Back from commercial, Aloe Blacc is singing "Soul Man," surrounded by some of the troupe dancers. I like this guest-artist-with-the-house-band thing.

Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi & Sasha Farber


Nicole's most memorable year was 2012, when her son was born. He's a chubby little punkin' of cute. She tells Sasha that Lorenzo caused her to make a 180 with her life. He teases her that that's only halfway and she means 360, because that's a full circle. NO, SASHA, NO. If she'd gone 360 degrees, she'd be back where she started. Instead she's exactly opposite of where she started. POINT FOR SNOOKI. I should defend her to my exchange student who questioned her intelligence.

That wasn't half bad. Was it "jazz"? I have no idea.

Len says it was fun and vibrant with clean lifts. Bruno LOVED it.

Tom assures Nicole that she was right and Sasha was wrong on the 180/360 thing. Attaboy, Tom.

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9

Honestly? Nicole's kind of growing on me. She's plucky.

Filler segment about whether or not it's an advantage to have a dance background. Mark and Karina say no, Peta and Tony say yes. I'm agreeing with Peta and Tony. Especially Tony, who points out that if someone comes in with previous dance experience, they're making it to the semi-finals. Peta points out that stars with extensive dance experience come in knowing how to keep time and how to learn choreography.

Brant Daugherty & Peta Murgatroyd


Brant's most memorable year was 2009; that's the year he moved to Hollywood, and that his dad died of lymphoma. Brant tears up telling the story, because he's human and it's his dad. His dad was only 57 years old.

Brant seems to think Elton John's "Your Song" is about when someone has a great influence on your life. Um, sweetie, no. It's a love song. Through and through. Like a romantic love song. About people who love each other like lovers.

It's contemporary, so they're barefoot and wearing night clothes and there's a lot of "Come here, go away, no come back."

Brant's crying. Go ahead, judges, I dare you to critique him now. Len thought it was terrific, with good passion and chemistry. Bruno says something about "contractions" and Martha Graham and seems to love it. Carrie Ann "wrapped her heart around that routine" and I think she's crying off one of her false eyelashes.

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9

Amber Riley & Derek Hough

Her most memorable year was 2009. She was working as a customer service representative at IKEA, auditioned unsuccessfully for American Idol and then landed the role on "Glee."

There is dancing happen -- but I'm too distracted by the band absolutely MURDERING "Try a Little Tenderness" to form any coherent thoughts about the actual dancing. Except to note that every time Amber twirls, her skirt flies up and it looks like we're seeing the tops of her thigh-highs. Huh.