It's "Famous Dances" night, and they start with the song "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" by Whitney Houston, but then they go through "Flashdance," "Singin' in the Rain," something I don't recognize, "Single Ladies," maybe "Black Swan"(?), "A Chorus Line," something that might be Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, MC Hammer and then a big group number at the end. I'm not surprised Mandy Moore choreographed that.
Leah Remini is filling in for Erin Andrews tonight, but they don't say why. (Ah, it's her baseball work.) I miss you, Erin!
Based solely on costuming, I think Hayes has a number from "Grease," Bindi's got "Dirty Dancing," God help us all — Paula Deen is doing Madonna and Tamar has Janet Jackson, circa "Rhythm Nation."
Olivia Newton-John is the guest judge tonight. Sure, why not? I'd love it if somebody busted out some "Xanadu."
Hayes Grier & Emma Slater(Jazz)
Reference: "You're the One that I Want" from "Grease"
Hayes says he doesn't know what "Grease" is and that he's never seen the movie. Wouldn't you find a couple of hours at some point this week to remedy that? I mean, since you're in a routine copying it.
They start with the little bit of dialogue, so Emma gets to say, "Tell me about it, stud." How many times do you think Alek is going to rewind and watch this? Hayes is giving his all in the face, but the hips don't lie and he's no John Travolta. He does get in a nice leapfrog move near the end that's pretty impressive. The crowd goes wild.
Olivia says it was fun. Bruno says Hayes had star quality and charisma. But he does want to give Hayes some tough love/constructive criticism. I didn't understand it, so I hope Emma can translate Bruno later. Carrie Ann calls Hayes a stud and the teenage girls in the crowd go apenuts. Carrie Ann wants him to work on his finesse.
Tom manages to set up Julianne to promote her star turn as Sandy in Fox's live production of "Grease" in January. Nice of ABC to let her promote work on a rival network. Anyway, Julianne compliments Hayes on his facial expressions tonight.
Scores:Carrie Ann: 8; Julianne: 8; Olivia: 8; Bruno: 8
When we come back from commercial, the judges are all standing up behind the judges table doing the hip movements from "You're the One that I Want" and all of them do it better than Hayes.
Andy Grammer & Allison Holker(Jazz)
Reference: "Good Morning" from "Singin' in the Rain"
I don't generally like musicals, but I love "Singin' in the Rain," and this is one of my favorite routines from it, even more so than the title number. It also has sentimental value because my grandmother used to sometimes sing the chorus to wake me up in the morning. I didn't realize her song was from "Singin' in the Rain" until I grew up and saw the movie for the first time in a college film studies class.
During rehearsal we get the promise of the "walk over the couch" move. They also tease us about the stairs sequence in the number and I hope they deliver. They go visit Patricia Ward Kelly, the widow of Gene Kelly. Is this the second time she's been on the show? I feel like Derek went to visit her in a previous season.
Yay! They have indeed brought out a couple of staircases for them to go up and down and they do end with the couch move. Andy plants a kiss on Allison's temple at the end of the routine and judging from her laughter I think it was a surprise.
They get a standing ovation. Bruno tells them they nailed it. Carrie Ann likes how they honored the original and also updated it. Julianne says Andy is getting better and better each week.
Tom points out that Olivia danced with Gene Kelly in "Xanadu." Olivia says she'd be happy to dance with Andy anytime. He can't help himself and comes around the judges table to give her a kiss.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Julianne: 10; Olivia: 10; Bruno: 10.¿
With every perfect score, Andy picks up Allison and whirls her around. I'm glad she seems to have no issue with morning sickness.
Oh, hey, it's a little Busby Berkeley coming back from commercial. Love those routines.
Alexa PenaVega & Mark Ballas (Cha-cha-cha)
Reference: Britney Spears, "I'm a Slave 4 U" as performed at the MTV Video Music Awards
Alexa hopes that Mark saw how well she responded to Derek's positivity last week. Good luck with that, kid. Yesterday, during rehearsal, a handler brought in an albino python for them to rehearse with. Really? I think we all would've been OK with her using a fake snake. Except maybe Mark.
They're at a bit of a disadvantage because this wasn't originally a partner dance and it certainly wasn't a cha-cha-cha. The snake comes out for the big finish. I bet Bindi is super jealous and would love to come hang out with the snake.
