Dancing With the Stars recap: Will a little Disney magic help our contestants perform?
If you’re still feeling down about losing Tinashe and Brandon after Trio Night, this Disney Night opening number might be the trick to finally cheer you up. It is, as they say, a production. There are a lot of moving parts, it’s fun, and it is very Disney. Just the sort of joyful dance to get you amped up for the performances to come — including several from Jordan Fisher and the DWTS Juniors crew. And hey, if you’re more of a crier, Andrea Bocelli and his son Matteo Bocelli perform their new song “Fall on Me,” from The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, accompanied by some of our pro dancers — the whole thing will leave you in tears. So yeah, it’s an emotional roller coaster on Dancing With the Stars. What else is new?
Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten
Foxtrot, “Just Around the Riverbend,” from Pocahontas
Oh, friends. I was really hoping to get through this season without the dreaded showmance — they are always awkward and distracting and over-produced — yet here we are. What Alexis takes away from the Pocahontas character she’s portraying this week is that she “found love and freedom” and Alexis wants that too. (Don’t read a history book, Alexis, it will ruin your dreams.) Perhaps it will come in the form of her partner, the person who believes in her the most? Hard pass. Can we just dance? Silly showmance aside, this foxtrot is quite lovely. It’s smooth and fluid, and Bruno loves how lyrical every movement feels. Carrie Ann declares it Alexis’ best dance of the season. So the showmance probably isn’t going away anytime soon.
Judges’ Score: 29/30
Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke
Viennese waltz, “Gaston,” from Beauty and the Beast
Can Juan Pablo wear a ponytail every week? More hairography, always. Juan Pablo would be on board with this idea — he is obsessed with his Gaston pony. He’s also obsessed with Gaston and Beauty and the Beast, and, well, all things Disney. He’s living out his childhood dreams tonight, and all he wants to do is have fun. He succeeds. He’s dancing on tables, swinging on chandeliers, and hamming it up as the arrogant Gaston. This kind of production is what Disney Night is all about! Oh, and the technique is pretty great too. Carrie Ann loves both the way he leads Cheryl and the nuances he puts into his movement. No one adds flair to their dancing like Gaston, er, Juan Pablo.
Judges’ Score: 29/30
DeMarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold
Charleston, “A Star is Born,” from Hercules
Before we even get into this lift-spectacular: You guys, DeMarcus calls Lindsay “coach,” and my heart is soaring. Is it just Disney Night getting to me? Have I lost my mind? I don’t care, I’m loving this partnership. It’s a good thing DeMarcus and Lindsay seem to get along because this Charleston is all about showing off DeMarcus’s strength — he is portraying Hercules, after all — by seeing how much he can toss Lindsay around. Um, how about that lift where he catches Lindsay and then throws her right into some sort of flip? If that’s not your thing, maybe that time he lifts her above his head and then basically bench presses her will. Still no? Okay, that insane double-windmill thing has to blow your mind. The entire routine is such a good time, do we really need scores? Oh, we do? Cool, cool, cool.
Judges’ Score: 26/30
Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe
Jazz, “When Will My Life Begin?,” from Tangled
Breaking news: Keo is afraid of heights, and it is adorable. He has a terrible time in Disneyland except for the moment when he and Evanna just start doing a ballroom routine in the middle of the park. Like, can you imagine if you don’t watch the show and you walk by that? It would probably be awesome. Or scary! That’s Disneyland. In other breaking news: The judges continue to be hard on Evanna! She and Keo dance a delightful jazz routine that leaves me smiling — no, it’s not a big production number like others we’ve seen so far, but that shouldn’t mean a major point deduction. These two dance so well together, here’s hoping they stick around.
