In HBO's Game of Thrones, you either win or you die. All eight couples won on Dancing With the Stars Season 17, Week 6 — 'cause no one had to "die"! But judge Len Goodman better grab that throne while he can or he could end up the next Ned Stark.
Because of last week’s voting snafu — some incorrect phone numbers aired for the East Coast — DWTS decided not to eliminate anyone this week. No idea how they’re going to fix this later, maybe with a double elimination next week or the week after. They saved the “no one goes home” news for the last minute, when it looked like Bill Engvall might be leaving. We don’t even know if Bill and Emma Slater and Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke were actually the “bottom two” this week or just totally for drama.
There was already enough drama going on — thanks to funky scoring, surprising shake-ups, and the new Switch-Up Challenge.
Len initially seemed like he was in a good mood this week — even giving Brant Daugherty a 10 when Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli went for 9s. But he continued his tradition of calling out Derek Hough’s choreography, giving Amber Riley an 8 for her Samba, despite Derek pretty much gearing every move to Len’s taste. (Isn't it ironic that his complaint was that the dance seemed repetitive when there's nothing more repetitive than his complaints about Derek's choreography?) At least it was higher than her 7 from him last week!
This week, Len’s 7 went to Corbin Bleu, who went full-throttle for his Viennese Waltz to the Game of Thrones theme. Unfortunately, the intensity may have been better suited to the Paso Doble, which he already did. Len didn’t like the lack of hold, and this time Bruno and Carrie Ann weren’t on board either. In the first round, Corbin ended up tying at the bottom with Bill — and Len actually gave Bill a higher score than Corbin.
So … yeah, a total switch-up, and that was even before the new Switch-Up Challenge. Thankfully for Corbin, he won his round of the marathon; that added some points, but it was still scary there, since he was so low on the board — below Leah Remini. Amber won the second group, essentially overruling Len’s first round judgment and leaving her tied at the top of the judges’ leaderboard with Elizabeth Berkley, who had a perfect score in the first round but wasn’t as successful in the Switch-Up.
All of the judges’ scores and bonus points will carry over to next week. If you voted last week you basically wasted your time, but this week’s votes may matter more than ever. Who has your vote?
Here’s a quick rundown of where the couples stood after Week 6:
Elizabeth & Val: 30 + 2 = 32
Amber & Derek: 28 + 4 = 32
Brant & Peta: 28 + 3 = 31
Snooki & Sasha: 27 + 3 = 30
Leah & Tony: 27 + 1 = 28
Jack & Cheryl: 25 + 2 = 27
Corbin & Karina: 23 + 4 = 27
Bill E. & Emma: 23 + 1 = 24
Read on for a full recap of the Week 6 action:
BIG INTRO: Nice showcase for Sasha at the start of the “Sing Sing Sing” number, which was choreographed by Lacey Schwimmer and her So You Think You Can Dance winner of a brother, Benji. Fun! Makes you want to get up and dance along with them. Love that Tom Bergeron talked to Lacey in the audience later. Is she blogging about the show too? If not, she should. Then she should come back and compete again next spring!
1. Bill Engvall and Emma Slater — Tango — Bill does seem like a Jimmy Buffett guy, no? Love that Emma calls him “Jimmy Buffet” like the food. Well, the song has “Cheeseburger” in it, so a buffet would make sense. But does this song make sense with a Tango? Maybe for a “Redneck Tango” about beers on the beach… Cute theme, fun and funny. They kind of have to go for entertainment value when the competition is going to be much more technically advanced. Not his best dance, but they’re so likable.
JUDGES: Len Goodman said it was a cheeseburger Tango with plenty of mustard and pickles. Lots of content, a little bit skippy, but overall well done. Bruno said it went a bit cheesy on the bottom. There were a few timing issues. The speed of the track was an issue. He lost the smoothness of the Tango footwork, but as a performance it was good. Carrie Ann Inaba said it was an odd combination of humor and passion, but they did it well. She saw all the elements of the Tango. What he does best is entertain. So many fast food jokes!
SCORES: 8, 8, 7 = 23 out of 30. Wow, Bruno is the tough one so far. That’s a change. Not a bad thing, just surprising.
Vote for Bill E. & Emma: 1-800-868-3409
2. Elizabeth Berkley and Valentin Chmerkovskiy — Cha-Cha-Cha — Val said he saw some missteps last week and they didn’t deserve the 10s they were going for. The sexy choreography of this dance reminds her of when she was younger and took a risk with Showgirls. It ended up slamming a lot of doors in her face. She cries, talking about how she used to pretend everything was OK when it really wasn’t. It’s empowering for her to own who she is in this dance. Can this please finally put Showgirls to rest, though? She does seem confident out there. Great musicality. They look good together. Jennifer Beals in the audience?
