“Dancing with the Stars” 2016 continued April 25 on ABC as the nine remaining celebrity/professional couples once again hit the ballroom to show off their increasingly fancy footwork. Who topped the leader board at night’s end, who tumbled from grace, and whose dance did Bruno Tonioli liken to a Kardashian’s face? Read on for a complete recap.
The all-new two-hour Famous Dances-themed episode began with a group number set to the iconic show tune “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Just a moment later, hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews welcomed the couples to the ballroom and then introduced the night’s first performers: “The Facts of Life” alum Kim Fields and Sasha Farber.
After sharing her relief over being reunited with Sasha following a less-than-fun Switch-Up week experience with Keo Motsepe and learning she had a stress fracture (or two), Kim got to work on her “You Can’t Stop the Beat” jive inspired by “Hairspray.” Kim always puts on a good show so bonus points for spirit, but she looked a wee bit more tentative than usual (probably from the searing pain in her legs).
Head judge Len Goodman praised the routine as “a terrific opening to the show,” while Bruno Tonioli rose from his seat and danced in appreciation. Carrie Ann Inaba, finally, called Kim “fantastic” but worried that she’d fade into the background because she’s so “consistent” from week to week. (Uh, okay.) Kim and Sasha scored a 24 out of 30.
Up second to bring some badness to the “DWTS” ballroom were NFL star Von Miller and Witney Carson, who performed a jazz routine to Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” Von felt the pressure of becoming the King of Pop, but he came out on stage like a boss and he looked great. He seemed to really embrace the role and he brought it.
Bruno called it “bad ass” and praised him for getting the moves down, and Carrie Ann thought Von “embodied” Jackson completely and brought his own “style and flavor” to it. Len, lastly, called it “good bad” and quipped “you didn’t need that wind machine. You’ve got a fan here!” After Von demonstrated the crotch-grab, his favorite move from the number, the judges turned their paddles to reveal a total of 24 points.
“Fuller House” star Jodie Sweetin and Keo Motsepe kept the action moving forward with their famous dance, a contemporary piece to Pink’s “Try,” but not before Jodie suffered a frightening injury during rehearsals that threatened to sideline her from the competition. Jodie brought raw, honest emotion to her dance.
Carrie Ann called it “difficult to watch” due to the subject matter and the “danger factor,” but thought they made it “artistic and beautiful.” Len appreciated the “confrontational feel” and termed it “great work,” and Bruno enjoyed the interpretation and said they “nearly gave me a heart attack.” A triumphant Jodie and Keo earned a 25.
Up fourth in the dance order with a naughty, naughty number of their own were UFC fighter Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas, who were charged with performing a jazz routine to “Soul Bossa Nova” from “Austin Powers.” Although a late-game song-switch left the duo behind the eight-ball prep-wise, their live performance was groovy, baby! Paige is a performer at heart, Mark is Austin Powers, and the two are a terrific match. Period.
Len said “there was nothing about that dance that I didn’t like,” and Bruno loved the “accuracy of the stylistic details.” Carrie Ann declared that they were “on it!” There’s really nothing else to say. Len awarded them with a perfect 10, while the other two flashed nines for a grand total of 28 points on the night.
Looking to keep their own groovy magic in the “Dancing with the Stars” ballroom alive with a quickstep were “America’s Next Top Model” winner Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd. Set to “Hey Pachuco” from “The Mask,” their dance was, as the pair’s dances always are, fun to watch. Nyle may have been the slightest bit off sync at times, but dude, he can’t hear anything. He’s still a showman and he was still great.
Bruno enjoyed the “kooky energy” and how well Nyle did an actual quickstep, but noted sync issues. Carrie Ann noted the challenges of dancing in a mask as he did, but thought his frame was “very broken.” Len enjoyed the performance but noted a few issues, and scolded Nyle for comparing himself to Val (Chmerkovskiy), as he did during his rehearsal package. Yikes. Nyle and Peta came away with a 25.
With five dances down, the ever-adorable Ginger Zee hit the “DWTS” ballroom with a new side of herself on display as she got “Nasty” with pro partner Val. Their Janet Jackson-inspired dance was fine, but Ginger just couldn’t hide her cuteness. She just isn’t nasty.
Carrie Ann called Ginger “so well-rehearsed” but wanted to see her “hit it more.” Len agreed, calling it “clean and precise” but termed it “more tasty than nasty.” Bruno, finally, called it “Janet in the best possible taste” and wanted her to “punch it much more.” Ginger and Val scored 24 points.
As unsettling as it was to see Ginger try to be nasty, the evening’s most bizarre pick followed as former NFL star Doug Flutie and Karina Smirnoff joined forces to deliver a Bollywood number to “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire.” Bless Doug for doing the best he could with what looked like a truly taxing, arm-flailing dance.
Len quipped “from Bollywood to Hollywood, it was jolly good,” and Bruno thought it had everything he wanted to see. Carrie Ann liked that he’d escaped from “paint by numbers” dance and called it fun to watch. Doug and Karina were awarded 21 points, which the former panned as a disappointing score.
With just two couples remaining on the dance card, a member of one ’90s group mingled with the music of another as Boyz II Men’s Wanya Morris hit the ballroom with Lindsay Arnold to dance to NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye.” They’re awesome and that jazz number was spot on in the best way. That is all.
Bruno called it “as tight and polished as Kim Kardashian’s face” and loved how Wanya hit the beats. Carrie Ann rose to her feet and yelled “this boy is on fire!” and thought he “brought dirty, sexy” stuff to the ballroom. Len thought they’d “taken a great step” toward the finals. Wanya and Lindsay scored a 29, including 10s from Carrie Ann and Bruno.
Last up with a “Footloose” inspired jive were NFL star Antonio Brown and Sharna Burgess. The jive is a hard dance and Antonio did it justice while wearing his signature enormous grin, but Wanya and Lindsay or Paige and Mark should’ve closed out the show. Antonio was good, but the others were excellent.
Carrie Ann declared “that’s the way to bring the house down” and Len praised it as Antonio’s best dance so far. Bruno, finally, said he’d proven himself to be “a leading man.” Antonio and Sharna scored a 27 out of 30.
With just minutes left in the broadcast, Tom and Erin ushered the cast onto the stage and the results action commenced as Paige and Mark, Doug and Karina, and Von and Witney were relegated to the not-fun danger zone. Following the usual dramatic pause, Doug and Karina were eliminated from contention. Doug said he’d enjoyed the whole “amazing experience” as the crowd chanted “Flutie! Flutie!” Karina said she’d made “a great friend” in her partner, and they headed to the center of the ballroom floor for their final dance.
At night’s end, Wanya and Lindsay topped the Famous Dances Night leader board with 29 points, while three couples –Ginger and Val, Von and Witney, and Kim and Sasha– were knotted at the bottom with 24 each. With a double elimination set for the next show, things are about to get hot in Hollywood.
“Dancing with the Stars” 2016 resumes May 2 on ABC. For more information and updates as the week progresses, follow the show’s official Twitter page.