The first night of competition is usually nerve-wracking for the competitors. It is hard to get the feel of the stage, lights, and audience until it is time to perform. Come week two, most of the stars have more confidence and start to attack the challenge. This round saw so much improvement in all of the dancers, even though the scores for a couple of the competitors went down from last week. The lack of Ryan Lochte inspired drama helped to keep the night on track. Of course ABC kept playing that sympathy card for him for ratings sake. Can we all just be over it now?
Tonight will see the first elimination from the cast of Season 23 and it is hard to say exactly who will be going home (but there is a really good chance it will be a certain politician). Let’s recap the dances and scores starting from the lowest:
Rick and Emma (Quickstep to the theme from Green Acers) – After a stiff and dorky dance last time, Perry followed it up with a just as equally corny heavy footed routine this week. The former governor did show some improvement in his hold and really committed to the goofy fun of participating in a show where he is dressed as sparkly farmer (complete with a bedazzled pitch fork). If he goes home tonight, I will miss the silliness. Score: 22/40
Ryan and Cheryl (Quickstep to the theme from The Muppet Show) – The Olympic swimmer had one of the more amusing concepts with his theme and got to dance last. Usually this spot is reserved for the couple with the best routine so the show ends on a high note. But the night was dedicated to replaying the footage of the crazies rushing the stage and booing over and over again. I’m sure that didn’t help his nerves as Ryan got off step early in hold and more than once during the routine. He managed to recover every time, which is a challenge all onto its own. The damage was done and both he and Cheryl looked super disappointed. Despite the missteps, ABC probably garnered him enough sympathy votes to stick around. Score: 24/40
Jake and Jemma (Cha Cha to the theme from Go, Diego, Go) – So much potential for this couple to do so well. They look adorable together, there is a chemistry there that could light up the dance floor. Something is just not connecting with the actor and pro when it comes to the steps. Jake for the second time was ahead of his partner (maybe his is filled with too much excited nerves?) and was off at the end of the cha cha. It didn’t help that the sexy dance didn’t fit the theme from a little kid’s show. So very awkward. If Jake doesn’t get his nerves under control, he could be going home early. Score: 24/40
Amber and Maks (Viennese Waltz to the theme from Game of Thrones) – The former model is showing a great work ethic in rehearsals that blends well with Maks’s strict teaching style. Unfortunately, it didn’t translate into a good performance in this week’s waltz. Amber looked stiff in hold and had a minor trip in the beginning of the routine. Her Khaleesi costume seemed uncomfortable to move in. I don’t understand why the production crew keeps putting her in such stifling outfits. All is good because Maks dress as Khal Drogo might be the best thing ever. Score: 24/40
Vanilla Ice and Witney (Foxtrot to the theme from Married, with Children) – Last time, the former rapper showed off he still had those moves that helped to make him famous. This week he showed off he can handle the more traditional dance moves with a much more content filled foxtrot. There was an ease and gracefulness this time around. Rip was confident in his moves and had the time of his life on the floor. Some polish on his lines and extensions and he could rack up the points. I really love his happy, positive attitude. Score: 26/40
Maureen and Artem (Quickstep to the theme from The Brady Bunch) – “I don’t ever want to be done, America!” the actress stated in the package and last night’s dance should hopefully go a long way in keeping her around. Every performer felt more confident this week, but she was the most improved looking so comfortable in her skin during the quickstep. Her poise shined through her dance which was so high energy and fun. It was a perfect start for the night. Loved the inclusion of Florence Henderson. Score: 26/40
Calvin and Lindsay (Foxtrot to the theme from Family Matters) – Calvin is a huge fan of the 90’s family sitcom (and so am I) so committing to the character was a big deal to him (those suspenders!). The NFLer is such a natural performer, it stuns me every time. How someone that massive can move around with such grace and poise is spectacular. A natural performer. I’m really curious as to how he is going to do with the more intense dances such as the Tango and Paso Doble especially given the size difference between him and his pro partner. I really loved how much Calvin geeked out when Jaleel White coming to the show to give the competitor his support. Score: 28/40
Jana and Glen (Tango to the theme from One Tree Hill) – While rehearsing, Jana pulled a muscle between her ribs which kept her in constant pain when dancing. Gotta hand it to her, she powered thru and had a wonderful performance. There was some stiffness (blame it on the muscle) and a few minor mistakes that can be forgiven when you take in the hot chemistry between the singer and pro. Score: 29/40
James and Sharna (Paso Doble to the theme from The Walking Dead) – Due to a race commitment, James only could rehearse two days in the last week. Boy, did the lack of rehearsal time not show. The Indy car racer was strong and confident in his moves while looking in sync with his pro partner. I feel like the judges were a little too harsh on him, but I guess they are already expecting more out of James. Now that his racing season is over and he can fully commit, I’m excited to see what he can do. Score: 29/40
Marilu and Derek (Foxtrot to the theme from Taxi) – Everyone’s favorite pro was having a hard time coming up with choreography to the iconic theme from the loved show leading to some turbulence with rehearsals. Derek came thru with a wonderfully graceful foxtrot that kept the liveliness and fun of last week’s jive, but allowed the actress to show her softer side. Their manic energy off the ballroom floor is a bit much to take. Score: 29/40
Babyface and Allison (Argentine Tango to the theme from The X-Files) – The music producer was having a difficult time getting into the sexy groove of the tango and asked his friend and singer, Toni Braxton, to come and help. At the very beginning of the routine, Babyface seemed uncomfortable. As soon as he connected with Allison and his remix of the loved theme song started, the smolder was present and the tango came alive. The footwork was spot on and he was at ease in his skin. Score: 30/40
Terra and Sasha (Quickstep to the theme from Bewitched) – One of my favorites shows as a kid. This week posed several new challenges for the couple since the quickstep has several holds. The height difference between the two made for some awkward rehearsals, but it didn’t show in the final routine. I don’t know if Sasha adapted to Terra or if the reality star is just a natural (size be damned), but they looked effortless on the ballroom floor. The great energy from last week’s performance transferred nicely to this week with a dose of gracefulness added. Terra is such a wonderful performer who got into character nicely with her nose twitches. My favorite dance of the night. Score: 31/40
Laurie and Val (Jive to the theme from Duck Tales) – The Olympian is a perfect fit for a cartoon, she is so animated. Another fantastic routine from Val that was jam-packed with so much content. The couple shines together, full of that “snap, crackle, and pop” as Len said. I still think there is going to be a big problem come the sexier dances. Val called her his little sister and somehow they are going to have to get past that barrier when they get one of the Tangos. For now, the gymnast and her pro partner are at the top of the hill again this week. Score: 32/40
What did you think of last night’s dances? Which one was your favorite? Who do you think will get the boot tonight? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.