Previously on Dancing with the Stars: A Halloween episode brought us the spookiest results of all: Freaking Joe isn’t even in jeopardy and Mary Lou Retton went home instead. I’m still mad about it.
Hey, it’s Country Night and they have a lot of guest performers. I will not know who any of them are and I won’t know any of their songs. If you want knowledge, you’ve come to the wrong recap.
Tom and Erin let us know that there’s a double elimination tonight, and then it’s time to dance.
John Schneider and Emma Slater (25/30) – John talks a lot about country music and they’re going to dance Jazz to John Denver. Sadly, not a selection from the Christmas album he recorded with the Muppets. John talks about how he’s been going through a divorce for four years and he’s estranged from his kids as a result and it’s pretty heartbreaking. But also, I wouldn’t go see my dad compete, so that’s a whole thing. Oh, I don’t like this dance at all. It’s intentionally very square dance-y and his footwork is stiff. They also have a fiddle player onstage and two other pairs dancing and also a cornfield. It’s a lot to take in, in service of a dance that’s fine at best.
The judges like it better than I do, but I don’t like Jazz or square dancing, so this was going to miss me either way. Bruno says he shined and Carrie Ann says he was a joy to watch. They get a 25, which is about six points higher than I would have guessed.
Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe (30/30) – The partners commiserate over their complete unfamiliarity with country music, and Keo’s version of what he thinks it might be is very funny. They’re dancing a Rumba, which is already a weird fit, but it’s quite good. She generally does a very good job, but they’re going to have to bust out a showstopper one of these nights. Also, they keep cutting to the lady who’s singing and that’s bad form for a dancing show.
Bruno is impressed that it was a pure, proper Rumba. Carrie Ann says this is a true transformation. Len praises her lovely articulation and expressive hands. They get a perfect 30. Well, there’s that showstopper.
Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke (30/30) – Cheryl takes him to a line dancing bar, which I assumed involved time travel. Luckily, their TARDIS returns in time for the show where they have to do a Charleston. You know, that famous county dance. And darned if they don’t pull it off. I don’t like the props and the backup dancers but it is recognizably a Charleston and it also fits the country song. I have no idea how they did it but it was really fun to watch.
Carrie Ann wonders if there’s anything he can’t do. Len thinks he nailed a country Charleston. Bruno says Juan Pablo always delivers. It’s a 30.
Joe Amabile and Jenna Johnson (21/30) – He brags about his scores last week and tries to play it off like a joke but I can’t stand him, so I’m not giving him the benefit of the doubt. In facet he starts giving Jenna some lip in rehearsal. They’re doing a Tango and man, are the backup dancers ever pulling focus. He’s kinda clunky and relies on Jenna to push him around. It’s not strikingly bad like in the past, but he’s not in the running.
Len says his footwork was poor but they’re a long way from his heart. Cool. Bruno compares it to Mad Max doing a Tango. Carrie Ann appreciates that he doesn’t give up. They get a 21.
Milo Manheim and Witney Carson (29/30) – I forget what Milo looks like in between episodes and my brain always fills in Pete Davidson. They’re dancing the Foxtrot and it’s very good. His footwork is strong and there’s a nice flow to the dance. A Foxtrot is never going to bring the house down, but it’s very well-executed.
Bruno says Milo surprises him every week. Carrie Ann says he’s the one to beat. Len admires his pluck but would like stronger leg action. It’s a 29.
DeMarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold (27/30) – They actually go to a farm, and I kind of wish they had to do chores. I mean, DeMarcus pushes a wheelbarrow and Lindsay picks up a chicken, but you know that didn’t accomplish anything. Ooh, they’re doing a Viennese Waltz. I feel like the music is working against the dance, but the dance itself is fun to watch. DeMarcus isn’t as smooth as I’d hope this week, but he’s doing a really good job of leading.
Carrie Ann praises the way he uses the space. Len wants him to work on his footwork. Bruno calls him irresistible. They get a 27.
Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten (29/30) – They go horseback riding because they’re a cute couple. There’s more relationship talk and then they dance a Samba and there is seriously a big neon heart in the background. Let’s not push it, kids. Remember Pete and Ariana! This is my second Pete Davidson mention of the recap. There is a very long cut to the singer, and we’ve already talked about that. It’s a good dance, just not especially memorable.
Len calls it the best dance of the night. Bruno calls them a match made in Samba Heaven. Which is where Samba go when they die, so it’s not as good a compliment as he thinks it is. Carrie Ann makes a reference to “Candy Week” and says they were ahead of the beat. The other judges disagree. They get a 29.
Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess (24/30) – Bobby shows a lot of pictures of himself standing next to country singers. I mean, I have a picture of me standing next to Carmen Electra but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be able to do aerobic poledancing. Also, it’s a country cover of the only Elvis song I care even a little bit about. So they’re doing a Viennese Waltz and…. dammit! Stop showing us the musical performers! We lost like twenty seconds in the middle of the dance so I could watch men with beards sway. The parts of the dance we see are good, but it’s totally the Sharna show.
Bruno is impressed that he actually tried. Carrie Ann appreciates his attempts at correct body contact. Man, they are really digging here. Oh, also Bobby is going to be a mentor on American Idol and that is not the way to get me to care about American Idol. They get a 24 and Bobby freaks out in the way that’s been bugging me all season.
OK, now we get the team dances!
Team Hay Now (Evanna, Milo, John, and Bobby) (29/30) – Boy, I wish it had been “Hey, Now!” and the whole performance would have been dedicated to Hank Kingsley. It’s kind of a cool team composition because Evanna is the only female star, but I’d say she’s the best woman in the competition right now, so they can sort of build the dance around the women to cover up for Bobby and John. (Also, just realized there are only two women still in the competition. So that was going to happen either way.) Still, country dancing isn’t as interesting to me as some of the other themes they’ve had for team dances. So it’s good but it’s also a lot of line dancing. And it’s done very well but I don’t get as geeked about it as I’d like to.
Len loved it. Bruno loved it. Carrie Ann also loved it. The judges are very enthusiastic and that excitement manifests as a 29.
Team Joe Down (Alexis, DeMarcus, Juan Pablo, and Joe) (26/30) – I don’t know what “Joe Down” means. Does it mean anything? No, don’t tell me. This dance is a little less rooted in stuff you’d see at the local county bar, with the exception of the prop work. This is also the sexier of the two dances, for whatever that’s worth. And honestly, I haven’t been out in a while so this one has the edge for me.
Bruno says they lost sync a little but he loved it. Carrie Ann says they put Joe in front of the judges’ table so they could see his mistakes. HA! Len says it’s been a great night. They get a 26, even though I liked it better. I think this might be what sinks Joe as we head into the Double Elimination.
John and Emma are in jeopardy! So are DeMarcus and Lindsay! Wait, really? Evanna and Keo are in jeopardy! Wait, Joe is skating again and a couple with 59 out of 60 is in the bottom? That’s nuts.
They make the announcement – Evanna and Keo are safe! That’s a relief, but we lost a solid contender and a guy who probably should have outlasted Joe and Bobby. What a weird night!
Myndi will be here next week while I’m at a 25th Anniversary showing of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. That’s not really pertinent here, but I’m looking forward to it.