Previously on Dancing with the Stars: Noted ballroom expert Kevin Hart filled in for Len and yelled a lot. Randy Couture was eliminated despite not being the worst dancer, but I suspect his fanbase is never going to come within sniffing distance of this show. Also, Antonio Sabato, Jr. pretended that a dance was inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy and I got mad because that clearly wasn’t the case. There’s actual dancing in the movie that you can reference! I may have focused too much on that, frankly.
Hey, Tom Bergeron! What was the name of that Eva Mendes / David Krumholtz movie about televised Russian Roulette? Oh yeah, it’s LIIIIIIIIIVVVVE!!!!! Erin Andrews looks very pretty tonight, but she’s wearing an odd dress that makes it look like her abdomen is in jail. Tom explains that we get to score the dances online, and our opinion is going to count! That’s not a bad idea when they have to eliminate somebody in a performance show, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to trust us with numbers. Especially since you can start scoring at the beginning of the dance, which means you can score a dance you haven’t seen. And yeah, that’s how voting worked, but now they’re bringing numbers into it.
Quick results to open the show. Janel and Val are safe! Jonathan and Allison are safe! Betsey and Tony are in jeopardy.
This week, it’s the traditional “Most Memorable Year” episode, which is always kind of fun even if it makes me feel really old. (So many young people choosing this year! Every time!) Let’s get to it!
Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy (36/40) – Her most memorable year is 2002, when she moved to LA from Hawaii. They’re dancing the Rumba, and she’s already crying when the dance begins. The approach to the dance does not at all match with the sad story that she told in her video package, which always throws me off. I… like it? I think? Janel doesn’t generally do much for me and I think she’s getting by on being really good at posing more than dancing, but this does have some excellent posing.
Julianne says she performed from her art and commends her technique. Bruno calls her an “exotic angel” and makes an inappropriate comment. Carrie Ann gives her life advice and calls her “incredible”. They get a 36, which is three judges plus America’s vote. Len is out again this week and it takes a whole country to replace him!
Jonathan Bennett and Allison Holker (24/40) – Jonathan picks 2004, since that was the year of Mean Girls. They’re doing a Samba to a medley of “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Milkshake”, which is an unholy abomination if ever there was one. It’s fun and goofy, but it seems a little low on technique to me. It’s fun to watch, but it’s pretty sloppy. I think the judges will ding it for not really being a Samba. Jonathan has crazy eyes this week, by the way.
And sure enough, Bruno says that it never really became a Samba and the timing was off. Carrie Ann makes it clear that she doesn’t trust America to score the dances, and… she’s right? I feel weird about agreeing with her. She calls it one-dimensional. Julianne like their relationship, but not the dancing. Erin calls Jonathan by his character name, which is pretty funny. They get a 24. Huh. Two dances in, and America’s score has matched all three judges on both of them.
Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani (29/40) – Betsey’s most memorable year is 1975. Aw, that’s very sweet, Betsey. But I’m sure that me being born wasn’t THAT big of a deal for you. Or maybe you’re just a big fan of the All-New, All-Different X-Men…. Oh, wait. That’s the year her daughter was born. It’s a Jive, which does not play to Betsey’s, let’s call them “strengths”. Her foot placement really lags and it’s just kind of weird. If you like her, you probably find it charming, but it’s not doing anything for me.
Carrie Ann says she nailed it, and I am clearly watching this wrong. Julianne says that America celebrates her. Bruno says it was great right up to the point where it went wrong. They get a 29.
More results! Bethany and Derek are safe! So are Antonio and Cheryl! Lea and Artem are safe! That means Michael and Emma are… in jeopardy!
Bethany Mota and Derek Hough (33/40) – Her memorable year is 2009, when she started YouTube. She started it because she was bullied, and I will tell you right now that putting content on the Internet is not the path to not being criticized. Anybody remember when that LOST forum had a whole thread dedicated to how much they hated me because I liked Sawyer and Juliet as a couple? Anyway, they’re dancing the Rumba to a live performance from Colbie Caillat while mean names appear on a screen behind them. It’s very striking, but to me it’s on the wrong side of just being performance art. It feels more like I’m watching an anti-bullying PSA than a Rumba. I think the judges and America will like it though, and I’ll be here at my table for one.
Julianne cries because she loves what Bethany stands for. That said, she said it wasn’t really a Rumba It’s actually really funny the way she tries to switch gears. Bruno liked the message but the hip movement and foot placement wasn’t right. Carrie Ann thinks she’s true to herself. She gets a 33. Also, this wasn’t clear to me before, but the usual voting is still in place, so America gets to influence the score, and then viewer votes also factor in. Mathematically, that makes for an absolute nightmare in the calculations, and also weights viewer opinion as almost double what all three judges count for. But they didn’t ask my opinion!
Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater (25/40) – Michael’s year is 2001, when he won Daytona and Dale Earnhardt died. I’m not sure a Quickstep is the most suitable dance to honor the memory of a friend, but that’s kind of what they’re stuck with. It’s very much in keeping with Michael’s other dances. He’s getting by on looking happy, but the footwork is a mess, and there are a couple of really visible mistakes.
Bruno appreciates that he’s trying hard and calls it “recognizable” as a dance. Hee! Carrie Ann says he started out strong but fell apart. Well, she’s half right. Julianne says there were great moments but it was not very good overall. It’s a 25.
Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvnistev (39/40) – Her year is 2003, when her dad was diagnosed with cancer and it sounds like he only had a week to live so they did a full year in a week and I should be used to this by now, but this story makes me want to cry. The dance is “Contemporary”, and it’s really lovely. I don’t have a handle on what “Contemporary” means, but it seems to be something along the lines of “Whatever looks pretty”. I like it, but it’s one of those styles that seems to be so ill-defined that I don’t know how you can judge it. But like I said, I like it and Lea is pretty awesome.
Carrie Ann says she’ll remember that dance forever. Julianne calls it “flawless”, and Bruno says it was exceptional. They get a 39, with America being the only one who didn’t give a perfect score.
Antonio Sabato, Jr. and Cheryl Burke (29/40) – His most memorable year is 1989, when he moved to the US from Italy and got a role in a Janet Jackson video. And they’re dancing the Samba to “Love Will Never Do”, that very same song! It’s a good dance, and chunks of it look a lot like the video, as you’d expect. I think it’s good, but I don’t really have much to say about it. It’s solid.
Julianne says he’s getting more comfortable but he has to fill the space around him. Helpful! Bruno pretends like he doesn’t know what the actual name of the Magic Mike sequel is, fooling nobody. Carrie Ann loved the opening, but he’s too closed off. They end up with a 29. I should mention that Tom is announcing the scores from America, and he does it in a funny voice every time because Tom Bergeron is good at his job.
More results! Alfonso and Witney are safe! Sadie and Mark are safe! Tommy and Peta are in jeopardy.
Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd (28/40) – Tommy’s most memorable year is 2003, the year he went to prison for transporting “drug paraphernalia”. They’re dancing the Jive to “Jailhouse Rock”, and there’s a lot of farting around with a cell door and then Peta shows up dressed as a sexy cop, and I genuinely have no idea whether this is a good dance or not. I watched it twice and kept losing focus. At one point, it looks like Tommy is motorboating her, but that must be something else happening, right? You guys? Anna will always be my favorite, but until she comes back to the show, I am all about Peta.
Bruno points out a couple of missteps but does it in a way where he sounds like he liked it. Carrie Ann likes that he’s so natural about it, even though he makes mistakes. Julianne says it wasn’t his best dance. It’s a 28. Come on people, save Peta!
Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas (37/40) – Her most memorable years is 2012, when Duck Dynasty started. She mentions Grandpa Phil “sayin’ some things that upset some people and the press came after him”. Well, technically, he said those things to the press, so they didn’t need to come after him. And her version of events makes it sound like he was the real victim, ignoring that he offered up some pretty horrifying opinions on gay people, black people, and women over the age of twenty all by himself. It’s so gross the way this is being played as “he’s just opinionated”. If your opinion is that things were better under Jim Crow (which is a thing he said), you’re not opinionated. You’re a racist. Also a homophobe and misogynist. And then their Samba starts and Mark is dressed as a Duck Dynasty guy, and my blood is boiling. I can’t even say anything about this dance because I just need it to be over so I can calm down.
Carrie calls it “fantastic”. Julianne says it’s the perfect blend of content and concept. Bruno compares it to Black Swan because birds I guess. It’s a 37.
Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson (40/40) – He seems genuinely angry about being “pigeonholed” after playing Carlton, which surprises me. It’s always weird when somebody is upset about an iconic character they played because, you know, six years of starring in a hit show is better than most actors are ever going to do. (And that’s not even mentioning the Silver Spoons years.) I mean, if it legitimately ruined your life, that’s one thing. I don’t know. It just bums me out when people are bitter about success rather than trying something new. Know what Fred Savage did when people couldn’t see past Kevin Arnold? He became one of the most prolific directors in TV comedy. Come on, man.
Anyway. I don’t think he ever picks a year, so it’s just any year when Fresh Prince was on. The song is “It’s Not Unusual”, which we all knew was coming sooner or later. It’s quite a good dance that’s mostly a straightforward Jazz number until they just do the Carlton, which is kind of great.
Julianne liked that he made her wait for the Carlton. Bruno calls him “delicious”. Carrie Ann just says “Finally”. They get a perfect 40.
And now, it’s time for the results. Peta and her partner whatsisname are safe! It’s either Michael or Betsey going home and the next couple eliminated is…. Betsey and Tony.
That’s probably for the best. She was going to hurt herself or drive Tony crazy. And I never cottoned to her stream of quirk. Let’s just call it a night.
Next week, Myndi will guide you through the switch-up night. And now, it’s over to Gotham!