“Dancing with the Stars” 2016 continued March 28 on ABC with the season’s first themed episode, the aptly named Latin Night. So which two pairs salsa’d to the top of Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli’s week two leaderboard and whose path to the mirror ball trophy led to the exit?
The “hot and sexy” show –as Tom Bergeron termed it– opened with a Mandy Moore-choreographed number that featured the conspicuous absence of Mark Ballas, who suffered a back injury on March 27. Would he rebound and perform with partner Paige VanZant? They weren’t telling.
But the show had to go on, and up first with a samba were “Fuller House” star Jodie Sweetin and Keo Motsepe. Jodie looked good in gold and the pair turned in a solid performance.
Len called the dance “hot enough” without the prop flames and praised Keo for the choreography. Bruno likened her to a “shining golden goddess” but cautioned her against self-doubt. Carrie Ann, finally, called her a “fantastic dancer” and “a wonderful piece of clay for Keo to work with,” but said she needs to avoid tensing up. Jodie and Keo earned a 21 and seemed happy with it.
Second up to strut her stuff in the “DWTS” ballroom was actress Marla Maples, who was charged with performing an Argentine tango with Tony Dovolani. The ex-Mrs. Donald Trump looked a little stiff at times; maybe a little tentative. But she’s in her fifties and she looks absolutely incredible, so not using antiperspirant and sticking to an insanely limited diet is working like a charm.
Bruno called Marla “titillating” and “tantalizing” but wanted her to be more “down and dirty.” Carrie Ann called her “elegant” and “classy” and thought the dance suited her well, but wished for more “angles.” Len found it “clean and polished” but wanted more intimacy. Marla and Tony scored a 20.
Third in the Latin Night dance order were TV personality Geraldo Rivera and Edyta Sliwinska, who opted to parody Rivera’s friend Donald Trump in their salsa. Edyta shook and shimmied and shook some more, but the dance was a hot mess. They have a lock on the bottom spot on the leaderboard.
Carrie Ann praised Geraldo for making her laugh and noted “improvement.” Len called it “trumpery” and said he’s kind of person who’s “great on ‘Dancing with the Stars.'” Bruno said he was “true to the source of inspiration” and called it “impressive for all the wrong reasons.” Not even remotely surprisingly, Geraldo and Edyta once again scored a 13.
Up next, the “will Mark Ballas dance?” question was resolved as Paige VanZant hit the floor salsa-style with “DWTS” troupe member Alan Bersten. Major props to Paige for dancing incredibly well with a brand new partner. She was sexy, precise, and her feet moved insanely fast. Paige VanZant can win it all!
Len addressed Mark –who watched from the gallery above– and praised his choreography before thanking Paige for turning in the season’s best dance to date. Bruno likened Paige’s energy to a “volcanic explosion” but urged her to control her speed to stay with the music. Carrie Ann thought she “destroyed that number” and jumped to her feet. Paige and Alan earned a 24.
NFL star Antonio Brown and Sharna Burgess followed with the ultimate personal space-invading dance, a rumba. Antonio and Sharna are two seriously gorgeous people, but something about their dance didn’t work. Maybe it was Antonio’s huge grin. Or maybe it was something entirely different.
Bruno said Antonio has “got it all” but needs to “apply” his “talent to the technique.” Carrie Ann appreciated their “chemistry” and “nuances” but needed to give Sharna “a strong frame.” Len said he could see “a dancer inside of you” but thought the dance “lacked finesse” and was “a little bit scruffy here and there.” Antonio and Sharna earned 19 points (and the audience booed).
Sixth in the week two dance order were actress Kim Fields and Sasha Farber, who salsa’d to “Conga.” She made a mistake, but watching Kim dance is just fun: her smile is infectious and she has such fabulous energy. She’s like a lightning bolt combined with a breath of fresh air.
All three judges remarked on the error, but enjoyed Kim’s performance nonetheless. Carrie Ann praised her “Tina Turner legs” and “Beyonce on the top,” and Len enjoyed her “promise and potential.” Bruno encouraged her to cover her mistakes and hoped to see her dancing during week three. Kim and Sasha scored 19 points.
