(Spoiler alert: Please do not read on if you haven’t watched Monday’s episode of “Dancing With the Stars”)
It was time for a change on Monday’s “Dancing With the Stars,” as the contestants had to swap partners for the week, which they described as “an insane test” and a “cruel joke.”
With only nine Season 22 hopefuls left on the dance floor, no one can rest on their laurels even on “Switch Up” night.
Despite the general consensus by contestants being that Monday’s theme of the ABC dance contest “sucked,” the good news was that no one was eliminated this week.
The celebrity with the toughest challenge was former “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Nyle DiMarco, who is completely deaf. DiMarco, who partnered with pro Sharna Burgess this week, had an extra motivation boost, however, when reality host Tyra Banks visited rehearsals to remind him of how fantastic he is.
“He started the competition very strong — now it’s a little soft. And he needs to come back and pow,” Banks said.
As for DiMarco and Burgess’ performance on the night, their Viennese Waltz sparked both tears and praise from judge Carrie Ann Inaba. “You take my breath away,” she said, while getting choked up with emotion. Len Goodman dubbed it “like a total eclipse — it don’t turn up often, but when it does, it’s fantastic,” and guest judge Maksim Chmerkovskiy called it “fantastic … the best dance of the night.”
After cruising along for weeks, Boyz II Men singer Wanya Morris finally hit “turbulent waters … that’s not a compliment,” Goodman told him, saying that his dance was too hectic and had too many moving parts.
Goodman wasn’t a fan of Kim Fields‘ Viennese Waltz either, sparking boos from the audience and grumbles from the other judges, as pro Keo Motsepe blamed their height difference for the lack of fluidity.
Former New England Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie also had to get used to throwing to a new receiver, but was told by Bruno Tonioli that “it wasn’t all bad,” while Inaba said she loved the partnership with Peta Murgatroyd, “you had this new air about you,” she said.
Flutie has a a couple of NFL big shots cheering him on through social media, as both coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady showed him some love and encouraging fans to vote, a feat that didn’t go unnoticed by host and Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews.
Pittsburgh Steelers player Antonio Brown lost points with new partner Karina Smirnoff before the night even kicked off when he was late for rehearsals. Goodmen went on to slam their performance, calling it “poor” and saying there was “too much bump and grind” going on. “If you want to shine, you’ve got to polish … you’ve got to perform better,” he said.
Fortunately UFC fighter Paige VanZant made at least some of the judges smile, as she was able to be both “fierce and feminine” at the same time, according to Inaba. Her Rumba with Sasha Farber to One Direction’s “Perfect” didn’t quite live up to the song’s title, though, as Goodman called it “acceptable but not exceptional.”
This week’s judge’s scores and viewer votes will be combined with the scores from last week, and another couple will be eliminated next week, Andrews explained at the end of the night, as she revealed that DiMarco is currently leading the pack and Brown is struggling at the bottom of the board.
“Dancing With the Stars” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
See video of DiMarco’s impressive performance below.