'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Broadway Night

Calvin Johnson Jr., James Hinchcliffe.
Calvin Johnson Jr., James Hinchcliffe. (Eric McCandless / ABC)

So this week's theme on "Dancing With the Stars" is Broadway and Idina Menzel is a guest judge. Also, of note Sharna Burgess is still injured, so Jenna Johnson is stepping in again to dance with James Hinchcliffe.

Marilu Henner & Derek Hough
Samba - "December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)" from "Jersey Boys"

Mark Ballas is starring in the current Broadway production of "Jersey Boys," so he and Derek bro it up via video chat. Mark's singing while they dance, as well.

Marilu looks a little more relaxed but her legs are still awkward as all get out. Derek makes a point of going up to hug Mark at the end before going over to Trump.

Idina acknowledges that she and Marilu know each other from the "theater scene." She has only nice things to say to Marilu, although not much specifically about dancing. Julianne Hough says Marilu looked like she was enjoying herself and the rise and fall was really good. Bruno Tonioli calls it sizzling He says Marilu's legs were wonderfully straight, but I didn't see that. Carrie Ann Inaba loves that their partnership has finally come together and that the routine was really fun to watch.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Idina: 9; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 9

Calvin Johnson Jr. & Lindsay Arnold
Waltz - "Memory" from "Cats"

Lindsay wants Calvin to embrace being a cat, and he's not so sure about that. So they go to New York and get kitted out in costume and makeup like the Broadway performers.

Calvin is indeed in unitard (or "onesie" as Lindsay calls it) and she asks if he got a dance belt. He doesn't know what she's talking about so she clarifies that it's like a jockstrap. For those of you that don't know, a dance belt is what male dancers, usually in ballet or any style that has a form fitting costume, wear so you aren't confronted so very directly with their private parts. Calvin pulls one out of a duffel bag.

It's kind of crazy to see giant Calvin decked out in full "Cats" gear, including the makeup and hair. I like it when the stars really throw themselves into the spirit of things.

Singing for their performance is Leona Lewis, who's playing Grizabella in the Broadway production. Luckily, as befitting the waltz on this show, Calvin and Lindsay are not dressed up as cats, although I like the fur lapels on Calvin's jacket. Lindsay's dress has fur trim at the collar and hem.

They have one turn in the middle that's a bit awkward and I think there's one move that Carrie Ann might call a lift if Lindsay weren't careful about dragging her feet and Calvin about not pulling her too high off the floor.

Julianne loves Calvin's level of commitment to the competition in general and the dance tonight. Bruno calls him majestic. Bruno gets very technical talking about matching stride to musical phrasing, the upshot being that Calvin did it very well. Carrie Ann praises their ability to overcome the difficulties posed by their considerable height difference.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Idina; 9; Julianne: 10; Bruno: 9

James Hinchcliffe & Jenna Johnson
Jazz - "A Brand New Day" from "The Wiz"

Sharna's doing therapy on her knee but it's still too risky to dance on it. She's there in costume tonight as Glinda the Good Witch, but not to actually dance. James is clearly the wizard, Jenna Dorothy, and they have backup dancers as the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion.

James is still amazing, often indistinguishable from the pros backing him up. Bruno praises his versatility and skill. He points out one missed step near the beginning, which they show us in split screen. Carrie Ann points it out too but is proud of him for getting back into the routine and not letting it throw him off.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Idina: 9; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 9

Terra Jolé & Sasha Farber
Charleston - "If My Friends Could See Me Now" from "Sweet Charity"

Based on the judges' comments from last week, Terra wants to do fresh, new steps. Sasha has to modify the basic Charleston step to make it look right when Terra does it. I'm constantly amazed by his creativity in choreographing for her. One thing in particular I appreciate is that he's avoided moves that could make her look childish. She's a grown woman with kids and just because she's 4-2, she shouldn't look like a kid.

Carrie Ann is impressed that Terra doesn't focus on what she can't do, but what she can. Idina tells a story about herself before saying she liked Terra's routine. Julianne says the "spotlight is too small" for Terra. That's a nice turn of phrase from her.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Idina: 10; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 9

Jana Kramer & Gleb Savchenko
Waltz - "She Used to Be Mine" from "Waitress"

Gleb's fighting an injured knee, too, but is able to dance. Jana identifies with this song because of recent experiences in her personal life.

