Dancing with the Stars Recap: New York City Night

Dancing with the Stars Recap: Season 27, Episode 2

Boy, Mandy Moore pulled out all of the stops on New York City Night opening number. There was a skyline, a taxi cab, random tappers, a lone ballerina (because why not?), scantily clad female pros, and a bunch of dudes in maroon tuxedo jackets mugging with the camera, confirming that yes, the neon lights are bright on Broadway.

The best part? Carrie Ann getting out of the cab. This granted me a full-figure shot of the judge and I’m sticking to my guns. She’s pregnant.

In other news, ABC wants you to know that they are a powerhouse station. Therefore, you have to sit and be patient as they cross promote every opportunity they can get. Mark Ballas is starring in Kinky Boots. Modern Family is back this week. Dancing with the Stars Juniors is going to rock your world. And Kelly and Ryan are the cool morning show kids who have no problem introducing performers through a pre-taped package.

We’re all one big happy family. On with the show!

DeMarcus and Lindsay
Foxtrot
“The Boy from New York City” by The Manhattan Transfer
SCORE: 24

I have two issues with this song. First, the tune is familiar to me, but only because my father used to sing a dirty version of it back in the day. Now that’s all I can hear. Second, I think it was a strange musical choice for a foxtrot. There’s a significant beat that doesn’t translate well to the smoothness (is that a word?) of the dance.

Of course, if anyone can pull it off, it’s Mr. Twinkle Toes himself. Heck, DeMarcus can sit around and smile with those adorable dimples all day long and I would award him ten after ten after ten. Especially when he wears a chocolate brown suit with a blueberry shirt underneath. Dapper!

Was it my favorite? No it was not. The judges didn’t agree with me because DeMarcus has charmed his way into their hearts as well. Unfortunately, since he pulled the number one spot, his score had to be low because he sets the pace for the night. That was unfortunate.

Danelle and Artem
Cha-Cha-Cha
“Welcome to New York” by Taylor Swift
SCORE: 18

This woman. She crushed it. Remember how I said last week that the foxtrot was a great first dance since the couple traditionally remains in hold? Well throw that out the window, because the cha-cha is hard and fast. There is a ton of intricate footwork. And poor Danelle tells Artem that it’s super fast and he feels like a complete and total jack wagon for having to confess that they are dancing at half speed. UGH!

Danelle is my profile contestant this week over at InStyle. You can check out her performance by clicking HERE.

John and Emma
Charleston
“New York’s My Home” by Sammy Davis Jr.
SCORE: 23

John would like you to know that he’s no stranger to Broadway. HOWEVER, he has never danced before on said Broadway stage. Traditionally, he sings and lets the troupe dance around him.

So Emma decides to sit down directly in John’s comfort zone. It’s musical theater at its finest, complete with lip syncing cheeky dialog. He’s a train conductor, you see, and Emma is a woman in a fabulous red coat. They are surrounded by JV dancers who seem eager to take a trip to New York City. All aboard!

I thought John did a decent job. He’s an actor, therefore, he acted most of his parts. There was a moment when they did the actual Charleston, but it was easy to see that the main bits of their rehearsal time went into the weird crotch helicopter twirl (official name) at the end of the routine. The judges L-O-V-E-D it and have officially purchased first class tickets to John’s journey on DWTS.

Nancy and Val
Cha-Cha-Cha
“Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel
SCORE: 21

Nancy and Val banter back and forth debating who is the better New Yorker. It’s all fun and games until someone fractures a foot. Nancy doesn’t let the injury bother her, though. She uses the searing pain to convincingly wiggle around below a giant chandelier in a fake clothing store.

Man, the JV dancers are working hard tonight! The girls cha-cha with Nancy and my mind wanders to the shopping scene in Pretty Woman. Is she going to tell one of them that Val would love that tie? I surely hope so. By the way, where is Val?

