“Dancing with the Stars” season 20 resumed March 23 on ABC with #MyJamMonday, a night of performances set to the soothing sounds of the celebrity contestants’ favorite tunes. So what went down during the two-hour broadcast and which hopeful was sent packing far too soon?
“The Bachelor” Chris Soules and reigning mirror ball champ Witney Carson opened the evening with a “Time of Our Lives” cha cha cha. Soules struggled with picking up choreography during rehearsals and it showed during the live performance, as he strutted around the ballroom floor like a (really hot but vaguely confused) peacock. It wasn’t horrifically bad, but the judging quartet wasn’t impressed with Carson or Soules. Julianne Hough criticized the choreography as too “intricate” for week two and Carrie Ann Inaba scolded Soules for taking a “casual” approach to the competition. Soules told Erin Andrews that he was disappointed in himself before the panelists flashed their paddles to reveal a paltry, field-worst 21 out of 40 possible points.
Up second to hoof it were “Three’s Company” actress Suzanne Somers and Tony Dovolani, who looked to improve on a week one cha cha cha that was criticized as too safe. Improve they did: their “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” jive was fun, flirty, and on-point. Hough called it “awesome” and praised Somers’ “sass,” while Bruno Tonioli called it “tease-y but never sleazy” and Inaba appreciated the spring in her step. Th 68-year old, who was near tears as she talked with Andrews in the sky box, earned 28 points for the effort.
The “are they or aren’t they” pairing of “Shark Tank” star Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson followed with a “You Make Me Feel So Young” foxtrot. Herjavec looked kind of like the Easter Bunny in his white pants and baby blue vest, but the dance itself was lighthearted and sweet, and the Nice Shark’s joy was absolutely infectious. Tonioli loved his confidence, and Inaba issued the evening’s oddest comment when she said their cuteness “almost made me nauseous.” After a surprise video message from Michael Buble, the super cute pair became the night’s second couple to earn 28 points.
Fourth in line were model Charlotte McKinney and Keo Motsepe. During rehearsals, McKinney struggled with a barrage of negative comments she received via social media following the premiere. After a disappointing week one jive, the 21-year old made a nice comeback with her “California Gurls” cha cha cha. She showed plenty of attitude and the routine featured a pair of awesome crabs (also known as troupe members Jenna Johnson and Sasha Farber). Inaba called it “really good” but wanted her to work on her footwork, while Goodman enjoyed the “fun” and “cheeky” performance. Hough issued a smackdown to McKinney’s social media haters, praising the model for having the courage to do the show. The duo nabbed 26 points, which represented a four-point improvement over week one.
Decked out in “Wizard of Oz” red, football player Michael Sam and Peta Murgatroyd traipsed all over the yellow brick road with a “Working My Way Back to You” foxtrot. Despite feeling tired after competing in the March 22 NFL Veteran’s Combine, Sam worked it, churning out better footwork and better bum control than he managed during his premiere night cha cha cha. Goodman praised his improved footwork and quipped that he had “scarlet fever,” while Hough likened it to a beautiful “Broadway performance.” The pair became the third of the night to post a 28 on the judges’ leader board.
Actress Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy, who wowed the ballroom and topped the leader board with a classy week one foxtrot, kept the night moving forward with a cha cha cha. Appropriately set to Adele’s “Rumor Has It,” Willis looked hot in glittering sliver, and worked the performance with passion and intensity. She was so good that Chmerkovskiy, clad entirely in black, faded into the background. Tonioli likened her to “a warrior on a mission” and Inaba gave Chmerkovskiy props for his quality choreography. Not surprisingly, the dynamic duo cha cha’d to the top with 32 points.
Opening the second hour of the competition were LMFAO’s Redfoo and Emma Slater, who desperately needed a kick-butt performance to recover from a poor debut. And that’s just what they got with their “My Sharona” jive. It was fast, it was furious, and it was everything a great jive should be. The judges agreed. Tonioli praised him for going from “running on empty to running on plenty,” while Inaba summoned him for a well-deserved high-five. The pair jumped an incredible nine points from their week one 22 by posting a second-best mark of 31.
