There are 10 couples remaining on Dancing with the Stars, but after tonight, only nine will stick around for next week’s Switch-Up Challenge. In week 4 the stars will reminisce about their most memorable years, which should be interesting for people in their 70s like Tommy Chong and Betsey Johnson but laughably silly for teenagers Sadie Robertson and Bethany Mota.
Tonight also introduces a new element as the viewers become the fourth judge. Viewers can vote on ABC.com live during the routines for what score we think the dancers deserve. Isn’t voting for our favorites already enough power?
LIVE…from Hollywood…this is Dancing with the Stars!
Janel and Val are…SAFE!
Jonathan and Allison are…SAFE!
Betsey and Tony are…IN JEOPARDY!
Huzzah, two of my favorites are safe.
Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy: Rumba
2002: It’s when she moved from Hawaii to L.A. Her vocal coach was like a second grandmother and she inspired her to make the move. The same year she moved to L.A., her vocal coach got breast cancer and sadly passed away before Janel could make it back. This episode is going to bring tears to my eyes a lot.
The dance is fluid and beautiful. She’s becoming a great dancer. I may not be a technical expert, but it seemed lacking in the Rumba and heavy on the Contemporary. When the cat’s away the mice will play, and on this show, Len Goodman is the cat and the pros are the mice. The judges love the expression of motion, but Bruno Tonioli wants her to work on the spins.
Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9+9=36
The last score is America’s vote, and the order of the first three is Carrie Ann, Julianne and Bruno.
Jonathan Bennett and Allison Holker: Samba
2004: His mom drove him to New York when he was 18 to be an actor. The highlight was the Mean Girls premiere, which he got to take them to. He lost his mom a year ago and his dad four months ago, and he wants to make the audience laugh because that’s what his dad would want.
The dance starts as a Christmas talent show and then morphs into Jonathan and Allison using their milkshakes to bring all the boys to the yard (an homage to Mean Girls). It’s definitely silly and ridiculous, but the dancing isn’t that great. In fact, it’s pretty terrible. I like him a lot, but this is a hot mess. The judges are all unanimous about how terrible the technique was. They are really taking him to task about focusing on substance over style. Erin Andres acts like a total fan girl by calling him Aaron, his character from the movie.
Judges’ Scores: 6+6+6+6=24
Ouch, America did not like it either. He’s in serious danger next week.
Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani: Jive
1975: It’s the year her daughter Lulu was born. Lulu’s father wasn’t supportive, so she ended the relationship to change things for the better. That’s when she started her own company. Everything is all about her daughter.
She does her best, but the footwork is awful and she seems to just stop doing it in some parts, blankly staring as Tony does his thing. This dance definitely showed her age. Carrie Ann Inaba says it was amazing and she nailed every single step. Um…did I miss something? Because she did not appear to hit every step. I eel like the judges are lowering the bar because she’s old. Heck, even Betsey admits that she screwed up twice, and at least Bruno caught it. Carrie Ann needs to get her eyes checked. After the dance, Betsey and Janel have a mock catfight over a shirtless Val.
Judges’ Scores: 8+7+7+7=29
America is doing pretty good.
Bethany and Derek are…SAFE!
Antonio and Cheryl are…SAFE!
Michael and Emma are…IN JEOPARDY!
Lea and Artem are…SAFE!
I’m so happy Lea is safe, but shocked Antonio keeps being safe.
Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: Rumba
2009: That’s when she started YouTube because she was bullied when she was 12 about how she was fat and ugly. She cries about it and talks about how YouTube gave her a voice. Yeah, bullying is bad, it gets better and all that other stuff. Sorry, but this story is not original or interesting to me. She’s acting like she’s the first person to spread the anti-bullying gospel.
They get to dance to a live performance by Coldie Caillat. The whole routine plays on the emotion of bullying and empowerment, with a giant screen full of words in the background. The dancing itself is OK, but her movements are still a bit stilted. Go back and watch Janel’s Rumba, because she’s so much more fluid and better at dancing.
Julianne cries about how beautiful and moving the concept was, but there wasn’t enough Rumba content. The judges are quite clear that they love the positive message of the routine, but the content was sorely lacking. Ugh, I hate when pros play entirely on sympathy and don’t focus on the dancing.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8+9=33
Boo, America! That 9 is for Derek and we all know it. Derek always wins public votes.
Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater: Quickstep
2001:That’s when he won the Daytona 500, even though people told him he’d never win. Dale Earnhardt, his mentor, died on the last lap of that race.
I’m very impressed with his dancing this week. I expected the worst with the Quickstep, but his steps were quick and appeared fine to me. Apparently I know nothing because the judges say it all went wrong with the steps towards the end. I did at least notice that the frame was pretty awful. Maybe it’s just because I have a low bar for him, but I seem to have liked it more than the judges did, which is weird.
Judges’ Scores: 6+6+6+7=25
I actually agree with America.
Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev: Contemporary
2003:Her dad was the coolest guy. He was diagnosed with cancer and only had one week left, so they celebrated all of the major holidays (birthday, Fourth of July, Halloween, Christmas) in that week. That’s so sweet and amazing.
Like Bethany, this is all about emotion, but it works because it’s Contemporary. The fact that she dances to “Dance with My Father” puts it over the top. It helps that the dancing is so beautiful and expressive. This is just perfection.
Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10+9=39
What the hell is wrong with you, America? Even Tom and Erin call out America for being wrong. I bet if Artem was named Derek, that would’ve been a 10.
Antonio Sabato, Jr. and Cheryl Burke: Samba
1989: His big break was in a sexy music video with Janet Jackson that helped launch his career. This dance is for his mom.
He finally goes shirtless, but with suspenders so he looks like a Chippendales performer. It’s perfectly adequate, but I just do not connect with him at all as a performer. Julianne says he needs to work on filling the space and Bruno points out a few missed steps. He’s just OK.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+8=29
America is being way too nice for everyone, except Jonathan and Lea.
Alfonso and Witney are…SAFE!
Sadie and Mark are…SAFE!
Tommy and Peta are…IN JEOPARDY!
Seriously? Tommy got a 10 last week and was second on the leaderboard.
Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: Jive
2003: He went to jail for drug paraphernalia charges, taking the wrap to protect his son. He learned to appreciate his freedom, so that’s what this dance is about.
They dance to “Jailhouse Rock” and it’s…fun. But it’s not all that great. Like with Betsey, the Jive is just too much for someone as old as he is, so it’s kind of silly and wacky. The judges have fun watching him, even though there were a lot of mistakes.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28
Tommy makes plenty of hokes about being in jail, the best being that he’d be OK with Tony as a partner in the Switch-Up.
Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: Samba
2012: Her life was flipped upside-down when Duck Dynasty started. She liked having fans, but it was hard to deal with the negative stuff, like when her grandpa got in trouble for what he said about gays. It’s probably not the best idea to bring that up on a dancing show with fabulous costumes. She talks all about doing it for family and God.
Mark is dressed in a Duck Dynasty beard and camo. Maybe it’s my personal bias against everything her family stands for, but I find it hard to connect with her. It also doesn’t help that she preaches about family values, but once again is wearing a very skimpy outfit. It’s also weird that Mark is dressed like her dad. The judges love it. Yeah, there’s plenty of Samba and the dancing itself is good, but I just don’t care.
Judges’ Scores: 9+10+9+9=37
So now five people have earned 10s so far this season. Not too shabby for only four weeks in.
Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: Jazz
1990-1996: His years on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air were great, but it hurt his career since no one could see him as anything other than Carlton. But he’s come around to loving it again, especially the signature Carlton dance.
HE DID THE CARLTON! Finally! In addition, this was an insanely fun and flirtatious routine with lots of smooth moves. Jazz gives him the freedom to show off all of his moves and he has a lot. Like Lea, this is perfection, but in a completely different kind of way.
Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10+10=40
At least we know American is capable of a 10.
It’s down to Michael and the two oldest stars, Tommy and Betsey.
Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani ARE ELIMINATED!
Aww, no. Why does Michael keep staying? She was fun anf feisty, but at least she got to dance with her daughter tonight.
Next week is the Switch-Up Challenge, so we’ll see which new partnerships are formed and whether they work or don’t. And will Jonathan be able to survive another week or will Michael keep slipping ahead?
40: Alfonso Ribeiro
39: Lea Thompson
37: Sadie Robertson
36: Janel Parrish
33: Bethany Mota
29: Antonio Sabato, Jr.
28: Tommy Chong
25: Michael Waltrip
24: Jonathan Bennett
(Image courtesy of ABC)