Wow! What a (Disney) World of Fun tonight’s Dancing With the Stars was!
But first things first: My name’s Jeff—I’m a writer at People, EW’s sister publication, and I’ll be stepping in to recap DWTS. I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the season with you all. Full disclosure: I have a soft spot in my heart for Shark Tank and Robert Herjavec—and those baby blues of his…
Back to the show: While an obvious plug to the show’s parent company, “Disney Night” made for some of the most inventive routines yet—not to mention some of the most creative costumes yet (Prince Farming in a skirt! Rumer Willis in full-on purple body paint!). Paying homage to Disney classics new and old, the stars channeled their favorite characters, while animated support joined them on the screen at home. A cute idea in theory, but it usually just took attention away from the performance or was so fleeting it seemed unnecessary.
The night started out slow, but the final three stars of the night—Riker, Rumer, and Nastia—hit the ballroom floor with sets to remember. Let’s break down each pair:
Suzanne Somers & Tony Dovolani
“He’s a Tramp” (from The Lady and the Tramp) | Jazz
Judging by her vampy performance, Suzanne clearly came prepared to win it. She looked great in glittering black sequins and stepped onto the stage with a renewed confidence. But it was Tony—with his flirtatious moves—who played the perfect tramp. A heel-and-hem hiccup aside, it was fine, technically, and as Julianne conceded, “It was definitely your best dance.” All that was missing? Chemistry. Despite their best efforts (including the good old let’s-hold-a-hat-over-our-faces-and-pretend-we’re-kissing trick), it wasn’t convincing. Woof, indeed.
Robert Herjavec & Kym Johnson
“Step in Time” (from Mary Poppins) | Quickstep
Before we get to their delightful hot mess of a quickstep, can we talk about how shamelessly smitten Robert is with Kym? If the video opener is to be believed, he was drooling over Ms. Johnson all week in practice—not to mention sexualizing Mary Poppins in a way that would probably make Julie Andrews blush. (See: “I think Kym has become Mary Poppins…a very sexy Mary Poppins, by the way.” See also: “I’m gonna love you in a Mary Poppins outfit.”)
But despite their incredible on- and off-the-dance floor sparks, this week’s routine fell flat. The star got off on the wrong foot, literally, and was off the beat. Even so, Robert brought the “razzle-dazzle,” as Len put it, and was beaming like he does when a Shark Tank contestant brings a dog to their pitch. Extra points to Robert for always being a spoonful of sugar.
Patti LaBelle & Artem Chigvinstev
“When You Wish Upon a Star” (from Pinocchio) | Waltz
No lie: Patti is the epitome of grace. Even though she injured her knee weeks ago, the 70-year-old soul chanteuse is still keeping up, gliding—nay, floating—across the ballroom seemingly effortlessly. Upon her and Artem’s bow, Len puts all of America’s opinions into one quick question: “Can I just hug you all day?”
Willow Shields & Mark Ballas
“Alice’s Theme” (from Alice in Wonderland) | Foxtrot
At a wee 14 years old, Alice was a perfect fit for The Hunger Games star. Mark played her (ridiculously costumed but completely convincing) White Rabbit, and the entire ballroom went to Wonderland for a couple minutes. Carrie Ann put it best when she said, “That was an epic production.” She was right—and that’s the problem. Between the elaborate staging and army of background dancers decked as the Queen’s Playing Cards, Willow and Mark’s choreography got lost in the spectacle, and the viewer didn’t know where to give focus.
NEXT: Prince Farming becomes Son of Zeus (we see a resemblance in the biceps)