Thursday, October 28, 2021

Survivor 41 S41E06: Ready to Play Like a Lion


Survivor keeps laying on the twists in a cliffhanger that might change the game.
by Jeremy Fogelman

The latest episode of Survivor is called “Ready to Play Like a Lion” and nobody gets voted out at all, at least not quite yet. The episode starts with Shan and Ricard arguing and at odds with each other about that extra vote he’s “holding” for her. It’s the sort of thing that is really only a setup for later and the potential new alliances that might be there or not.

The tribes gather together for a fake merge of sorts, which has a complicated twist Jeff tells us about in a camera shot within a camera shot. The players will be divided in two with two players left out, the winning tribe gets great food and immunity at the next tribal council, and then they decide what to do with the left out players. One will join the team and get immunity and food and the other will head to Exile Island where they will be gifted with extraordinary power.

It turns out that due to random chance, most of Luvu ends up in one group and they have more physical capabilities -- even if it ultimately comes down to Ricard solving the puzzle for them. Naseer is brought into the tribe and Erika exiled, for the reason that Danny is concerned about an all women’s alliance. Which has become a bit tiresome at this point, especially after he “jokingly” tells Evvie about his concerns (which is a dangerous move anyway because there actually was a woman’s alliance on Yase).

Before the tribes finally come together, Shan reconnects with Liana over their bonding experience, and Liana ends up telling both her and Tiff (who delighted me with her Hebrew phrase shout out of “Baruch Hashem” after getting situated). Even if Liana wasn’t too happy to be doing it. And Tiffany tells us that she is a bit worried about Liana and the secrets she’s kept. And Liana is also worried about Xander and his advantages.


For his part, Xander connects with Naseer about being physical threats, and he also delights us at home with his pun of “merge-atory”. I don’t know how long it took him to come up with that little bon mot but it was worth it. Shan makes another overture to Deshawn and Danny about being an alliance of POCs, and it does give us Deshawn sincerely pondering the idea. Will he and Danny choose this new alliance over their men versus women one?

It’s a lot of setup for potential complications, which is great, even if the true twist is yet to come. On Exile, we get a well done and emotionally impactful backstory from Erika, as she successfully makes fire by herself, about her parents coming from the Philippines to Canada and trying to give their kids a better life. Suddenly she’s a real character, isn’t she?

So when Jeff arrives with his Time-Turner hourglass, I got a kick out of it. Adding this sort of silly nonsense with actual game outcomes isn’t a bad idea, as long as it’s fair in some way. Here she’s taking away the challenge success of one team if she “reverses” time, but only by changing immunity -- at least she can’t take away their food.

But it seems like the best move for her is probably to hurt the people that hurt her, even though it could annoy them. Then again, she’s clearly at the bottom there so what does she have to lose? Overall, an interesting episode of Survivor, but this isn’t a show typically having cliffhangers. I suppose occasionally it’s fine but hopefully this isn’t a common thing.

Next time on Survivor, Erika will make a big decision and we will find out about it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Dancing With the Stars S30E07: Horror Night


Dancing with the Stars' Horror Night was spooktacular
by Kim Krober

Dancing With the Stars celebrated Halloween with a terrifying tribute to horror. It was cool to see less obvious choices like The Purge, Cujo, and A Quiet Place represented instead of falling back on often overused baddies like Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees. It felt innovative and refreshing, despite this being the show's 30th season.

It was also fantastic to see the return of judge Derek Hough to the dance floor, fresh from his Emmy win for outstanding choreography last month. Derek's "Tango of the Dead" was an incredible treat for the eyes, especially his fierce makeup!

Let's see how your favorites fared on this spooky sixth week of competition:

Mike “The Miz” Mizanin & Witney Carson, Paso Doble

The Miz and Witney's Hellraiser-inspired Paso Doble to "Wicked Games" was an eerily perfect way to open the show. Len told them they nailed it, although it could have used stronger posture. Derek was impressed nobody put their eyes out during the routine. Bruno called it a hell-raising performance with great control and good footwork. Carrie Ann cautioned him about working on his flexibility but loved it overall. It was another incredible character transformation!
Total: 34

Kenya Moore & Brandon Armstrong, Argentine Tango

I expected Kenya and Brandon's Arachnophobia-inspired Argentine Tango to The Weeknd's "Take My Breath" to be creepier, given the spider theme. However, they looked stylish. Derek likes her elegant demeanor. Bruno said it was beautiful and deadly, but said she needs to work on the transitions. Carrie Ann admires the way she digs deep but told her she freezes at times. Len told her she spun a web that absolutely captured the spirit of Argentine Tango.
Total: 32

JoJo Siwa & Jenna Johnson, Jazz

JoJo and Jenna's It-inspired Jazz routine to "Anything Goes" was amazing, especially JoJo's Pennywise costume. Bruno was terrified but said it was a nightmare turned into a brilliant work of art. Carrie Ann loved seeing JoJo push herself even further with acrobatics this week. Len said the dance perfectly captured the flavor of the Stephen King book. Derek loved the classic Cole Porter song juxtaposed with the horror.
Total: 40

Cody Rigsby & Cheryl Burke, Cha-Cha

Cody and Cheryl's American Psycho-inspired Cha-Cha to Kim Petra's "There Will Be Blood" was campy fun. Carrie Ann called him scary for all the right reasons tonight. Len said hallelujah because Cody finally came out and showed his potential. Derek praised it as his best dance to date and noted that he saw an amazing connection with Cheryl. Bruno called it murder on the dance floor with a great Cha-Cha.
Total: 36

Jimmie Allen & Emma Slater, Contemporary

Jimmie and Emma's A Quiet Place-inspired Contemporary to "Say Something" was poignantly beautiful, conveying so much emotion without any words. The American Sign Language inclusion was a nice touch. Len loved it, saying it had control, emotion, and tricky music that Jimmie mastered. Derek loved the power of the emotional storytelling and Jimmie's authentic commitment to the character. Bruno said it went beyond dancing, capturing the essence of the movie's love story. Carrie Ann felt the power of the dance and the moment.
Total: 38

Olivia Jade & Val Chmerkovskiy, Paso Doble

Olivia and Val's Purge-inspired Paso Doble to "Beggin" by Maneskin felt like a music video. Derek commended them for nailing such a difficult routine. Bruno enjoyed seeing her go from nice to naughty. Carrie Ann said she makes things look effortless. Len called it her comeback with a spirited Paso Doble. It was enough for four 9's from the judges.
Total: 36

Melora Hardin & Artem Chigvintsev, Jive

It was neat to see Melora's parents and to learn that her father was in Cujo. Melora and Artem's Cujo-inspired Jive to Elvis' "Hound Dog" was so cute. Bruno praised her for playing it with such delicious wit. Carrie Ann wants to see her push herself, calling it a little safe. Len felt it was a great mix of quality and quantity. Derek agreed with Carrie Ann, saying he wants to see more from her in future weeks. It felt like the judges were putting her down for no real reason, except to cause a little bit of drama?
Total: 34

Iman Shumpert & Daniella Karagach, Contemporary

Iman and Daniella's Us-inspired Contemporary routine to "I Got 5 On It" was his best thus far. Carrie Ann called it genius, saying her mind was blown. Len praised Daniella for the amazing concept and choreography. Derek was speechless. Bruno was totally transfixed, calling it Iman's masterpiece performance. Would he be going home after such a breakthrough?
Total: 40

