Oh, Dancing With the Stars, even for you, perpetual redefiner of the word “stars,” calling some of these routines “famous dances” is a bit of a stretch. Don’t get me wrong. Like any other young woman trying to find herself, I appreciate a good jam session to Pink, but an iconic dance? Let’s be real.
It’s easy to let this slide though. First, that opening number to “Puttin’ On the Ritz” was a stunner (which, by the way, again featured my favorite DWTS costume combo of blazer, no shirt, but upgraded by Val’s sparkly underwear). Second, one of the routines features one boy band member dancing to another boy band’s song. The 13-year-old in my soul is beside herself. And finally, regardless of how “famous” any of these dances actually are, every single couple brought it tonight.
Kim Fields and Sasha Farber
Jive | “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from Hairspray
Kim speaks for all of America when she admits she’s happy to be back with Sasha again. No disrespect to Keo, but Kim and Sasha just fit together. It’s especially fortuitous that the Dream Team is back together again this week because Kim is suffering from some ankle pain. All the bouncing in the jive isn’t helping the issue. But Kim doesn’t want Sasha to amend their routine in any way. Girl is a trooper. True confession: I started crying within seconds of this ode to Hairspray. The tears are possibly due to Tony Dovolani being perfectly cast as Corny Collins, but mostly it is thanks to the pure joy on my TV screen. The judges feel the same way: Len thought the number captured the fun of Hairspray, Carrie Ann thought it was great routine, although she wanted more energy, and Bruno basically just dances and says nonsense, which is a good thing.
Judges’ Score: 24/30
Von Miller and Witney Carson
Jazz | “Bad” by Michael Jackson
Von Miller gets more endearing with each week. It’s obvious he is beyond excited to be dancing to Michael Jackson. He’s never been so into a routine! My biggest complaint about Von thus far has been that he never fully commits to a dance. But from the moment Von and Witney hit that subway turnstile, he is giving his all. Thanks to some help from troupe member Shannon, who had firsthand experience dancing with the King of Pop, Von nails some of MJ’s iconic moves. Mainly, the guy just looks like he’s finally comfortable and having fun on the dance floor. Carrie Ann thinks so, too. She loves that he was clearly enjoying paying tribute to Michael while at the same time, putting some of his own swagger into the dance. Then Len drops possibly the greatest compliment ever crafted: “You didn’t need the wind machine, you got a fan here!” I’m glad the birthday boy is in such a good mood tonight. Although, with dances like our celebs are putting out, who wouldn’t be?
Judges’ Score: 24/30
Jodie Sweetin and Keo Motsepe
Contemporary | “Try” by Pink
Jodie was one of the few celebs who really benefited from last week’s “Switch Up.” Dancing with Val earned Jodie her highest score yet. Keo wants to keep that momentum going. It’ll be a little tough with Jodie getting beat up repeatedly while practicing “Pink’s iconic dance.” To be honest, I thought the big whack to the nose was the injury everyone was making such a fuss about. I was so, so wrong. While Jodie and Keo are practicing a very complicated lift, Jodie falls and there is a cracking sound I hope to never hear ever again. Thankfully, nothing is actually broken. She’s going to push through the pain. Jodie and Keo dance an aggressive contemporary. Carrie Ann points out that the pair has never looked stronger together, and although Bruno applauds the high level of emotional and physical difficulty in the dance. Then Len alludes to the fact that he’s actually seen Pink’s music video, and I just don’t even know what to believe in anymore.
Judges’ Score: 25/30
NEXT: The ballroom gets groovy baby, yeah
Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas
Jazz | “Soul Bossa Nova” from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Before we get to the dancing, which was great, am I the only person who had no idea Carrie Ann was Fook Yu in Austin Powers in Goldmember? My mind has been blown in the best way possible. Between that bit of news and watching Mark Ballas completely own it as Austin Powers (you guys know I love a good Ballas costume-heavy routine), Paige ended up a bit lost in the dance for me. Maybe that just means she’s so good that she completely blends in with the troupe dancers? I wanted her to pop a little more, but the judges thought she stood out just fine. Carrie Ann applauds the precision in their movements. Bruno compliments the attention to detail in capturing the style of dance, and reminds us all that a person can never go wrong with Fosse, honey. Let’s all get that tattooed on our backs, guys!
Judges’ Score: 28/30
Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd
Quickstep | “Hey Pachuco” from The Mask
Here’s hoping Nyle’s comments about Val being his only real competition on the show were taken somewhat out of context. Everyone knows Nyle is a front runner, but this is a season stacked with contenders. The DWTS pre-dance package has fooled us before, so I’m staying optimistic about our friend Nyle. The judges knock Nyle down a peg though. Nyle most definitely gets into the character of the dance — how could he not with the mask on? — but in the hectic, fast-paced quickstep, he loses a lot of points for technique. Bruno and Carrie Ann both agree that the routine was ambitious and the difficulty level showed. Len, more than anyone, was really put off by Nyle’s over-confidence, and calls him out on his toes being turned in and messing up the Charleston section. So I guess that birthday high only lasts for so long.