Oh there he is! Bless it. Whenever he’s on stage, I don’t ever watch his partner. That’s probably not the worst thing for Nancy since her face screams “I don’t know what I’m doing” or “I’m trying to be cool while my foot threatens to pop off.” Her lips remained in a straight, non-emotional smile. The judges didn’t see any of that and awarded her with high marks. I give Val high marks for carrying Nancy up the stairs to the Glitter Dome! (Swwooooonn!)

Alexis and Alan
Argentine Tango
“Sawn Lake” by Ray Chew
SCORE: 25

This is one of those moments when you roll your eyes at the professional because they say something dumb like, “Golly gee, Mr. Camera Man. I haven’t performed ballet in several years! This is going to be tough.”

Don’t tell me that, Instagram Model Alexis. Now I want you to be as good as the New York City Ballet Principal Tiler Peck who was the random ballerina in the opening act. Do you see what you did, Alexis? My bar is now very, very high.

I’ll admit that she did pull it off for the most part, but the stubborn tutu that refused to whip off at the beginning put me in an anxious state of heart for the rest of the routine. I prefer a more traditional Argentine Tango in a smoky bar with lots of passion and precision. The lifts were wonky, but I think that was mostly nerves. Kudos to Alan for taking the risk and kudos to the judges for categorizing the dance as “stunning.”

Joe and Jenna
Foxtrot
“New York State of Mind” by Matt Beilis
SCORE: 17

I think it’s weird that Joe was given a “redemption dance” so he could perferom the foxtrot again. Luckily, “New York State of Mind” is extremely slow. Slow enough that non-dancer Kendall the Girlfriend is able to learn the routine in an afternoon so she can help her bae practice at nighttime.

It’s a smart move on Jenna’s part. Joe is the opposite of Bobby Bones. He’s the “aw shucks” guy who prefers meandering and hiding in the shadows behind stage instead of pumping up the audience. He and Bobby are the ONLY people in the cast who aren’t performers by trade. Sure, Joe was in front of millions when he was on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, but those millions weren’t sitting right there watching his every move. The others understand the pressure of a live audience. Bobby is just choosing a different, more annoying, tactic.

Back to the dance. It’s slow moving. At one point, Jenna twirls around Joe in an intricate sequence of steps as he just stands there watching. He has a tendency to clomp around the stage, but I did like his baby blue pants and suspenders. Jenna’s dress was divine. Even though the dance was leaps and bounds better than last week, it still was leaps and bounds below the others. I am glad the judges were nicer to him. Even with the Lift Police on patrol, Carrie Ann did give nice compliments.

Tinashe and Brandon
Argentine Tango
“New Dorp. New York.” by SBTRKT
SCORE: 26

I guess I’m feeling crotchety today. You know my stance on lasers. There were a million of them in this dance. But what I really can’t stand is club music in the traditional ballroom. Would you like SBTRKT to be featured in your hip hop? By all means. An Argentine tango? Not so much.

Brandon knows that Tinashe can handle anything he throws her way. So he throws it all into his choreography. There are numerous lifts. Plenty of twists and turns. A moment where I was concerned for Tinashe’s crotch. And she did all of this in a fabulous ponytail and bodysuit.

Len is like me and would prefer a more traditional approach. (Geez, I’m old.) Bruno and Carrie thought it was the be all end all. They received not one but two nines!

Milo and Witney
Charleston
“Living in New York City” by Robin Thicke
SCORE: 26

Poor baby Milo nearly keeled over in rehearsal. Like Brandon, Witney knows she has a contender on her hands, so she choreographs the most energetic Charleston I’ve ever seen. The two crazy kids never stopped. It was controlled. It was clean. It was ridiculously good. I’m unsure why they didn’t score three nines from the judges. Take a look for yourself:

Mary Lou and Sasha
Waltz
“Natural Woman” by Sarah Bockel
SCORE: 22

I’m not sure what’s going on with Mary Lou, but she’s having difficulty leaving the gymnast mentality behind. Remember how Simone Biles had a hard time just being herself? I feel Mary Lou suffers from the same syndrome. Fortunately, she has a gorgeous smile that masks most of her angst.