Suni Lee & Sasha Farber, Tango

Suni and Sasha's Vampire Diaries-inspired Tango to "Bad Habits" by Ed Sheeran was kinda sexy. Len liked the frame and movement but felt the footwork was a bit hit and miss. Derek loved the magical intro, although he felt there was a little misstep with the music. Bruno said she had bite tonight, upping her performance factor. Carrie Ann could tell she was having more fun. Suni is slowly coming out of her shell, but will America keep voting for her?
Total: 36

Amanda Kloots & Alan Bersten, Argentine Tango

Amanda and Alan's SAW-inspired Argentine Tango to "Paint It Black" was an awesome way to end Horror Night. Derek admires how she keeps challenging herself week after week. Bruno said she cut it like a scalpel with sharp precision and shapes. Carrie Ann said she does not disappoint, although sometimes she sees too much tension in her movements. Len thought it lacked a little bit of Argentine Tango content.
Total: 38


After such a fun-filled evening, it was difficult to see anyone else exit the competition. It came down to Kenya and Brandon and Suni and Sasha in the bottom two. It was a unanimous decision from the judges to save Suni and Sasha. Who else is excited for Queen Night in the ballroom next week? We will ... We will rock you!

Do you think the right contestant went home? Keep voting for your favorites!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Survivor 41 S41E05: The Strategist or The Loyalist


Survivor gets tense in an episode with only one iffy note.
by Jeremy Fogelman

In the latest episode of Survivor called 'The Strategist or The Loyalist', we sadly wonder: why did Genie lose?

Of course, there are multiple factors here, one of which is that she was far too trusting of Shan and Ricard and another that she was simply the easy vote in the tribe of three. I don’t think Shan or Ricard really wanted to vote out Genie, by this point they had all bonded (just like old Malcolm and Denise from Matsing back in the day) but when you lose the immunity once more it’s tough.

Shan and Ricard have been a very tight duo since the start of the game, and this episode had the only wrench in the works that’s ever happened between them. The two are honest with each other about the potential strategical implications of their moves but it does come down to Ricard asking if Shan trusted him or not. Which ultimately, she did. At least for now. After all, we did hear her say to Liana that Ricard shouldn’t be trusted if she gets voted off.

But the episode did a great job of setting things up so that I legitimately didn’t know for sure what was going to happen -- I suspected the result we got, but we had a lot of potential upsets. Genie might’ve used her dice roll of doom and Ricard was heard telling us he was tricking Genie about Shan. But then we heard both Ricard and Shan express concern to each other that they might be being “blindsided” (although... not really so much here), and I didn’t know if Shan was going to either waste her idol or play it to save herself.

It was also really great to see Shan and Liana bond and cry together over their mountain walk, even if the ultimate choices of Shan protecting her vote and Liana risking hers were the easier choice yet for it. But leading into whatever comes next leaves Shan in a decent place, all things considered -- Ricard and Liana are both potentially real allies for her but Ricard just has Shan. And Liana’s new advantage is really kinda broken -- she already knows Xander has an idol and an advantage, so she could already hurt him.


On Yase a few things did happen, including Liana and Tiffany digging through Xander’s bag just as the footage intercuts with Evvie recommending to Xander that he bury his advantage note. But then Xander messes up his admission to Tiffany because she’s already trying to poke holes in his story, but this then leads to a great moment at the immunity challenge.

On Luvu the Blue Winning tribe, once again we hear from Deshawn and Danny discussing throwing a challenge, but they try to convince Naseer, who insists that it never goes well (the dude learned English from watching the show, I would listen to his knowledge of the history). Danny is concerned about a theoretical women’s alliance at the Merge, which I suppose is possible, but a little ridiculous for his team to worry about. Oh, and Sydney gets another arrogant moment, which I think needs to be every episode now, this time about how she’s a mermaid.

But Naseer delightfully tells us that the two dudes confiding him is “music to my song” which has a nice ring to it, honestly. It’s a nice setup to the challenge with him, as we are expecting the same old same old -- Shan mentions broccoli, Xander repeats his phrase for the third time, and Probst delightfully proclaims that they’re “off”. And we think that’s it until suddenly... Naseer says the third phrase and then we get a great flashback to him finally finding the threeway idol.

Cut to Xander and Shan being super pleased, Evvie looking amused, and Liana looking entirely unamused. It’s really a great cast, isn’t it?

Next time on Survivor, it’s the Merge, but not exactly?! I don’t know what that means, but there are more people I’m rooting for than usual, so that makes this a great season so far. 

Dancing With the Stars S30E06: Grease Night


Grease is the word on Dancing with the Stars
by Kim Krober

It was Grease Night on Dancing with the Stars, and the effects were electrifying! I enjoyed everything about this theme, from the adorable costumes to the iconic soundtrack to seeing the ballroom transformed from set to set as the songs were presented in chronological order to tell the story. Who else loved that animated opening with the judges followed by the choreographed number with the dance pros dressed as T-Birds and Pink Ladies? It was also great seeing special guest Olivia Newton-John return to the program (albeit virtually), as well as special appearances by Didi Conn and Frankie Avalon singing "Beauty School Dropout." The "too cool for school" kids from Rydell High will always hold a special place in my heart, as I remember watching Grease on many a sleepover in middle school. This was a terrific follow-up to Disney Week in terms of entertainment value, although it's getting harder to say goodbye to the couples being sent home at this stage of the competition.

Who was left stranded at the drive-in and who goes together like "rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong?" Let's see how your favorites fared on this fifth week of competition:

Olivia Jade & Val Chmerkovskiy, Foxtrot

Olivia and Val's Foxtrot to "Summer Nights" was the perfect way to open Grease Night. I'm not her biggest fan, but I loved it from start to finish. Val was born to play a T-Bird. Len thought it was full of fun and great choreography. Derek proclaimed it his favorite themed night ever, telling her she had beautiful frame and spot-on characterization. Bruno felt it captured the sweet innocence of Sandy being swept off her feet by Danny. Carrie Ann loved their body contact and amazing technique.
Total: 36

Melora Hardin & Artem Chigvintsev, Viennese Waltz

I loved Melora and Artem's Viennese Waltz to "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee." She portrayed a perfect Rizzo mocking Sandy at the sleepover. Derek called her the gift that keeps on giving, saying the theatrics looked straight out of a musical. Bruno told her she got the part because she makes the character her own with a bit of fun sass each week. Carrie Ann commended her for not playing it safe and for making it look so natural. Len admired the acting, dancing, and the couple's connection.
Total: 36

Iman Shumpert & Daniella Karagach, Viennese Waltz

Iman and Daniella's Viennese Waltz to "Hopelessly Devoted to You" may not have been as colorful as Melora and Artem's, but it was emotion-packed and elegant. Bruno could feel the sense of a love story but cautioned Iman about shrinking into himself when dancing. Carrie Ann didn't think it was the best-suited dance for Iman, but she did appreciate the chemistry. Len liked the gentleness of the dance even though his technique isn't the greatest. Derek loves watching Iman because he oozes charm. Both Len and Derek admitted how difficult it is to judge or critique him because he's so nice.
Total: 28

