Dancing With the Stars, Season 22, Week 4, “Disney Night”

For the third edition of Disney Night on Dancing With the Stars, they have a new version of the Mirrorball Disney logo.  They don’t have the explosion of Disney characters that swarmed the ballroom during the last opening, but they do show up throughout the night(especially during the bumpers), starting when Mickey & Minnie join the pros for the opening number to “Be Our Guest,” and they and other classic characters escort out our the judges, which include Season 16 runner-up and Disney Channel alum Zendaya.  We also get a list of movies everyone’s doing: they range from Cinderella to the newly-released Zootopia(and yes, The Jungle Book’s included; gotta get all the promoting done).

Antonio Brown & Sharna Burgess: Jazz; “Friend Like Me” Aladdin  This song’s been done on Disney Night before, and that wasn’t the first time it’s been used on the show either, but doing it to Jazz is new, and Sharna also casts Antonio as the Genie, leading a “pack of Genies.”  Except they look more like a Radio City Music Hall act(complete with line dancing), and honestly, the only thing that reminds you it’s Aladdin is that Sharna’s dressed as Jasmine.  But taken as that, the number’s a terrific one, full of joy and bounce.  “Disney magic is working already,” declares Bruno, and Len declares the wish Sharna made on the lamp during the fluff has come true: it’s his best yet.  It nets him an Eight from Len and Nines from the other three to leave him with 35.

Marla Maples & Tony Dovolani: Waltz; “Part of That World” The Little Mermaid  The fluff shows them getting stressed out and her breaking things when attempted to do a stress-relief handstand(Tony later says the entire week was not like that).  The undersea environment she starts in is simply beautiful, and when she dances and portrays the feeling of the dance very well indeed, you feel she’d be too, if she only realized how well she’s doing.  But her nervousness shows at points, and the various technical issues don’t help.  So while Carrie-Ann tells her she brought Ariel to life, the judges’ scores are straight Sevens for 28.

Nyle DiMarco & Peta Murgatroyd: Samba; “Trashing the Camp” Tarzan  The fluff shows him getting humorously excited about portraying Tarzan, although his take on how like himself and Peta Tarzan and Jane weren’t able to understand each other at first is also interesting to hear.   His Tarzan is wild, virile, and so full of fun that the party dance truly does feel like a party, helped by the camp that gets set up on the floor for him and Peta to trash.  Which Len objects to as too much theatrics, and Carrie-Ann’s quick to note he missed a step at the beginning, so they only give Eights, but Bruno declares, “The Lord of the Jungle is now the Lord of the Dance!” and he and Zendaya break out the Nines, so they get 34.

Doug Flutie & Karina Smirnoff: Jazz; “A Spoonful of Sugar” Mary Poppins  The lack of success is getting to Doug; we see him break a cane in rehearsal in frustration.  The routine starts and ends cute with him popping out and back into the carpet bag, but it also sexualizes Mary Poppins in a way I’m afraid I simply cannot approve of.  He does perform a lot more dance steps than he has in the past, but sadly he does not perform them very well.  Carrie-Ann even laments how it’s obvious how much work he put into a routine that ultimately he still didn’t quite pull off, though Bruno suggest “the medicine kicked in halfway through”  when he get back.  They apologetically break out the Six paddles for 24.  But then Tom cheers them up by informing them they’re safe!

Kim Fields & Sasha Farber: Quickstep; “I Wan’na Be Like You” The Jungle Book  Another one that been’s done on the show before, but this is very different from Meryl Davis & Maksim Chermkovskiy’s number; they discard any direct ties to the movie plot and just do a routine about two explorers getting too entangled with the inhabitants of the jungle, which works well.  The fluff has a dream sequence of them needing to increase their speed, and on the floor tonight it’s breakneck, which makes a good impression and makes up for the footwork being less than perfect.  Len calls it her best yet, and when Bruno congratulates her for finally improving her shoulders, she runs forward and gets lipstick on his jacket!  They get straight Eights for 32.

Jodie Sweetin & Keo Motsepe: Cha Cha Cha; “Try Everything” Zootopia  We haven’t see that much dancing with animated characters tonight, but this routine brings the movie’s popstar Gazelle onto the floor with the dancers, which they fret about during the rehearsals.  But in the end they stay in a different section of it, and the main problem is her feet: they go wrong, and then never recover, though they continue to sell the dance for all it’s worth, which gets them praise from Zendaya and Bruno, and when Carrie-Ann calls it underwhelming, Len insists it wasn’t that, at least.  Although he nonetheless gives them a Six while the others give Sevens, resulting in a total of 27.

Von Miller & Witney Carson: Viennese Waltz; “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” Cinderella  “Let’s not get a 20 tomorrow,” Witney tells Von in the fluff, after a week of trying to make his behavior more elegant.  Then tonight she comes out in a gorgeous blue dress with a light-up skirt that kind of steals the show(Carrie-Ann even takes a moment out to praise it), but it’s impossible to miss entirely how elegant Von manages to make himself, and he pulls this dance off without a hitch.  Bruno officially declares him royalty, the other judges have similar reactions and they break out the straight Eights for 32.

Ginger Zee & Val Chmerkovskiy: Foxtrot; “Belle” Beauty and the Beast.  Ginger identifies with Belle, and Val puts her in the village with villagers for her to dance with and also the fountain which is also made good use of.  His making himself Gaston doesn’t quite work, but everything else does around them does, and within this well-done setting Ginger embodies Belle and nails the routine.  The judges rave, with Zendaya comparing it to a Broadway musical, and Len calling it the best dance of the season so far, and then they break out the straight Nines, giving them a 36 that will ultimately leave them tied for the lead.

Wanya Morris & Lindsay Arnold: Samba; “Circle of Life” The Lion King.  Wanya really loves this movie, and there’s a mandatory moment of him holding a mirror ball up over the edge of the studio roof, although the fluff also shows him becoming more driven by being unseated from the top of the leaderboard.  He channels that into an aggressive jungle routine that more or less delivers the goods.  Except that Carrie-Ann actually thinks he overdanced it at the beginning.  Wanya actually agrees with her.  Unlike everyone else in the ballroom, including the other three judges; three Nines to Carrie-Ann’s Eights leaves him with 35.

Paige VanZant & Mark Ballas: Quickstep; “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” Toy Story  The fluff has her talk about how this is the first time she’s had friends outside the UFC world in a long time.  The routine has them as Woody & Jessie break out of the toy box and be accompanied by the plastic green soldiers, but most of it’s actually pure quickstepping, and perfectly done quickstepping too, with a bit of the personality of the two characters thrown in.  It results in more high praise from the judges, and a second set of straight Nines and 36 to share the top spot.

We’ve got three minutes left for the elimination, so when all the couples except Doug & Karina are lined up, they call two in jeopardy: Marla & Tony and Jodie & Keo.  They had two points between them last week, but it’s hard to believe that when they weren’t at the back Jodie would be eliminated this early after her co-star made it to the final on votes.  Is Keo really that unlucky?

No, it’s Marla & Tony who are going.  It seems her refusal to define herself by the evil ex-husband did her in, since it meant she didn’t get the big support from either his supporters or detractors.  Still, this wasn’t expected, even with them tied for the bottom; Tony even admits to it.

Next week will be Switch Up week, with Maks back at the judging table too.  That should be fun.

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