Fourteen year-old Willow Shields of “The Hunger Games” and Mark Ballas followed with a –literally– colorful Argentine tango set to Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know.” The paint-splattered duo coursed through the exceptionally creative routine, with Shields showing off sharp leg movements and nailing the intense style’s emotional requirement. A fired up Inaba declared that Shields was “in it to win it” and called the concept “brilliant.” Goodman praised the teen’s maturity, and Hough echoed the sentiment, declaring “age is but a number.” With eights from all four panelists, a giggling Shields and her proud partner joined Willis and Chmerkovsky on top of the heap.
As the season’s first elimination edged ever closer, war veteran Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess hit the ballroom with a “Homegrown Honey” samba dedicated to Galloway’s girlfriend Jamie Boyd. Although the cover vocals of the Darius Rucker hit were a bit sketch, the dance itself was as sweet as honey, and the open-shirted Galloway looked hot, hot, hot. Goodman praised him for “doing extraordinary things” and Hough appreciated his musicality. After the pair made their way to the Skybox, Galloway found himself the recipient of one of the night’s biggest surprises when Boyd emerged to greet him in person. (Oh, and the dance? It scored 27 points.)
With a half an hour remaining, the 10th couple of the evening, Olympian Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough, brought the season’s first rumba to life in the ballroom. Set to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” the dance was stunning. Liukin’s lines and extensions were gorgeous throughout, but she really hit her stride during the second half of the routine. Hough called it “beautifully executed” and “incredible for week two.” Tonioli praised her flow as “flawless” and Inaba just gaped at the pair before dubbing the performance “fantastic.” The dance netted the season’s first two nines as they snagged the top spot on the leader board with a score of 34.
Singer and Hough-cousin Riker Lynch followed with a “Sugar” foxtrot on the arm of Allison Holker. After scoring a second place finish on the debut leader board with a jive, Lynch showed off an entirely different side of himself –a suit-wearing, slick-haired side– as he and Holker trolled the ballroom with a modern take on the classic style. Tonioli called both the look and the dance “slick” and loved his “hip” and “now” details. After indulging her inner cougar by appreciating his fine new look, Inaba said she’d enjoyed the dance. The pair slid into a three-way tie for second place with 32 points.
With less than 15 minutes remaining and the big elimination of the week still pending, the final couple of the evening hit the floor. Grammy winner Patti LaBelle and Artem Chigvintsev, who were a pleasant surprise during week one, performed a salsa to “In Da Club” by 50 Cent. Once again, the season’s elder stateswoman impressed with a sassy routine that featured plenty of skin as well as more than one of her fellow competitors as “body guards.” (Calling Chris Soules and Michael Sam!) Inaba declared “you’ve been holding back on us!” and both she and Hough said they wanted to go clubbing as part of the legendary singer’s entourage. The number netted them 28 points.
With the competition in the books, the elimination formally began. Bergeron called four couples –Redfoo and Slater, McKinney and Motsepe, Somers and Dovolani, and Soules and Carson– forward, and declared the other pairs safe to dance again. McKinney and Motsepe, and Soules and Carson were also saved to dance again, leaving Somers and Dovolani and Redfoo and Slater –who Andrews and Bergerson stressed were not necessarily the bottom two– to face the music. After Redfoo was eliminated, boos rained down to the ballroom floor and the co-hosts summoned the singer and his partner foward to say good-bye.
Following the broadcast, Redfoo hit Twitter to share his thoughts, writing “#DWTS was more fun than I ever could have imagined! Thanks to a great partner & friend @emmaslaterdance & all the fans for the support!”
Will another shocking elimination be in store for America when “Dancing with the Stars” season 20 resumes March 30 with Latin Night? Tune in and find out.