Movie night on Dancing With the Stars opens first with a montage noting which movies various stars will be paying tribute to tonight, followed by an opening number with multiple Marilyn Monroes, and multiple…baseball players(okay, don’t get that one at all). Then guest judge Kevin Hart gets to dance out before taking his seat(he gets to do some hand-jiving to promote an upcoming film a little later). We are then reminded that this is the first one-night week of the season, and we also learn why there wasn’t a bottom two announced last week: because there will be an elimination this week, which essentially means the other pair that was in it last week will go at the night’s end.
So they start calling couples safe or “in jeopardy” as they go along, and in an departure from the usual procedure of the previous seasons, the first couple to perform tonight are called the latter:
Randy Couture & Karina Smirnoff: Paso doble to “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky III. Randy compares his own life to Rocky’s, although Karina warns him in practice she’ll be the one kicking his ass this week. The paso doble conveys an impression of a fight between them, and ends with him doing an impressive somersault over her. Unfortunately the rest of the routine really isn’t as good; in a dance where he’s supposed to be sure and dominate, he’s uncertain and pretty much lets her obviously lead him around, and Julianne and Bruno criticize him heavily for lack of timing. They give him Sixes. But Carrie-Ann and Kevin liked it more, and give him Sevens, so they take a total of 26.
Two more couples are called safe, much to the surprise of the latter:
Alfonso Ribeiro & Witney Carson: Quickstep to “Hey Goldmemember” from Austin Powers in Goldmember. He films a segment of dancing with crewpeople to the main Austin Powers film, but doing the quickstep isn’t quite so easy, especially when it comes to his posture. The fluff has him thinking it’s not a dance that suits him. Except that when he and Witney take the floor, accompanied by a mini-Alfonso and a pair of background dancers, it turns out he can sure express the feel of it perfectly, and he’s wonderfully quick and light on his feet as well. Bruno comments, “You can sell anything.” His posture is improved too, as the judges note, though they also say there’s lots of work remaining before breaking out the straight Eights for 32.
Betsey Johnson & Tony Dovolani: Contemporary to “Unchained Melody” from Ghost. The routine begins with him made to look like a ghost on the TV screen and ends with him walking into the light. She calls the lifts “the skydiving I never wanted to do,” but when she manages to pull them off, it makes the routine not unlike last week. She still isn’t quite as smooth as one might wish, but the moves are pulled off, and also there’s a feeling and emotion that comes out of it, a connection to the music and story, stronger than it was last week too. Kevin loves it, breaking out the Nine paddle, and the other three liked it too, but they cite her unpointed toes, and they get Sevens from Carrie-Ann and Bruno and a Six from Julianne, leaving them with a total of 29.
Then we get two sets of announcements. The first: Switch-Up week is coming back! Viewers are invited to vote for who they want to dance with who on Twitter and on the ABC website; they’ll do the switching in two weeks’ time. The other in the fate of four more couples. Michael & Emma are called safe, much to their relief. So are Sadie & Mark and Lea & Artem. Antonio & Cheryl are in jeopardy-not the couple you’d expect to be in jeopardy out of this group. Last called are also the first to perform:
Lea Thompson & Artem Chingvintsev: Cha cha cha to “The Power of Love” from Back to the Future. The fluff starts with an explanation that they’re recreating a prom scene from the movie, before a mention they still need more time to learn the dance. Then it goes to them rehearsing when a pair of people run in to tell them it’s Tuesday and they missed the show. Not to worry though; Lea takes Artem to the time-traveling car and off they go-right onto the dance floor, where and directly into the routine from there. It may be the best lead-in to a routine ever, and the nost of the dance itself is almost as good, Lea going into it full-throttle, not even that bothered when at one point she and Artem miss a hand grab. Three of the judges love it, except Carrie-Ann says to her Lea’s dancing looked uncertain and she doesn’t think it was their best, and she only gives a Seven. Eights from the other three lead to a total of 31.
Michael Waltrip & Emma Slater: Waltz to “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” His preparation for the role includes practicing with a bow, and Emma sets them up in lighted trees and turns on the fog machine, briefly making you wonder if she’s trying to mask weakness that way. But she actually doesn’t have to; Michael’s technique here is far better than it’s been, and he conveys some of the feeling of the song too. Julianne sums it up when she says it’s the best he’s done, while still talking about improvements he can do, and the others generally agree, and give him straight Sevens for a total of 28.
Antonio Sabato, Jr. & Cheryl Burke: Foxtrot to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” from Guardians of the Galaxy. He brings a walkman into rehearsal. She responds by bringing in a hat. But, in what is quite frankly a disappointment, there is no dressing up as Peter Quill, Gamora, or anyone else; in fact, the only reference the routine has to the movie is Antonio playing the music on a boom box with a cassette deck at the beginning. It’s not that badly done a foxtrot, and Bruno even gives it an Eight, but some technical reservations on the parts of the other three cause them to only give Sevens, resulting in a total of 29.
