ABC and producers for the past 18 seasons have continued to raise the competitive edge each year and the physical demands are just as strong as ever. Olympic athletes have done extremely well on the series, some even say to an unfair advantage (cough Meryl Davis cough), but for every Shawn Johnson, there’s a Lolo. The track and field (and bobsled) athlete couldn’t even get past the hurdle of the first week; she became only the second Olympian after Martina Navratilova to be the first star of her respective season eliminated. DWTS office pools and fantasy leagues are now anyone’s game after predictable early exit archetypes like political talk show host Tavis Smiley and token elders Betsey Johnson and Tommy Chong remain while an early favorite leaves before she could ever live up to her potential.
But don’t give up just yet sports fans, you still have Michael Waltrip on your side! Let’s not get started on whether or not race car driving is a sport, though. Like a good warm-up, week two was themed “My Jam Monday,” which allowed the celebrities to dance to their personal favorite tunes—most likely so they will feel comfortable. This is the last performance show without an elimination, so things are sure to get uncomfortable pretty soon. But let’s forget about that (for now) and just have some fun and get jiggy with it, right Betsey and Alfonso?
Randy Couture and Karina Smirnoff: 28/40
Jam – “Satisfaction (I Can’t Get No)” by Otis Redding
Oh right, there are other athletes still on the show. Randy’s main challenge was going first, almost immediately after the opening number, with very little time to get ready and get his mind in championship mode. The army-themed salute was cute, but fell a little flat, as Carrie Ann noted, with a real lack of aggression and fire and fight. A Couture dance should never be “cute” because that means it could have been better. This definitely wasn’t the worst, but compared to last week’s fox-trot, Randy was a lot more stiff (blame the fighting shoulders) and lost a lot of his fluidity that made his poor footwork a little more forgivable.
Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy: 34/40
Jam – “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen
In any competition, points are earned not given. Maybe as an actress Janel wasn’t able to fully comprehend that last week since she was disappointed with her scores. So Val decided a new approach by living up to his family name and acting like the jerk we love to hate during rehearsals, reminiscent of his brother’s teaching technique. (Don’t worry Janel, you can call Erin any time you want to badmouth the Chmerkovskiys behind their backs.) Well, it worked. Though she may have been miserable practicing, Janel was pure light and joy and had an extra layer of confidence that wasn’t there last week and it smoothed the whole dance into one concise piece. Bruno and Carrie Ann both thought it was practically perfect. And although they had minor problems with how many traditional fox-trot elements were in the dance, Len and Julianne really enjoyed it as well.
NEXT: The lady in the leopard dress