Welcome, Dancing buddies! After two weeks of competition, season 23 has some fresh, just-from-the-oven results for ya. Oh, sorry. Those results are so hot, we’ll have to let them cool down for two hours. The good news: There’s lots of dancing, musical performances, and Tom Bergeron working that mic like only America’s Dad can. The bad news: No matter how long they draw out these results, one of our couples will be going home tonight. Combining both week’s scores, Laurie and Val sit comfortably atop the leader board, but is anyone really safe on this show? Okay, Laurie and Val are probably safe for a while, but still. YOU NEVER KNOW (except for right now with this one thing).
First on the agenda: A nice look back at each contestant’s first two weeks on DWTS, complete with backstage footage and hot mics. One of the best parts of these recaps has always been hearing the pros during routines. You get a good feel for their coaching styles and which stars need the most guidance. The other great part? Hearing Bruno’s guttural reactions to every routine. Record that. Set it as an alarm clock.
So what new goodies did we learn about our couples? Let’s run this mother down.
James grows more endearing with every appearance. He’s very self-aware and knows he’s coming in with a smaller fan base and has to let his dancing do the talking (it has been). What a cutie. Speaking of cuties, Calvin and Lindsay’s Urkel homage is still my favorite dance from TV Theme Songs night, even after a second watch. Megatron is joy. Put that on a mug or something and sell it next to Bruno’s alarm clock (#synergy).
Amber is bummed her foot got caught in the curtains while she was channeling Khaleesi, but she pushed through. Maks is proud of her, and that’s really all that matters — on both Dancing With the Stars and in life. If you weren’t already loving the fun chemistry between Sasha and Terra, a little look at the practical jokes they play on each other during rehearsals should sway you. Okay, it’s less “practical jokes” and more “throwing giant rubber balls at each other,” but it’s still fun. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is also having a good time. That dude is a ball of energy, huh? His attitude will serve him well, since his judges’ scores landed him at the bottom of the leaderboard.
Both of our actresses, Maureen and Marilu, seem to be fighting a lot of nerves, but are calmed down with encouragement from their respective partners. I stand by my week 1 assessment that Maureen and Artem have a lovely partnership. Group hug one day?
During the look back at Jake and Jenna’s first two routines, we get to see full-on Bruno — and it is fabulous. Well, fabulous for us, maybe not so much for Jake. Jenna is happy with her partner, though, and that’s good enough for Jake. Babyface could apparently use a little Jenna pick-me-up, too. Turns out, he’s his own toughest critic. It’s unfortunate because looking back, both of his dances were pretty great and showed real versatility. Buck up, Babyface!
Jana, too, is down on herself after some missteps during her tango, but we all forget this immediately when Tom and Erin introduce a package with a big focus on…Gleb’s package (not sorry). We (but mostly Carrie Ann) are treated to some shots of Gleb from his days as an underwear model, as well as this perfect line from Tom: “Gleb has given new meaning to the phrase ‘put a sock in it’.” Bless you, Dad.
Another blessing on the dance floor is Mr. Vanilla Ice. He has such a great attitude, and when Witney asks him how he feels about their scores, he firmly tells her he’s just here to dance. Things he’s also here for: Rocking a mic like a vandal, lighting up a stage, and waxing a chump like a candle. So many things!
Finally, we touch base with our Olympians, both of whom were shaken up after the Lochte protesters stormed the stage during the season premiere. It’s tough to watch Ryan experience that again, and even worse to watch his mom go through it. Can we just put that footage in a vault and pretend it never happened? As Val points out, it was unfair for Ryan but also for Laurie, who had to take the stage for the first time after the chaos. Girl is a pro, though, and she of course nailed it. And for what it’s worth, it’s nice to see the entire cast support Ryan. They’re already a family, you guys!
Whew. That was only two weeks. Imagine what the rest of the season has in store for us!
The second hour of the evening is all dancing, musical acts, and results. There’s a very colorful Mandy Moore routine featuring a stellar handclap section and a portion highlighting Maks’ backside. In short, it’s a crowd-pleaser. Charlie Puth and Daya take the stage and give us an excuse to watch Sharna and Val do their thing in the round. Gavin DeGraw returns and there’s a weird sneak peek at a country-music video featuring all the country greats standing around in a field. Who knows? Most importantly: There’s a much-hyped dance featuring three returning favorites: Maks, Cheryl, and Derek. Um, it is AWESOME. With some assistance from Jenna, Artem, and Allison, the three couples dance a dark, sexy, fierce number. No gimmicks, just dance. Fine, you guys, I’m a Len at heart!
Oh, right! There’s some results to get through. The four couples in jeopardy are:
Maureen and Artem
Ryan and Cheryl
Jake and Jenna
Amber and Maks
The first couple eliminated from season 23 of Dancing With the Stars is: Jake T. Austin and Jenna Johnson. It’s sad to see Jenna out first (#Jenna4Pro always!), but when it came down to them or Ryan and Cheryl, this felt right. The Queen of Face will back to own the ballroom another season. How’s everyone else feeling about it?