JUDGES: Bruno called her a brazen hussy and she sauntered over to the judges’ table. It’s all out there to be seen. So sexy. “Give me the ice right now.” It was so clean, sharp and well placed. “It was brilliant.” Carrie Ann said she has been nothing but poised in accepting criticism. Tonight she was like a white panther, it was insane. Carrie Ann loved it. Len said they are a formidable partnership. “The more I see, the more I like. You’re consistent.” First perfect score coming?
SCORES: 10, 10, 10 = 30! First perfect score.
Vote for Elizabeth & Val: 1-800-868-3405
3. Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani — Quickstep — She cried after last week’s performance. Part of her was hoping she was better than she was. Tony said she’s improving every week. “My friend Jenn,” aka Jennifer Lopez, came to visit her in rehearsals. Jennifer reminds her that this is supposed to be fun. She’s feeling more like a dancer now. She really gets into the routine. This may be her best one so far.
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said that might be the biggest turnaround she’s ever seen. What she did with her hurt from last week is incredible. It looked like she’s been dancing her whole life. Len said there are certain rules in the Quickstep. You can do a few bars, 10 seconds in beginning and end, outside of hold. He warned future dancers, then said this is Chutes and Ladders: last week she was down this week she’s up. Bruno said she’s turning into a little Ginger Rogers. He loved her lightness and confidence. “You were just another Leah.” He joked about her personal assistant, J.Lo.
SCORES: 9, 9, 9 = 27 out of 30. Her best score so far. Well, this does shake up elimination prediction! Then again, do the scores matter for that? Look what happened last week. Now Leah loves the judges. The scores shouldn’t swing you so far one way or the other; they never did for Valerie or Bill N.
Vote for Leah & Tony: 1-800-868-3411
4. Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd — Tango — Christina going home was a big wake-up call for him. He’s not nearly as famous as she is, so he has to make sure the fans support him. Cue a Pretty Little Liars star! The PLL family is supporting him, so he should be good. It’s funny to think this is the same dance that Bill had. This is dark, aggressive and intense, which is closer to their style. Much stronger, technically. They’re making the angriest faces! Cool techno song, but those flashes may just give us seizures. Bill E. loved the dance.
JUDGES: Len said it was like a glass of dry white wine - sharp, crisp, tasy. No gimmicks, straight into the tango. “Absolutely corking!” Bruno said the prince charming has turned into the prince of darkness. He loves to the see that aggression, and to see Brant driving the dance. Brant lost balance a couple of times, but performance-wise it was his best. Len didn’t agree with the stumble. One out of three people is slightly deranged! Bruno is the mean one tonight. Carrie Ann agreed with both of them. It was incredible technique-wise. The intensity was so perfectly there. There was a few, not stumbles, but he got off the music a tiny bit. He’s like a beautiful perfect dancing Ken doll.
SCORES: 9, 10, 9 = 28 out of 30. Is Len purposely getting nicer to win people over?
Vote for Brant & Peta: 1-800-868-3403
5. Amber Riley and Derek Hough — Samba — Amber said it got a little intense in rehearsals this week. She thinks she stressed out Derek, but Derek said he’s Zen. He never gets stressed. Brooke didn’t seem to buy that, and she’d know. In rehearsals, we see Derek try to get her to do Samba rolls to please Len, after disappointing Len last week. She starts the dance at the mic. She did that at the end last week. Love the little breakdown in the middle. Audience loves it.
JUDGES: Bruno said the Amber magic unleashed to devastating effect. Apart from her performance value, which is out of this world, he was looking for something wrong. She did everything well. Carrie Ann was giddy. Every time she watches Amber she always thinks of “fierce.” She nailed every element. She finishes every move and it’s a turn on. Len said he’s always the party pooper. he told everyone to boo and they did! Len said he found it “a tad repetitive.” OK, we figured he was working up to a big compliment, but … not the case. Derek said the irony is he literally did that for Len.
SCORES: 10, 8, 10 = 28 out of 30. Len and Derek need to just figure out this sexual tension and get it out of the way. (jk)
Vote for Amber & Derek: 1-800-868-3407
6. Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke — Paso Doble — Jack is always comparing himself to other guys. Corbin. Val as Robert De Niro. Just be yourself! Every week he’s self-conscious. That said, Val is the intense Paso king. Love his lips moving in the Paso poster. Where can we get one of those? Jack went for it, and gave full serious face. He’s still no Val (that’s what you get for trying to be him), but he did a good job.
