‘Dancing with the Stars’ recap: Famous Dance Night

Kudos to Dancing with the Stars for sucking me into “Famous Dance Night” with an epic opening number that showcased professional female dancers in toast tights and black leotards. Choreographer Mandy Moore and her 80s-themed routines always make me smile. So does Whitney Houston’s “Dance With Somebody.” If that wasn’t enough, Dancing with the Stars executives invited Olivia Newton-John as a guest judge! Sandy + Danny = FOREVER!

This episode was made for me.

Monday night was all about taking iconic scenes from the stage, film, or music video and making it your own without sacrificing the charm behind what made the piece iconic in the first place. There were A TON of huge shoes to fill. Some contestants succeeded, while others were doomed from the beginning. That’s the trouble with iconic routines—there’s always the iconic original in the back of your head that you can’t help but compare.

PS: The word “icon” or “iconic” could have been a drinking game. 5-6-7-8!

Hayes and Emma
“You’re the One That I Want”
Lincee Throwback: I owned the soundtrack to Grease and have every song memorized. I used to roller skate around the pool (yes, around the swimming pool) for hours listening to this on a loop. Also, I was Cha Cha DiGregorio in my high school musical production.

I’m going to confess a double standard: When Witney scoffed last week at not knowing any Backstreet Boys songs, my blood boiled. When Hayes shot Emma a “huh?” glance when she enthusiastically told him they were performing to a song from Grease, I quickly forgave him because he’s a baby who can’t grow a beard. WITH THAT SAID, home boy is an Internet sensation. The first thing Emma should have done is YouTube that business so Hayes could soak up every hip gyration that comes along with John Travolta. Hayes sort of owns the dance, but like Alek, it doesn’t translate to his face. He’s just going through the motions. Especially when two entire eight counts consisted of them dance/balancing in a Shake Shack. When I wasn’t watching the JV backup dancers showing him up, I was marveling at Emma’s figure in the black spandex cat suit. All the judges feel that Hayes has so much potential, which is code for GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME!
Score: 32

Andy and Allison
“Good Morning”
Singing in the Rain
Lincee Throwback:
I choreographed a flapper routine to “All I Do Is Dream of You” a few decades ago. I also included the song “Moses Suposes” on a mix tape I made for church when we were studying Exodus. And if you are around me long enough, you may hear me say, “And I caaaaaan’t stand ‘em.”

Andy goes into this rehearsal feeling really confident after his performance with Sharna last week. Allison warns him that their iconic dance is one that musical fans will have memorized and it is imperative that they do the couch flip. And the stair part. And the yellow rain coat. And have a kitchen scene. And the incredible part is, they actually DO perform all that stuff! They danced from one end of the stage to another. Naturally I butt clenched for the baby when the over-the-couch part came, but two JV dudes were there to make sure Allison didn’t fly off the end. SAFETY FIRST PEOPLE. It was a fun, entertaining and full of energy.
Score: 40

Alexa and Mark
“Slave For You”
Britney Spears performing on Video Music Awards
Lincee Throwback:
I’ve got nothing. Had this been “Baby One More Time,” that sentence would be drastically different.

I have no idea why Bindi wasn’t the one to bring the huge snake into Alexa and Mark’s rehearsal instead of the bored dude schlepping an albino python in a plastic tub. Alexa bonds with the snake for the most part, but is really anxious about NOT making the snake nervous. She did not hide this well. The entire dance was stiff, until she picked up the snake. She looked great. So did the backup dancers. Mark was another story. I’m unsure if he was trying to be a grown-up version of Mowgli or a random wolf/man. Then I watched the above video and it all made sense. Sort of. The judges aren’t feeling it and Paula nearly gets her finger eaten because she decides to pet the head of a python. Again, WHERE IS BINDI?
Score: 30

Bindi and Derek
“Time of My Life”
Dirty Dancing
Lincee Throwback:
Dirty Dancing is my life. I can quote the entire movie. The end.

