Dancing with the Stars Episode Recap: Monday, Oct. 21, 2013
Bill Engvall, Emma Slater | Photo Credits: Craig Sjodin/ABC
It's the halfway point of Season 17 and a night of firsts on Dancing with the Stars. Not only do we get the introduction of the "switch-up challenge" after all of the individual dances, but the judges also dole out their first perfect score for this group. Not to mention, who was sent home? Let's recap the performances:
Bill Engvall & Emma Slater (Tango)
Bill and Emma take the bold move of setting their tango to Jimmy Buffett's "Cheeseburger in Paradise" (or "Beefburgers in Paradise" by Jimmy Buffet, according to Emma), and Bill dedicates the dance to "Redneck Nation." Their little skit at the beginning (he's served a salad, while she gets a cheeseburger) is cute, and they pull off a pretty big feat by making the song look like it was made for a tango. The judges are amused and pleased. Len calls it "sharp and tangy," while Bruno nitpicks "a few tiny issues," saying they had a difficult time keeping up with the song's tempo.
Elizabeth Berkley & Val Chmerkovskiy (Cha-cha)
Val tells Elizabeth during rehearsals that there were a few missteps in their much-discussed Saved by the Bell routine last week, and that they didn't deserve 10s. This week they're referencing the other pop culture touchstone in Elizabeth's life:Showgirls. Elizabeth gets teary when she talks about how many opportunities she lost because of backlash from the film. She opens the number with an impressive solo and has a couple of miniscule slip-ups, but for the most part owns the routine (with her BFF Jennifer Beals looking on). "You've still got it big time!" Bruno enthuses. Carrie Ann compares her to a "white panther." And we have our first perfect score of the season!
Leah Remini & Tony Dovolani (Quickstep)
Leah and Tony know they're the underdogs in the competition at this point, but Tony says she's improving every week and is starting to "feel like a dancer." Their low scores clearly aren't for lack of trying on Leah's part. Jennifer Lopez and Casper Smart come to visit her during rehearsals for moral support. Leah still looks less than 100 percent comfortable out in the ballroom, but it's probably their best dance to date and ends with Tony plunking her down on the judges' table. Carrie Ann calls it "the biggest turnaround I've ever seen." Bruno likens her to Ginger Rogers.
Brant Daugherty & Peta Murgatroyd (Tango)
Brant's nervous that Christina Millian (who he believes has a bigger fan base than he does) got sent home last week even after receiving a 10. His Pretty Little Liars co-star Janel Parrish stops by to give him some encouragement during rehearsals. Their tango is technically proficient, but feels surprisingly more out of place with the music than Bill and Emma's did to Jimmy B. The judges don't think so, however. Len praises them for not incorporating any "gimmicks" (is that a not-so-subtle dig at Bill and Emma?) and hands out his second 10 of the night.
Amber Riley & Derek Hough (Samba)
Tensions are high between Amber and Derek this week. Amber admits that she "hit a wall" and "cried a lot" this week. They're working on incorporating a "samba roll" to win over Len (who gave them a 7 last week). It backfires, however. Amber does her best Tina Turner impression at the beginning of the routine, and they nail the samba roll during the dance itself. To me, Amber being partnered with someone as fluid as Derek does her a disservice because it highlights her lack of flexibility at times. Bruno tells them they did everything right. Carrie Ann calls the dance "fierce" and "a turn-on." But Len predictably is the party pooper, calling the routine "a tad repetitive." Carrie Ann tells him he's insane, and she and Bruno both give them 10s.