Mike “The Miz” Mizanin & Witney Carson, Jive

The Miz and Witney's Jive to "Greased Lightnin'" was something I've been waiting for all week, and it did not disappoint. Carrie Ann yelled, "Go, Miz Lightnin'!" She loved his energy and enthusiasm, even if he rushed through some of the song. Len thought a few of the steps were more problematic than hydromatic. Bruno said it fired on all cylinders even if it did have some timing issues. Derek looks forward to the Miz's performances every week, but he agreed with his fellow judges about their Jive losing some of its clarity.
Total: 32

Amanda Kloots & Alan Bersten, Viennese Waltz

Amanda and Alan's Viennese Waltz to "Beauty School Dropout" was enhanced by a special live performance from Frankie Avalon in the ballroom and some virtual advice from Didi Conn who portrayed Frenchy in the 1978 movie. Len said Amanda's definitely not going to be a DWTS dropout, as he loved it, saying the icing on the cake was seeing Avalon (one of his youthful heroes). Derek enjoyed her fantastic frame and legs but said it was missing something (though he had trouble pinpointing what) that would have tipped it to the 10 for him. Bruno told her she has nothing to fear, saying it felt like she stepped out of a dream into a splendid Viennese Waltz. Carrie Ann complimented her charm, musicality, storytelling, and technique. It was one paddle short of achieving the first perfect score of the season (thanks a lot, Derek, although I know what he meant). Can we talk about how much Frankie Avalon still has it? He's aged incredibly well and is as sexy as ever!
Total: 39

Suni Lee & Sasha Farber, Charleston

Suni and Sasha's Charleston to "Born to Hand Jive" was full of fun and gymnastic tricks. It was good to see Suni come out of her shell to portray the feisty Cha-Cha DiGregorio during this performance. Derek loved it despite the comic confusion of it being a Charleston to a Jive with a Cha-Cha, but especially the iconic dance move with her shoe on his chest. Bruno enjoyed the performance and that they threw everything at it, including some Lindy Hop moves. Carrie Ann thought it was fantastic, saying she still wants some of Suni's movements to be more aggressive. Len liked the elements of the Charleston and that it made him smile the whole way through the routine.
Total: 36

Jimmie Allen & Emma Slater, Foxtrot

Jimmie and Emma's Foxtrot to "Sandy" was a standout performance of the night. Major props to him for nailing it after his wife had their baby this week. Bruno congratulated him for the new baby and the masterful storytelling. Carrie Ann admired the musicality but told him sometimes he's bigger out of hold than when he's in hold and she would like to see a more balanced performance from him. Len likes his flair and enthusiasm even when he loses technique. Derek thought it had a great concept with great choreography and storytelling, calling it a complete package this week.
Total: 34

Kenya Moore & Brandon Armstrong, Rumba

Kenya and Brandon's Rumba to "There Are Worse Things I Could Do" was made more poignant when she dedicated the performance to her deceased grandmother. Carrie Ann told her she was happy she was still in the competition to show them her sensuous comeback. Len said it had chemistry and control and was a spot-on Rumba. Derek called the opening half-split stunning. Faced with a situation of sink or swim, he told her she could definitely swim. Bruno said it was hot and brilliant with translated motion. It would be awful to see her go on the night of such a breakthrough.
Total: 36

JoJo Siwa & Jenna Johnson, Foxtrot

JoJo and Jenna's Foxtrot to "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee (Reprise)" was brilliant and heartfelt. I especially loved their colorful costumes. Len said they affected his brain with the powerful technique and his heart with the powerful storytelling. Derek loves watching JoJo ebb between leader and follower and said this performance was an entire moment. Bruno was left shivering, calling it the most exquisite representation of the power of friendship. Carrie Ann was mad at the other judges for leaving her with nothing left to say except that it was perfection. It was enough to garner the first perfect score of the night and the entire competition!
Total: 40

Melanie C & Gleb Savchenko, Quickstep

Melanie C and Gleb's Quickstep to "You're the One That I Want" was iconic and full of lighthearted fun, just like the ending carnival scenes of the movie. Derek said confidence isn't something you have, it's something you do, and she should feel confident in herself because her Quickstep was perfection. Bruno said she got Gleb on his knees begging for it and admired her for doing a Quickstep in unforgiving Lycra that accentuates every movement. Carrie Ann appreciated her vulnerability and the beauty of her breakthrough performance. Len called it her best dance to date.
Total: 36

Cody Rigsby & Cheryl Burke, Quickstep

Cody and Cheryl's Quickstep to "We Go Together" was worthy of the celebratory finale of Grease Night. Bruno complimented the uplifting quality of the performance, although he admitted that Cody still needs to work on his footwork. Carrie Ann admired their ability to get through a Quickstep after having COVID because it's so much work and can really take your breath away. Len said they could have benefited from a stronger frame but felt it was a great effort. Derek said it was well done despite their many setbacks as a couple during this competition. It was enough to garner four 8's.
Total: 32


In a shocking turn of events, it came down to Olivia & Val and Melanie C & Gleb in the bottom two after the combined judges' scores and votes from the viewers. Derek voted to save Olivia & Val, while Carrie Ann and Bruno voted to save Melanie C & Gleb. It came down to head judge Len casting his deciding vote to save Olivia & Val. It was sad to say goodbye to Melanie C & Gleb when others deserved to exit before them, but that's how the game is played. Next week is Halloween Night - my favorite of the season, and I'm so stoked for the horror theme!

Do you think the right contestant went home? Keep voting for your favorites!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Survivor 41 S41E04: They Hate Me 'Cause They Ain't Me


Survivor has an old school episode that keeps us guessing until the very end.
by Jeremy Fogelman

On the latest episode of Survivor, we side-eye the title of “They Hate Me 'Cause They Ain't Me” and ask the question: Why did JD get voted out?

You could be unfair and put it all on “Shan outplayed him” which is true, but on the other hand, he gave her his extra vote advantage -- twice! When Shan told us and Ricard about her crazy plan to trick and guilt JD into giving up his advantage, I thought she was making a terrible move. And I still think that it was a bad movie, it’s just that JD handled it absolutely even worse because there’s no way he should’ve given up his extra vote.

On the other hand, Shan did correctly realize that she could manipulate the ten years younger player that she saw as a “younger brother” (ouch). JD did smartly try to trick Genie into not using her die roll, and she didn’t! But was it him or Shan/Ricard convincing her or both? Either way, JD’s “stick to the plan” moment felt a bit dangerous and I can’t imagine it helped him.


JD was an engaging and friendly guy, but he also was a bit of a showboater -- this episode was the second one in a row where he tried to toss something with some “style” points, this time shouting “Money” right before he whiffed his shot. It was a great Survivor moment even if it was a terrible JD moment. He was a great player to watch, even if his gameplay never lived up to his own expectations.

There’s nothing to speak of, once more, from Yase, except a delightful moment after they won the reward challenge and narrate their own “Previously on Survivor” moment. Tiffany also discusses them having momentum, which could either be a sign of doom or hope -- so far they’re doing well, so she spoke truth. I did also like Fijian local superhero Nathan who climbed down a tree head first and punched a coconut open with his fist.


