Another shocker on "Dancing with the Stars" – and it has nothing to do with Cher's face. (I kid! I love!)
The superstar guest judged Monday night, filling in for Len Goodman, and she got to score two dances, including a dance-off, resulting in yet another surprising elimination.
The show opened with, predictably, Cher singing her 1998 single "Believe," which is virtually a commercial for Auto-Tune. Outfit count #1: Cher wears a sweater dress.
First up, Disney star Corbin Bleu and Karina have an Argentine tango to "Welcome to Burlesque." This is a sultry number and Corbin has great control and nice footwork. Some of the moves are so subtle, they are easy to overlook, but he catches the nuances. The routine has one of the most amazing lifts I have seen on the show– scratch that, two of the most amazing lifts. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba says Corbin brought his A game, but footwork was not as smooth as it should be. Judge Bruno Tonioli said he brought depth to the performance, but some passes were not clean. Outfit count #2: Cher, now wearing a neon-trimmed purple jacket with red sequin skirt, thought it was amazing. Score: 27 out of 30.
Actress Leah Remini and Tony have a Viennese waltz to "I Got You, Babe." They choreograph a sweet tribute to how Sonny Bono and Cher met. It's light, pretty, and nicely synchronized. Leah creates nice shapes and it looks like the moves just flow out of her. She only has one or two odd placements. BFF Jennifer Lopez is in the audience, and almost crying. Bruno calls it sweet and lovely, but warns her to watch her frame. Carrie Ann thought it was great, but Leah fell behind the music a little. Cher was enthralled they could interpret the moment she met Sonny. Score: 25.
Leah tweeted, "Cher loved our dance! I am happy! #DWTS ."
Host Tom Bergeron tells Cher that if Bruno "invades your personal space, just let us know." Cher replies, "I'll just knee him." Get in line, Cher.
"Pretty Little Liars" actor Brant Daugherty and Peta have a foxtrot to "The Shoop Shoop Song." This routine has lots of energy and Brant never stops smiling. It's almost creepy. They are gallant and pull off some sharp spins in hold. It's fun and light and, like last week, ends with a big kiss. Cher says their smiles matched each other and sold the dance. Carrie Ann says Brant is growing, but has to push himself. Bruno says his content is flawless but must be refined. Score: 27.
Brant tweeted, "And to my dear @PetaMurgatroyd - you taught me so much about myself. Words could never describe what you've done for me. I love you."
Actress Elizabeth Berkley and Val have a jazz to "Bang Bang." Elizabeth has looked sharper and cleaner in past weeks, but she projects the right energy and attitude. This dance looks like an exhausting workout. Elizabeth hits her stride halfway through and gets much smoother. Cher likes the rough part of it, then the show cuts off her mic. Not sure what colorful, X-rated compliment she makes, but the crowd cheers. Bruno said the dance was like "Hunger Games" but Liz missed musical cues. Too much intensity for Carrie Ann. Score: 25.
Comedian Bill Engvall and Emma disco to "Strong Enough." This number is played for laughs. The disco choregraphy is over the top and flamboyant. I feel bad for Bill's back; he does some impressive but tough lifts with Emma. This dance gets even bigger and wilder as it goes on, and Bill gets into it more and more. Bruno is gagging on laughter. Carrie Ann says Bill makes her day better, but he was off beat. Cher says, "I was amazed you could get her up in all those positions," and Bill cracks a Viagra joke. Score: 24.
Reality star Jack Osbourne and Cheryl tango to "The Beat Goes On." They seem to hit everything right with efficient moves. There is some tough footwork in this routine, in terms of balance and speed, but they are very smooth. Jack keeps a serious composure. Carrie Ann says he was confident, but missed steps. Cher says he looked like a pimp, a tango-dancing pimp. Bruno squeals, "The pimp and the hooker!" before calling it a proper, classic tango. Score: 27.
Jack tweeted, "Cher called me a pimp."