Idina says the performance had so much complexity it "broke her." Julianne calls it captivating and beautiful storytelling. Bruno calls it clear and focused and says they partnered each other "like a dream." Carrie Ann says it felt like she was watching a slice of Jana's life.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Idina: 10; Julianne: 10; Bruno: 10

Laurie Hernandez & Val Chmerkovskiy
Argentine tango - "Cell Block Tango" from "Chicago"

Laurie is a little overwhelmed by the "sexy" nature of the song and the show "Chicago." After watching a performer from the show dance with Val, she comments, "It's like you're wiping peanut butter off him." I guess if that's what works for you, Laurie.

Aside: Years ago when the movie version of "Chicago" came out I was talking to a classmate about this song and was telling her about the verse where the husband accuses his wife, who's making dinner and carving a chicken at the time, of being unfaithful. The verse concludes with her saying, "Then he ran into my knife / He ran into my knife ten times." My classmate didn't miss a beat replying, "Sounds like a slow learner."

The number starts out a lot like the number does in the stage production, with backup dancers behind "cell doors." I do wish Laurie would smile less throughout the routine — it feels like breaking character.

Julianne says it was the perfect dance for Laurie to use her strength and flexibility. Bruno says she guilty of killing that tango and Laurie just pouts and says "oops." Super cute. Carrie Ann echoes Julianne's comment about strength.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Idina: 10; Julianne: 10; Bruno: 10

Team-Up Challenge

James and Calvin are paired up as "Team Last Men Standing" as the only remaining male stars in the competition. They're doing some sort of Western-themed routine with Calvin as the sheriff and James as the bandit. When this is announced in rehearsal, James says, quick as a whip, that if he's going to play the bandit, he needs to know the history of his character — has he always been a bandit? What were his parents like? Does he have siblings? Funny. Then, he and Calvin are cracking each other up with their "serious paso faces." It's pretty adorable.

It's kind of a fun way to stage a paso with two men — as a gunfight, walk 10 paces, stare at each other menacingly. They both do a good job with the cape work but it's not as perfectly synchronized as it could be. There's also a surprise twist at the end when the women knock out both the guys and take the money for themselves.

Bruno calls it entertaining and strong. Carrie Ann says they were off a little bit with the musicality at the beginning but pulled it together. Idina says she has no real thoughts other than both guys were hot. Julianne jokes that all men need a paso to work out their feelings. I am fully in favor of dance-offs.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Idina: 9; Julianne: 10; Bruno: 9

Terra and Marilu are paired up for a jazz routine. Apparently these two get along really well. Artem is helping them out in rehearsals because Derek has other obligations. Throughout the routine, my eye is drawn two places: Marilu's legs and Terra's face. Both are pretty great.

During their joint solo, Terra runs up a set of stairs and ends up standing behind a big curtain that's meant to look like a skirt. Marilu comes over and gets under the skirt, so that it looks like one really tall woman dancing with Marilu's legs and Terra's torso and face. See? That's playing to your strengths. Throughout the routine, Terra is giving the better performance in terms of looking like she's having a blast and projecting that to the audience.

Carrie Ann is impressed by the amount of side-by-side work they put in and did well. Julianne says they went all out and she loved the energy. Bruno says Baz Luhrmann would have loved it.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Idina: 9; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 9

Jana and Val are working together on a contemporary routine and are apparently BFFs and call themselves "Team Sisters." Gleb's injury means a sub for him in their second rehearsal but back in Los Angeles, he's dancing with them again.

They're starting the routine sitting in a birdcage and they're in fancy nightgowns and are barefoot because it's contemporary. They each have a lot of lifts. It's all very arty. I'm about to the same point with contemporary on this show as I am rumba — unable to judge it accurately because it's just not my thing.

Julianne likes how emotional and raw it was and thinks they learned from each other as dancers. Bruno says the were beautiful and powerful. Carrie Ann says they are greater than the sum of their parts.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Idina: 10; Julianne: 10; Bruno: 10


They get right to the results and the first couple through to the semi-finals are Laurie & Val. Also going are Terra & Sasha and James & Sharna. Calvin & Lindsay are the last couple announced safe before Jana & Gleb, and Marilu & Derek are in jeopardy. Marilu & Derek are out. This isn't that surprising and is due.


Jana & Gleb: 40 + 40 = 80
Laurie & Val: 40 + 40 = 80
Calvin & Lindsay: 37 + 37 = 74
Terra & Sasha: 38 + 36 = 74
James & Jenna: 36 + 37 = 73


Eeek! I didn't put it together until just now that James is at the bottom. Only by a point, but still. I really want to see him make the finals. Next week is going to be a hard cut. I might think Jana would have the least fan support, but I doubt with a 7-point lead over the bottom competitor she'll be going home. My prediction, even though I think she's great, is that next week is Terra & Sasha's last.