Dancing With The Stars Comes Out Swinging

After showing off what they learned in the second week of dancing, one couple is sent home.

When the couples are introduced, Heather comes out alone because Maks has an injury, and Charo nearly falls down the stairs -- I think she tripped on her long dress. Anyway, this week there was no theme, which is just how I like it. I struggled with who to put in the bottom. Chris Kattan did the best he could, and he didn't screw up, but he's just very limited. Mr. T didn't miss any steps but there also wasn't much dancing. Charo danced her butt off but screwed up a few steps and got off the beat. It was a toss-up. Anyway, your rankings:

12. Chris Kattan and Witney: Jazz

Chris reveals that he broke his back fourteen years ago and he's had four surgeries since then. He shows Witney an X-ray of his back, and it's basically held together with pins. Like, there's more metal than vertebrae in the x-ray. So when the judges tell him to loosen up, he just can't. He vows that he might not be the best dancer, but he is having fun. So this routine is basically Chris walking around and lip-syncing to "Hey Ya" by Outkast. He's definitely having fun, but it's not dancing. Except that he's walking to a beat, I guess? The judges have nothing but praise for Chris's courage and attitude, but remind him that they have to judge his dancing, not his joie de vivre. Scores: 22/40.

11. Mr. T and Kym: Paso Doble

Mr. T admits that he wasn't concentrating last week, so he's going to really focus this week. The dance floor is transformed into a boxing ring as Kym and Mr. T face off to "Eye Of The Tiger." I mean, pull out all the stops, dude. This week, Mr. T might be concentrating too hard. Kym does her best to dance around him while he holds her hands, but there's not much movement there. It was better than last week in that he didn't look lost, I guess. The judges salute his intensity and focus, but don't mention his actual dancing too much. Scores: 22/40.

10. Charo and Keo: Paso Doble

Charo is thrilled to have a Latin dance, and she knows Flamenco, which isn't too far off from Paso. She also hopes to tell the story of her life through this dance. Aw, this one is too bad. Charo starts off strong but she gets so caught up in the drama that she messes up some of the steps. After that, she appears confused and off for most of the rest of the routine, although she definitely stomps and tosses her head with vigor. The judges compliment her age and energy and passion but don't mention much about her steps, which were terrible. After she gets her scores, she starts threatening the judges, which is hilarious. Scores: 25/40.

9. Nick Viall and Peta: Foxtrot

Peta tries to get Nick to be graceful and pretty. Good luck with that. Nick is…not great at this routine. He starts out okay but he screws up the footwork in the first pass and then everything goes to hell. He's pigeon-toed, and his butt is sticking way out. He's flat-footed too. The judges think he has potential, but he needs to work on his technique. They also advise Peta to simplify the choreography because Nick can't handle it. I'm not sure if that's a knock on Nick or Peta. Scores: 25/40.

8. Nancy Kerrigan and Artem: Cha Cha

Artem is super-happy to have an actual contender this year. Wow, I was just looking up Artem's past partners (Lea Thompson, Patti Labelle, Mischa Barton, Maureen McCormick), and discovered that Artem dated Carrie Ann for two years. Did you guys know this? Why did no one tell me? Now I'm going to be watching their every interaction closely. Nancy struggles when Artem gives her encouraging compliments because she never had a coach compliment her before. That is sad on so many levels. She's forty-seven and she hasn't learned how to take a compliment yet? Also, can we arrest all of those Olympic coaches for emotional abuse? Anyway, Nancy is surprisingly much stronger with the cha cha than she was for last week's waltz. Her shortcoming is that she doesn’t seem to have much natural rhythm, and she gets ahead of the beat. But she's got the complicated steps down, and she's putting a little sexiness into it. She just needs to slow down and gain confidence, and get out of her head a little. The judges advise her to have a little more control and start out confident instead of waiting to gain that confidence halfway through. Scores: 28/40.

7. David Ross and Lindsay: Cha Cha

As they went to the commercial break, David Ross was rapping "Bust A Move" so now I like him even more because that is my go-to crowd-pleasing karaoke song. And that's what they're dancing to. He has so many dad dance moves. I bet he is fun at a wedding. This is a crazy fast cha cha. It starts out with a lot of walking around, then there's a tiny bit of cha cha, and then a solo dance break, and a tiny bit more cha cha. It was fun, but not as good as last week. They needed to slow it down and take out about twenty percent of the content. He's good, but he's got a lot of competition this season. The judges love his charisma and performance but weren't sure if there was enough cha cha content. Scores: 27/40.

