Tonight starts with a quick medley from guest judge Jessie J. When did bondage wear cross over into mainstream? Can we blame Madonna somehow?
Jessie J's inclusion means we're without Len Goodman again. I miss him. They introduce all the mixed-up pairings for the night; we'll run down them later as the couples dance. I'll note that two of the combinations I wanted happened: Alfonso Ribiero & Cheryl Burke and Tommy Chong & Emma Slater.
Antonio Sabato Jr. & Allison Holker, Bollywood
What the heck? Why are they bringing Bollywood on this show? This isn't "So You Think You Can Dance."
Antonio seems to be having a hard time with this -- his stiffness is preventing the Bollywood bounce and the synchronization is awful. At the end, though, he gets to grab onto a rope and swing around as he hangs.
Julianne Hough compliments his heart and passion, which usually means the dance was awful. She felt that it lacked chemistry and connection, citing how Antonio's knees weren't getting as high as Allison's. Bruno Tonioli criticizes the synchronization despite praising the amount of work that Antonio obviously put into it.
Carrie Ann Inaba says Antonio's dancing confidence seems to have increased. Jessie is impressed by the rope dangle trick.
Another dance style I disapprove. I feel like these shenanigans wouldn't be happening if Len had to put up with them.
If this dance were happening on "So You Think You Can Dance," the judges would be getting ready to harp on Bethany for not hitting it hard enough, not getting down on the floor enough. I feel like there are a few moments where the sync is a teeny bit off and, as usual, Mark overdances/outdances his partner, but overall, a good showing from Bethany.
Bruno says they look good together and Bethany's confidence is blossoming. He compares Bethany to a bit of young Madonna. He mentions some of the ballroom and other dance moves in there. Mark takes the blame for some of the ronde de jambe miscues pointed out by Carrie Ann. Jessie likes the way she attacked the dance.
Jonathan's excited to have Peta as his switch-up partner, but she works him hard.
This style should suit him down to the ground, because he's so clean cut and so peppy. He struggles a lot with the lifts, but does fine with the basic steps. Did I say struggles a lot? I mean, almost drops Peta on her butt or head more than once.
Carrie Ann says there were a lot of missed grabs and steps but it had a lot of potential. Jessie says she wanted to like it, but she was nervous the whole time because of the mistakes. Julianne says she was holding her breath and not in a good way. Julianne first says to Jonathan, "I want you so bad," and then says "I want you to do well so bad." Freudian slip! Bruno doesn't get to talk, probably because Jessie J did run on a bit.
Alfonso says that to say Witney and Cheryl are very different would be an understatement. He points out Cheryl's tendency to swear more than Witney does. Cheryl does give the bleeper a workout, doesn't she?
The routine starts with Alfonso in a spotlight doing the crazy heel taps associated with the flamenco. It's a great way to start what turns out to be a dramatic and impressive routine. I wish Cheryl got to be his partner always.
Julianne says it's the first partnership she's believed tonight. Bruno calls it "Lust in the Dust" and says their chemistry was scorching. He gives Alfonso a note about shoulders and arms for the flamenco over-arm pose.
When Erin's asking Alfonso about Cheryl's pottymouth ways, Cheryl mouths "Sorry, mom."
Janel says Artem and she are going to try to make Val and Lea jealous. They're also dancing to a Jessie J song, so they're extra nervous.
I'm just not even sure I know how to judge burlesque. Len, come back to us. I will say, I thought burlesque involved some amount of clothing removal. I'm not saying I wanted to see an actual striptease, but at least they could've done something with the elbow length gloves Janel's wearing.
Julianne says it wasn't burlesque because it lacked the cheekiness of authentic burlesque, swinging more to raunchy and sexy. She likes raunchy and sexy, but not for burlesque. Bruno says nothing can ever be too sexy for him. You can't say Bruno isn't self-aware. Julianne points out that it was supposed to be a tease, but Bruno counters, "I like a tease that goes somewhere." Jessie says she never expected a dance like that to a song she wrote about her mom ("Mamma Knows Best").
In the rehearsal studio, Michael demonstrates his limberness by trying to put his feet behind his head. He then tells Witney, "All of my friends are going to be looking at you." This age difference is so super creepy.