Carrie Ann says that Alexa did the movements well but missed the essence of Britney. Julianne says Alexa needed to be more grounded. Bruno semi-grinds on poor Olivia's shoulder during his comments. Couldn't they put the guest between Carrie Ann and Julianne? Unless it's Maksim Chmerkovskiy, because Bruno flirting with Maks is hilarious.
They've given Leah a giant extender for her microphone so she doesn't have to get that close to the snake. Apparently Leah's aware there's a drinking game based on how many times she says "amazing" so she's trying to refrain from saying it.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Julianne: 7; Olivia: 7; Bruno: 8
Tom says he started the drinking game. Sounds about right.
Bindi Irwin & Derek Hough (Rumba)
Reference: "I've Had the Time of My Life" from "Dirty Dancing"
Bindi says, "We're doing Dirty Dancing … what do you remember? The lift! We have to do the lift!" Jennifer Grey stops by to give advice about The Lift. Derek is nervous about it because he says his dancing was always about agility and speed, not so much power. He says he's not much of a lifter.
Derek starts the routine with the "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" line but it falls flat somehow. The routine is very faithful to the movie and it looks like Derek's arms are shaking a bit during the lift but wow, does Bindi seem to be bursting with happiness. She really does seem like she's having the time of her life. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) In a nice touch, their final pose mimics the one on the film's poster.
Julianne says, regarding the rumba, that Bindi's legs were "on fire" and gorgeous. She also compliments them on getting in every little detail from the movie scene. Olivia says they touched her heart. Bruno says his "little star has gone supernova tonight." Carrie Ann says when Bindi dances like that she makes her job easy, and then mimes writing a 1 and a 0.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Julianne: 10; Olivia: 10; Bruno: 10
I just realized this was a great way for them to get the rumba crossed off the list without it being icky due to her being only 17. Nice one, Derek.
I just noticed when he stood up to flourish his paddle that the lining on Bruno's jacket is a bright floral. I love him.
Back from commercial, Tom and Leah make a half-hearted attempt at The Lift. Don't hurt my Tom, Leah.
Paula Deen & Louis van Amstel (Jazz)
Reference: "Vogue" by Madonna, as performed at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards
Now, let's settle in for a history lesson. "Vogue" is inspired by the dance/performance style of the same name that flourished in gay dance clubs of the 1980s. I'm not a trained sociologist, but it's hard not to make a connection between a dance that celebrates beauty and glamour rising to prominence in the same decade in which gay men were wasted by a new and terrifying disease. According to interviews, the choreographers for this VMA performance of the song were inspired by a game of charades being played during the Blonde Ambition tour. ("Dangerous Liaisons" being the clue.) Whether intentional or unintentional, the grafting of a dance style that celebrates decadence and defiance onto a setting in which aristocrats were soaked in overindulgence is positively brilliant. Now let's watch Paula make it all about her boobs and find a way to flash her panties.
Oh, Lordy, Lordy, my dreams have come true and Louis and the backup dancers are wearing the hot pants like the dancers in the original performance. This is better than I expected it to be. Honestly, casting Paula as a grand dame is somewhat inspired. And, y'all, she's from Savannah - of course she knows how to work a fan.
Olivia says she did Madonna proud. (So Olivia is that kind of guest judge - nice to everybody.) Bruno says she glided around the dance floor beautifully. Carrie Ann wanted Paula to bring more sexy to this routine. Louis lifts up Paula's skirt to reveal shin-length bloomers.
Wasn't Carrie Ann a dancer on the Blonde Ambition tour? No, wait, it was the Girlie Tour, two years later.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 6; Julianne: 6; Olivia: 6; Bruno: 6
Louis says they were allowed to choose between "Vogue" the video and "Vogue" the VMA performance. They chose correctly. Then he crawls between Paula's legs and pretends to give her a "horsey ride" and my eyes fall out of my head and seek a vat of bleach in which to drown themselves.
Carlos PenaVega & Witney Carson (Rumba)
Reference: "Pony" by Ginuwine, from "Magic Mike"
Carlos is freaked out by the moves from "Magic Mike" because of his religion. Oh, honey. Shake what the good Lord gave ya. Witney brings up that the routine is a solo in the movie and she has to turn it into a partnered rumba. That is a big challenge.
He's definitely got some of the Channing Tatum moves down in the beginning of the routine. He even does the shirt rip in the middle, but unlike all the pro dancers behind him, he can't quite get his shirt torn all the way so it hangs from him in delicate strips for the rest of the routine. For the record, he did one of the "hump the floor" moves but not the raunchier of the two.
