Dancing With the Stars, Season 20, Week 6, “Spring Break Week”

The weather seems to finally be getting warmer, and in this area the broadcast is occasionally interrupted by thunderstorm warnings, so guess it really is spring, so at least Dancing With the Stars had good timing with this theme.  They also have a fun opening sequence of everyone having fun in the sun to Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance With Me.”  But the stakes tonight are anything but light; Tom announces at the beginning of the evening next week’s going to be a double elimination!

Patti Labelle & Artem Chingvintsev: Quickstep; “Heat Waves” Martha & the Vandellas.    During the fluff, they discover neither of them is sure what Spring Break even is; neither ever had one.  So they go back to where they have been: the hotel where the they set their cha cha cha three weeks ago, this time setting their dance by the pool.  Artem also says she’s in the best shape she’d been in yet.  One does get the feeling watching her dance that quickstep isn’t the easiest dance for her technically, which a shoe malfunction doesn’t help, but attitude-wise it suits her great and no shoe problems are gonna change that.  The judges talk mostly about said attitude and Carrie-Ann even praises her consistency there and breaks out the Eight; Sevens from the other three leave her with 29.

Nastia Liukin & Derek Hough: Tango; “Summer” Calvin Harris.  The fluff focuses mainly on how Nastia’s schedule is starting to fatigue her, and she’s applying her gymnast’s mentality to the training.  Maybe that’s why this routine weirdly feels like a gymnastic’s routine, although it may also be largely because Derek creates a routine that’s purely dance and flashing lights and smoke.  It doesn’t feel that spring breaky, and, more worringly, it doesn’t feel much like a tango.  It’s spectacular to watch, but the judges have to make their objections, with Julianne also lamenting their lack of connection, and Len humourously going off on a rant on how bad it was as a tango, then adding, “Other than that, it was fabulous!”  The two of them give Eights, while Nines from the other two leave them with 34.

Willow Shields & Mark Ballas: Salsa; Tequila Xavier Cugat.  During the fluff, she learns she was born with more ribs than is usual, resulting in teasing from Mark.  At her age, of course, spring break just means a week off from school, so they go with that, creating a Whiplash-based routine where they’re high school band geeks celebrating the final bell.  The routine feels like something out of a more enjoyable teen movie, and it’s a proper salsa that has something of the mood of one too, as least as much as is appropriate for Willow.  The judges are happy with that, but they have some quibbles about her leg movement, and they repeat their scores for Nastia & Derek, though there is some brief confusion when Carrie-Ann accidentally holds up her Eight paddle instead.

Robert Herjavec & Kym Johnson: Jive; “Surfing Safari” the Beach Boys.  The fluff focuses mostly on their reactions to the scores last week; he admits the dance was bad but still thinks the scores were a little lower than called for, and they describe themselves as united by the adversity.  The routine reflects his age; as well as the oldie song it has a drive-in setting.  It’s definitely an improvement from last week; when Robert’s with Kym his manicness really is a lot less scary, and this time he does all the steps right.  He still doesn’t do them on time, though, getting off tempo.  The judges do praise his content, and Len even speaks of picking up Good Vibrations, but their scores are straight Sevens for 28.

Noah Galloway & Sharna Burgess: Rumba; “Waves” Mr Probz.  During the fluff she notes she really has to give him more content, and the stress of that results in an argument the fluff emphasizes, much to the displeasure of both of them afterwards.  The dance itself puts them on a tropical island, and gives Noah the chance to show off some good hip action as well as his usual qualities of feeling and good movement-except that things go wrong at one point, and that dulls the dance’s impact.  Bruno doesn’t care, still giving them an Eight, but the others only give Sevens, for another 29.

Rumer Willis & Val Chmerkovskiy: Jazz; “Bootylicious” Destiny’s Child.  The fluff has them going around asking people what they think the word bootylicious means.  The story Val presents for the routine, that of him being a guy looking at a Spring Break billboard and the three women in it coming to life, does not sound promising, but fortunately it turns out the routine is really about how bootylicious and divatastic Rumer is.  She and this routine has an It factor beyond anything else they’ve seen tonight, and Rumer shows she can be as sexy as she can be everything else.  Except that three of the judges have complaints: Julianne and Carrie-Ann thought it didn’t tap fully into Rumer’s potential, and Len just didn’t like the raunchiness.  Julianne even lowers her scores to a Seven, while Carrie-Ann and Len give Eights.  But Bruno loves it and gives a Nine, leaving them at 32.

