It’s Hollywood Night in the “Dancing With the Stars” glitterdome, and the remaining 11 couples added a little extra splash and dash to the ol’ Tinseltown glitz and glamour.
And while “DWTS” celebrated this business called show, science lost a couple of crucial entertainment elements this week, as Bill Nye and Tyne Stecklein were the second couple eliminated from the Season 23 competition (just a day after “Breaking Bad” ended its run!).
Despite the boos in the crowd and the subsequent chants of “Bill! Bill! Bill!” in the studio audience, perhaps it was just as well that this beloved, yet ballroom dance-challenged Science Guy left at this point in the competition. The fan favorite, after all, had torn a ligament in his left thigh the week before and didn’t even know if he would be able to dance.
And ever the practical guy, Bill knew where he stood in the competition. “There are people here who are working so hard, who are so good — you see how they’re improving every week. I’m not going to keep up with that,” the scientist reasoned. “What breaks my heart is Tyne’s not going to stay in. She’s fantastic.”
How did the contestants fare on Hollywood Night? Let’s make a word cloud and see what’s trending.
At the top of the Week 3 leader board were Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd, despite a tough couple of days. First, the “Pretty Little Liars” actor hurt his foot. Then he lost his phone. And then got robbed at gunpoint. But Brant was able to turn his mugging lemon into lemonade (he gave the guy a T-shirt and his Latin dance shoes – take that, robber!), and he was also able to turn his stomped grape of a foot into sparkly champagne with his “Great Gatsby”-esque quickstep to “Crazy in Love.” Brant cut a great-looking figure in his white suit with gold vest, and Peta was a perfect daisy in her sparkly gold fringe flapper dress and feathered headdress. “You were the no-stress express,” Len said. It may have been painful to dance, but “it was painless to watch.” Bruno called Brandt “the perfect matinee idol.” Carrie Ann went with the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic theme: “You are not who I thought you were,” the judge said. “Great musicality and great lines. I can’t believe you were hurt in that routine.” And while it was undeniably fun and the couple were completely easy on the eyes, did it warrant that high of a score? Let’s make like Bruno announcing his paddle score: Nein! Total: 27.
Corbin Bleu had to get to the gym to get his frame up to keep up with Karina Smirnoff in his quickstep, which she claimed was the fastest ever attempted on the show. It’s also Corbin’s first ballroom attempt, so footwork and frame was an issue. And this nod to an Old Hollywood scandal with a director and his starlet was fast and furious without losing its style. “I think this is the one for the record books,” Bruno said, amazed. “Maintaining the synchronicity at that speed is almost impossible, and you did it.” Carrie Ann lauded Corbin for nailing the footwork but “you started with great form, you got to keep that up from there.” Len was overwhelmed by the breakneck pace. “Speed came in and then style went out,” the head judge said. “It was a bit hectic at times for me.” Total: 26.
Mark Ballas wanted the Charleston to show off star Christina Milian’s versatility. But why did it have to be accompanied by Mark’s scary clown face? Good thing Christina’s little cheetah girl Violet wasn’t in the studio audience; just brought to rehearsal for inspiration. Mark should automatically get a 5 for that nightmare-inducing visage. But the judges weren’t as disturbed as I was with all the It makeup. Carrie Ann praised Christina for “this incredible dynamic range of emotion” and called the routine “a full-body” performance. “The dance absolutely mirrored the music, which was fantastic,” Len said, but would have liked the Charleston part to have “more swiveling action.” “The clown and the showgirl are hitting the big time,” Bruno boomed. “Visually inspiring – you perform better than you’ve ever had.” Total: 26.
Since their samba went so well, Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Val Chmerkovskiy decided to keep a good thing going and continue on an upward trajectory … to the friendly fox trot skies! They also continued to talk in hashtags, maybe unaware that Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon had already made a mockery out of them. Lizzie had to be blindfolded to learn to trust in Val’s lead, and it helped her see so many levels of friendship with her Ukranian partner. Elizabeth took Val’s directive to “Come Fly With Me” in an old-school salute to the friendly skies. Both looked great in uniform. “You’ve taken your performance to new heights this week,” Carrie Ann said, but said there was “a boo boo in the middle where it looked like you got ahead of the music.” Len called it “chicken soup to the eyes: delicious and satisfying. … Lizzie, keep busy. You’re a contender.” “Don’t worry, you’re flying first class all the way,” Bruno confirmed, though “even a Dreamliner hits some air pockets.” Kudos to Tom for calling out their awful hashtag speak. “That dance was so good that it overcame the fact that it’s freaking me out you talk in hashtags,” the host said diplomatically. “Hashtag stop.” Total: 25.
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi doesn’t like 6s. It’s embarrassing, and she feels like a loser. She wants to skyrocket right away and then go straight to heaven. So she and partner Sasha Farber worked their little tushes off with their Marilyn Monroe-themed quickstep this week. Snooki said she felt like she was Marilyn in a past life, and she channeled the diamond-loving movie star in a sweeping routine, doing an impressive one-handed cartwheel while holding Sasha’s hand with the other, and proferring a kiss to the judges before being slid across the floor. JWow liked it. So did the judges: Not a 6 in sight. “For your first ballroom dance, you came out and surprised me,” Len said. “This girl is on fire!” Bruno bellowed. “I admire your commitment to hard work and it shows.” “You are a superstar,” Carrie Ann approved. “Tonight, what you did out there blew me away. … You deserve a star on the walk of fame” (or a Chinese wok). Total: 25.
