It’s switch-up week, and Len still isn’t back, but they at least have a person to replace him: Jessie J, who also opens the show singing a medley of two of her songs while accompanied by the pros. This time they don’t make us wait in suspense to slowly find out who dances who whom; all the couples are announced at the beginning of the show. Also announced: as with last season, noone is going home on switch-up night; scores and votes will be combined with last week’s for next week. But there’s still yet another twist tonight: everyone’s dancing to unusual styles this week as well.
Antonio Sabato Jr., & Allison Holker: Bollywood to “1, 2, 3, 4 Get on the Dance Floor” by Vishal Dadlani, Hamsika Iyer, & Sricharan. May not be a usual style, but Allison has some experience with it, at least. Although they both still worry about how move-intensive it is, and he expresses worry about whether he’ll remember everything. Tonight, he actually does more or less remember all the moves, but maybe he takes a split second too long to, and as a result they aren’t in sync with each other. Also he initially still seems a bit timid, though he seems to have let it go by the time he comes down from his ending aerial. Still, Carrie-Ann calls this the most open he’s ever been, and gives him an Eight, though Bruno and Julianne both criticize the connection between the partners as well as their timing, giving them Sevens, and Jessie J is harsher still with a Six, adding up to 28, leaving him with 57 over the two weeks.
Bethany Mota & Mark Ballas: Hip-Hop to “She Came to Give it to You” by Usher featuring Nicki Minaj. This style makes Bethany talking about needing to bring her swag out, before asking Mark what swag actually is. Also, since Mark and Derek managed a straight partner swap this season, the two newly formed couples get to skype each other and speak of trying to make each other jealous. Mark’s routine puts him and Bethany in the Switch-Up Bar and Grill at separate tables with separate dates, before they jump up to join each other for a sexy and swaggy dance, where Bethany certainly gets the attitude right, and she mostly gets the rest of it right too. But not entirely; there are some momentary time issues, which Mark later claims responsibility for, claiming his shoe got stuck. That keeps the scores down to straight Eights for 32, 65 total for Bethany.
Jonathan Bennett & Peta Murgatroyd: Jitterbug to Joey Fatone singing “Rock This Town” live. He calls her his second-favorite person on the show(later in the fluff he refuses to say any longer which of Peta or Allison he likes more), but she feels the pressure of having to help him when he’s carrying in the lowest scores from last week, so she pushes him hard. Unfortunately is doesn’t work; although Jonathan comes out madcap and sells the dance as hard as possible, he just doesn’t do it right, until the judges talk about how much went wrong with it, even as Carrie-Ann laments about “moments of brilliance” in it, and give him another set of straight Sixes, leaving him with another 24 for 48 total.
Alfonso Ribeiro & Cheryl Burke: Flamenco to “Angelica” by Hans Zimmer. He calls Witney and Cheryl complete opposites, while Cheryl talks about taking advantage of being older and more mature than Witney, and trying to make Alfonso sexy, since the dance style lends itself to that anyway. Though she too feels pressure from trying to respond to Alfonso’s scores from last week, if for the opposite reason than Peta did, because she doesn’t want to cause a letdown. Even though last week he was doing what had defined his career, while here he was doing something very unusual, and it’s not in his normal modus operandi to be the razor sharp intense character the flamenco desires. Still, he does it very well, getting through an opening solo and then getting better once Cheryl joins him. Still something seems off, and Bruno suggest is might be that he didn’t get the shoulders right, and flamenco depends heavily on them being gotten right. But Julianne calls the two of them “the first partnership I believe in tonight,” and she and Jessie J break out the Nines, while Eights from the other two get them 34, which ultimately allows him with 74 to hold onto his lead going into next week.
