Len Goodman returned to Dancing With the Stars just in time for Halloween. And can I just say what a pleasure it is having four judges at the table who are actually qualified to critique this show? If there are going to be future guest judges, can we have people who know what they’re talking about? I’d like to see Shirley Ballas, Mark’s butt-kickin’ mama, sitting at the table. Also, Maksim Chmerkovskiy did a great job two season ago when he was given a stack of paddles. While Len did his part in coming back to the show, it’s too bad that some of the couples didn’t give the man what he wanted—dances that are worthy of week 7 in this competition.
A recurring comment from the judges tonight was that the Halloween-themed productions may have overshadowed some of the performances. I have to agree. Sometimes adding smoke, cemeteries, and extra dancers can distract from a really great routine.
Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: 28/40 (Quickstep)
It may have been “old home week” in the sense that Len is back, but why can’t the British announcer return as well? The names being super-imposed over the screen just isn’t the same. Anyway, Tommy confirmed again that he’s the sentimental favorite this season by giving everything he’s got to this dance. He appreciates Peta’s hard work and she, in return, helps him deliver. Tommy continues to amaze everyone by getting the moves down so well. How can this guy do this at the age of 76 when other, younger guys in the competition aren’t doing nearly as well?
Lea Thompson and Artem Chigventsev: 34/40 (Aregentine Tango)
A commenter properly schooled me last week by saying Artem’s a past winner on Strictly Come Dancing, the British version of Dancing With the Stars, so it’s no surprise that he and Lea bounced back this week with an impressive Argentine Tango. Artem’s incredibly strong, so they got in some nice lifts with their dance. I like this couple because there’s not a lot of forced drama in their pre-dance packages. She’s a little nervous about re-embracing dance as part of her life. He’s rock solid in his support. I agree with judge Julianne Hough, though. This duo needs to give itself a break!
Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: 39/40 (Paso Doble)
What I love about Derek is that he doesn’t spend time in his pre-dance video segment bemoaning Leah Remini (last week’s guest host) smacking him around with her microphone, forcing some fake emotions about how that hurt his feelings. Derek’s always looking ahead to the next dance and how to continue his partner’s journey. In the past, he’s been a bit more expert in his strategy—meaning, he’d do stuff he knows Len wouldn’t like on a week that Len wouldn’t be there. This time, it was the opposite. Derek was more traditional last week; this week, he added all that “mumbo jumbo” that makes cranky Len so cranky. There’s still another month to go in this competition, however; plenty of time for Derek to start raking in a series of perfect scores.
Antonio Sabato Jr. and Cheryl Burke: 27/40 (Viennese Waltz)
I agree with Carrie Ann Inaba, who said watching this dance was frustrating. Antonio seemingly has all the external tools to do well in this competition, but he hasn’t been able to pull it together. Still, he’s gotta outlast Tommy, who’s 76, and Michael Waltrip, who just ain’t cutting it. Not sure why Antonio wanted to please Len so much in his video segment. Sadly, he didn’t. At least Len let him down gently.
Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater: 20/40 (Jive)
We’ve witnessed plenty of times where a dance pair is full of frustration and despair in the pre-dance package only to see them go out on the floor and get 9’s and 10’s. Sadly, Michael and Emma’s jive didn’t even garner a 6! Bruno summed it up by saying “there wasn’t any jive.” I was so hoping the camera would cut up to the skybox to show a relieved Antonio or Tommy at this point, but I think they were getting changed for the upcoming group dance. Honestly, the best part of this portion of the show was when they went to commercials and we saw a promo for Nashville in which Derek comforted an anxious Hayden Panettiere (or rather her character, who is pregnant). Not that Derek needs the votes, but this spot just further endeared him to viewers.
NEXT: Methinks Val’s a pretty little liar…