'Dancing With the Stars' Recap: Donny Osmond Guest Judges Disney Night
Welcome, dear gem hunters and DANCMSTR refugees!
Tonight’s theme was both appropriate and preposterous — much like the bedazzled series itself — as we all know that in many ways, EVERY night is Disney Night on "Dancing With the Stars." How many times has Bruno screamed “Youuuu were like Princess Jasmine of Agrabah, slllllithering along this magic carpet ride I call my profession!” or “I tell you, you were like Prince Eric. Dripping. Wet. Climb aboard…” (while gyrating)? MANY. I don’t have time to consult 18 seasons’ worth of notes right now. Just trust me. This was not Cinderella’s first time in the Planet Mirrorballus ballroom.
Let’s get the sadness out of the way first: Teen singing sensation (maybe) and hair product demotivator (definitely) Cody Simpson and his partner Witney Carson were eliminated tonight, just a few minutes after they danced a pretty decent Lion King-themed samba. Guest judge Donny Osmond dinged Cody for not showing any happiness in the dance (dubbed “The Simba Samba” by Tom Bergeron, who was unfortunately not dressed as Lumiere the wisecracking candle for tonight’s events), but I think I know what the problem was. He was having an identity crisis. Seriously — if he was supposed to be Simba, then why was he swathed in taupe instead of tan? Dude looked like one of Uncle Scar’s nasty little minions instead of the rightful King of the Jungle. And we all know those loathsome creatures were miserable.
Anyway! Eight couples remain. Let’s take a look at the Judges’ Leaderboard….
Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhh-ba!
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: 40/40 I didn’t think it could be done, especially considering Peta is such an Elsa. Somehow James managed to dance a contemporary routine to Frozen’s “Let It Go” without getting drowned out by the powerful blonde with the vicious giant braid. Who was he even supposed to be, anyway? Some chilled-out "So You Think You Can Dance" contestant in loose shorts and a henley? Elsa would never stand for that crap! But it WORKED. I’m stunned. Well done, sir. And the tear-jerking interactions between James and special-needs fan Hannah certainly didn’t hurt.
“Once a day, you get a little rub,” Peta promised James as the pair reunited post Switch-Up. Whoa, Peta. Get your Disney references straight: James is an over-excited critter lost in Elsa’s ice castle. Aladdin’s genie was in a different dance. Might wanna take up your rubbing agenda with Drew Carey.
And speaking of rubbing off… “Maks has rubbed off a little bit on Danica,” said Maks’ brother Val. “I think she’s turned into a self-centered, egotistical, completely irrational, emotional bitch. Thanks, Maks.” ONLY VAL could ever get away with this deadpan comment, right? I love him so very much. He is the quintessential Ballroom Beast.
Danica McKellar and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 39/40 Their Beauty and the Beast quickstep was completely magical even in the face of only a partial kitchenware support system (DWTS decoys/Troupe members don’t grow on trees — this isn’t "Avatar") and inevitable comparisons to dozens of other glamorous Belle/Beast-type pairings under the ballroom’s giant chandelier. Only Len found a flaw in their jubilant feast of a quickstep; he thought Belle and the Beast lost body contact at times. I, however, found this to work just fine — after all, Beast wasn’t even in the kitchen when Belle tentatively tried the grey stuff (it’s delicious) in the movie. It makes sense that they’d need a little space in this early stage.
I notice that Danica’s long marigold skirt mostly covered up the coveted “hop of joy” she’d always wanted to execute in a DWTS quickstep — but whatever! Just because we couldn’t see through the exterior doesn’t mean it wasn’t perfect underneath. Much like…. the Beast. Oh my God. It’s all coming together.
“Plates have never looked good,” enthused Princess Erin Andrews up in the Celebriquarium. She meant so good. She’s likely hungry.
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: 37/40 Yikes. Rehearsing for their Cinderella-themed waltz, in which she was not allowed to lean on Derek, forced Amy to confront the loss of her legs as if for the first time. There were Stairwell Tears. It was brutal. But hey, it’s Week 5. Those sparkly emissions are gonna happen. Even with Amy’s new set of prosthetic heels, Derek was able to create rise and fall within the waltz, and I appreciated how their movement mimicked the quick side-to-side rhythm of Cinderella and Prince Charming in the movie version of the “So This Is Love” dance, which always sort of reminded me of a toy tugboat wobbling in a bathtub anyway.