Judges’ Score: 24/30
Joe Amabile and Jenna Johnson
Jive, “Zero,” from Ralph Breaks the Internet
Apparently all it takes to get Joe working extra-hard is getting repeatedly chided for a cringe-worthy routine set to a Right Said Fred song. Everyone has their thing! But after that latest blow to the self-esteem, Joe reaffirms that he really wants to be here and he wants to finally start having some fun. What better week to have that epiphany than Disney week? Joe and Jenna’s Wreck-It Ralph jive — risky dancing to a song called “Zero” when you’re already pulling low scores, right? — is not necessarily a breakthrough for Joe, but it is such an improvement. I breathed a sigh of relief when it ended! I’m with Carrie Ann: He handled the content well and seemed much more confident. The boys on the panel weren’t as enthused.
Judges’ Score: 17/30
Mary Lou Retton and Sasha Farber
Contemporary, “Reflection,” from Mulan
I did not think the thing that would cause me to burst into tears this evening would be the first woman on the Wheaties box dancing a contemporary to the power ballad from Mulan, but here we are. Honestly, it’s not the most emotional dance per se — I’m with Len on the random “roly-poly” Sasha pulls out, and I’d rather the whole thing be less costume-y — but by the end of the routine Mary Lou is crying, and she tells Tom that she is really changing because of this competition. She was so scared to be vulnerable, and now she’s doing it. And then Sasha starts talking about how inspired he is by working with her and I’m a goner. I’m pretty sure they picked “Reflection” simply so they could get some shots of Mary Lou wistfully looking into mirrors, but we ended up with so much more!
Judges’ Score: 25/30
John Schneider and Emma Slater
Quickstep, “I Wan’na Be Like You,” from The Jungle Book
As the oldest person in this competition, John has been dreading the insanely fast quickstep (it’s named that for a reason), and here it appears on Disney Night. The good news is that he’s dancing to one of his favorite songs from his childhood. It doesn’t help with the breathing, but hey, it’s something. And as it turns out, John had very little to worry about. He and Emma dance a proper quickstep, with a little jungle pizzazz, and he gets through the whole thing without pulling a Marie Osmond. Carrie Ann notes a few “snafus” but overall thinks it’s his best dance yet — he’s never looked so agile or composed. John conquers the quickstep!
Judges’ Score: 24/30
Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess
Waltz, “Part of Your World,” from The Little Mermaid
Finally! Queen Sharna gets to live out her lifelong dream of being Princess Ariel. Forget the competition, this — dreams coming true — is what really matters. Okay, the competition matters too, otherwise why are we spending so much time watching this show? Bobby, high off his Twitter approval from Mr. MC Hammer himself, has a big task this week: He needs to show elegance, grace, and finally, FINALLY, technique. Even though the technique isn’t fully there, Len is happy to see that Bobby played it straight and attempted a proper waltz. Carrie Ann can see some improvement but warns Bobby to watch his shoulders when he starts giggling. Bobby will never give up giggling, so hunched shoulders it is!
Judges’ Score: 21/30
Milo Manheim and Witney Carson
Quickstep, “Incredits 2,” from Incredibles 2
The youngest contestant of the season gets saddled with the quickstep as well, but Witney thinks this style is perfect for her high-energy partner. Who even knows what happens after Milo and Witney free America’s Dad Tom Bergeron from the villains? Nothing else matters after that. But, if you’re interested, you should know that the routine only gets faster as it goes along and everyone watching is out of breath at the end. Len docks a few points for lack of body contact and less-than-stellar technique, but Carrie Ann and Bruno are all in. There’s lots of talk about unitards, which makes everyone uncomfortable. It feels like the right way to end Disney Night!
Judges’ Score: 27/30
If you’re a longtime fan of the show, you know that normally no one is eliminated on Disney Night, yet still, Tom and Erin trot all the couples out to the ballroom and announce that DeMarcus and Lindsay and Alexis and Alan are in jeopardy, before yelling the DWTS host version of “psych!” It seems very cruel, but then you remember that almost every Disney movie starts off with a dead parent, so it tracks. Regardless, all our couples are back for Halloween Night! What. A. Treat.
Dancing With the Stars