We finally get some storylines from Luvu too, as Erika tries to shake things up and target Sydney, but Deshawn turns the tables (as he is allied with Syd and Danny) and wants to get rid of Erika instead. Sydney then delivers some delicious villainous nonsense to us saying, “I’m the threat of threats, savvy as hell, I'm good looking” and (the episode’s title) “they hate me cuz they ain’t me”. I absolutely loved it, it’s so over the top -- and earlier we saw Syd fail at making fire and cry alone on the beach while Erika demonized her to us.

We’ve got a game, folks! This is the kind of drama I like to see. I also enjoyed how Deshawn’s attempt to throw the challenge kept failing to his teammates simply being too competent, including Naseer nearly singlehandedly pulling them to a win. And I also appreciate how Deshawn respected Naseer’s big moment even when he was annoyed it messed up his plan.

Ultimately the episode didn’t use any of the editing tricks, but there also weren’t any idol hunts or advantage journeys, just classic Survivor nonsense which feels great as a change of pace. So far I’m really finding this set of players fun and with fascinating personalities bouncing off each other -- like the overly positive Naseer working against the potentially sneaking Deshawn while arrogant Sydney lurks nearby. It's been a lot of fun so far.

Next time on Survivor, Genie finds a Beware advantage, Danny worries about the ladies having the numbers, and Tiffany is on to Xander, whatever that means.

Dancing With the Stars S30E05: Disney Villains Night


Dancing with the Stars' Villains Night was wickedly entertaining
by Kim Krober

Although Disney is known for its happily ever afters and gallant heroes, it's also infamous for its dark side. The second night of Dancing with the Stars' Disney Week was a tribute to the three-dimensional animated villains we all love to hate (or secretly sympathize with and root for in some cases). Disney Villains Night celebrated everyone's favorite baddies, from Maleficent to Scar, Jafar, and even the Sanderson Sisters from seasonal favorite Hocus Pocus. It was wickedly entertaining from start to finish ... maybe even better than Heroes Night because who doesn't enjoy watching the villains run amok? Even host Tyra Banks looked resplendent in her Evil Queen ensemble. Seriously, she's never looked better. I've also got chills and they're multiplying for Grease Night next week!

Let's see how your favorites fared on this fourth week of competition for Disney Villains Night:

Jimmie Allen & Emma Slater, Jazz

Jimmie and Emma's Peter Pan-inspired Jazz routine was a mesmerizing way to open Villains Night. Hearing how big of a Disney fan Jimmie is, I was happy he got to play one of the ultimate baddies: Captain Hook. And who could ask for a better Tinker Bell than Emma? Len enjoyed the concept and storytelling, telling Jimmie he surprises him week after week. Derek was impressed by the energy, while Bruno said it was a bad-ass Jazz routine that had him hooked. Carrie Ann noted that Disney is definitely his jam, coming across in both of his amazing dances this week. I would concur.
Total: 35

Cody Rigsby & Cheryl Burke, Viennese Waltz

A Viennese Waltz set to "Gaston" from Beauty & The Beast seemed like an odd choice, but Cody and Cheryl managed to marry the two in a dance straight out of a fairy tale. Derek commended them for having the flair and gusto of Gaston, despite having the least amount of rehearsal time this week. Bruno called him irresistibly dashing and admired the full production value of the performance. Carrie Ann thanked him for the bold, polished moves and animated fun. Len congratulated Cheryl for the choreography, saying it was well done overall. It was enough to garner a trio of 8s and a 7.
Total: 31

Melanie C & Gleb Savchenko, Viennese Waltz

Melanie C and Gleb's Viennese Waltz to "Once Upon a Dream" from Maleficent was dramatic in all the right ways. Bruno called it magnificent and haunting with suspended animation that cast a spell on the ballroom. Carrie Ann proclaimed it her best dance, saying the transformation from sporty to sensual was now complete. Len liked the mood and atmosphere but thought it could have benefited from more Viennese Waltz content. Derek felt it was ominous, forbidding, and gorgeous. It was breathtakingly beautiful from start to finish with an ethereal backdrop straight out of the movie.
Total: 35

JoJo Siwa & Jenna Johnson, Paso Doble

JoJo and Jenna's Paso Doble to Descendants 2's "Ways to Be Wicked" was fun and vibrant, even though I'm not familiar with these characters. Carrie Ann told JoJo she is always a fantastic performer, but she thought the dance felt a bit hectic with old tricks and not enough elegance. On the flip side, Len loved the control and seeing both ends of the dance spectrum represented from her this week. Derek praised the content and how in-sync their side-by-side moves were. Bruno likened it to watching two super villains battling it out for the ultimate supremacy.
Total: 35

Kenya Moore & Brandon Armstrong, Viennese Waltz

Kenya and Brandon's Viennese Waltz to Ariana Grande's "Dangerous Woman" was inspired by the Evil Queen in Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs. Kenya has never looked more regal and in control. Len appreciated the moves in hold, but he thought the technique needed more work. Derek loved the sultry, seductive vibe and wants Kenya to own her fierceness. Bruno said no mirror could do justice to her sassiness and beauty. Carrie Ann was impressed by how centered she remained throughout the dance but had to count off for a lift. However, she called it her best dance to date.
Total: 30

Iman Shumpert & Daniella Karagach, Argentine Tango

Iman and Daniella's Argentine Tango to "Arabian Nights" from Aladdin was hypnotic and one of their best performances. The way he picked her up with such ease! Derek called the opening and ending lifts iconic, saying they left him speechless. Bruno commended it for being a feat of magical strength, calling it truly impressive. Carrie Ann was completely blown away, calling it poetry in motion and one of the most magical performances ever on the show. Len congratulated them for having their best dance in the competition thus far. Two 9s from the judges ... say what?
Total: 33

Melora Hardin & Artem Chigvintsev, Jazz

Melora and Artem's Jazz routine to "Mother Knows Best" from Tangled once again illustrates why she's one to watch on the ballroom floor. Bruno called it wickedly delicious. Carrie Ann said she's cray cray, but she loved the big, bold performance although it was a hair safe. Len said it had wit and charm and was truly delightful. Derek admired the theatrical performance quality. Melora also sang the song, making her a triple threat in this competition. It was enough to earn the first 10 from Len!
Total: 37

Mike “The Miz” Mizanin & Witney Carson, Argentine Tango

The Miz and Witney's Argentine Tango to "Be Prepared" from The Lion King was really likable, and I admire how willing he is to get into total character with such over-the-top makeup. Carrie Ann thought it was incredible how he channeled all of his energy into his movements. Len liked the lifts, lovely moments of Argentine Tango, and the overall theatrical performance. Derek said it was 10s for his character commitment, although it needed something else to send it over the edge. Bruno praised the content even though they had a few stumbles. The Miz earned his first 9s of the season!
Total: 34

Brian Austin Green & Sharna Burgess, Paso Doble

Brian and Sharna's Paso Doble to "He's a Pirate" from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a breath of fresh air seeing them dance and fight as Barbossa and Jack Sparrow. Len liked the aggression but told Brian he needs to lift his diaphragm more, saying it would give him more of an air of confidence and a more dynamic performance. Derek praised the choreography and Brian for being able to stay focused during all the explosions. Bruno thought the tough love from Sharna and the judges is working, noting some improvements this week. Carrie Ann appreciated the valiant effort, saying he's in it to win it. Then why do they continue to give him 7s?
Total: 27

