The cast of Dancing with the Stars season 24 may be filled with ringers and electric personalities, but the themes this year are very week. For the first time since the All-Stars season four years ago, the second week of competition had no actual theme. And now we get Vegas Night, which covers acts and shows in Las Vegas plus any song associated with Sin City or gambling in general. Song Titles That Contain an “E” would be an equally specific theme.
But there are still plenty of exciting storylines to go around. How will Heather do in her first full week with Alan as her partner instead of Maks? Will Charo try to murder Bruno Tonioli on live television? Is Len Goodman still cranky? Will the judges whip out their 9 paddles? And who will go home?
LIVE…from Hollywood…this is Dancing with the Stars!
The Vegas opening has showgirls, magicians, Elvis impersonators, a bachelorette party and blackjack. Great, we’re getting all of the cliches tonight.
Nick Viall and Peta Murgatroyd: Tango
Nick blames himself for letting Peta down because he’s asking her to push him with hard choreography. Like always, he has moments of power, but the whole thing doesn’t feel very unified or exciting. He’s fine, but he doesn’t have any “Wow” factor. The judges like some improvement and his determination and effort, but Bruno points out that he stomps too much. Carrie Ann Inaba liked his regal presence. Erin Andrews acts like she’s never heard the word “regal” before and uses it way too many times.
Judges’ Scores: 7+6+7+6=26
He’s gone from 24 to 25 to 26. At least he’s going in the right direction, albeit very slowly.
Mr. T and Kym Johnson: Foxtrot
He was roasted by Dean Martin in the ’80s, so he has a connection to the Rat Pack and classic Vegas. He has such a positive attitude and he concentrates on getting the steps right. There’s no real musicality and, as always, he’s mostly just walking around. The judges love that he looks elegant with his white suit with tails. Len appreciates that there was actual Foxtrot content.
Judges’ Scores: 6+6+6+6=24
Like Nick, he’s on the right path, going from 20 to 22 to 24.
Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess: Charleston
Sharna struggles with the choreography because Bonner’s injury prevents him from doing lifts and other tricks that she wants to add. Bonner has some really cool leg moves at the start, very smooth, but the whole thing feels very disjointed. He’s kind of slow, off time, and fuzzy. The judges call him out for his lack of precision, sharpness, and energy. They needed it to be wilder, but they also loved his swivel.
Judges’ Scores: 6+6+6+6=24
He’s a yo-yo, going from 22 to 29 down to 24. He’s lucky because he deserved some 5s.
Derek and Julianne Hough‘s Dance
The siblings give a preview of their new upcoming tour with a powerful, fantastic and personal routine. The routine is about their parents’ divorce, with the two parents separated, mom with young Julianne and dad with young Derek. It’s sweet, but not quite as cool or creative as their “Elastic Hearts” dance.
Heather Morris and Alan Bersten: Tango
She’s excited to bring her Glee character to the ballroom. Alan is a goofball, but Maks is still there via Skype to offer some pointers. It’s a very Britney Spears routine with lots of energy, passion, and excitement. It’s fast, furious and a ton of fun. The judges rave about her hold and Len is extremely happy about all of the ballroom content and none of that hop-hop style nonsense he hated from last week. They especially love the chemistry, which might make Maks feel bad. If Alan doesn’t get to be a full-fledged pro partner next season after this week, something is wrong. Maks teases that he MIGHT come back next week.
Judges’ Scores: 9+8+8+8=33
The first 9 of the season! And she’s also improved every week, from 28 to 30 to 33.
Charo and Keo Motsepe: Foxtrot
She acknowledges that she needs to think before she talks and she’s worried that she’s going home because she was so mean to the judges last week. Some of her crazy has rubbed off on Keo and he seems to be a somewhat calming influence on her. Their wedding chapel is surprisingly restrained, elegant, and even sweet. I’m very impressed that Keo brought something new out of her. The judges like that this was something different and refreshing.