Judges’ Score: 25/30
Ginger Zee and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Jazz | “Nasty” by Janet Jackson
It’s a tall order for anyone to embody the attitude of Ms. Jackson-if-you’re-nasty, so to ask the adorable meteorologist to get her dirty sass on is a lot. Ginger is definitely looking the part. That blazer! That hair! What a time to be alive! Ginger’s definitely trying her hardest to get into the character of the dance — maybe too hard? Whatever she’s doing, she forces Val into saying a sentence I never thought we’d hear on DWTS: “Too much hump!” Blasphemy, Valentin. She puts forth a valiant effort, although that Ginger smile crept through a few too many times for the dance to truly be “Nasty.” The judges all ask for Ginger to punch it up next time. Bruno wants sharper movements, Len wants more attitude, and Carrie Ann wishes Ginger had owned it more. Ginger looks pretty down to be trapped in the land of 8s yet again.
Judges’ Score: 24/30
Doug Flutie and Karina Smirnoff
Bollywood | “Jai Ho!” from Slumdog Millionaire
Well, what do you people expect when you make Doug Flutie dance Bollywood? This was bound to be awkward from the get-go. Neither Karina nor Doug have any experience with the dance style, but after learning a few steps, both are super into it. Well, as into it as a straight-edged, retired football player dad can be, I guess. All Doug really wants is to continue to improve as a dancer. Guess what? He does! As Carrie Ann points out, tonight’s Bollywood performance is his best yet. He looks like he’s having fun on the dance floor. It’s a tough dance style to be saddled with, unless you’re Peta and Gilles Marini. Sadly, most of us are not. Although the judges praise the vibrancy of the dance, Doug’s scores are lower than he expected, and it shows all over his beautiful dad face.
Judges’ Score: 21/30
NEXT: The boy band mash-up we’ve all been waiting for
Wanyá Morris and Lindsay Arnold
Jazz | “Bye Bye Bye” by NSYNC
As a ride-or-die Backstreet Boys fan, it pains me to say this, but Joey Fatone and I have something in common: We both have dreamed of the moment when a member of Boyz II Men would pop and lock his way through an NSYNC classic. We have weird dreams, leave us alone! Wanyá is pretty pumped for this routine, as well. He received his lowest score of the competition last week, and he wants to come back fighting. His weapon of choice? Pelvic thrusts. You guys, Wanyá kills this riff of NSYNC’s “famous” VMAs performance. Bruno finally gets the sharp movements he’s been begging for all night. It was polished yet dirty, which is how we should all be living our lives from this moment forward. Just when you think things can’t get any better, Joey Fatone and Lance Bass give a frenetic post-performance interview in which Lance admits that the only way he put up with Joey for so long was with Valium. THE SECRET TO NSYNC IS REVEALED.
Judges’ Score: 29/30
Antonio Brown and Sharna Burgess
Jive | “Footloose” from Footloose
When Antonio Brown wants to have a heart-to-heart, you should block out your entire afternoon. Understandably, Antonio was pretty hurt by Sharna last week, when she implied that Antonio was most likely not going to win. Antonio needs a teammate who has his back, and in that moment, he felt betrayed by Sharna. It’s all very emotional and real. Is this Intervention or Dancing With the Stars, Antonio? Let’s get to the dancing! Sharna wants to make it up to her partner, so they go hard in rehearsal. It’s nice to see Antonio really pushing himself. After weeks of being told he needs to take rehearsal more seriously, Antonio finally puts the work in and it pays off in a big way. How fun was this dance? There’s the famous foot shuffle! There’s a backflip! And of course, there is copious amounts of glitter.
Judges’ Score: 27/30
Tonight was so fun, it’s really a shame that there needs to be an elimination. We just can’t have nice things. After combining scores and votes from “Disney Night” and “America’s Switch Up,” the three couples in jeopardy are: Paige and Mark, Doug and Karina, and Von and Witney.
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Although I’m bummed I’ll have to work extra hard to slide references to Flutie Flakes into these recaps, Doug and Karina are eliminated, and it only seems fair. When Len pointed out that this season is anyone’s to win, I don’t think he was including Doug in that. The guy worked hard and really wanted to improve. His good attitude and determination shall be missed!
Next week is a gender war team dance and a double elimination. Which two couples are next on the chopping block, you guys? I currently fear for our little blondies, Jodie and Paige. Find me on twitter, @fremer, and let me know who you think it’ll be or tell us in the comments below.