"Dancing with the Stars" led us into week 7 of season 18 with “Lating Night. To make the most of the evening, they had Latin superstar Ricky Martin perform the opening number and then take a seat between Carrie Ann and Len to act as guest judge for the week. Zap 2 It said the week was ready “to live la vida loca” on April 28 and they were right.
The first round of elimination statuses was announced. Danica and Val, Amy and Derek were safe. James and Peta found themselves in jeopardy despite his being one of the best performers in the competition.
First up were Amy Purdy and Derek Hough with a simplistic rumba set to “C’mon Baby Light My Fire.” Bruno described the routine as having a “wonderful sense of courtship.” Score: 36 out of 40.
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd did a stellar samba though Len thought the footwork could have been better. The rumored love birds didn’t seem to let their ‘in jeopardy’ status bother them. Dressed as gas station attendants with Peta removing James’s shirt, their sexy routine inspired host Tome Bergeron to quip, “That’s exactly what happens at the gas station I go to.” Bruno’s comments summed it up nicely when he said to James, What are you doing tomorrow? No really, because I think I need to book full-service ... That was filthy, that was dirty and I loved it!" Score: 35 out of 40.
Third to perform were Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy. Danica broke a rib during rehearsal when Val attempted a lift. They took the lifts and tricks out of the routine and Danica shimmied her best salsa under the conditions. The judges noted her stiffness with Carrie Ann commiserating that the “injury stifled your movement.” Score: 33 out of 40.
The second round of results came in and Candace and Mark, and Meryl and Maks Learned they were safe. Charlie and Sharna, and NeNe and Tony were in jeopardy.
After the results were announced, Tom announced that Amy Purdy had injured her back following her performance Monday night. The extent of the injury and whether or not she would be able to participate in the team dance was not known yet.
NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani did the Argetnine Tango. Tony brought other dancers out on the floor to “help” NeNe but it didn’t really work. The most Ricky Martin could say was that she had done a great job of getting into character. All three regular judges said it needed to be sharper and have better technique. A voting contest on Twitter as to whether Tony should dance with his shir on or off decided that he should doff his shirt. Yum! Score: 31 out of 40.
Next up was Olympian Charlie White and partner Sharna Burgess with a paso doble that came off less than perfect. Charlie had lamented in his intro package that he wanted 10s. IN Len’s comments he said, “To get 10s, you need to do something special. That wasn’t special.” Though Martin was “blown away,” Carrie Ann called for more sharpness. White said his knee gave out when he landed a flying leap. Charlie kept his shirt on but wore it unbuttoned. Score: 36 out of 40.
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas went next. Candace has lacked confidence in front of the audience so she visited a sports psychologist. Whatever came out in that session was worth it because Candace was brilliant, giving her best performance so far. The Argentine Tango was clean, sharp and passionate. Score: 35 out of 40.
Last up was ice princess Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, her partner. They did an unbelievable Salsa that was nearly perfection. The club-style routine was fast and sexy. Bruno remarked that she was out front of 6 professional dancers and she was the one who held everyone’s attention. Score: 39 out 40 (Len gave her a 9).
Next were the group dances. Meryl and Charlie were named captains and they picked their teams after last week’s show. The team daces were freestyle but had to have a Latin theme. The team score will be added to each contestant’s individual score.
The first group was Team Vida with Charlie and Sharna, James and Peta, NeNe and Tony – all three couples who landed in jeopardy this week. The judges noted their high energy but took off points for their lack of synchronization in several areas. Score 35 out of 40
The second team was Team Loca made up of Meryl and Maks, Danica and Val, Amy and Derek, Candace and Mark. This team did not get to dance live for the judges because Amy was unable to participate. She had gone to the hospital to have her back checked out. It was believed she had back spasms. The judges and the television audience got to see the taped dress rehearsal which was pretty amazing. Bruno called it a “showstopper” and said it was worthy of a repeat performance. Score: 39 out of 40.
Then we got down to the elimination. This week NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani were sent home.
“Dancing with the Stars” will return next week with Abby Lee Miller from “Dance Moms” as a guest judge. Tune in on Monday, May 5 at 7 p.m. on ABC.