Muy caliente was the word Monday on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” for their Latin Night theme. The second week of competition brought its first elimination at the end of the show. In addition, one pro dancer was injured during camera blocking just hours before the live telecast. In true show biz fashion a selected troupe member stepped in, and had one of the most memorable dances for his celebrity out of the 12 competing.
There was only a two-way tie for the lead this week. It was UFC’s Paige VanZant topping the leaderboard, along with Boyz II Men’s Wanya Morris on top for the second week in a row. Jodie Sweetin and Keo Motsepe opened the show with the perfect sizzling samba number that had an African theme. She is definitely improving and received a 21 for their efforts, a point higher from last week. Geraldo Rivera took on his own version of Donald Turmp, someone he’s known since 1974. Please Geraldo leave celebrity impersonations to those professionals and “SNL” comedians. He did improve only slightly by moving around a little bit more during their salsa routine. It was somewhat more entertaining, yet the scores were the exact same from last week at 13.
During the first hour saw Paige literally rock the house with her replacement partner, troupe member Alan Bersten. Mark Ballas, her original pro partner, suffered a disc injury that left him completely unable to dance only hours before showtime. In only two hours Bersten had to learn the routine. By the time “Dancing with the Stars” aired, it was as if Paige and Alan had been rehearsing all week, instead of a mere couple of hours. They both had chemistry, their routine was tight, and you could see the trust they had in each other, especially with those unbelievable lifts that are allowed during a salsa Latin dance. It’s undetermined when Ballas will return to the dance floor. Needless to say Paige and Alan received a well-deserved 24 out of 30. Paige VanZant has clearly become the female celebrity to beat.
Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd were the ballroom darlings of last week, this week it was a bit of a challenge to slow things down for their rumba, the dance of love. Clearly their rumba was the best out of the bunch, though head judge Len Goodman stated it was a bit too ‘hectic.” They received a score of 20 and tied with three other couples. It was nice to see the producers include Nyle in a bumper promo, with some troupe members, during a model photo shoot before the start of their routine. Doug Flutie did a 180 by owning his paso doble, a vast improvement from his timid foxtrot on week one. He has likely bought him some time to stay longer in the season.
Not surprising was seeing Wanya Morris and his exceptional pro partner Lindsay Arnold kill it in the round, the round stage they were dancing on, complete with an enthusiastic blue neon crowd. All dressed in blue they salsa’ed nonstop in perfect synchronization that featured some fast paced lifts to the music of Pitbull. The judges loved their hot Latin salsa and awarded them all 8’s thus tying with Paige and Alan. It was the “End of the Road” (referencing Boyz II Men’s biggest hit song), in a not so shocking elimination for Geraldo Rivera. Next week’s theme will be the beloved Most Memorable Year.