Leah Remini had to work on her sexy face for their dramatic, flair-filled James Bond-style rumba to Adele’s Oscar-winning “Skyfall.” And Leah was in black and looked sultry. International man of mystery Tony Dovolani was dashing in an undone bowtie. Both were shaken and stirred in what Tom called “roly-poly action” tumble on the floor at the end. Len “loved the chemistry … the interplay between the two of you was terrific,” he said. “More Hollywood than Deadwood.” Bruno called Leah a “devilish seductress” and praised her for going out of her comfort zone, but agreed with Len that she needed the continuation of movement in her arms. Carrie Ann liked how Leah “turned up the steam notch,” she said. “Full steam ahead!” Total: 24.
Bill Engvall is a contender! Despite having to travel to Kentucky and Mississippi for shows and thinking that the paso doble sounded like “a Mexican food dish,” the comedian was extra jazzed to learn his routine with Emma Slater this week. The Lone Ranger was his hero as a kid, and now he gets to dance to its signature theme. Plus, “I am pushing myself so hard because I want to win this,” he admitted. Well, Bill just threw his white cowboy hat and mask into the ring with his excellent, crowd-pleasing routine. And by the time he spun Emma like a compass at the end of the routine he had the crowd whooping in delight. “Hi-ho Engvall!” Tom boomed at the end. “Yee-haw!” exulted Carrie Ann. “You nailed the paso! … All your movements were perfectly in sync … every single line was matching Emma perfectly.” Len revealed he loved the Lone Ranger and Tonto as well as a kid. “If you would have come out on horse Silver you would have gotten a 10,” the head judge said. “That was your best dance.” “The Lone Ranger is a hit!” Bruno exulted. “So much attack!” Total: 24.
Derek Hough explained to Amber Riley that their Charleston needed to be over the top. Almost cartoon-like. Too bad Amber was cramped by a hurt bum, vocal rehearsals, and shooting an episode of “Glee” this week. But as Amber said, “If you complain when you’re busy, then you’ll complain when you’re not busy and you’ll never be happy,” and the multi-hyphenate was determined not to let her busy schedule get in the way of her Charleston. And I loved Amber’s dress and headdress during this Baz Lurhmann-modernized “Great Gatsby” routine to will.i.am’s “Bang Bang” where Amber made like George Wilson and shot Derek’s Gatsby dead at the end. Len said he would have “liked a little more swivel in your feet but it was so fun to watch.” Bruno said Amber’s able to “create a rip-roaring excitement in the room” but said the action needed to be much sharper. “No joke, you can bang — nobody else can bang like how you’re banging,” Carrie Ann said. Only, “the bottom half is not as banging as your top half … the legs weren’t going in the right angles.” Total: 24.
Cheryl Burke wanted Jack Osbourne to play a pimp. And despite Jack coming out all ’70s Hollywood, “Huggy Bear-style” and rehearsal footage that made him feel like “we’re making a porno,” the cha cha was more Cheryl leading Jack around than a full-out Superfly affair. (“I’m an insecure pimp. A scared pimp,” he confessed.) Plus, Jack revealed that “I almost overcooked it” and nearly slid off the grand staircase slide at the top of the routine. Bruno loved “the rock star opening” and said Jack kept his timing throughout the ambitious routine, but “you’ve got to watch your hip action.” Carrie Ann said it was “good, but not your best.” He’s taking too big steps, was way back with his weight, and had too much fear in his hands. Len agreed. “I love your commitment,” but “you’ve got to get your hip action going … and you wouldn’t get your weight over your supporting foot.” But for sister and former "DWTS" finalist Kelly, seeing her brother in fluorescent pink is everything. Total: 22.
Can’t wait for the cop drama “Harper & MacManus” where Valerie Harper and Tristan MacManus bark at each other by their last names and go to Hollywood and fight crime, one ballroom step at a time. Tristan, of course, has to keep his mustache for the role. Week “Tree” for the dynamic duo had them dancing the cha cha set to Mika’s “Grace Kelly” — an interesting mash-up, with Tristan channeling Freddie Mercury and Valerie playing the titular Hollywood icon. I’m usually not a fan of wearing white after Labor Day, but I’m not mad at Tristan’s tighty white pants. Bruno said Valerie “got the look absolutely right” but “you went wrong so many times” in the routine. “Yeah, you lost your way,” Carrie Ann said. “But you still manage to somehow bring grace … to what was left on the routine.” Len likened the routine to flying coach on a cheap airline. It’s bumpy, but “you landed safely and got through it.” Len also commended Tristan for his awesome support. “The way you take care of your partner is wonderful,” he said. Me next, please. Total: 16.
After his slip into injury, the orthopedic doctor recommended that short of a wheelchair, Bill Nye give up the dancing, but “people don’t regret what they do, they regret what they don’t do,” Bill said. So he used a leg immobilizer to keep his knee straight and basically did a “Tron”-like robot to partner Tyne Stecklein’s Quora for a jazzy number set to “Get Lucky.” “I don’t know what Bob Fosse would say about the jazz … to be honest, I didn’t see any,” said Bruno. “But it was entertaining.” Carrie Ann was very sweet with her commentary. “I think what you’ve done is absolutely astounding … you have a serious injury,” she said. “You went through it, you didn’t give up. ... I actually was very impressed.” Len commended Tyne for choreographing a terrific routine. “And to you, Bill … to perform with that type of injury, it takes guts, it takes determination, it takes bravery,” the head judge said. “That shows a lot about the man.” Total: 16.
Carrie Ann said she wanted to see more content when Bill’s other leg is feeling better. Perhaps he can come back at the end of the season and perform a proper jazz number.
What did you think, ballroom fans? Bummed over Bill Nye’s departure? Should clown makeup be banned from the glitterverse forever? How does your word cloud work?