Get ready to have all the feels. Dancing with the Stars is heading into week 3 where the 11 remaining stars will all reflect on their Most Memorable Years. It’s the time of the season where we learn more about them and become emotionally invested. But that will be short-lived as one couple will be eliminated at the end of the night.
Mischa Barton is the obvious choice to be eliminated, but there’s a lot of excitement still to be had on DWTS. Will Ginger Zee and Von Miller continue the trend of getting great scores for Contemporary routines? Who will get the first 9 of the season (since the show has NEVER gone three weeks without giving out a 9)? And will Mark Ballas be back with Paige VanZant or will we get another week of Alan Bersten?
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Mark Ballas is back in the introductions, but he’s dressed pretty casually. In two weeks we get the Switch-Up where viewers pick the new partners and styles. And next week, Zendaya returns as a guest judge for Disney Night.
Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy: Contemporary
2013: She takes Val to the fountain where she and her husband Ben had their first date, kiss, and proposal. It was the year she met him and got engaged.
It’s good to start the night with an uplifting love story. It’s a cute dance, but nothing too memorable or exciting. It’s just very lightweight. I’m mostly distracted by Val’s tiny man bun/semi-ponytail on top of his head. Len Goodman wanted more fluidity.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7=21
They bring out her baby and he cries the whole time.
Doug Flutie and Karina Smirnoff: Waltz
2015: He’s honoring his parents, who both died on the same day. His dad was sick and passed away in the hospital and his mom died almost immediately afterward. The doctors even told him that she died from a broken heart since they were married for almost 60 years.
It’s a sweet and lyrical performance where they play his parents dancing in Heaven. He’s fine and emotional, but still a bit sloppy. Andra Day sings during the performance and the camerawork is very distracting, occasionally cutting away from the actual dancing. As always, Carrie Ann Inaba is overcome with emotion and admits that she gives bonus points for making her feel something. Len and Bruno are more willing to point out the instability.
Judges’ Scores: 7+6+7=20
Just like Ginger, he got the exact same scores as last week.
Kim Fields and Sasha Farber: Foxtrot
1976: That’s when she landed her first acting job on a syrup commercial, leading to The Facts of Life as her big break. She went from Harlem to Hollywood, with help from a very supportive mom. OMG, they got Charlotte Rae, aka Mrs. Garrett, to do an interview, and she’s just happy to still be alive.
She’s Tootie again dancing to the Facts of Life theme song. It’s a decent routine, but kind of slow and plodding. I really don’t like the cover version of the song they used. They are very in sync, but it’s not quite as good as Jessie Spano or Carlton. The judges really dig it and are very hyper, appreciating the content. Charlotte Rae is in the audience and she’s the best!
Judges’ Scores: 8+7+7=22
That’s her best score yet.
Von Miller and Witney Carson: Contemporary
2016: The year is only about three months in, but when you’re the Super Bowl MVP, it doesn’t matter what happens for the next nine months. His dad didn’t want him to play football, so his mom signed him up behind his back and they didn’t tell him for a few months. Before every game, he listens to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” to calm himself.
There are a few good moves and some impressive lifts where Witney gets massive air, but he’s pretty clunky. He’s awkward with his movements and I’m not a fan. Len likes when big men try to be graceful and Bruno lusts after a shirtless Von. Carrie Ann needs more from him because she doesn’t think he’s giving 100 percent.
Judges’ Scores: 7+6+7=20
Wow, Len is absolutely brutal this season, but appropriately so.
Marla Maples and Tony Dovolani: Jive
1993: That’s the year her daughter Tiffany Trump was born. She calls Donald an “interesting” person, which is the most polite way to put it. It’s all about the mother/daughter bonding.
The Jive is way too fast for Marla. This is her weakest performance yet as her age is showing. She doesn’t attack the footwork with the ferocity she needs. But it’s very energetic with lots of content, so the judges are happy.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7=21
She’s consistent, getting eight 7s out of nine paddles.
Antonio Brown and Sharna Burgess: Foxtrot
2007: That’s when his son was born and everything changed. He’s all about being a good father and giving his kids more than he had. And they’re putting his son in the dance.
