Dancing with the Stars, Season 25, Week 5, Disney Night
Jordan & Lindsay get the first perfect score of the season and are told “You’re Welcome,” Gleb’s being a sexy merman doesn’t prevent him & Sasha from being voted off.
We get the usual appearance of the Disney logo with the mirror ball, which then does a cool-looking transition into our opening number. They’ve slowed down “It’s a Small World,” and are having one couple and then a handful more gracefully do star-streaked dancing in the round-with-mouse-ears, and that really is kind of magical.
Then the music picks up, Mickey & Minnie accompany the rest of the dancers out, followed by our couples. This time clips from their movies play behind them. We soon discover there’s a “Disney through the years” going on tonight, and we commence with the short that started it all.
Victoria Arlen & Val Chmerkovksiy: Jazz; “Steamboat Willie Suit” Steamboat Willie
The fluff goes from Victoria’s emotional reaction to last week’s fluff to clips of them rehearsing in black and white. Then it gets serious, talking about how challenging this routine is to hers legs. They’ve got a black and white set and costumes with actual footage of the animated riverbank floating by, with Victoria & Val as Minnie & Mickey. Both before and after they’re joined by similarly attired background dancers, they nail a creative, comic routine worthy of an early Disney short. Her legs seem to pose no problem. The judges rave about both the program and her performance in it, with Len comparing it to a Disney movie and Carrie Ann also appreciating Val in the shorts. They break out straight Nines for 27.
Vanessa Lachey & Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Waltz; “Someday My Prince Will Come” (in French!) Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
The dwarves, hanging around the two before the fluff, are the first cartoon characters to appear in the ballroom (plenty more will follow). But after Vanessa too is shown crying during last week’s fluff, they show up in the studio looking a lot like tiny helium-voiced Makses. Then the real full-sized one shows up, and the thought of dealing with eight Makses drives poor Vanessa to take a bite of that apple. Then the dance starts with Prince Maks getting her off up the bier to do a sweet, simple waltz before she oddly goes back to being mostly dead on it. Unfortunately, there are moments where it isn’t so smooth, especially on the turns. The judges dissect that while praising the routine otherwise, then break out straight Eights for 24.
Lindsey Stirling & Mark Ballas: Foxtrot; “When You Wish Upon a Star” Pinnochio
She talks in the fluff about how she found Walt Disney’s story of perseverance inspiring when she herself was trying to make it. We’ve already seen a waltz on Dancing with the Stars to this song. But Mark applies his choreographic genius to it, doing a routine that is mostly simple dancing but makes use of a piano version (with Mickey at the keys!) and old-fashioned stylistic touches that make this an exquisite classic throwback. Lindsey dances it well, getting better as she goes on. No wonder Pinnochio’s applauding on the judges’ stand by the end. Bruno uses actually accurate phrases like “bathing in stardust” and “Fred Astaire meets Disney,” and Len not only says he loved it but breaks out the mouse-eared Ten paddle! A pair of Nines with that totals 28.
Nick Lachey & Peta Murgatroyd: Quickstep; “Bear Necessities” The Jungle Book
Nick compares the quickstep to running from a wild animal. Then there’s a sequence where Peta takes him to the zoo to relax (their kids with them), but the animals keep talking to him, so it’s not very relaxing. For the routine, Peta ignores the story of the movie, just doing a simple story of a random jungle man dancing with a cute she-bear. Aside from opening and closing bits with a hammock, it’s mostly content, and Nick has trouble with the moves at first. But like Lindsey, he gets better when as he goes on, and the end is surprisingly cute. Len notes Nick “more or less” pulled off the “bear necessities of quickstep,” and gives them an Eight. But Carrie Ann & Bruno only give them Sevens, so they total 22.
Drew Scott & Emma Slater: Viennese Waltz; “The Rainbow Connection” The Muppet Movie
Drew does some Muppet impressions, which initially does not impress Kermit (who’s making plenty of appearances tonight), but after a sequence where they turn into Muppets he comes around. He even introduces them in place of the BBC guy at the beginning. A simple routine combines subtle build with some rainbow lighting effects to more or less do this iconic song justice. We had to worry about Drew ruining it, but he’s once again dancing surprisingly well. Bruno sums it up: “I was expecting Gonzo, and I got Prince Charming!” Kermit’s on the judges’ stand thanks, “the lovers, the dreamers, and Drew,” and breaks out a Ten! That doesn’t count, though; they settle for a Nine from Carrie Ann and two Eights for 25.
