All hail the Switch Up! What was once an unfathomable sacrilege on Planet Mirrorballus is now a mere pain in the bedazzled butt (or in one dancer’s case, a broken nose, but let’s just gloss over that with some extra makeup). Most of Monday’s one-time-only partnerships on Dancing With the Stars went over smoothly, and local ballroom deity Maksim Chmerkovskiy was more than game to waltz in as guest judge and offer some Len Goodman realness to sweeten the deal. I thought our favorite “sex on a stick” was a bit over-costumed in all those pesky clothes, but I did enjoy his mini-mullet and willingness to play along.
No elimination this week, so the Stars’ combined points from Weeks 4 and 5 will determine who heads home next Monday.
Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhhh-ber!
Alexa PenaVega: 40/40 Alexa’s Switch Up partner Derek made every effort to one-up her original partner Mark. Not only did he infuse her with bonus confidence during practice, but he….
…made it really weird on the dance floor! And why shouldn’t he? It’s not like Mark Ballas owns the concepts of acting really scary and dressing in multiple layers of wet waste. Anyone can do it. The whole troupe, even. Was that 40 out of 40 supposed to be for all six of those dancers above? Don’t get me wrong, Alexa and Derek nailed tonight’s “raw” and “authentic” tango — I just wouldn’t have pegged it for a perfect score. Hell, Carrie Ann thought it was a paso doble, not to mention she gave the pair a shaky standing ovation that could certainly be classified as a “questionable lift.” She should have dinged herself at least a point for those missteps. (That could happen, right? Change the rules; it’s the Switch Up!)
Carlos PenaVega: 39/40 I’m not a huge fan of contestants projecting their own “breakout moments,” but it was hard not to love Carlos and Lindsay’s turbo-charged tour de force of a quickstep. Bouncing around on those lit-up cubes alone was an obstacle course worthy of Maks’ 9 paddle. Three 10s, though?! Those seemed too high.
Though likely hideous to humans, Lindsay’s swish-worthy frock was a fringe fairy’s delight. And I refuse to mock young blondie for not knowing who the Dalai Lama is. For many years I assumed such a magical title could only have referred to this dentist-visiting pet llama from Sesame Street, and I am still not sorry. True enlightenment takes time. Let’s not rush her.
Bindi Irwin: 37/40 I somehow doubt this was the hardest cha cha Val’s ever done on the show, just because he’s had so many ridiculously talented partners. But Our Pro’s desire to maximize the potential of a baby eagle who doubles as a ray of sunshine was as deserving of compliments as his sparkle-studded sheer shirt. The bouncy innocence of this dance reminded me of Val’s partnership with Zendaya.
Nose-kisses! His fave. And I’m with Tom: Bindi should stay forever.
Andy Grammer: 36/40 He’d never scored all 8s, so all 9s first struck Andy’s Switch Up partner Sharna as an overshoot. But once he canceled a mid-week concert to prove his commitment to the ballroom, she put him right to work on establishing “BIG balls” — don’t forget the dramatic flourish — in the Argentine tango. “Stop saying balls, and I’ll do whatever you want!” the singer protested. So the Joey Tribiani of Dancing With the Stars took him up on that, too, reminding Andy that pretending to smell a fart is a surefire gateway to more convincing facial expressions mid-dance. She even brought in the smoke machine to thicken the plot.
Anything Sharna does is a masterclass, and sexily detecting flatulence in an already hazy atmosphere was no exception. Most of Andy’s fart-faces were obscured by the “dimness vs. lasers” lighting scheme, but overall the weird training techniques worked: He’s never looked so sexy out on that floor. Carrie Ann just had to throw in that Andy used to remind her of Pee Wee Herman before this week’s sudden transformation into James Dean.
Nick Carter: 35/40 Witney’s weekly assault on our diminishing mortality continues: In tonight’s installment of “Just Want You To Know (You’re Old),” her mom used to play the Backstreet Boys a lot. It wasn’t really her era. Agggghhh! Quit it! But moving on/inching closer to death: Nick and Witney executed all the right steps of a futuristic paso doble that Len Goodman would have loathed. Enter Teddy Bearkovskiy: “This is not my cup of tea,” Maks had to admit, reflecting on the former head judge’s preference for ballroom traditionalism at any cost. “I get it now.” Can’t he stick around each week to channel that voice of reason we so miss?
Hayes Grier: 31/40 Allison wanted to draw out the sophisticated side of the 15-year-old Vine star, whose voice kept cracking during interviews as if in protest. But their Viennese waltz was much too bouncy and fast for the judges’ liking. Maks put it best: “This is not the dance for that much energy output.”
Allison is what the Tooth Fairy looks like, right? I still want to believe…
Tamar Braxton: 29/40 Her previous performances have highlighted Tamar’s disconnect with Val, but this week’s (admittedly very difficult) samba with Louis suggested she might not be the best dancer, period. She has trouble finishing extensions and getting grounded. In better news, a 2005 audition tape showed Louis Van Intensité rocking some serious Fabio hair as he declared himself a living legend. “I like arrogant people,” his voice rang out over footage of him sliding across a ballroom into the splits. “I like triple spins.” “Show me speed.” “Show me you can put your leg up.”
SO MANY GEMS tonight, by the way. Just throwing this out there: I’d love to see a two-hour Sunday night DWTS special: an extended version of this week’s “Ugly Truth” lie detector segment, sprinkled with random booty pops and more audition footage from Our Pros. Just switch it up, ABC! No one cares about Blood and Oil, and you could even call it that. Trust me, we’d get it.
No boos for Val’s heavage, that’s for sure.
Alek Skarlatos: 29/40 plus a first date Emma accidentally broke Alek’s nose early Monday, but this barely registered in the face of their BLAZING HOT CHEMISTRY. According to Mirrorballus law, it’s best to “really manhandle” a new partner for at least a few days before hooking up for real. So the future lovers complied, delivering a steamy rumba for millions of fans and one lonely (yet dripping with sensuality) baobab from The Little Prince.
Maks thinks Alek is the dark horse of season 21 and should feel free to show more emotion. “She’s in front of you, this close. Just let it happen. It’s part of the dance.” (Good dating advice, too.)
Paula Deen: 26/40 Bad Grandma and Edgy Mark made a remarkably convincing duo in their fight against the crime of subtlety. “Come get some of this here milk!” Mr. Ballas yelled in his latest reincarnation: a womanizing milkman who gets all the neighborhood ladies to fulfill his… needs.
What fresh hell is this? “That was your best dance ever!” Carrie Ann raved after their jive. But Maks wasn’t as lactose-tolerant: “You could do more,” he told the chef. “I think you’re definitely playing it safe.” Quick check-in with Paula’s real partner Louis, and…
…we’re clear. Whew! Here’s the JUDGES’ LEADERBOARD for Weeks 4 and 5 combined.
Beware of the sparklefarts, y’all. See you next week!
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.