It’s time to say goodbye to another couple on Dancing with the Stars. After no one went home on Switch-Up Night, the scores and votes from the past two weeks have been combined to decide who gets eliminated.
But first, the nine couples will all recreate “famous” dances from films and music videos. The show did the same theme last season, so most of the really famous dances have been used up, leaving us with The Mask, Austin Powers, and a Pink music video. I shudder to think what they’ll dig up as “Famous Dances” for season 23. How about Elaine from Seinfeld, the kids from Peanuts, and Paula Abdul with MC Scat Kat? And since more than half of the styles are Jazz or Contemporary, the night isn’t really about staying in hold or ballroom technique.
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The opening number has the pros “Puttin’ on the Ritz” with Val pulling a Risky Business in his underwear (boxers, not tighty whities). Nyle is in full green-face for The Mask.
Kim Fields and Sasha Farber: Jive
They dance to the finale from the movie Hairspray, “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” Kim throws Keo under the bus as not being a great partner for the long term. In rehearsals, she tries to hide an injury, but Sasha forces her to get checked out. However, she completely ignores the doctors and wants to push herself. There are moments that are good and I like her energy and attitude, but the song and choreography are way too fast for Kim. I could imagine a younger star like Paige doing this routine so much better. The judges love that it was fun and Carrie Ann Inaba gives everyone a free-pass on lifts tonight. But Carrie Ann is pretty critical and Bruno Tonioli throws shade by calling her Maks.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8=24
Nope, that deserved a 7.
Von Miller and Witney Carson: Jazz
They dance to Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” He’s very excited, but capturing MJ’s essence is hard. Luckily, troupe member Shannon danced with the King of Pop and helps out. It seems like we’re going to get a LOT of routines tonight with a ton of troupe members. Sigh, this is the dance equivalent of bad karaoke. Von seems to get most of the steps, but he has no real swagger. He’s more bad than “Bad.” The judges are surprisingly complementary and disagree with me.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8=24
Six weeks in, it’s worth noting that Kim, Von, and Doug are the only stars who haven’t gotten a 9 yet.
Jodie Sweetin and Keo Motsepe: Contemporary
They dance to Pink’s “Try,” which isn’t really famous, but it is an emotionally powerful dance. The routine has lifts and acrobatics, which cause some injuries for Jodie in rehearsals. OMG, we see and hear her ankle snap during a move, but nothing is broken. However, it does cause them to drop the dangerous lift. There are a few moments I love, but the transitions are a little rougher than I’d like and one of the lifts near the end looks very unstable to me. It’s all about domestic abuse and it’s sometimes hard to watch, but Carrie Ann loves how they turned something ugly into something elegant.
Judges’ Scores: 9+8+8=25
That’s about right.
Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas: Jazz
They dance to “Soul Bossa Nova” fro Austin Powers, which gives Mark the chance to play a goofy character and ham it up. But their original song didn’t get cleared, so it’s hard because Mark already choreographed a different style for this week. It’s definitely shagadelic and Paige gets to be sexy, saucy and show off her athleticism with a cool cartwheel. Birthday boy Len Goodman loves everything about it and the judges praise the details. It’s easily the best of the night…so far.
Judges’ Scores: 9+10+9=28
How is Len the ONLY one giving out 10s this season?
Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd: Quickstep
They dance to “Hey! Pachuco” from The Mask, with Nyle as the green-faced, yellow-suited Jim Carrey. He gets a lot of prosthetics, but they don’t get much time to rehearse with them. Nyle is pretty cocky, thinking Val is his main competition. The performance is nonstop high-energy and Nyle kills it as usual, capturing Jim Carrey’s performance and throwing a lot of slapstick into it. The judges point out many technical problems with his frame and various moves. Len correctly puts Nyle in his place about how he’s nowhere near close to Val’s level.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+9=25
Even Nyle’s worst is better than Kim and Von.
Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy: Jazz
They dance to Janet Jackson’s “Nasty,” following Val’s “Rhythm Nation” with Tamar from last season’s Famous Dances Night. Once again, it’s basically a group number. All of the moves are there, but Ginger is NOT nasty. She has absolutely no nastiness in her and it lacks edge. She’s more like Sandy at the end of Grease than the “Nasty” Miss Jackson. The judges think it was too clean and needed more attitude.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8=24
With all of these similar scores, next week’s elimination could be anyone. Assuming Doug is gone tonight.
Doug Flutie and Karina Smirnoff: Bollywood
They dance to “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire. Karina has never done this style, which doesn’t bode well. As always, Doug gives it 110 percent and, bless his heart, he really goes for it. Of course he looks absolutely ridiculous because he’s not a good dancer, but he commits more than several other stars.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7=21
If he doesn’t go home tonight, he’d better go next week.
Wanya Morris and Lindsay Arnold: Jazz
They dance to NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye,” which is a perfect set-up for success. This kind of high-energy, beloved pop song isn’t just in his wheelhouse, it’s the whole wheelhouse, especially since he’s good friends with Joey Fatone. Indeed he crushes it and everything works just as it should. He could probably slide right into NSYNC as he hits every move. And even Lance Bass and Joey Fatone in the red room approve.
Judges’ Scores: 10+9+10=29
Ha, Len is just trying to be difficult. I assumed that would be perfect.
Antonio Brown and Sharna Burgess: Jive
They dance to “Footloose.” Antonio isn’t happy about Sharna saying Wanya is going to win last week. He’s all about the team and overcoming adversity. This is Antonio at his very best, wildly charismatic with really great moves. He certainly worked hard this week and delivered. The judges rave.
Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9=27
He is so inconsistent, going from terrible to great to terrible to great again over the last four weeks.
It’s time to send someone home based on the combined scores and votes from Disney Night and the Switch-Up.
The first couple IN JEOPARDY is…Paige and Mark!
The second couple IN JEOPARDY is…Doug and Karina!
The third couple IN JEOPARDY is…Von and Witney!
Paige being in jeopardy makes zero sense.
Doug Flutie and Karina Smirnoff ARE ELIMINATED!
Whew. He was a good sport, but he most definitely deserves to go home. Now is when things get interesting. And hey, ninth place is the best Karina has done since season 17.
Next week is big. It’s a DOUBLE ELIMINATION! And it’s the team dances, where it will be the men vs. the women, so Wanya, Nyle, Antonio, and Von against Paige, Ginger, Jodie, and Kim. That’s an interesting new way to do it. And the individual routines will be set to musical icons. I wonder if anyone will get Prince.
29: Wanya Morris
28: Paige VanZant
27: Antonio Brown
25: Jodie Sweetin, Nyle DiMarco
24: Kim Fields, Von Miller, Ginger Zee
(Image courtesy of ABC)