“Dancing with the Stars” season 19 continued Sept. 22 on ABC with #myjammonday, a night of performances featuring the 12 remaining contestants’ favorite songs. By night’s end, a brand new celeb sat atop the judges’ leader board by just a single point over her nearest competitor. So how did it all go down and who holds the biggest edge heading into the week two elimination show?
The show opened as the cast danced to a medley of the judging quartet’s personal favorite jams, including “Come Dance with Me” for Len Goodman, “Only Girl in the World” for Carrie Ann Inaba, “Born this Way” for Bruno Tonioli, and “A Sky Full of Stars” for new panelist and two-time mirror ball trophy winner Julianne Hough.
With a whopping 12 dances planned for the two-hour live broadcast, co-hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews wasted little time kicking off the night’s competition. Up first to strut their stuff were mixed martial artist Randy Couture and Karina Smirnoff. Their pre-dance clip featured Randy promising to “take it to the next level” with the cha cha, which he called “kinda naughty.” Karina called her new partner “relentless” and said he has the makings of a real champion.
Set to “Satisfaction,” Randy and Karina’s army-inspired cha cha was good, though perhaps not on par with their acclaimed week one foxtrot. He seemed to lose his focus a few times, and the timing wasn’t quite as on as it could have been.
Len called it “a lot of fun” but noted that his footwork wasn’t great, while Julianne praised them for starting off the night on a good note before criticizing his “fighting shoulders.” Bruno predicted that he was headed toward becoming a “hip action hero” and told him to “tidy up the edges,” and Carrie Ann said she was disappointed by a lack of aggression. She called it “cute,” but wanted to see “the other side of Randy.” The duo scored a quartet of sevens for the effort for a total mark of 28 out of 40.
Second in line to perform were “Pretty Little Liars” actress Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy, who entered week two on a low note after their week one jive earned a lower score than Janel expected. During rehearsals, Val pressed Janel hard to perfect their foxtrot, and the actress wasn’t thrilled with her “grumpy” partner. Still, the often goofy couple ended their segment with a smile.
The Carly Rae Jepsen smash hit “Call Me Maybe” served as the musical pairing for the duo’s dance, which was decidedly cute and theatrical. They have a good connection going, and it shows on the dance floor.
Julianne said she loved it, though she noted it wasn’t a “traditional foxtrot.” Bruno declared Janel “hot to trot” and praised her for managing the speed of the “almost perfect” dance well. Carrie Ann appreciated her “versatility” and agreed that it was nearly perfect. Len enjoyed the parts that were done in hold, and praised Janel’s dance skills. They were rewarded with nines from Carrie Ann and Bruno and eights from Len and Julianne, for a total of 34 points.
“Back to the Future” actress Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev followed in the three-spot. As they chatted over their week two jive, which Lea called “not so natural for me,” she admitted that being in jeopardy had had a negative effect on her confidence.
Lea looked a little tentative as she started her “Land of 1000 Dances” routine, but she gained steam –and probably spades of confidence– as she progressed. She looked like a seasoned jive-mistress by the time the music stopped.
Bruno cried “viva la Lea” and likened her to Ann- Margret in her prime. Carrie Ann shouted “the ladies are killing it tonight” and called it “so exciting.” Len admitted that he’d been concerned about her jiving, but said it was “terrific.” Julianne called her “a hot mama leopard” and praised her for holding her own and not relying completely on Artem. They earned an eight from Len, and nines from the other three panelists, for a total of 35.
Dancing fourth were NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater. During their practice session, Michael said he wanted to see Emma in a bikini to match up with his song choice, Lee Brice’s “Girls in Bikinis.” But it was Michael who ended the segment wearing a teeny weenie bikini.
Well, Michael and Emma’s samba was entertaining, if nothing else. He gave one seriously awesome hip-roll that could’ve caused a tidal wave, but otherwise, he often looked lost.
Carrie Ann praised him for his joyfulness and the way he doesn’t take himself seriously, but called the actual samba “non-existent.” Len quipped “you’ve put the sin in syncopation” but admitted “I don’t know why but I liked it.” Julianne said he’d mastered the hip rolls, but wasn’t so impressed with the rest. Noting the bevy of beautiful pros who surrounded him during the dance, Bruno said he wasn’t surprised that Michael had trouble with focus. The effort earned sixes from all four judges, for a total of 24.
PBS host Tavis Smiley and Sharna Burgess performed fifth. With a busy week filled to brimming with book signings and appearances, he and Sharna squeezed rehearsal time in whenever they could. Sharna confessed that she was stressed out over the lack of practice time, and the tension came to a head as Tavis told her the dance was too complicated and predicted a show-night “meltdown.”
Their “Boogie Wonderland” cha cha did indeed look woefully under-rehearsed. The disco theme was amusing and the concept was one that could’ve turned it into something truly great, but time just wasn’t on their side.
Len said it “lacked polish” but he liked the “feel.” Julianne agreed, but said that it really did feel like Tavis’ jam, while Bruno liked the “vibe” but told him to be lighter on his feet. Carrie Ann disagreed with Julianne and Len, and said she thought he had indeed gotten the steps down. She did, however, tell him that he needed to perform and not just go through the motions. The dance scored four sevens, for a grand total of 28.
Week one leader board toppers Alfonso Ribeiro of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and pro partner Witney Carson followed in the six spot. Antonio said he was “floored” to find himself in the lead, however, he found the samba “really difficult” and wound up feeling frustrated. Witney too wound up in the frustration zone, and talked her feelings out with a “DWTS” producer.