"Glee" actress Amber Riley and Derek rumba to "If I Could Turn Back Time." Amber channels the sexiness. In fact, she literally looks like a completely different woman. Her knee injury does not show at all. Their choreography most captures the spirit of Cher's song; it's loud, expressive and vibrant. Cher says Amber owned it. Bruno says Amber was in charge. Carrie Ann felt their energy, although it was not Amber's best dance. Score: 28.
Amber tweeted, "I'm gonna go so hard this week in rehearsal, but first some much needed rest. Thanks again guys ☺️ Goodnight."
Performance time – and outfit count #3: Cher sings "I Hope
You Find It" while wearing one of her standard black lingerie numbers with a giant feather headdress. Her son – and prior contestant – Chaz is in the audience. Call me crazy, but I don't think this performance was live. I think it was taped before the live show because it's just one too many quick wardrobe changes for Cher between commercial breaks.
Dance-off. The highest scoring couple is immune – so Amber and Derek are already safe. The star in second place picks who to dance against, who then picks the dance style. There are three rounds, and the winner of each gets three extra points.
With a three-way tie at 27, the star with the cumulative high for the season is Corbin, who picks Elizabeth, who picks the cha cha. Corbin and Karina's footwork and placement are sharp and precise. Elizabeth and Val stay in contact more and it works well for them. She also looks sharper than she did in her earlier dance. Carrie Ann says it was some of their bests dancing. Bruno said it was tight and clean versus sultry and sexy. Cher says it's fascinating how different people interpret the same idea. In the end, they each pick Corbin, who now has 30 points.
Next, Brant picks Leah to dance opposite, and she chooses the rumba. Brant and Peta have an intricate rumba, spinning around each other. Leah and Tony have a much more sensual and passionate number, but it might fall short of Brant's content. (Also, a cutaway to J.Lo and her boyfriend, who seems to be wearing glasses without lenses. #hipster) Bruno says Brant was in Latin lover mode, while Leah switched on sexiness. Carrie Ann says Leah nailed the dance of love, but Brant brought the leading man. Cher felt the passion from both couples. Carrie Ann and Cher pick Leah, while Bruno picks Brant. Leah gets three extra points, finishing at 28.
Jack and Bill are left to compete with disco. Jack and Cheryl perform a disco that's not very tight and they are out of synch. He does not project his normal confidence, but does throw himself into moves. Bill and Emma have a more upbeat and traditional disco (although they did perform one a half hour earlier). And did Bill just drop her?! Not sure… but his charm was back on display. Carrie Ann feels Jack has the disco moves, but Bill has the advantage. Cher was amazed at Jack's moves, but loved how Bill just tossed Emma aside. Bruno says Jack turned disco into "Dirty Dancing, but also loves how Bill just flung Emma out of his way. They all pick Jack, who gets three extra points.
I predicted that, due to the dance-off, it would likely be low-scoring Bill who would not survive.
But I was off. Way off.
Tom immediately reveals that Bill and Emma are safe.
We already know Amber is immune, and soon Elizabeth, Corbin, and Leah are all declared safe.
So it's down to Jack and Brant. And the star going home is… high-scoring Brant.
Another shocker! After Christina Milian and Nicole Polizzi got booted with high scores and weekly improvement, that eternal smile was just wiped off Brant's face.
Brant tweeted, "I'm sad I had to leave the show but I'm so grateful for the opportunity and for every single person who voted for us. I love you all."
This season is fascinating; anything can happen.
So, as for my traditional predictions… uhh… maybe Jack will go home next week? I feel with his fatherly charm and Southern fanbase, Bill could easily glide through another week again. At this point, I only feel confident that Corbin will make it to the finals, and quite possibly win.
But… I do recall picking amazing dancer Zendaya as last season's winner, only for the country fanbase to rise up and bestow the Mirrorball Trophy to Kellie Pickler, who was still deserving but not as consistent as Zendaya.
See where the stars rank and who gets eliminated next this Monday night at 8:00 Eastern on ABC. The six remaining couples will perform two dances, consisting of an individual dance and the "trio challenge."
More information can be found at: http://abc.go.com/primetime/dancingwiththestars/index .