"Dancing with the Stars" 2014 resumed April 14 on ABC with a night of ballroom action inspired by and devoted to Disney's most beloved animated films of all time. By evening's end, a brand new couple owned the top spot on judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and guest Donny Osmond's leader board, while another bid the season 18 competition a farewell that many deemed far too premature.
Leading the pack were "Big Time Rush" star James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd, who snagged the season's first perfect score for their contemporary routine set to "Let It Go" from the recent release "Frozen." All four panelists were uniformly blown away by the effort. Bruno called it "a contemporary blockbuster" and praised James for his "sincerity," while Carrie Ann lauded his "absolute artistry" and "pure emotion." Len declared "that would melt the coldest heart even mine," and Donny praised both the choreography and athleticism.
Quickstepping to second place with a near-perfect 39 points were "The Wonder Years" alum Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy, who danced to "Be Our Guest" from "Beauty in the Beast." Two other pairs, Paralympian Amy Purdy and Derek Hough and Olympic gold medalist Charlie White and Sharna Burgess, tied for third place with 37 points each for their respective dances to "So This is Love" from "Cinderella" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from the beloved classic "Mary Poppins."
Frequent leader board toppers Meryl Davis and a bare-chested Maksim Chmerkovskiy samba'd "Jungle Book" style to a score of 36. Posting the same mark for their "Cruella DeVille" foxtrot were "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani, who survived intense training week drama to take a respectable share of fifth place.
Alone in seventh place were "Full House" actress Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas, who closed out the night with a delightful samba to "Under the Sea" that earned 35 points. The score represented a marked improvement over her April 7 switch-up week quickstep with Tony that netted a disappointing, field-worst mark of 28. Pop star Cody Simpson and Witney Carson followed with 34 points for their won samba, a routine set to "I Just Can't Wait to be King."
Filling out the very bottom of the leader board were comedian Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke. Although the charismatic duo typically fares well with the judges, they earned just 28 points --a whopping six less than the next-lowest scoring couple-- for their show-opening "Friend Like Me" quickstep.
Once all of the dancing was in the books, three couples, including Candace and Mark, Cody and Witney, and NeNe and Tony, found themselves in danger of elimination. "DWTS" hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews first sent NeNe and Tony to safety, and then after a dramatic pause, Cody and Witney were eliminated. Both Witney and Candace were visibly stunned by the news.
Cody called his time on the show "a new experience" and took his elimination by gracefully noting "it is what it is." Witney said she was "sad" that "people didn't really get a chance to see Cody yet."
Cody's legion of fans agreed, and many took to Twitter following the show to express their disdain for the outcome. Among the masses was @JoyeGuadagni, who tweeted "I can't believe Cody got booted off he was such a wonderful dancer. He really has talent. Wish he could have stayed. #DWTS"
With only eight couples remaining in the hunt for the mirror ball trophy, "Dancing with the Stars" 2014 will resume April 21 on ABC. Week six will see the hopefuls strutting their stuff during the series' first-ever week devoted to Party Anthems.