“Dancing with the Stars” season 19 continued Sept. 29 on ABC with a hybrid week three performance and results show. The episode was filled with surprises, including not just one but two perfect scores that knotted two couples atop Carrie Ann Inaba, Julianne Hough, Bruno Tonioli, and Kevin Hart’s Movie Night leader board. The evening came to a close as an unlikely celeb fell victim to the season’s third elimination.
The cast kicked off the third week of the season with an energetic group number choreographed by Nick Florez. Show hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews then welcomed guest judge Kevin Hart via a second spirited opening routine featuring members of the talented pro cast and celebrity contestants.
With the opening details out of the way, cruelty was the word as Tom immediately told mixed martial artist Randy Couture that he was in danger of being eliminated at the close of the two-hour episode. As if that weren’t bad enough, he fanned the heat under Randy’s collar even more by telling him that he and pro partner Karina Smirnoff were up first to perform.
The rehearsal package that followed featured Karina telling Randy that she planned to kick his bum throughout their “Rocky” paso doble. The fiery season 13 champ pressed him hard to hit the moves with precision.
Their live “Eye of the Tiger” dance was passable; it’s hard to go first, and it marked Randy’s second time doing so in three week. There must have been nerves in play because he looked a little off-kilter throughout, and not as confident as he could be.
Julianne lamented the loss of week one’s “leading man” and criticized him for being off with the timing. Bruno agreed, and told Randy to learn how to shape his movements. Carrie Ann praised him for adding intensity but missed “finesse.” Guest Kevin closed out the critiques by saying he was too scared of Randy to give him a bad score, and appreciated the performance. The dance netted the couple sevens from Carrie Ann and Kevin, and sixes from Julianne and Bruno, for a total of 26.
With a single dance down, two more couples –fashion designer Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani, and actor Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson– hit the stage to learn their show fates. Both pairs were declared safe to hoof it again, and Tom called on Alfonso and Witney to dance second.
Their pre-dance segment featured a silly little ditty set to music from “Austin Power: Goldmember,” and then Alfonso and Witney got serious about their quickstep. Witney worked hard on increasing his stamina to keep the actor from dropping his shoulders, and Alfonso confessed that learning ballroom dance was harder than he’d expected.
Alfonso and Witney’s “Hey Goldmember” routine was a pleasant mix of cheekiness and fun, with some pretty solid moves thrown in. Bruno cackled “Dr. Evil is very pleased” and praised his “strong individual style,” but told him to use his diaphragm to maintain his top line. Carrie Ann was “so impressed” with him, and Kevin declared “you murdered that, brother.” Julianne told them they’d done a great job but said to work on getting low while in hold. Their quickstep snagged straight eights, for a total of 32 and a temporary lead.
Following a performance by Kevin, guest Josh Gad, and a handful of pros, Betsey an Tony took their time in the ballroom spotlight. After calling her successful week two foxtrot the “miracle” she needed, she and Tony got to work on their “Ghost” inspired contemporary routine. She wasn’t sure she could master the timing and technique required to pull it off.
As it turned out, Betsey really had no need to worry, because their “Unchained Melody” number was sweet and melodic. She’s incredibly agile and flexible, especially given her age.
Carrie Ann said she was “super confused” by her extension and lyricism, but told her to point her toes. Kevin said he “had the hots for her” and told her she’d “dropped it like it’s hot.” Julianne agreed, and said she loved seeing her journey play out. Quipmaster Bruno joked “nobody can bend it like Betsey” but asked for “more continuous motion.” They earned sevens from Carrie Ann and Bruno, a six from Julianne, and a huge nine from Kevin, for a grand total of 29.
Movie night continued with more results. Declared safe to dance again were NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater, “Duck Dynasty” star Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas, and actress Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev. Not so fortunate were actor Antonio Sabato Jr. and Cheryl Burke, who were relegated to the danger zone.
