'Dancing with the Stars' Week 6 Recap: Switch-Up Challenge with the Top 8
'Dancing with the Stars' Week 6 Recap: Switch-Up Challenge with the Top 8
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Anything can happen on Dancing with the Stars, and if you don't believe me, go ask Christina Milian and Mark Ballas what they're doing tonight. Odds are she's trying to get her old job back interviewing contestants on The Voice and he's busy choreographing his new one-man off-Broadway show Mark Ballas Presents Mark Ballas: The Mark Ballas Story Starring Mark Ballas.

Tonight the Top 8 couples will perform, but their dances alone won't decide their spots on the leaderboard. We'll also get the Switch-Up Challenge, two rounds of dance marathons where the couples have no idea what the style or song will be. If that's not enough, there's an opening number choreographed by the Schwimmer siblings (Lacey and Benji) and a performance by Mika and Ariana Grande.

I'm predicting Jack Osbourne will be eliminated tonight, but I'm less confident than usual after last week's shocker.

Bill Engvall and Emma Slater: Tango

Emma thinks the Jimmy Buffet (as in an all-you-can-eat buffet) song is called "Beef Burgers in Paradise." This is definitely a Redneck Tango, based on burgers and salads. It's surprisingly good, the most impressive burger-related ballroom dance I've ever seen. The judges point out some timing and footwork problems, but they enjoyed it. They also throw around burger puns left and right (Tom Bergeron adds that it was "In and Out of step").

Judges' Scores: 8+8+7=23

Everyone boos Bruno Tonioli, but that seems more than generous for his flaws.

Elizabeth Berkley and Val Chmerkovskiy: Cha-Cha-Cha

To his credit, I think Val realizes they didn't deserve such high scores for their performance last week. Berkley uses this week to reflect on how being in Showgirls ruined her career. That has clearly changed as she embraces that sexy, sultry side for this brilliant dance. I'm always in awe of this woman, but there are a series of consecutive spins in the middle that I find thoroughly impressive. She is sharp and on fire, and, as much as I loved the Saved by the Bell stuff, I'm happy they dropped the gimmicks and theatrics in favor of pure dancing.

Judges' Scores: 10+10+10=30

It's the first perfect score of season 17! And she definitely deserves it. I predicted her to be the winner before the first episode even aired, and every week I feel more and more confident in that prediction. A Chmerkovskiy could finally win the Mirror Ball Trophy!

Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani: Quickstep

Leah is trying to focus more on having fun and the positive aspects of the show rather than bitching about not being as good as Corbin. The dance is fine, I suppose. It's adequate. I'm not jumping out of my seat, and I think her full-length costume obscures some of her actual steps. But the judges loved it, especially compared to last week's debacle, and Cranky Len Goodman puts everyone on notice about technique.

Judges' Scores: 9+9+9=27

Wow, that's a big improvement and could help save her. It's also her first 9s of the season. They're the eighth couple of the season to score a 9, and now she leaves Bill as the only remaining star without one.

Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd: Tango

Brant was shocked that Christina went home because he thought she was more famous than he is. Dude, you have Pretty Little Liars fans, the ones who own Twitter. A surprise visit from his PLL co-star only reinforces that fanbase. The routine is hard, precise, sexy and exciting. It's the polar opposite of Bill's laid back Burger Tango. It's fantastic and the judges lavish praise on his intense performance. Bruno saw some technical stumbles, but Len disagrees.

Judges' Scores: 9+10+9=28

Len is a 10 machine. This now makes five different couples getting a 10 this season. Not too shabby.

Amber Riley and Derek Hough: Samba

The rehearsal is tough because Derek wants to put in a lot of hard moves to make up for getting a bad score from Len last week. And it pays off, because the routine is hot, Hot, HOT! They burn the floor and Amber is insanely awesome. But it's hard for me to be objective because Derek's shirt is open, and I'm not ashamed to admit he's atop my celebrity crush list. Bruno and Carrie Ann love it, but Len whines about how it was repetitive, though the individual technical aspects were flawless.

Judges' Scores: 10+8+10=28

Why does Len hate Derek so much? There's obviously no pleasing him.

Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke: Paso Doble

Jack struggles to capture the intensity of a matador during rehearsals, so he enlists the help of Val. It was the same problem I have with all of Jack's dances, namely that it's too stiff and he's just kind of plodding. It's official that Jack is better at ballroom than Latin. Len, of course, loved it because the choreography was traditional.

