1. Melissa Rycroft & Tony Dovolani — Jive to "You Make Me Wanna Shout" by Little Richard — Tony said he’s particularly excited about this dance because they didn’t get to do it on Season 8. Melissa injured her ribs and couldn’t perform that night, so she was judged on rehearsal footage. The music alone makes this routine feel frenetic. It’s so fast, it also requires equally fast footwork. Cute flip in the end!
JUDGES: Head judge Len Goodman said the first one out sets the bar and they have set it high. It was full out with lots of energy and great technique. “I loved it!” Bruno Tonioli called her “the fastest girl in town.” He thought it was one of the fastest Jives he’s ever seen. But he saw her foot go slightly wrong at one point. Len disagreed and told him "No, shut up!” It was quite the extended fight. Carrie Ann Inaba said Melissa was made to Jive and there was great choreography by Tony.
SCORES: 8, 8, 7.5 = 23.5 out of 30. They were just happy to beat their score from last week.
2. Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas — Quickstep to “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson — Cowboy Quickstep! Well, cowboy flavored routines are definitely popular. Drew & Cheryl on Season 2. Donald & Peta on Season 14. This is Bristol’s favorite song. She took Mark gun-shootin’ so he could understand her world. Shooting things triggered something in her that made her want to do well. Interesting inspiration! It’s definitely different to have a honky tonk Quickstep and there were some unusual moves when they were out of hold. She didn’t really commit to some of the cute sassy, hip-shaking stuff Mark wanted her to do.
JUDGES: Bruno said it was “definitely different.” He said it was like the Quickstep goes Gangnam style (nooo!) in the Wild Wild West. When she was in hold, her frame wasn’t good. She needs to work on technique. Carrie Ann said Bristol has come so far and become a vibrant performer. But they broke hold in the middle of the routine, which they were not supposed to do. She called it a slam in their face so it would be slammed back. Uh-oh, Mark. Was that a bad idea? Len liked the enthusiasm of the dance but not the break in the middle. He liked the ho-down but the technique was a low-down. Sarah Palin was back in the audience. Will she be there every week?
SCORES: 6, 6, 6 = 18 out of 30. She could be going home. He said he’s not used to doing a country Quickstep and his goal was for Bristol to have fun. She did have fun, so that’s good, but maybe he shouldn’t have broken hold in the middle. The judges get huffy about stuff like that.
3. Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower — Jive to “Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees — He’s known for being fast, although not on the dance floor. He had Chelsie go IndyCar driving with him to see what life is like for him. She screamed the whole time and said she felt dizzy. But she looked good! Their Jive routine was very pink and sparkly but it could’ve used a bit more movement from him instead of her. Yes? No?
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said she was underwhelmed by his performance last week. This week his body caught up to his charm and he was right on it. Len said he’s got style with a smile, which is great for Jive. You want joy. He had lovely sharp kicks and flicks. Overall it was fabulous. Bruno called it a delicious treat of a Jive. Sometimes Helio pumped it a little bit too high and he landed on the wrong foot coming down the steps. (Is Bruno the new Len?)
SCORES: 8, 7.5, 7.5 = 23 out of 30
4. Apolo Anton Ohno & Karina Smirnoff — Quickstep to "Five Months, Two Weeks, Two Days" by Louis Prima — Apolo turned to Siri for help with Quickstep. Ha. Karina wanted Apolo to be the man in the dance and take charge. And then she kicked him in the head. (Oops!) See, this is the kind of routine the judges (and fans) love. It’s fast, it’s in hold, it’s fun. It looks like a pro Quickstep. Will it be possible to beat these two? They seem like major finale frontrunners. And how cute was it to see Ralph Macchio (Karina’s Season 12 partner) clapping like a madman for her in the audience?