Almost right away, there's a lift that either doesn't go off or was rolled back from being a real lift during rehearsals sometime. This is another "hold your breath" routine, with Witney seeming to save herself from disaster a couple of times. It's not so much that Michael's lifting Witney as she's occasionally using him as a responsive climbing apparatus. It also looks like she's talking him through the routine the whole time. We know from recap footage that the pros usually do this, but it's super noticeable in this case.
Bruno says they put all the polish on the prop car and not in their routine. He says none of the steps were on time. Carrie Ann says he did a couple of steps correctly, then adds, "If you can't dance, make us laugh." Jessie says it was consistent. She leaves out the "-ly awful" on the end of that sentence. Tom points out that she's basically saying, "It happened." Julianne says it's Week 5 and it's getting a little uncomfortable to watch Michael dance so poorly.
With all this criticism, the judges better give honest scores that reflect those opinions rather than softsoaping it.
As my couchmate says, "He deserved it, but I just want to vomit. That's just uncomfortable."
Tommy Chong & Emma Slater, Mambo
Emma checks with Peta about Tommy's memorization skills. Peta says if he says he gets it, make him still do it one more time.
They're in the red, yellow and green of Jamica and they're dancing to "Pass the Dutchie." He's totally forgetting the moves, but he's able to pull it off better than Michael. I think he just has more natural grace. When they cut away to the skybox, we see the pros and stars are sporting different bits and pieces of Rasta costumes.
Carrie Ann says the rhythm might have been too slow for the mambo and that the groove wasn't on point. Jessie says she loved it, that he looked so relaxed. (Jessie, I'll give you one guess why that is.) Tom says, "Tommy's had some experience feeling very relaxed." Julianne thought he looked very tired and that he seems to be running out of material. Bruno says it was a mambo in the slow lane that hit a few bumps but got to the end.
Tommy's response to Julianne's comments is to tell Erin he looks tired because he's old.
We see Derek on the Robertson property in Louisiana, riding four wheelers and shooting guns.
Sadie looks adorable in her flapper outfit and damn if she hasn't got the legs down for this dance. There's maybe a little more hip thrusting than I really want to see in a Charleston, though. But there's also just the right amount of awkward lunacy native to the Charleston. Killer routine.
Jessie says it was really clean, with great lines, and says she could've mistaken Sadie for the pro. Julianne says it was so great and that Sadie's body looked perfect in this style. Bruno calls her "Sadie Sadie Shiny Lady" and says the swivel action in her feet was spot-on. Carrie Ann says it was "this close" to perfection, with just the tiniest of timing issues when Sadie wasn't in hold with Derek.
Lea is super-excited to see Val waiting for her in the studio and literally runs into his arms. We see Val and Lea sneaking into the rafters to look down in on Janel and Artem rehearsing. Val says he's going to put a kiss into the routine just to make Artem jealous.
The gimmick for the dance is that Lea is the nurse in a "Home for Retired Ballroom Dancers" and the song is "You Can't Stop the Beat" from "Hairspray." It's cute and perfectly suited to Lea. Also, I think there are a lot of men in America who are thinking "Helllooooooo Nurse!" as they watch this. Near the end of the routine, Val and some extras come out with walkers (or as Jessie might refer to them, "Zimmer frames") and use them as props.
Julianne says this was the first time she saw Lea hesitate in a routine. She thought the concept was fun and she loved watching it. Bruno says it was off-the-wall and insanely fascinating. He says he saw references to both "Hairspray: and "The Producers." Carrie Ann says it was "way wackadoodle" but she loved it. She says it was "smaller movements Broadway." Jessie says that Lea had the best combo of acting and dancing all night. She adds, about the walkers, "Don't try that at home." Tom quips, "Don't try it IN the home, either."
Val takes a moment to give a shout out to the troupe members who helped out so much with their routine tonight.
No eliminations tonight, so last week's scores and this week's scores will be combined for the elimination next week. The scoreboard below shows last week's and this week's scores, ranked by combined total.
So, the switch didn't really hurt most of the couples in terms of total score. The only position change from last week's scores is Michael and Jonathan switching places at the bottom, with Michael now being the lowest score. It's not by much though, and even though I like Jonathan better, I suspect Michael has the larger fan base. So we get at least two more routines out of him, God help us all.