Dancing with the Stars recap: Ballroom Night

Dancing with the Stars recap: Ballroom Night

For the first time in 25 seasons, two routines will be performed in the second week of competition. Plus, two people are going home after each round.

Wow. Dancing with the Stars is taking a cue from Len and acting a little persnickety, aren’t they? Doesn’t that seem like a lot of unnecessary stress? Tom and Erin couldn’t get over it and had no problem telling the live studio audience that they were not fans of this model.

Alas, they aren’t in charge. DANCE MONKEYS, DANCE!!!

The first round is traditional ballroom, while the second round will cover the Latin dances. Let’s see who is up for the challenge and who will peter out before they even have a chance to come close to the glittering ball they call a trophy.

Debbie and Alan
“This Is My Time” by Amy Stroup
Newsflash: The quickstep is quick. We go over this every single season and it continues to be the bane of most competitor’s existence. The key is to remain in hold, keep a tight upper body, and rush around the entire floor like a chicken with your head cut off. It’s harder than it sounds.

But Debbie actually performs the routine with sharp, exact (Bruno: exactitude?) movements. Alan’s choreography compliments Debbie’s long limbs and stellar legs. Their blueberry wardrobe would make Violet Beauregarde jealous. Debbie’s long slits up to her upper thigh and lower butt cheeks make me blush. The speed is there, the confidence is there, but the control is a touch wonky. It is a solid routine, but doesn’t land them at the top of the leaderboard.

Nikki and Artem
“Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones
Like most of the athletes in this competition, Nikki showed her powerful side last week and is eager to bring a softer side to the dance floor. And she does. First of all, the song choice is perfect because it’s one most people actually recognize. Second, Nikki and Artem waltz in a field of stars. It is dreamy, especially since her dress is made of white, silky gossamer. Finally, Nikki doesn’t body slam Artem at the end, which is a victory all around when you think about it.

Speaking of Artem, does anyone else think something is off with him? I feel like he’s too quiet. It’s like he’s distracted. I found myself wondering if he has something personal going on behind the scene. Then I thought, “Carrie Ann just split up from her fiance. Could Artem be pining after his old girlfriend? Are things weird between them?” Perhaps his spleen hasn’t recovered from the jarring it took as Artem’s back crashed into the dance floor. So many theories. I’d like to know which is true…

Lindsey and Mark
“Swing Set” by Jurassic 5
Because Mark is Mark, he decides to choreograph a quickstep where he and Lindsey turn from caterpillars into butterflies. Easy peasy. All you need is a green tent in the middle of every fake flower and grass display Hobby Lobby had on sale. No problem.

Mark is all about the theatrics, which sometimes annoys me. I was indifferent on this one. The razamataz at the beginning was a weak build-up to the butterfly parts. I thought her outfit was gorgeous and the fact that his bowtie was a butterfly made all the creative sense in the world. During the middle portions, I wondered why Mark broke hold and launched into a Charleston bit. I wasn’t the only one. Len thought the same thing and docked a point for not keeping in line with a traditional quickstep.

It’s been 25 seasons. Don’t the pros know by now that you have to follow the rules before anything else? Regardless, all the judges praised Mark for being back in the ballroom, pushing envelopes all over the place. They are a smart, quirky pair that will probably go far.

Barbara and Keo
“Whatever Lola Wants” by Sarah Vaughan
Babs has a hard time being at the bottom of the leaderboard. Keo reminds her that there’s only one direction to go, and that’s up. (Psst: You could stay in last place, or go home.) Barbara decides to stop using Keo as her “sex partner” and instead uses him as her resource. Keo choreographs a dance that is slow, methodical, and did I mention slow? He wisely dips her once an eight count because she’s such a tiny little woman with hollow bones like my mom. After we finally get to the end, Barb rips open Keo’s shirt to reveal a freshly waxed chest. The end.

Nick and Peta
“Mandy” by Barry Manilow
Might I remind you that PETA JUST HAD A BABY. Geez. Her body is so slim. I said it last week and I’ll said it again: Life isn’t fair.

Nick and Peta look fabulous. Her dusty pink gown and flowing blond hair compliment his dusty pink shirt and adorable smile. As they foxtrot around the floor, Vanessa cries from the balcony because her husband is so suave and good-looking. Maks does not look the same way at his wife, because he realizes that Nick has accidentally stepped on Peta’s dress and now Nick is flummoxed and can’t recover. Even though it was lovely, the judges burn him for ruining Manilow. Peta looks hot, too. Poor Nick has to listen as Bruno, Len, and Carrie Ann chastise him for breaking character. Then he has to stand by his wife in the Glitter Dome with Erin and listen as Peta calls him “fragile.” It looks like Nick is going to be rubbing some feet tonight.

Drew and Emma
“Sing, Sing, Sing” by Louis Prima
Sweet, tall, gangly Drew can’t catch a break. After snapping something in his leg, Emma pulls out all the stops to distract the judges from his injury. She includes a massive circular stage made of rhinestones, a handful of JV dancers, and a confetti bomb at the end of the number. Drew clomps along to the fast rhythm, flopping around the platform in his hot pink shoes that match Emma’s hot pink fringe dress. Yes, they are entertaining, but the technique is nowhere to be found until they reach the jazz part (again — where’s the hold?) at the end. The judges were torn, but I agree with Carrie Ann: “That was a showstopper! You just woke everybody up!”