One thing that may have contributed to the nerves is that an actual live person was performing the song. I can tell you that practicing with a recorded version of the song is a lot easier than dancing when the person is singing it live. If the singer changes up his or her cadence even a fraction (to make it more interesting), he or she may have inadvertently just messed you up. Especially if you are dancing to the rhythm of the lyrics and not the beat of the music.

Mary Lou was gorgeous in her red dress. Sasha’s matching red pants were unfortunate. But mid-way, Mary Lou threw all caution to the wind and embraced her natural woman. It was lovely.

Juan Pablo and Cheryl
Quickstep
“42nd Street” by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
SCORE: 26

Let me just say that Juan Pablo and Cheryl deserved this very high score. It’s completely clear that JP has danced on Broadway one or twelve times in his life. He is a stunning performer with impeccable footwork. Where Witney went urban with her interpretation of her dance, Cheryl opted for classic. JP sported traditional white tails. Cheryl was in a delicate yellow dress. They flew from one corner to the next to the next to the next. He was having a ball.

The one thing my roommate Lara would change, and I agree with her, is that we prefer Juan Pablo with a little more facial scruff!

Evanna and Keo
Samba
“Can’t Touch It” by Ricki-Lee Coulter
SCORE: 24

Aaahhhhhhh!!! I want to love Evanna more than I do! It feels weird that everyone, including me, calls her Luna! I think it’s hilarious that she feels the need to tell all of us that “Latin is not in my blood.” She’s the whitest person I know!

I said it last week: Evanna can dance. Keo knows this and encourages her to let out her inner showstopper. But he did it in a passive aggressive way, which made me annoyed. Evanna has a lot going for her. She has rhythm, she’s flexible, and she doesn’t mind trying things that are out of her comfort zone. Her body dances beautifully. It’s just that her brain needs to tell her face to join the party.

What I appreciated is that the choreography was a proper samba. There were no frills or extra props or ubiquitous JV dancers mulling around. All Evanna needed was her talent. And a weird white costume that managed to have ruffles, fringe, a plunging neckline, glitter, and shoulder pads.

Bobby and Sharna
Foxtrot
“Theme from New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra
SCORE: 20

Bobby knows that he’s not the best dancer. My friend Amy, who listens to his show religiously, told me this morning that he admits that on the air. He claims that the only way he’s going to win this is by being popular. He wants to entertain. His personality will be his key to victory.

I understand what he’s trying to do, but I don’t like the way he’s doing it. Let me explain: Sharna gets that she’s working with someone who tries really, really hard, but doesn’t have the ability to grasp the technical aspects and minor details that will produce a DANCING winner. So she tries to play to Bobby’s strengths, which she did well last week when she let him rift a little bit.

The foxtrot is a proper dance. So Sharna figures she should choreograph a proper routine since the judges are judging on DANCE skills, as well as performance. They do a decent amount of musical theater at the beginning (to appeal to Bobby’s theatrical side), but then Sharna positions them in a traditional foxtrot hold for the remainder of their time. She’s in a gorgeous white dress with delicate pink flowers. He’s in all white.

He really pulls it off to the best of his ability. There were random kicks in there, again for Bobby’s sake, and lots of energy. She chooses to end the routine cuddled on a bench. But before Bobby sits down beside her, he makes the decision to start flossing to get a rise out of the audience.

This is where I have a problem.

I think it is utterly rude and disrespectful to go off script and change the end of the routine, unbeknownst to your professional, just for a cheap laugh. Sharna’s face said it all. In the moment, she was shocked, but she quickly adopted a “That’s Bobby” facial expression as she headed over to Tom who was laughing hysterically.

