Dancing With the Stars, Season 20, Week 2, “My Jam Monday”

It’s a week two with no results show, which means the most crowded night of the season: all the season’s couples dancing plus an elimination to cram into two hours.  So there’s no opening number, though it seems we’re getting different opening sequences each week: this one has the celebrities wearing high-tech headphones, since they’re dancing to their favorites jams this week.  But after that we speed right into the dances:

Chris Soules & Witney Carson: Cha Cha Cha; “Time of Our Lives” Pitbull & Ne-Yo.  The fluff starts with fiancée Witney congratulating them both backstage last week, and the two Witneys look alike enough I don’t blame Chris if he’s a little disturbed.  But the fluff also reveals that Chris has trouble learning choreography quickly, and this week they only had four days.  It shows tonight: his feet are not always in the right place when he dances.  The judges aren’t entirely unkind in their comments, and Len even gives him a Six, but Fives from the other leaves them with 21.

Suzanne Somers & Tony Dovolani: Jive; “Whole Lotta Shaking Going On” Jerry Lee Lewis.  The fluff has them talking about delivering the raunch and sass Julianne asked for, and Tony directing her through just shaking her body.  The routine has her doing a lot of that, plus dancing on top of a leopard-print piano!  But it’s smart of Tony to embrace the tacky; when she hits the moves she’s well showcased in it.  The judges love it, and break out the straight Sevens for 28.

Robert Herjavec & Kym Johnson: Foxtrot; “You Make Me Feel So Young” Michael Buble.  He says the song makes him feel young, and the way he’s going lately it’s an appropriate sentiment.  The fluff has her “cracking the whip” in practice even as they are obliged to address rumors going around about them.  For the dance, the dance floor is turned into a park setting, and they jump up from a picnic and careen about.  His smile is ridiculously big and it’s so light and carefree you’ve got to smile too.  The judges are, even as they have technical criticisms, with Carrie-Ann even calling them “so darn cute,” and they break out the Sevens again for another 28.

Charlotte McKinney & Keo Motsepe: Cha Cha Cha; “California Girls” Katy Perry.  It was a hard week for her; she made the mistake of reading social media reactions last week, and they weren’t nice.  She even talks about how she was bullied out of school, and when the awareness hangs over all that she may very well already be voted off, you want her to succeed tonight.  Thankfully she does; flanked by background dancers, crabs(the sharks didn’t work out), and lots of falling beach balls, she hits the moves this time, and the song is one she’s great at expressing.  The judges all say it’s better, and even their criticisms are encouraging.  The two women give her Sevens and the men Sixes, for a total of 26.

Michael Sam & Peta Murgatroyd: Foxtrot; “Working My Way Back to You” The Spinners.  This weekend was the Combine in Arizona, which cut into their rehearsal time and took a heavy physical and mental toll; the fluff shows them struggling in the dress rehearsal.  But he’s able to find it in him tonight, dancing brightly on feet that do their job much better, technically far improved from the previous week, and if he still seems a little stiff, that’s good for the foxtrot anyway.  Julianne even calls it a Broadway-quality performance, and we get out third set of straight Sevens of the night.

Rumer Willis & Val Chmerkovskiy: Cha Cha Cha; “Rumor Has It” Adele.  “Thought it was fitting,” Rumer says.  The fluff has everyone’s praise of her, and her pushing herself even more in response.  Rumer has it all right, going out hard and guns blazing and owning the floor once again, and it’s as good as it was last week, except one becomes aware that it’s not very cha cha cha-y.  It’s hard for the audience to care, and even among the judges only Len brings it up, and even he says, “It’s no rumor, Rumer, you can dance.”  For the second week in a row they get straight Eights for 32.

Redfoo & Emma Slater: Jive; “My Sharona” The Knack.  The fluff is all about him insisting he’s serious about wanting to do well on this show.  Fortunately, as Emma notes, the jive is a dance right up his alley, and after a raunchy beginning involving his as a garage mechanic, the dance is undisputedly a jive, and he does it with the right attitude.  Len and Julianne dispute as to whether he did it with the right technique, but even Len concedes the personality sells it, and Bruno sums the general opinion up: “you went from running on empty to running on plenty,” and while Len only gives a Seven, the other three break out the Eights, for a total of 31.

