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'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Terrell Owens eliminated, Jordan Fisher stands out

For The Baltimore Sun

The opening number of “Dancing With the Stars” this week includes contestants from previous seasons who are back to dance with our competing couples during the trio round later on. We'll get to them then.

Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke

Charleston

Cheryl tells Terrell she doesn't think he deserves to be at the bottom of the scoreboard. She's committed to them taking this partnership all the way. She mainly points out that he needs to finish his movements with his arms, saying that even though he's big, Drew's just as tall and he was doing it.

I do love watching a long-legged man do high side kicks well. Terrell also gets a nice bit of choreography from Cheryl where he gets to slide across the stage, do a toe stop, then jump up on a table.

Len Goodman says no one has improved since Week 1 as much as Terrell. Bruno Tonioli calls him the "King of the Cotton Club." I hope Terrell gets that reference. Carrie Ann Inaba says he's peaking at the right moment.

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

Drew Scott and Emma Slater

Waltz

For Drew this waltz is about recognizing how much he loves his future wife Linda and the new dimension it's brought to his life.

There's one moment at the beginning when Drew's supposed to lift his arms to demonstrate the hope he has for their love. It reminds me of my friend in college who used to lift his arms in imitation of a dinosaur, saying "Look at my wingspan, I could destroy you all!"

Bruno says his intentions were clear and very deeply felt, but in hold, his dancing was a bit blocky. Carrie Ann says the bottom half of his body was not keeping the tempo. Len adds to the criticism of Drew's frame.

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

Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy

Argentine Tango

During dress rehearsal Victoria suffered a leg spasm, which looks pretty serious, but she's dancing tonight. I assume Argentine tango is going to be particularly challenging for Victoria because she can't feel her legs or feet and this dance has so much precise and intricate footwork.

Victoria's wearing a dress with a sheer skirt that's slit to the waist on both sides. That's a far cry from her pants in early weeks because she was self-conscious about her legs. If nothing else, I love the progression of her confidence.

Carrie Ann says heading into the semi-finals everything matters, so any comments she gives are only about helping her compete. She says Victoria dropped her eyes a lot, which meant she lost the intensity and showed her discomfort. Len calls it clean and exact, but wanted it to have more Argentine flavor. Bruno says she had great shapes, great lifts, and good lines, but now she has to act the part.

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

Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas

Samba

Lindsey says her spirit was broken last week because of her injury. Her injury is doing better, as is her spirit.

The gimmick of their routine is that she's the lion and Mark is the lion tamer. So this means a hula hoop is involved at the beginning. I like their music — it feels like Carnivale.

Len says Lindsey didn't look as sure-footed as she usually does. He did think it was full of rhythm and imagination, even if two bits were "too funky" for him. Lindsey asks about her bounce and Len says it was good but she could've had more hip action. Bruno calls it an avant-garde samba. Carrie Ann liked the creativity but she agrees with Len that she didn't look as sure on her feet as she usually does.

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

Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson

Viennese waltz

Frankie's not sure if he belongs at the top of the leaderboard. You and me both, man. He tells Witney that before the season started, he was the least favored contestant to win the Mirrorball. She asks, "Isn't it great to prove people wrong?" and he replies, "I'm proving it to myself."

Bruno calls the dance stylish and elegant and warns Frankie about keeping his shoulders down. Carrie Ann wasn't sure if Frankie lost control of Witney in a turn. Tom Bergeron remarks that Frankie wouldn't be the first man to lose control of Witney. Hey-o! Len says the dance was far from perfection and that Frankie never straightened his legs, hampering his rise and fall.

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

Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold

Quickstep

Jordan points out that Lindsay is the only pro left who's never won a Mirrorball trophy. This could definitely be her year, with Jordan.

This is some sort of psychedelic mod-’60s quickstep and I'm digging it. They do the simultaneous leap in hold thing I love and it looks great.

Carrie Ann is beaming. She says it was like if Bob Fosse and Austin Powers had a baby and calls it "brilliant and sassy." Len's comment is to stand and applaud. And that's all he does. Bruno says it was the most demanding, intricate quickstep he's ever seen on the show.

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

TRIO ROUND

Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke, with Kelly Monaco

Rumba

Terrell is clearly thrilled about dancing with two beautiful women. Also, Terrell's single and Kelly's single, so Terrell wants a date. Kelly agrees to go out with him if they get a 30.

I figured someone would end up getting "Slow Hands" by Niall Horan this season. Also, because Cheryl is no dummy, Terrell is dancing this number with his shirt fully unbuttoned. I continue to think trio dances look dumb.

Len doesn't think this dance suited Terrell's personality as well as the Charleston did. Everything out of Bruno's mouth sounds X-rated. Carrie Ann points out all the goofy grins from the women in the audience. Carrie Ann wanted to see more movement and choreography, thinking it wasn't as challenging as it could have been. Was that because of Terrell or because of Kelly?

