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'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Contestants channel TV themes

For The Baltimore Sun
#DWTS recap: Contestants channel TV theme songs, and deal with the Ryan Lochte fallout.

"Dancing With the Stars" this week starts with footage we didn't see on last week's show of the protestors that went after Ryan Lochte.

Monday night's episode is TV theme song night, so the credits reflect the shows each star will be dancing to. Some of them I recognize right away, and then we see Maks in the ballroom dressed, or undressed rather, as Khal Drogo from "Game of Thrones."

Maureen McCormick & Artem Chigvintsev
"The Brady Bunch" -- quickstep

Maureen is disappointed with her performance last week and tells Artem she wants to do whatever it takes to improve her dancing and her scores. Florence Henderson is in the studio for rehearsals and also in the ballroom for the beginning of the routine.

This is probably way more "business" at the beginning than Len will be happy with. But it seems like a solid, if not particularly spectacular, quickstep.

Len Goodman tells Maureen her confidence is clearly improved and says nothing about the beginning. Julianne Hough wants her to work on her body contact but calls it an overall improvement. Bruno Tonioli compliments her top line but worries she had some issues with her foot placement. Carrie Ann Inaba says she was so at ease but there was tightness to her form.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 6; Julianne: 6; Bruno: 7

Jana Kramer & Gleb Savchenko
"I Don't Want to Be" from "One Tree Hill" - Tango

Erin Andrews tells us that during rehearsals this week, Jana suffered an injury and Tom Bergeron tells us Gavin DeGraw is there to sing the song live. Apparently, the injury is a torn muscle between her ribs. Ouch.

Jana seems to be getting through it OK, and the occasional grimace could be played off as in character. There is one minor mistake near the end when Jana turns the wrong way and Gleb has to correct her.

Tom asks her how she's feeling and she says, "OK." He follows up by asking her, "Would you lie and say it was ok even if you were hurting?" And she says, "Yeah." The show must go on!

Julianne commends her for dancing through the pain. She wants Jana to work on her leg extensions. Bruno praises the sexiness of their dance but points out a couple of missed passes. Then while talking about her leg extensions, he puts his leg up over his head. Bruno's still got it, guys! Carrie Ann loves her intensity and effort.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 8; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 7

It's a bummer Len was the silent judge this round when he gave the highest score.

Rick Perry & Emma Slater
"Green Acres Theme" - Quickstep

His rehearsal package starts with a mock campaign ad. Rick says the quickstep flows a little better for him and is a lot more fun (than last week's cha-cha-cha).

Rick is still stiff as board, but at least he looks better in a vest and dress shirt with no tie. He's got pancake hands you could serve with syrup. He goes for a quick kiss with his wife in the audience. At least Tom asks him if that was his wife he kissed and Rick says, "That was the seat she was supposed to be in" before confirming it was his wife.

Bruno calls his performances catchy, like a bad cold. He gives Rick credit for his enthusiasm but wants him to lighten up his footwork. Carrie Ann thinks it was so much fun and says she smiled the whole time. Len tells Rick that, "like a tractor" he needs a bit more polish. Emma looks good in Eva Gabor drag.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 6; Len: 5; Julianne: 6; Bruno: 5

Calvin Johnson & Lindsay Arnold
"As Days Go By" from "Family Matters" - Foxtrot

Megatron is getting his Urkel on. I wonder if we'll get a cameo from Season 14 contestant Jaleel White.

It's looking like Calvin's practice with the suspenders during rehearsals paid off. It's not a remarkable routine, but he seems to execute it well.

Carrie Ann calls Calvin "so darn cute." She compliments Calvin on his hold, especially given the height difference between him and Lindsay. Tom confirms with Calvin that he was never called "so darn cute" in all his football years. Julianne predicts that Calvin will be a contestant who improves each week.

Erin shows a picture from Halloween 2013 when Calvin dressed up as Urkel. And then Jaleel White sneaks up behind them and surprises him. Jaleel tells Calvin he's had him on his fantasy teams several times over the years. Ha! (Just to point out, Erin is the second-tallest person in this foursome. I love how tall she is.)

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 6; Julianne: 6; Bruno: 7

Amber Rose & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
"Game of Thrones Theme" - ViennesewWaltz

Amber says she only remembers starting the dance last week and the rest is a blur. Amber's excited about being Khaleesi because she's a powerful woman.

This song actually lends itself really well to the ballroom, with the heavy strings. I wish they hadn't decided to rely so much on red filtered light and fire, though. It's hard to see what's going on — although that may work in Amber's favor because she seems to have a few missteps.

As they finish, Tom makes a supremely nerdy and excellent pun involving Joffrey Lannister and the Joffrey Ballet and my boundless love for him continues to grow.

