The pressure for the competitors on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” increased tonight when they had to turn in a team dance in addition to their individual routines, all set to the music of Stevie Wonder.
Wonder himself was in the ballroom – and performed his hits “Sir Duke” and “My Cherie Amour” live.
After the individual and team performances were over, country music star Kellie Pickler was in the lead — she got the season’s first 10 from head judge Len Goodman, while boxer Victor Ortiz was in last place.
The star with the lowest combined tally of judges’ scores and viewers’ votes will be eliminated from the competition Tuesday during the results show.
Comedian D.L. Hughley was voted off last week. Country music legend Wynonna Judd and reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump preceded him off the dance floor.
This is the show’s 16th season.
The Individual Routines
Zendaya: Judges raved about the Disney star’s cha cha cha. Head judge Len Goodman said her name summed up “great dancing,” adding that the routine had snap, crackle, pop and musicality. “I’m telling you, girl, that’s the way to start the show!” Goodman said. Carrie Ann Inaba said Zendaya set the tone for the night, adding that she felt sorry for those who had to dance afterward. Bruno Tonioli called Zendaya “gobsmackingly gorgeous,” and said she had “mesmerizing shape, hypnotic presence, slick hip action.” Zendaya earned 29 points.
Andy Dick: The comedian’s samba won him a standing ovation from the ballroom audience, but judges saw deep flaws. Tonioli called the performance “a personality-driven, splendid shamble of a samba,” and Inaba agreed that she couldn’t quite see the samba steps in the routine. Goodman’s take was more encouraging. “What you do is you come out here and you give us fun. The samba’s all about entertainment, it’s a joyful dance,” he said. But he added, “Now, don’t get carried away, Andy, it wasn’t that good technically, but … if the others have climbed hills you’ve climbed mountains and I think you’ve done a great job. Well done!” Judges awarded Dick 18 points.
Sean Lowe: The reality TV star’s samba had Inaba laughing out loud at his attempts to perform a samba bounce. She told him the bounces were out of sync with the music. Goodman said the routine was “riddled” with mistakes. “You kept getting on the wrong foot, you had no hip action, your upper body had no musicality about it,” he said. Adding that the performance wasn’t terrible, Goodman added that he didn’t think Lowe needed to remove his shirt during the routine. Tonioli shared his fellow judges’ sentiments about Lowe’s performance. “Sean, look at the bright side. You can always get a job as a stripper,” he said. Lowe earned 21 points.
Aly Raisman: Judges approved of the Olympic star’s foxtrot, but found small flaws. Goodman said Raisman’s performance level was high, but told her that her bottom stuck out. “You’ve just got to work a little bit more on that technique,” he said. Tonioli told Raisman she was “pretty as a picture,” but said her frame needed work. Inaba said she liked seeing Raisman connect to her emotions. Raisman earned 27 points.
Ingo Rademacher: Rademacher’s tango drew positive comments from the judges. “Bingo, Ingo!” quipped Goodman, telling the soap opera star that, despite some rough moments, his routine was sharp and crisp. Inaba was enthusiastic in her approval, telling him that his love for the tango showed in his performance. “Finally. Welcome to the game!” she said. Tonioli said Rademacher managed to keep control and produce beautiful lines. Judges gave Rademacher 24 points.
Kellie Pickler: Goodman called the country music star’s quickstep the best dance of season 16, and he gave it his first score of 10 for the season. Inaba said dance was almost perfect – in synchronicity, posture, nuance and interpretation, but she said there was too much space between Pickler and her pro partner, Derek Hough. Tonioli said the performance showcased dancing of the best quality. “Visually, it was exciting … superb,” he said. Pickler earned 29 points.
Victor Ortiz: Ortiz’s rumba lacked significant hip action, and Tonioli compared the boxing champion’s performance to an “airline safety drill.” Tonioli demonstrated by sticking his arms straight out to the side. Tonioli also said the boxer’s hips were “stuck on neutral,” and added that Ortiz was not the first dancer to have “failed” at the rumba. Goodman acknowledged that the dance was a tough one and said Ortiz “coped very well.” Inaba agreed that the performance lacked certain basics, but said Ortiz had wonderful chemistry with his pro partner, Lindsay Arnold. Ortiz earned 18 points.
Jacoby Jones: Judges said they liked the NFL player’s energy but faulted his technique in the quickstep. Tonioli said Jones’ frame could be better, but that he could tell Jones had practiced his footwork. Goodman said Jones did “a good job with a hard dance. It’s not your best, but it’s not your worst.” Inaba said: “Your feet are a little funky but you make up for it, and every time you come out here you do something special, you surprise me.” Jones earned 23 points.
The Team Dances
Each team received a single score that was added to each member’s individual score for a night’s grand total.
Team Paso: Jones, Rademacher, Ortiz and Zendaya and their pro partners performed the team paso doble. Goodman said the performance represented “a spirited effort” and, while the overall group performance was good, there were a few awkward moments when they danced in pairs. Team Paso earned 22 points.
Team Samba: Raisman, Lowe, Pickler and Dick and their pro partners performed the team samba, and judges said it was a cohesive routine that incorporated the skill level of all its team members. Team Samba earned 25 points.
The Scores (Individual Dance, Team Dance, Total)
Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough: 29, 25; 54 out of a possible 60 points
Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy: 29, 22; 51
Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas: 27, 25; 52
Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson: 24, 22; 46
Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff: 23, 22; 45
Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd: 21, 25; 46
Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess: 18, 25; 43
Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold: 18, 22; 40