Judges’ Scores: 6+6+6+6=24
That’s down a point from last week, but still good.
Simone Biles and Sasha Farber: Quickstep
She’s never heard”Viva Las Vegas” and doesn’t seem to know much about Elvis. Ugh, kids today. This is the kind of speedy, energetic, giddy routine she’s designed for. It’s nonstop and precise when it comes to the technique. The judges like it, but encourage her to focus more on the character and interpreting the story. Carrie Ann calls her out on the lift, which it totally was.
Judges’ Scores: 7+8+9+8=32
Another 9 and they’re back to where they were in week 1.
Nancy Kerrigan and Artem Chigvintsev: Samba
They’re shaking their bon-bons to Ricky Martin and got to meet him in Vegas. Artem really LOVES Ricky Martin and acts like a teenage girl meeting Justin Bieber. It’s quite embarrassing for him. But damn, Nancy has a ton of sass appeal, and for the first time all season, things are starting to click with her. It all comes together with the technique and the performance and suddenly, Nancy is a real contender. Len calls it the best dance so far this season and Julianne thinks it’s one of the best Sambas ever on this show.
Judges’ Scores: 8+9+8+8=33
So now Carrie Ann, Len, and Julianne have each given out one 9 tonight.
David Ross and Lindsay Arnold: Jazz
They’re taking on Magic Mike, but it’s obviously not gonna be as sexy as when Carlos PenaVega did it. Um, it starts and ends with David doing his strip tease thing with the male troupe and in the middle there’s a tiny bit of dancing with Lindsay. What was that? It felt like Lindsay wasn’t even a part of this. He showed so much promise in week 1, but I feel like they’re turning him into the goofy, silly guy. The judges love that he committed to the concept and actually did it justice. It was entertaining and I guess it was good, but it didn’t feel like an actual routine that belongs on this show, compared to the others.
Judges’ Scores: 8+7+8+8=31
That’s their best score yet.
Erika Jayne and Gleb Savchenko: Jive
They have a circus theme and the dance is a little too fast for her, but she does a decent job. There are a few awkward parts, but it’s fine. Len thought there were too many tricks and not enough Jive. The judges like her legs, but point out that it got wobbly and out of time. Carrie Ann is deducting a point for starting with a lift.
Judges’ Scores: 6+7+7+6=26
Well, they went from 24 to 28 down to 26.
Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater: Samba
Emma is already starting to taste that Mirror Ball and is pushing Rashad hard because she knows he can actually win. It’s a decent routine, but a little too fast and he loses control. The biggest problem might be that Nancy just gave us such a remarkable Samba and this isn’t that good. Julianne criticizes the song choice for being a bit too slow and laid back and he got ahead of it. The judges do like his cool demeanor, but they know he was off. If he’s going to have a bad week, now is probably the best time to do it.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28
That’s his worst score yet.
Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy: Foxtrot
This week they’re in Hong Kong and they take some time to do some sightseeing. She’s got great moves and Val knows how to construct an entertaining routine, even if it seems a little light on the content. But I still feel like I know nothing about her personality. Bruno says it’s the best dance of the night and Carrie Ann continues to be the Lift Police. Len wanted more in hold.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+9+9=34
Bruno finally gives a 9 and they are on top of the leaderboard once again.
It’s time for one couple to go bust on Vegas Night.
The first couple IN JEOPARDY is…Charo and Keo!
The second couple IN JEOPARDY is…Nick and Peta!
Everyone else, including Mr. T, is safe.
Charo and Keo Motsepe ARE ELIMINATED!
Poor Keo, this is his fourth time going home in the first three weeks. I guess her negative attitude cost her votes.
34: Normani Kordei
33: Heather Morris, Nancy Kerrigan
32: Simone Biles
31: David Ross
28: Rashad Jennings
26: Nick Viall, Bonner Bolton, Erika Jayne
24: Mr. T
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)