Vanessa and Maks
“Hit Me with a Hot Note” by Tami Tappan Damiano
Maks realizes that Vanessa can dance, so he’s treating her like a pro. Translation? He’s mean to her. Fortunately Vanessa comes from a military family and understands the importance of perfection. So she steps into her gold, glittery gown, tussles her hair, plasters on a huge Mark Ballas face, and goes for it. I personally didn’t love the choreography, but the judges practically hand over the mirror ball trophy to Maks. They claim Vanessa is a superstar and applaud her as she giggles in front of her loser husband and her partner’s loser wife in the Glitter Dome. Aco taco.

Witney and Frankie
“Whatever It Takes”
Typically Witney bugs, but I really like her in this partnership. It think it’s because she respects Frankie so much. He broke his back long ago, and it in obvious pain, but he’s committed to the process and remains humble throughout rehearsals. Witney also recognizes that Frankie is a willing sponge, so she choreographs a very difficult number. And Frankie performs beautifully.

I’ve discussed how choreographers can mold routines around the beat or the musicality of the song. Witney does both. She included head pops and pauses to match every single bit of that music. If there was a note, their bodies were doing something. And the severe red wardrobe was an excellent choice. I want her red lipstick. I need her red lipstick. Somebody find that shade for me and get Frankie a cortisone shot while you’re at it. Bless him. I like this guy.

Cheryl and Terrell
“Pillowtalk” by ZAYN
I thought Terrell’s comment about “being more than one point better than Barbara” was rude. I wish he had not said that. So I didn’t mind that Cheryl wasn’t taking any of his lip during rehearsal.

Terrell: “I don’t have any dance experience!”
Cheryl: “Boo hoo. Let’s do it again.”

For me, this foxtrot felt a little contemporary. There were far to many body rolls. Like Len, I felt it was too raunchy, therefore, I knew Carrie Ann would love it. And she did. She may have stood up when Terrell centipeqdeded (that’s a word) onto Cheryl’s body while she was laying on the floor. Where’s the sophistication? Where’s the elegance? Safe the dry humping for Latin night, Cheryl. Come on. You know better.

Sasha and Gleb
Viennese Waltz
“I’m Going Down” by Rose Royce
Something is up with Sasha, too. She and Gleb address her “blank” face from the previous performance, but she remains to be reserved. Her ballroom dancing parents coming in to show her up doesn’t her matters either. In fact, I think this made her more angry. Is it insecurity? Is it three against one? Is it hard to concentrate because Gleb is so pretty? How can she looks so bored when she’s wearing all those wonderful feathers?

The dance was pretty and like Carrie Ann said, Sasha makes the movement look effortless. It’s just not translating into her face. It reminds me of Dominique last season. I’m afraid Sasha is going to have to tap into something and figure it out, or the Pretty Little Liar will be sent home sooner rather than later.

Victoria and Val
“Look What You Made Me Do” by Taylor Swift
In this ballroom, Victoria and Val can do no wrong. Having a Taylor Swift song doesn’t hurt matters either. It’s clear that Val supports her around the waist and back the majority of the time, but Victoria can hold her own when the choreography calls for it. I still have no idea how she’s moving around when she can’t feel what her legs are doing. Although the judges loved every bit of it, I felt at times the routine drug a little bit. But it was sharp and polished which is more I can say for other contestants.

Derek and Sharna
“Hallelujah I Love Her So” by Ray Charles
Thank goodness Derek’s Mama was on set. I love this woman. Especially when she walks off the stage during dress rehearsal, kicking herself that she didn’t have her camera. How cute is that? And how cute were Derek and Sharna’s polka-dot outfits? Even Sharna’s bloomers were polka-dot! SO FUN!

The dance was mediocre. Derek has the smile, he has the cute bow tie, and he has the moves down, but there’s something missing. Perhaps it’s Carrie Ann’s thought that he’s dancing too small? I’m not sure. I like the partnership and want to like the dancing more than I do.

Lindsay and Jordan
Viennese Waltz
“Count On Me” by Judah Kelly
The bar is officially high for these two. Both are gorgeous, both know how to dance, and both look amazing in their outfits, even though one part of the dance it looked like Jordan was choking Lindsay. Jordan has incredible hands. He knows what to do with them, which is hard to teach. And don’t get me started on Lindsay’s legs or hair extensions. So fab. Lindsay choreographed a really pretty waltz and Jordan acted the crap out of it. I loved it. The audience loved it. And the judges (excluding Len) loved it. This is the couple to beat for sure.

With time running out, Tom announces that Barbara and Terrell are in the bottom two slots. Erin quickly let’s Barbara and Keo know that they will not be returning for Latin night. Both look like they knew it was coming.

Who do you think is going home tonight? Will the teams do better with the Latin dances? Or will fatigue set in? Sound off in the comments section!


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