Dancing With the Stars, as Kelly Monaco once pointed out, isn’t really about the dancing—it’s about the connection the pros and the stars make as they learn the Paso Doble, the tango, and other dance routines. So tonight’s “Dynamic Duo” theme is in alignment with the show’s essence. We haven’t seen any huge blowups this season (in fact, it’s been fairly drama-free) or any romances (though I suspect there’s one going on) or even any showmances. However, what we have seen is a gradual increase in entertaining, well-choreographed routines. For the most part, this is still anyone’s mirror ball trophy to win.
Dynamic Duo night contained some colorful costumes, some funny video packages, one perfect score, and an exit that should have happened a while ago.
Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev: 32/40 (Jazz)
Lea had the upper hand in the pre-dance video segment since it was about bringing in an acting teacher to help Artem with his portrayal of Clyde in the duo’s Bonnie and Clyde homage. For some reason, I don’t believe Artem when he says he can’t act. Still, it was interesting to see him be the student for once. I thought he and Lea did an awesome jazz. The judges were critical, but at least it’s four professional judges giving feedback. (I can’t talk about the guest judges anymore.) Bruno Tonioli had one of the best quips of the night when he said Lea was “Faye Dance-away.”
Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater: 25/40 (Fox-Trot)
Thankfully, the Dancing costumer put a Tarzan loincloth on the outside of the rest of Michael’s costume. Couldn’t there have been another couple that could have gone as Tarzan and Jane? (Although, Emma did make a beautiful Jane.) They were assigned the fox-trot, but it wasn’t performed very well. I overheard someone say in the press room “He’s just walking.” Sadly, it was true. It’s too bad Michael outlasted Antonio Sabato Jr., who got the boot last week. He would have made a better Tarzan. The judges were very kind and supportive to Michael tonight in their comments, which made me think he’s got to be going. The judges are usually nice when you’re on your way out.
Janel Parrish and Valentin Chmerkovsky: 40/40 (Contemporary)
I always enjoy the contemporary routines. I jokingly call them “the pajama dance” because the couples always look like they’re going to bed in their wardrobes. The pro dancers seem to love the contemporary style; there appears to be more freedom when doing the choreography and the judges usually have positive responses to them. This was no exception. Val—who actually looks more mature than boyish when clean shaven—choreographed a winner. Janel—who apparently has zero upper body strength—didn’t need any tonight. It’s too bad the Tuesday results shows didn’t stick around because this dance would have been likely voted as an “encore” performance.
Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: 26/40 (Paso Doble)
The first thing I think when I saw Tommy and Peta is that Peta looks like Lacey Schwimmer with that dark-haired wig. The second thing I think is how long can this couple stay in the race given Tommy’s age? He’s 76! Peta, like many of the pros, has an incredible drive to win. When she knew she was getting close to winning in her second season on the show with Donald Driver, it was fascinating to watch her really want it and then really earn it. She knows she won’t win with Tommy, but at the same time she’s pushing him to have the best experience he can—and she’s incredibly protective of him and kind to him at the same time. The first thing she said to him after their dance was “Are you okay?” That’s really sweet.
NEXT: Will dance for points