Carrie Ann knew exactly what was going on and I’m glad she said, “You didn’t choreograph that, did you Sharna?” Sharna was able to answer, “No I did not” with just a hint of coolness.

It would be one thing if Sharna hadn’t specifically incorporated quirky dance moves so Bobby’s personality could shine. But she did. And he went rogue at the end.

Am I weird for being irritated with him? Did that come across to anyone else? Will this work for him in the end?

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Linda
Linda

Totally agree with you on the disrespect on Sharna. Don’t want to see her go, but Bobby needs to. Also, agree with with you on the scores of Demarcus. Too low. I could watch him dance all night!.

Thanks for your recap. Always funny and accurate!

Kelli
Kelli

No, you are not weird. It is incredibly disrespectful to her. And the rest of us. The foxtrot is supposed to be elegant and that was the complete opposite. Kind of like when Mario Lopez broke hold in the Tango (I think–it was a long time ago and that is the dance where the hold doesn’t break) and was rolling across the floor while Karina (I think) stepped over him and the judges raked him over the coals.

As someone who teaches LaBlast, which is a dance fitness based on DWTS dances, developed by former pro (on the show), Louis Van Amstel–I have to appreciate Grocery Joe’s posture in the foxtrot. It was a pretty watered down version, but Joe looked like a dancer in hold. I loved it. Kevin gave it two paws in the air.

Now, I have a stupid question–was Baby Becca in the audience or am I imagining things?

Susan
Susan

I rewound it and thought it was baby Beckah too. Also I was surprised at how many audience shots showed people that did not seem to be enjoying the performances. …. Not smiling and not clapping.. Does the editor have a gripe?

Kim Z
Kim Z

I thought I saw Baby Becca too, sitting next to Kendall. Jake Pavelka last week. Not sure if the past Bachelor stars get paid to attend or show up on their own hoping to reignite a flagging career. I feel bad for Joe because at the end no one seems to want to high five or talk to him in the big mosh pit of stars on the floor.

Dee
Dee

Yes, that was definitely Baby Becca in the audience! Surprised to see her there. They showed her a couple of times, I think!

Jill
Jill

Bobby… please close your mouth.

I am pulling for DeMarcus because his kids use to go to the school I taught at…and they are adorable.

Ronni Jones
Ronni Jones

No, you aren’t weird. I’m baffled because I listen to his show and what he is putting out there on DWTS does NOT match his on air personality at all. He’s putting on a show and its obvious. If it was authentic, that would be one thing, but its not and its all for entertainment. Bobby – be yourself dude!

Skylar
Skylar

I so want to love Evonna too…she just needs a personality or something.
With “I always had self esteem issues” (or something along those lines), to “Its been FOREVER since I danced ballet!!!”, I am soooo ready for Alexis to go home.
Idk if youve seen Tiler Peck’s domumentary “Ballet Now” on Hulu, but it’s totally worth a watch!!!

Dee
Dee

I agree with you. I’m trying to root for her, but Alexis’s fake attempts at modesty are falling seriously flat! She’s starting to irritate me big time. Hoping she will be gone by the last few episodes . . .

Sara
Sara

Totally agree! Sharna is a fabulous choreographer and is professional at all times. Bobby is making them both look like idiots. I keep waiting for one of the judges to properly dress him down, I can’t believe Len hasn’t done it already. I think he will exit the show earlier than he is probably supposed to as a result.

I saw Baby Bekah in the audience as well. Such a random group of celebrity audience members they’ve had this year. My favorite is Camryn Manheim. What’s she doing there? I haven’t seen her since her days on The Practice. Is she on a new show??

ted
ted

Isn’t Camryn Manheim’s son dancing ?

Sara
Sara

AHHHHHHHH! I didn’t put that together because I have no clue who Milo is. Thanks for the heads up, LOL.

Dee
Dee

Oh wow, is Milo Camryn Manheim’s son??? Who knew! That’s really interesting. I had been wondering why I kept seeing her in the audience shots.