“Dancing with the Stars” season 19 resumed Oct. 20 on ABC with a night of performances set to international super star Pitbull’s hits and favorite songs. So which celebrities upped the ante and who was sent packing at night’s end?
The episode opened as special guest judge Pitbull performed his hit “Fireball” with an assist from the talented “DWTS” pros. As the diminutive but charismatic singer made his way to the panelists’ table to join regulars Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Julianne Hough for the duration of the evening, Tom Bergeron introduced Erin Andrews’ sit-in for the evening, season 17 contestant and actress Leah Remini.
After the nine remaining couples filed into the ballroom, Tom addressed Pitbull, who macked on both Carrie Ann and Julianne before revealing that he was looking for something “hot” on the dance floor. Then the first three couples learned their fates, as comedian Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd were declared safe to dance again, and newly single actress Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy, and the exceedingly facially expressive actor Jonathan Bennett and Allison Holker found themselves in danger of elimination.
Just a moment later, Tom called on Jonathan and Allison to strap on their big kid dancing shoes, quell the disappointment, and hit the floor first. During their rehearsal segment, Allison encouraged Jonathan to be himself no matter what before they got to work on their jazz routine. Allison praised him for his hard work, and Jonathan said he was looking forward to dancing to Pitbull’s “Back in Time.”
Looking smooth in “Men in Black” inspired attire, Jonathan and Allison delivered a creative and definitively whimsical piece. It wasn’t technically perfect, but it was super fun.
Julianne praised Jonathan for his improvement and said she was “so proud” of him. Bruno quipped “the man in black has got his mojo back” and hoped he’d stick around for another week. Carrie Ann appreciated his “resilience” and called it his “best dance so far.” Pitbull, finally, appreciated his “extraterrestrial dance moves.” The judges awarded the happy couple a quartet of eights for a total of 32 points.
Up second to hoof it for America’s votes were Janel and Val. As they prepared for the samba, Val confessed to Janel that her sexy Oct. 13 switch-up dance with Artem Chigvintsev made him “a little uncomfortable.” The rest of the package played up the showmance angle in a big way, with both refusing to quantify their feelings for one another, but things took a tough turn as Val’s harsh criticism of her technique caused trouble –and plenty of friction– in paradise.
Dancing to “La Vida es un Carnaval,” the pair certainly brought sexy back (again). Janel is, bar none, a talented performer.
Bruno said she’d “cornered the market on hot latinas” and praised her for moving from the middle of her body. Carrie Ann called her a “phenomenal performer” and appreciated her ability to bring “nuances” to life, but thought she looked a little off balance. Pitbull admitted that he knows nothing about ballroom, but drew surprised gasps when he said she didn’t feel the passion between them. Julianne loved the choreography and content and congratulated them on the level of difficulty. They earned a wide range of scores, including a seven from Pitbull, an eight from Carrie Ann, and nines from Julianne and Bruno for a total of 33.
The competition continued on with Tommy and Peta. Eager to “bond and focus,” the duo headed to a sweat lodge in the desert. The segment featured a bizarre exchange between former “DWTS” contestant Cloris Leachman and Tommy before he and Peta headed back to the studio to rehearse their foxtrot.
Set to Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September,” Tommy and Peta’s performance was cute, charming, and personality-infused. But, he lost his way more than once and it took away from the overall effect. He’s a fun guy, but his time may be running short.
Carrie Ann called him “smooth” and “debonair” but noted a bunch of mistakes. Pitbull called him “the most interesting man in the world” and thought the dance was “fun.” Julianne was pleased to see the Tommy from weeks one and two, and predicted he could stick around for a long while. Bruno thought he did well while in hold, but looked like he was directing traffic while alone. They notched four sevens, for a total of 28.
With three dances in the books, Tom and Leah called the next three couples forward for more results action. With that, actress Lea Thompson and Artem, actor Antonio Sabato Jr. and Cheryl Burke, and “Duck Dynasty” star Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas were all declared safe to dance again. Tom then sent Antonio and Cheryl off to prep for their salsa.
During Antonio and Cheryl’s prep segment, the two immediately began rehearsing until Cheryl learned that her dad in Thailand had suffered a seizure and had been hospitalized. She struggled with worry until a day later, when she received a text from her dad telling her to go ahead and perform.
Antonio and Cheryl looked hot as they and a quartet of pros hit the ballroom to perform their “Bailando” salsa. They seemed to suffer a few small miscues, but Antonio embraced the attitude of the dance so kudos to him.
Pitbull called it “fun” and said he wanted to join in. Julianne praised Antonio for taking their critiques but said he was “too loose in the upper body.” Bruno said they did a great job of creating the atmosphere, but told Antonio to learn to transfer his weight correctly to get the hip action down. Carrie Ann told him to relax and feel it. They earned four sevens, for a total of 28 points. The ever-honest Leah bluntly said the scoring “sucked” and reminded America to vote.
The top of the second hour saw teen sensation Sadie and Mark hit the ballroom with a rumba. During rehearsals, Sadie cringed over doing “the sexy dance” and hoped to pull of a “sweet” rumba rather than a hot one. She had to fight hard against the giggles, and Mark worked hard to choreograph a routine that would please the judges and keep the “Duck Dynasty” clan happy.
