If we were a judge looking at this week’s edition of “Dancing with the Stars,” we would really have one major critique of it — why was this so long? Considering how many people actually performed over the course of the two-hour show, this could have really been cut and half and have been equally effective.
As for the actual routines, let’s just say that at this point it’s easy to tell who are the true contenders to go far, and who is just lucky to still be there.
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson – Thanks to the person going home for two straight weeks, you have to worry right about whether or not Jaleel is going to be able to stick around thanks to the “curse of first.”
The good news for Jaleel is that his samba was that there really was a little bit of everything, including some great bum-shaking (which is apparently a requirement for this routine). Did anyone else notice him getting a little bit grabby with Kym at the end of the performance? Score: 24
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy – It takes a big man to wear a pink shirt, so we’ll give Maks credit for that first and foremost. Then, we’ll give Melissa even more credit for trying to come out on stage one week after suffering a concussion.
Unfortunately, there’s now much else positive that we have to say about the dance. It was almost off for the entire dance, and it felt as though Melissa was trying too hard for her own good. Do we think she could be in the “dance duel” Tuesday night? It’s likely. Score: 21
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough – Just how passionate did this salsa end up being? Let’s just say that by the end of it, Bruno Tonioli wanted to join in.
As the one couple most likely to face untrue romance rumors this season, Maria and Derek were actually criticized by Carrie Ann Inaba for kissing during their routine. However, this was still a fun performance with some excellent moves. Will Maria win? It’s tough to say, but she is a serious contender. Score: 27
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas – One week after throwing down a bit of a dud on the dance floor, Katherine and Mark returned this week with a routine that did its job when it comes to remind everyone just how good she can be. This was not only the best Argentine tango we have seen in recent memory, but it may be among one of the best of the entire season.
We also want to point out the brilliant choreography by Mark here, mostly because he rarely receives such criticism. Score: 29
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff – There are bad dances, and then there are bad dances that are so fun we almost want them to stick around. This is really what we felt about Gavin and Karina’s samba.
In terms of technique, we could say about a hundred things concerning what went wrong here. As for what went right, it was entertaining — and Gavin did a pretty admirable job of taking what could been pretty mean criticism rather well. Score: 19
William Levy and Cheryl Burke – William is back! Despite having to perform while also dealing with an ankle injury, he didn’t show it at all during his Argentine tango. For the first time all season, we really understood the hype — William is a true leading man! He was strong, confident, and elegant yet at the same time.
So long as William is able to avoid major mistakes moving forward, we expect him to be around at the end of the competition. Score: 29
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus – As if recovering from the bottom of the leaderboard was not hard enough for Gladys and Tristan, they also had to deal this week with the fact that the Empress of Soul was on the road for the vast majority of the week and had to rehearse late at night when she had the time.
The good news is that the two still managed to deliver a fast-paced routine that was simple, but at the same time they did a good job with the choreography. Score: 22
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower – Roshon had a major comeback this week — but not in the scores, where he was always stellar. Rather, the Disney star made a much better job appealing to voters this week by highlighting his personality (and mocking William Levy). Score: 27
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd – In closing the show, Donald really put his all into an Argentine tango that was, to be frank, rather fantastic. It had a little bit of everything, from a story to plenty of intensity to even some of the best lifts we’ve ever seen.
We actually thought it was better than William’s dance, even though the scores did not agree. Score: 27
Who was your favorite Latin dancer this week, and do you wish (like us) that there was a little bit more actual dancing during the episode? Be sure to take our poll and answer with a comment below!