Derek is quick to remind Bindi that he won season 11 with Jennifer Grey. Pay no attention that she sort of looks like Tina Fey when wearing her glasses…it’s Baby! Naturally Derek suggests that they practice the infamous lift in the water. I have no idea why they chose to do this in a water waste treatment facility. Details. Derek admits that the lift is making him more nervous than anything he’s ever done on Dancing with the Stars. Luckily, he pulled it off with only a few seconds of shaky arms. I’m puzzled that there was no Dirty Dancing floor drag (trademark pending) but was delighted to see white lattice as the background for the majority of the number. Derek did NOT pull off the famous Patrick Swayze finger wag, but I’ll forgive him since, duh, Patrick Swayze.
Score: 40

Patrick Swayze Finger

Paula and Louis
Madonna’s performance at the 1990 MTV Movie Awards
Lincee Throwback:
I was determined to memorize the speaking part showcased in the middle of “Vogue” the summer of 1990. Not since, “It’s hammer go hammer, MC Hammer, yo hammer” had I tried so hard to get the lyrics right.

Louis did not make Paula wear a cone bra, even though I’m certain she probably would have. He put all of his JV backup dancers in period costumes, like Madonna did in 1990, including shorty shorts. He slowed “Vogue” down to fit Paula’s speed. All of the waxed legs made me feel bad for not having shaved my own in about a week.
Score: 24

Carlos and Witney
Magic Mike
Lincee Throwback:
I’ve never seen Magic Mike, but I do love Channing Tatum dancing in Step Up. Does that count?

Witney is excited to bump and grind her way through the show this week, but Carlos reminds her that he just performed “Amazing Grace” and testified to a very big, very national audience how God has changed his life. Now he’s supposed to hump a floor and strip? Witney reminds him that they are acting. She’s going to make it tasteful, but he has to go full-out or it will translate weird. Carlos listens to his professional and tears off his shirt mid-routine, showcasing his own set of impressive abs. To quote Carrie Ann, “There was great dancing that was delivered with elegance.” I agree — it wasn’t too dirty.
Score: 38

Nick and Sharna
“You Should Be Dancing”
Saturday Night Fever
Lincee Throwback:
I owned this album and knew the entire dance, even though Mama never let us watch the actual movie. My love of the BeeGee’s is deep and wide.

I think it’s important for me to point out that Sharna actually DID THE ASSIGNMENT. She told Nick that they had to perform the classic dance moves that everyone knows, but she also needed to incorporate samba components. Who knew that the contestants before had an actual dance genre they were supposed to perform? Nick totally out John Travolta-ed Hayes. And Sharna’s wig was heavenly.
Score: 39

Alek and Lindsay
“Jailhouse Rock”
Jailhouse Rock
Lincee Throwback:
My Mama was a school teacher for decades. She convinced her students that she throught Elvis was still alive. As a result, we had A LOT of Elvis paraphernalia at our home, including movies and music. Although Jailhouse Rock isn’t one with which I have a specific memory, the Aloha from Hawaii album definitely has a place in my heart.

Poor Alek is off his game. Maybe he’s distracted that his best friend nearly died from being shot a few months ago and then stabbed later in Toronto. Maybe he saw Emma in her skin-tight Spanex outfit and is annoyed that he has to dance with the pretty girl with ridiculously long legs who is married. Like Alex and the judges, I was bored.
Score: 30

Val and Tamar
“Rhythm Nation”
Janet Jackson’s Music Video
Lincee Throwback:
I, like every other girl who danced in the 90s, choreographed a routine to this number. It was military-inspired.

Tamar is a little upset that the judges seem to hate her. Val asks if she’s dancing for their approval? She says, “No” and he nods his head in approval. Then she gets sick and misses two days of rehearsal. When she comes back, she is a machine, ready to take on the Rhythm Nation challenge. She tells Val not to worry — she’s got this. And boy does she. Tamar was front and center and nailed the performance. For once, the lip syncing didn’t bother me. And I loved her fake ponytail!
Score: 40

At the end of the night, Tommy Berg announces that Paula and Louis are in jeopardy and will be joined by Alexa and Mark. Alexa begins to ugly cry immediately, but Tom puts her out of her misery. Paula will be going home. She has vogued her last vogue.

What did you think about the performances? Do you think three people deserved perfect scores? Which was your favorite dance for nostalgic reasons? Sound off in the comments section!


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