Here are my rankings for the best and worst dances from the fifth week of Dancing with the Stars season 22, the Switch-Up Challenge. Also, check out my recap of this episode.
#18 Doug Flutie and Peta Murgatroyd
Song: “Black and Gold” by Sam Sparro
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28
#17 Doug and Peta’s Performance
By a large margin, he’s the worst dancer left in the competition. He tries a lot harder than some of the other stars, but he just has absolutely no rhythm.
#16 Von Miller and Lindsay Arnold
Song: “Hips” by Beans and Fatback
Judges’ Scores: 8+7+7+7=29
#15 Von and Lindsay’s Performance
Von is a weird, gangly, spastic dancer. It’s kind of entertaining to watch, but he just isn’t very good. This was just too crazy, almost like when Victor Espinoza did a Jive to “La Bamba” last season.
#14 Wanya Morris and Witney Carson
Song: “Hold Back the River” by James Bay
Judges’ Scores: 8+7+7+8=30
#13 Wanya and Witney’s Performance
Wanya has a lot of natural charisma, but he’s not a classical ballroom guy. This Tango was rushed and frantic and easily his worst performance of the season.
#12 Antonio Brown and Karina Smirnoff
Song: “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield
Judges’ Scores: 7+6+6+7=26
#11 Antonio and Karina’s Performance
I understand the criticism that he slacks off and relies too much on his swagger. But at least he has swagger to fall back on and, even if he’s not that good at the technical aspect, he puts on an entertaining show.
#10 Kim Fields and Keo Motsepe
Dance: Viennese Waltz
Song: “These Arms of Mine” by Otis Redding
Judges’ Scores: 8+6+6+8=28
#9 Kim and Keo’s Performance
Emotionally, this dance was beautiful. Kim really captured the heart of the love story. But technically, she didn’t do a whole lot. The wide disparity in scores is a clear indication that some judges look for emotion and others focus on technique, but I’ll split the difference and put her right in the middle.
#8 Ginger Zee and Mark Ballas
Song: “La Malanga” by Eddie Palmieri
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8+8=32
#7 Ginger and Mark’s Performance
Ginger is a good dancer. He moves well enough and brought a lot of sexy energy to the performance. But she’s not great and after her stellar Beauty and the Beast routine, this was a little step backwards.
#6 Paige VanZant and Sasha Farber
Song: “Perfect” by One Direction
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+7+8=31
#5 Paige and Sasha’s Performance
At its best, the Switch-Up allows the stars’ weaknesses to be exposed and they can either do something to fix them or give up. Paige’s weakness is that she refuses to be vulnerable, which makes sense since opening herself up will get her knocked out in the Octagon. But Sasha started to peel back her hard exterior with this simple, beautiful routine that didn’t really on big concepts or massive production values. If Paige can continue to grow and allow herself to be more vulnerable, she can win.
#4 Jodie Sweetin and Val Chmerkovskiy
Dance: Paso Doble
Song: “Under Control” by Calvin Harris and Alesso
Judges’ Scores: 9+8+9+9=35
#3 Jodie and Val’s Performance
Jodie has always had potential, but she always got in her own way. This time she let go and was able to fully attack the dance with fearlessness and tenacity. It was her best performance by a large margin. If she wants to have a real shot at the Mirror Ball, her original partner Keo needs to stop having fun and start getting real like Val did. Jodie needs a strict pro to whip her into shape, not a fun friend.
#2 Nyle DiMarco and Sharna Burgess
Dance: Viennese Waltz
Song: “I Get to Love You” by Ruelle
Judges’ Scores: 9+10+9+9=37
#1 Nyle and Sharna’s Performance
The first 10 of the season went to Nyle, and he deserves it. There was a sweet and tender emotion to this routine that made it more than the typical fast, sharp, great performances he’s given us so far. He’s not just a model, he’s also an actor, and that’s something Peta hasn’t used much. We’ve seen him be sexy and even goofy as Tarzan, but this routine proved he can also be sensitive and romantic. It’s no coincidence that my three favorite Switch-Up routines were the ones where the pro brought out something new in the star.