Sasha Pieterse & Gleb Savchenko: Rumba; “Kiss the Girl” The Little Mermaid
The fluff has Gleb talking about how Sasha needs to be sexy. Also, like a mermaid, and we get a good deal of him drilling her on mermaid-like moves. Then she fantasizes about him being a gorgeous merman. But on the floor tonight, he’s Eric, and she’s a human Ariel, him picking up her for a romantic dance on the creek. The fluff maybe demonstrated the main problem: whether they have legs or fins, not everyone can be as sexy as Gleb, and Sasha doesn’t manage that. She does everything she can, though, embodying the character no problem. Her dancing’s pretty well too. The judges are kind enough not the compare her to Gleb but praise her for what she did do, before giving her straight Eights for 24.
Terrell Owens & Cheryl Burke: Quickstep; “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” The Lion King
Terrell declares Cheryl can definitely be a lion, saying, “she’s definitely been a lion to me.” Cheryl’s a little more skeptical about his lion-being ability before the fluff ends with her holding him up-before it ends with them both clattering painfully to the floor. Dancing around a throne, trees, and background dancers, Terrell isn’t that lionlike. But as a ruler, he’s pretty much in charge of the floor by the end. And as a quickstepper, he absolutely nails it. Bruno and Carrie Ann are both especially impressed that he did the footwork perfectly, and the former calls him “leader of the pride.” Len too praises his dancing. The two men give him Eights, while Carrie Ann gives him a Nine, so he totals 25.
Frankie Muniz & Witney Carson: Argentine Tango; “Angelica” Pirate of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
We’ve had two Pirates of the Caribbean routines on this show in the past. But this is the first tango, the music is new, and since nobody likes Johnny Depp anymore, Frankie ends up being Orlando Bloom instead. Which means he has to be sexy, which hasn’t traditionally been his niche. They admit they’ll have to rely on his acting ability. But that comes through; he combines some intensity with his chemistry with Witney. Throw in some very strong choreography from her, and his nailing it, and this would be perfect-except her heel gets caught in her skirt to not make it so. But after raving, Carrie Ann and Bruno choose not count that and break out Tens anyway. A Nine from Len leaves them with 29.
Jordan Fisher & Lindsay Arnold: Foxtrot; “You’re Welcome” Moana
They actually use the version from the movie’s credits, with Lin-Manual Miranda rapping and Jordan himself singing. The two of them spend the fluff arguing who’s the bigger Disney fan, with him knowing more. Just like this is his own version of the song, Jordan doesn’t really channel the Rock but channels his own version of the character of Maui anyway. You absolutely feel that, and meanwhile, his dancing is completely flawless. By the end of this, you’re even starting to think it might be the first perfect 30 of the season. When Carrie Ann’s using the word “unstoppable” and Bruno’s calling this “twenty-first-century foxtrot” “another Disney smash hit,” you start to expect it, and sure enough, out come three Tens!
Nikki Bella & Artem Chigvintsev: Jazz; “Remember Me” Coco
The chronological theme of tonight means the TV song debut/promotion for the new movie comes last. But this is an appropriate match, with Nikki even being the daughter of a mariachi bandleader, and getting excited about exploring her heritage. Artem even brings a pair of Mexican folk dancers in to make sure his choreography reflects the culture right. With their help, he puts Nikki into the middle of an absolute fiesta on the dance floor, and she shines in a joyful song about remembering one departed. This might not be as powerful as last week, but it’s a different kind of step up for her. “A wonderful vibrant celebration of life,” Bruno says, while Len just says, “Your best dance,” and they break out the straight Nines for 27.
But for one couple, the magic must now end. The ten couples line up, and they declare Sasha & Gleb and Frankie & Witney to be in jeopardy. They’re two of the six couples who got 24 last week, and one can’t be sure how many votes they’re getting. Sasha may be getting a few more than Frankie, but Witney’s probably getting more than Gleb. Would that prove the difference?
Maybe it was that, or maybe it was something else, but either way, Sasha & Gleb are out. Sasha tells us the show “totally blew my expectations away” and expresses her gratitude she got as much as she did.
Next week we have a more general movie night. Also, they’re hyping Shania Twain both judging and performing. That may be because of the whole country music awards thing coming up, but really, ABC, nobody cares about Shania Twain anymore, okay?