Dancing With The Stars Brings The Disney Magic

In their once-per-season celebration of corporate synergy, ABC forces the couples to complete a Disney-themed dance routine -- some with more success than others.

It's Corporate Synergy Week, also known as Disney Week. I'm not a huge fan of adults who are still REALLY into Disney. I mean, visit an amusement park, fine. Enjoy the nostalgia of watching old Disney movies, okay. I don't even hate the idea of Once Upon A Time; although I don't watch it, from what I've seen and heard, it features clever twists on the old Disney legends. But, like, the adults who get married at Disney World or get photos taken with ALL of the characters in the park? That's just a little weird to me. I shouldn't judge; I'm sure I have hobbies and interests that others find bizarre (like Little House On The Prairie).

The opening features a song by Alfonso Ribiero. Man, was this show the best thing that happened to his career in the past twenty years or what? He would not have gotten this call before he appeared as a contestant.

Anyway, it's Disney Week, so everyone is doing a Disney-themed dance, and the costumed characters are all hanging around. On to your rankings:

9. David Ross & Lindsay: Jive

David is now the oldest guy in the competition, and he's feeling it in his body, especially since they have the jive this week, which is tough on the body.

I don't know if I've been influenced by the roll-in package, but David does look really stiff this week, and I've never thought that about him before. You'd think the jive would fit right into his "dad at a wedding" persona, but he just looks tired and flat-footed. The judges note his poor technique in some areas, but also note that he didn't miss a step in a very complicated routine. Scores: 29/40.

8. Erika Jayne & Gleb: Viennese Waltz

After being on the bottom last week, Erika starts questioning everything about herself and wonders if she's been holding back a little bit. She hopes to improve this week, dancing to a song she loves.

I've just come up with a theory about why Erika Jayne isn't connecting with her partner or the audience: so much of her life is performative that she can't turn it off. I mean, her hair, her face, her whole persona is a performance. She can't be real. Her dancing is very pretty, the same as always, but I don't feel anything when I watch her dance. The judges go with the storyline that she's had a breakthrough. I didn't see it, but okay. Scores: 32/40.

7. Bonner Bolton & Sharna: Tango

According to Sharna, Bonner is becoming a dancer. I see that they've abandoned the "Are these two hooking up?" storyline and have moved on to making Bonner seem fun-loving.

He's dancing to Wreck-It Ralph this week, and gets to be a videogame character. It takes a while before they stop faffing about and start doing a tango, but the tango steps look good. I'm distracted because the singer is SO OFF-KEY. Ouch. Anyway, the routine is cute but I would like to see Bonner do a more traditional tango, because I think he'd be great. This is too bifurcated. The judges thought he was incredible in hold, but not as great out of hold. Scores: 30/40.

6. Nick Viall & Peta: Jazz

Nick is not excited to wear a Pinocchio outfit because he thinks it's "emasculating." Get over yourself, dude. Everyone saw you making out with many ladies. Your fragile masculinity will be fine.

Maybe Peta should have watched Nick dance like a marionette before choreographing this routine because he's not great at it. He's also staring into the middle distance for most of the routine like he's both embarrassed and trying to remember his steps. There's a ton of content, when the judges just told him to cut back on content and improve his technique. Overall, it feels a little hectic. Also, Nick's pants are super-high rise and a little tight in the junk and that makes ME feel uncomfortable. Unlike me, the judges loved seeing Nick lighten up and loved what they saw. Scores: 34/40.

5. Heather Morris & Alan: Jazz

Maks is doing the choreography while Heather and Alan dance. Then there's a skit where Maks turns into Olaf from Frozen and do you know I still haven't seen Frozen because my boys were in preschool when it came out and the girls in their class used to fight every day over who was Anna and who was Elsa and also stage sing-alongs of "Let It Go" and my kids boycotted the movie as a result?

Anyway, Heather dances well, but this routine is boring. There's a lot of running around and climbing up on things and then jumping off, and that's just a waste of Heather's dancing ability. Len and Carrie Ann agree with me, but Julianne and Bruno love the routine. Scores: 34/40.

4. Nancy Kerrigan & Artem: Jazz

Nancy feels intimidated dancing with other pro women, who are providing backup, because she feels like she's being compared. No one is comparing them except her. Like many of the professional and Olympic athletes who've competed on this show, Nancy gets frustrated at having to compete in an area where she's not world-class already.

This routine pinpoints for me what I don't love about Disney Week: it feels more like a skit or a number in a musical instead of a dance routine. Nancy hits the right spots with her arms and legs, but her face looks very tentative throughout. The judges try to give Nancy her confidence back, since they feel that's the only thing this routine lacked. Scores: 36/40.

3. Rashad Jennings & Emma: Foxtrot

They're dancing to a song from the new Beauty and the Beast. The roll-in package features a little skit where Emma tries to get Rashad to go see the movie. They used to do bullshit like this every week, and it bugged. It usually means that the couple involved has no drama, which I guess is a good thing.

Rashad is technically very good, with great arm extension and posture. He seems to be leading Emma, which is also a plus. The routine doesn't have the emotional pull of last week, understandably. The judges thought it was smooth and elegant, but want to see Rashad dance a little bigger. Scores: 32/40.

2. Simone Biles & Sasha: Contemporary

It's probably not a good sign that Simone went last in the lineup and I was ready to wrap up this article before she went because I forgot she was on the show. Anyway, Simone is learning to speak up for herself in rehearsals instead of just doing whatever Sasha says, even when she's mad.

This is the first routine Simone has danced that really took advantage of her amazing athleticism. There are a lot of leaps and lifts, and she also looks really happy and comfortable for the first time. I don't know if it's a breakthrough, but if she can continue this more relaxed and playful attitude, she might make it to the finals. The judges love it too. Scores: 38/40.

1. Normani Kordei & Val: Paso Doble

Normani is thrilled to dance to a song from Mulan because that's her favorite Disney princess. And she gets to do combat choreography! That would be fun.

Normani looks so fierce in this routine. Her sharp movements and ability to do high kicks work for her this week, and she puts on an incredible performance. This is easily her best dance so far. The judges love the combination of dancing and martial arts and Normani's intensity. Scores: 39/40.


The elimination comes down to Erika Jayne and Gleb, or Nick Viall and Peta. They were both not great this week IN MY OPINION (the judges liked both couples), so I don't care who goes. And the couple leaving is Erika Jayne and Gleb. She never really broke through for me. Maybe she needs other housewives to bounce off of or appear with or something, but I still don't know why she's so popular or...kind of who she is.

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