Dancing with the Stars had an unusual start to season 23. The scores were low and a Ryan Lochte protest grabbed all of the headlines. Is this a sign that we’re headed down a trainwreck season or will things get back on track with week 2? All 13 couples are still here to perform to TV theme songs. The scores and votes from tonight will be combined with those from last week to decide which couple goes home first on Tuesday’s special two-hour results show.
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Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev: Brady Bunch Quickstep
Florence Henderson gets involved to reprise her role with Maureen as Marcia. It’s a very fun and joyful routine. Maureen’s smile says it all and she should be very happy about it. Her footwork was fine, very good for an older woman doing a Quickstep. The judges all praise her newfound confidence. It was a big step up from last week, but Julianne Hough needs better body contact because it was a little bumpy.
Judges’ Scores: 7+6+6+7=26
That’s up 4 points from last week, but we still have Len and Julianne as the harsh ones.
Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko: One Tree Hill Tango
The show is going overboard with guest appearances as former contestant Gavin DeGraw is here to perform his hit theme song to this CW drama. She tore some muscles between her ribs during rehearsals, causing a lot of pain and tears. The routine is pretty rocking and still sexy. The major focus is on Jana’s legs, which are amazing. She has legs for days but needs to work a bit on the extension. Carrie Ann Inaba noticed the pain on her face, which limited some of her ability to do the intricate moves.
Judges’ Scores: 7+8+7+7=29
Wow, is Len a closet OTH fan? It’s 2 points better than last week.
Rick Perry and Emma Slater: Green Acres Quickstep
He does a political ad for America’s votes. He is such a hammy goofball and his facial expressions are extremely over the top. He seems to work really hard to get the steps, but it’s one of the slowest Quicksteps I’ve ever seen. Bruno Tionioli criticizes the machine-like heavy footwork. Carrie and Len are more optimistic.
Judges’ Scores: 6+5+6+5=22
He’s 2 points better, so that’s something.
Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold: Family Matters Foxtrot
The NFL star is playing Urkel…on steroids. This is a really strong routine, very effortless and energetic, filled with great movement. It reminds me of what James did last week with a Foxtrot. The judges love the technique and positive attitude. And add Jaleel White, the real Urkel, to the list of guest appearances by former contestants tonight.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28
He’s also up 2 points. That’s the theme of the night.
Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Game of Thrones Viennese Waltz
She’s Khaleesi and he’s Khal Drogo, naturally. There’s a lot of fire, smoke, and fast camerawork, all of which is distracting. There are a few decent moments, but Maks seems to be shoving Amber around a bit. Len wanted more ballroom technique while Julianne thought she looked uncomfortable in her shoes.
Judges’ Scores: 6+6+6+6=24
Ouch, that’s the same as last week. So far she and Rick are the only people to fail to get any 7s in the first two weeks, with Jake and Ryan still yet to go tonight.
Jake T. Austin and Jenna Johnson: Go, Diego, Go! Cha-Cha-Cha
She wants him to be a hunky Diego with her as a sexy cat. Way to pervert a children’s show, girl. He has really good moves, but they are terribly out of sync. Do these two even know each other? Have they ever met? They have zero chemistry, but they should because they’re the fun, young couple. The judges point out that he’s ahead of the music and it throws them off.
Judges’ Scores: 6+6+6+6=24
At least he’s up 2 points like almost everyone else. But he joins Rick and Amber as the stars who have yet to receive a 7.
Vanilla Ice and Witney Carson: Married…with Children Foxtrot
He IS married with children, and his two teenage daughters are his best buddies. Witney is giving Len what he wants, lots of Foxtrot content. Witney as Peg Bundy is weird but hilarious. It’s not sophisticated or refined or as much fun as last week, but he does have some capacity for doing the technical moves. He has energy and showmanship, with Len loving it. Witney really knows how to get Len on her side.
Judges’ Scores: 6+7+6+7=26
He’s only up 1 point.
Terra Jole and Sasha Farber: Bewitched Quickstep
The height difference is much harder now that they have to be in hold. They make it work surprisingly well and I’m a lot more impressed with her than I was last week. The judges rave, calling it the best of the night. When asked which of the two actors named Dick who played Darren on Bewitched Sasha was playing, he said “I was a universal Dick.” I will always love Sasha for that.
Judges’ Scores: 8+7+8+8=31
Julianne gives her first 8 of the season and they’re up 6 points, the best improvement so far.
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Allison Holker: X-Files Argentine Tango
Toni Braxton showed up for rehearsals to teach shy Babyface how to be sexy. It’s a beautiful routine, technically, but I didn’t feel the passion. The judges love the mystery of him. Bruno credits it to a Mulder/Scully love/hate, weird romance. Hmm, maybe it’s me, but the judges love him a lot more than I do. Babyface produced a remix of the theme song to help make it fit the dance.
Judges’ Scores: 8+7+7+8=30
He’s up 4 points and joins Laurie, James, Jana, and Terra in the club of couples who’ve received 8s.
Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy: DuckTales Jive
Yes, Val is dressed up like Scrooge McDuck which makes me as happy as if I was swimming in a pool full of gold coins. I love Laurie, Val, and DuckTales, so this is perfect. It’s so fun, so energetic, so spot on and just a joy to watch. Julianne calls her Disney’s Beyonce. This season is already a runaway for her.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8+8=32
The highest score of the season so far, but still no 9s and only up 1 point.
James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess: Walking Dead Paso Doble
His racing career took up a lot of time this week, giving them less time to rehearse. They get attacked by zombies and must fight them off, which is a cool concept. He’s great once again, very powerful and dominant. Carrie thinks he’s too vertical, but the judges are very impressed. They love their movements and synchronicity. Len thought there were too many zombies and not enough Paso. Yeah, there could’ve been more technique.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+8=29
He’s the only star to go down this week, but he’s still second on the leaderboard.
Marilu Henner and Derek Hough: Taxi Foxtrot
Derek struggled to choreograph for this super boring theme song. It’s a cute little routine, but it feels very short. There’s nothing to criticize, but not much to get excited about, other than Derek dressed as Reverend Jim, but with some Danza swag. The judges rave about it. They’re cute together and very energetic.
Judges’ Scores: 7+8+7+7=29
And we’re back to stars who improve by 2 points.
Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke: Muppet Show Quickstep
The show really plays up the protestors from last week and how everyone supports and loves Ryan, standing with him because this is a positive show. But then when Cheryl asks who his favorite Muppet is, he says “The green dude.” However, this dance is delightful. The silly, childish, goofy song fits his personality. It’s a lot more enjoyable than last week for me. However, the judges point out numerous technical faults all over the place.
Judges’ Scores: 6+6+6+6=24
The same as last week. Sorry, but he’s just not very good at actually dancing.
63: Laurie Hernandez
60: James Hinchcliffe
56: Jana Kramer, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Marilu Henner, Terra Jole
54: Calvin Johnson
51: Vanilla Ice
48: Maureen McCormick, Amber Rose, Ryan Lochte
46: Jake T. Austin
42: Rick Perry
The first Dancing with the Stars results show airs Tuesday at 8 pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)