Sadie Robertson & Mark Ballas: Viennese Waltz to “Married Life” from Up. The fluff first assures us that despite the surprising sexiness of last week’s routine, her father still loved it. Also Mark, appropriately enough, trying to improve her ballroom frame by tying balloons to her arms. The actual dance is them as a young Carl and Ellie dancing around their house, until the end, when she abruptly finds herself leaving the ground via a bunch of balloons. Despite this twist at the end not quite making sense it’s a delightful routine, and she more or less nails all the steps. Julianne still has a thing or two to say about her arms, despite the work done on them by the balloons, but the judges break out the straight Eights for the second time in the evening, for 32.
The last four couples are marched out for results. Unsurprisingly Janel & Val and Bethany & Derek are safe, and so are Tommy & Peta, though they’re given a long moment before being told that. Next to person are the couple from the group who (unsurprisingly) are in jeopardy:
Jonathan Bennett & Allison Holker: Tango to “Back to Black” from The Great Gatsby. Following the lecture she received from Len last week the fluff is all about her, and her crisis in confidence, until she gets some advice and reassurance from Mark. She then comes back strong, taking a song that more than one person notes afterwards isn’t the most ideal music for tango, and choreographing at atmospheric tango with a definite feel of the story, and, as requested, plenty of content for Jonathan to perform. He isn’t perfect performing it, but he’s more than close enough for this to feel like a real triumph for both of them. Even when Julianne still has some words to say about his frame the judges are very kind in their comments this week, and also in their scores: a third set of straight Eights and 32.
Janel Parrish & Val Chmerkovskiy: Jazz to “America” from West Side Story. This turns out the be the most dramatic fluff of the week, possibly of the season, when after getting all excited about presumably recreating this number from the movies, Thursday morning Val gets a call from the producers who tell him the copyright lawyers won’t have it. He has to fight just to keep the song, and they are not allowed to do “the moves” from the movie, which obviously leaves him at a bit of a loss. But then he goes and choreographs them a routine that takes place in a train station, does actually contain some individual dance moves reminiscent of the movie that hopefully someone determined that they could get away with, and it’s done with such zeal and perfection by both of them that it’s definitely Janel & Val 1, Copyright Crazies 0. Kevin bows down, Carrie-Ann lets her gushing get away from her, Bruno and Julianne tell Janel she’s just made herself into a star, and they break out the straight Tens!
Tommy Chong & Peta Murgatroyd: Argentine Tango to “Por Una Cabeza” from Scent of a Woman. The fluff raises amusement by having him talk to her about how one is supposed to do an Argentine Tango, though she’s still instructing him when he lets her. Later we learn that while he had give a talk on this dance, he’s having a lot more trouble remembering all the moves. In fact, the first time he remembers everything and they successfully get through the dance is tonight. But not only does he remember everything, but he does it so well Carrie-Ann calls him the Yoda of the Argentine Tango, a metaphor she has to take some more words to explain(basically he’s an expert in the Argentine Tango the way Yoda is an expert in the Force), though at least it’s not as embarrassing as her comments after the last routine. Kevin praises him especially for holding it together while having to follow Janel & Val, and breaks out the Ten paddle again. The other judges settle for Eights, making for a total score of 34.
Bethany Mota & Derek Hough: Jazz to “Singing in the Rain” from the movie of the same name. Gene Kelly is one of Derek’s idols, and he gets stressed out over the need to do this iconic film moment justice, though the fluff has a sweeter moment when his widow Patricia visits them in the studio. But Derek being a choreographic genius, it works out well; he combines a bench, umbrellas, rain on the stage, and of course lots of a jazz content to a routine that does indeed honor the memory of Gene Kelly, and Bethany contributes by nailing it. Carrie-Ann sums it up: “Mission impossible, mission completed,” and though Bruno actually is only allowed to comment when announcing his score due to time running short, when he does, his words are, “Here’s Gene Kelly smiling at you kid.” That’s also when the judges break out the straight Tens for the second time tonight. It has come to a spectacular end.
Except, of course, it’s not quite the end, because there’s still the elimination to do, so with way too little time left, Antonio & Cheryl, Jonathan & Allison, and Randy & Karina are lined up. Of the three of them, Antonio & Cheryl have the highest score, so they’re called safe, leaving two teams with only two point difference. Randy & Karina had the lower score, but the judges were actually nicer to them with their words, and they probably both can get more votes than their counterpart on the other team. There really is no telling which way this one will go…
But when it’s Randy & Karina, everyone in the ballroom actually seems a little shocked. Kevin even yells from the judge’s table that this wasn’t his doing. I’m not sure why; they were tied for second-to-last, and the two remaining couples they were tied with were ones where it made sense they might get more votes than them, but whatever.
Next week is personal stories week. So lots of a emotion, but will the choreography hit the heights again it did this week?