Dancing With the Stars, Season 18, Week 2, Choose Your Own Dance Night

So the Tuesday morning announcement just related to the Houghs and not to the show, but there was an unpleasant surprise to start the show with this evening instead: it’s a double elimination!  And it’s not happening immediately: it’ll instead hang over everybody’s heads as something that can happen “at any time.”  Also the switching process starts tonight, with fans voting for whom they want to dance with whom in two weeks’ time on Twitter.  So meanwhile the stars will be doing dances that they chose to do for week 2 even before they got their partners, and the first couple called safe are the also the first couple to perform:

 

Drew Carey & Cheryl Burke: Jive to “You Can’t Sit Down” by the Dovells.  Not the dance Cheryl would’ve chosen for him, she says, without saying why, though my guess would be because it’s so step-intensive.  But she makes him rise to the challenge: all the gimmicks with microphone-singing and throwing his jacket off are at the beginning, and after that it’s all content, and she doesn’t do that much more than him.  The dance does suit his personality, and his smile is so overwhelming you kind of don’t care if his footwork is faulty.  Though the judges have to, they give straight 7s for 21 with Carrie-Ann speaking of how high the scores could’ve been without the mistakes.

Then they call three more couples safe:

Danica McKellar & Valentin Chmerskovskiy: Samba to “All Nite(Don’t Stop)” by Janet Jackson .  Val doesn’t say whether or not he would’ve chosen this one, but he doesn’t seem to disapprove that much, since he talks about choreographing a routine  he’d do with a professional partner.  During the week trying to learn it reduces her to tears, but tonight it’s pretty much samba + Val = HOT, and Danica isn’t bad either, though she’s not technically perfect, which results is straight 8s from the judges for 24.

Billy Dee Williams & Emma Slater: Tango to the Blues Brothers theme.    After last week’s he’s kind of depressed about the scores and doubting he’s physically capable of dancing well.  Emma tells him just to have fun and brings in two pretty young ladies to further accompany them tangoing.  This apparently convinces him to see the fun side of the dancing, but he still pretty much walks through the routine tonight and lets Emma and occasionally the other two do all the hard stuff.  The judges tell him frankly he has to do more than that for higher scores and give him straight 5s for another 15.

Meryl Davis & Maksim Chmerskovskiy: Swing to “Big and Bad” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  Smart choice on her part; this is another style of dance modern ice dancing lends itself too, although when Maks calls their routine the most lift-intensive one he’s ever done she says same goes for her, as he tosses her over his head and complains during practice he’s “way too old for this.”  But it all goes great tonight: from a fun beginning up in the sky box, to the lifts being spectacular without defining the routine; one gets a real sense of swing dancing as well as technical brilliance.  Except that while Len says “that swing had wings” and breaks out the 9, Bruno and Carrie-Ann both accuse them of losing the timing a couple of times and keep their scores at 8s, for 25 total.

Three more couples to have their fates announced:  Amy & Derek are safe, as are Candace & Mark.  But Diana & Henry are revealed to have had the lowest score of anyone, and they’re out.  They still get to do their cha cha cha to Junior Senior’s “Move Your Feet” though, as a farewell dance.  Sadly, she’s still a little stiff.  Then the competition goes on:

Candace Cameron Bure & Mark Ballas: Rumba to “Say Something” by A Great Big World featuring Christina Aguilera.  The continue to play up a Candace/Danica rivalry interviewing the guy who dated both of them.  Meanwhile, she’s now regretting choosing the rumba, as the fluff is mainly about creating a routine that doesn’t offend her religious sensibilities; she wants a dance that is sensual rather than sexual.  The routine Mark creates certainly is, and when they dance it, it’s emotional and striking, great to watch.  But the judges don’t find it good as a rumba, with Carrie-Ann even saying it had too much contemporary and not enough rumba, and only give it 7s for 21.

Amy Purdy & Derek Hough: Swing.  She chose it because she thought it looked fun, but now she’s worried about if her legs can handle it, and if in fact they might not going flying off during the routine.  Thankfully they don’t, even though they do a fast, intensive routine, perfectly to the music, that leaves everyone marveling at her again, even with a split second of an arm going awry near the end.  Though that does keep the judges scores down to 8s for 24.

Two more couples are then called safe:

James Maslow & Peta Murgatroyd: Salsa to “Follow the Leader” by Wisin & Yanel featuring Jennifer Lopez.  They decide to embrace his eye candy status while still working on increasing their technical ability, and he wants to beat Cody.  Certainly they have the eye candy thing down paty, with both of them showing some skin, and Carrie-Ann even inducts him into the DWTS Sexy Hall of Fame(with a 9), but he lacks some crispness, with Len suggesting maybe they went a little too fast even for the salsa, and he and Bruno only give 8s, to tie Meryl & Maks at 25.

Charlie White & Sharna Burgess: Tango to “Addicted to You” by Avicii.  Since whitebread Charlie is not at all used to being a bad boy, Sharna sends him to Maks for advice.  It does help him build up a little bit of power and illicit thrill and especially sexual frisson  to his dancing, with Carrie-Ann comparing him to Barishnikov.  But while Sharna guesses right about Maks, she guesses wrong about Len; they break hold in the routine when they shouldn’t, he objects and while the other two judges give 9s, he only gives a 7, so they end up with a three way tie with Meryl & Maks and James & Peta; ultimately these three couples end the evening on top together.

Now there are three couples left to dance, one of which apparently had the second-lowest total after last week.  But that was apparently still enough to get them a dance with scores, as Tom announces that which one of them is going Diana and Henry on the way out will be announced after they’ve all danced:

NeNe Leakes & Tony Dovolani: Jive to “Do My Thing” by Estell featuring Janelle Monae.  This apparently was her husband’s choice; he loves the jive and wants to dance it with her.  She is not pleased with him for much of the week.  She’s got reason to worry, when at the beginning of the routine tonight she manages to make an error.  Still she goes on and is fine for the rest of it, and it doesn’t stop her from grinning and selling through the whole thing anyway.  Carrie-Ann and Tony argue whether it might’ve been appropriate to have her arms do more despite the jive normally discouraging too exuberant arms, and they get straight 7s for 21.

Sean Avery & Karina Smirnoff: Salsa.  A good deal of the fluff involves the need for him to smile during this dance; smiling on cue isn’t easy for him.  There is talking about making dirty faces as well.  He does smile a bit during the salsa, and also shows off some speed and sharpness in his dancing, at least when he’s dancing clean, though there are some moments when he isn’t.  But his hips don’t do much, which the judges are sure to criticize him for, and while Len makes a point of raising his score to 7, this only results in more staight 7s for 21.

Witney Carson & Cody Simpson: Tango to “Yeah 3x” by Chris Brown(ugh).  Having chosen the tango being he saw video of his parents dancing it at their wedding, Cody wants to give the dance his own character, but Witney keeps shooting him down, telling him they have to keep a tango traditional.  In the end, however, they managed to include what Tom called “Tron formalwear” and a moonwalk in the routine.  Once again Cody’s intense enough to draw your attention in, but he dances a little too fast and loose for a tango, and while Bruno gives an 8 the other two give 7s for 22.

NeNe & Tony are first of the last three to be called safe, and at that point, between one guy with apparently a lot of female teenage fans, and one guy still hated by the majority of his sports’ fans, ultimately it’s a no-brainer.  Sure enough, Sean & Karina are out.  He says it’s been a good month.

More announcing on Good Morning America tomorrow, this time of what guest judges are to come.  Guess that’s far better than all the things it could’ve been an announcement for…

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