Because even Mickey Mouse wants a taste of that sweet, sweet Mirrorball
Let’s be honest: We all need “Disney Night.” Whether you find “Most Memorable Year” night emotional or manipulative (or both because some of us just can’t help ourselves), the last turn on the dance floor was a lot. And outside of the ballroom, our world is…well, it’s also a lot. So Mickey and Minnie and the entire Disney crew are a cheerful, welcome respite from all the terrible. Someone is still going home at the end of the night, but let’s enjoy the DWTS tribute to “Disney Through the Years” and all the mouse ears while we can.
Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy
Jazz, “Steamboat Willie” from Steamboat Willie
Victoria had a very emotional “Most Memorable Year” night to get through, so, like the rest of us, she is ready to have some fun. What’s more fun than dressing up like a 1920s Minnie Mouse? No, seriously, tell me. “Steamboat Willie” doesn’t give Victoria and Val the easiest music to dance to, but the judges eat it up. They praise the mix of dance styles in the choreography, but, wasn’t this supposed to be a jazz and not a freestyle? NO, SERIOUSLY, TELL ME. The couple is very likable, the choreography is cheeky, and the costumes are cute. That’s all that matters on Disney Night anyway.
Judges’ Score: 27/30
Vanessa Lachey and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Waltz, “Un Jour Mon Prince Viendra” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
In Maks and Vanessa’s rehearsal package for their Snow White-themed waltz, Vanessa goes into the rehearsal studio to find seven dwarfs who all look suspiciously like Maks. You guys, I swear I’ve had this actual dream. SEVEN VERSIONS OF MAKS. We are all living our best lives tonight. As funny as that bit is, their actual routine is quiet and understated. Vanessa doesn’t totally seem herself, but the choreography is gorgeous, and aside from a few off-balance moments, Vanessa handles it well. Grumpy Len, who considers himself more of a Bashful, is very pleased with the traditional number. It’s a new side to Vanessa and it suits her…pretty okay?
Judges’ Score: 24/30
Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas
Foxtrot, “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Pinocchio
Well, isn’t this just lovely? It’s every girl’s dream to put on a princess dress and dance with a handsome man in a tux to an elegant foxtrot while Mickey Mouse plays the piano. Okay, so that is my oddly specific dream (we’re really digging into my psyche tonight), but I think most people can appreciate this gorgeous routine. The judges can’t praise Mark’s choreography enough. It moves perfectly with the music, and Len especially goes gaga for the nuance to their movements. Len is obsessed with this dance, and I’m pretty sure his 10 score breaks Mark Ballas. Mark sees that 10 and looks a little weepy. We all have our personal Everests to climb, I guess.
Judges’ Score: 28/30
Nick Lachey and Peta Murgatroyd
Quickstep, “The Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book
Poor Nick Lachey has reached that point in the season we like to call “Seriously What More Can I Do?” Since his scores have sort of flatlined, Nick is just going to have fun. Here’s one bright spot in Nick’s rehearsal: That eagle at the zoo is very into him. Nick and Peta’s quickstep is cute — will sexy bears be the big Halloween costume this year? — but no one would call it “technically sound.” Nick is improving, but is out of sync with Peta in a few sections and takes a few missteps. He’s fine! He’s doing fine! And most importantly, he’s having fun. Plus, Snow White is super into his abs. Snow White will have to fight that eagle for him, but that’s something I’m sure many people would pay money to watch.
Judges’ Score: 22/30
Drew Scott and Emma Slater
Viennese Waltz, “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie
THESE. COSTUMES. All of the costumes on “Disney Night” are fabulous, but Emma’s white dress that turns into a tie-dyed dream at the bottom takes the top spot. Speaking of top spots, Drew and Emma are slowly climbing up that leaderboard toward them. Drew is without a doubt the most improved celebrity of the season. In this lovely little Viennese waltz, he looks like a leading man. He is in control — of both Emma and his enormous limbs. Len Goodman has gone from a hard pass on Drew to his biggest fan. But, really, when Kermit the Frog gives you a perfect 10, do any other scores matter? Oh, okay, I’m being told that yes, yes they do.
