Praise Ariel! It’s Disney Night on DWTS this week — both Juniors and Geriatric versions. That means fun songs we know and love, lots of big productions, and some character work. It can also mean a lot of pressure for our wee ones, who have to take on a routine that comes with high standards just because the music is from a beloved movie. The tots mostly handle it well!
Sophia Pippen and Jake Monreal
Mentor: Sasha Farber
Samba, “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid
Yikes, what a tough song for the samba. The good thing about it is that last week Sophia was asked to play up her personality, and that’s easy to do when you’re handed a character as big and bold as Ursula (I know she’s very mean but isn’t she kind of fabulous?). Sophia also gets a little help from her godmother and DWTS alum Kim Kardashian. Kim thinks she was hurt on the show by not being as open as she could’ve been, so she feels Sophia’s pain. The samba routine is just okay. Again, the music is a little awkward, but Sasha does a lot of clever things with the choreography. Mandy calls out Sophia’s legs and Val calls out her arms, and that’s like the majority of a person’s body, so maybe she has more than personality to work on.
Judges Score: 19/30
Mackenzie Ziegler and Sage Rosen
Mentor: Gleb Savchenko
Contemporary, “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas
Let’s not mess around here, Mackenzie definitely has contemporary dance experience. I know she’s a kid but an advantage is an advantage and it is really apparent in this routine. The biggest obstacle here is the lifts. Lifts are hard no matter how old or how strong you are, so they’re especially tough for these teens. Gleb’s choreography is gorgeous, although I could use a little more emotion pulling at my heartstrings from the actual performance. Adam apparently felt it — he has chills. Val thinks what Mackenzie is doing is extraordinary. And Mandy, Queen of Contemporary, was very pleased with the light, feathery routine.
Judges’ Score: 27/30
Ariana Greenblatt and Artyon Celestine
Mentor: Brandon Armstrong
Samba, “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” from Lilo & Stitch
WHAT. Brandon gives Ariana a PROP in a SAMBA and this girl doesn’t miss a beat. Prop work is hard! As Mandy points out, Brandon’s choreography in this cute hula-based routine is on point. It captures both the spirit of the samba and the spirit of the movie. Val commends Ariana for getting the “samba bounce” down (it takes a lot of core strength and she has such a tiny core!). Adam is just in love with her consistently well-done performances. With Ariana’s technical skills improving each week and her and Artyon’s adorable chemistry (they’re wearing Brandon out, for sure), is this the couple to look out for?
Judges’ Score: 25/30
Mandla Morris and Brightyn Brems
Mentor: Cheryl Burke
Jazz, “Un Poco Loco” from Coco
This week, Mandla is tasked with showing off some machismo. He’s portraying an arrogant mariachi player and he needs to sell the character. He gets through the technical steps of the jazz (this one has a lot of paso, to be honest) well, but doesn’t always hit the mark when it comes to performance. Mandy is happy to see that Mandla really worked on his legs and footwork this week—she can see improvement. Val, however, is underwhelmed. It’s not his best routine of the competition, but, hey, at least the kid looks good in his pink jacket.
Judges’ Score: 21/30