The wacky 19th season of Dancing with the Stars is underway. After an Olympian won last season, an Olympian was the first eliminated star this year, Lolo Jones. Her negative attitude and trainwreck of a first dance spelled her doom while Alfonso Ribeiro took frontrunner status with his amazing routine.

Tonight we get more Foxtrots and Cha-Cha-Chas, plus some Latin dances and a Jazz routine. The 12 couples will all be dancing to their favorite songs, a lineup that includes “Call Me Maybe” for Janel Parrish and “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit’ It” for Alfonso, a song by his Fresh Prince co-star Will Smith. Are you ready to get jiggy?

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For “My Jam Monday,” the stars dance onto the stage while the favorite songs of the four judges play. Bruno Tonioli’s is, of course, Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”

Randy Couture and Karina Smirnoff: Cha-Cha-Cha

He likes how naughty this dance is. The routine has him as a solider (he spent six years in the Army) with Karina as a USO performer. He’s a little clunkier than last week, but he has a whole lot of motion in his hips that’s surprisingly impressive for a UFC fighter. The judges love his enthusiasm, but his footwork and shoulders need some work. Carrie Ann Inaba is disappointed because she didn’t get any satisfaction from this dance. In other words, Randy didn’t make her randy.

Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28

He’s down 3 points from last week. That’s the wrong direction.

Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy: Foxtrot

Val pushes her very hard in rehearsals, probably because last week he got his first 7s since the first two weeks of season 15. After dancing with Zendaya, Elizabeth Berkley and Danica McKellar, he’s not used to 7s.  Her jam is “Call Me Maybe,” which is not winning me over. It’s fun, young and fast, but once again I see a few weak spots where she isn’t quite able to keep up with him. Julianne Hough points out that it wasn’t a traditional Foxtrot, but she doesn’t care. There were some footwork issues, but Bruno and Carrie Ann calls it almost perfect. It sounds like the judges are turning around and trying to establish her as a serious contender.

Judges’ Scores: 9+8+8+9=34

Those seem really generous, up 5 points from week 1. Maybe Val is the new Derek, or they’re just making up for underscoring her last week.

Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev: Jive

Two weeks in a row where Janel and Lea are among the first three stars to dance, that hardly seems fair. She’s feeling depressed because she was in jeopardy and is doing the same dance Alfonso just did. Damn, she is one spicy tamale and has the same energy and speed as Janel, a girl who’s about 30 years younger than her. The judges really, really love her and Bruno compares her to Ann Margaret in her prime. This is why I picked her to win. Also, Artem officially became a U.S. citizen this week.

Judges’ Scores: 9+8+9+9=35

Great scores. I know it’s only week 2, but I kind of expected a 10 from one of the ladies.

Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater: Samba

His favorite song is “Girls in Bikinis,” mostly because he wants Emma to wear a bikini. There’s a fine line between creepy and goofy, and he’s straddling it. It would be easier to take if he were a better dancer or funnier. The dancing is so bad and he’s just painfully awkward. There wasn’t any real Samba, but Len Goodman liked it. In other words, the sole heterosexual male judge was the only one who enjoyed girls in bikinis.

Judges’ Scores: 6+6+6+6=24

He’s disappointed, but honestly, that deserved a 5.

Tavis Smiley and Sharna Burgess: Cha-Cha-Cha

He’s on a book tour, which doesn’t give him much free time to rehearse. He gets frustrated because there are too many movements. His boogie afro is awesome, but he’s very stiff throughout the whole routine. He needs to spend less time on the book tour and more time in the rehearsal studio. Len thought it needed more polish and better footwork. The others enjoyed his disco vibe and Carrie Ann liked it a lot more than the others.

Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28

Thus far, the guys have all scored lower than week 1 while the ladies have improved. How did the judges disagree so strongly, but all give him the same score?

Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: Samba

He’s not going to let being at the top of the leaderboard slow him down, but he hits a roadblock with this routine during rehearsals. They are both very stressed out. I don’t know why, because they get jiggy with it and it’s another amazing dance. He has so much swag and obvious skill when it comes to moving. The judges know he’s great because he has his own groove, but Julianne wanted more ballroom technique. We’ve already reached the point where they are going to be hypercritical of him because the bar is set so high for him.

Len also drops the bombshell that he won’t be here next week and Tom Bergeron hints that there will be a special guest judge to be revealed later.

Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8+8=32

Alfonso admits that he deserved that score. It’s hilarious that all 8s is considered bad for them.

Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: Foxtrot

I’m so over these two always talking about trending and hashtags and other such things. Her ankle is in serious pain this week.This is a classic Derek routine, which means that there’s minimal movement, but it looks really good because of the way he choreographs it. It’s too contained and she spends too much time standing there or standing on a giant bass. The judges are way too positive. They replay her standing on the bass as if it’s the most amazing thing ever. I hate it when Derek’s partners get praised for just standing or sitting in one place (see Amber Riley and Amy Purdy).

Judges’ Scores: 8+9+8+8=33

Wow, I’m surprised because I expected more 9s after those comments. Still, she continues the trend of women improving and guys scoring lower.

Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani: Foxtrot

Following Boa-Gate, Betsey describes it as the worst experience of her life. That must be a great life if a feather boa screw-up is the worst thing to ever happen to her. She’s excited to try and be classy and sophisticated instead of wacky. It’s a whole lot better than last week and it’s perfectly adequate. I’m still impressed by how flexible she is. The judges absolutely love getting to see this different, simple, elegant side to her. Perhaps it was good that she set her bar so low last week. It’s funny that the fashion designer needed a makeover from her pro partner.

Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28

That’s an 8 point jump. This is probably the best she’ll ever get.

Antonio Sabato, Jr. and Cheryl Burke: Rumba

During rehearsal she gets freaked out by a butterfly and she’s upset with a passionate dance since she doesn’t really know Antonio yet, even though it’s her favorite style. These two don’t seem to get along at all. The routine is kind of dull, mostly because Cheryl appears to be doing all the work while he just stands there. Maybe it’s the rehearsal footage, but I get the sense that there’s no real chemistry here and that he’s kind of a jerk, but the judges disagree and loved his smolder. They enjoyed the subtlety, which is polite code for boring.

Judges’ Scores: 8+7+8+8=31

After a brief interruption by breaking news about ISIS, he’s up 6 points from last week. I think the judges realized they dramatically underscored the first three from week 1, Antonio, Lea and Janel.

Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: Salsa

He’s either very forgetful or playing it up in rehearsals. He’s still a lot better than a 76-year-old man should be, but it’s not quite as amazing as last time. He does rip his shirt open for the sex appeal. The judges love how fun it is and how smooth and confident he is. He’s very funny and charming, which helps a lot.

Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28

That’s a slight improvement and I guess 7s are popular tonight. Tommy vows to save the world if he survives this week. Given that breaking news, it sounds like the U.S. government is already doing that by bombing the crap out of ISIS.

Jonathan Bennett and Allison Holker: Cha-Cha-Cha

 She wants to strip away the goofiness and find his super sexy side. He does a decent enough job, but I’m more impressed with Allison. Like Cheryl with Antonio, she seemed to do most of the work and she was my primary focus. The judges thought it was too jerky and full of “flim-flam,” but there wasn’t enough actual Cha-Cha content. That’s more of a critique on Allison and is probably due to the fact that she doesn’t come from a traditional ballroom background like the other pros. This could be their undoing because she wants to explore the boundaries of traditional styles and she even admits she’s a student and is learning on the job.

Judges’ Scores: 7+7+8+8=30

At least he’s not stuck in that 28 zone. He’s also the only person tonight to get the same score in each of the first two weeks.

Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: Jazz

Ugh, a country Jazz routine? Those are two things I don’t enjoy, because nonsense like Jazz and Contemporary shouldn’t be on this show. The routine opens with a bit of acting that I could do without and I find it hard to believe her dad approved this Daisy Duke outfit she’s wearing. It’s light and silly like a music video, but there’s almost no real content here. Len and Julianne weren’t fans.

Judges’ Scores: 8+7+8+8=31

That’s fair. Jazz has a lot more freedom to be entertaining, and this just wasn’t. It’s revealing that she’s the only female star who didn’t improve in her score this week. In fact, she dropped 3 points.


Comparing the scores to last week, the biggest drops came from Alfonso (down 4) as well as Randy and Sadie (both down 3). Michael was the only other person to do worse this week, down 1. Jonathan was even while Bethany and Tommy were up 1. Lea was up 3, Janel was up 5, Antonio was up 6 and Betsey was up 8.

35: Lea Thompson
34: Janel Parrish
33: Bethany Mota
32: Alfonso Ribeiro
31: Antonio Sabato, Jr., Sadie Robertson
30: Jonathan Bennett
28: Randy Couture, Tavis Smiley, Betsey Johnson, Tommy Chong
24: Michael Waltrip

(Image courtesy of ABC)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.