Leah Remini is here to guest judge tonight and, you guys, this doesn’t make much sense, but when has that ever stopped this show? The rationale is that ABC is doing a thing called “Cast from the Past” week on a bunch of their shows, so why not have Leah show up to annoy the crap out of Len? Let’s dive right into the deep end, shall we?
Sean Spicer and Lindsay Arnold (21) I like the symbolism involved with the floor resembling the pits of hell. Nice touch, set designers. His paso doble is for sure robotic and just painful to watch. Effing Scott Baio is there because this is what his life has become. Fonzie is on one of the best shows on television and Chachi is cheering on an inveterate liar on a dance show. Len says it wasn’t technically great but he attacked it. Bruno praises his commitment and tells him to work on his core (There are a lot of jokes there, but I’m so very tired). Carrie Ann liked his arms but hated his stone faced expression. Leah tells him he’s committed, too. Very helpful, Leah.
Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber (32) Their jive takes a while to get started. It’s set to “Proud Mary” and uses that iconic choreography to kick off before getting into actual jive steps. Bruno loved it, saying she was in command of the stage. Carrie Ann says she nailed it. Leah says it was a hard routine and she did a great job. Len praises it too, and no one mentioned the steps, which definitely seemed a bit out of sync to me, but maybe the camera work was just wonky.
Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson (32) Kel is the most polished and confident he’s looked yet in his cha cha. Carrie Ann says he had flair. Leah says he needs to keep owning how good he is. Len gets sidetracked by Leah and seems genuinely pissed, going so far as to not give his comments. Bruno liked the hip action and rhythm.
Kate Flannery and Pasha Pashkov (26) Kate can’t be completely serious and steamy in her Argentine tango–she just has to silly it up a little–but it’s still very competent. Leah says her energy is amazing, noting that the pros could be sexual with a refrigerator and Kate did great keeping pace with Pasha. Len says it was a struggle to get the character. Bruno said she went for it, but lost balance and smoothness, and the dance became a bit jagged. Carrie Ann points out the same issue with the facial expressions. For her part, Kate says she just doesn’t want to look like the mother of the bride dancing with with new son in law. And hey, Stanley is in the audience! He’s smiling, so it must be soft pretzel day!
James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater (28) James took several of his kids and a camera crew to an ultrasound, so thankfully things went well, and he and his wife are having their sixth child. They have had three miscarriages, and James thinks it’s important to talk about. In terms of dancing, he appears to have an incredible frame and footwork for his quickstep. Len says he’s a terrific dancer, so he wanted more in hold, but the choreography was clever. Bruno says his dance told a story, but wants James to work on the small, subtle details. Carrie Ann wants them to be more in sync. Leah just calls James amazing. Again, super helpful.
Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten (32) Hannah looks slightly terrified during her entire paso double, which is supposed to read as angry intensity. Bruno calls her a sexy beast. Carrie Ann says her comments last week clearly helped with her intensity. Leah says she’s too cute. Len praises her aggression mixed with control.
Lamar Odom and Peta Murgatroyd (20) Lamar is trying to waltz, but he’s mostly just a nice frame for Peta to move around. Carrie Ann says it takes courage to keep coming out and be vulnerable. She says it was simple choreography, but lovely. Leah gets choked up at how hard this has been for Lamar. Len says he’s had to climb mountains. Bruno praises the connection between he and Peta but notes that the rotation was lacking. Leah loses her mind over the 4s given by Len and Bruno.
Sailor Brinkley-Cook and Val Chmerkovskiy (31) Rumer Willis, whom Sailor grew up with and happened to have won this very show with Sailor’s partner, visits them at practice. Aw, nice filler! The pace seems slower for a cha cha, but it was very solid. Leah says Sailor makes her smile. Len calls it terrific and well executed, bright and lively. Bruno says her confidence is growing and he liked her foot and leg placement. Carrie Ann agrees but wants her to keep working on her feet.
Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko (32) Lauren is better at acting this serious character in her foxtrot than Hannah or Kate was earlier in their routines, but this one seems light on steps, at least to my untrained eye. Len liked the heel turn and thought the whole dance was nice. Bruno calls it classy and elegant. Carrie Ann says she has arrived and had a certain sensuality. Leah loved the overall performance.
Karamo and Jenna Johnson (28) Their tango is intense and strong and he stays in character for once. Bruno calls it a leading man attitude, but wants him to drive through the footwork a bit more. Carrie Ann says it was her favorite dance of his but calls them out rather harshly on a lift that was also a starting position. Leah says Karamo doesn’t get enough credit. Len points out some critiques while Leah makes noises and Bruno defends his expertise while Leah continues to annoy him. I can’t tell if it’s a shtick or he really hates her. At last, Karamo gets straight 7s after Len fakes him out with 5 paddle. Karamo basically weeps with joy.
Sean and Lindsay sent to safety last, which is a tease. The bottom two is Lamar vs. Karamo. Karamo is saved quickly which is a mercy thing for Lamar, who worked hard but was never going to win. Can we just focus on getting rid of Sean next week and let the actual good dancers duke it out please? I think this joke has gone far enough.