There are still nine couples on Dancing with the Stars season 19, but that changes tonight. Following the Switch-Up, the original pairs are back for Pitbull Night. Yes, somehow the singer Pitbull warrants his own theme in which he serves as the guest judge and the couples will perform to his songs, as well as songs he likes.
In the first five weeks, a clear division has emerged. Alfonso, Lea, Janel, Sadie and Bethany are the frontrunners (all five have been atop the leaderboard at least once) while Antonio, Tommy, Jonathan and Michael are on the bottom. Will Jonathan and Allison be eliminated as I predict?
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Leah Remini is filling in for Erin Andrews (who is busy with the World Series). That makes almost no sense, but neither does a Pitbull theme night. Pitbull is looking for hotness and fire.
Tommy and Peta are…SAFE!
Janel and Val are…IN JEOPARDY!
Jonathan and Allison are…IN JEOPARDY!
Janel and Val? WTF? I assume that’s a fake-out.
Jonathan Bennett and Allison Holker: Jazz
She wants him to stop trying to be funny and just be himself. Luckily, Jazz is something Allison can actually do. It’s a Men in Black routine complete with robotic Hip-Hop style moves. As bad as Allison is at the more classic choreography, this is outstanding and Jonathan does a great job with the moves. It’s fresh, exciting and a whole new side to him that isn’t painful or hard to watch. The judges love the slick, sharp moves and Jonathan’s easy, natural flow. The judges weren’t even scared of the lifts.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8+8=32
Leah instantly wins me over by doing the weird Jonathan eyes. Can we keep her for the rest of the season instead of Erin? Also, these scores are just going to make it more painful if/when he gets eliminated later tonight.
Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy: Samba
Val is jealous from the Switch-Up and he missed his partner. Aww, he’s such a softie and he’s really selling the potential showmance between these two. But this week during rehearsals they had a little would-be lovers’ quarrel. The dance is fun, bouncy, caliente and a shirtless Val is always worth a few extra points. She’s just a great dancer and looks very good to me. The judges give her a few tips on her arms, turns and being off balance a few times in order to help push her to get 10s in the future. Pitbull didn’t feel the passion and gets booed for his honesty. Julianne Hough commends Val on crafting a competition-level routine that was a very traditional Samba. Is she trying to be the new Len?
Judges’ Scores: 8+7+9+9=33
Those scores are all over the place. Leah is bringing a weird, crazy energy to these interviews with a brash, no-nonsense approach.
Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: Foxtrot
Tommy takes Peta to a sweat lodge. Peta freaks out and Tommy has a hallucination of Cloris Leachman. This is certainly different from dancing with Sexy Hall of Famer James Maslow. Tommy is getting really sloppy with his moves the longer he lasts in the competition. It gets very uncomfortable when he tries to add comedic elements into something like the Foxtrot. Carrie Ann Inaba somehow commends him despite the many imperfections. WTF is wrong with all of these judges, lavishing praise onto Tommy for a routine where he made a bunch of mistakes? Julianne’s claim that he could be here for a long time seems like more of a threat to me.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28
The score makes sense, but it doesn’t mesh with the comments they made. Luckily, we find out that Len Goodman is back next week!
Lea and Artem are…SAFE!
Sadie and Mark are…SAFE!
Antonio and Cheryl are…SAFE!
No real surprises there since Michael has that last spot in jeopardy locked up.
Antonio Sabato, Jr. and Cheryl Burke: Salsa
After the Switch-Up, Antonio gives Cheryl a thorny rose, which is a perfect metaphor for their relationship. During rehearsals, Cheryl learns that her dad is in the hospital. But the next day, everything is fine and he tells her to dance for him. The routine itself seems cluttered and unpolished, with several troupe members filling it out. And there’s a lift that makes me more scared than Jonathan last week. The judges try to be nice, but they have some more criticism for Antonio’s poor hip action.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28
Leah badgers Antonio to take his shirt off, but he doesn’t. She then adds that the score sucks. I like her brutal honesty. It shouldn’t matter, because I suspect Cheryl will help give them a big sympathy boost in the voting.
Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: Rumba
She finds it awkward doing a romantic, sexy dance, so she giggles a lot during rehearsals. She’s worried that the routine will compromise her Christian values. What kind of backwards, Footloose town is her family from? The routine is actually quite beautiful and I really love her dancing. Julianne loves how Mark is creating very generous choreography that lets his partner shine. Is that a dig at her brother? The judges have a few critiques about footwork, but they’re mostly positive.
Judges’ Scores: 9+10+8+8=35
Pitbull is just way off whenever he doesn’t vote the same way as everyone else.
Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev: Salsa
She gets freaked out during rehearsals because Alfonso is also doing the Salsa and they’re trying to compete with him. She shows off her sexy moves while Artem takes his shirt off right away. There are some amazing lifts and aerial moves, especially as she slithers through his legs. The judges are a little disappointed and think it lacked confidence because she was trying to compete with Alfonso, but she should just do her own thing.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8+8=32
These even-handed scores could cause a shocking elimination next week.
Alfonso and Witney are…SAFE!
Bethany and Derek are…SAFE!
Michael and Emma are…IN JEOPARDY!
Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater: Argentine Tango
Michael had a NASCAR race this week, so we see a lot of footage of that and none of their actual dancing rehearsals. Michael is always at his best when he doesn’t have to do anything. He just stands there, makes as few movements as possible and gets praised for it. The routine is good, but this seemed to have very little actual dancing. It’s no surprise that the Waltz and Argentine Tango are the only dances where he hasn’t sucked, because those dances seem to require the least from the male stars.
Judges’ Scores: 8+7+8+7=30
At least there are still some 7s.
Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: Tango
This is the fourth time in six weeks that Derek has been one of the final two dancers to perform. Meanwhile, Sadie has never danced in the first half of the show and this will be the third time Alfonso gets the final dance of the night. I wish they’d mix things up more evenly. During the week, Bethany had to go to Australia for a YouTube event. She needs to stop pretending that she has a real career. This makes it the least amount of time he’s ever had to prepare a routine for a partner.
There are lots of green lasers and shiny, futuristic outfits. It’s…OK. I honestly can’t tell with her. Like Sadie, Bethany is a decent dancer, but I’m not sure if it’s just because she looks the part and has a great partner or if she’s genuinely good. I get no real personality from here. There was a slip-up and Carrie-Ann says she was headed towards a 10, looking like Nicole Scherzinger. Is that a compliment?
Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9+9=36
Once again, Derek’s choreography helps get a good score. It helped that the stage was very dark and bright lasers were there as a distraction.
Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: Salsa
Witney cried last week after getting terrible scores with Michael. She’s also a bit intimidated because of how good Alfonso was with Cheryl. Alfonso had a groin injury last week and Witney got injured a few hours ago during a rehearsal on the stage. It’s sexy, smooth, quick and precise, just like always. He’s just on fire, though he pulled his groin at the end and listens to his scores through the pain. Julianne would’ve liked more Salsa and less Hip-Hop. Carrie Ann gives Alfonso 10 smacks on the butt as foreshadowing of her vote.
Judges’ Scores: 10+10+9+10=39
Ha, Julianne is the party pooper.
It’s down to Janel, Jonathan and Michael, but clearly Janel is a red herring.
Michael and Emma are…SAFE!
Jonathan Bennett and Allison Holker ARE ELIMINATED!
Oh well. He was good tonight, but not any other week. At least it wasn’t a shocker with Janel going home. And now maybe Allison can take a ballroom class or two to bone up for next season, if she gets invited back as a pro.
Next week is the Halloween special with the return of Len Goodman to the judging panel. And with so many close scores, we could be in store for a shocking elimination. More importantly, last year’s Halloween episode had the group freestyles, including that amazing routine to “The Fox.” I hope we get something half as good as that.
39: Alfonso Ribeiro
36: Bethany Mota
35: Sadie Robertson
33: Janel Parrish
32: Lea Thompson
30: Michael Waltrip
28: Tommy Chong, Antonio Sabato, Jr.
(Image courtesy of ABC)