Judges' Scores: 8+9+8=25

So Jack was better than Amber, according to Len. Len Goodman can go to Hell. Even Tom Bergeron is perplexed.

Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Sasha Farber: Foxtrot

Sasha wants it to be classy, like Fred and Ginger. Snooki's idea of "classy" is The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Anna Nicole Smith. The routine is fun and it reminds me of a '50s romance. Snooki is surprisingly good at dancing like a sweet and innocent lady, despite her actual personality. The judges adore it. I just wish I didn't dislike her as much as I do.

Judges' Scores: 9+9+9=27

These judges are very generous.

Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff: Viennese Waltz

They dance to the theme song from Game of Thrones. Upon hearing this, I immediately give them a 10. Corbin geeks out as much as I would about getting to be Khal Drogo and the Khaleesi. However, he loses cool points when he says it's his "all-time favorite television show on right now," proving he doesn't understand what "all-time" means. I can't be objective, it's just so cool, even with [SPOILER ALERT] Corbin dying at the end. However, he looks like a Mini-Drogo, which is kind of funny. Carrie Ann loves the intensity and drama, but the other judges criticize it for not being a Waltz. They're not wrong.

Judges' Scores: 8+7+8=23

Oof, this could be bad for him. He ties Bill Engvall at the bottom. Here's where the new format could hurt him, because the low score would be offset by high viewer votes for a routine like this. I give Tom Bergeron credit for making a joke about not doing a Red Wedding Tango.

"Popular Song" by Mika and Ariana Grande

Before the Switch-Up Challenge it's time for these two to sing this Wicked-inspired song. I love them and the song, but it's always off-putting when pop stars sing inspirational songs about being an outcast when they are clearly NOT outcasts. Mika's street cred is falling in my eyes because he looks like a freaking male model who should be starring on a CW show. It's easy to sing about big girls being beautiful when you look like that.

Switch-Up Challenge

There will be two rounds, each with four couples. The music will change and they'll have to somehow change up their style to keep time with the music. The first couple out will get 1 point, the second couple out gets 2 points, and so on, with the winner of each round getting an extra 4 points. They all pick paddles at random to decide the order of performance.

Round 1: Jack, Corbin, Bill, Snooki
Round 2: Amber, Elizabeth, Brant and Leah

Corbin definitely lucked out while Leah got the fuzzy end of the lollipop, having to compete against the three highest scores of the night.

Round 1: It's just kind of a mess, going from "Hot in Herre" to classical to "Let's Get It On." Bill Engvall rips his shirt open right away, but it doesn't help. Bill is out first, followed by Jack, Snooki and finally, Corbin wins. Yeah, that's exactly what I would've predicted.

Round 2: Again, it's a mess, going from "Sexy and I Know It" to a classical Waltz song. Leah is, of course, the first one out. Surprisingly, Elizabeth is out second. Brant is out next, so Amber wins.

So after this insanity, here are the results:

4 points: Corbin Bleu, Amber Riley
3 points: Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Brant Daugherty
2 points: Jack Osbourne, Elizabeth Berkley
1 point: Bill Engvall, Leah Remini

When it's all added together, Elizabeth and Amber are tied atop the leaderboard, with Bill way at the bottom. That round was confusing and a bit of a mess.

The Results

The first couple SAFE is...Elizabeth and Val
The second couple SAFE is...Amber and Derek
The third couple SAFE is...Brant and Peta
The fourth couple SAFE is...Leah and Tony
The fifth couple SAFE is...Corbin and Karina
The sixth couple SAFE is...Snooki and Sasha

It's all down to Jack and Bill.

Jack and Cheryl are...SAFE

Bill and Emma are...SAFE?

NO ONE IS ELIMINATED!

That's right, because there were technical problems giving out the wrong phone numbers last week, they threw away the viewer votes and decided to keep everyone safe. However, this week's scores will be added to next week's scores along with tonight's viewer votes to decide the elimination.

Next week on Dancing with the Stars we get the return of the team dances, and I'm assuming it could be a double elimination thanks to this week's shenanigans.

The Leaderboard

32: Elizabeth Berkley, Amber Riley
31: Brant Daugherty
30: Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi
28: Leah Remini
27: Corbin Bleu, Jack Osbourne
24: Bill Engvall


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(Image courtesy of ABC)

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