Janel Parrish & Artem Chingvintsev: Burlesque to “Mamma Knows Best” by Jessie J. Her first reaction to hearing that this is their style is to order him to take his shirt off, and since the two Soviet-born dancers also ended up in a straight partner swap, they too decide to make their partners jealous by choreographing as sexy a routine as possible, and Val and Lea in the fluff gamely play along and makes shows of getting jealous. Then they hear Jessie J’s going to be a judge, and get nervous. Personally, I actually think the routine they come out and do tonight is more rude than really sexy, but that’s probably just me. Everyone else seems to think it’s sexy, and noone debates that it was pretty well executed. However, Julianne and Carrie-Ann both are of the opinion that it didn’t qualify as burlesque, pointing out that there’s supposed to be some tongue-in-cheek to the style, and though she quite liked what they did to her song Jessie J goes along with them, resulting in three Eights. But Bruno does not, and gives them a Nine, leaving them with 33 for the week and her with 69 overall.
Michael Waltrip & Witney Carson: Disco to “Car Wash” by Rolls Royce. The fluff has him fretting over their age and size difference and worrying about dropping her. The routine has her scrubbing a yellow car at the opening and him in a ridiculous 70s shirt and stache, doing silly disco moves which actually prove the best part of the routine; when he’s trying to do anything else, he keeps struggling to do it right. Bruno’s response is to accuse them of putting all the polish onto the car bonnet and having none left for the routine, and debates with Carrie-Ann whether he got none of the steps right or one or two of them right. But after Carrie-Ann and Julianne talk about how in week 5 the dancing has to be better than this, I start expecting one of them will break out the Four paddle and deliberately try to kill Michael. But the judges settle for giving him straight Fives for 20, though this will ultimately drop him to the bottom of the leaderboard with 45.
Tommy Chong & Emma Slater: Mambo to “Pass the Dutchie” by Musical Youth. He calls getting her a “beautiful surprise,” though the fluff shows her having to get advice from Peta about dealing with his issues remembering the choreography. The routine has a great start of him showing off his hips, but once they start dancing together he really starts having trouble, getting clunky and dubious in his dancing. Carrie-Ann kindly suggests the song did them in, questioning whether it was a good song to mambo too. But Julianne not only said she saw him look tired for the first time, she also voices a worry he’s shown them all he can do, and he has to find something new to show them now, and she only gives them a Five, while the others break out Sixes, resulting in him getting 23 for a total of 51.
Sadie Robertson & Derek Hough: Charleston to “Crazy Stupid Love” by Cheryl Cole featuring Tinie Tampah. The fluff(of course) has Derek trying to be accepted into the family, getting a surprise visit from her father in the studio before going to the farm to shoot a gun and observe the creation of a #DerekDynasty hashtag(…I’d watch that show, actually). Fortunately they seem to like him. Like Cheryl, he gives his new partner a solo to open the routine, but like Alfonso she proves better when she’s got him to dance with. Although in this case, “better” means just about perfect, in her technique, her timing, and her portraying the free attitude and slight cartooniness which Derek choreographed the routine to have. And most of that’s in her opening solo too except the timing; the judges thought she rushed through it very slightly. This costs them a perfect score; they great straight Nines instead to leave her with 36, the highest score for the night, and 73 altogether, one point behind Alfonso.
Lea Thompson & Val Chmerkovskiy: Broadway to “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from Hairspray. In the fluff, when they see Hanel & Artem’s burlesque routine, Val declares the only way they can top that is by having a kiss in their own. But in the end that proves the least diverting part of this number, where in what Val afterwards calls the Home for Retired Ballroom Dancers, sexy young nurse Lea lured age-makeuped Val into dancing with her, surround by the dance troupe as more old folks dancing with their walkers(Bruno assumes this to be a homage to The Producers) which is kind of distracting due to its absurdity. Not that it becomes that easy to distract from Lea as the routine goes on, as she shines when she nails it, especially in the semi-solo she has in the middle of the dance. Though she too isn’t quite as brilliant at the start, where Julianne asked if she was feeling uncertain. That pulls her and Jessie J’s scores down to Eights, while Nines from the other two get her 34 and another 73 total.
Next week is apparently supposed to be really sexy, and guest star Pitbull. I admit, I do not see what these two details are supposed to have in common…