The competition switched things up – literally – on the fourth week of “Dancing with the Stars.” The stars performed dances with new partners, swapping their pros with a different pro based on viewer votes.
The show opens with a big group dance to Will Smith’s “Switch.” Hmm, that’s a little on the nose, isn’t it? Don’t ever call DWTS subtle.
And Sharon Stone is serving as guest judge! Oh, wait – that’s Julianne Hough. Host Erin Andrews says the former competing dancer was one of the most candid judges ever the last time she guest judged. Erin asks if she’ll be just as blunt, and Julianne says, “Without a doubt.” Watch out, Mark.
Will Julianne insult dancers who are better than her again? Who will get paired with whom? Why is Candace Cameron suddenly at risk? And who’s going home this week?
No one, actually. Constantly changing its rules like Obamacare and confusing me as it goes, DWTS said no elimination tonight. Instead, last week’s and this week’s scores will be combined for next week’s elimination. Also, the stars all go back to their original partners then, too. So put on your gold lame suit and guy-liner, cause here we go!
First up, Candace has Mark replaced with… Tony for a quickstep. In terms of abandon, it’s a new Candace. She seems unleashed in Tony’s arms. She looks like Tawny Kitaen from an 80’s video, and he’s wearing guy-liner because it’s a punk quickstep. She keeps the energy up, but her timing and steps are way off. All the judges liked it, but each said Candace had problems with posture and hold. Score: 28 out of 40, 60 overall out of 80.
Nickelodeon star James Maslow has Peta replaced with… Cheryl for a tango. He really sounds like he misses Peta. I hear ya, dude. He opens the routine alone, approaching her. It’s a charged tango with great leg lines, tight moves, good spins, tense emotions. He actually looks polished. Julianne says he’s the total package, but sticks his butt out too much. “So maybe next week Peta can help you with tucking your pelvis." Host Tom Bergeron calls it euphemism theatre. Judge Bruno Tonioli says, “I have no problems with your pelvis.” He also calls it a mean tango. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba thinks his butt was fine and didn’t notice it was a switch-up. Judge Len Goodman says he was burning hot. Erin literally starts off her interview with six run-on thoughts before slamming the brakes with a sudden question. Erin, to Peta about James: “Can you tell us that you’re dating? I want a DWTS baby.” Score: 35, 71 overall.
West Coast, cat’s out of the bag, who is excited to see me and @CherylBurke tango? Still an hour to vote 800-868-3402 on the East Coast!— James Maslow (@jamesmaslow) April 8, 2014
55-year-old Comedian Drew Carey has Cheryl replaced with… Witney, who’s 20, for a cha cha. He says it’s dancing with his daughter; he’s older than her dad. He says he doesn’t miss Cheryl. Slam! In his routine, Drew hams up the James Brown factor. Finally, he’s showing the character we’ve all been expecting. He has rejuvenated energy with Witney and seems lighter on his feet. With hip thrusts and knee slides, he owns this in his gold lame suit. The crowd loves it. Bruno calls Drew the sugar daddy of show business with a performance between Elvis and Liberace. Carrie Ann says Drew killed it. Len hasn’t had that much fun in a minute and a half since he was a teenager. Julianne calls it his turning point. Score: 33, 63 overall.
The show now brings back it’s Macy’s Stars of Dance segment. Derek choreographed a paso doble/flamenco mix with red lights and slo-mo camera work.
Actress Danica McKellar has Val replaced with… his brother Maks for a jive. She looks like she’s having a blast. She’s utterly buoyant and her energy carries her far in this fast-footed routine. She legitimately looks like she’s flirting with him… although she jumps in Val’s arms at the end. Carrie Ann calls it her most confident dance, but her timing was ahead of Maks. Len calls it terrific but wants more jive. Julianne feels like Maks was phoning it in to get past this week and get back to Meryl. For a professional dancer, Julianne knows how to put her foot in her mouth. Bruno thinks, after a song miscue, they covered their routine great. Score: 32, 68 overall.
As the show bumps in, we see Carrie Ann taking a #selfie with all the other judges. We can’t all be Ellen, Carrie Ann.
