Dancing With the Stars, Season 18, Week 4, Switch-Up Week

They are certainly having fun with this switch gimmick: the opening number, which even gives all four judges(including guest judge Julianne Hough) a moment on the floor, is even to a certain Will Smith song called “Switch,” and has much switch-themed choreography.  The celebrities all come out alone(except Meryl & Charlie come out together), and we get a clarification that noone’s going home tonight, but scores will combine with last week’s, which is probably good because this is going to be crazy enough a night as it is, and we also learn partners will be announced over the course of the show(though the information was actually leaked beforehand):


Candace Cameron Bure & Tony Dovolani: Quickstep to “The Ballroom Blitz”  by the Sweet.  The fluff has her commenting she didn’t want Tony because he’s been making comments that embarrass her, but she’s better with it by the time the week ends.  Their quickstep is one done hard rock style, with her even throwing her hair back and worth; Bruno calls is a “Quickstep performed by the Sex Pistols.”  Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem quite certain on her feet, especially at the beginning, and the judges have issues with her frame too; they think maybe she didn’t adapt well to Tony.  They give her straight 7s, combining 28 with 32 from last week for a total of 60.

James Maslow & Cheryl Burke: Tango to “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry.  Charlie & Peta are also announced as dancing together so the two pairs can be seen skyping each other in the fluff piece.  Though despite her being smaller than he’s used to they take to each other very well.  Maybe that’s how they manage a truly stunning routine, where he lures her away from her throne and attendants and it’s as powerful and intense as a paso doble, and pretty good technically.  Len suggests it might have gone slightly over manic, but he only problem the other judges have is with his butt position, though Julianne does feel the need to demonstrate what he was doing with it.  Len gives an 8, the other three 9s, and he combines the 35 with last week’s 36 for 71.

Drew Carey & Witney Carson: Cha cha cha.  They’re both surprised to get each other, if only because of the age difference; he calls it dancing with his daughter, and she has to adapt to his not picking it up as fast the Cody, though he thinks she’s doing well with him.  But she’s determined to get him higher scores than he got last week, and she shows some ability to choreograph smart; he makes him a routine he shines in even when his footwork isn’t as solid and assured as it could be, where Bruno describes him as “somewhere between Elvis Presley & Liberace.”  Len adds, “I haven’t has a much fun in a minute and a half since I was a teenager,” and they get a 9 from Julianne and 8s from the other three, adding a 33 to 30 for 63.

And then there’s an interlude for a Macy’s “Stars of Dance” performance which is, quite frankly, so stunning you know immediately this will be the best thing we watch tonight.  Derek choreographs it calling it something like a paso doble and a flamenco combined, and it has everything, spellbinding dancing, shirtless guys, perfectly used special effects, but the spellbinding dancing above all.  Then the competition resumes:

Danica McKellar & Maks Chmerkovskiy: Jive to “Love Me Right!” by the Swag Geeks & Brook Pennings.  In the fluff, Danica learns the hard way the brothers are not as similar as she thought; he doesn’t explain things as much as Val and she asks more question than Meryl(who’s more used to being trained by Russians).  But tonight their biggest problem is probably when their music starts wrong; they cover it as best they can as like James he has to lure her away from a pair of attendants, but things still feel a little off.   She also loses her skirt, and the two girls from the beginning hang around to end the dance with them , when causes Len to say too much gimmick, not enough jive.  But Julianne causes the real stir when she accuses Maks of phoning it in while waiting to reunite with Meryl!  They get straight 8s, combining a 32 with 36 for 68 total.

Charlie White & Peta Murgatroyd:  Rumba to ‘Wildest Moments” by Jesse Ware.  He makes a blond jokes, and comments Peta doesn’t plan as such as Sharna.  She sets a mood with a fog machine, and with his hair slicked back Charlie turns himself into a hypnotizing creature, and the two of them create an image everyone agrees is gorgeous.  But it feels much more like a contemporary than a rumba, and with Charlie’s hips not doing the thing Len and Carrie-Ann declare that it wasn’t, and Carrie-Ann also cites them for a lift.  But the other side of the table love it, so while Len only gives them an 8 and Carrie-Ann docks her score down to 7, Bruno and Julianne both give 9s, so they get a 33 to combine with 36 for a total of 69.

Amy Purdy & Mark Ballas: Salsa.  Mark has to consult with Derek on how to work with her artificial legs, but once he gets some advice from him he adapts well to them, and even gives Amy a *lot* of content and some of it deliberately hands free, just to show she can do that.  And she can; she nails everything, including some very good hip action.  Len and Julianne only giving them 8s results in boos, while they get 9s from Carrie-Ann and Bruno, so she combines a 34 with last week’s 36 for a total of 70.

Cody Simpson & Sharna Burgess: Foxtort to “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.  He’s happy to be working with his fellow Aussie, but they do feel a bit of an age gap.  This was one of the songs that originally got him noticed on YouTube, and he actually sings the first part of the song during the routine, before he really starts dancing and the pit singers take over.  That’s beautiful, and so is the way he glides around the floor with her, but is technique is less pretty according to the judges, who especially critique how he’s doing in hold, though they do note he’s improving there.  Julianne tells him she wants to see him trying something “un-Cody.”  Len only gives them a 7, but the others give 8s, so he adds 31 to 35 for 66.

Nene Peakes & Derek Hough: Jazz to “Grown Woman” by Beyonce.  She is naturally very happy to have Derek preparing her for dancing a rhythm that suits her so well.  I suspect Derek’s detractors were responsible for this pairing, but he has no problem handling her, and even when they too have a music malfunction they cover it pretty smoothly.  Carrie-Ann claims she didn’t even notice the music problem, and Len calls it her best dance rest.  It’s another set for straight 8s to add to the 31 for 64 total.

Meryl Davis & Valentin Chmerkovskiy:  Argentine Tango to “Too Close” by Alex Clare.  Though we see him braiding her hair in the fluff, Meryl calls Val more serious than Maks, and when they try to dance over skype Maks refuses t0 watch out of jealously.  He’s really missing something, though; Meryl durings into a lean, mean, Argetine Tango machine, and she does become that, making everything sharp and fast and summoning up a little heat while she’s at it.  Len calls it the dance of the night, Carrie-Ann calls them in a class of their own and untouchable, and Julianne says she’d like to dance like Meryl.  Some nitpickiness from Len results in him only giving them a 9, but 10s from the other three gives Meryl her second 39 in a row, distancing the others with her 78 total.

Next week everyone gets their old partners back-except, apparently when they’ll be dancing with Disney characters!  How’s that going to work?

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