It's Latin Night on Dancing with the Stars,
the sexiest night of the year. There promises to be a lot of bon bon
shaking with guest judge Ricky Martin. The seventh week of DWTS season 18 also brings my favorite style (the Paso Doble) and two team dances.
The team dances should be quite interesting, mostly because of how the seven couples are divided. The one I'm most interested in is a team featuring Amy, Meryl, Danica and Candace, primarily because of their partners. Derek Hough and his BFF Mark Ballas will be forced to work with Maksim Chmerkovskiy and his brother Val. That's a combustible combination.
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The show opens with Ricky Martin performing, surrounding by the scantily-clad pros. Latin Night always means lots of skin. He takes a seat between Carrie Ann Inaba and Len Goodman before saying he's looking for passion and entertainment.
Danica broke her rib over the weekend, but is still dancing. You can't keep a good woman down.
THE RESULTS, PART 1
Danica McKellar is...SAFE!
James Maslow is...IN JEOPARDY!
Amy Purdy is...SAFE!
Ugh, I suspected that James could be in trouble.
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: Rumba
This is a love dance, and Amy is having problems with her boyfriend due to her hectic schedule over the past year and a half. Derek hams it up to loosen her up during rehearsals. The routine is slow and I can't tell if it's my personal bias, but she seems more uncomfortable and stiff than usual. It's just very empty and lacks any real excitement for me. It's simple, but the judges love the class. Carrie Ann seems to have been reading my complaints, because she points out that Amy's foot came off the ground and she's ACTUALLY going to penalize her this time because she doesn't want anyone thinking this season isn't fair if/when Amy wins (Spoiler Alert: If Amy wins, I will absolutely still complain that it was unfair). But I guess that's something.
Judges' Scores: 9+9+9+9=36
Um, so does that mean Carrie Ann would've given her a 10 if not for the lift? Because it seems to me that she didn't really deduct a point for that.
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: Samba
They're both excited about how close they have to be for this dance, rubbing against each other. They both claim their relationship is platonic, but it's clearly not. The routine is hot, Hot, HOT! James is a mechanic and Peta is in lingerie and it's just so fluid and sexual. There's a rather amazing move halfway through when Peta removes James' shirt while in a dance move, and it's such a beautiful, flawless motion, and not just because it means James is shirtless after that. The judges loved it, except Len Goodman who had issues with all sorts of technical things.
Judges' Scores: 9+9+8+9=35
Those abs deserved a 10, but I'm easy like that.
Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy: Salsa
Danica's rib cracked when Val lifted her in rehearsals. She hates being "injurable" and the cracked rib makes it hard to figure out how to work around it. The dance is fine, but Danica seems tentative and unsure the whole time. It seems to me like the broken rib is on her mind. I also don't like that they add four troupe members, like Derek did last week. I'm not a fan of turning these individual dances into group routines. Carrie Ann points out that the broken rib probably didn't let her be as down and dirty as she wanted and the other judges agree that it was careful and not that great.
Judges' Scores: 8+9+8+8=33
I feel so badly because she was a serious contender, but this broken rib could lead to her going home next week. Also, Ricky continues the trend of terribly generous guest judging.
THE RESULTS, PART 2
Before the results, Tom Bergeron lets us know that Amy Purdy injured herself during her dance, so we'll get an update on that later. This could seriously mess with the team dance.
Candace Cameron Bure is...SAFE!
Charlie White is...IN JEOPARDY!
Meryl Davis is...SAFE!
NeNe Leakes is...IN JEOPARDY!
Oh no. What the heck is going on? The viewers must really hate men, because four of the five eliminated stars have been male and now the only two men left are in danger.
NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani: Argentine Tango
Like with James, Tony brings in troupe members for the routine. This is getting out of control. Also, America got to tweet to decide whether Tony would dance with or without a shirt. Needless to say, no shirt won. I love Tony's body, but a shirtless Argentine Tango doesn't make sense. NeNe's dancing is stiff and wooden. And I'm so distracted by all of the other dancers on stage. There's no such thing as an individual dance anymore. The judges aren't that interested in it, but are far more complimentary than they should be.
Judges' Scores: 8+8+7+8=31
Ouch, NeNe is two points worse than Danica with a broken rib.