With little time to spare, Tom and Erin sent Lea and Artem off to prepare to deliver their “Back to the Future” routine. The couple’s pre-dance segment saw them happily relishing their week two leader board topper status before moving on to their “Power of Love” cha cha cha. Artem admitted that he was “working Lea really hard,” and they ended the segment by driving off in a Delorean.
Lea looked amazing as she channeled Lorraine McFly in a pink-fringed number, but seemed a little lost and tentative during their prom night cha cha. It wasn’t her best work.
Kevin loved her natural smile, while Julianne was “so bummed” over a flagrant error in the middle of the number. Bruno appreciated her legwork and thought she’d covered her mistake well, but Carrie Ann said it wasn’t her best dance. She said she looked “very uncertain on her feet” but also told her not to worry because she’s “a fabulous dancer.” They earned three eights and a seven from Carrie Ann, for a total of 31.
The fifth couple of the night followed as Michael and Emma’s pre-dance package aired. He admitted that he was “bummed” that the judges didn’t like this week two samba, but vowed to win their approval with a waltz set to “Everything I Do” from “Robin Hood.” Emma said she was “determined” to help her partner turn in a good routine, but was confident that he’d successfully put his personality on display no matter what.
Michael and Emma’s waltz was super sweet and surprisingly lyrical. It was by far the racecar driver’s best dance to date.
Julianne summoned Michael to the table to tell him that he’d given his “best dance ever.” She was very pleased with how well he’d executed the technical details. Bruno said his hard worked had paid off, and Carrie Ann said she was “mesmerized.” Kevin echoed Carrie Ann’s remarks and told Michael he’d won him over. They scored four sevens, for a total of 28.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” took top billing next as Antonio and Cheryl prepared for their “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” foxtrot. Cheryl praised him as a “hard worker,” but hoped he’d be able to let go and relax enough to enjoy their routine in the ballroom.
Antonio looked smooth and sexy in a dark tuxedo and seemed to have fun as he danced with Cheryl. It was an enjoyable number, but his shoulders kept creeping up incrementally.
Bruno praised him for “turning on the fun factor”, but told him to work on lifting and turning from the waist. Carrie Ann said she wanted to encourage him because he’s “stiff in places that are a little strange,” and Kevin praised him for executing what he’d practiced. With no time remaining for Julianne to comment, Tom sent the duo to the sky box to receive their scores, three sevens and an eight from Bruno, for a total of 29.
Sadie and Mark kept the ballroom action moving along with a Viennese waltz set to “Married Life” from “Up.” Finding herself in jeopardy during the week two elimination show left the 17-year old reality star badly rattled, but she rebounded well to tackle a brand new style. In honor of “Up,” Mark used bunches of balloons to help her master her frame as they rehearsed.
Their dance was sugary sweet, theatrical, and whimsical. Sadie looked comfortable and secure as she performed, and ended the routine in memorable fashion by taking off with a bunch of giant colorful balloons.
Carrie Ann called it her favorite dance of the night, and Kevin called it “seamless” and said it made him want to dance. Julianne loved the story line and choreography, but encouraged her to imagine resistance to keep her arms from looking too airy. Bruno said he was “totally and utterly charmed.” The routine earned them straight eights, for a total of 32.
Following a break, the last four couples standing hit the stage to hear their respective results. Proclaimed safe to dance again were “Pretty Little Liars” actress Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy, YouTube star Bethany Mota and Derek Hough, and comedian Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd. “Mean Girls” star Jonathan Bennett and Allison Holker were relegated to the danger zone, and then immediately told they’d be dancing next.
The duo’s pre-performance segment saw Jonathan encouraging Allison, and then Allison turning to “DWTS” choreography rebel Mark for advice and guidance. Jonathan worried that she’d lose her “Ally-ness” during their “Great Gatsby” tango, but she insisted they’d get it down.
Set to “Back to Black,” their tango was passionate and theatrical in a very good way. Better yet, it had lots of nice tango content for the judges to take in.
