It’s My Jam Monday, where the celebrities get to pick their favorite song to dance to. So do the judges; the opening number gets all four of them the chance to do some moves to their favorite songs, including Bruno dancing to “Born This Way,” because of course he does. Then come the competitive jams:
Randy Couture & Karina Smirnoff: Cha Cha Cha to the Otis Redding version of “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” In the fluff he says he likes this dance more than the foxtrot because it’s “naughty” rather than romantic. He dons an army uniform(he notes later he was in the army for six years) playing a soldier who gets a dance from Karina when she comes to entertain the troops. He is very clearly having so much fun you don’t even notice the technical deficiencies at first, but that effect starts to fade a bit by the end. The judges praise his enthusiasm but have a lot of technical criticisms, and give him straight Sevens for 28.
Janel Parrish & Val Chmerkovskiy: Foxtrot to “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. The fluff is about her wanting to do better technically, and Val driving her hard in practice all week to make that happen. He must have also driven himself choreographically because we should be all Call Me Maybed out in 2014, but he comes up with a delightful masked ball routine, and she delivers within it, showing the same magic she had last week, but this time technically refined. Bruno sums the judge’s reaction up: almost perfect. With some small technical reservations remaining, however, he and Carrie-Ann give out Nines and the other two five Eights for 34.
Lea Thompson & Artem Chigvintsev: Jive to “Land of 1,000 Dances” by Wilson Pickett. Like Janel and Val, they have a stressful week, with Lea traumatized by her brush with jeopardy. And like Janel & Val, they pull it off well tonight, with her even managing to dodge a wardrobe malfunction, if once again not perfectly; Bruno notes they missed a tiny pass. Carrie-Ann, on the other hand gets so excited in he response she falls out of her chair. Len gives at Eight, and Nines from the others leave them with 35, which ultimately proves the highest score of the night.
Michael Waltrip & Emma Slater: Samba to “Girls in Bikinis” by Lee Brice. Emma is not happy with this choice of song; she doesn’t want to wear a bikini, though we see her preparing for it in the fluff, as well as Michael briefly wearing one at the end of it. She also brings out two more girls in bikinis to dance with them. Between the three women and Michael’s hips being really good, it looks nice initially, but then the other two leave the floor and one has to face that even if he’s doing the hips, he really isn’t doing much else. Len does admit he likes it, while adding he has no idea why, but the judges still only give Sixes, for 24.
Tavis Smily & Sharna Burgess: Cha cha cha to “Boogie Wonderland” by Earth, Wind, and Fire. Another stressful week, in this case because he spends the week traveling around promoting his new book; the fluff shows them practicing in hotel corridors. There isn’t enough practice time, and at one point he warns her he’ll melt down if she doesn’t reduce the content. Presumably she does, since he ends up not doing enough content, really, and he doesn’t melt down, and even gets a fun disco groove going, but while he does the moves he lacks the certainty of them. Three judges criticize him technically while praising her performance, while Carrie-Ann thinks he had the opposite problem, but the scores are another set of straight Sevens for 28.
Alfonso Ribeiro & Witney Carson: Samba to “Getting Jiggy Wit It” by Will Smith. After the surprise success last week, they’re feeling the pressure, and like last week, he spends it unsure if he can pull this much harder new dance off. And just like last week, he leaves all that behind and puts in a great, energetic performance. Except this time the judges, even after noting his first two dances suit him and next week’s may not, have technical objections to make, because the samba demands very precise technique he didn’t nail, so they lower their scores to straight Eights and 32…
Oh, and Len drops while commenting on this dance that he’s not going to be here next week! Is that going to become a regular thing for him, dropping these bombshells like this? Well, this isn’t the biggest of them; he’s been out for individual weeks before. Details later, Tom says, and we actually don’t get them this evening; we’ll have to wait for the results show, it seems.
Bethany Mota & Derek Hough: Foxtrot to “All About That Bass” with Meghan Trainor. And we have our first injury of the season; Bethany is having trouble with her ankle, which gets worse, until come Sunday she’s really worried if she’ll be able to do the dance. But there’s no sign of any of that when she does dance(the way she describes it later, it sounds like the adrenaline blocked the pain out while she was actually dancing). She even does an apparently very difficult balancing act of standing on a bass cello before she and Derek get down the dancing, and they nail off of that too. Len sums it up: best so far tonight, and he gives it a Nine. But the others only give Eights, so she and Derek are left with 33.
Betsey Johnson & Tony Dovolani: Foxtrot to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” The fluff indicates she was even more traumatized than Lea, since after all she was in the bottom two, and she talks about wanting to be elegant, like old Hollywood stars. And indeed there is an echo of that glamour when she dances, this time thankfully free of any mishaps or mistakes, much of the joy of everyone in the room; she and Tony go a little crazy and the end, and they get a standing ovation. Still, she lacks the smoothness you really have to have to do this kind of thing justice, and while the judges all are nice in their comments, they only raise their scores to Sevens, for the third 24 of the night.
Antonio Sabato, Jr. & Cheryl Burke: Rumba to “Adorn” by Miguel. Cheryl did not want to do the rumba this early, and it does seem unfortunate, as Antonio is still getting accustomed to her making him sexy, resulting in yet another team that has a rough week. And in the end, she does grab more attention in the dance. But he does it well, hips moving right and without any of the awkwardness that plagued him last week. Len and Julianne both sum it up when they say it’s really much better than last week, and Len’s score goes up to Seven while everyone else’s go up to Eights, for a total of 31.
Tommy Chong & Peta Murgatroyd: Salsa to “Higher by Gloria Estefan. Tommy admits in the fluff he actually has some recreational salsa experience. But that might have been some time ago, and meanwhile, Peta doesn’t want to rely on his personality this week; she wants him to hit it technically. Fortunately he does, if with not quite the speed and surety one might have liked him to have, and if it doesn’t have quite the effect last week’s routine did(perhaps just because the surprise factor has worn off), it’s still pretty fun, with him opening his shirt too. The judges all have positive comments and Straight 7s, making theirs the fourth 28 of the night.
Jonathan Bennett & Allison Holker: Cha cha cha to “Sing” by Ed Sheeran. The fluff has her trying to draw his sexiness out, which isn’t his strongest point. Then in the dance itself, she makes a rookie error, giving herself way too much of the choreography and him not enough, though he still struggles with the footwork at one point. Len and Carrie-Ann both call out the routine, with Len even lecturing Allison on giving the celebrity more content to do, before giving them Sevens, though Bruno and Julianne(who talks about believing in the potential of this pair) are nicer with Eights, for a total of 30.
Sadie Robertson & Mark Ballas: Jazz to “She’s Country” by Jason Aldean. Most of the fluff is the struggle to get her father to approve costumes, but Mark is also sure to note he has never had to combine jazz and country before. He does his best, utilizing a pickup truck and the beginning and end of the routine, but in between it’s pure dancing. It’s also a little sexier than you’d expect, considering both Sadie’s age and her father, but she does well with it, thriving in a dance that really does suit her. The judges mostly praise her, though Len admits he is still not convinced country and jazz are really combinable, and Julianne actually doesn’t think Sadie was as good technically as she was last week. A Seven from Len and Eights from the other leave them with 31.
So we end the night with one couple four points behind four more couples, but I don’t think, I think Michael & Emma might or might not be able to make up that gap, but I’m still leaning towards not. We’ll find out tomorrow night. Hopefully then we’ll also find out who’s replacing Len.