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Cosentino's Great Escape on Dancing With The Stars @dancingau

NewsKevin Perry
 illusionist Cosentino with his now former partner Jessica Raffa

illusionist Cosentino with his now former partner Jessica Raffa

Master illusionist Cosentino has performed one of his greatest escapes, progressing to the third week of the Dancing With The Stars competition despite losing his partner Jessica Raffa to a serious back injury late last week. 

After earning a perfect 10 for their opening routine, Jess was rushed to hospital on Thursday with a bulged disc in her back, which doctors have said will prevent her from dancing for at least six weeks.

In her place, Cosentino was paired with Sriani Argaet, and with just two days rehearsal the couple performed remarkably well in their Viennese Waltz to “If I ain’t got you” by Alicia Keys and Usher, a routine which had been choreographed by Jess.  “I’m so happy that’s over. I want to savour each moment but was really tough to get through this. With Jess I had five weeks to get to know and understand her; we’ve had two days,” Cosentino said.

The judges praised the performance, but Todd McKenney said he feared Cosentino could become a “one-trick pony”. “I worry that you’ve got the goods to go all the way but you’ll be let down by your personality,” he said. However Kym Johnson disagreed, saying: “I’ve seen some really impressing things on Dancing With the Stars over the years but you really impressed me tonight. But more than that you really touched my heart.” 

In another stunning night of dancing form the celebrities, it was the Sydney model Jordan Stenmark and partner Jessica Prince her were the first couple eliminated after the judges’ scores were combined with the viewers’ vote. ”It is upsetting but that’s the way the competition is. I’ve had seven weeks of training and I’ve learnt something new,” Jordan said.   

Among those to impress the judges were swimmer Libby Trickett, Home and Away star Rhiannon Fish and world champion pole vaulter Steve Hooker, who leapt up the leaderboard with an athletic Jazz routine featuring a series of stunning lifts. Judge Helen Richey said: “You really make people feel very happy when they watch you – so you’ve got to be the happy Hooker!”

TV veteran Tony Barber and partner Melanie Hooper took an unscripted tumble but brought the crowd to their feet playing vagabonds in a Jazz routine set to Robbie William’s version of ‘Mack the Knife’.  The judges were largely forgiving. “I loved you tonight. You had a stumble, you picked yourself off, you got on with it,” said judge Kym Johnson. Added Adam Garcia: “It was two drunk tramps, you can fall over. It worked perfectly in the story.”

Meanwhile Tina Arena danced strongly but the judges encouraged her to let herself go. Todd McKenney described it as “hit and miss”. “You’ve got to step outside your emotional comfort zone. There were times you looked like a bored housewife doing the shopping to be honest.”

It was also announced tonight that the acclaimed filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, whose credits include The Great Gatsby and Strictly Ballroom, will be a special guest on the show next week.

Judges scores:

Steve Hooker &  Ash-Leigh Hunter                   34

Rhiannon Fish & Aric Yegudkin                       34

Cosentino &  Sriani Argaet                              31

Tina Arena & Damian Whitewood                     30

Sophia Pou &  Michael Miziner                        30

Libby Trickett &  Dannial Gosper                      29

Zac Stenmark & Jade Hatcher                           28

Jordan Stenmark &  Jessica Prince                  27

Tony Barber & Melanie Hooper                         26

Jesinta Campbell &  Jarryd Bryne                    24

Sally Obermeder & Carmelo Pizzino                20

Jonesy & Alana Patience                                  15

Now the judges’ scores are final, it is up to the public to vote for their celebrity and dance partner to keep them dancing.