During the opening number of “Dancing With the Stars” this week, Terrell Owens and Artem Chigvintsev are dressed like "nerds," so let's assume they're doing jive. I'm so tired of the "nerdy boy/hot girl" jive trope.

Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy


Viennese waltz

There's a brief gimmick at the beginning of the dance in which Victoria and Val have some special effects on them to make them look transparent and ghostly. It's over in seconds, though, and then they're on to a fairly standard Viennese waltz. It ends with one of those "walk into the sunset walks" that always feels like a cop-out ending to me.

Len Goodman thought the routine was super, with a lovely amount of rotation, including natural and reverse turns. Bruno Tonioli calls it fluid and ethereal. He also compliments her on taking their advice on her arm movements. Carrie Ann Inaba has blue hair. I'm assuming it's a wig? She calls V&V's routine "magical."

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9

Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold

Paso doble

There's much talk about Jordan's hand/arm movements from last week, which Len criticized and took a point away from them for. The more I thought about the specific gesture that Len pointed out and imitated, the more it struck me that it might have felt "too effeminate" for Len.

They have an unusual song for the paso, all modern and electronic, especially given that they're going for a Little Red Riding Hood in the country setting with the staging and costume. Lindsey gets a costume change midway through, which means she's basically dancing in lingerie the rest of the routine. There's a neat bit in the middle with Lindsey leapfrogging Jordan, then Jordan leapfrogging her.

Tom asks Lindsay what she was pointing at at the beginning of the routine. She says she was supposed to come through the door of the "cabin" but it wouldn't open, so she ran around it instead. It didn't show on camera because we were watching Jordan with the troupe on a different part of the stage.

Bruno calls it “insanely good.” Carrie Ann says it was powerful and aggressive and she really liked it. Len says he watches Jordan especially closely when he's dancing.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10

Aw, how cute, the 10 paddles are in the shape of a ghost.

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev



See, I told you it was jive, just based on Artem's costume. In rehearsal footage, Nikki and Artem fight over who's responsible for Artem's fall last week — each wants to take the blame for it.

For some reason they've gone with a coffee shop theme? For a super sped up version of "I Put a Spell on You"? I don't understand any of this. It's not a great jive. Some missteps from Nikki and one really awkward pull-through-the-legs move.

Carrie Ann appreciated that Nikki tried to extend her feet but she didn't think Nikki connected to the music. Len thinks the routine was “decaf” because it lacked some punch. He says the kicks and flicks were sharp. Bruno says there were a few mishaps and Nikki just couldn't quite get past them in the routine.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8

I don't usually watch, much less comment on the commercials, but Swiffer has done a great tie-in commercial with a lonely janitor cleaning the ballroom floor who suddenly gets the urge to dance. Carrie Ann makes a cameo to give him a 10.

Vanessa Lachey and Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Paso doble

Ha! Vanessa says in her interview that her skirt came off sooner than it was supposed to last week. So it WAS supposed to come off. I knew it!

Vanessa’s lead-in package ends with them hearing a weird noise. Maks going to investigate, then as Vanessa goes to look for him, it starts the live routine. When she finds Maks, he's been zombified.

It's a theatrical, dramatic routine but it doesn't feel like a classic paso doble much at all. I think Len's going to be grumpy.

Len says it's difficult to get the balance between production and dance and that this lacked a bit in paso doble choreography. As he finishes saying this, a guy in a Grim Reaper costume passes behind the judges table and then leaves the ballroom. I think it was planned and staged? Bruno says sometimes Vanessa wobbles her way out of a movement instead of finishing her lines. Then there's a weird cut, showing us the back of the mirrorball trophy. Was there something they didn't want to show on the ballroom floor? I don't know.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8

Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke


Terrell says Cheryl's name like "Sherl." I think that's his Alabama showing through. There's no explanation for Terrell's "nerd" glasses and vampire teeth, except that TO's having fun.

Bruno says Terrell held his frame and posture throughout, despite the height difference between them. He also praises them for doing "proper tango" instead of Argentine. Len says Terrell stalked the floor like a panther. He then compliments Cheryl on doing a wonderful job with their height difference.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 9

Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas

Paso doble

Apparently during last week's dress rehearsal, Lindsey displaced a rib. It's hurting her a lot during rehearsals this week. On Sunday it hurts so bad, she's crying because the pain has spread. They go to an urgent care clinic where Lindsey gets X-rays. She's dancing tonight, though, so it must not be too serious.

They're dancing to one of Lindsey's songs, and they're made up in the sugar skull motif associated with Dia de Los Muertos. As much as I like to complain about Mark, this routine is an example to Maks of how to do something dramatic while still getting in a lot of regulation paso doble content.

Lindsey is in a lot of pain as they finish and Tom suggests they all sit down for her results. So Mark kneels and lets Lindsey sit on his knee. It's a nice gesture from him. Tom, of course, gets right down on the floor next to them because Tom is THE NICEST.