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said this is so outside his character. he had the intensity but it felt one-dimensional. It threw off his timing a bit, he was so stiff and locked in. Len said it was full of intent and purpose. He came out and did a full-on Paso Doble. There was a little mistake but the rest of it was top notch. Bruno said he definitely channeled the pride and the dignity. His timing wasn’t as good as usual. He was chasing the music today. He also has to watch his Spanish lines. Bruno just wanted to push his crotch forward, let’s be honest. Still, good constructive criticism.
SCORES: 8, 9, 8 = 25 out of 30. OK, you know we have to look at this dance vs. Amber’s and wonder whether this one deserved a point higher.
Vote for Jack & Cheryl: 1-800-868-3402
7. Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Sasha Farber — Foxtrot — They’re going for a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers feel, so she has to look extra elegant. Oh, but we already have a Ginger so far this week. She’s not a classy type gal. She’s more into the Real Housewives or, say, Anna Nicole Smith. Snooki gets annoyed when Sasha changes the steps. She still has some whininess held over from her Jersey Shore days. She is good, though, even though this cutesy dance is so not her style. She can fake it to make it! This kind of old-fashioned dance should please Len.
JUDGES: Len called her his little buttercup. He’s happy. The audience was happy. Everyone was happy. What’s not to like? Bruno said she graduated from charm school. She’s never been so sweet and elegant. She had such grace. Watch her topline, but it was wonderful. Carrie Ann said Snooki has truly improved the most. The lines she finishes are breathtaking, she’s turning into a little ballerina and that’s not where she was in the start. But stop doing the claw thing on her shoulder.
SCORES: 9, 9, 9 = 27 out of 30.
Vote for “Snicole” & Sasha: 1-800-868-3412
8. Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff — Viennese Waltz — They are so thrilled to be dancing to the Game of Thrones theme song. It’s Corbin’s all-time favorite show on TV right now. Karina hasn’t seen it. Corbin really gets into character, even in the sidelines. It’s very character-driven, a dance between the Khal and the Khaleesi. Moon of my life! Sun and stars! Fake dragons on the house! Corbin is a super-sexy, intense Drogo. He’s not quite Jason Momoa, but who is. Drogo even dies in the end. Spoiler alert for anyone who missed Season 1. Ashley Tisdale in the audience supporting her High School Musical buddy!
JUDGES: Bruno said Corbin the kingslayer dances with dragons. It was an epic melodrama. Normally he has wonderful flowing lines, but he was playing it like Corbin the Barbarian. It’s what they were going for, but that’s not what he wants in the Viennese Waltz. He wanted the immaculate finish. Carrie Ann said she got what they were doing. But when you do something like that, you have to live up to those standards. She thinould’be been more hold but the passion sold the story. Len loved the theme and the lyrical movement. However, Len said people think he’s cranky but he has to be consistent. Last week he called out Amber and Derek because there wasn’t enough in ballroom hold. There wasn’t enough in ballroom hold with these two either. He didn’t really feel it was a Viennese Waltz. Tom makes a red Wedding Tango joke. DO THAT, someone!
SCORES: 8, 7, 8 = 23 out of 30. YIKES! Low score for them. Poor Corbin. “That does hurt,” he said.
Vote for Corbin & Karina: 1-800-868-3406
Ariana Grande and Mika perform "Popular Song." It’s an updated cover of "Popular" from the Broadway show Wicked.
They don’t know the music or the dance style. It’s totally blind, like they are real pro ballroom dancers, which of course they aren’t. When the dance was explained to Leah, she walked out. Why does Tony get the walkers? Everyone was pretty upset, not knowing what to do with this random dance style, then they watched Bill having fun. Bill is in a great position - the bar is so low, of course he can just go for it and have fun! He’s on borrowed time.
Corbin & Karina — 4
Snooki & Sasha — 3
Jack & Cheryl — 2
Bill & Emma — 1 point
Love how Bill goes for the sexy angle! But he’s first out. Snooki vs. Corbin is actually a pretty good match-up, but Corbin gets the win. He gets the throne!
Amber & Derek — 4
Brant & Peta — 3
Elizabeth & Val — 2
Leah & Tony — 1
Nice job from Tony to fly Lean across the ballroom. They should’ve gotten points for that! Peta is owning this. Well, Amber gets more points to make up for her lower score from Len too. Len, you’ve been vetoed!
WHO GOES HOME FIFTH?
Who is safe: Elizabeth & Val, Amber & Derek, Brant & Peta, Leah & Tony, Corbin & Karina, Snooki & Sasha
Not necessarily the bottom two: Jack & Cheryl, and Bill & Emma
Who is going home on Week 6? NOBODY!
Why? Last week at the end of the show there was a technical problem so in fairness they discarded the viewer votes and decided not to eliminate anyone. Next week … just one couple goes home or will they do a double elimination? Weird!
How do you feel about the scores, the big non-elimination twist, and the new Switch-Up Challenge? Who gets your vote tonight?