6. Erika Jayne and Gleb: Foxtrot

So all my Real Housewives friends looooooove Erika and really sing her praises so I'm going to keep an open mind about her personality. I do love when Gleb says he likes her and she replies, "I don't need you to like me. I need you to make me look good." I have concerns about the conceit of this routine where Gleb is a cop and he pulls Erika over for speeding and then they dance together sexily and then she handcuffs him. Erika does look good while dancing and has confidence. There are a few technique issues she could work on -- pointing feet, performing a little bigger to the audience -- but overall, she looks good. I didn't love the choreography because it felt more like a rumba than a foxtrot. The judges were impressed with her lines and say that she's beautiful to watch. Scores: 28/40.

5. Simone Biles and Sasha: Cha Cha

Sasha has to try to train the gymnastics out of Simone and get her to loosen up and be sexy. Since she's twenty, it's a little less weird than it was for Laurie last season. Simone has trouble committing to the dance, though, or at least the roll-in package would have us believe that. Sasha's right; Simone still has too much gymnast in her moves. The movements are sharp and precise, but they need to be more flowing and extended. She doesn't finish her move because she's rushing on to the next one. But she's got the footwork down pat. The judges love her energy but want her to work on feeling herself while she's dancing. Not like physically, but emotionally. They're right. I love to watch her move, but I don't feel anything when she dances. Scores: 29/40.

4. Rashad Jennings and Emma: Viennese Waltz

Emma advises Rashad to remember heartbreak from a past relationship to put the emotion into his dance. Rashad says he's comfortable being vulnerable. He's pretty great, like, as a person. Rashad does a decent job performing the routine but he's way too stiff and not flowing and lyrical enough for a waltz. He seems uncomfortable, despite what he said earlier about being vulnerable. The judges loved the performance and offer up some technique tips. Like last week, I felt he was a little overscored. Scores: 32/40.

3. Bonner Bolton and Sharna: Viennese Waltz

Sharna and Bonner have a great connection, to the point where I looked up if Sharna is married (she's not). They go out to Texas Two-Step, a dance I learned to love with repeated viewings of Urban Cowboy in college, and I feel like they're going to start making out in the bar. I don't know how much is legit and how much is put on for the show. Anyway, their routine is beautiful and they have such a connection. The only time it loses a little bit is when they have to go into the stiff-armed frame, because Bonner seems to be worrying about his posture instead of performing. The judges talk about the hot chemistry and connection between them, like stop pushing it, show. We get it. Scores: 29/40.

2. Heather Morris and Maks: Jive

Maks is thrilled about how well their jive is going in rehearsals, but then during a kick and flick, something just goes in his calf. He's still able to walk, but he can't dance this week. Alan is filling in for him. I loved this jive. I love any jive that's not '50s-themed, because that's so played out, but this one is performed so well and Heather infuses it with a lot of personality. There's a hip hop break in the middle that Len will probably hate. I wonder if Heather doesn't show her personality when she dances because she's used to being a back-up or part of a troupe, not dancing solo. Anyway, her form and technique are amazing and she looks great. Len, of course, hated the hip hop, but Bruno gives her really good advice about going into character, like she did in the second half. Carrie Ann thought it was great throughout, with lots of attitude. Scores: 30/40.

1. Normani Kordei and Val: Cha Cha

Normani and Val left right after last week's show and flew to Japan for a tour. They rehearsed and tried to develop their partnership and then flew back and got into L.A. four hours before air. That seems ridiculous. I'm assuming they flew private, because otherwise what if there were a delay or cancellation or weather issue? But boy, there's something to traveling together because this routine is electric. Normani looks amazing; she doesn't miss a beat and punches each step hard. I am now convinced that she's a contender. The judges are astonished and have nothing but praise. Scores: 32/40.


The two couples in jeopardy are Chris and Witney and Charo and Keo. I'm stunned that Mr. T isn't in this group. And the first couple eliminated is…Chris and Witney. Chris looks pissed. Or maybe he couldn't hear the announcement. I think he should have revealed the back X-ray last week. He says that, pretty much. I don't know if it would have saved him, but it would have prevented a lot of "What is up with Chris Kattan" Google searches for sure.

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