And here, in week 9, we are finally down to six couples, which means time for them to do two full dances. Plus the opening number has them each do a “move,” while viewers are invited to vote for their favorites on twitter(Corbin steals the show by making use of the judge’s stand, but Amber & Derek ultimately win). First come the normal two-person routines:
Amber Riley & Derek Hough: Quickstep to “Diga Diga Doo” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Her knees continue to be a problem, with it limiting her rehearsal time, and Derek saying he’s never gone on with so little rehearsal. Indeed, it takes its toll on her technically when she dances. The judges all acknowledge her injury and give her straight 8s for 24.
Leah Remini & Tony Dovolani: Tango to “Love Me Again” by John Newman. In the fluff she struggles with her posture while Tony thinks the expression at least shouldn’t be a problem. It isn’t; she dances very well, and Carrie-Ann call her dancing like she’s four inches taller. The judges give her straight 9s for 27.
Corbin Bleu & Karina Smirnoff: Waltz to “Apologize” by OneRepublic. Slow waltz, they call it, and after what happened with the Viennese Waltz, they say in the fluff they want to go traditional for what Karina calls Len’s favorite dance. So they do just that, and Corbin really can pull a waltz off, and with some intensity too. Though Len and Carrie-Ann both have slight technical quibbles that keep their scores down to 9, but Bruno gives them a 10, so they total 28.
Jack Osbourne & Cheryl Burke: Viennese Waltz to “Let Me Go” by Avril Lavigne & Chad Kroeger. They celebrate his birthday in the fluff, before coming out with a waltz where Jack shows himself capable of grace, to the point that Bruno declares “ballroom just flows out of you,” except he didn’t think his hands were perfect, so he only gives a 9 while there are 10s from Len and Carrie-Ann for 29, which will ultimately becomes the top score of the first round.
Bill Engvall & Emma Slater: Charleston to “Yakety Yak” by the Coasters. He asks Emma to push him, but she arugably pushes him too far, and he can’t do the dance she gives him. She also gives him a character to portray, because really, that’s what he carries himself on, and he does that fine. But the judges say the obviously; they love him, but the dance wasn’t good, and they give straight 7s, for 21.
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren & Valentin Chmerkovskiy: Viennese Waltz to “Young and Beautiful” by Lana del Ray. This week, according to the fluff, Elizabeth decided to listen to Val more. That presumably allows her to perform the dance well, and maybe also the chemistry they show that exceeds everybody else’s this week; there’s an intangible quality about this dance the previous five of the first round didn’t have. Except Carrie-Ann thinks she was off in the beginning, and Len didn’t like the routine, and he gives an 8 while the other two 9s for 26.
After an interview with last season’s winner Kellie Pickler where her new album is plugged, it’s time for the trio numbers, where each couple brings out another pro with them, either one eliminated already or one from the dance troupe. Of course Amber & Derek recruit Mark, Leah & Tony go with Henry Byalikov, who helped him get straight 10s with Melissa, Karina & Corbin are joined by dance troupe member Witney Carson, Jack & Cheryl are joined by Sharna whom Cheryl picks because of their similar ways of doing things, and similarly Bill & Emma end up with Peta whom Emma calls “just as crazy” as her, while Elizabeth & Val get the services of Val’s fellow Eastern European Gleb Savchenko. The second round actually ends up being quite memorable:
Amber Riley, Derek Hough, & Mark Ballas: Salsa to “Qui Viva La Vida” by Wisin. The two of them bounce choreography off each other and in the fluff Amber suffers from overload. But by tonight she’s used to it, absorbs it all, and manages to kill it with what they give her. Len calls her a “ray of sunshine on a gloomy day,” but the judges lament her knees weaken her ability to use her hips, so they can only give her 9s, so her total for the week ends up being 51.
Leah Remini, Tony Dovolani, & Henry Byalikov: Jive to “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister. She wants to involve the judges, and then they decide to portray them. They do a hysterical job doing it, and managed to do so in a well choreographed number that nonetheless quietly centers on Leah. The judges all profess to love it, but some quibbles about Leah hitting all her kicks results in more straight 9s; they combined score totals 54.
Corbin Bleu, Karina Smirnoff, & Witney Carson: Jazz to a jazzed version of Usher’s “Yeah.” In the fluff they say they want this routine to be “Fosse-esque” and avant garde, and how between both women having dance experience & Corbin himself has Broadway experience and so his own opinion about the choreography. So the fluff shows them arguing, but at some point they put it together, result in a routine Corbin fits into hand in glove, and performs to perfection. Carrie-Ann calls it the best routine she’s ever, ever, every been on the show, and she and Bruno agree Fosse unexpectedly lives in Corbin. He gets straight 10s of course, adding 30 to his score to total 58, ultimately the highest collective total of the week.
Jack Osbourne, Cheryl Burke, & Sharna Burgess: Samba to “I Wanna Be Like You” by Louis Prima. They have a “Jungle Book”-like story where Sharna is the evil creature Jack rescues Cheryl from. Except he actually spent most of the routine dancing with them, of course, and one gets a real feel of party atmosphere from him. Good technique, no so much, and Len and Carrie-Ann will only give him 8s, though he gets a 9 from Bruno. The resulting 26 is added to his earlier score to make a total of 55.
Bill Engvall, Emma Slater, & Peta Murgatroyd: Salsa to “Candy” by Robbie Williams. Since Bill always plays a character, they decided here he will play Willy Wonka, with Emma and Peta as “candy girls.” The result is somewhat scarring of everybody’s childhood memories, but in any case it boils down to the same thing the Charleston deos: he protrays a character and does a very good job of that, but he still has no technique. Once again the judges give him straight 7s, and he ends up with a total of 42.
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, & Gleb Savchenko: Salsa. And yes, Val & Gleb do take their shirts off. But even aside from that it’s a well-done routine, which Burno Carrie-Ann agree is the best dance she’s done yet. Len then calls him a human frisbee. So we get another set of straight 10s, bringing their score up to 56.
With six couples to deal with, four of them are quickly enough called safe, leaving Elizabeth & Val and Bill & Emma. There are 14 points between them, and it is at this point you realize it’s all well and good to have a celebrity like Bill Engvall last as long as he has, there are times when it is due that only the better dancers remain on that show, and weeks when it really is time for the weak dancer with the personality to go home. This is one of those times, Bill & Emma ought to go home, but will they?
….nope. Elizabeth & Val are out instead. Everyone in the ballroom is shocked and upset; even Bill & Emma look sad. They all know this is not the couple who should be leaving. Elizabeth is graciousness itself, while Val heaps the praises on her, but really, this shouldn’t be necessary.
So now the question is, just how much longer can we really put up with Bill?