What made you smile? What made you sniffle? What song, dance, or moment stood out to you the most? Danica's dance for her grandmother and son? Drew's dance for his son — and his son's smooth move to work Cheryl? Tony getting shirtless on the bed with NeNe? Amy's dance of gratitude for her dad? Meryl getting the first 10s of the season — and three of them, at that?
How can a 17-year-old like Cody compete when, through no fault of his own, his biggest year so far was when he moved his family to the U.S. for his career? But that's the balance of this show. There's dance ability vs. popularity contest. Sometimes the two combine, other times they don't. We'll never know exactly where Billy Dee Williams would've landed, since he survived his first round of low scores thanks to popularity, but this week his own body sent him home. Would he have made it to Week 4?
Speaking of Week 4, next week Julianne Hough is guest judge and we’ll see the Switch Up in action. At least now the show is openly acknowledging that it's just for one week. One dance with a new pro, then back home. It's like a fling!
This week, Robin Roberts was the guest judge, and she was as cheerleader positive as expected. For Most Memorable Year week that’s OK. Who really wants to tell someone their personal, emotional story didn’t have the right footwork?
What was your favorite dance this week? Did you agree with the scores? If not who was under- or over-scored?
Here’s a quick rundown of where the couples stand after Week 3:
Meryl & Maks — 39
James & Peta — 36
Charlie & Sharna — 36
Danica & Val — 36
Amy & Derek — 36
Cody & Witney — 35
Candace & Mark — 32
NeNe & Tony — 31
Drew & Cheryl — 30
Billy Dee & Emma — Withdrew for health reasons
Read on for a full recap of Week 3 action:
Billy Dee Won’t Dance! He’s not able to dance tonight, although they don’t explain at this point. Did he just figure he was going home anyway, or is he hurt? It’s Dorothy Hamill all over again!
Robin Roberts Is Guest Judge: She’s a longtime fan, first-time judge. She’s not an expert. The ballroom is smaller than it seems on TV, she said. She gives a big intro speech. Get to the dancing! Oh, Kym Johnson is in the ballroom!
1. James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd — Jive — Carrie Ann inducted him into the Sexy Hall of Fame. James said he didn’t always get those compliments growing up. He was picked on for being a little overweight. It got to the point where he had to switch schools. “It’s not fun to be bullied.” His big year was 2007, since it changed his life and he wasn’t bullied anymore. He’s the nerd in the dance and Peta is the cute girl. This show needs more girl nerds! But he’s kind of like Clark Kent/Superman. Nice flip off the table! He can really kick. His legs get up there. Cute kiss-the-book moment in the end.
JUDGES: Len Goodman said was that an earthquake, an aftershock, or did he just rock this place? His best dance, no question. Robin thanked him, and appreciates the way he attacks each dance. She also liked his anti-bullying message. (Hopefully the message is deeper than “just lose weight and get hot, and you won’t be bullied anymore.”) Bruno Tonioli said it had the explosive energy of a lightning strike. He can’t believe what James has done in just a few weeks. He’s a contender. Carrie Ann Inaba said he continues to surprise her. One teensy criticism: He has a strange claw thing happening, but it was a minute flaw. (Carrie Ann’s hair, though? Hmm…)
SCORES: 9, 9, 9, 9 = 36 out of 40. Great first dance score.
Switch Up Talk: Please please please vote for Drew to dance with Derek! That would be awesome. It’s acknowledged in the video package that it’s just for one week. They must know no one plans to switch. Maks made fun of how short Mark is, then NeNe made fun of short Derek. Val had a great line about being a one-woman man … so whoever that one woman is, he’ll be good with her.
Billy Williams Has to Go: His doctor said he has to go. He has a chronic back problem. “I’ve had a wonderful, brilliant, fantastic blast of a time and working with this wonderful, beautiful young woman has been pure, pure joy.” He thanked everyone in the ballroom, and they gave him a standing ovation. They showed clips of his journey.
2. NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani — Rumba — NeNe’s dance is dedicated to her second marriage to her first husband. Tony apologized to NeNe for having to witness his talk-back to Carrie Ann, but he found it to be an uneducated comment. NeNe knows all about speaking out, so if you have something to say, say it. For her Rumba song, she chose “I Believe in You and Me” by Whitney Houston since she walked down the aisle to this song. She and Gregg got together the first time for physical reasons, but their relationship fizzled out; she’s a good communicator, she said, but he is not. She filed for divorce but never stopped loving him. Her most memorable year was 2013 because she re-married Gregg. He’s her soul mate; he gets and understands her. “He’s the one.” This Rumba is for him. Ignore the grinding, Gregg! She looks sexy in her costume. Speaking of sexy, SHIRTLESS TONY. Oh heck yeah. Show these 20-year-olds how hot is done, Mr. Dovolani. They even have a bed moment with waving flags. Tony and his teeth give a big smile.
