It was partner switch-up week on Monday’s Dancing with the Stars, and the unique evening produced mixed feelings from judges.
While some usually lower-scoring contestants rose to the top, a couple of the higher-ranking performers received less than impressive marks during a week that featured Julianne Hough as a guest judge.
The night kicked off with a 28-points-out-of-40 quickstep by Candace Cameron Bure and Tony Dovolani that had Hough complaining of body contact that was “a little too gapped.” Judge Bruno Tonioli said a punk rock-dressed Bure needed to “sort out this top line.”
James Maslow and Cheryl Burke wowed the judges with their chemistry and dancing ability after performing a 35-point tango that head judge Len Goodman called “burning hot.” Critics joked that the former Nickelodeon star needed to keep his butt under control, but otherwise, Hough, for example, said he is “the total package.”
Danica McKellar was paired with her regular partner Val Chmerkovskiy’s brother Maksim. While the 32-point jive was lively, it wasn’t loved. Goodman said there was “a little too much goofing off” and Hough said it seemed like Maksim just wanted to get through this week so he could be back with his usual partner Meryl Davis.
Regular frontrunner Charlie White danced a 33-point mixed-reviewed rumba with Peta Murgatroyd that was confused by Goodman as a contemporary. Inaba agreed it wasn’t a rumba, and Tonioli and Hough critiqued White’s feet, but overall, the judges thought it was a beautiful dance.
Amy Purdy continued through the competition as a consistent contender, dancing a 34-point routine with Mark Ballas that Hough praised for “fierce-ass” competition, and a plain and simple “tight ass,” that the Paralympic star got to show off in hip-hugging pants and a midriff-baring top. “You continue to astonish me,” Tonioli said.
Cody Simpson’s foxtrot with Sharna Burgess received 31 points with lukewarm feedback. “You’re not at the top, you’re not at the bottom,” Hough said, while Goodman advised, “Work on the technique and get the detail.”
A characteristically energetic NeNe Leakes made her way to the dance floor with Derek Hough, dancing an upbeat, 32-point jazz routine the Goodman praised as the reality star’s “best dance you’ve done this season,” while Julianne commented on how she let out her “inner Beyoncé.”
The evening closed out with a near perfect Argentine tango by Davis and Val. Quick and meticulous, the 39-point routine was called “the dance of the night” by Goodman, who was the only judge keeping them from a flawless score. “I would love to dance like you,” Julianne said to the Olympian. “That was amazing.”
But all in all, it was Drew Carey who danced the breakthrough number on this particular night. He improved his score from last week by three points, and as usual, had no problem getting the crowd and judges to fall in love with his dance. “That was splendid and fantastic,” gushed Tonioli, while Julianne said the 33-point routine was “your turning point.”
No couple was sent home at the end of the show, and next week’s elimination will be based on viewer votes and the combination of scores from this week and the one prior.