JUDGES: Len pointed at Apolo and said “gold medal!” He combined two of the big assets: speed with control. Bruno said he proved determination, hard work, and focus pay off. His footwork was incredible. Fast, clean, creative, wonderful. Carrie Ann said someone put on his competition pants! He’s in it to win it. Carrie Ann said Apolo was truly driving the dance. This should get huge scores.
SCORES: 8.5, 8, 8 = 24.5 out of 30. Apolo said their dress rehearsal didn’t go as planned. Details? Tom Bergeron said Apolo accidentally gave Karina a headbutt. Or was it payback for that kick she gave his head? Olympic revenge!
5. Sabrina Bryan & Louis van Amstel — Quickstep to “Black Betty” by Ram Jam — Sabrina got overly excited last week but she’s going to pull herself back this week. He dropped her and fell on top of her in practice and she got a bit hurt. Their "late for the dance" intro was cute. It’s cool to see their sophisticated costumes with such a badass song. Wow, lots of fast footwork in this, but also the classic Quickstep hold. The little move on the steps at the end wasn’t so smooth, but very ambitious. He didn’t drop her!
JUDGES: Bruno said “Is it Miss Ginger Rogers at her best?” The variations were incredible, her lines were superb. “A dazzler! A true dazzler!” Carrie Ann said it was ridiculous. Her top line was amazing. She had grace and power. It was dynamic. Len said the hits just keep on coming this season. She kept her upper body calm and under control while her legs worked fast. It was a great Quickstep.
SCORES: 9, 8.5, 8.5 = 26 out of 30. First 9 of the season! Let’s hope this isn’t a repeat of Season 5 when she looks like a frontrunner and then...
6. Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Jive — Maks said Kirstie needs to move ‘cause she’s up against a bunch of 20-year-old Olympians. (Apolo is 30!) She’s three lifetimes of Shawn, as she put it, so Maks is training her as if she’s also 20. Very cool French dance. Love her wig and Maks’ little striped shirt! Maks does most of the kicks and flicks himself. Cute routine, but it could’ve used a bit more dancing from her instead of joking with the judges.
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said Kirstie was working that pole. Age is just a number. Her one suggestion is she’d love to see them match their movement styles a bit more. Len said “Flirty, dirty, Kirstie!” He got palpitations. It was neat, it was precise, there was a lot of recognizable Jive and it was an improvement on last week. Bruno said the girl works hard for her money. “Next time get the cash first.” She played it beautifully. Isn’t anyone going to judge her against the other dancers? You can’t say that was on the same level as what Helio or Sabrina did.
SCORES: 7, 7, 7 = 21 out of 30. Maks said Kirstie is a lot more terrifying in rehearsal than he is. Probably true! And what’s this about Fifty Shades of Maks?
7. Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke — Quickstep to "A Cool Cat In Town" by Tape Five — Emmitt’s not intimidated by the competition. Red and jungle print. Now that’s intimidating! At least it’s eye-catching. Love his red shoes. Emmitt is the cool cat on the dance floor, but the dance is a bit restrained and not quite the showstopper he had last week with his Cha-Cha-Cha.
JUDGES: Len said he liked the cool cat attitude. Quickstep is a lot about the upper body. That was lacking but the overall feel of the dance was great. Bruno said he had red-hot chemistry with Cheryl. The energy was great. His frame wasn’t quite right. He lost some timing. Carrie Ann said the speedskater and race car driver did better than him this week. He just kind of stayed the same.
SCORES: 7.5, 7.5, 7.5 = 22.5 out of 30. They had more criticism for his dance than Kirstie’s but gave it higher scores. It deserved higher scores but they could at least match the words with the numbers.
8. Drew Lachey & Anna Trebunskaya — Jive to "Dance Dance" by Fall Out Boy — Anna slaps him in the face a few times during rehearsals, as part of their routine. He said not to bust him up ‘cause that’s his moneymaker. “That’s why I’m broke.” Ha! They look sexy in their rocker punk outfits. We can’t resist a hot guy in guyliner and Anna has the sickest Russian Barbie body. So gorgeous. And at least he works it out there. No complaints about him not doing enough of the moves on his own.