Len starts his comments and suddenly we're looking at some sort of black steps. A weird camera misstep. Len would've liked more ballroom hold. Maks says he would have liked to have had a shirt; Bruno protests. Julianne says Amber seemed more with Maks this week but wasn't sure about how well Amber was dancing in the boots that went with her costume. Bruno could see her effort but demonstrates connection in hold by grabbing Julianne. Len and Carrie Ann shield their eyes. Oh, calm down.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 6; Len: 6; Julianne: 6; Bruno: 6

Jake T. Austin & Jenna Johnson
"Go, Diego, Go Theme" - Cha-cha-cha

Jake was the voice of Diego on "Go, Diego, Go," a spinoff show from "Dora the Explorer." They get the animated treatment during rehearsal, but we don't see much actual rehearsing. I hope that isn't a bad omen.

Jenna's costume, which is supposed to make her a "sexy kitten" is a leotard with some rather unfortunate fringe near the bottom. I'm just saying, it could be easily misread.

Carrie Ann says it was better than last week but chides Jake for being ahead of the music a lot of the time. Len agrees that it was better than last week but he can't give a higher score because he lost his timing.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 6; Len: 6; Julianne: 6; Bruno: 6

Vanilla Ice & Witney Carson
"Love and Marriage" from "Married...with Children" - Foxtrot

Rob (Vanilla Ice) is happy to be dancing to Frank Sinatra. Witney's taken Len's comment about wanting more content to heart and is doing full-out foxtrot for this routine.

Witney had apparently never seen "Married… with Children." She takes to Peg Bundy like a natural. I think it's the big hair. Rob is game, it seems and cleaned up shows promise.

Bruno says Rob played the character of Al Bundy very well. He warns Rob about "shovel hands." Carrie Ann calls this week "revealing" but chastises Rob for mouthing the words to the song. She tells him not to do that in the future. She says he's got moves, though. Len says it was a "thriller from Vanilla." You know he's been sitting on that line since he heard this season's casting.

Erin says Witney claimed to be 5 when "Ice, Ice Baby" came out. And Erin repeats that. Does nobody on this show know how to use the internet to look up things? Witney Carson was born Oct. 17, 1993. "Ice, Ice, Baby" was released on July 2, 1990, after being recorded in 1989. This is not difficult math.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 6; Len: 7; Julianne: 6; Bruno: 7

Terra Jolé & Sasha Farber
"The Bewitched Theme" - Quickstep

This is the first time they're dancing in a frame hold. Sasha is saying he's having a hard time with his hold on her because her hands are smaller than he's used to. It sounds unkind when I type it, but he was being gentle and matter-of-fact about it.

If the show really wanted to knock me out, they'd have another pro who looks somewhat like Sasha switch out with him halfway through the routine without commenting on it at all. Terra's got the nose wiggle down, though, so that's a plus. Her dress is really pretty. And I think any costuming department that can turn out men's and women's clothes for people as differently sized as both Terra and Calvin deserves lots of Emmy love.

Tom brings up the two Darrins thing and asks Sasha if he was Dick Sargent and Dick York. Sasha cannot resist such a set-up and answers, "I was a universal Dick." The judges act scandalized.

Len tells Terra she sparkled. Julianne says that performance was made for Terra. She says it was the best framework they've seen all night and calls it the dance of the night. Bruno points out Terra put in some fancy changes of direction in hold. I hadn't noticed that and I like that they show us the slow-mo of that in the split-screen.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 7; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8

Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds & Allison Holker
"The X-Files" - Argentine tango

Kenneth confesses to his nervousness before the routine last week but says that once the music started, it all clicked. In rehearsals this week, he's having trouble getting into the "sexy zone." BABYFACE. You wrote and produced Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You." I have no doubt you know how to find the sexy zone. Kenneth says he's a shy guy at heart and has Toni Braxton (Season 7 contestant) come in to help out, explaining they've been friends for years.

I understand absolutely nothing about the costuming and choreography in terms of how they relate to this song. I think they just went with "It's science fiction, right? Let's use green lasers." I guess you couldn't really put Kenneth in a boxy suit and Allison in an even boxier suit.

Julianne calls him an "unexpected surprise." She's impressed with his versatility, based on last week and this week. Bruno calls it enigmatic and intriguing. Bruno talks about the relationship between Mulder and Scully and inadvertently reveals that he's clearly watched a lot of "The X-Files" and given serious consideration to its emotional aspects.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 7; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 8

Laurie Hernandez & Val Chmerkovskiy
"DuckTales" - Jive

Jive should be right up there as one of Laurie's best potential dances. Laurie says she had two dreams growing up: go to the Olympics and be on "Dancing with the Stars." She was 5 years old when DWTS premiered, so, yeah, this is a feasible thing.

