Dancing with the Stars recap: Country Night
Dancing with the Stars Recap: Country Night
There’s a small part of me that wants to simply write, “Grocery Store Joe is in the semi-finals” and be done with it. What is happening on Dancing with the Stars this season? I’m sure I’m not the only one who has asked this question. So I answered it over on InStyle’s website. Tell me if you think my threefold theory is on target.
It’s country week and that means ABC has two whole hours to remind viewers that the Country Music Awards will be airing on November 14. They also dug up some young musicians to sing live performances. Or Bobby Bones called in a few favors. I’m not sure.
The opening act is stuff Bachelor franchise dreams are made of, thanks to an array of denim panties. Most of the male dancers sported bare chests. There was lots of thrusting, too, because everyone knows country dancing equals lots of pelvic action.
The one thing I did notice immediately is that DeMarcus knows how to wear a cowboy hat. And it’s a shame that I will never have the opportunity to see it again on the ballroom floor.
Let’s get to the recap!
John and Emma
“Thank God I’m a Country Boy” by John Denver
John is from Nashville and has recorded more than two hundred country songs. Four of them were number ones! WHO KNEW???
You’d think that would make someone super excited for country week, but poor John is forlorn. You see, he’s been battling a divorce for four years and the process has “wedged itself between me and my three adult children.” John longs for his kids to be in the audience, but each Monday night, he’s disappointed.
This is the part when John cries. So I cry, too, He’s clearly fallen on hard times and I hope there’s some redemption in his future with his family.
Enough blubbering. John slaps on some suspenders and a bandana, hops around in fake stalks of corn, and performs a jazz routine with Emma and a handful of JV dancers. Emma packs it full of theatrical choreography, as well as a few moves from all genres. John looks like he was having a ball and the judges notice. They didn’t give him high scores, but they sure noticed.
Evanna and Keo
“Every Little Thing” by Carly Pearce
Evanna and Keo’s pre-package interview cracked me up. What do an African and an Irish person have in common? Neither know a thing about country music. Luckily, Evanna is able to translate the angst in Carly’s song about a past relationship. She has first-hand knowledge in this field and still feels the sting of the breakup.
Last week she channeled the fierceness of a trash can cat. This week, she hones in on her own pain and executes a lovely rumba. I didn’t enjoy the choreography as much as the judges, but I do love her. The only weird part is when she and Keo had to freeze to give Carly some solo air time. But that didn’t bother anyone else. The judges L-O-V-E-D it. When Len flashed is ten paddle, Keo ran down from the Glitterdome and kissed him square on the head.
Juan Pablo and Cheryl
“One Shot” by Hunter Hayes
Because Juan Pablo can learn a dance in five seconds, the producers can play around with subsequent storylines, like Cheryl taking Juan Pablo to a “line dancing bar” to learn country swagger.
Heaven help us all if there is a honky tonk anywhere in the world that is dedicated ONLY to line dancing. I blame Billy Ray Cyrus for this travesty if it exists. Here’s hoping it was a normal bar that has live country music acts on the weekends and when the band takes a break, the deejay plays line dancing songs for all the single girls who never got asked to two-step.
Juan Pablo knocks his Charleston out of the park. And he does so in cowboy boots, with a ton of JV dancers, in the bed of a pickup truck. Of course he does. To quote Carrie Ann, he makes everything look effortless. Juan Pablo has what it takes to win. But will he have the votes? Time will tell.
Joe and Jenna
“Burning Man” by Dierks Bentley
Joe scored an eight last week and now his confidence is through the roof. I wish he had been bold enough to tell wardrobe that he didn’t want to wear all brown leather with colorful stripes under his eyes that looked like me wearing LeZinc sunscreen in the eighties.
Knowing that she will have to phone in choreography for her partner each week, I like to think Jenna is now playing around with hairdos and costumes. She has a severe ponytail and harsh bangs with lots of blue feathers. There are winding strips of lycra circling just one leg. And if that getup isn’t distracting enough, she incorporates lasers, red spotlights, and a solid two eight counts of strobe lights.
The judges are somewhat brutal again, but as I said in my Instyle piece, it’s clear that the cast and crew like lovable Grocery Store Joe. They’re actually rooting for him. Case in point: Carrie Ann forgave Jenna for reusing some of the same moves from last week’s Halloween dance. That normally would have been a big old BURN. In this case, she commended Jenna for helping Joe along.
Milo and Witney
“Born to Love You” by LANCO
The bar has been set high for these two crazy kids and Witney is feeling country music week. In fact, her first dance at her wedding was to Billy Currington’s “Must Be Doing Something Right.” This makes my feelings for Witney soften, because this song is LEGIT.