“America’s Next Top Model” winner Nyle DiMarco, who made an impression with his high-scoring week one dance, hit the floor with Peta Murgatroyd to deliver a rumba. They’re incredible; it’s almost impossible to accept the reality that Nyle can’t hear a thing. They are truly redefining dance.
Len knocked them for performing a lift and called the dance “all to hectic.” He said it had “too much attack.” Bruno enjoyed the “spine tingling intensity,” but told Peta to have Nyle finish his movements and lines. Carrie Ann called it “stunning” but thought Nyle was “a little too strong for the tone of the song.” Nyle and Peta posted a 20.
From slow and sensual to fast and flirty, Nyle and Peta gave way to actress Mischa Barton and Artem Chigvintsev, who were up next with a cha cha. So, yeah, Mischa is not a natural dancer, she’s very hard on herself, and she doesn’t have the best attitude. It wasn’t great, but it was better than week one’s performance. So that’s something. Maybe.
Bruno appreciated that she “tried to get into character” and liked that there was “a lot of cha cha cha there,” but noted that it didn’t fit the music. Carrie Ann liked seeing Mischa smile and assured her that she “looked adorable.” Len called it “a tad better” and noted that her nerves were an issue. Mischa and Artem scored a 15 (and then Mischa made an abrupt exit stage right).
Up next on “Dancing with the Stars” 2016, Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller and Witney Carson put their spin on the cha cha. It was entertaining, but Von can do better. Step it up next week, Von!
Carrie Ann said Von “had some great moments” but thought he’d “danced too small.” Len said it was “like a taco, tasty in places” but with some funny bits thrown in. Bruno, finally, told Witney to not allow Von to “drown” the dance style in his personality. Von and Witney notched a 20.
With less than a half an hour remaining until the season’s first elimination, Boyz II Men’s Wanya Morris and Lindsay Arnold performed a salsa. They are so good and their dance was fabulous! He’s so clean and precise and just plain fun to watch. They could seriously win the trophy.
Len called it a “full of” dance and said he was “full of praise.” Bruno declared “that is how you salsa!” and Carrie Ann called Wanya “the king of the ballroom.” Wanya and Lindsay scored a 24, which put them in a tie with Paige and Alan for the top spot on the leaderboard.
Up next with a paso doble were former NFL star Doug Flutie and Karina Smirnoff. It was more of a group dance that featured the “DWTS” troupe, but Doug held his own. It was powerful and he did a nice job.
Bruno said it was “like watching ‘Spartacus and the Dancing Gladiators,” but offered up some corrective commentary. Carrie Ann declared “Doug Flutie is in the game” and appreciated seeing his “power” on display. Len thought it had “attack” and “purpose” and was “better than last week.” Doug and Karina posted a 20.
Closing out the performance portion of the episode with a samba were “Good Morning America” weather anchor Ginger Zee and Valentin Chmerkovskiy. Ginger is cute and she can dance quite well. But man alive, did the ever waste a lot of time at the beginning of that song.
Carrie Ann called it “a fantastic routine” but noted a “slip up in the middle.” Len thought they took too long to get started (thank goodness), but liked the “recognizable” content. Bruno praised them for her sunny attitude and noted mistakes, but appreciated how she didn’t show them in her face. Ginger and Val scored a 21.
Just a moment later (literally), the 12 couples joined Ginger and Val on stage for the big elimination. Rather than saving pairs to dance again, Tom and Erin Andrews revealed that three couples –who they later called the bottom three– were in jeopardy: Mischa and Artem, Geraldo and Edyta, and Doug and Karina. After the requisite dramatic pause, Geraldo and Edyta were eliminated from season 22.
Geraldo called Edyta “fabulous” and “charismatic” and quipped that if he hadn’t been eliminated he would’ve “demanded a recount.” They waved their good-byes, and “Dancing with the Stars” 2016 week two came to a close with Paige VanZant and Wanya Morris tied for the top spot on the leaderboard. Who will get the boot next week? Given her attitude, the likely victim is Mischa Barton, but anything can happen in the ballroom, so tune in and find out.