Dancing with the Stars sent Doug Flutie shuffling home on Monday after its Famous Dances Night. Surprisingly, the consistently solid Paige VanZant also appeared in the bottom three--a consequence of scores from the last two weeks. This week also seemed to turn the tide, as some other usually good performers fell flat and allowed a few of the sleeper contestants wowed with renewed gusto. How'd they do?
Kim Fields and Sasha Farber - Jive - "You Can't Stop the Beat" from "Hairspray"
The dance: Here's the thing with Kim: she's having fun; it shows on her face. She's improving and trying hard, as explained in her opening package when we saw she's been dancing through painful stress fractures. Technically, she lands her moves. But, she's still not as loose as she could be, and when she's surrounded by a gaggle of dancers younger, more limber and with more energy than her, she looks tired. She was competent.
What the judges say:Len raved, while Carrie Ann acknowledged her energy was tame, and warned her against disappearing into the background.
The dance: Aw, how cute was Von in his opening? He knew, as we all did, that doing a Michael Jackson dance means high expectations. Von stepped his game up though, with a highly entertaining effort. He pulled off a highly technical dance with a lot of moving parts - not anywhere near as well as MJ would on his worst day, of course - but he held his own.
What the judges say:Judges gave him unanimous love; even Len called it terrific.
The dance: OK, who else was chewing their nails watching this one? Obviously, after that nasty injury had her worried she'd be out, Jodie faced a tough challenge with this one, if only mentally. It's scary to get back on the horse after a fall, but Jodie got through it. Granted, there wasn't much actual dancing in this routine, but a lot of acrobatics and partner work: lifts, throws and jumps with a Crouching Tiger-level of coordination. As usual, a lot of the dance was in Jodie's face and there were a few moments that lacked fluidity.
What the judges say:They got props for the danger factor; Carrie Ann called it elegant and applauded them on their comeback.
Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas - Jazz - "Soul Bossa Nova" from "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery"
The dance: Paige is just so fun to watch. She owned the floor in this routine, bringing high enthusiasm and near-perfect timing to a song-and-dance that's already inherently lovable. Add flawless flips and costumes that take you to a happy place, and you have one of the season's best.
What the judges say:Len: "There was nothing about that dance I didn't like," and proved it by giving her a rare 10.
The dance: Wow. Another stunner from Nyle, who embodied his character so entirely it was easy to forget who was behind that mask. The footwork was on point, as was the timing and high intensity. By the time he leaned over to take the a rose out of a glass on the table with his teeth, it was game over.
What the judges say Bruno called it incredible but Carrie Ann was the unexpected sourpuss, saying his frame was broken, it wasn't crisp and the dance got away from him. Len warned him against saying he was anywhere as good as Val. Ouch.
The dance: Wait - who is this? It surely can't be the same Ginger who's been slaying routines since this thing started. Her opening package painted her as rightfully exhausted from cross-country twice a week while working full-time and taking care of a new baby, and it showed. (By the way, did no one think this would become an issue? Seriously?) Her pacing was off, and she did more walking around and vamping than dancing.
What the judges say Carrie Ann, accurately, said she almost owned it but we wanted to see more.
The dance: This could've been a complete disaster, but Doug actually looked decent. Perhaps it was because the routine camouflaged him among a group, or that he didn't have to do anything that required a ton of grace and range of motion. Of course, Doug being Doug he still had that stiff, Frankenstein thing going on--it's like his limbs are attached to wooden boards--but the routine didn't make you want to cover your eyes. So, that's improvement.
What the judges say They tried to be nice but, yeah, it's a wrap for Doug.
The dance: Wanyá has done a lot of different dances well, but the question tonight was if pop was in his wheelhouse. Answer: Yes. The crooner had all the pop-lock pivots and stops down pat, looking confident and like he was having fun while doing so.
What the judges say Bruno called it "pop in its most polished brilliant form" while Len said he'd taken a step forward to the final.
Antonio Brown and Sharna Burgess - Jive - "Footloose" from "Footloose"
The dance: Well! Someone got a kick in the pants. Clearly pissed after he saw Sharna's expression of no confidence in him in her video package last week, Antonio got himself together and burst out the pen with renewed vigor and vitality. He was so forceful, in fact, his movements were sometimes hard to tame. Still, his newfound passion and effort showed and he was rewarded for it with a 10 from Carrie Ann.
What the judges say They praised his great attitude and rewarded him with his best score of the season.
Who do you think will be voted off next week?
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.