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'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Nick Lachey is eliminated, Lindsey Stirling is perfect

For The Baltimore Sun

We're celebrating Tinseltown this week on “Dancing With the Stars,” which means songs "capturing the spirit of a specific movie genre." We're also going to get a Shania Twain performance, and she's sitting in as a guest judge.

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev

Argentine tango — Genre: Foreign

The video from Len telling Nikki and Artem that their genre is "foreign films" has Len in a beret with a long cigarette holder. He employs a reedeeculous French accent as well. It is delightful.

However, Nikki and Artem are clearly dancing to a song with Spanish subtitles, even if the backdrop of the stage is the base of the Eiffel Tower. Everything screams Argentine tango, from Nikki's finger curls to Artem's Panama hat. John Cena is in the audience in a beautiful suit. I'd really love to know who does tailoring work for him and Dwayne Johnson.

Tom Bergeron asks Artem if it was him who lost his balance and he takes full responsibility for it. Len comments that Artem changed his haircut and maybe that's what affected his balance. Shania Twain is done up straight out of a 1940s stylebook, for some reason — from her hair to her dress with padded sharp shoulders. Bruno Tonioli's comments mostly end up being a flirtation session for him and Shania. Carrie Ann Inaba wants Nikki to extend the toning of her arms to her feet.

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

Tom reveals that Nikki & Artem are safe from elimination. Five couples are up on the stage facing results after the commercial break. Drew & Emma are safe, as are Frankie & Witney. The first couple in jeopardy is Nick & Peta. Terrell & Cheryl are also in jeopardy, as are Victoria & Val.

Drew Scott and Emma Slater

Paso doble — Genre: Action

Emma is hoping guest judge Shania, who's Canadian, will look favorably upon fellow Canuck Drew. Drew's excited about their genre because he's been a lifelong karate student.

The routine starts with Drew getting into a barroom brawl with backup dancers. It's as badass as you'd expect a home renovation show star fighting backup dancers to be.

There's a part when Emma and Drew are dancing in front of the backup dancers and Drew totally biffs a move, doing something completely different than everybody else. He's throwing his arms up when everybody else is going down. He's so tall, with such long arms, it's hard not to notice. If it was intentional, it didn't look it. And then at the very end of the routine he jumps up on a pool table and bonks his head on a hanging lamp.

Shania thought he captured the drama of an action movie. Bruno points out the mistake while the editors helpfully show it in split screen. Carrie Ann says it was a tough routine, filled with content. Len calls it an "awkward looking routine." He says the paso is a balance between aggression and finesse and the finesse was lacking.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Shania: 9; Bruno: 7

Clearly, the Canadian judge came through for her countryman.

Nick Lachey and Peta Murgatroyd

Samba — genre: Western

Ooh, this is a hard match of song and genre. It's a hip-hop song from a Western that had steampunk overtones. Their costuming reflects the steampunk style of the movie.

This is such a slow samba. Peta's choreography is fine and the match of song to dance style is better than I'd expected, but wow do I wish I was seeing a better dancer than Nick do this.

Both Tom and Bruno mention “Mad Max” — I'm guessing they skipped the movie it's actually from. Don't worry, guys, so did most paying audiences. Carrie Ann says the breakdown was fantastic. Len says, "Carrie Ann's right for a change," agreeing that the solo stuff looked terrific but the samba part needed some work. Shania is wearing no fewer than five giant, sparkly cocktail rings. Since she likes to talk with her hands, I'm mesmerized by the shiny objects and unable to pay attention to what she says.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 6; Shania: 7; Bruno: 6

Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy

Paso doble — genre: Sports

Victoria's excited because this song was in "The Mighty Ducks." So Val runs with that and brings a hockey theme to the dance. Victoria just throws in one of her interviews that she was the first born of triplets. Then, for reasons unclear to me, she and Val have a swimming race. Which means we get to see Val in a tiny swimsuit, so all's good.

I really like the bit at the end of their dance where Val's choreographed a group section with backup dancers as a hockey play. It works very, very well.

Ha! As Val comes over to stand with Victoria next to Tom we see he's blacked out a couple of teeth for hockey player dental authenticity. Shania calls it innovative and fun. Bruno says that even though it was very conceptualized he could still see the proper paso doble. He gives Victoria a small note about her arms, especially during port de bras.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Shania: 7; Bruno: 9

Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke

Jive — genre: Spy

During rehearsal, Cheryl is sitting on the floor watching Terrell's footwork carefully. She's such a good pro, y'all.