Producers played around with Milo’s talents, making him write Witney a country song on his guitar. Then they put him in an embroidered suit so he could foxtrot around to LANCO’s single. These are the same guys who were featured on The Bachelor a few seasons ago. I’m convinced one of their moms works at ABC.
Milo looked odd to me for some reason. I want to say it was his normal smile or lack of camera work, but once they got their scores from the judges, Carrie Ann nailed it for me. It’s the height difference. Most of the foxtrot is in hold and it just looks weird for Witney to be staring below Milo’s sternum. And if he has to keep a straight spine, Milo can never have a moment with her because he’d have to hunch over. That’s a big no-no in the foxtrot.
I’m glad Carrie Ann pointed out the challenge because it’s good for people to know that Milo isn’t perfect. It’s also good that Len gave him a nine, which kept him from a second perfect score. Too many of those and voters begin to think you don’t need their help.
In case you’re wondering, I like this kid and thinks he deserves a shot at the Mirrorball Trophy.
DeMarcus and Lindsay
“Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton
Lindsay stripped it down this week. She put DeMarcus in a simple shirt and pants, with a vest. She wore a lovely pink flowy number. And they waltzed around in a spotlight looking fabulous together. It was simple, clean, and very elegant. Which is somewhat startling when a big guy like DeMarcus can work his way around a ballroom with ease.
The “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton confused me. Both David Allan Coe and George Jones originally sang this song before Stapleton. However, when I heard the vocalist’s version, I could tell he was trying to sound rough and gravelly like Stapleton.
Plus, this moment from the CMAs a few years ago has my whole heart, so I will forgive it all.
PS: The woman singing with JT and Chris is Chris’ wife!
Alexis and Alan
“Ladies in the ‘90s” by Lauren Alaina
Guess what? Alex and Alan ditched rehearsals to go horseback riding so they could talk about their feelings. Alan tries to trick us into believing that he’s not into Alexis, BUT HE IS INTO HER. He admits that he has feelings and then he kisses her for good measure.
After watching that kiss, I’m not buying it.
Shocking, right? I suspected all this time and now that it’s happened, I’m smelling a publicity stunt. I think Alexis REALLY likes Alan and I think Alan is not interested. Call me crazy.
Do you know what else is crazy? The fact that a seamstress used the leftover material from Alexis’ rhinestone denim dress to make Lauren Alaina’s halter top. She matches the happy couple! You have to look for it under her overalls, but it’s there. (Please read this entire paragraph sarcastically.)
The samba itself is decent. Alan wisely puts every traditional samba move in the routine, which leads to Len holding up a ten. Carrie Ann is the one who docked the couple for Alexis being ahead of the music. I’m sure if Alan was the only one being judged, he would have received an eleven for that cowboy hat and dancing with his shirt open the entire time.
Bobby and Sharna
“Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Chris Janson
Bobby finally got the eights he’s been looking for all season long. And it’s appropriate since he is a country music deejay. The waltz is jerky and sharp to me and Bobby has no clue what to do with his hands. Bruno gives him props for “actually trying,” which I thought was rude. Len wants Bobby to lower his shoulders, which I agree with every week. And Carrie Ann wonders why in week seven, he’s still tense? Good question!
This week, the first two names on the leaderboard get to pick teams for a group dance. You should know that the leaderboard is upside down, so it’s the low men on the totem pole who are team captains. Grocery Store Joe and Bobby Bones are the lucky, rhythmically challenged dudes who bunny up first.
Instead of writing a synopsis on the group dances, I thought it would be more fun for you to watch them. There’s a lot going on. In some cases, it’s organized chaos. In other instances, it’s what we call a hot, heated mess.
Notice how Evanna totally hangs with the three female pros on her team. Also, pay close attention to Joe’s mid-dance absence. And finally, help me understand why the ladies of Team Joe Down thought those outfits were attractive in any sense of the word.
Team Hay Now
Team Joe Down
As I mentioned before, DeMarcus found himself in the red light of doom with both John and Evanna. DeMarcus and John were voted off the island and half of the cast cried. Witney was not one of them. She was madder than a wet wasp that her bestie was eliminated before the likes of Grocery Store Joe and Bobby Bones.
There are only six contestants left. Who are you rooting for? Evanna and Alexis? Or Juan Pablo, Milo, Bobby, and Joe? If it were up to me, I’d have Milo, Juan Pablo, and Evanna in the final three. But something tells me either Bobby or Joe will end up on the ballot. What do you think?