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

Tom brings up the deal about a date for three 10s and Tom calls on the dancers in the skybox to hold up three 10 paddles. Tom, you're better than this.

Drew Scott and Emma Slater, with Rashad Jennings

Cha-cha-cha

This is a "disco-inspired" cha-cha with Emma's old partner and reigning champion. Rashad says he's going to teach Drew how to "swag." Rashad, that may require more than a week.

There are so many disco balls hanging over the floor and piled on the floor and it's basically how I'd decorate if I had more money than sense. There's a weird part in the middle where Drew and Emma kind of struggle with a pull through Rashad's legs. Then the routine finishes with a long stretch of Drew and Emma in hold with Rashad behind Emma, which always looks so awkward and weird to me.

Bruno loved the glitzy feel and said that for most of the routine Drew kept up with Rashad, but during the proper cha-cha part, Drew faltered a bit. Len liked that everyone contributed to the performance, but Drew was a little bit wooden in places. Apparently, Drew suffers in comparison to Rashad.

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

Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy, with Laurie Hernandez

Jive

Victoria and Laurie nerd out over their shared love of “Star Wars.” Yay for girl nerds!

This music is starting out really slow for a jive, but it amps up quickly. Argh. Jive is a dance for couples, not for triples, and to get the jive in-hold content in there you have to get some awkward moments.

For Carrie Ann, it goes back to the acting again — when Victoria was on her own, she lost the energy sometimes. Len says it's tough watching these trios. He wanted it be more sharp and clear. Bruno says jive is about precision in the leg and Victoria just wasn't quite there.

Tom points out that Victoria switched from heels to sneakers for the routine and that she seemed to be having difficulty as she was walking to the stage.

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

Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas, with Kristi Yamaguchi

Jazz

Aw, c'mon. Jazz shouldn't be allowed in the trio round, unless they're all allowed to do it. Since it doesn't require in hold moves like the ballroom dances. In the interview footage, Kristi and Lindsey razz Mark about his "I've got an idea" face and then he goes and does it in the rehearsal studio and they both giggle as he realizes what he's just done.

"Let's Face the Music and Dance" is one of my favorite "sounds happy but is really sad if you listen to the lyrics" songs. They're only embracing the sound and not the meaning here, with a peppy Old Hollywood-style jazz number. It's fun and glam.

Bruno is on my wavelength calling it classic "Old Hollywood." Carrie Ann says it was clean and spot-on.

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

Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson, with Alfonso Ribeiro

Jive

Frankie and Alfonso are racing buddies outside the ballroom. Witney says they're very similar in the way they process information, the way they dance. Alfonso says it's "that child actor thing." Alfonso tries to shore up Frankie's confidence.

Bruno says there's something about Witney that brings out the best in both Frankie and Alfonso. He says the sync was quite good. Carrie Ann says it was a very strong performance but she did see Frankie's nerves this time. She thinks his nerves may have caused some of the tiny mistakes she saw. Len thought it was full of energy, content and fun. He doesn't want Frankie to doubt himself anymore.

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

Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold, with Corbin Bleu

Salsa

Jordan and Corbin Bleu have been friends for years and they have had parallel career trajectories.

Lindsey has done such good choreography for this, throwing in some really interesting tricks and really incorporating all three dancers instead of making it feel like a couples dance with an extra person who happens to be there.

Carrie Ann stands up and babbles excitedly, so we know she likes it. Len says it had good technique and captured the character of the dance. Bruno stands up and says it showed the joy of life and the joy of dancing.

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

Elimination

All the couples are on the stage and the first revealed safe is, no shock, Jordan and Lindsay. Joining them are Lindsey and Mark. Another non-shocker. Victoria and Val are also safe. Drew and Emma are also safe. Which leaves Frankie and Witney and Terrell and Cheryl still in jeopardy.

And Terrell and Cheryl are eliminated. Aw, man. I think, like the judges said, he still had room to improve and was on the upswing. I wish Drew or Victoria had gone home instead.

Scoreboard

Jordan & Lindsay: 30 + 30 = 60

Lindsey & Mark: 26 + 28 = 54

Frankie & Whitney: 26 + 27 = 53

Victoria & Val: 24 + 24 = 48

Drew & Emma: 22 + 25 = 47

Predictions

I'm not sure how it WILL go but how I WANT it to go is a finale with Jordan, Lindsey, and Frankie. Victoria and Drew just aren't quite up to the same level. Drew is charismatic as all get out, but his technical skills just aren't going to be as good as Frankie's. Victoria's technical skills are as good as Drew's, maybe a little better, but her personality isn't as engaging. Frankly, I want to see what Frankie might be capable of, and I'm less interested in Drew or Victoria.

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