Terrell has no problem playing to the camera, but his legs are a little looser and not as sharp as they need to be for this routine. If it were a jive with a different theme, sure, but this is supposed to be some sort of sophisticated jive.

Len says Terrell has style and an ease about the way he dances and calls it Terrell's best dance so far. Shania says they were both in character and the attention to detail was gorgeous. Carrie Ann calls him a "smooth operator."

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

Shania's song is "Soldier," which is in the film, "Thank You for Your Service." Maybe that's what the ’40s get-up is all about? She's doing her homage to Bette Midler in "For the Boys"?

Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson

Jazz — genre: Animation

Frankie says he has animation experience because he was Lisa Simpson's boyfriend on an episode and that Seth MacFarlane makes fun of him on every one of his shows.

Their routine is some sort of fairy thing, with Frankie as a blue-haired, Peter Pan-looking character and neon mushrooms on the stage. What this has to do with Sheila E's song "Holly Rock" from "Krush Groove," I have no idea. Although I'm thinking more and more that the person who does musical selection for this show must've watched "The Get Down" what with two songs from Kurtis Blow and now this song.

Shania loved it, thinking Frankie was liberated. Bruno says there were a couple of points when Frankie lost his timing. Carrie Ann points out some mistakes as well. Len says it was full of spirit and enthusiasm.

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

The three couples who don't have results yet are on the stage: Jordan & Lindsay, Lindsey & Mark, and Vanessa & Maks. They're all safe.

Vanessa Lachey and Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Quickstep — genre: Musical

Vanessa calls their routine a "quickstep on steroids."

There's a little bit of faffing about at the beginning with Vanessa playing singer on the top stage. But then it gets into proper dancing. And then stops cold for her to do some dancing on and around a chair without Maks. When she and Maks come back together in hold, they do the fancy quickstep footwork but the cameraman misses their feet. Hmph. Do better, director/camera guys.

Bruno says she killed it, but with one tiny foot problem in the corner. As Carrie Ann mentions her "wardrobe malfunction" the split-screen shows us how Vanessa got her foot caught in her skirt and ripped it off entirely. I can't help but think that was supposed to happen, but during a different part of the dance? Maybe during the chair part? Because what's left on her dress seems like it's meant to be a skirt on its own, albeit skimpier and shorter.

Len wants her to get her posture better and exaggerate her frame. Shania raises the same issue I did about the loss of her skirt, that it was maybe supposed to happen, just not at the time it did.

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

Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold

Rumba — genre: Drama

Jordan grew up doing gymnastics and suffered a lot of injuries and his hips are bothering him now.

They're using a white scarf as a prop for this rumba, but they thankfully abandon it about a third of the way in. It would've been too distracting to maintain it through the whole routine. A quick shot of the skybox at the end of the routine reveals Cheryl's admiration of the routine.

Carrie Ann says Jordan was one continuous motion throughout the entire dance. Len calls it well-crafted. He says little things get on his nerves, particularly calling out a hand movement of Jordan's.

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

Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas

Argentine tango — genre: Sci-fi

Mark is going for a mad scientist theme in this dance. And also some sort of space future thing with Lindsey as a robot? Lindsey's leg and footwork is terrific. And once again, she proves she can kick her foot above her head. It's a weird song they're dancing to, with not a lot of obvious melody.

Tom calls it sexy, creepy, and wonderful all at once. Len thought the choreography was phenomenal and the dancing was brilliant. Shania calls it intense and says the sharp edges still managed to look elegant. Bruno calls it a work of genius. He says it was reminiscent of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" and also "Ex Machina" but was also a superb Argentine tango. He calls it the best dance of the season so far.

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

Elimination

Victoria & Val are announced safe. Nick & Peta are the eliminated couple. It's fine. Let's hope it doesn't knock Vanessa off her game.

Scoreboard

Lindsey & Mark: 40

Jordan & Lindsay: 39

Terrell & Cheryl: 37

Nikki & Artem: 36

Vanessa & Maks: 36

Frankie & Whitney: 31

Victoria & Val: 31

Drew & Emma: 30

Predictions

If I'm Frankie, I'm very, very nervous about next week's elimination.

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