"Dancing with the Stars" recap: Disney Night conjures a little magic
It was Corporate Synergy Disney Night on "Dancing with the Stars" Monday night, offering a delightful evening of ample advertising and brand placement opportunities – and some dancing in between too!
Oh, who can be too cynical about a night featuring "The Bachelor" in tiny little red shorts and Julianne Hough's hair being ... something all right. Tinkerbell after a night at the club?
Anyways, Erika Jayne's graceful Viennese waltz came a week too late, as the end credits rolled on her time on "Dancing with the Stars." But who will be next? Did somebody nab that first perfect score? And hold on, there was an original song from "Wreck-It Ralph"? All of those answers and more in our weekly "Dancing with the Stars" rankings!
8. Nick Viall
Judges' score: 34 out of 40
Our score: One of these weeks, I'm bound to be right! I've picked Nick to go home for the past two weeks, and each time, he slips through to the next round. And last night would've been so perfect, not only going out on his highest score but also while wearing those adorable little red trousers. I couldn't imagine a more fitting way for a guy who spent months as television's most eligible bachelor to depart from the spotlight.
Alas, Nick – and his startlingly shaved babyface! I legitimately couldn't find him for the first 10 minutes of the episode – stays alive for another week, with a chance to stick around even longer thanks to his odd but amusing Pinocchio routine that showed more personality than we've really seen from him. The routine featured more silly character work than noteworthy dancing in this humble amateur's opinion, but the judges dug it, so what do I know. All I know is I've committed to Nick getting axed off this show, and I've gotta be right eventually.
Also: Nick, to answer your question about "Is there such thing as a sexy Pinocchio?" One misguided Google search later, I can confirm yes there is. And now I want to die.
7. Bonner Bolton
Judges' score: 30 out of 40
Our score: Not exactly a bonner night for Banner Bolton, but not terrible either with his cute "Wreck-It Ralph" routine (AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY NOW! BUY IT NOW BEFORE THE SEQUEL NEXT YEAR!). He's hit that dreaded plateau that Len talked about with Erika Jayne – solid and often surprisingly smooth in the hold position but just as often lumbering and stiff (he learned Chris Kattan's lesson, though, and mentioned his neck and back injury several times). He's avoided the bottom thus far, but he's clearly in the lower tier of those remaining, so save for a breakout performance soon, he's not around for much longer.
6. David Ross
Judges' score: 29 out of 40
Our score: The first part of the nickname Old Man Ross made itself sadly apparent last night – and not just because of the training montage of the former Cubs catcher needing massage after massage during practice (I need that back-roller thing ASAP). To his credit, Ross hit all the steps on his "Cars 3" dance (IN THEATERS JUNE 16! BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! AVOID THE RUSH!) but the snap and the bounce one wants to see from a jive was left in the garage.
Still, Ross seems safe for now thanks to his lovable aged everyman personality – and the eager support of Cubs fans. Then again, I said the same thing about the show's last resident old man, Mr. T, and he was shown the door earlier than expected too.
5. Heather Morris
Judges' score: 34 out of 40
Our score: "It's about expectations." Couldn't have said it better, Len. That's been the story of Heather's time on "Dancing with the Stars," where she's been a top performer ... but considering her background, obviously. There's no sense of discovery or surprise with Morris. When she's good, you expect it, and when she's bad ... well, luckily for her, that hasn't happened yet.
Last night, however, would be as close as she'd want to get. Her "Frozen" routine was heavy on cute, light on cutting a rug – and when a former pro goes the way of shtick, it can't help but not feel like a bit of a copout. For Heather, sympathies are low and expectations are high – a brutal balancing act to navigate. But hey, there's still a few more stiff celebs to cull off the show before she should be truly at risk – and she gets Maks back next week.
4. Rashad Jennings
Judges' score: 32 out of 40
Our score: He was bound to come down to earth a little bit this week. You don't make me cry watching a reality show and maintain that emotional high for long – especially with a more strict, structured style like the foxtrot and especially when the training segment was more of an ad for "Beauty and the Beast" (IN THEATERS NOW! DON'T MISS IT! BUY THE SOUNDTRACK TOO!).
Still, despite some shakiness early on in the routine (which the judges attributed to a difficult song choice) Jennings wrapped it up with the smoothness we've come to expect from him and the elegance we'd hope to see in the foxtrot. A good dance overall – not quite a beauty but certainly no hideous beast either.
3. Nancy Kerrigan
Judges' score: 36 out of 40
Our score: Nancy Kerrigan stressing out every week during practice and before her dancing is beginning to stress me out every week. I mean, who could blame her last night having to bust out a brief group dance number alongside professional dancers? That wasn't a part of the deal! I'm supposed to be only compared to C-listers equally as new to this!
Luckily, all of that sweat and literal tears (so, so many literal tears) are resulting in lovely dances – including last night's charmingly sweet "Enchanted" routine. It was a truly sweet, Disney princess-worthy dance – complete with cute lip-syncing. And even though Kerrigan's face was sometimes cemented into a mask of panicky horror, smiling through the terror, she sold the Disney charm and magic.
In the end, you've got nothing to stress about, Nancy; you've become a legit contender.
2. Normani Kordei
Dance: Paso doble
Judges' score: 39 out of 40
Our score: Anyone feeling like the judges were a little loose with the 10s last night? Disney paid for those Mickey Mouse paddles, and by god, SOMEONE was going to earn them! Normani was the biggest recipient of the judges' generosity, earning an almost perfect score for her "Mulan"-themed paso doble/action sequence. Even Len liked the routine's brief transformation into "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." What happened to you, Len? Where's your commitment to being the resident grump?
But fair enough. It may not have been 10-level terrific, but it was a fierce, aggressive number that took good advantage of Kordei's powerful dancing abilities. Even the stick-fighting fit with both the paso and the song, "I'll Make a Man Out of You." It was yet another strong dance in a season full of them for the pop star – but considering her trip to the bottom three, people better start paying attention. Where you at, Fifth Harmaniacs!?
1. Simone Biles
Judges' score: 38 out of 40
Our score: The Olympian reclaimed the top spot this week with a powerful yet poetic contemporary routine right in her wheelhouse, featuring several gravity-defying leaps and bounds that looked more than a bit familiar from her run in Rio. It was a perfect match of contestant and choreography – complete with Moana herself, star Auli'i Cravalho, providing the inspirational serenade "How Far I'll Go" (AVAILABLE ON ITUNES NOW! AND HAVE YOU BOUGHT SOME "MOANA" SOCKS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY YET?!)
Normani may have nabbed the bigger score, but as proven by her premature trip to the bottom three last night, Simone's still the one to beat – with the dance to prove it.
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