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J.R. Martinez and Ricki Lake have been swapping the first place spot all season on Dancing With the Stars. Last night, it was definitely the latter's turn on top.

While he's never one to complain (look at all he's been through in life), J.R. rolled his right ankle in rehearsal and then twisted it again during his routines.

The famous smile that lights up the dance floor was barely there Monday, replaced by grimaces of pain and looks of disappointment. His posture was off.

J.R. and Karina Smirnoff did manage to turn in a sexy Argentine tango to make up for a subpar Paso Doble, but it'll be up to fans to carry him through.

Can J.R. earn a spot in next week's DWTS finals after an off week that saw him finish a distant third? Watch his performances and see what you think ...

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Last night's Dancing With the Stars was the J.R. Martinez show.

He had two chances to redeem himself from an off-week last Monday and boy did he deliver. If this continues, everyone else is dancing for second place.

Martinez scored, not one but two, perfect 30s - first for his waltz, then for his instant jive with Karina Smirnoff - the first dancer to do so in Season 13.

“It was like a musical Valentine card,” DWTS judge Bruno Tonioli said. “You dance with your heart on your sleeve. Totally involved, totally dedicated.”

“This is a war on the floor,” Len Goodman added. “Each week is a battle. Last week you retreated a bit, but, like the soldier you are you came back, guns blazing.”

The Iraq War vet, soap opera actor and motivational speaker certainly has the inspiring story, fan support and dance moves to take home the Mirror Ball.

Can J.R. Martinez be stopped? We'll find out in the coming weeks, but it looks like the title could he his to lose. Watch his instant jive after the jump:

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Call it the DWTS version of the Sports Illustrated or Madden curse.

Actor and Iraq veteran J.R. Martinez, who has tied Ricki Lake for first place in previous weeks and held the top spot when she hasn't, fell a bit short of expectations last night, right after appearing in a glowing cover story for People magazine.

Nevertheless, his score of 25 was far from shabby - even if it his recent efforts made it feel "substandard" as Len said - and he likely won't be punished by viewers for the group dance that netted him a modest 23 for 48 points in all.

Take a look at J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff's routine Monday:

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J.R. Martinez is dominating Dancing With the Stars this season, and it's not because of his fancy footwork (although he's certainly not a slouch in that area).

His life, featured on People's cover, is one of triumph and redemption.

For millions of Dancing with the Stars fans, there's never been an easier contender to root for, given his dance moves, personality and compelling life story.

JR Martinez and Karina Smirnoff Pic

"I'm being blessed in so many ways, and it's because of the energy I'm putting out in the world," says the All My Children actor, who backs that claim up.

J.R. Martinez survived a 2003 explosion while a soldier serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq. The trauma was unimaginable, but worth it in the end, he says.

If not for the Humvee he was driving hitting a land mine, "My life would not be what it is today: full of joy, happiness and positivity," Martinez reflects.

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Make no mistake, J.R. Martinez wants to be looking down at everyone else's Dancing With the Stars scores. “I don’t want to share that spot with anybody,” he said.

“They’re cool, but that’s my spot.”

The Iraq War veteran, motivational speaker and soap opera star had to share it with Ricki Lake last night, but no one else came close to his quickstep.

The theme was Broadway Week, and his rendition inspired by Chicago’s “Nowadays” earned him almost a perfect score - and nothing but praise.

“J.R., you just keep on keeping on,” Len Goodman said with a rare smile. “You are truly relentless! Tonight, you have really come up a notch."

Check out J.R. and Karina Smirnoff's routine below ...

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Military veteran, motivational speaker and soap opera star J.R. Martinez is looking more and more like the man to beat on Dancing With the Stars.

Rob Kardashian and David Arquette did well Monday, sure. But there was no touching J.R. and Karina Smirnoff with their sexy, 80s inspired samba.

Channeling his Latino heritage, Martinez delivered a samba that was “muy caliente,” Carrie Ann Inaba said. Bruno Tonioli called him a “sex machine” with “so much fire down below” women might hurl themselves off the balcony to get to him.

Ah, Bruno. He's not wrong, though. Watch J.R.'s performance below:

Len Goodman offered perhaps the best praise of all: “The next time someone asks me how should a guy dance the samba, I wil say ‘have a look at J.R.’”

Is J.R. on a collision course with the Mirror Ball? Or will the voters pull a surprise and send him home early? Who do you think will win this season?

Vote in our Dancing With the Stars poll below ...

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Given his personal history, J.R. Martinez couldn't possibly top last week's ode to fallen servicemen and women on Dancing With the Stars. But his Pink Panther-themed tango - perfectly attuned to breast cancer awareness month - was still terrific.

Even if he weren't a good dancer (and he is), he'd be a joy to watch.

Every waking moment he leads by example, illustrating with his scarred face and body that it's possible to move beyond the doubt, despair and depression and reclaim a meaningful existence, his story becomes more remarkable.

Here's his performance last night, good enough for second place:

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We didn't know it was possible to become legitimately choked up while watching Dancing With the Stars, but J.R. Martinez proved it possible Monday night.

There weren't many dry eyes left in the room following the Iraq War veteran's moving life story of injury and redemption, followed by an emotional dance.

After J.R. finished his rumba with Karina Smirnoff, the All My Children actor seemed taken aback by what he's been through - not just on DWTS but in life.

Here's Martinez's full segment on last night's show:

Only Ricki Lake (27) topped J.R. (26) among Monday's Dancing With the Stars scores. Along with Chynna Phillips (26), they look like the three to beat.

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Chaz Bono stood tall and held his own, David Arquette showed that his life is more under control than people thought and Kristin Cavallari sizzled.

None could hold a handle to J.R. Martinez or Chynna Phillips, however.

The Iraq War hero/soap opera star and the former Wilson Phillips member tied atop the scoreboard on Monday's Dancing With the Stars season premiere.

J.R.'s Viennese waltz showed that he's got the hips to match his courage (so to speak), while the judges gushed over Chynna's poise and talent.

Watch the performances that netted them 22 points each below!

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J.R. Martinez Biography

Hot JR Martinez Pic J.R. Martinez is an Iraq War veteran, motivational speaker, winner of Dancing With the Stars and soap opera actor. He's quite... More »
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