Willow Shields & Mark Ballas: Argentine Tango; “Somebody That I Used to Know” Gotye feat. Kimbra.  The two of them decide to pay tribute to the music video, complete with costumes colored with smashed paint balloons.  Certainly not typical for the Argentine Tango, but when the lady is fourteen, that’s probably for the best.  It helps ease things when the two of them promptly come out with a routine filled with intense mature emotion from the both of them, and in fact they completely nail it technically and emotionally both.  When the judges promptly label her a contender, it’s this dance this week where it’s disappointing when they only get straight Eights, for another 32.

Noah Galloway & Sharna Burgess: Samba; “Homegrown Honey” Darius Rucker.  Chosen in honor of his girlfriend Jamie, who has been in basic training the past six months; he sees it as a song he’d like to dance with her too.  It’s a fun, sweet cowboy affair, where if she does a little more than him he still does plenty, and even manages to work his hips extremely well despite the lack of knee.  And as well as using chemistry and connecting to music, he’s not above showing his bare chest either.  The judges even note what he lacks has caused him to develop skills the others don’t necessarily have, and while Len gives a Six the others give Sevens to leave him with 27-just before Jamie, whom he lamented couldn’t be there to watch him dance, shows up in the skybox to surprise him, and that reunion is arguably even more the highlight of the night than any of the dances.

Nastia Liukin & Derek Hough: Rumba; “Thinking Out Loud” Ed Sheeran.  The fluff has Derek worry about her showing enough emotion, something gymnasts aren’t used to doing, and the two of them practicing by the Hudson in the sunset to make it feel more romantic.  Indeed, the first half of the dance, he is showing noticeably more feeling than her, and it feels a little strange, but somewhere between the first and second half she lets go and catches up with him, until by the end they’ve got that feeling going great.  And when she’s technically spectacular throughout, the judges gush about that, and Carrie-Ann and Bruno break out the first Nines of the season, combining with Eights from the other two to give them 34 and ultimately the lead.

Riker Lynch & Allison Holker: Foxtrot; “Sugar” Maroon 5.  The fluff has Allison taking considerable measures to prepare Riker for this dance outside his comfort zone, including slicking his hair back so she can look into his eyes properly, much to his chagrin.  But when she choreographs a sweet routine involving a bridge that also has touches for his personality, it turns out Riker has a bit of range, and can be very smooth and elegant indeed.  Once again he gets lots of praise from the judges, and this time even Len has to break out the Eight, as they become the third couple of the night to get straight ones for 32.

Patti LaBelle & Artem Chingvintsev: Salsa; “In Da Club” 50 Cent.  In the fluff she talks about dancing to this music on her 70th birthday, but then she injures her knee, and when there’s a commercial break between fluff and dance we’re left unsure whether she’ll even be able to perform.  But in the end she pushes through the pain and delivers, where amid all the distractions of a VIP room setup and Artem doing the fancier moves, she is nonetheless the divatastic highlight once she gets going, and she can do the modern hip-hop as well as she can her own music.  Julianne even calls her the “baller in the ballroom,” and both she and Carrie-Ann say they want to go to the club with her, as the judges break out a fourth set of straight Sevens.

Tom has mentioned early in the show that the different between the two couples in the bottom two this week votewise was less than .1%, although the bottom two ultimately is not revealed.  Instead, with all the couples having dances, everyone gathers on the stairs, and Tom calls forward Redfoo & Emma, Charlotte & Keo, Chris & Witney, and Suzanne & Tony, then declares the other eight couples safe.  Of these, of course, Charlotte & Keo were the ones looking most likely to go home first after last week, so naturally Tom calls them safe next, much to their relief.  Chris & Witney are called safe too, leaving a famous popstar pitted against a much older woman most known for promoting a product, with the latter only three points ahead of the former.  And yet…Redfoo is the kind of star that everyone’s heard of, but might not necessarily vote for.  Still, this early in the season, surely he’ll get voted to safety this time…

OR NOT!  Redfoo & Emma are the first couple to leave!  Everyone’s shocked and the audience boos, and Tom even scolds the viewers for possibly not voting, though Redfoo himself is pretty gracious about it.

So we shall have to do the rest of this season without him.  The producers are probably not happy about that one.

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