Kevin said he was “wrapped into the moment” and enjoyed the non-traditional song selection. Julianne appreciated the choreography, but told Jonathan to work on his frame. Bruno called it “a very hard track to crack” but praised them for capturing the “intense melancholy” of the story. Carrie Ann told Allison that she didn’t want to “stifle” anyone’s creativity, but noted that their previous criticisms had clearly had a positive effect. The overly excitable actor was delighted to receive four eights, for a total of 32 points on the evening.
The show continued as Janel and Val prepared to deliver their “West Side Story” jazz number. Disaster nearly struck during rehearsals as “DWTS” producers had trouble getting legal approval to use choreography that even remotely resembled content from the famed movie. Were they up to the challenge of master a last-minute revamp of their routine?
In short, absolutely. Their “America” number was fast and fun, though it resembled more of a pure Broadway number than a true jazz routine. Still, it had amazing energy and flowed incredibly well, so credit goes where it’s due.
Julianne marveled over what she’d seen, and said she felt like she’d been watching “a full Broadway show.” Bruno called it Janel’s “star making turn,” while Carrie Ann said “you turned that beep out, girl!” before making odd and inadvertently inappropriate sexual comments about the actress. Kevin said he “bowed down” to her skills. Janel and Val were rewarded in mega-ultimate fashion with the first perfect score of season 19 when all four judges revealed their 10-paddles.
The tough task of following perfection fell to Tommy and Peta, who were charged with performing a passionate Argentine tango set to a hit from “Scent of a Woman.” One of the oddest exhanges of the week came as Tommy sniffed Peta and then whispered “smells like Maks” before proceeding to teach his teacher the style.
Especially given Tommy’s 76 years, their “Por Una Cabeza” dance was on-point and quite well-executed. It helped that the floor was partially obscured by fog, but Tommy really mastered the mood of the style quite well.
Bruno said “unforced, languid, sensual” and “the story could not have been better told.” Carrie Ann said it was “like watching Yoda dance” and called Tommy “the real deal.” Kevin praised him for staying “poised” after watching Janel and Val earn a perfect score, and Julianne called him both “excellent” and “flawless” for leading Peta so successfully. They were rewarded with a jaw-dropping score of 34 points –including a perfect 10 from Kevin– which secured them second place on the week three leader board with just one couple to go.
With minutes remaining before the week’s elimination, last-couple-standing Bethany and Derek hit the stage with their “Singin’ in the Rain” jazz number. The pair had a visit from the legendary Gene Kelly’s wife Patricia to help them on their way, and Patricia paid the pro dancer a compliment when she said she could see part of her husband in Derek when he dances.
With Bethany’s injured ankle heavily taped, the duo hit the ballroom with umbrellas in hand to execute their number. It was a cute and fun routine that, like Janel and Val’s dance, looked more a bit more ballroom than jazz.
Carrie Ann declared “mission impossible, mission complete” and applauded the production team for making it rain in the building. Kevin praised Derek for paying homage to Gene. Julianne praised Bethany for dealing with her brother’s wrath and said she didn’t miss a single step. With little time remaining, Bruno was silenced before he could offer up his always colorful commentary. After a clip featuring a four-year old Derek dancing to “Singin’ in the Rain,” the duo joined Janel and Val in the unofficial Season 19 Perfection Club by snagging 40 points and a share of the top spot on the leader board.
With the dancing complete, the three endangered couples returned to the stage to find out which of them would be asked to turn in their competition shoes for good. Antonio and Cheryl were saved to dance again, leaving the “not necessarily” bottom two couples –Jonathan and Allison, and Randy and Karina– under the heat of the red lights. After the requisite dramatic pause, Randy and Karina were sent packing. Randy said that despite the outcome, he was “happy” and called Karina “amazing.” Karina called it “a priceless experience” and hoped she had “a friend for life” in Randy.
“Dancing with the Stars” season 19 continues Oct. 6 on ABC with performances inspired by the celebrity contestants’ most memorable years. Tune in to see who rises to the occasion, and who falls victim to the flames of elimination.