Ice dancer Charlie White has Sharna replaced with… Peta for a rumba. First adorable Sharna, now gorgeous Peta? On top of being Olympic partners with flawless Meryl Davis? Luckiest man in the world status, Charlie. He brings a lot of his ice skating grace to this. As partners, he and Peta look spectacular. The mirroring and shapes they create together are phenomenal. Len thinks it’s a terrific performance, but it was more of a contemporary than a rumba. Julianne calls Charlie a mother’s dream. Bruno says it’s a majestic performance. Carrie Ann says it wasn’t a rumba. Score: 33, 69 overall.
But star of the night to my wonderful 'week 4' partner @PetaMurgatroyd for putting together such a great rhumba and then killing it! Thanks!— Charlie White (@CharlieaWhite) April 8, 2014
James also tweeted Charlie to keep his hands off his woman.
Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy has Derek replaced with… Mark for a salsa. Derek tells Mark he needs to be firm and not fluid so Amy can trust her balance on her prosthetic feet. It’s a traditional salsa and she doesn’t miss a beat. He picks her up and spins her. They look perfect. Amy proves her talent has nothing to do with her partner. Julianne says she’s always inspiring. Bruno says he looked for something to go wrong and couldn’t find it. Carrie Ann says Amy was more exposed as a dancer and it worked. Len loves it. Score: 34, 70 overall.
The feet I danced in last night were made of wood. Nothing fancy at all.. It was all in the hips baby #hitechlotech— Amy Purdy (@AmyPurdyGurl) April 8, 2014
Singer Cody Simpson gets Witney replaced with… Sharna for a foxtrot. Power of Aussies – unite! It starts with him singing and the shrieking girls nearly drown him out. He looks more graceful and mature. At times, he still rushes moves; she is more in tune with the ease of the routine. But Cody hits his stride with great extensions and gestures. Bruno, Carrie Ann and Len say he needs to improve hold. Julianne calls the performance incredible. New shots game: How many times does Cody fix his “There’s Something About Mary” hair during critiques? It’s like a compulsive tick. Score: 31, 66 overall.
Reality star NeNe Leakes gets Tony replaced with… Derek for a jazz. Torches on the floor, people. I’m not sure what Derek choreographed, but it’s “The Wiz” meets “Coming to America.” NeNe is having tons of fun with this tribal hip hop. She matches Derek in timing and energy, but her moves are not as sharp next to him. They had a music miscue, but it didn’t show. Carrie Ann says it’s great to see her kill it. Len calls it her best dance. Derek’s sister Julianne says NeNe let her inner Beyonce out. Bruno calls her the Queen of Sheba. Score: 32, 63 overall.
Last, ice dancer Meryl Davis has Maks replaced with… his brother Val for an Argentine tango. They were the most requested pair of the night. He braids her hair in practice. Meryl’s chemistry with Val is great. Her timing and footwork are fierce. She does a remarkable spin in the air in his arms. Meryl looks utterly fearless and the lead of this routine. Flawless. Len calls it the dance of the night. The look on Meryl’s face says, “Of course.” Julianne says she would love to dance like Meryl. Bruno says they are two magical instruments perfectly in tune. Carrie Ann says she’s untouchable in a class of her own. Erin asks Meryl which brother she likes better. Immediately, Meryl snaps, “Not a fair question.” Score: 39, 78 overall.
What’s next for our stars? Is this the end of D.J. Tanner? Will Amy always bring us to tears? Will James fix his butt? Will Cody keep fixing his hair? (Oh, hell yes!) Is Meryl perfect? (Duh.) Who will let their inner Beyonce out next week? What would Elvis and Liberace think?
The hosts tell us that next week is Disney week, when another star gets eliminated after last week’s and this week’s combined scores.
As for who’s most at risk, I would say it is now between three stars. Drew, NeNe and now Candace are the three lowest-scoring stars. I predicted NeNe would be gone soon, but she has really improved the last two weeks, as did Drew, which is what DWTS viewers love. But beloved Candace has been the lowest-scoring star the past two weeks, so it’s fair game for her to go. If her fans don’t rally around her, she’s gone.
The competition continues Monday night at 8 p.m. on ABC.