Matt James & Lindsay Arnold, Paso Doble

Matt and Lindsay's Jungle Book-inspired Paso Doble was fun and full of attack, even if their costumes were not the most recognizable of the evening. Derek loved seeing how into it Matt was, though he could benefit from longer strides to match his height. Bruno called it a solid performance with great content. Carrie Ann said she could tell he gave it his all, leaving nothing behind on the ballroom floor. Len said it had posture, passion, and performance but feels he could give so much more of all three.
Total: 31

Olivia Jade & Val Chmerkovskiy, Jazz

I loved Olivia and Val's Jazz routine to Coco's "Remember Me (Ernesto de la Cruz)" and their adorable costumes. Bruno went a little coco-loco, saying she captured the spirit of the movie perfectly. Carrie Ann was impressed by the acting but thought it felt safe. Len said it was a joyous performance, while Derek called her a natural-born performer. It was enough to earn triple 9s.
Total: 35

Suni Lee & Sasha Farber, Viennese Waltz

Suni and Sasha's Viennese Waltz to "I Put a Spell on You" was among my favorites of the night, mostly because it paid tribute to Hocus Pocus. I also loved their costumes and choreography! Carrie Ann said Suni's energy and articulation are finally matching her technique. Len didn't like the standing spin but told Sasha he wants to see the couple more in hold next week. Derek loved seeing Sasha run off like a cat and Suni's beautiful performance. Bruno called it bewitching and said the spell is working for her. She just needs to come out of her shell and let Sasha show her fun side.
Total: 35

Amanda Kloots & Alan Bersten, Paso Doble

Amanda and Alan's Paso Doble to Cruella's "Call Me Cruella" was the perfect way to end the night. Len said it had a feeling of menace but it was a lovely interpretation of the music. Derek complimented her for playing the part to perfection in a phenomenal Paso Doble. Bruno called it devilishly stylish with a hint of aggression although it had a slight misstep. Carrie Ann felt it was masterful and divine. She received four 9s from the judges, cementing her position as one to beat.
Total: 36


After two fun and fancy-free evenings of Disney magic, it was heartbreaking to see anyone go home and fall short of realizing their dream. I wasn't expecting it to be a double elimination though! It came down to Brian and Sharna, Matt and Lindsay, and Kenya and Brandon in the bottom three. Brian and Sharna were sent home automatically because Tyra revealed they had the lowest combined total of viewers' votes and judges' scores. Bruno and Carrie Ann then voted to save Matt and Lindsay, while Derek voted to save Kenya and Brandon. As head judge, Len made the final decision, giving Kenya and Brandon one more chance to redeem themselves and saying farewell to Matt and Lindsay. I was sadder to see Brian and Sharna go - I enjoyed watching their love story unfold on the ballroom floor.

Do you think the right contestants went home? Keep voting for your favorites!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Survivor 41 S41E03: My Million Dollar Mistake


Survivor brings in some nice editing tricks and a decent blindside for a fun episode
by Jeremy Fogelman

On the latest episode of Survivor, we ponder the title of 'My Million Dollar Mistake' and ask the question: Why did Brad get voted out?

He didn’t lose for challenge performance, because he was one of the stronger performers on Ua. His true failure was a simple one: He trusted the wrong person. Over the course of the episode, Brad’s number of advantages shoots up to an impressive three and even more impressively, absolutely none can be used. But despite his luck and tenacity and willingness to take big risks, his biggest risk was misreading Shan.

Shan’s true BFF in the game is Ricard and vice versa, whereas JD’s true BFF is no one, with a deference toward Shan, and Brad was split between Shan and Genie. It also didn’t hurt that JD literally gave his advantage away to Shan in a move that probably kept him in the game, meaning that she knew that Brad and his three advantages were only temporarily invalid.

Although I do feel bad for poor Xander (aside from that he helped his team get immunity) in that he will once again have to wait for the other two tribes to find the shared idol. On his troubled team of terror, Yase, we see Tiff unable to hide her secret boat advantage from Evvie and Liana, while a teary-eyed Liana gives us the episode’s title. It could be relevant or absolutely a red herring.

On Ua though, we get a few great flashbacks -- the first when Brad reveals he and Genie (really him) found the idol earlier, which I was delighted by in terms of the editing and juxtaposition. Then when they read the note, we get another flashback to Xander saying his silly phrase that pays, and then a Ferris Bueller body double? Brad has finally become an entertaining enough player that I’m sorry to see him go.


On Luvu it’s a bit more low key, with a lot of storylines around Sydney in different ways. There’s the boat advantage of course, but we also get a fun flashback here too as she reveals how Naseer came to her the night before and proposed voting out Danny. I honestly don’t know why he’d suggest that, I guess he’s really just misreading the situation -- but I like Naseer and his great backstory.

I appreciate that the show is changing things up both with twists and turns and also different editing styles, keeps things fresh and interesting. Survivor has lightly played with such things before, but I essentially always enjoy it -- I mean, that one reveal in season 40 where Boston Rob flashed back to show how he found his magic beans or whatever? Loved that.

So a pretty entertaining episode and a very strong season so far -- only one person voted out so far I felt bad about, but a lot of really fun players to watch. Even Brad, who played hard until the very end.

Next time on Survivor, something is so crazy, Sydney is crying, JD is outraged, and someone athletic is coming.

Survivor 41 S41E02: Juggling Chainsaws


Survivor reveals a few new twists and turns as everyone tries to adjust
by Jeremy Fogelman

This week on Survivor we ask the question, why did Voce get voted out?

Essentially there’s always an element in the pre-merge game of challenge success, so that even if you’re otherwise a decent player, if your tribe always loses you are at risk despite anything else. Thus here the yellow Yase tribe has lost immunity twice and also the initial reward one -- naturally they are doing poorly. And although there’s often that 'we need strength' vibe early on, Evvie notes that (a) that often means women are unfairly targeted, and (b) they haven’t been winning anyway.

Voce has one alliance to speak of, with Evvie and Xander -- we don’t really see anything else from him, so perhaps his lack of options was another factor. But he ultimately lost for two reasons -- Evvie had her true loyalty with the ladies’ alliance and thus knew the secrets of the others, and Tiff spun out about Xander maybe having an idol. Thus Voce became the safer choice (although you never know in Survivor what advantages someone might have).

On the twist side, Xander discovers a theoretical idol, although one that is only valid once each tribe has found theirs -- and until then he has no vote. It’s kind of a dangerous game, and it’s hard to imagine a player that looks for an idol not opening a risky note so I don’t blame Xander for it. But his radical honesty approach might have (and still might later) lesd to his demise so I don’t think it was a good idea at all. But I like the complicated idol idea, at least for now, silly phrases and all. We’ll see how it plays out.

Luvu and Ua each give us some interesting new complications too. On Luvu, we see Naseer seemingly changing from a helpful asset that will eventually be cut loose to a helpful asset that maybe should be kept around -- or at least so we hear from Sydney, which is an interesting note too. We also get one of those new backstory montages about Naseer’s fascinating journey to the show and see him very easily making fire -- hard to know of course how that will go.


