Poor Mischa Barton. Just when she seemed to be opening up and enjoying Dancing with the Stars, she got the boot. This was hardly a surprise, given her low score (a painful 18 of 30) and the fact that she had the coordination of a bridesmaid after four margaritas. She's been though a lot in recent years, and based on her intro piece, the sun was peeking through the clouds and the show played a big part, but this is a rough start to her comeback.
This week's theme was "Most Memorable Year"--a performance devoted to a time in the performers' lives that held special significance. It was full of heart-tugging moments, to be sure, but good footwork? Read on to see how everyone fared.
The dance: Ginger devoted her dance to her husband Ben, whom she met in 2013 and who had the sheet music to her favorite song framed. Aw! As such, the dance was a real heart-melter, with Ginger moving in a flowy, fairy-like gown and looking dewy and soft. It was playful, tender and near-pro level except for her occasional tense moments.
What the judges say: While everyone acknowledged the strong emotional story Len said he would've liked more fluidity; Bruno, similarly, wanted to see more extension of movement.
The dance: Another heartwarming moment! Doug danced to honor his parents who both died last year; minutes after his sick dad died, his mother gave him a kiss and dropped dead herself. Soul singer Andra Day cooed out the song, which, given the context here, makes this dance hard to critique. Still, Doug put too much attention on Karina. He was still mostly a placeholder, doing a lot of arm whooshing and spinning with little actual dancing. Only a monster, though could actually say that - especially after seeing Doug fight back tears in his exit interview.
What the judges say: Bruno, again, knocked fluidity; Len said it was unstable, but it had elegance and emotion.
The dance: Kim devoted her dance to her early acting days, starting with the 1976 Mrs. Butterworth commercial that led to guest appearances onGood Timesand the Facts of Life. She opened the dance grinning warmly, going into a syrupy, palatable performance. It was technically all there, but a little boring. You want to root for Kim cause she's so nice, but find yourself wanting her to do something interesting or edgy. That could in fact become a factor later in the season as fans vote.
What the judges say: Len said it was like maple syrup--smooth and tasty--while Bruno said she needed to relax her shoulders to make it look more professional.
The dance: Miller dedicated his dance to his Super Bowl win this year; Collin's song is his go-to before games. Shirtless, Miller did a lot of lifts. He still looked strained at times, and like he had to keep looking at Witney to keep place, but without his shirt you could see the full motion of his movements. He's becoming more graceful but this was mostly acrobatics over dancing.
What the judges say: The typically super nice Carrie Ann took him to task for holding back. "You were not in the level of zone," she said. "It was pleasant, but I want more." Exactly.
The dance: Marla's moment was the birth of her daughter; even though "her daddy and I divorced in 2000," as she put it. (Way to get those relevancy points Marla!) As for her dance, she owned this one. As always, she looked happy and infectiously fun; her feet moved well, she was energetic and mostly on-point save a few moments where she looked a little confused. Still, pretty kick-ass.
What the judges say: Bruno called it a "proper jive all the way" while famously persnickety Len said, "You're happy - I'm happy."
The dance: In the third emotional moment of the night, Antonio dedicated his dance to his family -citing his devotion to being a good dad because his was absent - and then brought his son out for a final gut-punch. But while Antonio has gotten better, he's still and a little klutzy on the floor. His speed and tempo have become noticeably stronger but complicated moves give him trouble...and basic moves aren't that compelling either, frankly.
What the judges say: Carrie Ann acknowledged seeing more refinement but Len, who called Antonio competent, didn't see enough of the refinement Carrie Ann did.
The dance: Paige dedicated her dance to her first UFC fight - the sport that saved her after enduring bullying. In a creative, if overtly literal dance, Paige and Mark (back after being injured) performed inside a ring, giving their take lots of drama. Paige was nothing short of awesome; the routine was athletic, full of tension and in perfect sync. It felt hard, at times, to distinguish between the pro and the amateur, which is good.
What the judges say: Len said it was good and creative and all, but it didn't look like a paso doblé.
The dance: Jodie devoted her dance to her fifth year of sobriety, sharing how the end of Full House kickstarted a dark period of addiction. As for her dance, Jodie was graceful, powerful and lithe. She's still got that really intense eye of the tiger face going on, which is a little distracting but it's a small thing, really, in comparison to her eloquence.
What the judges say: Bruno called it her best performance to date; Carrie Ann said it was the most inspiring performance of the night.
The dance: Mischa's opening segment painted her as a nightmare, blaming Artem for not doing more and saying she wasn't sure she wanted to stay on the show. It was a metaphor for her life as a whole--having a crisis of conscious (and a few real crises) after The O.C. ended. But she had a breakthrough in 2008; similarly this was the week she seemed to crack open and enjoy this. No matter that she was clumsy, uncoordinated and out of sync with the music. Mischa was smiling y'all. That counts for something, but not enough to keep her on the show, clearly.
What the judges say: Carrie Ann acknowledged that the show is having profound effect on her. "You're dancing with joy," she said, "and that's a big step." Len called it her best dance yet.
The dance: Wanya devoted his dance to Boyz II Men performance at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, a week after the terrorist attack. Twenty years later, he's performing to the groups' version of the song...and he nailed it. It was graceful, fluid, sensual and sharp where it needed to be. He's a pleasure to watch.
What the judges say: Everyone gushed, including Len who praised his lovely fluid movement.
The dance: Nyle's dance honored the year he spent traveling the world without an interpreter, acknowledging his fearlessness as a deaf man. His dance was nothing short of remarkable; he shot out in sync with the music, and you could feel a sense of passion. His footwork was on point, as were the sharp lines he created throughout. The fact that he can't hear makes his turns all the more astonishing.