JUDGES: Robin needed a minute, and Bruno fanned her. Robin said NeNe is the life of the party. She has this enormous personality but she let us see a different side of her tonight. Bruno called her Naughty NeNe, the Southern siren. she got her man exactly where she wanted. The Rumba is very difficult to maintain the flow of movement, especially for a non-dancers and she did very well. Next Rumba, work on basics. Carrie Ann said she knew she was giving them a hard time on the arms. She also said after 17 seasons, Tony is looking good. Truly, what NeNe did, maybe the passion that’s so alive, it brought out a beautiful sensuality. “You were as large as your heart” and passion. Her arms were gorgeous. Len saw the bed and Tony half-naked and was expecting the worst. He was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t overly raunchy. She could’ve had more pressure through her feet, but she didn’t have shoes on.
SCORES: 8, 7, 8, 8 = 31 out of 40. They didn’t share enough constructive criticism. Don’t be afraid of Tony speaking back, that’s OK. Better to say the words so they know what to work on for higher scores.
3. Cody Simpson and Witney Carson — Jazz — Cody picked 2010 as his most memorable year since that’s when he moved to the U.S. and signed a record contract. He started by posting YouTube videos. The family lived in a hotel in Hollywood; it was cramped and all they had was the clothes on their backs. His family gave up everything for his career. They are dancing to his new song, “Surfboard,” which represents his roots, and reflects on his time surfing with his dad. Plus, he gets a free plug for his song! Witney’s outfit is adorable. They aren’t completely in sync, but it’s nice. It’s not quite on par with Corbin’s Trio Jazz from last season, but nothing is.
JUDGES: Bruno said it’s so right here and right now. Jazz evolves through ages and everyone age incorporates elements of today. Carrie Ann said the vocabulary of movement was great. She ate it up. Fantastic. Len said this is right up Cody's alley, it’s a boy band routine. It was tight and together. Well done. Robin said she loves his style. She loves how he’s respectful of the dance but makes it his own.
SCORES: 9, 8, 9, 9 = 35 out of 40. Too high?
4. Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy — Contemporary — They have a cute talk about how she looks sexy. Their Week 3 song is “Lullabye” by Billy Joel. Her most memorable year is 2010 because that’s when her son was born and her grandmother died. Her son Draco is a little bit shy but he’s the sweetest little boy. This song answers the question that a child would ask — are you going to die someday and leave me? Oh this is going to get us crying. Her grandmother wanted to meet her son and she didn’t get to. This song is so, so beautiful. Stunning lifts. She has the most beautiful lines. Wow. Love everything about this.
JUDGES: Draco gets to come over for judging! He didn’t want to let go of his mom. How precious. Carrie Ann said she’s sure her grandmother is smiling down. It was the most sincere, delicate, beautiful performance. Something about the real emotion of life infuses these dances. Len said the movement was so fluid it was like butter on a hot muffin. “That was beautiful. Well done.” Robin said she’s a wonder and a sheer delight. She couldn’t help but watch Danica and her emotion. It’s a beautiful way to express such a powerful story. The two of them together are magnificent to watch. Bruno said it was enchanting motion driven by emotion. It was spellbinding.
SCORES: 9, 9, 9, 9 = 36 out of 40. Yay!
5. Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke — Waltz — His most memorable year is 2005, the year his son Connor was born. He was diabetic and really overweight. He had a heart attack. His own dad died when he was 8 and he didn’t want that to happen to Connor. He wants to see Connor grow up, graduate school. That’s the reason he lost all the weight and got healthy. Connor leaves his dad little notes about how he loves him. Aww. Another beautiful song. From Nashville! About … sex. Weird.
JUDGES: It’s bring your kids to work day, Tom quipped. Connor came over for judging too. Will Candace bring her whole clan? Len thought it was a charming dance, but he got on the wrong foot. It was muddled for a while. Len vs. the booing crowd! Robin said she’d be booing from home too. Robin said Drew has been a wonderful, marvelous surprise. He’s a beautiful dancer and a beautiful soul. Bruno loved how he played it straight. (Not really his call.) Just one mistake. Carrie Ann said his face looked stressed and it lost the ease of motion she loves when he dances. It was a beautiful tribute, though. Tom kneeled down and asked Connor about the dance. He worked Cheryl! He wants lessons from Cheryl now.
SCORES: 7, 7, 8, 8 = 30 out of 40. The critical judges vs. the cheerleader judges. Which side do you prefer?
6. Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy — Foxtrot — Meryl started dancing with Charlie when they were 8 and 9 years old. She was so shy, it was hard for her to look in his eyes. Their coach threatened to put a sticker on his forehead so she wouldn’t have to look in his eyes. Cute. Standing on the Olympic podium is a patriotic moment. She’s dedicating the dance to everyone out there who helped support her and made the medal happen. She picked “All of Me” by John Legend. It’s the year leading up to the Olympics. Everyone is picking good songs. Oh, they have a live musician playing violin for the routine. All of a sudden this is a very sensual, sexy routine. Did they kiss in the end? Steamy! And Foxtrots aren’t usually steamy.
JUDGES: Robin said there were moments where they were clutching each other on the judges’ bench. She loves that Meryl couldn’t choose one year, it was many years. Life is a journey. It’s hard to think of Meryl as a shy young woman. It was beautiful to watch. Bruno said it was irresistibly romantic. A love story in front of their eyes. Technically what they put into Week 3 was beautiful. It had an incredible delicacy, the musical phrasing was world class. The choreography was extraordinary. Carrie Ann said usually she bursts into tears for an emotional reason, but this time she burst into tears in the middle of that routine because it was just so beautiful. Meryl is just so out of this world. The partnership took her breath away and gave her goosebumps. Len loved it. One of the things he loves about dancing is light and shade. He likes soft moments and then hard. M&M is sweet and delicious.
SCORES: 10, 9, 10, 10 = 39. First 10s of the season. And three of them! Maks said it was the first time Carrie Ann cried during one of his dances. He thanked her for that. Well, she cried about Meryl, not you, Maks! Just saying.
7. Amy Purdy and Derek Hough — Contemporary — Her most memorable year was 1999. She was 19 and that’s when her life changed forever. She ended up losing both of her legs and her kidney function. That’s also the year that her dad gave her one of her kidneys. She always says her dad gave her life twice. She remembers standing in her new legs for the first time, and they were so painful and confining. She couldn’t imagine walking again, but she heard music on the radio and she stood up and started dancing with her dad. It was an exciting moment to know she could dance again. She figured if she can walk, she can snowboard, she can live a great life. The legs that she normally uses, you can’t point your toes. So she’s trying new feet. The choreography of the dance tells the story of her journey - falling and her dad being there to catch her. She can’t put into words how grateful she is, that’s why they’re doing the dance. It’s the tribute to the gift of life that he’s given her. Nice lighting effects. Did they get the original recording of this Christina Perri song? The spins are great. She should bring her dad over for judging, like all the kids.
JUDGES: Bruno said there won’t be a dry eye in the country tonight. It was so heart-wrenching but inspirational. It transcended dance. Borderline miraculous. Len said it touched his brain with the level of difficulty and it touched his heart with the level of artistry. Robin said there aren’t enough superlatives. Robin hopes Amy knows what she’s doing for people.
SCORES: 9, 9, 9, 9 = 36 out of 40. Derek’s film comes out tonight and after this they are going to the premiere.
8. Charlie White and Sharna Burgess — Jive — Charlie and Meryl have pretty much the same life story, at least professionally. But in 2010, he and Meryl came close to winning the gold medal. They got the silver. They looked at each other and knew they would go for gold. The journey from 2010 to now is represented in his party dance, “Happy.” This is such a fun song. Charlie has his own moment with the pros backstage before joining up with Sharna. He’s like a pro on his own. Join the troupe! His checkered jacket and … no socks? … are a bit distracting, but he’s so cute. Do they even match?
JUDGES: Carrie Ann loved it and said they were in sync, but there was one problem. He was a little ahead of the music twice. Len said it’s happy hour - Charlie was steaming, Len was beaming. Robin said it’s a celebration. The way he worked the entire ballroom was marvelous. It was cheerful, uplifting and delightful. Tonight was the most extraordinary nights in 18 seasons. The standard of the dancers has never been better.
SCORES: 9, 9, 9, 9, = 36 out of 40. 9 is the new 7 this week — everyone is getting it and they are all lumped together.
9. Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas — Jive — Mark felt she was too fish out of water last week in the Rumba. She had a breakout Week 1, he needs her back up there. Her most memorable year was 1995. That’s the year that Full House ended. Two months later she got engaged. She went from child to woman, going from her Full House family to a whole new family with her husband. She had two Full House alumni visit her. Kimmy Gibbler and DJ Tanner are still best friends. Lori went on Candace’s first date with her? They have an Elvis song as a tribute to Full House. Do a Beach Boys song for John Stamos! Her silver Jive dress is so sexy-cute. She makes the best faces during dances. She can keep up with Mark on that front. Great energy!
JUDGES: Len said he loved the energy. It was sharp, clean, and precise. He’d like more bounce in the balls of the feet but it was a proper ballroom Jive. Robin said she was snazzy and hitting it. It was wonderful to watch. Bruno said she can let it loose. He loves it when she goes wild. He loves to see that side of her. A bit cleaner in her footwork, though. Carrie Ann said she agreed with all of it. She can’t believe that Candace isn’t a dancer, but it makes her appreciate it a bit more. She has to pull her shoulders back. She doesn’t look super comfortable in heels. By the way, Macy’s Stars of Dance is coming back next week.
SCORES: 8, 8, 8, 8 = 32. Seems too low. No 9s at all? Hmph.