Celebrities on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” had a unique task tonight: They had to dance next to returning professional dancers who were doing the very same routine at the very same time.
The side-by-side challenge — devised by the show’s head judge, Len Goodman — pitted the celebrity dancers against some of the show’s most popular dance pros, including Tristan MacManus and Anna Trebunskaya — whose celebrity partners have already been eliminated from this season — and Maskim Chmerkovskiy, the popular pro who isn’t in the regular cast this season.
Disney star Zendaya took the lead after judges awarded her 29 points — including the first 10s of the season — for her Argentine tango. Comedians DL Hughley and Andy Dick were tied as the night’s low scorers with 18 points each.
The show opened with a special message of support for those affected by the explosions at the Boston Marathon.
Nine remaining stars are competing for the championship in the show’s 16th season. The star with the lowest combined tally of judges’ scores and viewers’ votes will be eliminated from the competition Tuesday during the results show.
Reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump was voted off last week.
Ingo Rademacher: The actor and Kym Johnson performed a cha cha cha next to dance dance pros Tony Dovolani and Emma Slater. Judges approved of Rademacher’s attitude but faulted him on technique. Bruno Tonioli said the actor’s hip action was “a bit rigid” and his timing needed to be better, while head judge Len Goodman said Rademacher needed to pay more attention to the finer details of the dance. Rademacher earned 21 out of a possible 30 points.
Jacoby Jones: The NFL player and his partner Karina Smirnoff danced the jive next to Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Anna Trebunskaya, and Jones’ animated performance earned him a standing ovation from the ballroom audience. “It had great timing. Very, very sharp,” Tonioli said. “Just one thing: point your feet on the kicks and flicks.” Goodman and Carrie Ann Inaba agreed that the routine was good but Jones’ footwork needed to be sharper. When Goodman told Jones that he’d never earn a score of 9 from him unless he improved his footwork, Jones replied with a reference to his NFL accomplishments: “Hey, Len, I love you so much but with these feet I went 108 in 11 seconds,” he said. Judges awarded Jones 26 points.
Victor Ortiz: The boxer and his partner, Lindsey Arnold, danced a Viennese waltz next to pros Tristan MacManus and Emma Slater. Judges said Ortiz had improved. “Victor, I say that was a victory … you channeled your emotions well,” Inaba said. Tonioli said Ortiz’s performance was elegant, his timing good and his carriage erect. Added Goodman: “This is better than last week and that’s the way to go … well done.” Ortiz earned 21 points.
Aly Raisman: The Olympic gymnast and her partner, Mark Ballas, danced the samba next to pros Tony Dovolani and Witney Carson. Judges liked Raisman’s effort. “Your technique is very, very strong and what you do now, you have a lovely effortless carefree attitude,” Tonioli said. Goodman pointed out that Raisman had made a mistake and her legs were “a little bit flimsy” on the routine’s syncopated runs, but he approved of the routine. Inaba said Raisman appeared to have lost some of her confidence when Carson wasn’t dancing next to her. Raisman earned 25 points. She hails from Boston, and after her performance she sent a message of support to the people in her home town in the wake of the explosions at the marathon Monday.
Sean Lowe: The reality star and his partner, Peta Murgatroyd, danced the quickstep with dance pros Tristan MacManus and Chelsie Hightower. Judges had high praise for Lowe, saying he had shown tremendous improvement. Tonioli was amazed. “Sean! What’s going on? I have to say, up until now you’ve always been kind of fun to watch but you’ve always been a bit of a lumberjack, haven’t you? A bit clumsy … but tonight you’ve turned into a swan.” Inaba said it was “bold and it was beautiful,” and Goodman sent Tonioli into peals of laughter when he said: “Sean, last week a statue, this week a pigeon, you’re flying around that floor … .” When his fellow judges laughed at his comparison, Goodman finished with: “That’s your best dance so far.” Lowe earned 24 points.
Kellie Pickler: The country music singer and her partner, Derek Hough, danced the foxtrot alongside pros Henry Byalikov and Anna Trebunskaya, and she drew high praise for her routine. Tonioli compared her to screen goddess Jean Harlowe, while Goodman said the routine wasn’t a foxtrot but “a hot trot.” Inaba said it was “fabulous.” Pickler earned 27 points.
DL Hughley: The comedian and his partner, Cheryl Burke, danced a tango with pros Sasha Farber and Chelsie Hightower. Inaba said Hughley didn’t benefit from the comparison with Farber. “I love your intensity and I love your focus,” she said, adding that she saw the differences in the routines when she compared Hughley and Farber side by side. Tonioli said the footwork featured too much stomping, but called Hughley’s performance “a brave attempt,” while Goodman said the performance “lacked that attack that you want to see in a tango.” Hughley earned 18 points.
Zendaya: The Disney star performed an Argentine tango with her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, and dance pros Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Anna Trebunskaya. The routine brought the ballroom audience to its feet and drew rave reviews from the judges. “It was like a lemon tart. Sharp and tangy at the top, crisp and tasty down below … it was a gem of a dance. Well done!” Goodman said. Tonioli said Zendaya was “up there with the best we’ve ever had.” They awarded Zendaya 29 points — giving her the first 10s of the season.
Andy Dick: The comedian and his partner, Sharna Burgess, danced the paso doble alongside dance pros Sasha Farber and Emma Slater. Dick, channeling a Zorro-style character, made a dramatic entrance on a zip line. Inaba found the entrance entertaining, and said Dick’s dancing with a cape was interesting, but said the rest of the routine “fell apart” after that. Goodman said the routine was like “a couple of Hollywood blockbusters,” then amended his statement, saying: ”It wasn’t quite Hollywood; it’s nearby. It was more Pasadena than paso doble, but it was, as always, it’s great fun and I enjoyed watching you.” Tonioli said the routine was “undescribable, to be honest. It was like the attack of the killer cape.” Dick earned 18 points.
Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy: 29
Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough: 27
Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff: 26
Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas: 25
Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd: 24
Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson: 21
Victor Ortiz and Lindsey Arnold: 21
D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke: 18
Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess: 18