JUDGES: Bruno said he was rough and ready, all that aggression and anger was visible. He has to be careful ‘cause he got flat-footed and lost some correct placement. But it was very powerful. Carrie Ann said “Welcome home, Drew!” They’d never seen that side of him and that’s what this season is about. But he has to watch his feet. Len said you have to get on the balls of your feet in the Jive, but he won’t be “Bottom 2 Drew” this time.
SCORES: 7.5, 7.5, 7.5 = 22.5 out of 30. Too low!!!
9. Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson — Quickstep to “Creep” by Richard Cheese — Joey is the cutest. Gotta love his Charlie Chaplin outfit in their silent film setup. What a great version of this song! Bizarre, but great! Does Radiohead even know this happened?
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said they are looking for technique but she still wants to see fantastic performances like that. His character was great but he did have a few mistakes. He went out of sync twice. Len read off some notes: “Poor posture, bad footwork, lost body contact, frame wasn’t constant … but I really enjoyed it. It was so much fun. ... This is the secret, if you can’t dance much, come out and entertain us — and that’s what you came out and did.” People in the audience shook their heads and booed. Ouch! Joey said he knows he can never be Len’s favorite. Bruno said Joey does entertainment. It was like recapturing the magic of the ‘20s. Every detail of the character was there. He can dance but there were some mistakes. WAY TOO HARSH.
SCORES: 7.5, 7.5, 7.5 = 22.5 out of 30.
10. Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough — Jive to "The Nicest Kids in Town" from Hairspray — Shawn wants to put gymnastics into the routine since that’s what she can do. Those champions are already at it! They are perfect for a teenybopper “Hairspray” song. She’s a much better entertainer than she was back on Season 8, when she won. Wow that routine had lots of energy and movement. It’s not a surprise from them, but still impressive.
JUDGES: Len said it was a “just enough” Jive for him. He wants to see more than enough from her. Bruno said “Who’s crabby now?” It was vibrant, exhilarating and eye-popping. The synchronicity between the two couldn’t be faulted under a microscope. Carrie Ann agreed with Bruno. She dubbed them The All-Stars Sweethearts.
SCORES: 8.5, 8, 8.5 = 25 out of 30.
11. Kelly Monaco & Val Chmerkovskiy — Quickstep to “Who Says” by Selena Gomez — Kelly gave Val some fake water boobs so he could see what it’s like to dance with a big rack. At least they’re having fun in rehearsals. Oh and are we calling him Valentin now? Her pink dress is straight off a Barbie princess.
JUDGES: Bruno said she was pretty in pink and extremely elegant. He said she needed to watch herself in hold. She loses her frame. She messed up a couple of steps. Carrie Ann said also watch her lines when she’s out of hold. She’s confident with him but not without him. She’s tiny but needs to dance bigger. Len preferred the part that was out of hold. So this entire judging isn’t that helpful. Change everything! Keep everything!
SCORES: 7.5, 7, 7.5 = 22 out of 30.
12. Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroyd — Jive to “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen — Gilles’ injuries have been getting worse. He hurt his hamstring and strained a muscle in his leg. His dancing is making his injuries worse. All this injury talk! Every season there’s someone. Peta’s outfit deserves some kind of award. THEIR HAIR IS EVERYTHING. He did flash some chest this week after all. It’s a huge, energetic routine. Will it be too wild for the judges?
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said it’s so much fun watching him dance. His kicks and flicks were by far the best of the night. She’s seeing a John Travolta thing happening. Len said the key to winning the season is you have to be consistent. He was fabulous. Bruno said something about cleavage, then called it great. Oh, Bruno.
SCORES: 8.5, 8.5, 8.5 = 25.5 out of 30. Gilles dedicated the song to his dad, who died 17 years ago today.
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Gina Carbone is a contributing writer at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @ginacarbone.
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