ABC

Dancing With The Stars Fills Viewers With Glee

Heather Morris earns the season's first perfect score, as the show pits boy bands versus girl groups.

Hey, we've got a new theme this year! Tonight is Boy Band Versus Girl Group, since they have four contestants left on each side. Each couple will dance to a song by either a boy band or a girl group (and those terms are interpreted very loosely), and then the men will compete against the women in the team dance. Given the artists that were mentioned in the opening credits, I am all about this theme, for once. Plus guest judge Nick Carter? It's like they are programming for me. I will say, I was much more enthusiastic about this theme before I learned that it's all just promotion for the new Making The Band-style reality show coming on ABC this summer. Let's see how it plays out in your rankings:

10. Nick Viall and Peta: Jive

Nick is dancing to the Beach Boys, which is somehow correct. He is the Beach Boys of contestants. I don't know what that means, but it feels right. Anyway, Nick is getting down on himself in rehearsals, so Peta gives him a pep talk. Once they start their routine, for some reason, Nick is taking these huge steps with every movement, like he's practically doing lunges, and it messes up his posture. Also, everyone knows this song ("Fun Fun Fun") and that makes it stand out more that this version is at half speed. I guess Nick doesn't miss many steps and there is a lot of content, but he's not a good dancer and we've reached the point in the competition where that's becoming obvious. The judges praise Nick's effort but note that his routine lacked polish and finesse. Scores: 28/40.

9. David Ross and Lindsay: Argentine Tango

After last week, David worried that he was working as hard as he could and he just might not be good enough. I think most of us humans are used to that feeling; I could work my ass off improving my baseball game, but I'm never going to be very good. Professional athletes aren't used to that feeling, probably. He gets a little frustrated during rehearsals and Lindsay gives him a pep talk about how he can get upset but he can't use it as an excuse to stop trying.

David actually impresses me this week! His posture is great and he makes some nice shapes with his body. There were a few bobbles and not quite enough passion but it was better than I anticipated. Carrie Ann is worried that David isn't having fun anymore but he says he was worried about the one lift he bobbled and also feels weird trying to be sexy with Lindsay because she's like his daughter. Some of the judges were not super-impressed but Len and Nick were. Scores: 29/40.

8. Bonner Bolton and Sharna: Rumba

Bonner is a little nervous about dancing to a Backstreet Boys song since Nick Carter is a judge. But they're dancing to "I Want It That Way" which might be one of God's perfect pop songs. Back when this song came out, I was listening to it on headphones and singing out loud while home alone, and I sang the "Don't wanna HEAR YOU" part so loud that the freezer popped open and a carton of ice cream fell out. So this song makes me want ice cream. Anyway, is it possible that Bonner is becoming a worse dancer each week and he and Sharna are having less chemistry? I feel like they started off so strong but I just haven't been feeling it as time goes on. He seems stiff and awkward and hesitant when he should be powerful and sexy and commanding. The judges' comments are lukewarm, and Nick advises Bonner to learn the dance and then let go. Scores: 30/40.

7. Team Boy Band

During rehearsals, the men learn that they have to dance without their partners for twenty seconds, which causes a panic. While the pros huddle up to figure out the routine, the men team up to work out some moves and they're actually not too bad! The female pros can't stop laughing. And then all of the men take off their shirts and start doling out chest bumps and this just went to a very different place so let's move right on to the routine, shall we? They start out with a Motown flavor and it's mostly in sync, so that's a plus. Then they move on to a Magic Mike scenario, shirtless with chairs, and it's…not quite as good. If the camera had zeroed in on Rashad a little more, I think we'd have something. It all feels a little The Full Monty. They finish up with a segment that feels like a pep-squad routine, and there's not a whole lot of dancing. Overall, they had a lot of personality and seemed like they were having fun, but there wasn't much actual choreography going on. Bruno and Len think it was a fabulous mess while Carrie Ann and Nick think it was fabulous, full stop. Scores: 33/40.

6. Nancy Kerrigan and Artem: Paso Doble

Nancy really broke through last week with her Disney dance, but this week, she is worried. They're doing a paso to "Free Your Mind" by En Vogue, and Nancy correctly remembers that Maks and Mel B did the same routine to the same song and got a perfect score a few years back. Ugh, Mel B and Maks were such a great pairing. I miss them.

Okay, I don't know what is going on with Nancy but she looks like she's about to cry. Like, she looks angry-upset instead of angry-fierce. This is a great routine in terms of choreography, costuming, and lighting. Nancy wobbles a few times and seems hesitant at others. It was a fine routine. It could have been a great routine and I think it was a psychological deficit. The judges all tell Nancy to lighten up and enjoy herself because she's a great dancer. Nancy at least addresses some of the problem when she says that she was wearing different boots than she did in dress rehearsal, and it sounds like she wasn't the one who wanted to change them. But shake it off, girl! It's not like someone kneecapped you with a tire iron right before you went on. You've been through worse. Scores: 33/40.

