By Amy Watts
For The Baltimore Sun
9:07 AM EDT, April 8, 2014
Tonight is partner switch night and Julianne Hough is a guest judge. Maybe she'll snark on Mark Ballas some more. I loved that.
The opening number has the pros dancing while the stars make their entrances one-by-one, without partners. Drew is in a gold lamé suit and I approve wholeheartedly. It's very reminiscent of what Elvis Presley wore on the cover of "50,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong." We'll find out later if that's intentional.
Julianne is wearing a weird top/dress that has a boob window. Like, it shows the inside underside of her cleavage.
Candace Cameron Bure & Tony Dovolani, Quickstep
Candace was hoping not to get Tony because he always picks on her and makes her blush. Then Candace claims not to know what the phrase "make it rain" refers to. Oh, Candace. In the end, she says Tony is a "great instructor."
Their song is "Ballroom Blitz," and if you're my age, this immediately brings up memories of "Wayne's World" and Tia Carrere. Candace is kind of stiff, but she's giving it her best.
Len Goodman says getting a new partner can be like an "itchy blanket; it gets the job done but can be a little bit uncomfortable." Julianne Hough loved the choreography and styling but didn't like the body contact. Bruno Tonioli liked the energy, but he admonishes Candace again about her frame and calls her footwork "muddy." Carrie Ann Inaba points out that this is Candace's first ballroom dance. That's kind of criminal, given that this is week 4. Stupid contemporary.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 7
Quick aside: I love how they're dressing Erin Andrews. She looks glamorous, but also like she's wearing dresses that suit her personality. Sleek, athletic, clean lines.
James Maslow & Cheryl Burke, Tango
James points out that Cheryl is shorter than Peta. I guess that would be a weird adjustment.
James starts out at the opposite end of the stage from Cheryl, who's seated on a throne. Hmm. Some of his moves to get to Cheryl seem more paso doble than tango. I know your face is supposed to be fierce during tango, but Cheryl looks like she might eat James's face off.
Julianne is glad she gets to talk first. She calls James the "total package." Feh. That's my dad's nickname. Julianne demonstrates how James squats with his butt out and then says, "Maybe next week, Peta can help you tuck your pelvis." There's much tittering, nudging and winking before Bruno starts his comments by saying, "I have no problem at all with your pelvis, darling."
Bruno's got too many buttons undone on his shirt. Len's wearing a tie, Bruno -- you can button up. Even if you are Italian. Peta is super-excited at the judges' comments. Len says that James may have been over-correcting based on his criticism last week, therefore flexing his knees too much and causing his bottom to stick out.
Up in the kiss & cry, Erin asks Peta and James if they're dating and then says, she's always wanted a DWTS baby. ERIN. You're worse than my mother with the baby demands!
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 8; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 9
Drew Carey & Witney Carson, Cha-cha-cha
Drew says that dancing with Witney is liked dancing with his daughter. Witney then asks Drew how old he is and when he answers "55," she says that Drew's older than her dad. Ai-yi-yi. Witney says that it's a big change to go from the youngest male celebrity to the oldest. Watching rehearsal, Cheryl says that Drew and Witney have a "grandpa/young girl" thing going on and it's cute. "Creepy, but cute."
Drew's not great, y'all. BUt he is giving it his all and seems to be having a great time. I really, really hope Drew gets to keep those gold lamé dancing shoes after all this.
Bruno says Drew's performance was pitched somewhere between Elvis Presley and Liberace. So I guess the Elvis suit was intentional. Bruno reminds him to watch the weight on his foot. Carrie Ann liked the energy in his steps. Len says he hasn't had so much fun in a minute and a half since he was a teenager. LEN! LEN! I think Julianne's boob window has lowered the tone of the whole evening.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 8
Derek Hough has taken over the Macy's Stars of Dance numbers, which is something that was missing from last season. This week's performance will have tango and paso doble elements and will also incorporate special slow-motion camera work. This routine also involves men in low slung jeans not wearing shirts. Bruno and I wholeheartedly approve.
This is some compelling choreography, but the slow-motion camera work either isn't happening or isn't that obvious.
Danica McKellar & Maksim Chmerkovski, Jive
Danica swaps one Chmerkovskiy for another. She thought that maybe working with the brothers would be easy because they would teach alike. But they're very different. Apparently Val explains things and Maks just says "Do!" I can understand why Danica needs explanations and Meryl just takes directions. It's the difference between someone who's often been immersed in academia and someone who's been taking directions from coaches for 17 years.
Danica starts out on the stage with two of the female troupe dancers, then at one point she disappears behind a jukebox, loses her skirt, dances with the troupe members some more, goes over to Maks and then back over to the jukebox, where Val sweeps her up in his arms.
Tom points out that there was a problem with their musical cue at the beginning of the routine. I rewound and rewatched it twice and it wasn't obvious to me, so I'm not sure what he's referring to.
