It's "Icons Night" on "Dancing With the Stars" and they're playing Donna Summer, but WAIT — what have they done to Erin Andrews in hair and makeup??? She doesn't necessarily look bad but she looks near unrecognizable.
Jodie Sweetin and Keo Motsepe
Jodie is frustrated by her scores from last week, saying to Keo, "I threw you through a table? What else am I supposed to do?"
There's a bit of faffing about at the beginning, with Keo entering through the back of the audience and pulling Jodie form a chair. Keo doesn't seem to have realized how to "dance down" to his partner. Like, you don't have to not do the quickstep well, but you tone down the flourishes you'd add if you were dancing with another professional.
Len Goodman liked the commitment to the dance and the high energy level throughout the routine. Bruno Tonioli says there were a couple of footfalls but Jodie's "freedom of movement" was really good tonight. Carrie Ann Inaba likes Jodie's "aura" tonight. Whatever, hippie. Carrie Ann says that Keo missed a step at one point while Jodie was on the choreography.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 9; Bruno: 9
Kim Fields and Sasha Farber
They're dancing to a Jackson 5 song, and Kim recalls a "Facts of Life" episode on which Jermaine Jackson did a guest spot. She also tells us she grew up around the Jackson family because she was friends with Janet.
I'm kind of surprised by Kim's footwear — she's wearing sneakers, which you usually only see in jive routines or some sort of jazz or freestyle routine. Maybe she's still dealing with an injury.
Bruno uses a lot of adjectives to say he thought it was a combination of the sparkiness of the Jacksons with the slinkiness of Mary J. Blige. Carrie Ann says she's glad Kim got angry at the judges because it meant she brought her " 'A' game" tonight. Len is enthusiastic about the dance, as well.
Up in the skybox, Erin coaxes Sasha into taking his jacket off. She loves us, America. And then Sasha wishes his mom, who's in Australia, a happy birthday and he's just the cutest.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9
Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd
Nyle feels a little guilty about his arrogance last week because he feels pressure to represent the deaf community well. He's still clean-shaven after last week and is not quite as sexy, but he's even cuter and more handsome, in my opinion. I'm not entirely sure why Peta thought he had to wear baby pink to match her dress, though.
Carrie Ann likes that Nyle took the criticism from last week seriously. She points out the difficulty of doing an elegant dance like the foxtrot to a song by a rock group. Overall, she's positive in her remarks. Len complains that Nyle's "bum" stuck out a bit in hold. The crowd boos, and watching Nyle's interpreter translate the booing is great fun. It involves thumbs down, arms out, and hips swiveling. Len adds that Nyle had his shoulders hunched over at one point.
Bruno likes the lyricism they brought out in the routine. He's also really complimentary of Nyle's turns, in and out of hold. Bruno concludes by saying that, "a lot of people like the bubble butt." Yes, Bruno. You speak for me.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 9; Bruno: 10. I guess the butt cost him a point from Len.
Tom says that Bruno submitted a 9 to the producers, so despite the fact that he held up a 10 paddle, that may not be the official score. Given that this also happened to Bruno not that long ago, Tom asks if Bruno does his own taxes. Heh.
Back from commercial, Tom's holding the actual score sheet, upon which Bruno has clearly written a 9. Oh, Bruno.
Corrected scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 9; Bruno: 9
Antonio Brown and Sharna Burgess
Antonio's committed to staying in Los Angeles for the whole week this week to get in more rehearsal time, since they have two dances to do.
They're dancing to the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black" which means Antonio's forbidden to deploy his greatest asset — his million-dollar smile. The routine starts with a whole "guys in black hooded robes holding flashlights under their chins" bit. It's weirdly cheesy and very goth-lite.
Antonio looks lost throughout the whole routine, and you can tell Sharna is doing her fair share of pushing him around the floor and through his moves. There's a point near the end of the routine when the "Dancing With the Stars" title card flashes on the screen. That usually signals a wardrobe malfunction, so we'll see if they explain it.
Len says it had plenty of attitude but there were a few mistakes. He pauses to let the boo-ers boo.