She has no idea what "DuckTales" is, but Val thinks she'll be perfect as a cartoon character. For the record, DuckTales aired from 1987 to 1990. It is kind of a weird choice for both the show and for her. I guess it's that ABC/Disney synergy at work.

At the end of her rehearsal package, she does the cutest thing where she puts her hands on her face while she's grinning and says, "My happiness goes to my cheeks so I have to grab it to make sure it doesn't fall out." She is so adorable.

Of course her kicks and flicks and energy are great but I'm also impressed at how well she stays connected to Val throughout the routine, even when not in hold. Gymnastics isn't a partner sport so her ability to bring someone else in isn't automatic.

Len says it was full of snap, crackle and pop. Wrong cartoon, Len. Julianne says this song was from her generation so she's happy. Julianne calls her "Disney Beyonce" and Laurie moans ecstatically, "I love Beyonce." Tom reminds her she's supposed to say first that she loves Disney. Bruno calls her a firecracker and says she upstaged Val.

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

James Hinchcliffe & Sharna Burgess
"The Walking Dead Theme" - Paso Doble

James had a busy week this last week due to his racing schedule. He has fun joking around with different names for the paso doble, like "Nacho Libre." He had to miss camera blocking on Saturday, so let's hope this goes well.

This is some sort of thriller/Wild West mash-up, which makes me wonder if Sharna's ever actually watched "The Walking Dead." But it seems like good paso, and James handles it well.

Carrie Ann calls it impressive and says their synchronization was on point. She thinks it wasn't quite as good as last week and encourages him to "push out" more. Len compliments his coordination. He does think the Paso got lost a little in the zombie apocalypse production. Julianne thinks he should try acting after this because he embodies the character of his dances so well. She echoes Carrie Ann when she tells him to "use the space around him more."

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 8

Marilu Henner & Derek Hough
"Angela" from "Taxi" - Foxtrot

I've always found this song so melancholy for reasons I've never been able to articulate. I understand Derek having a hard time coming up with choreography for it. It's a lovely foxtrot and Marilu looks good in hold.

Bruno compliments her lovely lines and graceful poses. He asks if she got off on the wrong foot and when she hesitates, Tom advises her to say no. Carrie Ann likes that she saw more of Marilu's facial expressions this week. Len tells Derek he did a terrific job with the choreography and raves about Marilu's graceful lines.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 8; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 7

Ryan Lochte & Cheryl Burke
"The Muppet Show Theme" - Quickstep

Throughout the show, they've been showing more and more footage we didn't see last week of the disruption from the Ryan protesters. They also mocked the protesters by showing the other contestants wearing white T-shirts with "Lochte" outlined by a heart. Ryan says that he looked into the audience and saw his mom crying, and that's when he starts crying.

When Cheryl asks him who's his favorite Muppet, he replies, "The green dude." Oh, Ryan. That's another thing we're going to have to forgive you for — not knowing Kermit's name?

Ryan is in a a green tux with tails and Cheryl's in a matching tuxedo in pink to rep Miss Piggy. At the beginning several of the male troupe members flip Cheryl down the stairs to Ryan. There aren't any obvious big mistakes and it's a cute routine.

Julianne says the concept was amazing but she saw a lot of mistakes, with Ryan's feet and something with Cheryl at the beginning. She even asks Cheryl if she's OK. Cheryl looks nonplussed and says she's fine. Bruno echoes something Julianne said about Ryan needing to keep his back straight. Maybe he's too used to hunching over on starting blocks. Carrie Ann brings up the rough start, but says she likes Ryan's "fun" chemistry with Cheryl.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 6; Len: 6; Julianne: 6; Bruno: 6

Ryan is smiling and tells Tom he's not disappointed with the scores "at all."

Scoreboard
Laurie & Val: 32
Terra & Sasha: 31
Kenneth (Babyface) & Allison: 30
James & Sharna: 29
Jana & Gleb: 29
Marilu & Derek: 29
Calvin & Lindsay: 28
Maureen & Artem: 26
Rob (Vanilla Ice) & Witney: 26
Amber & Maks: 24
Jake & Jenna: 24
Ryan & Cheryl: 24
Rick & Emma: 22
I assume they're combining these scores with last week's scores, so that makes your combined score leaderboard look like:
Laurie & Val: 63
James & Sharna: 60
Jana & Gleb: 56
Kenneth (Babyface) & Allison: 56
Marilu & Derek: 56
Terra & Sasha: 56
Calvin & Lindsay: 54
Rob (Vanilla Ice) & Witney: 51
Amber & Maks: 48
Maureen & Artem: 48
Ryan & Cheryl: 48
Jake & Jenna: 46
Rick & Emma: 42

Predictions: If it's anyone other than Rick & Emma I'm calling shenanigans. OK, maybe not if it's Jake because Rick Perry is at least more well-known, but still.

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