This week saw the first (double!) elimination of the season. It also saw each contestant performing a dance style they chose. Because of the voting structure this season, the judges knew who was going home at the start of the evening, but didn’t announce it until later in the show. Here’s what each contestant danced:
- Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke:Drew picked the jive, which Cheryl wasn’t too sure about. But, his footwork was surprisingly OK, if not crisp enough. He’s still playing the entertainer card, but there’s a marked improvement from last week. Score: 21
- Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy: This samba was a mixed bag. On the one hand, Danica clearly works hard in her dances. On the other, she can seem like she’s trying too hard on stage. The judges shared the mixed opinion, with Len and Bruno critiquing details and Carrie Ann loving it. Score: 24
- Billy Dee Williams and Emma Slater: This tango was marginally better than last week’s cha-cha. Not that it was great. It seems like not forgetting the steps is the only benchmark the judges are really holding Billy up to. Score: 15
- Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy:Suprisingly, Meryl chose the swing. The routine was high-energy and she seemed more engaged. But, the judges criticized her for getting off the music in places. Score: 25
- Diana Nyad and Henry Byalikov: As the couple with the lowest combined judges’ score and audience votes, Diana and Henry knew they’d been eliminated before they danced. But, she wanted to do the dance anyway and host Tom Bergeron agreed to let her. So, it wasn’t scored. Their cha-cha felt a little awkward.
- Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: Candace was concerned with keeping the rumba classy. She’s a great dancer, but this felt out of her comfort zone. Len felt that it was too hard-edged for the sensuality required in the style. Score: 21
- Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: The swing has energy and fun. Amy is musical and quick, and Derek is a good choreographer. All three judges liked it. Score: 24
- James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: Their salsa has some good moments and some not-so-good ones. Sometimes, it feels like Peta over-choreographs for herself. She adds in tricky partnering that really puts the audience's attention on her. That really takes away from what James is doing. He’s not bad, if a little stiff. The judges see an improvement since last week. Score: 24
- Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: Charlie’s tango hinged on his ability to play the bad boy. While the choreography was good and his execution was excellent, the characters didn’t quite gel for me. Carrie Ann loved it, though, and said he reminded her of Baryshnikov. Score: 25
- NeNe Leaks and Tony Dovolani: NeNe picked the jive. While she does have a megawatt smile, her footwork didn’t quite match the energy of the dance. And, her arms were still an issue for Carrie Ann, though Tony contended this week that it’s just part of the jive style. Score: 21
- Sean Avery and Karina Smirnoff: The salsa is technically competent, and Sean seemed more into the spirit of the dance than last week, but mid-way through the dance the performance quality kind of took a downturn. Len still saw a marked technical improvement. Score: 21
- Cody Simpson and Witney Carson: Their tango was OK. But, like their first week dance, it seemed to go for youthful fun over technical content. And, Cody’s posture was still a problem. Score: 22
In the end, Sean and Karina were the second eliminated couple of the night.