Dance fans, our world is a jumbled mess this week. Just as we were getting used to the idea of Maks and Meryl, or Nene and Tony, or Cody and Witney ... the rug is pulled out from under all of us.
But it's our own doing, isn't it? It wasn't the producers or the judges who decided the new pairings for this one week only "Switch-Up Night." We did it with our own votes and tweets. With all credit given to head judge Len Goodman, I will dub this "itchy blanket week." Len gave the "Switch-Up" that moniker because he said while it may do the job, it is a little uncomfortable. The good news: no elimination tonight!
And our guest judge this week: the brutally honest Julianne Hough!
Here's a recap of "Switch-Up Night," from highest score to lowest:
Meryl Davis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy -- 39 out of 40
Meryl is happy she gets to keep it all in the family on "DWTS," trading one Chmerkovskiy brother for another. Tom Bergeron lets us know that this duo was the most request pairing! Of course we want to know the difference between the two pro dancers; Meryl says Val is all business and Maks likes to goof off a bit more.
They do the Argentine Tango, which happens to be Maks' favorite dance so they know he'll be jealous. Head judge Len Goodman calls their performance the dance of the night; Bruno Tonioli thought they were like two musical instruments perfectly in tune; Carrie Ann Inaba said the two are in a class of their own and untouchable; and two time "DWTS" champ Julianne Hough told Meryl she would love to dance like her. Two week total for Meryl: 78 out of 80.
James Maslow and Cheryl Burke -- 35 out of 40
James said he felt a bit like a swinger and that he was cheating on Peta Murgatroyd. Cheryl taught him an intense and almost mean Tango. Julianne called James the "total package;" not just the good looking guy who takes off his shirt, but also a real dancer with technique and passion. And then she started talking about his butt. In a "dance" way. And Bruno chimed in. So the double entendres flowed.
James looks like he has a pretty thick skin so he could handle all the butt talk. Erin Andrews then ambushed him about his relationship with Peta ... are they dating? Erin wants a "dancing" baby. Awkward? Yes. Two week total for James: 71 out of 80.
Amy Purdy and Mark Ballas -- 34 out of 40
Amy leaves partner Derek Hough for his best bud, Mark. They start their rehearsals with Amy giving him the lowdown on how her body and her prosthetics work. It throws Mark a bit and to help him understand, he talks to Derek. The two fedora-wearing pros go over just how differently Amy has to move to stay balanced.
Mark is up to the challenge and comes up with a fun and sexy Salsa. Bruno praised her footwork and said she never went wrong in the routine; Carrie Ann loved that she was more exposed and said she has a "girl crush" on her abs; Julianne said Amy is not just inspiring but also a fierce competitor; and good ol' Len said her "bottom" was "tops." More butt talk! Two week total Amy: 70 out of 80.
Drew Carey and Witney Carson -- 33 out of 40
Witney goes from the youngest guy on the show, Cody Simpson, to the oldest guy, Drew. They realize he's actually older than her dad. She has to slow down teaching style because Drew picks things up much slower than Cody does, but Witney has all the patience in the world.
She dresses Drew is a shiny gold suit and teaches him a fun and fast Cha Cha Cha. Bruno called Drew a confident "sugar daddy" and "Elvis meets Liberace." And Len killed it tonight with the comment, "I haven't had that much fun in a minute and a half since I was a teenager." Two week total for Drew: 63 out of 80.
Charlie White and Peta Murgatroyd -- 33 out of 40
Charlie's nervous but thrilled to see Peta, who is good friends with his regular partner Sharna. He notices the difference between the two choreographers is that Sharna teaches each individual detail, while Peta lets things evolve.
They are assigned the Rumba, and Charlie plays the role of Captain Obvious by telling us sexy and sultry does not come naturally to him. To make him look the part, they slick back his blonde curls and his hair looks just like Petas!
The judges were split on this one; Julianne and Bruno gave nines and love the routine. Len and Carrie Ann said it was a great dance, but was absolutely NOT a Rumba. More hips! Two week total for Charlie: 69 out of 80.
Danica McKellar and Maksim Chmerkovskiy -- 32 out of 40
Val gets Meryl; Danica gets Maks. She learned the two men may be family but they have radically different teaching techniques. Danica says Val explains why she needs to do things; Maks says "just do it." Even though they get "eights" across the score paddles, the judges were all critical, from Len saying there was too much goofing off, and Carrie Ann pointing out a timing issue.
But it was Julianne who gave the roughest comment; she told Maks she felt as though he was going through the motions and just wanted to get through the switch so he could get back to Meryl. Ouch! With Erin, Maks said he tried his best, and his little brother thanked him and said he was proud of the dance. Two week total for Danica: 68 out of 80.
NeNe Leakes and Derek Hough -- 32 out of 40
NeNe calls Derek her little brother; I think that's more than an age thing, it's also a height thing. She also gets to do a Jazz routine which both she and Derek feel will suit her strengths. They do an African tribal themed number which felt a little weird, but the judges liked it. Len said it was the best dance she's done; Bruno called her the Queen of Sheba. Two week total for NeNe: 63 out of 80.
Cody Simpson and Sharna Burgess -- 31 out of 40
Sharna says this is the first time the American version of the show has featured two Aussies. And, like NeNe, she's feeling a bit of the age difference with her partner. Cody's the youngest partner she's ever danced with (he's 17, she's 28) and she was feeling the generation gap. He joked that she talked to him more like a Mom (pull up your pants!) and she definitely doesn't tolerate any messing around.
Their Foxtrot begins with Cody singing in the audience and the girls go crazy. The judges see improvement, and think he's good when he's not in hold. But when he does have to do the proper ballroom technique, he loses it. Len told him "nail the details!" Julianne suggested that next week he embrace the ballroom style and do something very "un-Cody" like. Two week total for Cody: 66 out of 80.
Candace Cameron Bure and Tony Dovolani -- 28 out of 40
Candace was kidding (I think?) when she said she didn't want Tony. And then he walked in the door! Staged? Or big oops? Turns out he likes to tease her a lot. She blushes. That was the only drama. Tony's dance style is very different from Mark Ballas' but CCB likes them both.
They dance a Quickstep to "Ballroom Blitz" and while Tony's red Mohawk was a bit distracting, the dance looked good. The judges liked it; but didn't love it. Complimented them on energy and choreography but technique needed work. This is where Len gave his "itchy blanket" metaphor. Two week total for Candace: 60 out of 80.
Next week: one couples goes home. That is, unless they toss ANOTHER surprise our way!
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