 for a so-so cha-cha before winning a perfect 30 for his high-energy salsa-inspired freestyle.
"It was a like a jungle tribal hypnotic experience," judge Bruno Tonioli told Martinez.
Lake and partner Derek Hough have been front-runners throughout the show's 13th season, consistently earning high marks from the judges. Martinez and partner Karina Smirnoff have also ranked high with the panel, occasionally topping the leaderboard. Kardashian has experienced steady growth under Burke and may have peaked at just the right moment.
"You're like the male version of Cinderella who made it to the ball," judge Carrie Ann Inaba told him.
The scores will be combined with viewer votes to determine the champion Tuesday.
Previously dismissed contestants include actor David Arquette, activist Chaz Bono, soccer player Hope Solo, singer Chynna Phillips, actress Elisabetta Canalis, basketball player Metta World Peace and TV personalities Kristin Cavallari, Carson Kressley and Nancy Grace.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this report. Derrik J. Lang and Sandy Cohen can be reached at and .Links: