The age-old tradition of featuring a Disney-themed night on Dancing With The Stars is now a thing of the past. That’s because it’s been replaced by a Disney+ Night! Nothing like taking synergy to a whole new level, right ballroom fans?
And boy, did the celebrities fully commit. Everyone danced to a song from a movie or series that can currently be found on the platform, from a jive to a ditty from Hocus Pocus 2 to a quickstep to “Finally Free” from High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Hmm, nothing to cha cha to from She Hulk or Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness? Maybe next season.
Now that Tyra Banks and Alfonso Ribeiro have once again made their separate entrances to the ballroom (an attempt to stretch time or did someone have specific requests in her contract?), it’s on with the show!
Sam Champion and Cheryl Burke. Champion’s hip has been giving him trouble, which only adds to the pressure to step it up since he was in the bottom two weeks ago. Burke did most of the hard work in their paso doble to “The Greatest Show”. The Greatest Showman, but he did pull off some impressive knee walks. “I’m very, very proud of you,” said Carrie Ann Inaba. “This show is about challenging yourself, it’s about doing something you’re not comfortable with. You showed us who is in charge of the dance floor.” Score: 25 out of 40
Trevor Donovan and Emma Slater. The actor’s shoulder is hurting, but it didn’t seem to get in the way while he feigned steering during his samba to “Life is a Highway” from Cars. “It was all a bit crash-bang. Your legs were too flexed throughout,” said Len Goodman. “Samba has to have a little bounce action. That was totally lacking. Having said that, it is a tough dance. You coped well with a very difficult performance.” Score: 28 out of 40
Joseph Baena and Daniella Karagach. The 10-day Covid quarantine is finally over for Daniella, who got to hear how Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son was bullied as a kid so he started lifting weights to look more like his brawny dad. Of course he took over the title role of Hercules in the ballroom by performing a spirited, top-of-the-show Charleston to A Star is Born. “Well it was fun, it was bright, it was lively,” said Goodman. “I liked that jitterbug section you put in there. I think sometimes you overload it with tricks. Sometimes, less would be more so we could really see your dancing more than your physical strength.” Score: 28 out of 40
Vinny Guadagnino and Coco Iwasaki. Wallowing in last place is no fun for them Jersey Shore personality, who suffers from anxiety attacks and “battling with my demons.” But he definitely lit up while performing the samba to “Il Gatto E La Volpe” Luca. Banks was so impressed by Guadagnino’s acting that she said he should be in the movies. Nah, he should stick with comedy, especially since he dinged his former Jersey Shore mate Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino for wearing sunglasses in the ballroom. “I can’t help but smile when I watch you dance,” said Derek Hough. “You are a sensational performer. You are in character.” Score: 29 out of 40
Daniel Durant and Britt Stewart. The COD actor’s rehearsal package began with a poignant visit with a young deaf boy whom Durant mentored at a camp. Durant then incorporated a little sign — and lots of big smiles — into his so-so quickstep to “Finally Free” from High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. “There is a bit too much messing about at the start for me,” said Goodman. “There was a mistake in your footwork. Your frame was better but there were too many moments that didn’t gel.” Score: 29 out of 40
Jessie James Decker and Alan Bersten. Not enough attention (or sympathy) is given to the pros when they have to travel to practice with their globe-trotting partners. This week, Bersten met Decker in Nashville to teach her the jive to “One Way Or Another”. Hocus Pocus 2. It brought Decker to tears during rehearsal, but she really stepped it up during the live performance. (Bersten credited it to the “secret sauce” of his ghoulish face makeup). “Sometimes the most challenging situations give us the biggest breakthroughs,” said Inaba. “That was by far your best performance. I could see the effort, the attention. You nailed every moment of that. You are a dancer, my darling!” Score: 31 out of 40
Shangela and Gleb Savchenko. The queen got a visit from former landlord Jenifer Lewis — who let Shangela sleep in her basement for free! — before performing a boisterous Charleston to “Dig A Little Deeper” from The Princess and the Frog. It’s a song that Lewis has performed! “It was so powerful, so strong,” said Bruno Tonioli. “Charleston is all about zest for life. You could sell it.” Score: 32 out of 40
Selma Blair and Sasha Farber. The actress doesn’t think she’s making a big impression on the judges. She’s wrong; they seem to be blown away by her progress so I’m guessing she won’t go anywhere for at least three more weeks. And her joyful quickstep to “The Muppet Show Theme” from The Muppet Show certainly made sure of that. “The dancing, how you manage the footwork so well. You didn’t go wrong once,” said Tonioli. Score: 32 out of 40
Heidi D’Amelio and Artem Chigvintsev. The reality star is digging how her scores have improved each week (although she’s still having to dance in her daughter’s huge shadow). Nevertheless, D’Amelio sparkled both literally and figuratively while performing the Viennese Waltz to “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Mary Poppins. “That was magical! You have found your confidence,” said Inaba. “What I see is the dancer who has always been inside of you finally come out to play.” Score: 34 out of 40
Jordan Sparks and Brandon Armstrong. The platinum singer is currently holding steady in the middle of the pack, which is not too shabby at this point in the show. To boost her ranking, Sparks began her jazz routine to “Remember Me” from Coco with a quick vocal solo and a wave to her young son. She then enchanted the judges by spinning around the floor like a perky whirling dervish. “How can I forget you?” You danced with your heart tonight,” said Tonioli. “You were so connected. I felt every moment with you. The quality of movement, you managed to make it fluid and dynamic at the same time. It was like a breath of fresh air. Score: 34 out of 40
Wayne Brady and Whitney Carson. The game show host claims he was never trained in jazz dancing, but he certainly looked like an old pro while performing a routine to “Wait For It” from Hamilton. If you all don’t think he’s headed to the final three, then you are simply dead inside. “I’m going to call you the postman! You keep delivering week after week,” said Goodman to Brady, who was immediately moved to tears. “That was exceptional, it really was. I love all the nuances within the music. It was truly fabulous.” Speaking of fab, his godfather Ben Vereen came to watch! Score: 36 out of 40
Gabby Windey and Val Chmerkovskiy. The former Bachelorette was feeling like a bit of an imposter during rehearsal, but she once again proved that she’s the real deal by performing a green-faced quickstep to “Mr. Blue Sky” from Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. “That was out of this world good,” said Inaba. “You have everything you need to win this competition. You are so refined.” Score: 36 out of 40
Charlie D’Amelio and Mark Ballas. The reality star drew the short straw and had to perform a jazz routine to The Simpsons’ main title theme The Simpsons while wearing yellow makeup and a gigantic blue wig. But D’Amelio has already proven there’s nothing she can’t do, so naturally the producers had her perform last. It sure feels like Ballas is going to win himself another Mirror Ball Trophy, doesn’t it? “I didn’t like it. I loved dog,” Goodman said. “It was full of wit and characterization. Marge, you’re magical.” Score: 36 out of 40
Champion and Burke and Donovan and Slater were in the bottom two. Inaba, Tonioli and Hough voted to save Donovan so Champion had to pack his bags. (Goodman was prepared to send him home, too).
“Its been an incredible journey,” said Champion. “Cheryl worked harder than anyone could. I will be watching this show because these people have more ahead of them.”
DWTS will stretch to two nights next week on Disney+.