At the end of a somber and sobering day, I found myself smiling by the end of the opening group number. The stars and pros delivered a fun latin routine, which was a nice departure from the normal walking-down-the-stairs bit at the top of the show.
This week the show introduced “Len’s Side by Side” challenge, which paired each team with another pro couple. Each dance began with the pro couple, then both couples danced side by side, then the stars and their partners finished the number alone. The stars all clearly benefitted from having the extra instruction during rehearsals, and it showed in stronger performances across the board.
Aly has been solid so far, but her Samba had a little something extra last night. She seemed to be having a lot of fun, which always resonates with the audience. And Sean finally found his stride in an almost-elegant quick step. His posture was impeccable, and footwork greatly improved.
Dance of the Night: Zendaya and Val’s slithery, sharp Argentine Tango brought in the first 10s of the season, and rightly so. Take a look:
Swing and a miss: Bruno and Len always seem to be trying to “out-cute” each other with their colorful critiques, often relayed as amusing and somewhat oddball similes. Last night Len was unintentionally cryptic, telling Sean, “Last week you were a statue, and this week you’re a pigeon.” Huh? At first blush, this could be interpreted as a reference to bird poop, but Len went on to explain he thought this was Sean’s best dance of the competition so far. Pigeon=flying. Ummmm, if you say so, Len.
Base hit: Okay, not his sport per se, but Jacoby really upped his game with a crowd-pleasing jive that gave him a chance to shine. While not technically perfect (flexed feet instead of pointed toes in his flicks), Jacoby scored points for showmanship when he did two splits and a un-assisted leapfrog over his partner Karina, while she stood straight up. He received his best score to date, a 26.
Who’s in trouble: I don’t want to jinx myself by naming names this week, but it rhymes with “gee, hell.”
High score: Zendaya and Val, 29
Low scores: Andy and Sharna/ D.L. and Cheryl, 18