On Ua, we get a sort of lesser Tony situation as Brad successfully hides and overhears a vital conversation between JD and Ricard about him. Although this is successful in terms of his informational gain, the episode made him look a bit of a buffoon in terms of how it was edited. But also he immediately told Shan everything, not understanding that her true alliance is with Ricard, who we already know is a perceptive player.

It was an entertaining episode, and I feel like we’ve already gotten a little something from most of the players, which I appreciate. Unfortunately the classic 'one worse off tribe is doing even worse' situation often leads to slightly less intriguing strategy because the numbers of players keep going down, but they did some interesting stuff with multiple alliances and last minute nonsense changes.

Right now the strongest social players we see are Shan and Evvie, both of whom have multiple alliances that think they’re the real one. Although Evvie actually got the chance to connect with Deshawn, who got his own montage backstory too. We don’t really have much from Erika or  Heather at all, and less than others for Danny, Genie, and Liana -- but Liana kicked butt at the immunity challenge despite them ultimately losing. So we’ll see.

Next time on Survivor, Brad loves the twists and turns, Liana worries about a mistake, JD hasn’t found the idol, and Sydney really is scared.

Survivor 41 S41E01: A New Era


Survivor returns for its 41st season with a dynamic cast of characters and tougher challenges than ever
by Jeremy Fogelman

Survivor is finally back, and it’s utilizing pandemic restrictions to change things up -- now the teams are smaller and the total game time is only 26 days so everything gets accelerated. We have three tribes, the initially dominating Ua, the come-from-behind Luvu, and the struggling Yase. The episode plays around with different narrators and backstories, effectively obfuscating the final ones voted out.

The show utilized some new editing and transition tricks, showing pictures or video of our various contestants as they told us tales of themselves. It’s a pretty good way to show things and connect us more with the players, although some people have much more affecting stories than others. There are also some new twists and turns, including a 'Shot in the Dark' die that is still a question mark, and making things much harder by not giving the tribes rice and sometimes even taking away their flint.

Halfway through the episode we take a break to get one player from each tribe -- JD from Ua, Danny from Luvu, and Xander from Yase -- to go on a quest. All three dudes are pretty athletic but all have different, interesting approaches to the game. JD is an effervescent former nerd, a great narrator to us while also kinda annoying people on his tribe with his non-subtle conversations. He alone from the three players lied to his tribe about his 'protect' vs 'risk' choice, which savvy Ricard the flight attendant picked up on.

Xander plays like the typical surfer bro, but he talked about the prisoner’s experiment (Erika later correctly calls it the Prisoner’s Dilemma, but still) and seems to be thinking carefully about his game. Danny is also an open person, despite trying to hide he and Deshawns’s idol hunting from everyone else.

The parallel stories were interestingly done too, with the Savvy vs Sweat challenge idea -- both losing teams choosing the difficult water lugging challenge. It led to some interesting game play ultimately even if at first I was a bit wary about it. And finally at the elimination challenge, Luvu comes from behind and wins over Ua, after Sarah and Shan miss a critical piece of their puzzle.

Ua is an interesting team, certainly -- despite the fake ‘namaste’ vibes, they are all pretty hard players so far. Shan’s pretty entertaining, successfully getting the show to play her ‘evil theme music’ as she plots, and she’s playing a better social game than JD (although she does have 11 years on him). Ricard is highly aware and thinking of all of the options, while Brad is blunt and straightforward and Genie is the one big fan trying to keep up.

Everything going into the tribal meeting had essentially the tribe split between sobbing Sarah and suddenly worried JD -- the two youngsters that perhaps would’ve allied otherwise. Of course, we get the classic 'Whisper-a-thon' shaking things up, and Ricard and Shan drop the idea of Brad because of his overly blunt nature, directly targeting Shan and Sarah to their faces. But despite all of the whispering, JD’s plea to Shan about Brad seems to make the difference -- assumedly it’s about his physical prowess?

And poor Sarah is voted out, and honestly, it was pretty sad -- it didn’t help that we had her whole sad backstory too. Yeesh, break our hearts more, Survivor.

At least on the underdogs Yase team, things are mostly straightforward -- Abraham pushes for a strong team and thus targets the theoretically weak Tiffany, while others (like Evvie) are concerned that 'strong' may be synonymous with 'no women' (which in fairness it has in the past on the show). So leading into the tribal, it’s basically all against Abraham, who accepts his blindside with a genial wave and a sincere wishing of luck to the rest of his tribe.

There’s plenty going on with a lot of the other characters -- Liana and Evvie bonding, Sydney plots, and Heather has been watching the show since the first day. It’s a very packed, fun first episode with a diverse, interesting cast of contestants -- I’m already conflicted on who to root for (even though I was rooting for Sarah, but Survivor always breaks my heart early on). I’m ultimately just glad that the show is back, the best reality game show on TV, and perhaps some change is warranted -- honestly I had no opinion about the 'come on in, guys' catchphrase, but the show and Jeff smartly left it up to the players to decide.

Next time on Survivor, Brad finds something, Sydney wants to boot someone, and Xander says it’s a new game.

Dancing With the Stars S30E04: Disney Heroes Night


Dancing with the Stars' Disney Week offers two nights of magic
by Kim Krober

Dancing with the Stars decided to make Disney Week a special two-night event this season, with one night paying homage to heroes and one night celebrating villains. Each remaining couple had to prepare two new dance routines, something not usually done until later in the competition. As if the pressure of learning two dance styles wasn't enough, each couple was also asked to incorporate bonus steps from Mickey's Dance Challenge into their routine, with the judges awarding two extra points to the couple best meeting the challenge. Which couples were ready to go the distance and which could have used a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine of so much pressure go down?

Let's see how your favorites fared on this fourth week of competition on Disney Heroes Night:

JoJo Siwa & Jenna Johnson, Viennese Waltz

JoJo and Jenna's Viennese Waltz to Cinderella's "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" was a dreamy way to open the show. Len felt it met the "bare necessities" of a Viennese Waltz but ended by complimenting the footwork. Derek thought they incorporated the Mickey steps seamlessly, calling it a breath of fresh air. Bruno told them they were a dream come true with a Viennese Waltz for the 21st century. Carrie Ann was proud to see JoJo prove that girls can do anything boys can do ... and better! JoJo and Jenna earned the first 9's of the season.
Total: 35

Melanie C & Gleb Savchenko, Jazz

Melanie C and Gleb's Jazz routine to Mary Poppins' "Step In Time" was everything I could have hoped for and more. The set, the costumes, and the routine itself was practically perfect in every way. Derek told them it was a job that would have made Dick Van Dyke proud (rubbing it in good-naturedly that he danced a routine with Dick to the same song a few years ago). Bruno admired their tempo but had to point out that they lost their sync a little bit in the Mickey Dance Challenge at the beginning. Carrie Ann said it was jam-packed with content, while Len called it full of fun and joy.
Total: 31

Matt James & Lindsay Arnold, Quickstep

Matt and Lindsay's Quickstep to "The Incredits" from The Incredibles was adorkable, although it felt like the song's tempo didn't quite lend itself to this style of dance. Bruno said Matt defrosted nicely with his kinky boots, but his footwork could still use improvement. Carrie Ann cautioned him about working on his technique. Derek praised the total commitment to character, while Len admired Matt's tenacity and work ethic, saying the Quickstep isn't easy. It was an enjoyable effort overall.
Total: 26