“I hope Disney will make their next princess like you,” gushed Carrie Ann Inaba in what is now the new definition of #sparklebarf.
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: 37/40 Awww. Charlie dropped the cane during their Mary Poppins-inspired jazz routine and everyone freaked out. “I was so worried you’d drop the cane, and you dropped the cane,” said Donny Osmond. “Oh! Such a shame,” said Bruno. “It’s the first time you’ve ever dropped the cane. WE HAVE FOOTAGE,” announced a triumphant Princess Erin. So what? This was still a jolly holiday with incredible prop work and syncopation between Mary and Bert. As we already knew, Sharna is practically perfect in every way. And Charlie made up for his cane stain with an inspired dance with Poppins’ signature animated penguins later on in the show.
Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 36/40 My chief complaint with this routine isn’t even the dumb song they had to samba to — “I Wanna Be Like You” from "The Jungle Book" — it’s that Maks got to wear drop-crotch board shorts when, as a grown-up “Mowgli on steroids,” he should have at least gifted us with an eyeful of his shirtless self in a red loincloth. Val did it during his “Surfer Flamenco” with Kelly Monaco, remember? Every brother deserves a turn! Also, Surfer Flamenco should be a Disney movie.
But I digress. No one could accuse Maks of phoning this one in, as guest judge Juilanne Hough had done last week. Well, no one except Maks, who sarcastically copped to being “a phoner-inner” multiple times. The man wore nude-colored moccasins out on the ballroom floor, for Lord Mirrorballus’ sake. He’s obviously there to win. “You’ve set the bar so high!” raved Donny Osmond before committing the ultimate Dancing With the Stars sin: telling Maksim Chmerkovskiy to tone it down.
Off with your head, Donny Osmond!
Nene Leakes and Tony Dovolani: 36/40 Our Real Housewife was a blubbering mess after a devastatingly harsh edit on their rehearsal footage for this week’s 101 Dalmations-themed foxtrot. If she’d been playing the role of Cruella de Vil in the studio, it’d all have made sense. But nope. She was just being herself, and as we all know, Nene Leakes can come off horribly on camera. It’s what makes her such a stahhhh!
Anyway, I agreed with the judges that this was Nene’s best dance to date, and Tony insisted for the both of them (as Nene was overcome by tears) that they have a much more loving relationship than the drudgery just shown. But does anyone really want to see them prove it? I’m not sold. No one divorces Tony Dovolani — not even as a hypothetical!
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: 35/40 Mark, who really is a guppy with his constant “look at me!” facial expressions, was obviously miscast as Sebastian instead of Flounder in the couple’s Little Mermaid-themed samba, but he did make it work as he scuttled across the glittery ocean floor. Not working quite so hard? Candace’s horrendous Ariel weave, along with the singers, who thought they could fool us Disneyphiles with the tragic lyric-jumble, “Each little clam here know how to wail here.” Nope. Nice try.
But the pair was in luck there, down in the muck within Candace’s “conservative walls” that needed to break down a bit, she explained, in order to accommodate Ariel’s risqué shells and, oh my God, that weave, it’s making me upset to even think about it again. This was a good effort for Candace and a ton of fun, but she’s not on the same technical level as most of the higher scorers. She could still be the comeback mermaid, though! She’s a bright young woman, ready to stand (and then cover up).
Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke: 28/40 I forgot a lot of the details of their Aladdin-inspired quickstep except for my confusion as to who was more out of sync: the animated Genie dancing alongside Drew and Cheryl, or Drew himself. He ain’t never had a friend like that Genie — the perfect scapegoat for Drew’s faulty footwork. There seems to be a lot of love lost between Drew and Cheryl in the aftermath of the Switch-Up, too. Without a breakthrough Week 6 performance that leaves Bruno Tonioli conducting a Party Anthem in his pants, these two could be the next to shimmy on home.
Your thoughts, DANCMSTRs? Did the Disney theme work or was it too much “messin’ about,” as Len would say? Will Nene and Tony recover from this week’s ice storm? Did the Circles of Life within Maks’ bare abs move us all?
Annie is answering DWTS fans’ questions on YouTube — ask her anything on Twitter @AnnieBarrett