" Dancing With the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower blogs on season 17 of the hit ABC show. Hightower gives her take on the dances, the judges' scores, and who will be eliminated. You can find her on Twitter @chelsiehightowr.
Monday night we saw a lot of entertaining and exciting dancing - not to mention the first ever "Switch-Up Challenge." Let's get right to it!
Bill Engvall: Up first, Bill and Emma dancing the smooth, sexy, sultry Tango to a song about eating hamburgers … Wait, what? Something about hamburgers and the Tango just doesn't mix. The Tango demands aggression and strength from its performers, and well, the good old-fashioned hamburger unfortunately conveys a different set of attributes. No doubt the song itself was an obstacle for Bill and Emma, which I thought they did well with. Although ya'll know I love this Southern gentlemen, it unfortunately wasn't Bill's best dance. There was lots of content, but not a lot of quality. The top line, which is usually very good, lost its shape quite a bit and he marched around the floor. No doubt this dude has a winner's attitude and, for that, I will continue to give him an A+! This one tonight just fell a little short. 7.
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren: It was endearing to see Elizabeth open up this week about the criticism she received for the movie "Showgirls." It's easy to criticize people in the spotlight and to forget that they are just human and that they make mistakes. (Cue the sappy background music). But seriously, it was nice to hear and it was important to address. Back to the dancing: I saw Elizabeth with a confidence tonight that I haven't seen her exude before. I saw her stand in her own spotlight and, for the first time, I saw her on her own, separately from Val. Great job, Elizabeth! Keep that confidence up and you'll be able to do things you never imagined. 9.
Leah Remini: Next up, Leah Remini with the quickstep! While I understand Tony's choice to break hold (a big no-no in the quickstep) because the song in a sense required it, but I wish he wouldn't have. When they were "in hold," she looked the best she's looked all season! She had an awesome top line, great footwork, and overall feel for the dance. Like Carrie-Ann said, what a turnaround from her rehearsal clips. I'm happy for Leah with this victory tonight. 9!
Brant Daugherty: Brant and Peta Tango-ed their booties off to make sure they don't Tan-go-home. Get it? This was an impressive Tango; great choreography, costumes, use of props, and not to mention the dancing! It was Brant's best dance to date. I'm glad I'm proving myself wrong with my comments a couple weeks back. Great job to the pair! 9.
Amber Riley: Amber and Derek up next with the Samba. It looks like Amber is still working through some injuries, which is likely hindering her. Amber is a great dancer, now she just needs to believe it herself. Yes, she was fabulous tonight, but I still see her holding back at times, and I know she has more. Amber has coordination through her entire body, and that ordinarily takes a long time to develop in ballroom. This was a fantastic routine and a fantastic night for this couple! And Len, seriously? Awesome job! 9.
Jack Osbourne: Up next, the Paso Doble from Jack and Cheryl. How well does Jack tune into his inner sexy, Latino-dancing, beast? Not bad! Sexy? Absolutely! Latino-dancing beast? Not as much, but still good. Jack had some great moments, some great lines, and intensity. Often times, when the celebs try to emulate the intensity of this dance, it translates into stomping around the floor, rather than feeling the intensity through the sharpness in their moves. Overall Jack-O, not your absolute best, but still pretty dang good. 8!
Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi: Nicole and Sasha's Foxtrot was such a feel-good dance and it was really nice to see Nicole in this role. Her top line was nice, but I would like to see her work on smoothing out her steps, rather than popping up and down, to create a quality that the "smooth" and elegant foxtrot is known for. Otherwise, great job, Nicole! 8.8.
Corbin Bleu: Last but not least, Corbin and Karina. WOW!! What a cool dance. It completely captivated me from beginning to end. I do agree with Len, although it was a great dance, it did lack content. But then again that's to be expected when you are given an unconventional song such as the "Game of Thrones" theme song. Aside from the content critique, I have nothing negative to say. Great job! Len, come on with the 7?! Get outta here, 10!
The 'Switch-up Challenge': I'll be honest when I heard them talk about the "Switch-up Challenge," I thought it was going to be a hot mess, but it was exciting. The couples fared a lot better than I would have imagined. Corbin and Karina clearly won in their group, but when it came to the other group, it could have been anyone's game.
Overall: Another exciting night! I must say all the couples are doing a great job and so are the pros for bringing out the best in their celeb partner. Until next time!
You can find Chelsie on Twitter @chelsiehightowr.