Warning: This recap of the Sept. 19 episode of Dancing With the Stars contains spoilers.
Ah, TV night — that classic DWTS mainstay during which the entire cast dances, often begrudgingly, to songs from shows they starred in or shows they’ve never heard of. And sometimes — as in the case of the Ryan Lochte quote: “After everything that’s happened, The Muppets helped so much” — magic happens.
No one was eliminated Monday, but on Tuesday’s special two-hour results show, one couple will head home, based on the combined scores and votes from Weeks 1 and 2.
Will the judges please reveal their Week 2 scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhhh-ba!
Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 32/40 “What’s DuckTales?” Laurie wondered upon receiving word that she’d be dancing a jive to its theme song. Silly Olympian. DuckTales is a beloved ’80s-’90s animated Scrooge McDuck vehicle that Disney just happens to be revamping for 2017. Now do you get it? Good. Now jump into this pile of money emblazoned with head judge Len Goodman’s face. (Ideally, there would be heaps of gems framing it, but it’s still pretty sweet.)
There. Excellent work. Ready for nonsense? “You are like Disney’s Beyoncé!” judge Julianne Hough (Disney’s Julianne Hough) raved to Laurie after the pair’s high-energy jive left Val winded and sans prop eyewear. What the heck did that comment mean? It doesn’t matter! Val is so proud.
“It’s impossible to be a Scrooge around her,” he said of his partner, who must routinely grab her cheeks to make sure all the happiness doesn’t fall out. No way do these two not win the season. It’s barely even a contest.
Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber: 31/40 Their perfectly timed quickstep to the theme from Bewitched was the surprise of the night, prompting Len’s biggest load of #sparklebarf so far: “Sometimes diamonds come in small packages, and you sparkled tonight.” The height difference that temporarily thwarted the couple during rehearsals was no bother for the Little Women: LA star, who commanded a huge “eyes down here” presence while maintaining the best frame Julianne had seen all evening.
“Were you Dick York or Dick Sargent?” asked Tom Bergeron, referring to the two actors who played Darrin Stephens on the 1960s sitcom. “I was a universal Dick,” Sasha stammered — the best answer to stem from total cluelessness I’ve ever heard on live television.
“Somehow I feel complicit in that,” said Tom, who really should know better than to ask a millennial about Bewitched.
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Allison Holker: 30/40 The judges loved Babyface and Allison’s reimagining of The X-Files theme song — Bruno Tonioli called it “enigmatic and intriguing,” with “just the right level of simmering sensuality bubbling under the surface.” Someone must have told him about Mulder and Scully’s sexual tension on the show, and he just went hog-wild on his mental notepad. Similarly, Carrie Ann Inaba was dying to blend the names of all parties involved: “That ain’t no Babyface,” she claimed. “That’s Mr. Smolderface now.”
I wasn’t quite as floored — the lighting and laser cage reminded me more of the Xbox logo than the actual X-Files. Plus, I firmly believe that Week 2 Argentine tangos should be outlawed. At least wait until Week 4 or so, once the true ballroom beasts within these timid hoofers have had time to unleash their skills. But I digress.
Marilu Henner and Derek Hough: 29/40 The night’s second knockout jumpsuit had much wider legs but slightly less wow factor than Maureen McCormick’s printed number. But Marilu certainly held her own, fashionwise, against her long-suffering partner’s Canadian tuxedo. Poor Derek was utterly dumbfounded about how to approach such a nonintriguing, nonenigmatic mystery as a Taxi-themed foxtrot.
It’s a little early in the season for him to fall prey to such a staggering case of creator’s block — but hey, when TV Night calls and your partner’s claim to fame started and ended before you were born, them’s the breaks. The brakes? Nah. Too cute. I would never.
James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess: 29/40 It may not have been perfect, but their zombie apocalypse paso doble set to The Walking Dead theme was exactly what I needed on a random Monday. The busy racecar driver had a mere day and a half to learn his routine, but some moves — like menacingly warding off a pack of infected dance decoys with invisible capes — need no rehearsing. They come from within.
The judges found James’s shaping a bit lacking — Carrie Ann called him “a bit vertical” and wanted him to expand outward. Meanwhile, the crowd vigorously booed Len for thinking the production overwhelmed the paso. ”You get on my wick, some of you people!” he yelped, not caring at all.
Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko: 29/40 Jana’s chiropractor advised against following through with this week’s One Tree Hill tribute tango after she tore some of the muscles between her ribs. Good God! That happened to me once and I could barely breathe, let alone fall asleep on my side.
This? Would have killed me. What a way to go, I guess. “I could see your pain the whole time,” Carrie Ann said, pouring salt onto Jana’s wound. “But you were still able to create pretty lines.”
Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold: 28/40 Potential frontrunner alert: "Watching you dance gives me joy,” raved head judge Len Goodman after the football star and Lindsay showed off their Family Matters-themed foxtrot. Those last four words alone give me joy, but I’m much more easily impressed. Sure, Len delivers this exact high praise every season, but usually not until Week 6 or 7. Considering Calvin’s natural talent combined with all the different “packets of charm” Carrie Ann called out — “smooth charm, cute charm, this charm” — he’s pretty much a shoo-in for the finals.
The only jarring element of this dance was that Megatron is incapable of looking authentically nerdy. He’s just too cool. But don’t listen to me; ask an expert.
Confirmed: “These are the longest suspenders I’ve ever seen,” said surprise special guest and Season 14 alum Jaleel White, dwarfed by coolness. (For the record, the real Urkel awarded his imposter all 10s. Guy’s got a lot of paddles.)
Vanilla Ice and Witney Carson: 26/40 The judges want more from the proud father of two, who’s satisfied with any old score because, as he said, he’s just “happy to be alive, and fun to be dancing.” Though endearing as hell, this kind of surferlike complacency will not keep one afloat on Planet Mirrorballus. After Ice’s good-enough foxtrot set to “Love and Marriage” from Married With Children, Carrie Ann called his lip-syncing distracting (true), while Bruno encouraged him to work both sides of his personality into the mix. “You’re a funky guy,” he said. “I want to see the lyrical come out.” Funky and lyrical: When it comes to the televised ballroom, you can’t have one without the other.
Both the set and Witney’s tacky-sexy costuming were so perfect here. Which reminds me, Married With Children was such a hilarious show, and I bet any of its stars who deigned to compete on DWTS could win it. Except Bud. Eh, maybe even Bud.
Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev: 26/40 Once TV’s Marcia Brady had lured ballroom standard Florence Henderson in for another Brady Bunch tribute, having the troupe members pose as ’70s-styled sibling types was a no-brainer. (I like to picture Artem yelling “This troupe must somehow form a family!” like a stern dad, but he probably just asked nicely.)
The judges noticed a couple of foot faults in Maureen’s quickstep but agreed that she showed improvement from Week 1. Julianne even called her “not deer in headlights-ish.” Which is not to say Maureen wouldn’t stop traffic in that jumpsuit.
Jake T. Austin and Jenna Johnson: 24/40 Everyone’s always clamoring to dance the cha-cha to the theme song from Go, Diego, Go! — so kudos to Jake, the original voice of Diego, for lucking out this time. Despite his years of experience “inside the jungle, where nature’s running wild,” nothing could have prepared him for his partner’s costume.
Overexcitability due to questionably placed clusters of fringe. A classic DWTS diagnosis. Poor Jake just got way ahead of the beat here and never looked back. “You have star quality,” Carrie Ann insisted. “You’re just trying to force it a little too much.”
Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke: 24/40 Longtime DWTS fans will always consider Season 9′s Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff the original Kermit and Miss Piggy of the Muppets-themed quickstep, but that doesn’t mean Ryan and Cheryl couldn’t at least try. Then again, anyone who refers to Kermit the Frog as “the green dude” and displays poor posture pretty much has no business impersonating the amphibious demigod, especially in a bedazzled suit.
Away with you, know-nothing!
Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 24/40 This week’s Viennese Waltz set to the Game of Thrones theme was truly a song of ice and fire, and not in a good way. Between the smoke machine and the slippery surface, not to mention her clunky Khaleesi boots, Amber had a hard time stepping in the right direction.
“Maybe it was the winter is coming. The Ice Age?” guessed Bruno, groping for movie titles despite it being TV Night.
Rick Perry and Emma Slater: 22/40 Although they were the lowest-scoring duo again, Rick and Emma at least looked the part as they channeled Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor from Green Acres in a tractor-focused quickstep. More feathers? No problem. Anything to distract from Rick’s “footwork like heavy machinery,” according to Bruno.
A cow in a pasture promised to vote for the former Texas governor during the couple’s jaunty “Make America Dance Again” campaign. But will anyone else?
Here’s how all 13 couples rank heading into tonight’s elimination:
Laurie and Val: 63
James and Sharna: 60
Babyface and Allison: 56
Jana and Gleb: 56
Marilu and Derek: 56
Terra and Sasha: 56
Calvin and Lindsay: 54
Vanilla and Witney: 51
Maureen and Artem: 48
Ryan and Cheryl: 48
Amber and Maks: 48
Jake and Jenna: 46
Rick and Emma: 42
Who do you think goes home: Diego or the gov’na?
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.