Valerie Harper and Tristan Macmanus.
Valerie Harper and Tristan Macmanus. (Adam Taylor / ABC)

The show opens with its now-regular pro/troupe number. And then the contestants are shown briefly by way of introduction.

Of all the changes necessitated by the change to one night a week, the elimination of the grand staircase entrance is an unexpected favorite of mine.


OOOooh, Carrie Ann and Bruno are introduced near the end of the routine and do a little shaking and shimmying of their own while moving over to the judges' table. I'm always happy to see the judges dance. But where's Len? Oh, right. He's not here this week, so we have Julianne Hough as guest judge.

Her floor-length tight gown keeps her from doing the same moves Carrie Ann and Bruno did.
Tom interviews Julianne for a bit about her career after leaving "our spray-tan warehouse." Julianne gets to sit in Len's seat - this feels so wrong somehow.

Jack Osbourne & Cheryl Burke

Jack says during rehearsal that he's OK when Cheryl is short with him because he knows she's only trying to get him to dance his best. They show a lot of footage then of Cheryl getting exasperated with Jack. But at the end, she says there's no one she'd rather dance with.

Jack is a little awkward during some of the sweeping across-the-floor runs, but I have to say he really does seem to be giving it his best effort with a lot of personality thrown in for good measure.

Cheryl responds to Tom calling her "crankypants" by pointing out that she explained in the package that it was her "time of the month." Tom then welcomes us to "Oversharing Theater."

Julianne says it was such an improvement from last week. Julianne admonishes him to get out of his head while dancing and show more personality. Bruno says the routine was full of tricks, especially with the footwork. He also points out Jack's trouble holding his frame. Carrie Ann disagrees with Bruno about his frame and Julianne about his personality during the dance.

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8

Elizabeth Berkley Lauren & Val Chmerkovskiy
Argentine Tango

During rehearsals, Elizabeth stares at Val for an extended period of time. It baffles Val, but he plays along.

Even in somewhat moderate heels, Elizabeth is taller than Val, but it looks good. This is some very advanced choreography, often out of hold.

Bruno is effusive in his praise. Carrie Ann calls it dramatic and moving. Julianne tells Elizabeth she's been one of her favorites since day one.

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 9

I'm kind of surprised they didn't pull down at least one 10 for that routine. I guess it's because it's only Week 3 — if they'd done that same routine 4 weeks from now, I have no doubt it gets at least one, if not two 10s.


Brant Daugherty & Peta Murgatroyd

Brant has a shoulder injury from a couple of years ago that means he doesn't have a lot of strength in his arms and shoulders, causing trouble with lifts. When Brooke asks Brant, pre-dance, about his many injuries at such a young age, Peta gives Brooke some amazing side-eye. Attagirl.

Peta is wearing a very abs revealing outfit and not long into the routine, Brant takes off his shirt, so they know their voting bloc, for sure. Despite having to take out some of the more challenging lifts, it's still a fun routine with a lot of salsa content.

Carrie Ann says the lifts they did do were fantastic. She then says that when he takes off his shirt (And here she clarifies she doesn't want to dissuade him from doing so because she knows she'll get hate mail) it's very revealing, showing some issues with his arm movements.

Julianne says it was awesome, especially when he took off the shirt — she adds that she's single now. She did feel like he needed to work more on the salsa content, especially his arms, which were "loosey-goosey."

Tom quips that this might be the first time a scoring paddle has a phone number on it. Julianne just smiles and looks down at the table. Bruno says he thought Brant was "a good boy" and had no idea that he could bring out the sexy he did tonight. He adds that Brant sacrificed technique for personality tonight.

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 7

Valerie Harper & Tristan MacManus
Viennese Waltz

Valerie says in rehearsal that as far as she's concerned, she's competing against herself.

The dance itself is … not good, y'all.

She's forgetting steps, she's out of sync, she's off the beat several times. I mean, I admire her spirit and determination, but this is not dancing that should get you to Week 4.

Julianne calls her courageous and then in the nicest way says that should dance in hold more often because when not in hold, Valerie forgets the steps. Bruno says there were some sweet moments and poses, but encourages her to act over any mistakes she makes. Carrie Ann says the beautiful moments had the affect of highlighting the mistakes more.

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 6; Julianne: 6; Bruno: 6
Those are pity scores — she was better last week and got worse scores

Leah Remini & Tony Dovolani
Cha cha

During rehearsal, Leah tells Tony he should show more skin. After one move, Leah says to Tony, "I think I just had sex with your leg."

I don't like seeing Tony in sneakers for this routine — he's 40 years old and more classically handsome than that.

Bruno liked it, but gives Leah some very specific advice about her feet to improve the sharpness of her movement. Carrie Ann says she was on fire but there was some sharpness lacking. Julianne says she disagrees slightly with Bruno but then kind of says just what he said.