Tom interrupts the judges because the producers are telling him through is earpiece that he needs to look at Sharna's top. He turns to block our view of Sharna — apparently her bustier had slipped down too much for Standards & Practices to allow during the family hour on network TV. That explains the title card and the extreme close-up of Antonio's face during Len's comments. A brief rewind confirms that Sharna's going to be the subject of countless "nip slip" photos tonight. She's embarrased but takes it in stride.
Bruno says Antonio got into the performance but that his footwork was pretty much terrible. Carrie Ann says that Antonio's natural speed worked against him tonight. She exhorts him to get the technique down. And then she makes a really interesting comparison for a wide receiver, telling him that finishing the moves is like meeting the ball when catching a pass.
Erin's got a towel handy for Antonio, who really does sweat buckets during these routines. NFL Films has footage of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin admitting that he hasn't voted for Antonio, saying, "If he needs my vote, he's in big trouble." Oh, Coach!
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8
Wanyá Morris and Lindsay Arnold
Wanyá's schedule this past week was super busy. He gets on the phone to try to rearrange things and tells the cameraman before he makes the call that we might not want to listen — "There's going to be a lot of beeping." Hee. He makes me giggle.
I find it interesting that they're calling "I Say a Little Prayer" an Aretha Franklin song. I mean, yeah, she had a hit with it, but I think of it more as a Dionne Warwick song.
The dance is only OK. I don't like the set they've put up on the ballroom floor for the number — it's distracting and too much. And while it seems to be a clean routine, it's not really grabbing me the way a lot of Wanyá's numbers have.
Bruno calls it wholesome, full of goodness and done beautifully. Carrie Ann says it was really good but not great. Len says it was a joyful performance but chides Wanyá for hunching his shoulders and "losing his neck" a couple of times during the performance.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9
Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovsky
During rehearsals, Val apologizes for being hard on Ginger, telling her that he doesn't want her to not have fun.
They start the dance in front of four mirrors, and Val's butt looks good in all of them. The choreography on this is really good. It's recognizably a Viennese waltz while still feeling like a performance based on the song, its lyrics and its association with "The Bodyguard." Good job, Val.
Carrie Ann is screaming, so she likes it. She calls it powerful, elegant and perfection. Len calls it a cool breeze on a warm summer day. He says it had just the right amount of everything he wanted to see, and compliments Val on the choreography. See? Me and Len? We share a brain sometimes. Bruno says the content, style and interpretation were all impeccable.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10
Von Miller and Witney Carson
Oooh, Von's in latter-Elvis costume, meaning white jumpsuit with the half-cape. It's pretty great. However, during rehearsal footage, Von claims not to know who Elvis is and Witney seems to know nothing either. Ah, youth.
Since it's salsa, they're allowed to do lifts, and Witney's taking full advantage of the fact that she is a tiny person and Von is a big guy with big muscles.
That begin said, Von's kind of plateaued in his dancing. What looked like promise in the early weeks of the show seems to be the extent of his capabilities. I like the guy, but at this rate, he's not making the finals.
They've given Witney a full on Ann-Margret back comb and it suits her surprisingly well. She's meant to be a bombshell from a different era.
Len compliments the lifts, calling them "spectacular." Bruno feared for Witney's life during all those crazy lifts. Carrie Ann says it was a bit rough around the edges but she loves seeing Von have so much fun and being so willing to go campy.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8
Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas
Paige is really taking being in jeopardy last week hard. Oh, honey. Unless they actually say you were in the bottom two or three, don't take it to heart. If they don't specify that you were in the bottom, it's just producer manipulation.
Fair play to Mark — this is good choreography that really showcases Paige and sticks close to a traditional jive while not backing down from the power or speed of Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" one bit. It may be one of the best routines I've ever seen him do on the show. It was electric!
The audience members clearly agree with me because it takes forever to get them to settle down for the judges to be able to talk. Bruno says it was so tight, so difficult and that the speed was insane. Carrie Ann calls it amazing. Len calls it a "UFC: Under Full Control" jive.
They replay the West Coast swing cartwheel. Paige says they were supposed to do it in their salsa routine but couldn't because of Mark's injury. I think that was a blessing in disguise because it fit this routine so well.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10
It's men against women as "Team James Brown" versus "Team Beyoncé." Although, to clarify, the couples are still dancing together — it's male stars with their female pros vs. female stars with their male pros.