Jimmie Allen & Emma Slater, Paso Doble

Jimmie and Emma's Paso Doble to Mulan's "I'll Make a Man Out of You" was dedicated to his father who passed in 2019. Carrie Ann loved it, saying it had dignity, passion, and heart. Len liked the Paso Doble feeling to the dance, admitting his favorite part was their incorporation of the Mickey Dance Challenge because it was full of attack. Derek was impressed by his texture and movement, while Bruno called him the singing wonder. It was really cute to watch him mouth the words to the song.
Total: 30 (+2 bonus points in Mickey Dance Challenge = 32)

Amanda Kloots & Alan Bersten, Rumba

"You'll Be in My Heart" from Tarzan is a personal favorite, so I was excited to see Amanda and Alan's Rumba to it this week. I'm not sure if I've ever seen Alan without his shirt on - good lord, where have those abs been hiding! Len thought it was brilliant but didn't care for the way they worked in their Mickey Dance Challenge moves. Derek said it was well-done with beautiful articulation, disagreeing completely with Len's take. Bruno loved the eye candy, calling their Rumba effortless and natural. Carrie Ann liked that Amanda embraced the Rumba full on and didn't hide from anything, but she agreed with Len about them not doing the challenge enough justice.
Total: 32

Olivia Jade & Val Chmerkovskiy, Samba

Olivia and Val danced the Samba to "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" from The Lion King. Derek told her how adorable she looked in the cat makeup and said she's one of his favorites to watch this season. Bruno likened her spirit to a wild cat with the grace of a gazelle. Carrie Ann loved almost everything, especially the music change and the chemistry of their partnership. Len said it had lots of zip without any doo-dah. He's been saving that colorful commentary up all these years, hasn't he?
Total: 35

Mike “The Miz” Mizanin & Witney Carson, Quickstep

Just when I think I couldn't love The Miz any more he comes out in full (almost unrecognizable) Genie garb for his and Witney's Quickstep to Aladdin's "Friend Like Me." I loved seeing him play such a likable hero. Bruno proclaimed him the Genie of the Ballroom with a dazzling interpretation of the Mickey Dance Challenge. Carrie Ann loved the performance, saying he's honing his energy to match each dance style and she appreciates it. Len felt he danced it with fantastic control and commended him for being so light on his feet despite his bulking muscles. Derek loved the full-on attack and commitment, but he thought it could have benefited from more body contact.
Total: 31

Kenya Moore & Brandon Armstrong, Contemporary

Kenya and Brandon's Contemporary dance to "How Far I'll Go" from Moana was exactly what she needed at this stage of the competition (after being in the bottom two last week). It was beautiful from start to finish. Carrie Ann liked the freedom of expression and open-hearted joy but was upset about a few missteps involving the lifts. Len complimented the performance and choreography. Derek thought it felt timid at first, but then he got chills from the rest of the dance. Bruno said he felt it all, the motion of the water and the beautiful waves until Brandon hit the rock (messing up the lift).
Total: 29

Brian Austin Green & Sharna Burgess, Waltz

Brian and Sharna's Waltz set to Snow White's "Someday My Prince Will Come" was the cutest thing ever. I also thought they did a good job of incorporating the Mickey moves into a dance style that was basically the complete opposite. Len thought it had "too much kissing and cuddling and messing about" and not enough traditional Waltz content. Derek said it was as pretty as a picture with beautiful frame. Bruno felt she had her prince under control but said it had so much sweetness that it almost gave him a toothache. Carrie Ann said she had to count off for an illegal lift (to boos from the audience). Three 6's and a 7 ... why aren't the judges feeling the love from this couple?
Total: 25

Suni Lee & Sasha Farber, Salsa

Suni and Sasha's Salsa to "Colombia, Mi Encanto" from Encanto was full of flair and vibrancy even if I wasn't familiar with the song or story (it's not out yet). Derek dug seeing her open up, saying it was fun. Bruno called it a fiesta of a Salsa, saying he loved seeing all the delicious flavor. Carrie Ann admired how Suni's movement always looks so perfect. Len believed it was her most expressive dance to date. I'd concur.
Total: 33

Melora Hardin & Artem Chigvintsev, Quickstep

Melora and Artem's Quickstep to "I Wan'na Be Like You" from The Jungle Book was amazing to watch, but I think their costumes were a little harder to associate with their characters than everybody else. They looked like stylish flappers (not that it was a bad look). Bruno called her the Queen of the Jungle who is quickly becoming the Queen of the Ballroom with the best Quickstep of the season. Carrie Ann loved the textures, styles, and the unexpected she brings to every dance. Len thought it was her best dance with fantastic personality and technique. Derek called it the best dance of the night. Best of the night or season, she's hands down one to watch in the competition!
Total: 36

Cody Rigsby & Cheryl Burke, Jive

Cody and Cheryl's Jive to "Stand Out" from A Goofy Movie made my heart happy with all the feels. This movie never gets its due on Disney Night. Cody did Powerline proud! It was also good to see them both back in the ballroom. Carrie Ann welcomed them back, saying she loved watching Cody light up the room with his energy. Len thought it was too much side-by-side action with just hints of Jive, saying he was a bit disappointed. Derek told him he's a great performer, while Bruno said his power surge nearly blew his fuses. The judges think they need to gel back together after being apart.
Total: 27

Iman Shumpert & Daniella Karagach, Foxtrot

Iman and Daniella's Foxtrot to "Let It Go" from Frozen was a powerful punch to end the show. Len complimented him for delivering a really elegant Foxtrot with romance and movement. Derek admired seeing his improvement. Bruno got the feeling of his bigness, saying he commanded the room like an eagle in flight. Carrie Ann thought it was amazing, calling him a standout of the night.
Total: 30

The judges awarded the two bonus points to Jimmie and Emma for the Mickey Dance Challenge, which helped them move up the leader board. Tomorrow is Villains Night and the third elimination of the season, which is sure to be heartbreaking on such a magical week. Whose happily ever after will be coming to an end?

Do you think the right contestant went home? Keep voting for your favorites!

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Dancing With the Stars S30E03: Britney Night


Dancing with the Stars Was a Slave to Britney Spears for Week 3
by Kim Krober

It was Britney Night on Dancing with the Stars, bitch. In light of the recent decision delivered in Britney Spear's drawn-out conservatorship battle, the show's producers decided to pay homage to the singer with a night of dances performed to some of her biggest hits. But what everybody really wanted to know was how pro Cheryl Burke was going to dance with partner Cody Rigsby in light of the revelation that both have now tested positive for COVID-19 and are under quarantine.

It was decided they could compete virtually from their respective quarantined locations in a Jazz routine because this style of dance doesn't require physical contact. However, their future in the competition remains to be seen. I was more bummed that judge Derek Hough was also absent in the ballroom out of an abundance of caution that he may have been exposed to COVID this past week. I hope everyone feels better soon!

