For the third edition of Disney Night on Dancing With the Stars, the show has debuted a new version of the Mirrorball Disney logo. They don’t have the explosion of Disney characters that swarmed the ballroom during the last opening, but they do show up throughout the night (especially during the bumpers), starting when Mickey & Minnie join the pros for the opening number to “Be Our Guest.”
Other classic characters escort out our the judges, which include DWTS Season 16 runner-up, Disney Channel alum and up and coming fashionista, Zendaya. We also get a list of movies everyone’s doing: they range from Cinderella to the newly-released Zootopia. (And yes, even The Jungle Book’s included; gotta get all the promoting done.)
But we’re not here for the promos–we’re here for the dancing!
Antonio Brown & Sharna Burgess: Jazz; “Friend Like Me” Aladdin This song’s been done on Disney Night before, and that wasn’t the first time it’s been used on the show either. But doing it to Jazz is new, and Sharna casts Antonio as the Genie, leading a “pack of Genies.” Except they look more like a Radio City Music Hall act (complete with line dancing), and honestly, the only thing that reminds you it’s Aladdin is that Sharna’s dressed as Jasmine. But taken as that, the number’s a terrific one, full of joy and bounce. “Disney magic is working already,” declares Bruno, and Len declares the wish Sharna made on the lamp during the fluff has come true: it’s Antonio’s best yet. It nets him an Eight from Len and Nines from the other three to leave him with 35.
Marla Maples & Tony Dovolani: Waltz; “Part of That World” The Little Mermaid The fluff shows them getting stressed out and her breaking things when attempted to do a stress-relief handstand. (Tony later says the entire week was not like that.) The undersea environment she starts in is simply beautiful. She dances and portrays the feeling of the dance very well indeed–if she only realized how well she’s doing. But her nervousness shows at points, and the various technical issues don’t help. So while Carrie-Ann tells her she brought Ariel to life, the judges’ scores are straight Sevens for 28.
Nyle DiMarco & Peta Murgatroyd: Samba; “Trashing the Camp” Tarzan The fluff shows him getting humorously excited about portraying Tarzan, although his take on how Tarzan and Jane weren’t able to understand each other at first is like it was with him and Peta is also interesting. His Tarzan is wild, virile, and so full of fun that the party dance truly does feel like a party, helped by the camp that gets set up on the floor for him and Peta to trash. But Len objects to as too much theatrics, and Carrie-Ann’s quick to note he missed a step at the beginning, so they only give Eights, but Bruno declares, “The Lord of the Jungle is now the Lord of the Dance!” and he and Zendaya break out the Nines, so they get 34.
Doug Flutie & Karina Smirnoff: Jazz; “A Spoonful of Sugar” Mary Poppins The lack of success is getting to Doug; we see him break a cane in rehearsal in frustration. The routine starts and ends cute with him popping out and back into the carpet-bag, but it also sexualizes Mary Poppins in a way I’m afraid I simply cannot approve of. He does do a lot more dance steps than he has in the past, but sadly he does not do them very well. Carrie-Ann even laments how it’s obvious how much work he put into a routine that ultimately he still didn’t quite pull off, though Bruno suggest “the medicine kicked in halfway through.” They apologetically break out the Six paddles for 24. But then Tom cheers them up by informing them they’re safe!
Kim Fields & Sasha Farber: Quickstep; “I Wan’na Be Like You” The Jungle Book Another one that been’s done on the show before, but this is very different from Meryl Davis & Maksim Chermkovskiy’s number. There are no direct ties to the movie plot, just a routine about two explorers getting too entangled with the inhabitants of the jungle. The fluff has a dream sequence of them needing to increase their speed, and on the floor, and tonight it’s breakneck. It forms a good impression and makes up for the footwork being less than perfect. Len calls it her best yet, and when Bruno congratulates her for finally improving her shoulders, she runs forward and gets lipstick on his jacket! They get straight Eights for 32.
Jodie Sweetin & Keo Motsepe: Cha Cha Cha; “Try Everything” Zootopia We haven’t see that much dancing with animated characters tonight, but this routine brings the movie’s popstar Gazelle on the floor with the dancers, (which Jodie frets about during the rehearsals.) But in the end the main problem is her feet: they go wrong, and then never recover. Though they continue to sell the dance for all its worth, which gets them praise from Zendaya and Bruno. Carrie-Ann calls it underwhelming, but Len insists it wasn’t that, at least. Although he nonetheless gives them a Six while the others give Sevens, resulting in a total of 27.
Von Miller & Witney Carson: Viennese Waltz; “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” Cinderella Witney tells Von in the fluff “Let’s not get a 20 tomorrow,” after a week of trying to make his behavior more elegant. She’s determined to up the score with a gorgeous blue dress and light-up skirt that kind of steals the show. (Carrie-Ann even takes a moment out to praise it.) But it’s impossible to miss entirely how elegant Von manages to make himself, and he pulls this dance off without a hitch. Bruno officially declares him royalty, the other judges have similar reactions and they break out the straight Eights for 32.
Ginger Zee & Val Chmerkovskiy: Foxtrot; “Belle” Beauty and the Beast. Ginger identifies with Belle, so Val puts her in the village with villagers for her to dance with. His making himself Gaston doesn’t quite work, but everything else does around them does, and within this well-done setting Ginger embodies Belle and nails the routine. The judges rave, with Zendaya comparing it to a Broadway musical, and Len calling it the best dance of the season so far, and then they break out the straight Nines, giving them a 36 that will ultimately leave them tied for the lead.
Wanya Morris & Lindsay Arnold: Samba; “Circle of Life” The Lion King. Wanya really loves this movie, and there’s a mandatory moment of him holding a mirror ball up over the edge of the studio roof, although the fluff also shows him becoming more driven by being unseated from the top of the leaderboard. He channels that into an aggressive jungle routine that more or less delivers the goods. Carrie-Ann actually thinks he overdanced it at the beginning. Wanya agrees with her, unlike everyone else in the ballroom, including the other three judges; three Nines to Carrie-Ann’s Eights leaves him with 35.
Paige VanZant & Mark Ballas: Quickstep; “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” Toy Story The fluff has her talk about how this is the first time she’s had friends outside the UFC world in a long time. The routine has them as Woody & Jessie break out of the toy box and be accompanied by the plastic green soldiers, but most of it is actually pure quickstepping. Perfectly done quickstepping too, with a bit of the personality of the two characters thrown in. It results in more high praise from the judges, and a second set of straight Nines and 36 to share the top spot.
We’ve got three minutes left for the elimination, so when all the couples except Doug & Karina are lined up, they call two in jeopardy: Marla & Tony and Jodie & Keo. They had two points between them last week. But it’s hard to believe that when they weren’t at the back that Jodie would be eliminated this early. After all, her co-star made it to the final on votes. Is Keo really that unlucky?
No, it’s Marla & Tony who are going. It seems her refusal to define herself by the evil ex-husband did her in, since it meant she didn’t get the big support from either his supporters or detractors. Still, this wasn’t expected, even with them tied for the bottom. Tony even admits to it.
Next week will be Switch Up week, with Maks back at the judging table too. That should be fun.