Wanyá isn't able to make the second rehearsal for Team James Brown, so one of the troupe members stands in for him. During camera blocking, it's clear how much Wanyá is having to play catch-up.
Peta explains a couple of times during rehearsal how much more difficult it's going to be for Nyle when there are all these other people dancing with them. I'm trying to remember if they've used backup dancers in their routines and it's not coming to me that they have. I guess it makes more sense — since he can't hear the music it's that much more difficult for him to stay in sync with that many more people.
They've put Nyle on the end, which is probably the best way to cope with that — fewer distractions. Antonio and Sharna get the first solo and Antonio does a credible leapfrog over her head. Von and Witney get the "Living in America" solo, as do Nyle and Peta. Wanyá and Lindsay get "I Feel Good," which segues back into the whole team dancing together again.
They let Nyle do the "hand cupped to the ear" move that performers do to elicit cheers from the crowd. It's pretty funny and leads to him dancing at the front of the group, which is probably also a good way to keep him from getting off-beat. The routine ends with Von lifting Witney way high above his head while she does a split. Yowza.
Len salutes them for the hard work. Bruno says they got the style of James Brown spot on while bringing their own personalities to the routine. Carrie Ann liked the group formation at the beginning of the routine and pointed out that when Nyle was in front and got ahead of the beat, all the dancers behind him matched up to him so they'd all look right together. She praises the teamwork.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 10
For the women, Mark and Val take charge of the choreography right away. While they do samba rolls together, the female stars stand and sit off to the side looking sort of bored. This is not WWBD (What Would Beyonce Do). She'd be running that room in 10 hot seconds.
Confession time: Despite my admiration of Beyonce as a singer, performer, business mogul and feminist, I don't really know a lot of her music besides the big hits. So it surprises me when the first song in this medley isn't one of those big hits. It's "End of Time," and is 5 years old or so. It's a weird start when you want to get the crowd up and energized.
Kim and Sasha get the first "solo," which seems to be only Sasha cradling Kim in his arms for a lift/spin. The music changes to a ballad in time for Paige and Mark to get a lift. Then it goes into some traditional partner dancing in ballroom frame. Finally, a song to get the crowd going — "Crazy In Love." And yet, it's still kind of lackluster. I'm placing this firmly at the feet of Mark and Val because that choreography did nothing to draw the crowd in, even if the music was a bit of a shackle, too.
Bruno says many, many words about how gorgeous they all look, which is not usually a good sign for scores. He says they lost sync several times, including during the turns. Carrie Ann says they all brought their "Sasha Fierce" tonight. She adds that they challenged themselves with difficult choreography that incorporated a lot of different styles.
See, here's the thing. During your partner dances, when you've been given an assigned style, you want to please the judges by staying in that style. There are no assigned styles (that we've been told) for these team dances tonight, so why not go with whatever is going to make the best performance?
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8, Len: 8; Bruno: 9. Fair. I'd even say Bruno overscored them.
Kim and Sasha are announced as the first couple in jeopardy. Then Wanyá and Lindsay. Von and Witney are next on the chopping block. The rest of the couples are announced as safe. That means two of these couples are going home. It best not be Wanyá or I'll throw a hissy fit right here and now.
They put me out of my misery quickly and announce Wanyá and Lindsay as safe, which means Von and Witney and Kim and Sasha are both eliminated.
I'm kind of surprised Antonio outlasted Von, but I guess that's the difference in four points on the scoreboard last week.
Nyle and Peta: 28 + 28 = 56
Ginger and Val: 30 + 25 = 55
Paige and Mark: 30 + 25 = 55
Wanyá and Lindsay: 27 + 28 = 55
Antonio and Sharna: 24 + 28 = 52
Jodie and Keo: 26 + 25 = 51
Well, there's clearly a divide between the bottom two and the rest of the scoreboard. Jodie clearly wants it more and has consistently been better than Antonio. But Antonio's got a lot of charm — and that counts for a lot. I don't think either one of them is finals material, so it probably doesn't matter who goes home first. But if it's not one of them, then we've got problems.