Let's see how your favorites fared on this third week of competition:

Amanda Kloots & Alan Bersten, Cha-Cha

Amanda and Alan opened the show with a "Circus" Cha-Cha. Len was intrigued to see how they would cope with Latin dancing, saying they did it very well though it lacked any excitement. Bruno admired her legs and star quality but cautioned her about adding more impetus to her hips. Carrie Ann told her she was stunning, complimenting her for working on her technique. However, she thinks she could still improve her posture.
Total: 24

Iman Shumpert & Daniella Karagach, Tango

Iman and Daniella's Tango to "Piece of Me" was a little stiff, but I appreciate seeing his effort and commitment to improving in the competition. Bruno said it was a nice solid piece of Tango, and he could tell Iman is committed to improving his footwork. Carrie Ann said she didn't expect to see him dance so elegantly. Len fussed about his feet but then praised him for coming out and giving it his all every week. The judges seemed muddled when it came time to pulling out their score paddles.
Total: 19

Christine Chiu & Pasha Pashkov, Paso Doble

After being in the bottom two last week, it seemed apropos that Christine and Pasha's Paso Doble this week was set to "Stronger." Carrie Ann was glad the judges saved her, praising her for her flexibility and control. Len complimented her for dancing a clean, crisp Paso Doble with plenty of energy. Bruno liked seeing her tough side, telling her it was good to see her going for it like that. It was enough for a trio of 7's from the judges, but was it enough to keep her out of the bottom two again?
Total: 21

JoJo Siwa & Jenna Johnson, Argentine Tango

JoJo and Jenna's Argentine Tango to "Baby One More Time" was as adorable as their costumes. Len called it an extremely well-crafted routine with lifts that went with the flow of the dance, though it didn't exactly ooze Argentine Tango to him. Bruno told her she knows how to go straight for the bullseye every time with titillating dance moves. Carrie Ann loves her liquid sunshine and when she leads with clarity and intention, telling the guys in the competition to take notes from her moves.
Total: 24

Kenya Moore & Brandon Armstrong, Tango

Kenya and Brandon's Tango to "Womanizer" was polished and smooth, albeit a little sleepy. Bruno told her she was back on track, gliding across the floor beautifully. Carrie Ann called it chic, admiring her supermodel vibes and refined elegance. Len thought the hold was a little loose at times but liked how she captured the flavor of the dance.
Total: 21

Brian Austin Green & Sharna Burgess, Tango

Brian and Sharna's Tango to "Till the World Ends" wasn't as sexy as I was expecting it to be given that they're a real-life couple, but I guess it wasn't horrible either. Carrie Ann thought he had finally arrived in the ballroom, saying she was appreciative of the content and hold. Len told him his frame and body contact were good this week, but his footwork remained poor. Bruno admired the apocalyptic "Mad Max" vibe but agreed with Len that Brian needs to perfect his footwork, commenting that mid-season is not the time to lose momentum in this competition. Comments like these make me nervous that the judges would not save them if they were in the bottom two.
Total: 19

Melora Hardin & Artem Chigvintsev, Cha-Cha

"(You Drive Me) Crazy" is probably my favorite Britney song and Melora and Artem's Cha-Cha did it justice. I wish she knew how fabulous she looks on the dance floor. Len called it a full-on Cha-Cha with plenty of hip action and great performance quality. Bruno admitted that nothing could contain his excitement at seeing Melora in full focus for the first time, fully becoming the character. Carrie Ann commended her for making it look so easy and natural, calling it spectacular overall.
Total: 23

Melanie C & Gleb Savchenko, Tango

Melanie C and Gleb's Tango to "Toxic" was anything but - I thought it was one of the stand-out Tangos of the night. I also loved their costumes and the flight attendant story. Bruno complimented them for first-class service and execution. Carrie Ann could tell it was difficult choreography but couldn't help but feel something was a bit off still. Len said it took a while to take off for him, calling certain parts of it turbulent.
Total: 22

Jimmie Allen & Emma Slater, Salsa

Jimmie and Emma danced a hip-heavy, hypnotic Salsa to "Outrageous." Carrie Ann didn't like his "monkey fists" because it looked like he was shrinking inwards. Len liked the easy, rhythmic action but said it could have benefited from fewer lifts. Bruno thought it was good to see him let loose, calling their side-by-side hip action spot-on. Way to go, Bruno, giving them an 8 to compensate for the low 6's garnered from the other judges.
Total: 20

Olivia Jade & Val Chmerkovskiy, Tango

Olivia and Val danced a Tango to "Hold It Against Me" that felt like a slice of redemption, securing her place in this competition. Len praised Val for the choreography, staccato, and full-on dance attack. Bruno quipped, "she was on it like a bonnet." Carrie Ann called it the best dance of the night even though there were a few missteps. A trio of 8's from the judges was the icing on her birthday cake this week.
Total: 24

Cody Rigsby & Cheryl Burke, Jazz

It was actually kind of neat to watch Cody and Cheryl dance their Jazz routine to "Gimme More" virtually from separate locations. I wish we could see this type of thing done more often. Bruno admired their perseverance and commitment, but he said it's difficult to judge them when they're a little out of sync side-by-side on the screen. Carrie Ann commended them for being able to perform no matter what but didn't think it was as great as it could have been in the ballroom. Len wasn't sure how it would work, but he thought they were clear and tight and said it was terrific under the circumstances.
Total: 18

Suni Lee & Sasha Farber, Foxtrot

Suni and Sasha's Foxtrot to "I'm a Slave 4 U" was as fun and unique as his snakeskin suit. Carrie Ann liked to see her push her boundaries but could still sense her discomfort with attempting sensuous movements. Len didn't feel it captured the romance of a traditional Foxtrot, calling it too steamy for his taste. Bruno said he doesn't mind steamy because a little bit of moisture makes people glow. He wants to see Suni let go more.
Total: 21

Matt James & Lindsay Arnold, Tango

In what seemed like the millionth Tango of the night, Matt and Lindsay danced one that felt precise but coldly detached to "Scream & Shout." Len congratulated them for the full-on routine but felt sad there were a few missteps. Bruno was a bit disappointed that Matt was overdressed tonight (after seeing him strip playfully last week) but loved the fierce concentration on his face throughout the dance. Carrie Ann liked the refinement of his posture and movements.
Total: 20

Mike “The Miz” Mizanin & Witney Carson, Salsa

The Miz and Witney's Salsa to "Oops! I Did It Again" was the perfect way to end Britney Night. I love watching him improve week after week! Bruno admitted that less is more when it comes to shirts, calling him the "Magic Miz" for taking off his heart-breaker shirt. Carrie Ann thinks he's fun to watch, but he needs to improve his technique for the rest of the Latin dances. Len praised him for not having a dance background at all (unlike others in the competition) and being able to perform at that level on week three. It was two 7's and an 8 from the impressed judges!
Total: 22


The second elimination of the season was bound to hurt more than the first, as one can never quite predict where the votes will end up or whom the judges will save. The two couples in jeopardy this week were revealed to be Kenya and Brandon and Christine and Pasha. Carrie Ann and Bruno voted to save Kenya and Brandon, while Len admitted he would have saved Christine and Pasha. I wonder if the outcome would have been any different had Derek Hough been there. I'm so excited next week is Disney Night and I can't wait to see them incorporate their Mickey moves, but do we really need to go back to two nights of competition?

Do you think the right contestant went home? Keep voting for your favorites!