5. Team Girl Group

The women all feel pressure because the four of them are on the top of the leaderboard. Nancy weirdly seems to be taking the lead, given that Heather and Normani have more experience with dance choreography. And then I don't know what happens but Maks says, "I'll put on a tutu and you can call me Mary. Except don't call me Mary. And I'm not putting on a tutu. I'm just excited." It made me laugh.

The women's dance is much more of a dance relative to the men's dance. It's sort of like the school talent show where a group of guys gets high praise for just getting onstage and bumping around and the women do a highly synchronized and well-rehearsed routine and everyone's like, "Eh." I think it's great. All four women look fantastic, although Heather really shines because this is the type of dancing she's used to. They dance solo and in hold, and it's all in sync. There's a weird part at the end where all of the lights go out but they soldier on even though we can barely see them. The girls just didn't have as much group chemistry, and the lighting screw-up didn't help them end with a bang. The judges were mostly underwhelmed even though they agree that the quality of the dancing was better. Scores: 34/40.

4. Simone Biles and Sasha: Samba

Simone will be dancing to "Survivor" by Destiny's Child and Sasha tries to get Simone to be sexy. Given her lack of experience with social skills or dating or anything because of her intense training regimen, Simone has a hard time finding her inner sex goddess or whatever. Girl, just watch like every Beyoncé video. I don't know whose choice it was to put Simone in work boots instead of heels, but it was a bad decision because she ends up serving perky cheerleader instead of sexy siren. She even misses a step in the intro, but there is a ton of content in this dance. It's just not that sexy, except for her final pose. Maybe Sasha should have told her to go for fierce instead of sexy. I think she could do fierce. The judges loved all the content, and they thought she was sexy, although Bruno and Len thought her timing was a bit off. Scores: 35/40.

3. Rashad Jennings and Emma: Tango

Emma was surprised by their low scores last week, so this week, she is working Rashad really hard. In addition, he's still working out to try to get picked up by an NFL team, which is astounding to me. I can't imagine how hard they practice every day learning the routines, and then he's going to the football field and doing another really difficult workout? No wonder his body looks like that. They're dancing to "(Reach Out) I'll Be There" by the Four Tops; I love this song and I wish Rashad were dancing something besides a tango. He seems so free in the opening bit where he's doing group choreography with three other guys. That's my favorite part. That said, his tango was sharp and quick. It was sometimes a bit stiff, but he really moved Emma around the floor and took the lead at all times. I was impressed and I want to see more from him. The judges all compliment his level of talent. Scores: 37/40.

2. Normani Kordei and Val: Salsa

As if I didn't feel old enough, Normani talks about how she used to try to learn the choreography to Pussycat Doll videos when she was a kid. WHEN SHE WAS A KID. The Pussycat Dolls were a thing when she was a kid, which was 2008. Oh, brother. Anyway, she is excited to dance to the Pussycat Dolls because she feels like it's her time to shine, although she did almost get a perfect score last week and doesn't want to fall too far down the leaderboard.

This is really fast and really sexy but it doesn't feel much like a salsa. It feels like a music video. Normani looks amazing and moves well, but I guess I wanted more in hold? You know I am an old fuddy-duddy like Len. And predictably, Len loves the dancing but is mad about the choreography. All of the other judges think that Normani looks like a winner. Scores: 38/40.

1. Heather Morris and Maks: Rumba

Heather is delighted to have Maks back as her partner, and Maks warns her that this routine is going to be very sexy. The conceit of the routine is that he's going to win her back from Alan through his sexy dancing, which I love. Make it a full-length movie, please. Any time someone wins a partner via their sexy dancing, I am there. Anyway, they are dancing to TLC's "Waterfalls," which is a great song but not so much sexy? I mean, "Three letters took him to his final resting place" doesn't put me in the mood. Heather and Maks do the best they can with the music although it feels a little fast for a rumba. They have a good connection though and I do love to watch Heather dance. She puts so much attitude into each and every movement. The judges have nothing but compliments for Heather's look and movements. Scores: 40/40.

Elimination

We knew (thanks to earlier announcements) that it was going to be a female celebrity going home this week. The two couples in jeopardy are Nancy and Artem and Heather and Maks. And Heather and Maks are going home, despite having a perfect score this week. I blame the judges, who underscored Heather all season. I think they felt like people would think she was a ringer (which she kind of was) and underscored her as a result, and then this happens. The audience is stunned. It didn't help that she had to have a substitute partner. Poor Heather and Maks.

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