It's Latin Night on "Dancing With the Stars"! Which means Pitbull! And lots of feathers! I like all these things!
The show starts with a performance from Pitbull. He's wearing his signature sunglasses, which is good because without them I honestly couldn't recognize him. Also, since it's a Pitbull song, there are at least two guest performers during it. It's the law. In this case, it's Flo Rida and LunchMoney Lewis.
Pitbull joins the judges' table for the night. Still wearing the shades.
They do some results announcements. Because there was no elimination last week, the votes and scores from last week will determine tonight's results. Ryan and Cheryl are safe.
Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke
Cheryl tells us Latin Night is one of her favorite nights of the season. Ryan's worried about the speed of the dance. Cheryl reassures him that while it is fast, the steps themselves are simple.
They decided not to go with the neon orange color scheme Cheryl proposed in rehearsal. When she rips off Ryan's shirt, I can't tell if he's supposed to have some kind of "tribal markings" or if he's just sweated off his spray tan in weird ways.
Oh, wait, now she's tearing off his pants to reveal swim trunks. I have said it before and I will say it again: Cheryl is no dummy when it comes to getting her male partners undressed for audience pleasure. Ah, now the black lights come on and it's clear the markings on his skin are there for a reason. We also see that he was wearing knee pads under his pants. I never thought about it, but I bet dancers are often wearing knee pads under there and we can't see it. All the more respect for female dancers who can't wear them because they'd show.
Pitbull continues to keep his sunglasses on, even as the show identifies him with a caption "Armando Christian Perez 'Pitbull.'" He tells us they were dancing to a Celia Cruz song and praises her. He liked the blacklight part. Then he says he's giving them an 8. The reaction lets him know he's not supposed to give away his score like that. THERE ARE RULES, Pitbull. Don't make us bring in Standards & Practices.
Julianne Hough, who has brought her fembot hair, liked the spirit of the routine. Bruno Tonioli points out that Ryan messed up his timing several times. Carrie Ann Inaba says that Latin dancing requires spirit, energy, passion and musicality, and that Ryan was lacking musicality tonight. The crowd boos. The crowd is wrong.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Pitbull: 8; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 7
Bruno and Carrie Ann are the only judges that haven't completely lost their minds.
Up in the skybox, there's a disco ball piñata and Erin Andrews gives Ryan a stick to take the first whack at it. It doesn't break, but it does shed a lot of glitter.
Back from commercial, we get more results. James and Sharna are safe. Terra and Sasha are safe. Amber and Maks are in jeopardy. Derek and Marilu are safe.
Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber
Terra says she's having a hard time getting into character because she doesn't often get angry. So there's a cute montage of Sasha irritating her by tickling her ear and such.
They start the routine with Sasha hiding Terra entirely behind a cape, which he whirls away to reveal her. They're still using a modified ballroom hold, grabbing arms rather than his hand being on her back and hers on his shoulder.
Julianne says this wasn't Terra's best dance, that she didn't own it completely. She applauds Terra's efforts. Bruno says the musical phrasing of the song was very intricate and keeping on the beat would be very difficult for anyone. He also says Sasha put a lot of content in the routine, and that Terra wasn't as sharp as she could have been with all of it. Carrie Ann tells her the competition has up and down weeks and this is just one of Terra's down weeks. Pitbull likes her fire but thinks she may have overthought the dance a little bit.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Pitbull: 8; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 7
So, those are the same exact scores as Ryan but the judges' comments felt a lot more negative.
Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Maks asks Amber how she felt about seeing herself cry on last week's episode. She didn't like it. Maks says in an interview that he likes Amber and wants her to do well. He doesn't feel like she's reached her potential, saying, "The only thing that's standing in Amber's way is Amber." Maks gets frustrated with her in rehearsal and she leaves in response, despite him begging her not to. Then they interview her in her car, which appears to be a hot pink Hummer. So that's a thing. They kind of make up during the next day's rehearsal, but I don't think this segment is going to endear her to voters.
The routine starts out fairly slow, with a lot of vamping and posing on Amber's part. Len would definitely make a comment about "all that faffing around at the beginning." When they actually get into proper cha-cha, she's not bad. Her legwork is good. And given that's she's wearing a leotard and a tuxedo jacket with tails, her legs are on full display, making any mistakes immediately visible.
