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'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Jordan Fisher is perfect; Sasha Pieterse is eliminated

For The Baltimore Sun

It's Disney night on “Dancing With the Stars,” and the couples will be dancing in the order of the release date of the movie whose song they're dancing to.

The show opens with a slowed-down version of "It's a Small World" and I don't care what you do to this song, it's still an insidious earworm. Vanessa is in a full-on Snow White costume and WOW does it suit her. Drew will be dancing to a song from "The Muppet Movie," and I'm a little annoyed that the Muppets have been brought into this. Yes, Disney owns them NOW but when “The Muppet Movie” was made they had nothing to do with Walt Disney.

Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy

Jazz - "Steamboat Willie Suite" from Steamboat Willie"

Victoria and Val are going to be Mickey and Minnie, which makes Victoria very happy. There's a lot of jumping in this routine, which means a lot of landing, which has Val nervous about Victoria hurting her ankles.

They're dressed all in black and white and the set is done in black and white to mimic the original cartoon. This had to be one of the hardest songs to choreograph for tonight. The song is so old-fashioned and kind of quiet, even though it's upbeat. The crowd is so silent through all of it — you can tell the music isn't grabbing them, even though the routine is good.

Len Goodman says it was full of joy, sparkle, and entertainment. Bruno Tonioli liked the blend of styles and the effortlessness and ease of their performance. Carrie Ann Inaba says seeing Val in the striped shorts is a treat. She also says they were perfectly matched in the dance.

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

Vanessa Lachey and Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Waltz — "Someday My Prince Will Come" from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

Thanks to the miracles of CGI, we get to see Maks as all seven of the dwarfs. Also, for reasons unexplained, they're dancing to a French version of this song.

Bruno calls it a simply beautiful waltz. He gives a small note to Vanessa about her balance coming out of turns. Carrie Ann liked the unconventional aspect of the waltz. Len loved that Maks put in a simple step that's difficult — the turn and lock. He liked the choreography and amount of proper waltz. He says it was unstable a couple of times.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8

Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas

Foxtrot — "When You Wish Upon a Star" from “Pinocchio"

During rehearsal and interviews, Lindsey is wearing a hat that looks like you put a badger coat through a blender.

Lindsey said in her interview she'd always wanted to be a Disney princess, and this routine should go a long way to fulfilling that fantasy. She's in a gown that's blue like Cinderella's and dancing a very classic and beautiful foxtrot.

Carrie Ann likes that she didn't go "quirky" this week and showcased a simple routine. Len praises Mark's choreography. Bruno says he felt by the end he was bathing in stardust.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 10; Bruno: 9

Nick Lachey and Peta Murgatroyd

Quickstep - "The Bare Necessities" from “The Jungle Book”

Hmm. They maybe shouldn't have put Nick in Toms-like shoes because they really highlight exactly how flat-footed he is, especially during the fast footwork parts of the quickstep.

Len says little about the dancing, instead saying that Nick seemed to enjoy himself. Bruno says he liked it but Nick lost the steps a couple of times.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 8; Bruno: 7

Drew Scott and Emma Slater

Viennese waltz — "Rainbow Connection" from “The Muppet Movie”

Emma wants Drew to own his height in the ballroom and take command.

Oh, look, they've made room at the judges table for Kermit the Frog as a fourth judge. He introduces Drew & Emma. I hope they let Kermit give comments. Drew is wearing a white tuxedo with long tails that are lined in rainbow fabric. He should be glad he's not my fiance, because I'd now insist he wear that on our wedding day.

Bruno says he was expecting Gonzo and got Prince Charming. Tom says that when Bruno is here, Gonzo would be redundant. Bruno gives him some comments about his rise and fall and how it needs to be smoother. Carrie Ann says this is her favorite song and that Drew and Emma have become one of her favorite couples. Kermit says he wishes he wasn't speaking last because the other judges have already said what he would say.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 8; Bruno: 8

Kermit gives it a 10 but his score doesn't count.

Sasha Pieterse and Gleb Savchenko

Rumba — "Kiss the Girl" from “The Little Mermaid”

Sasha says she's lost 37 pounds since being on the show. I know they have a workout tape, but man, they should be setting up a chain of gyms.

This dance is fine, but nothing scintillating. Ite feels like so many rumbas we've seen before on this show.

Carrie Ann says she loves the way Sasha's body creates lines in the dance. Len says it was a well-crafted routine and they have great chemistry.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8

Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke

Quickstep — "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" from “The Lion King”

Terrell's frame is good! Unlike a lot of the male celebs, he's not hunching his shoulders. He also does a really good job with the fancy footwork section.

Len explains something I've wondered about for years — they have monitors in the judges table so they can see the routine as it's being televised, as well as what they see from the side of the dance floor. Bruno says he could see how hard Terrell worked on his frame. He also compliments his proper footwork. Every time a judge compliments Terrell he points to Cheryl. Carrie Ann says they were completely in sync the whole dance.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 8; Bruno: 8

Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson

Argentine Tango — "Angelica" from “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

Witney says to Frankie, "You're an actor, right? So you can act sexy? Since you're not naturally sexy?" Poor Frankie's face is, like, "WOW, OK, you just said it."

Some day when I'm bored, I'll look up how many times Rodrigo & Gabriela have been used on this show — they have to be in the top 10 of artists danced to.

I know Witney has to wear heels for the right look, but I hate that it makes her taller than Frankie. He doesn't have the presence to look like he's commanding her from below.

Carrie Ann says she saw one mistake, but it was from Witney not Frankie. Witney says her heel got caught in her dress.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 9; Bruno: 10

Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold

Foxtrot — "You're Welcome" from “Moana”

Lindsay gets in a nice pseudo-lift/spin at the beginning and does a great job of keeping her feet on the floor throughout so Carrie Ann doesn't have to dock a point. They use the rap interlude in the song to do some side-by-side work and it lasts just the right amount of time. I don't think even Len could be crabby.

Carrie Ann disagrees with me about the "breakdown" — calling it a little long. Len was pleased by all the foxtrot in hold. He says he's normally not a big fan of the "mucking about" in the middle but he's forgiving it because of excellence of the part in hold. Bruno says it's foxtrot for the 21st century. Bruno talks about how standard pop songs didn't usually have the syncopation of this song, and Jordan and Lindsay took that syncopation and incorporated it beautifully into a classic foxtrot.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10

It's the first perfect score of the season!

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev

Jazz — "Remember Me" from “Coco”

Nikki is excited about reconnecting to her Mexican roots for this dance. Artem wants to put in a lot of traditional Mexican dance moves so he invited a couple of professional Mexican folk dancers to give them pointers.

It's a fun routine — colorful and lively. I have no idea about its "authenticity" but it works well in the context of "jazz."

Len says it summed up the whole night — joyous and full of fun. He calls it Nikki's best dance. Bruno calls it a wonderful, vibrant celebration of life. Carrie Ann loves that they brought the traditional folk dance moves to the routine.

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


Sasha & Gleb are announced as the first couple in jeopardy. Joining them in the Spotlight of Doom are Frankie & Witney. Everybody else is safe. Sasha and Gleb are eliminated. Fair enough — she wasn't going to make the finals.


Jordan & Lindsay: 30

Frankie & Whitney: 29

Lindsey & Mark: 28

Nikki & Artem: 27

Victoria & Val: 27

Drew & Emma: 25

Terrell & Cheryl: 25

Vanessa & Maks: 24

Nick & Peta: 22


We've got lose a Lachey next week, right? I hope it's Nick, rather than Vanessa. She's the one with more personality in that couple.

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