So if a show has a Julianne Hough as a guest judge, and makes a ridiculous amount of fuss over it, and then has a Cher as a guest judge later, it’s only fair that they act as if it’s the event of the century, or at least as if she must be the center of absolutely everything that happens in the ballroom that week. So Dancing With the Stars this week proceeded to do just that. And not even just in having her face projected everywhere, or in having her sing “Believe” as the opening number where she comes down from the ceiling, and then another song from her new album after the first round, or in constant attention being paid to her being at the judging table. No, the entire night is a tribute to her: everyone’s dancing to her music.
We also learn at the start of the show that it’s immunity/dance off night. This, done for the first time last season, means whoever scores highest in the first round wins immunity and cannot be eliminated, then the remaining six couples dance off against each other in pairs, and the winner of each dance-off gets three points extra. Though given how close everyone’s scores end up being, it’s actually a surprise when one pair actually does end up with a score higher than everyone else’s:
Corbin Blue & Karina Smirnoff: Argentine Tango to “Welcome to Burlesque.” We also learn about Corbin that he’s involving in the production of an anti-bullying film called The Day I Die, and that things went crazy this week and he had to go to meetings and answer the phone a lot at the expense of practice time. So when they do the routine, they have no problem being hot and sexy and hinting at electricity, but Corbin does have trouble keep his feet steady. The judges respond with straight 9s for 27.
Leah Remini & Tony Dovolani: Viennese Waltz to “I Got You Babe.” They decide to recreate the first meeting of Sonny & Cher in a coffee shop, with her talking about how sweet and romantic it was, ignoring how that relationship ended. The dance is indeed the kind of routine that whirls in romance, though there seems something off about it technically at times. Carrie-Ann and Bruno agree on that, though they have different takes on what the problem was. Cher doesn’t care; she loves seeing the moment from her life recreated, and it seems Leah and Tony got that part right, at least. So she gives a 9 and the other two give 8s for 25 total.
Brant Daugherty & Peta Murgatroyd: Foxtrot to “It’s in His Kiss.” The fluff piece shows them on the set of Pretty Little Liars, but like Corbin he lost a lot of training time this week. Their staging involves a couch covered with presents, and yes, they do kiss at the end. It’s fun enough, he does all the steps right, and Cher praises his smile and star quality, but his technique isn’t quite right, and both Carrie-Ann and Bruno both say there are steps to take there. Still it’s straight 9s and 27.
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren & Valentin Chmerkovskiy: Jazz to “Bang Bang.” They initially had another song and prepared a routine, but then she requested the change because she really loves “Bang Bang.” Not the easiest thing to do when everyone is also learning multiple extra routines for the dance off. But tonight with red light and shirtless Val she charges through a dramatic, raw routine full throttle. Maybe a little too much; Carrie-Ann and Bruno both think she could’ve hit the moves at the right moments in the music better; it is suggested she might have been going too fast. So while Cher still gives out another 9, the other two give out 8s for 25 total.
Bill Engvall & Emma Slater: Disco to “Strong Enough.” One of Cher’s favorites, apparently. In the interview he reveals himself as a bit of a Cher fanboy, and notes he was around for the disco era and likes it. He gets excited all right, and in the routine his enthusiasm probably makes most of the viewers forgive that his technique was so faulty even Cher had to observe there were problems. He goes a little crazy at the end too, jumping around and yelling. The judges are all nice and give him straight 8s, though their 24 still ultimately ends up being the lowest score.
Jack Osbourne & Cheryl Burke: Tango to “The Beat Goes On.” In the interview, Cheryl reveals she was actually named for Cher, while in the fluff, Jack is more nervous about performing in front of her after watching father Ozzy get mad at bad performances of his songs. But it’s all okay, because aside from a little trouble at the beginning he pretty much nails the dance, no problem. Cher’s main reaction was to compare him to a pimp, which Bruno promptly said was appropriate for the tango anyway. Straight 9s again, and now we have three pairs tied for the top with one more to go.
Amber Riley & Derek Hough: Rumba to “Turn Back Time.” She’s now been in the hospital thanks to a torn knee tendon and can’t always practice; sometimes she has to watch Derek practice with Whitney instead. She says she learns well that way, and maybe she does, because when it comes to doing the moves in the routine, for which they are accompanied by five extra sailors, there isn’t much she does wrong, and things are further improved by her removing Derek’s shirt. It gets mixed results, though; Carrie-Ann thinks it could’ve been better, and she and Cher give 9s, but Bruno breaks out the 10 paddle, allowing Amber and Derek to get the highest score at 28 and immunity.
So we don’t need the “cumulative points” tiebreaker to determine who gets out of the danceoff, but we do for the danceoff itself as the teams in order of their rank chose which team they want to face off against, then the lower ranked team determines the dance:
Faceoff 1: The tiebreaker ends up giving Corbin & Karina first pick, but they, surprisingly, pick Elizabeth & Val, who pick the cha cha. They cha cha to “Women’s World,” and both teams are great, but maybe its Corbin’s hip action that wins it but ultimately he and Karina by unanimous vote pick up to the points to raise their score to 30.
Faceoff 2: Brant & Peta pick next, and still surprisingly they pick Leah & Tony over Bill & Emma. Leah & Tony request the rumba to “I Found Someone.” They’re good at the rumba, but then Leah & Tony match them, and in the surprise take the win in a split vote. Their total goes up to 28.
Faceoff 3: Which means Jack & Cheryl luck into only having to deal with Bill & Emma. They have to deal with them dancing disco, of course, which Bill continues to be energetic about, but he still isn’t that hard to outdance technically, and Jack & Cheryl take it unanimously to bring their total up to 30.
Tom finds a very quick way to console Bill & Emma: he directs them to read out loud the teleprompter, which provokes another excited reaction when it tells them their safe. After the commerical break, Tom and Brooke call three more couples safe, until Jack & Cheryl and Brant & Peta are left. So now, considering these two couples had the same total until one won their faceoff and the other didn’t, the viewers must ask themselves: have Jack & Cheryl escaped on the grounds of everyone else being too stupid to pick Bill, and Brant & Peta lost out by choosing the wrong competitor?
Well, who knows. It’s not impossible this week’s competition was decided purely by votes. But in any case , it comes out to the same: Peta & Brant are out. Their comments are very typically and proper.
Next week come the trio numbers. I don’t suppose Cher will have any involvement with those….