When Tom asks the judges to factor in the music-cue problem, Carrie Ann says she's already turned in her score. Carrie Ann does mention that Danica was a little ahead of the music. Len didn't like all the goofing around (I knew he wouldn't.)
Julianne lays it out harsh and says that she felt like Maks might be phoning it in this week, just waiting to get back to Meryl next week. She hints at, but does not say, that the routine featured Maks more than it did Danica. That's certainly true of the camerawork. Julianne then adds that she can't wait for Danica to get back to Val. Bruno hollers, "That's my girl." Bruno says that Danica and Maks did a good job covering the glitch at the beginning of the routine.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8
Charlie White & Peta Murgatroyd, Rumba
Peta tries to sneak up on Charlie, but he says he knows Peta by her laugh. Charlie is hoping Peta and he will think alike because they're both blond. Charlie says the sexy thing doesn't come very natural to him.
Peta and Charlie both have their hair slicked back and they look disconcertingly alike. It's like some "Flowers in the Attic" sexydancing up in here.
Len says it wasn't enough of a rumba for him, more like a contemporary dance, even though he liked it. Julianne thought it was a good rumba, but she points out a "picky" detail about Charlie's feet, that he's putting the weight on his heels instead of the balls of his feet.
Bruno agrees with this and adds that having the weight in the wrong place is what's affecting Charlie's hip action, or lack thereof. Carrie Ann says that there's no question that Charlie is a beautiful dancer but that what they just danced wasn't a rumba. She also says she noticed a lift. Peta's face shows that she's just devastated by the judges' comments.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 8; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 9
Amy Purdy & Mark Ballas, Salsa
Amy's wearing the same feet she did last week, spending the entire dance on tiptoes. It's impressive to me that she's balancing only on the balls of her feet. I mean, I suppose they could put high heels on the feet or put the feet into shoes with high heels. I wonder if that would be more or less difficult for her.
Julianne compliments Amy's "tight ass." Oh my. Bruno tells her about her "hot hips." Bruno compliments her footwork, especially given how much content Mark put in the routine. Len says "your bottom is the top."
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 8; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 9
Cody Simpson & Sharna Burgess
Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oy! Oy! Oy! Sharna's a little overwhelmed by how young Cody is. She's only 12 years older than he is. Whatever. Sharna does ban the dropped crotch pants. Go, Sharna, go.
They're letting Cody sing as he comes onstage. It's not even one of his songs, though, it's Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours." I want Cody to be just a little bit more graceful than he is -- with those long, long legs he could make some really beautiful lines.
Bruno says that Cody is better on his own but still lacking a little in hold. Bruno points out kind of what I'm thinking, about Cody being so tall and maybe new to the tallness that he's awkward with it.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 7; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8
NeNe Leakes & Derek Hough, Jazz
Derek greets NeNe with, "Your munchkin awaits." Hee. I like how he doesn't care that she dwarfs him.
The choreography starts with Derek essentially prostrating himself in front of NeNe and worshiping her. There is perhaps a little more "African" dance moves combined with feathers in this routine than I'm comfortable with. But, since it's in service of making NeNe look like an Amazonian goddess, I'll let it pass.
Derek points out that the vocal came in really, really early and NeNe did great anyway. Carrie Ann loved it. Len says it's the best dance she's done this season. Julianne comments that she got to let her inner Beyoncé out. Bruno delivers some serious pelvic thrusts, which is his way of showing approval and appreciation.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8
Next week will be all Disney songs and there will be dancing with animated characters. It's pretty much designed to be Meryl's night, no?
Meryl Davis & Val Chmerkovskiy, Argentine tango
Meryl, like Danica, notes the differences between Val and Maks. Apparently Maks has never braided her hair, like Val did. Val says he knows Maks is going to be jealous that they're doing the Argentine tango, because it's Maks's favorite dance.
As long as I don't look at Meryl's face, I can buy her as a vixen. But then there's the adorable Disney princess face and I just can't. Tons of great footwork in this routine and the lifts, as expected, are incredible.
Len calls it the dance of the night. Julianne says she would love to dance like Meryl. Wow. That's a big compliment. Carrie Ann says these two were in a class of their own.
Tom mentions the Chmerswapskiy. Hee. I love you, Tom.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 9; Julianne: 10; Bruno: 10
Oh, Len. You're being stingy.
(Last week's score + this week's score = two-week total)
Meryl & Maks/Val: 39 + 39 = 78
James & Peta/Cheryl: 36 + 35 = 71
Amy & Derek/Mark: 36 + 34 = 70
Charlie & Sharna/Peta: 36 + 33 = 69
Danica & Val/Maks: 36 + 32 = 68
Cody & Witney/Sharna: 35 + 31 = 66
NeNe & Tony/Derek: 31 + 32 = 63
Drew & Cheryl/Witney: 30 + 33 = 63
Candace & Mark/Tony: 32 +28 = 60
With any luck, Candace's low scores mean Drew gets to stick around another week. I'm curious to see how he might improve more once he gets back to Cheryl.
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