Dancing With The Stars Had It Coming For Showstoppers Week
And they only have themselves to blame when 16-year-old Laurie Hernandez can't quite pull off the sexy 'Cell-Block Tango.'
It's Showstoppers night (what does that even mean?) and the guest judge is Adele Dazeem. I mean, "Idina Menzel." That never stops being funny/bizarre to me. Anyway, in the first round, the couples have to dance to Broadway hits, and the second round is a team dance. And of course, there will be an elimination at the end. Here are your rankings:
9. Marilu Henner and Derek: Samba
They are dancing to a Jersey Boys song, which means a Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons song. And hey, Mark Ballas is currently starring in that show! So he FaceTimes with Derek for literally three seconds and they say nothing. I thought that was pointless but I guess it was just setting up Mark and his co-stars performing for the dance. Anyway, Derek admits that he and Marilu have had ups and downs, but he feels like they've had a breakthrough this week. Will it show up in the routine?
Nah. This routine was kind of boring. Marilu looks like she's having fun, but there's no bounce in the samba and she biffs the footwork at least once, if not more. The judges all loved it and Idina Menzel, bless her, seems to be the useless type of celebrity judge who only says positive things. Scores: 36/40.
8. Calvin and James: Paso Doble
Calvin and James are paired together as the last men standing. And they have a real bro-down during rehearsals. This Paso is muy macho. There's a lot of the two dudes going face to face. I think head to head, Calvin actually looks better than James. The athletes always do well with the Paso Doble though. I don't know, this was good, and I don't have any problems with the technique, but it just didn't hold my attention. Scores: 37/40.
7. James Hinchcliffe and Jenna: Jazz
Sharna's knee is getting better but the doctor told her it would still be risky to dance, and she could risk permanent injury. So she's not going to dance. I don't know if she did the choreography to "Brand New Day" from The Wiz but it wasn't my favorite. It felt like a high-school production. James looked great except for one section in the middle where they were supposed to be dancing in sync and he got ahead. Also, does anyone else think it's a little weird to have a bunch of honkies dancing the parts in this particular musical? The judges are impressed with James's recovery from his misstep and love how he came back and sold the moves hard. Scores: 36/40.
6. Marilu and Terra: Jazz
Terra and Marilu seem like a very simpatico pairing. They are getting along like a house afire. Their routine is kind of weird in that it is part disco, part jazz. But it's flashy and big and bright and you can't look away. There are a few bad moves, but overall Marilu and Terra cover it with their big brash attitudes. Bruno references Baz Luhrmann, which is exactly right in terms of the kookiness and glitz involved. Like, all those disparate parts shouldn't have worked, but somehow they did? Scores: 36/40.
5. Terra Jolé and Sasha: Charleston
Sasha has to modify a lot of the choreography for Terra's abilities, and Terra explains that it used to bother her when she couldn't do it the "normal" way, but now she just accepts it and they figure out how to do it so that it works. Terra is really a bundle of joy throughout this routine. She attacks it hard. I spotted a few missteps, but she covers well and seems like she's having a blast. I should mention that she's dancing to "If My Friends Could See Me Now" from Sweet Charity and I went on a cruise in college and we had a promotional videotape (I'm old) that featured Kathie Lee singing "If they could see me now, out on a fun ship cruise!" So that's all I hear in my head during this routine. Thanks, Kathie Lee! The judges applaud her confidence and joy and love that she's focusing on what she CAN do and not what she CAN'T do. Scores: 38/40.
4. Laurie Hernandez and Val: Tango
Val tries to convince Laurie to be sexy since they are dancing "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago. Val takes her to see the musical on Broadway and, despite getting instruction from the professionals, Laurie still giggles about all the sexy stuff. I'm trying to remember how I would have behaved at sixteen; I definitely would have been uncomfortable with it, but I think a part of me would have been psyched to be seen as sexy? I don't think I would have giggled as much as she does. Anyway, Laurie attacks one of the fastest tangoes I remember in show history. I'm not sure how Laurie fits all of the moves into the counts. I am still missing the seductiveness, although Laurie looks beautiful and she makes beautiful shapes throughout. As usual, though, it's too robotic for my taste. I'd rather see a few mistakes but at least one emotion. The judges drool all over Laurie some more. Scores: 40/40.
3. Laurie and Jana: Contemporary
These two couples did not have much rehearsal time together this week due to Gleb's knee injury, but they tried to pull it together in dress rehearsal. I'm a little bit over the contemporary routines to Sia songs, tbh. They're always about escaping abusive situations or finding your inner child or whatever and there's a lot of drama. Anyway, the ladies dance this one nicely but I think Jana outshines Laurie in this one. The judges have nothing but compliments. Scores: 40/40.
2. Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay: Waltz
Leona Lewis is singing for them since she was just in Cats, and they're dancing to "Memory." They get dressed up in the Cat costumes and Lindsay dies laughing because Calvin didn't put the dance belt (like a dancing jockstrap) on. They get to learn some catlike moves from the actual choreographers for the show and Lindsay is proud that Calvin is really going for it. He is adorable.
After all that costuming and makeup and rehearsal, they are not dancing like cats. They are doing a very traditional waltz. Calvin does a great job, looking graceful and elegant and easy. He gets a little ahead of the beat during the big chord change, but it's barely noticeable. The judges are wowed by his athleticism and grace. Scores: 37/40.
1. Jana Kramer and Gleb: Waltz
Jana is dancing to a song from Waitress, and she really relates to the song because she was very heartbroken when she started the show this season (she had just separated from her third (!) husband) and she's really gained confidence. Jana's dancing is beautiful this week. The waltz is all about arms, and Jana's are long and elegant and graceful. She really gets into the drama of the routine too. The judges loved the beauty of the routine and their connection. Scores: 40/40.
The bottom two are Marilu and Derek and Jana and Gleb, and the couple eliminated is Marilu and Derek. That's about right, although it could have also been Terra and Sasha. Jana has really impressed me this week, and I still think Calvin is underrated. But I'm sure Laurie will win.