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Cuban avoids a knockout and can still come out swingin'

Cuban's mambo co-starred lush Kym Johnson in Sheena garb.

Mark Cuban got a little shock therapy on Tuesday's Dancing with the Stars, surviving to hoof and puff another night without even having to break a sweat.

The Dallas Mavericks owner and pro partner Kym Johnson learned midway through the show that they'd been "saved" instead of again relegated to Dancing's Bottom Two scorers. Jubilant fist pumps ensued.

"Look of happy surprise there," said host Tom Bergeron.

The Cuban-Johnson mambo rated just an 18 score the previous night from Dancing's three judges, leaving only lumbering Wayne Newton further down the ladder with 15 points. Cwazy wabbit arbiter Bruno Tonioli equated Cuban to a "bulldog chasing a squirrel," but said he was fun to watch.

"I have no idea what that means," Cuban said in a taped segment Tuesday. "It is what it is."

A blue-looking Johnson thought she knew the score all too well.

"It's going to put us in a bad, bad position for the elimination night," she said.

But cocksure model Albert Reed instead surprisingly took the gas after bottoming out with Newton in the show's red-lit final seconds. The live studio audience couldn't even muster the wherewithal to gasp.

A few minutes before getting his reprieve, Cuban treated the judges a bit as though they were NBA refs. Right now he doesn't much care what they think of him. He'll play to the show's 20-some million viewers.

"If they pull us through this week, then next week we're not dancing for the judges, we're dancing for the fans," Cuban pronounced. "Because that's who matters."

Youthified (he's canned the facial hair) and rejuvenated (the surgically repaired hip is hangin' in there), Cuban's prospects suddenly are appreciably brighter, at least among his gender. He's shown he can rally a fan base. And among the four remaining male celebrities, Cuban currently is outclassed only by smooth-moving Indy 500 champ Helio Castroneves, who had Monday's top score of 27 from the judges.

"I'm not a quitter. I don't take losing lightly," Cuban said. "I don't like being shown up when I'm trying to do something."

It seemed as though he'd instead have a very trying night Tuesday. But Cuban dodged a mega-bullet and now has a chance to really hit his stride.

Damn, guess this means more blogging and wardrobe changes to keep the girlyman beating within. Wore a pallbearer's suit tonight, though. Now it's gonna have to be more red, red wine velour from the Robert Goulet rack.