Amy's Medical Update
Amy's shoulder was acting up and when she turned after listening to the judges, her back hurt and she's in serious pain. She's going to the hospital, so they will show the dress rehearsal performance of her team.
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: Paso Doble
Like Meryl last week, Charlie is angry that he got 9s and not 10s. I know that need for perfection is what makes them great athletes, but I find it very annoying on this show. It feels like they're not-so-subliminally begging the judges for 10s. It's a fiery and passionate Paso, which I adore. But there are a few moments where he loses control and goes off-script. The judges get booed a whole lot for pointing out the flaws and trying to help him get better.
Judges' Scores: 9+10+8+9=36
Ugh, shut up, Ricky Martin. They need to get rid of the guest judges, stat!
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: Argentine Tango
Candace seems to have problems with the live shows and camera blocking. Marks brings her to a sports psychologist (not Dani Santino from USA's Necessary Roughness) to talk about her perfectionist tendencies and need to please. The routine itself is actually the best she's been in a long time. It's passionate, quick and Candace stays in character the whole time. The judges liked it and her confidence, though Carrie Ann spotted a few mistakes.
Judges' Scores: 8+9+9+9=35
So basically everyone will have the same scores this week.
Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Salsa
During rehearsals, Maks tells Meryl to channel a whore from the dirtiest place on Earth. Like so many others, this routine has a bunch of troupe members joining them even though we're not at the team dances yet. It's distracting, but when Meryl and Maks are by themselves, they kill it. Some of the sequences when Meryl is flipped and slid around Maks' legs are astounding. Len thought it was too hectic. I don't disagree. She doesn't need the distractions like NeNe does.
Judges' Scores: 10+10+9+10=39
Once again, Meryl dominates the leaderboard.
Team Vida: Charlie and Sharna, James and Peta, NeNe and Tony
This team is mostly focused on the sex appeal of the two remaining dudes and NeNe's larger-than-life personality. It's fine, but they clearly know that NeNe is the weak link because she's in the background for most of the group moments. On the bright side, this weak Charlie finally got a chance to show off his hot bod. The judges are nice, but they didn't think there was much sync.
Judges' Scores: 8+10+8+9=35
WTF, Ricky? It's also worth noting that this score won't matter for one of them since these are the three couples in jeopardy.
Team Loca: Meryl and Maksim, Danica and Val, Amy and Derek, Candace and Mark
Obviously this is the all-star team of male pro partners, with the Chmerkovskiy brothers plus multiple Mirror Ball winners Derek and Mark. Since Amy Purdy injured herself after her performance earlier, she's at the hospital, so instead they will show the team's dress rehearsal performance and the judges will base their scores on that.
It's really hard to judge a dress rehearsal. The set design and group choreography is a lot better than the first team. The individual portions are a mixed bag. Candace isn't that good and Meryl is the best. The problem with team dances is that it's more about the choreography than the actual dancing, which is why Derek Hough's team always wins. The judges act like it's the best thing ever, but I think last season's team dances were much better. This is nowhere near "What Does the Fox Say?" levels.
Judges' Scores: 10+10+9+10=39
We get it, the judges LOVE Derek's Emmy-winning choreography. This basically ensures that not only is someone from Team Vida going this week, but another member of Team Vida will go home next week.
THE FINAL RESULTS
It's down to the two last men standing and NeNe Leakes. One goes home tonight and, based on the leaderboard, another will go home next week.
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess are...SAFE!
NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani ARE ELIMINATED!
Oh thank God! This means another week of James' abs. Of course now he's at the bottom of the leaderboard, so he needs some help. As for NeNe, she definitely lasted longer than most people thought she would.
Next week on Dancing with the Stars: Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller is the guest judge, and in a new twist, the six remaining stars will dance with each other. Those should be some interesting pairs, especially since one will be two women. I just hope they don't let Charlie and Meryl dance together.
78 (17.73 percent): Meryl Davis
75 (17.05 percent): Amy Purdy
74 (16.82 percent): Candace Cameron Bure
72 (16.36 percent): Danica McKellar
71 (16.14 percent): Charlie White
70 (15.91 percent): James Maslow
(Image courtesy of ABC)