On Week 4 of Season 17, we said goodbye to a brave, champagne-dipped soul and her perpetually misty-eyed partner: Valerie Harper and Tristan MacManus waltzed away from the ballroom. “I’m here for the party!” Valerie announced causally during rehearsal footage — and as host Tom Bergeron pointed out, it was a good way to characterize her entire Planet Mirrorballus journey.
“I feel like me life’s a little bit better since I met Valerie Harper,” said our droll Irishman Tristan, who’d earlier gushed over the size and power of “Valerie Hahhhper’s Heart.” It was easy to make her story all about the brain cancer, but I’ll most remember her heart, her goofiness (and the way Tristan constantly marveled at it while gently sobbing!) and the oft-needed reminder that it’s just good to be alive. (“Liiiiiiiiiiiiiive!”)
They’ll be missed, but it was certainly their time to go.
Len’s off doing something British for a few weeks, so our guest judge was former pro and two-time Dancing With the Stars winner Julianne Hough, who was there to promote her new movie Paradise, slam Mark Ballas for his signature self-spotlighting choreography, and hold up the same paddles as the other two judges. So much time was spent on her promises to be nice and constructive to the celebrities that the zinger aimed Mark’s way came way out of left field, but in general Julianne was pleasant, smart, and offered some helpful comments.
We spotted Louis Van Amstel hanging in the audience with his season 9 partner Kelly Osbourne — he should be next week’s judge, if you ask me. My life could always use a dash of Van Intensité.
Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhhhh-ber!
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Val Chmerkovskiy: 27/30 It’s beginning to make sense to me why Elizabeth named her baby Sky: This lady is just off in the clouds, soaking up vibes and higher meanings along with some of Val’s sweat molecules as her partner begs him to come back down to Earth. He couldn’t even begin to explain what the “staredown” she enforced was all about. “It was a really human moment of taking each other in,” Elizabeth’s voiceover told us as she cupped Val’s cheeks and wouldn’t let go. (This reminded me of when Zendaya complained that she wasn’t used to grabbing people’s faces — the tables have turned! Val has met his match!) “You could not Take 2 on that,” Elizabeth’s disembodied voice continued. Yeah, probably because the camera guy got weirded out and ran away!
But the deep connecting all paid off, as it does take two to Argentine tango. I loved how Elizabeth played Val-olin’s muse, literally conjuring up the music he was playing on the violin with her corresponding arm movements behind him. Very creative! Carrie Ann admired her sharpness, and Julianne, enveloped in chills, loved how Elizabeth took control. Those suspenders looked hot on Val, even though his cozy white shirt looked a little too much like jammies.
NEXT: My my, Len, how your side boob has grown