Bruno says Amber teased him to death. He says cha-cha is about foot placement and that once your foot is where it should be on the floor, that travels up to the hips. He thinks she could push her interplay with Maks further. Then they mute the audio on Bruno, so I'm not sure what he says. Carrie Ann wants Amber to break through the barrier that's holding her back. Pitbull compliments her on her outfit and her looks. Julianne stands up and demonstrates how she wants Amber to emphasize her movements. Sitting next to Bruno is influencing her.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Pitbull: 7; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 7
James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess
Sharna tells James he's going to have to get his sexy on. He replies that that's not an adjective that gets applied to him a lot. He's confident about the steps in the dance, but not selling the mood. He reveals that earlier in the season when they had cha-cha, he came up with an alter-ego, "Ricardo." Then there's a silly thing with him playing against himself, and it might be a touch offensive with the sombrero and all — but since they get in a Rick Perry joke and a Bruno joke, I'm willing to forgive.
James/Ricardo is wearing a lace shirt for this routine. Sharna's dress almost recalls the Edyta Sliwinska rumba bed sheet special. I miss her. I wish she'd come back to the show again.
Carrie Ann is effusive in her praise, citing James's hip action, extension of his arms and "chest undulation." Pitbull jokes that when James came out he wondered if the wardrobe department had made a mistake. James is right there with his comeback, "What? This is mine from before." James is so quick-witted. Apparently, this rumba so excites Pitbull it requires him to finally remove his sunglasses. Does this mean I have to call him Armando now?
Julianne says a lot of people might not recognize the subtle things James does right and adds that he is hands-down the best male dancer they've ever had on the show. Sharna beams at that. But Julianne is irritated because she wanted more chemistry between James and Sharna. Bruno says they could get a Nobel Prize for chemistry and Ricardo was a triumph. He says the rumba was pitch perfect.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Pitbull: 9; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 10
Pitbull took so long to hold up his scoring paddle that the voice of Alan Dedicoat invoked his name twice.
Marilu Henner and Derek Hough
Marilu says that last week was a breakthrough, because she was finally dancing for herself. Derek is giving up some control because he's discovered that letting Marilu be a little more in charge works better for both of them. He also says that Marilu's greatest asset, her legs, is also her greatest downfall — they're beautiful, but if they're not in the right place you notice them all the more. He then adds that when they get in the right place … he makes a face and says, "Dang, girl" — the implication being that they're sexy. He then gets weirded out because Marilu is his mom's age.
Derek's right about her legs. Your eye is drawn to them, so when they're off you notice right away. I wish this routine was just a touch faster — it doesn't seem to be keeping up with the music, really.
Pitbull says something in Spanish and I'm glad Marilu has to ask for a translation because I need one, too. Pitbull seems to be summing up when he says it meant "very sexy." The glasses are back on, for the record. Julianne compliments Marilu's legs and then, as an aside to Derek says, "That was a very weird comment about Mom." Bruno says she was graceful but sexy and he loved the "armography." Carrie Ann says Marilu's confidence and radiance were great.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Pitbull: 9; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 8
More results: Laurie and Val are safe. Calvin and Lindsay are in jeopardy. That's some BS. Maureen and Artem are safe. Jana and Gleb are in jeopardy. And dancing next. That's a kick in the gut.
Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko
Gleb wants this to be the sexiest dance ever done on the show. There's going to be a shower and a bathtub and they're going to be drenched with water. Jana's a bit overwhelmed by trying to be so sexy. Gleb wakes up as a sex god.
They start out on a bed with black satin sheets. To leave the bed, Jana hoists herself onto and over Gleb's shoulders. Man, that's one way to roll out of bed. There's a really cool move about halfway through where Gleb basically grabs Jana by the waist and then spins her like a pinwheel. And then they're dancing underwater and I notice that the show smartly put them on a platform covered by a tarp for easy cleanup before the next couple dances. It's definitely a striking and sexy scene. And ends with a very dramatic pose with Gleb holding Jana upside down, water flinging off both of them in the process of getting to that pose.
They are both sopping wet as they walk over to Tom, who hands them towels. I wonder if the makeup people studied what synchronized swimmers use because Jana's makeup still looks perfect. Jana has a smile on her face but also looks a bit dazed, like, "I can't believe I just did that."
Julianne screams that that was chemistry. She also praises Jana for addressing all the criticisms they've given her in the past weeks. Bruno is seriously turned on, so Gleb throws his wet shirt at him. Bruno tosses it back, but Gleb, happily for us, does not put it back on. Then Bruno collapses in his chair. Carrie Ann says sexy is easy for these two because their chemistry is palpable. But she goes on to say that tonight she saw Jana dancing with purpose — to get the Mirrorball trophy. Pitbull says he's gotta do the Bruno, so he stands up and takes off his jacket. Then he says that since Gleb tossed over the shirt, Jana can toss over the dress.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Pitbull: 10; Julianne: 10; Bruno: 10
Man, I hope they don't go home after that. It's one of the reasons I hate the elimination format like this — I don't want that amazing dance to have been in vain.
Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev
Maureen says she has a newfound confidence thanks to the show. Artem then uses that exact phrase, and I start to smell producer-supplied talking points. Maureen comes off as kind of ditzy in a lot of this footage. She and Artem are also struggling with communication.
Maureen is wearing a giant feather headdress when she appears on stage, but luckily for her she gets to take it off soon after she walks down the stairs. This is so slow in parts, even though the music isn't. And you can still see Maureen hesitating. Overall, an entirely forgettable number. They're already safe, though. Man, am I going to be ticked if they get to stay after this and Jana and Gleb go home after their perfect score tonight.
Bruno says there was lots of content and warns Maureen not to force the bounce. Carrie Ann loves her positivity and enthusiasm. Pitbull says Maureen did overthink it a little and needs to let herself go more. Julianne likes that Maureen is game for anything.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Pitbull: 7; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8
Pitbull's the only one not lying.
Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold
They're captioning him as "Calvin Johnson Jr." now. Just so you know. Lindsay says they're going to have to amp up the sex appeal, especially since the other couple doing Argentine tango is Jana and Gleb. Yeah, don't force that comparison. Compete on your own terms.
When Lindsay tells Calvin he's going to be "slightly shirtless" he giggles and becomes all-over bashful. It's adorable. He can't do a sexy face without cracking up. Then Lindsay gives him lessons in sexy selfie taking, and he's still laughing at himself.
Lindsay does a neat thing with the choreography at the beginning, using the stairs to make up for their height difference. He is just SO MUCH bigger than her that when he pulls some of the aggressive movements required of the dance, he looks like he could just squash Lindsay. But overall it's a tight, sexy dance without being sensual or erotic in a way that Calvin couldn't sell.
I was impressed enough by the routine that I rewound to watch it again, and there's a lift that's not unlike Jana and Gleb's, where Gleb held Jana by the waist and twirled her like a pinwheel. Except she only did one rotation. With Calvin and Lindsay, Calvin spins her a first time and she's still above his head, then he turns around so his back is to us while he spins Linsday for a second rotation before her feet hit the floor. It's incredible. I bet a lot of the male pros would have a hard time with that, just for lack of height and strength.
Carrie Ann says she's never seen lifts like that in 23 seasons. She says Calvin owned the dance floor. She also talks about their "magnetic intensity." Julianne praises their focus but wants Calvin to point his toes more. Bruno says they were smoldering and the routine was sensational.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Pitbull: 10; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 9
Wait a minute — these two are in jeopardy too. This sucks. It better be Amber and Maks going home.
Calvin gets his whack at the piñata and DESTROYS it with a single blow. Erin jokes that it was supposed to last all night. C'mon. Like Laurie was going to finish it off?
Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy
Val is taking last week's score as a humbling moment and hopes it will inspire them to only do better. Laurie says she's second-generation Puerto Rican so she's hoping her heritage will come through this week. Val says Laurie's age is a bit of a disadvantage this week because the sexy hip action is awkward for her.
This is a very unflattering outfit they've put Laurie in this week. The routine is fun and Val puts in some audience-pleasing lifts but it doesn't grab me the same as either of the Argentine tangos did tonight.
Pitbull says Laurie was amazing. Julianne calls her phenomenal but goes on to be really picky about how she moves her hips. Bruno praises her power, energy and precision. Carrie Ann echoes that, calling her a powerful performer. She points out a couple of tiny flaws with Laurie missing her spot a couple of times.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Pitbull: 9; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 10
You know, Pitbull may not have had the most to contribute in terms of comments but his actual scoring was pretty good.
More results: Jana and Gleb are safe and Jana has found a hair dryer sometime in the last half hour. So it's down to Amber and Maks or Calvin and Lindsay. It better be Amber and Maks going home.
And it is. She's not terrible, but she'd hit her limit, whereas Calvin seems to finally be breaking through.
Jana & Gleb: 40
James & Sharna: 38
Calvin & Lindsay: 37
Laurie & Val: 37
Marilu & Derek: 34
Maureen & Artem: 31
Ryan & Cheryl: 30
Terra & Sasha: 30
C'mon, America. If you won't send Ryan home, at least send Maureen. I'm not ready to let go of Terra just yet.