Set to Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” Sadie and Mark’s rumba showed off the teen’s gorgeous extensions and lines. She needs to work on her hip action, but they created some lovely shapes, and kept it very clean.
Julianne called it a “beautiful story about falling in love” but noted Sadie was a little off balance at times. Bruno called her “a sparkling little jewel of a dancer” but told her to work on her “continuous motion.” Pitbull called it “simple” but “powerful.” They earned a 10 from Pitbull, a nine from Carrie Ann, and eights from Julianne and Bruno, for a total of 35. In one of the evening’s sweetest moments, Sadie dissolved into tears when she saw the perfect 10.
Up next were Lea and Artem with a salsa. During their rehearsal segment, Artem reminded Lea that “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” star and ostensible front-runner Alfonso Ribeiro would also be doing a salsa, and he pressed her hard to master a routine that she felt was overly complicated.
Their “Sexy People” dance was fast and furious, but a little choppy in places. Lea can be amazing in the ballroom, but she can also be incredibly inconsistent from one week to the next.
Bruno loved the “armography” but cautioned Lea against raising her shoulders. Carrie Ann confessed to feeling “a little disappointed” and told them not to compete with someone else. Addressing Artem, Pitbull joked “I didn’t know Jean Claude Van Damme could dance so good” and then praised Lea for going with the flow. Julianne said that though she’d always thought Lea was “the girl to beat,” she agreed with Carrie Ann that she needs to trust herself more. The judges awarded four eights, for a week six total of 32.
With six couples down and the week six elimination still looming, Tom and Leah addressed the last three pairs still awaiting their fates. Declared safe to dance again were Alfonso and Witney Carson, and YouTube star Bethany Mota and Derek Hough. Left to languish in the danger zone were NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater.
Since the threat of potential elimination is a great motivator, Tom told Michael and Emma to get ready to hoof it next. Michael was “shocked” to get fives during his switch-up disco routine with Witney, but vowed to “race my butt off” at Talladega and then “dance my butt off” on the show. Emma called the support of NASCAR nation “phenomenal.”
Their Argentine tango to “Give Me Everything” was Michael’s best dance of the season. In addition to being sweet and tender, the dance featured a series of great lifts, and he remembered the steps.
Carrie Ann said “this is what a champion is made out of” and praised him for being composed and elegant. Pitbull worried for him at first, but thought he did a great job. Julianne addressed the tough scores from Oct. 13, telling him that he needs to drop the comedic act and be himself. In the end, she appreciated the “beautiful” dance and choreography. Bruno said he had “dedication, focus, and connection” and called it a great improvement. They earned two sevens and two eights, for a total of 30.
The penultimate performance belonged to Bethany and Derek, who were tasked with tackling the tango. Their rehearsal segment saw the duo head to Sydney, Australia for a YouTube tour. They worked hard to cram in as much prep time as they could, but Derek said it was the least amount of time he’d ever had to prepare a routine for one of his partners.
Glittering like a mirror ball trophy, Bethany attacked her “Jealous” routine with impressive gusto. Despite a near-fall in the middle, she kept it together and it was a solid performance overall.
Pitbull was impressed with how well Bethany hid her error, and Julianne loved how it was “pure tango” with “no fluff.” Bruno agreed, calling it “straight down the line pure ballroom.” Carrie Ann said she was “blown away” and likened her to former winner Nicole Scherzinger. After Leah (literally) smacked Derek around with her mic, the judges flashed quadruple nines, for a nightly total of 36 points.
Closing out the show for the third time in six weeks of competition were the hobbled duo of Alfonso and Witney. During rehearsals, both reflected on their respective switch-up week routines, with Alfonso thrilled over his dance with Cheryl and Witney in tears over her disco with Michael. Alfonso shared that he’d hurt his groin while doing The Carlton during the Most Memorable Year week, and struggled to get past the injury. If that weren’t enough, Witney suffered a scary back injury during rehearsals as well.
Set to “Booty,” the pair’s salsa was as fiery-hot as their red outfits. Alfonso can move, period, but both looked a little pained as the dance came to an end. Before the judges could comment, he told Tom that he’d felt his groin injury aggravate itself.
Julianne reassured Witney that they “kill it” together, but wished for more salsa and less hip-hop. Bruno yelped “the rhythm’s got me!… yes, I could’ve danced all night!” Carrie Ann summoned Alfonso to give him 10 booty smacks and called the dance “super hot.” Pitbull rose to his feet to give his own stamp of approval in a way that only he can. They scored three tens, and a nine from Julianne, for a total of 39 points. With that, Alfonso and Witney re-claimed the top spot on the leader board.
With the evening’s round of dancing in the books, Tom and Leah called the three endangered pairs –Jonathan and Allison, Michael and Emma, and Janel and Val– to the stage for final judgment. After Michael and Emma were saved to dance again, Tom reminded the other two couples that they were not necessarily the bottom two, but that one of them would be headed home.
Up against consistently strong performers Janel and Val, Jonathan and Allison looked less than surprised when Tom revealed that they’d been eliminated. Jonathan shared that he did the show to “have fun” and “bring life back into my life,” and thanked Allison for being his partner.