Alfonso Ribeiro may have earned a perfect score last week on “Dancing With the Stars,” but it was clearly ladies’ night on Monday. The theme may have had the celebrities switching partners for the week, but the result was that the ladies took absolute control.
The female stars all outshone their male counterparts, while the female professional dancers were fantastic as they did their best to help the male celebrities look better. Even Ribeiro, who’s been solid all season, struggled to maintain his masculine prowess and the necessary lightness of feet in his flamenco with Cheryl Burke.
Maybe it shouldn’t have been such a surprise, as Ribeiro has really been the only male able to compete week-to-week with the ladies. In a night with four solid performances by the women, we settled on the three that impressed us the most. Bethany Mota was solid enough in her hip hop routine with Mark Ballas, but she didn’t have any swagger or real depth in her movements, instead looking like she was just going through the motions.
As a caveat, there were no flawless performances, making the participants perhaps grateful that there was also no elimination. So while these are the best we saw, there is a decent chance that none of them would show up on a “best of the season” list.
The highest marks handed out by the judges was a score of 36 out of 40, without a single 10 score from any one judge. And they were right to do so. Nevertheless, let’s countdown the top three performances on the night.
3. Lea Thompson & Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Easily the most clever and smile-inducing performance of the night, Thompson and Chmerkovskiy’s Broadway routine featured some clever moves and brilliant use of walkers by Chmerkovskiy and the backup dancers. It would have been nice to see Thompson get more to do, but she looked confident and strong with the somewhat limited moves she was given. That said, I could see her thinking through the steps from time to time. (Judges score: 34)
2. Sadie Robertson & Derek Hough
According to the judges, Robertson and Hough had the strongest night, and there was technically nothing wrong with their performance. But it wasn’t perfect and it lacked some of the flair of the other performances. It felt like a somewhat safe routine that didn’t push either dancer creatively. For the sheer complexity and challenge seen in some of the other dancers, I couldn’t give this top marks. (Judges score: 36)
1. Janel Parrish & Artem Chigvintsev
The most challenging dance on the night brought with it both a great dance performance from Parish, but just as importantly she brought a great acting performance to it as well. These two in tandem pushed her above Robertson and Hough for me. The lift combinations Chigvintsev put her through were brutal, and save for two minor mishaps toward the end of them, she flew through the whole routine like she’d had way longer than a week to perfect it. And yet, the judges put her in fourth on the night, behind the above two ladies and Riberio. (Judges score: 33)
“Dancing With the Stars” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.