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Dancing With the Stars recap: Season 23, Episode 12

Come for the showstopping Team-Up Challenge, stay for Megatron in a cat suit

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ABC/Eric McCandless

Dancing With the Stars

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Tom Bergeron, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, Erin Andrews, Julianne Hough
Current Status:
In Season

It’s a big, big night, Dancing friends: Idina Menzel is in the house to judge us all (but specifically the competitors), the always exciting Team-Up Challenge is back to make us believe in friendship again, and most importantly, the Ballas is in the ballroom. Guys! We were all missing Marky Mark after the Halloween festivities, and here he is. Oprah was right —  bread is awesome. Also, she once said something like “Put your dreams out into the world and they will come true.” I guess that’s the more applicable thing to share here, but the bread one just really resonated with me. She’s so wise.

Anyway, Ballas is in town to sing a little Jersey Boys for us during “Showstoppers Night,” which also could’ve been called “Broadway Night,” but okay, sure. We’ve got two rounds of routines to chat about and someone’s getting sent packing ahead of the Semi-Finals — so let’s get to stepping. And by stepping, I mean dancing.

Marilu Henner and Derek Hough

Samba, “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” from Jersey Boys

Will “Showstopper Night” be the breakthrough Marilu and Derek need? With The Ballas (and the rest of the Jersey Boys) singing in the background, anything is possible. Derek is certainly the most hopeful we’ve seen him in recent weeks. He admits he stopped pushing Marilu a little because he didn’t want to be too hard on her and ruin her experience, but it’s time for him to push. You’re such a pusher, Derek! That extra vote of confidence certainly seems to do the trick on the dance floor. Marilu looks like she’s enjoying herself again as the couple perform a classic samba (Len would go gaga). It looks like Marilu loses a little steam toward the end, but the judges are happy to see her and Derek working so well together. I’m happy to see Bruno in a fabulous polka-dot suit. We’re all winners tonight.

Judges’ Score: 36/40

Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold

Waltz, “Memory” from Cats

CALVIN JOHNSON IN FULL BROADWAY CAT COSTUME. I’m not over it. I’ll never be over it. You got to give it to Megatron, the guy is fully committed. It pays off on the dance floor, too. Calvin is a big-time showman in the ballroom, but his waltz is a chance to show an elegant, graceful side to the big man. Having Leona Lewis sing live doesn’t hurt either. The judges call it elegant and majestic, and both Bruno and Carrie Ann applaud Calvin and Lindsay for being able to dance so well together even with their height difference. Carrie Ann has one little caveat in her otherwise positive review: She doesn’t think this was one of Calvin’s best, he wasn’t as in tune with the music as he usually is. They deserve all the points, though, for that final spin. Lindsay was a very slender ball of sparkle being tossed across the floor, and it was glorious.

Judges’ Score: 37/40

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled program to make your robot heart feel things again: Keo and Allison dance a beyond-beautiful contemporary routine to “Falling Slowly” from Once. Can it be 10 minutes long, please?

Okay, back to the competition. IF WE MUST.

NEXT: It’s not easy being green