Despite their collective worries, their “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” dance was a lot of fun. Alfonso looked less comfortable than he did during week one, but his bad day in the ballroom is still better than most former contestants’ good days.
Julianne said the “Alfonso groove” makes everything he does look great, but wanted to see more bounce. Bruno called his style “unique” and his performance skills “astonishing,” but agreed with his co-horts, while Carrie Ann said they needed to work on their connection. Len said he was “popping like buttons on a shirt,” but that his week three Viennese waltz might present a challenge. Len also took the chance to share that he’ll be out for the Sept. 29 show. They earned four eights for a total of 32.
With half of the performances in the books, YouTube star Bethany Mota and Derek Hough opened the second hour. During their practice session, Bethany admitted to worsening ankle pain, and worried that injury might hurt the scores for their “All About that Bass” foxtrot. But the pain didn’t stop her from happily fan-girling over a tweet she received from Taylor Swift in response to her premiere night “Shake it Off” jive.
Their dance began in typical breathtaking Derek fashion with Bethany standing atop a bass. Her heavily taped ankle didn’t seem to affect her performance, and she wore a beautiful smile throughout.
Bruno said it “really tickled my fancy” and called it a “Bob Fosse” foxtrot with its intricacies. Carrie Ann loved her ability to tell stories with her dancing, while Len called it the best of the night, and Julianne called the effort awesome. They earned a nine from Len, and eights from the other three for a total of 33.
The show rolled on with the eighth couple of the evening, fashion designer Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani. After calling her debut on the show –which saw her hand in the bottom two with the eventually eliminated Lolo Jones– “an embarrassing disaster” and “the worst experience” of her life, Betsey said she was up for a total “visual, mental makeover.”
Wearing a glittering black and pink off-the-shoulder gown and with her blonde locks piled high atop her head, Betsey looked virtually unrecognizable as she and Tony began their “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” foxtrot. It was indeed a much improved effort for the quirky designer, who looked poised, polished, and really happy to be circling the ballroom.
Carrie Ann declared “all hail queen Betsey!” and called her “exquisite.” Len called it “a night to remember” and said she looked fabulous without her usual get-up on. Julianne called it a “make-under” of a dance, while Bruno called her the “revived glamour queen of the night” and said she was “definitely ready for your close-up.” Betsey was delighted to receive four sevens, for a total of 28.
Up ninth were “General Hospital” star Antonio Sabato Jr. and Cheryl Burke, who were tasked with the difficult challenge of a week two rumba. Antonio struggled with capturing the “bigger than life” persona of the style, and worried that he wouldn’t be able to dance it well with Cheryl.
Miguel’s “Adorn” served as the backdrop for their rumba. It was a sexy dance, because Cheryl and Antonio are sexy apart and doubly sexy together, and Antonio pulled off the mood of the dance quite well.
Len encouraged him to enjoy the experience, and praised him for improving over week one. Julianne said it was “leaps and bounds” better and found it natural and not melodramatic. Bruno declared “the Latin lover is starting to smolder” and praised his bum, while Carrie Ann appreciated their “subtlety” but told him to watch out for hinky motion by the arm that’s not in hold. They earned a seven from Len and eights from the other three for a nightly total of 31.
Comedian Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd followed. As they rehearsed their salsa, Tommy shared that he’d visited salsa clubs in the past, but Peta pressed him to “really nail the technique” and steps. Tommy looked a little confused, but he also looked lost during week one and went out and hit a home run anyway.
Appropriately set to “Higher,” their salsa was enjoyable enough, and for an older dude, Tommy had some slick moves. Julianne called it fun, fast, funny, and fabulous, while Bruno said Tommy was proof that “age is a state of mind.” Carrie Ann called him “the big kahuna” and praised him for dancing “right in the pocket of the music.” Len said it had “plenty of wiggle, plenty of giggle” and praised him for working his “assets.” All four judges awarded Tommy and Peta sevens, for a total of 28.
With 10 dances down, “Mean Girls” star Jonathan Bennett and Allison Holker took their turn in the spotlight. During their pre-dance package, Jonathan of the hyperactive facial expressions sweetly said he felt like Allison was his “best friend” after just a few weeks together, and then the buddies worked to bring out the actor’s sexy.
Their “Sing” cha cha was fast and full of distinctive character, but it felt a little lacking in the choreography department. Bruno appreciated the “sharp, hard angles” of the dance but felt that he’d rushed a few elements. Carrie Ann liked his “dangerous character” but didn’t think there was enough cha cha content, while Len called it “jerky” and slammed it for having too much “flim flam.” Julianne agreed, but appreciated them for their consistency and potential. They notched sevens from Len and Carrie Ann, and eights from Julianne and Bruno, for a total of 30.
With minutes left on the clock, the evening’s swan song belonged to “Duck Dynasty” star Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas, whose week one cha cha cha proved to be one of premiere night’s most pleasant surprises. Although Mark had never choreographed a country jazz routine, he felt like the style would work well for his protege, who he called “as country” as she could possibly be.
Sadie and Mark’s “She’s Country” number was creative, fun, and really well-executed. Carrie Ann called it “a little edgy and a little sexy” and thought Sadie “killed it.” Not surprisingly, Len had trouble seeing the connection between jazz and country. Julianne called her “a natural performer” but missed the leg action that made their week one dance so good. Bruno, finally, thought it was great. With time waning, Tom quickly requested the scores, and the two learned they’d earned 31 points –a seven from Len and eights from the other three.
Whose lofty mirror ball trophy dreams will be next to crash to the ballroom floor for good? Watch the “Dancing with the Stars” season 19 week two results show Sept. 23 on ABC to find out.