[WATCH] ‘Dancing with the Stars’: James Hinchcliffe was ‘In the Mood’ for a top scoring jitterbug

The jitterbug performed by James Hinchcliffe and his pro partner Sharna Burgess on “Eras Night” of “Dancing with the Stars” wasn’t their highest-scoring dance of the season so far, but it was good enough to win them the top spot on the judges’ leaderboard, tied with football player Calvin Johnson. Watch Hinchcliffe’s lively routine above.

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Hinchcliffe is less well known than most stars this season. His claim to fame is being a race car driver and miraculously surviving a brutal accident on the race track in 2015. Given the extent of his injuries barely a year before being called to the “DWTS” dance floor, his rhythm, humor and infectious personality are even more impressive.

His jitterbug scored straight nines from the panel of judges. When that was combined with his team dance with Johnson, Maureen McCormick and Ryan Lochte he ended up on top with a total of 74 out of 80, outscoring current season 23 frontrunner Laurie Hernandez this week by five points.

Hinchcliffe keeps putting pressure on Hernandez, who seemed virtually unbeatable for the Mirror Ball Trophy earlier this season, but Hinchcliffe and Hernandez have both topped the leaderboard three times, and while Hernandez still has a significant lead in our racetrack odds, Hinchcliffe is a strong second.

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Do you think Hinchcliffe is now the “DWTS” frontrunner after his latest showstopping routine? Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts throughout the week, just click “Save” when you’ve settled on your choices. You’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate, bragging rights and a place of honor on our leaderboard. Our racetrack odds change as you make your predictions, just as they do when you bet on the Emmys, Oscars, Golden Globes and more. Be sure to read our contest rules and sound off on the season of “Dancing with the Stars” in our reality TV forum.

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