Bruno starts off by yelling at Carlos to get down on his knees and we all start getting really nervous, and then Bruno starts yelling "Repent! Repent!" Bruno is fast becoming my favorite judge in the absence of Len. Bruno says Carlos answered his prayers. Cue gay panic.
Carrie Ann points out that the dance in the movie was about more than just grinding -- it was a genuine dance number and compliments Carlos on getting that and executing the moves well. Julianne tells him he handled the difficulty with the shirt tearing very well, not letting it faze him. She also says it was the sexiest rumba she's seen. She says that while she respects what he had to say in his package, Julianne basically tells him to put his Jesus concerns aside while he's performing.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Julianne: 9; Olivia: 9; Bruno: 10
Nick Carter & Sharna Burgess (Samba)
Reference: "You Should Be Dancing" by the Bee Gees from "Saturday Night Fever"
Huh. You'd think if you were going to reference this movie you'd do "Stayin' Alive." (Maybe it costs too much.) I love a good disco routine, though, so I've got high hopes.
Nick comes out with just the right shoulder shake and a look on his face. I love how he's throwing himself into this show. Sharna's gone full Afro for her wig and it looks really odd. I'm going to hand it to Nick, he's not only got the feel of disco, he's really channeling how Travolta moved in a lot of these steps.
Carrie Ann says it was good but she saw Nick going in and out of character. I didn't see that. Boooooo. Julianne says it was a true reinvention of the original. She also compliments Sharna on the inclusion of real samba moves in there. Bruno says the samba and the disco were put together seamlessly and brilliantly.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Julianne: 10; Olivia: 10; Bruno: 10
Alek Skarlatos & Lindsay Arnold (Jive)
Reference: "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley
Alek tries to get in character by walking around Los Angeles in an Elvis wig and jumpsuit. He's at least a good sport about all of this.
Again, this is a challenge because the original routine wasn't a partner dance. Alek continues to impress me as a natural dancer. To my eye, he's on his toes and nails the kicks and flicks. Still gotta work on those hands, though.
Julianne says she's been asking him to perform more and he's improved on that tonight but could still do better. Bruno says the amount of jive content was good. He does point out that there were a few missteps. Carrie Ann wants Alek to work with Artem to learn intensity. She dated Artem for a couple of years, so she should know.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Julianne: 8; Olivia: 7; Bruno: 7
Tamar Braxton & Valentin Chmerkovskiy (Jazz)
Reference: "Rhythm Nation" video by Janet Jackson
Tamar was sick last week and missed a couple of rehearsal days. In her interview, her voice is so squeaky the show gives her subtitles. Fun fact: this video beat out Madonna's "Vogue" for Best Choreography at the MTV Video Music Awards.
They're doing a black and white filter on the camera to mimic the original video. I have to say that with all the background dancers being dressed so similarly to both Tamar and Val, it's hard to pick her out sometimes. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Also, Val threw in a really random lift near the end that has nothing to do with the original video and seems really out of place.
Bruno says it was definitely a comeback from last week. Carrie Ann and Julianne are both super excited about it, too.
Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Julianne: 10; Olivia: 10; Bruno: 10
Eh. I would've docked them a point for the weird lift. Not for Lift Police reasons but just because it was so out of place.
Tom announces that the first couple in jeopardy is Paula & Louis. Joining them are Alexa & Mark. All the remaining couples are safe. Alexa is crying already. Girl, never let 'em see you sweat. To no one's real surprise, given her low scores, Paula is the dancer eliminated.
Andy & Allison: 40
Bindi & Derek: 40
Tamar & Val: 40
Nick & Sharna: 39
Carlos & Witney: 38
Hayes & Emma: 32
Alek & Lindsay: 30
Alexa & Mark: 30
Tough to call next week. Given the gap between the bottom three and the rest of the scoreboard, it has to be one of them. Is it Alexa & Mark because she hasn't really connected with the audience and America hates Mark's stupid hair? Is it Alek & Lindsay because, according to the judges, he's kind of plateaued? Is it Hayes & Emma because older voters don't know him and have no idea what a Vine is?
Come back next week to find out how everyone danced in Halloween costumes. I hate that Erin's still going to be off doing baseball and we'll miss her costume. Come back, Erin.