This is the most touching dance of the night for me. Antonio is beaming and radiant, moving gracefully and beautifully. And his son shows up at the end. I like him a lot and he’s definitely the best of the three football players. Carrie Ann thought he improved a lot, but Len found it just “competent” with no refinement. Bruno needs him to stop skipping.
Judges’ Scores: 7+6+7=20
Ha, all three football players got a 20, with 7s from Carrie Ann and Bruno and 6s from Len.
Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas: Paso Doble
2014: That’s when she debuted in the UFC. She was bullied in high school and almost missed a whole year of school because people were throwing trash at her. Now she kicks ass. And after a tough week of rehearsals, Mark is back.
They dance in an Octagon, which is a perfect setting for a combative Paso. And it’s awesome as hell. They fight and dance and fight and fight and dance. It’s so insanely cool. Naturally, Len complains that it didn’t look like a Paso. He’s not wrong, but the routine was amazing anyway.
Judges’ Scores: 8+78=23
WTF does someone have to do to get a 9 this season?
Jodie Sweetin and Keo Motsepe: Foxtrot
2015: She was lost after the original Full House ended, getting into drugs and alcohol to fill the void. So this past year, when she got to come back home to Fuller House, it brought her back. She’s been sober for 5 years and has emerged from the darkness into the light.
OK, you can ignore everything that happened before Paige, because now the show has begun. Jodie was heartbreaking and beautiful with powerful movements. This is easily the best she’s ever been and now Jodie is a serious contender. The judges loved it, though Len does point out that it got overly dramatic at the end and lost some Foxtrot flavor.
Judges’ Scores: 8+7+8=23
Come on, Paige and Jodie were SOOOOO much better than everyone, not just a point or two. On the bright side, Jodie is the only star so far whose scores have gone up every week.
Mischa Barton and Artem Chigvintsev: Samba
2008: Mischa was basically ready to quit after last week, blaming everything on Artem. In 2008, she was in a similar position, deciding to leave The O.C. after it stopped being fun. She changed everything, so that’s what she did this week.
Oh, sweetie. It’s still not good, but she’s not as bad as usual. She doesn’t seem to hate it as much. She doesn’t move that well and Carrie Ann points out her lack of musicality, but at least she was having fun.
Judges’ Scores: 6+6+6=18
That’s definitely her best score yet. But still worst of the night.
Wanya Morris and Lindsay Arnold: Waltz
1996: Boyz II Men got to perform the national anthem at the closing ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, following the bombing at the event the previous week.
Maybe I’m too cynical to appreciate the patriotism of doing a Waltz to “The Star-Spangled Banner.” I don’t find it emotional, I find it kind of cheesey. He does a fine job with the dance, but this style strips away his swagger that I love so much. He’s fluid, but Len immediately points out that he lost his posture a few times. Bruno comments that everyone tonight showed their imperfections, possibly because they let emotions get the better of them.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8=24
Meh, that was NOT better than Paige and Jodie.
Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd: Tango
2012: That year he traveled the world and found himself by exploring outside of the deaf community without an interpreter. He’s fearless. His lovable mom thinks maybe he can be the president someday.
The dance is fast and great, the kind of EDM Tango I typically expect from Derek Hough. Nyle is so damn remarkable. Carrie Ann thought he found his musicality and that he’s better than Superman. Bruno loved the speed and passion. Len complains some more, wanting more stillness.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+9=25
FINALLY, the first 9 of the season!!!
Tom Bergeron immediately tells Nyle and Peta that they’re safe.
The first couple IN JEOPARDY is…Doug and Karina!
The second couple IN JEOPARDY is…Mischa and Artem!
The third couple IN JEOPARDY is…Jodie and Keo!
Why do they have to do that to Keo?
Mischa Barton and Artem Chigvintsev ARE ELIMINATED!
No duh. And no one is really that sad or surprised. Next week will be a lot more interesting with such a close leaderboard.
Also next week, it’s guest judge Zendaya and Disney Night! That’s always good for some insanely fun and creative routines.
25: Nyle DiMarco
24: Wanya Morris
23: Paige VanZant, Jodie Sweetin
22: Kim Fields
21: Ginger Zee, Marla Maples
20: Doug Flutie, Von Miller, Antonio Brown
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8 pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)