Carrie Ann says she could see Lindsey's pain in her face and sometimes in her back, but not in the overall movement. She says it was a really fast paso doble. Len says he's a fan of Lindsey's dancing, and what saved the dance were the twist turns and a "fantastic press line." He wasn't keen on the parts that felt "too Riverdance." He belatedly adds that he also liked the knee walk — I thought that was pretty impressive too. Bruno says it was ambitious, combining paso doble, Irish dancing and Day of the Dead, and at such speed.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9

Tom asks Lindsey if, despite her obvious pain, she's still going to dance in the team dance coming up later. She says she's not letting her team down. But, dang, the wince she can't suppress as she stands up from Mark's knee? They're either going to have to shoot her up with the good athlete drugs or she's going to have to bow out of that team dance.


Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson


Frankie calls last week a disaster. Witney agrees they should just forget it ever happened. For whatever reason, Frankie's into the idea of playing the creeper who's stalking Witney.

The routine starts with Witney "inside" on a couch, while Frankie's "outside" the window watching her. Their music is a slowed-down goth version of "Every Breath You Take." Frankie's mirroring Witney's movements, then seemingly controlling them. Then he pops up right behind Witney's shoulder.

Len says he'll have nightmares tonight. Bruno liked the storytelling and the tension of the routine. Carrie Ann says it "elevated the world of dance." Oh, calm down, Carrie Ann.

Up in the skybox, Frankie and Witney look like pint-sized humans next to Erin Andrews in her heels and sparkly pantsuit.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Bruno: 10

Drew Scott and Emma Slater


Drew's started filming new episodes of "Property Brothers," which is putting a strain on his time and energy. Emma admits she's "running on fumes."

This is a silly routine that's fairly cute. I like the “Beetlejuice” flavor of it.

Bruno calls it "bonkers fun." He praises the amount of jazz, Charleston, even jitterbug content and compliments Drew on his ability to keep up with the tempo changes. Carrie Ann says they were so in sync, with every line matching despite their height difference. Len calls it fun and joyous and says he loved every minute of it.

Oh, it turns out the song is from "Corpse Bride." Eh, it's all Tim Burton.

They replay a bit where Emma slipped — when it happened I wondered if it was choreographed. It seemed so part of the routine I could believe it wasn't an accident.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9

Team Dances

Team Monster Mash is on the stage to get results. Jordan & Lindsay are safe. Terrell & Cheryl are in jeopardy. Lindsey & Mark are safe. Nikki & Artem are also in jeopardy.

We find out that each couple has to dance solo for a minimum of 20 seconds. Their gimmick is a corn maze. Lindsey does dance, despite her obvious pain earlier. It's good, but it's not one of those memorable dances that people will want to rewatch.

Len says it was a bit messy with too much stage stuff happening with the corn maze bits moving around. Bruno says they made a difficult choice by trying to do the jive in their group parts — getting eight people to kick and flick in sync is nearly impossible. Carrie Ann says they all seemed to "underdance" in order to match each other. She also thought that because of all the corn maze stage stuff, the couples danced "small," and that kept them from engaging the audience.

Team Phantom of the Ballroom is up on stage for their results. Frankie & Witney are safe — so much for my prediction from last week. Drew & Emma are in jeopardy. Victoria & Val are safe. Vanessa & Maks are in jeopardy.

I'm guessing it was a production decision to have two couples from each team be in jeopardy.

They find out they're dancing to the music from "The Phantom of the Opera," which has Drew excited because it's his favorite musical.

They let Frankie open the number by vaguely threatening the audience and the other team. I don't understand the Muniz strategy of using “DWTS” as an audition for playing creeps, stalkers, and serial killers.

They're doing paso doble, tango and waltz for their dance, and I like the parts with all four couples in hold, dancing in unison. It makes such a pretty picture.

Bruno calls it a splendid, theatrical experience. Carrie Ann loved it. Len calls it the most polished dance he's seen as a team dance.


Our four couples in jeopardy are herded back on stage. After Tom opens the envelope and before he announces the results, he says it's a "bit of a surprise." Tom usually has a better game face than that. Although, honestly, the only surprise would be if Jordan or Lindsey went home at this point.

Drew and Emma are safe. Terrell and Cheryl are safe. Then Tom drops the bomb — it's a double elimination and Nikki and Artem and Vanessa and Maks are both going home. Well, bye bye brunettes!


Frankie & Whitney: 30 + 30 = 60

Victoria & Val: 27 + 30 = 57

Drew & Emma: 27 + 30 = 57

Jordan & Lindsay: 30 + 24 = 54

Lindsey & Mark: 27 + 24 = 51

Terrell & Cheryl: 25 + 24 = 49


I'm at a loss. I would've said Frankie was gone this week, for sure. But he stuck around and now has the lead on the scoreboard. Terrell is on the upswing and he and Cheryl are making progress as a partnership. Jordan and Lindsey have been front-runners all along, so it would be shocking if either of them were to go home. Drew seems to be more popular than even I'd have guessed. Personally, I'd lose Victoria, because she's the least entertaining to me.