Chris Soules & Witney Carson: Viennese Waltz; “Hopelessly Devoted to You” Grease.  With Julianne having criticized Chris’ musicality, Witney has him literally clapping out rhythms with his hands, something the fluff has too much fun with, complete with a musical montage.  But tonight the strategy clearly pays off, his timing in this waltz is very good indeed.  The routine is also very sweet and romantic, and he pulls that off very well too.  Witney maybe does do a bit more than him, but that’s okay.  Julianne even calls him to the table to laud him.  But Len thinks he still got too much wrong technically, and he only gives a Seven; Eights from the others leave them with 31.

Riker Lynch & Allison Holker: Samba; “Want to Want Me” Jason Derulo.  It’s the second song they get; Allison didn’t think the first one appropriate for Riker and insisted it be changed.  Although the delay this produces is a problem, especially because Riker’s own schedule costs them two days of rehearsal, leaving them with much less time to choreograph a routine and teach it to him.  But she comes up with one that allows him to shine-it helps the samba suits him, obviously, and even with the reduced practice time he pulls it off.  How well he pulls it off is a bit more debated; Len calls it good but not great and gives them an Eight, Julianne calls it fantastic and gives them a Nine, and Bruno really raves and he and Carrie-Ann break out the Tens, leaving Riker & Allison with 37 at the top of the leaderboard going into the team dances.

The first round was done without any result announcements, but now those announcements come along with the presentations of the teams.  First presented at Team Yolo, where team captain Nastia & Derek and Willow & Mark are safe, while Noah & Sharna and Robert & Kym are in jeopardy.  More surprising is who’s safe and who isn’t on Team Trouble: team captain Rumer & Val are safe, which isn’t surprising, but so are Chris & Witney, which is, leaving Riker & Allison to stunningly join Patti & Artem in jeopardy instead!

Team Yolo: Freestyle; “Wipe Out” the Surfaris.  Here, too, is another tale of limited rehearsal time.  The group has only enough time after last week’s show to generally discuss setting before Nastia & Derek have to return to New York, from where she will not return until Saturday, and he won’t until Monday morning!  He has to learn the dance over Skype, and they’re really worried whether they’ll be able to pull it off tonight.  So naturally, they do.  It’s a general beach theme with beach balls and towels and the guys all being in a band, done in the round with the stage extended, and each of them just dance spectacularly and despite all the worries manage to stay with each other no problem at all.  Len sums it up as “tight, together, and terrific,” and Julianne calls it “exactly what spring break is about.”  But they don’t get a perfect 40; Len only gives them a Nine, so they get a 39 to send Nastia & Derek’s and Willow & Mark’s score up to 73, Noah & Sharna’s to 68, and Robert & Kym’s to 67.

Team Trouble: Freestyle; “Trouble” Iggy Azalea feat. Jennifer Hudson.  They devise a story where it’s the last day of school before spring break, seven of them are students making trouble in detention, and Patti is the teacher who shows the ability to out dance all of them.  The fluff has them working this all out while noting the troubles of the other team, resulting in much taunting that makes you worry it’ll come back to bite them.  But their routine turns out to be very good, if perhaps lacking the higher level of excitement brought out by Team Yolo’s defiance of the odds.  Bruno especially raves, declaring “no trouble at all for you lot tonight,” and also calling this Chris’ breakthrough week.  Ultimately all four judges break out the exact same scores they did for the last team, ending the team competition with a tie and letting Riker & Allison keep the lead with 76.  Meanwhile Rumer & Val’s score goes up to 71, Chris & Witney go up to 70, and Patti & Artem go up to 68.

The four couples in jeopardy are lined up, and a relieved Noah & Sharna are called safe, before thankfully Riker & Allison are called safe too.  That leaves Patti & Artem and Robert & Kym standing there, wondering if Chris’ survival will result in Patti getting the axe first, or if Robert’s bad Disney dance has proven fatal.  In terms of the week certainly Robert ought to go, but in terms of who’s been better in the competition he ought not to.  But have the viewers truly been willing to vote him to safety?

They have been; Patti & Artem are out instead.  It’s kind of shocking, despite the low scores; the camera even catches Robert looking stunned he survived that one.  With time running short they still give Patti as much time to talk as they can, and she gushes about everything and everyone.  But perhaps when Artem gets a chance to talk very quickly after the recap & phone numbers his words are the stronger, as with his accent showing and his English grammer slipping he calls the experience the “most incredible six weeks of my life” and Patti a role model to all women.  We’ll miss her, for sure.  But hey, there’s apparently going to be a Tuesday results show next week as well, so maybe she could sing?

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