Judges’ Score: 25/30
Sasha Pieterse and Gleb Savchenko
Rumba, “Kiss the Girl” from The Little Mermaid
What. Is. This. Show. It. Is. The. Best. Gleb Savchenko is dressed like a merman and doing a Zoolander bit. There is no going up from here; this show should end now. Okay, it doesn’t and perhaps that’s a good thing: Sasha and Gleb dance a very nice rumba as Ariel and Prince Eric (if they really wanted to stand out from the middle of the pack, they would’ve performed this rumba as Sebastian and the chef, but no one asked me). I’m not as sold on their chemistry as Carrie Ann seems to be, but Sasha does look very nice in this style of dance. Her movement is broader and she’s making all the right shapes. She is still, unfortunately, getting the same scores.
Judges’ Score: 24/30
Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke
Quickstep, “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” from The Lion King
After Terrell’s cathartic cry and the exposure of his more vulnerable side, he is a new man. Or maybe it was that whole thing when Cheryl lifts up Terrell as if he were Simba being shown to the Pride Rock kingdom. One of those things. Either way, it’s working. Terrell is rehearsing his bum off for this fast and furious quickstep, and the judges can see it making a difference. His footwork and posture are excellent, he and Cheryl are in sync, and he dances with a new enthusiasm and confidence. Does Terrell Owens love dancing now? Stranger things have happened.
Judges’ Score: 25/30
Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson
Argentine Tango, “Angelica” from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
“You’re an actor, right? So you can act sexy…because you’re not naturally…” Witney and Frankie are so adorable it hurts. Frankie is having troubling channeling his sexy pirate character this week because he is, admittedly, a nerd. Also, when did pirates become sexy? Imagine the smells, people. Regardless, Frankie does not have trouble getting into character once his routine starts. This Argentine tango is fire and ice, and broken hearts could be healed by that slow section toward the end. Witney gets her heel caught in her dress but no one is paying attention (except Carrie Ann, but she doesn’t care). Frankie and Witney’s chemistry continues to grow. Can someone get Frankie in an issue of Teen Beat now?
Judges’ Score: 29/30
Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold
Foxtrot, “You’re Welcome” from Moana
Jordan has cried all the tears he or anyone has left, so he’s ready for a change of pace this week. Also, the guy loves Disney, worked for Disney, and has a song on the Moana soundtrack, so this theme is perfect for him. Lindsay choreographs an excellent 21st-century foxtrot for Jordan that shows off his prowess with the traditional technique, as well as his own special Jordan swagger. There’s a breakdown to the rap section of the song, you see. Len loves the traditional in-hold part so much that he is willing to overlook the “mucking about.” Has this ever happened in DWTS history? Carrie Ann calls Lindsay and Jordan unstoppable, and the first perfect score of the season seems to confirm that theory.
Judges’ Score: 30/30
Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev
Jazz, “Remember Me” from Coco
If any DWTS superfans were wondering why “Disney” was a theme night in the fall season, since thus far it’s been relegated to spring seasons, this routine is your answer. Nikki and Artem are given a song from a new Disney/Pixar movie that comes out in a few weeks. SYNERGY, PEOPLE. Being assigned Coco ends up being perfect for this couple. The film is steeped in Mexican tradition and Nikki is of Mexican descent. Her dad managed a Mariachi band! Her nephews and nieces call her Coco! Artem works some traditional Mexican folk dance into their “jazz” routine, but mostly I’m mesmerized by all the colors. It’s fun and joyful and all the judges agree that Nikki has never looked better (or more at home) on the dance floor. 9s for you, Aunt Coco! You go, Aunt Coco!
Judges’ Score: 27/30
Disney is magic and through imagination anything is possible, except staying on DWTS when you have the lowest combined score of judges’ scores and viewer votes. In jeopardy this evening are Sasha and Gleb and Frankie and Witney. Neither of these couples deserve to go home just yet, but it is time to say goodbye to Sasha and Gleb. Don’t be too sad, because next week Shania Twain is the guest judge and she is sure to make everything better. Shania!