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8

Corbin Bleu & Karina Smirnoff
Paso Doble

They're shooting for a very traditional paso doble, making sure none of his hip hop background comes through.

Luckily, they've been given very traditional music instead of one of the rock 'n' roll paso doble songs. Corbin has some awkward moments with the flamenco type steps. And there's one slow sweeping kick that looks really, really bad because he doesn't point his toe. He rips off his bolero jacket near the end, so that's nice.

Carrie Ann says it was smoldering, but some of the hip hop still came through in his arms and frame. Julianne leaps out of her chair to demonstrate how he needed to hold his hips. Bruno calls it powerful, but echoes Julianne's critique of his hips.

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 9

Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi & Sasha Farber
Nicole is excited they're doing a cheerleading routine because cheerleading was her life in high school, until she lost her place as a flyer because freshmen came in weighing 70 pounds. What followed was a bout with anorexia that eventually soured her on cheerleading. She's hoping to make new, positive memories with this routine.


Her kicks and flicks are fantastic and the tumbling elements they throw in are situated perfectly and not overused. This is a great dance for her.

Julianne calls her "the cutest thing in the world," and says this dance was perfect for her. Julianne also says the kicks and flicks needed to be sharper, so what do I know? She also tells Nicole she needs more of a connection with Sasha. Bruno goes into a cheerleading routine and then tells Nicole that her performance level has grown so much. Carrie Ann calls her cute too, but says she needs to work on her "T Rex" arms.

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8

Christina Milian & Mark Ballas

Ugh. Mark is wearing spats AND a hat. Blech.

The first part of the routine is performed behind jail doors, so we're watching through bars — kind of distracting. This is a weird song for a foxtrot, it feels somehow too fast and too slow at the same time.
Bruno calls it foxy and sultry, but not traditional, and she needs to work on her frame.

Carrie Ann wants her to work on her shoulders, but adds that she performs "the heck out of of" these routines. Julianne wants to see a softer side of Christina in the future. Julianne says that the choreography sometimes makes it look like two people dancing side-by-side instead of together.

Julianne adds that she's danced with Mark, and "You have to stand in front to make sure you're seen."


Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8

Amber Riley & Derek Hough

Derek assures us that there will be no favoritism from Julianne for him just because he's her brother.

Amber's had serious knee problems, requiring drainage of fluid. She had to watch Lindsay dance her part and then didn't start rehearsing herself until Friday.

Amber's dress just barely covers the knee brace on her left leg, but I couldn't tell otherwise that she had an injury.

Carrie Ann loved their connection and Amber's footwork. Julianne wanted something to go terribly wrong so she could give Derek a bad score and avoid cries of favoritism. But she can't because it was wonderful. Bruno says it was "classic, amazing tango" and calls her a magnificent dancer.

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 9

Bill Engvall & Emma Slater
I'm a little nervous about Bill attempting samba, because I'm not sure America wants to see his hip movements. He admits as much saying it'll make him look like "a creepy old man."
As expected, the hip movements are awkward, but the actual dance steps are quite good and, for an untrained-in-dance guy, his arm extensions look natural and good.

Julianne points out how much the audience loves Bill and compares him to her dad. She doesn't say anything about the actual dancing. Bruno says it has everything you want in the samba except for timing and rhythm, but he had phone. Carrie Ann calls it fun and entertaining, but a strange samba.

Judges' Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 7

Tonight's Scores
Elizabeth & Val:  27
Corbin & Karina: 27
Amber & Derek: 27
Jack & Cheryl: 24
Leah & Tony:  24
Christina & Mark: 24
Nicole & Sasha: 24
Brant & Peta: 21
Bill Engvall & Emma: 21
Valerie & Tristan: 18

Before Bill & Emma even left the stage after judging, Tom told him he was safe.

With everybody on stage, Tom and Brooke call out the safe couples: Elizabeth & Val, Leah & Tony, Corbin & Karina, Amber & Derek, Jack & Cheryl, Christina & Mark.

And this is when my DVR cut off and since I wasn't watching live, I'll have to rely on reports from other news outlets to tell you:

The last three still facing elimination were Brant & Peta, Nicole & Sasha, and Valerie & Tristan. Nicole & Sasha got the reprieve, leaving Brant & Peta and Valerie & Tristan "in jeopardy," though not necessarily the bottom two.

To no one's great surprise, it's Valerie & Tristan who were eliminated. She had a good run, but this was just beyond her capabilities.

Since tonight's judge's scores don't count toward next week's elimination, but tonight's fan votes will, I'm less sure than usual who's going home next. If Brant or Christina have a disastrous performance, I'm betting on them as having the least motivated fan base. Or maybe it's Snooki.  This year's format is making predictions a week ahead very difficult.