SAN DIEGO, March 27, 2017 – Every reality TV show loves to bring the drama. “Dancing With The Stars” didn’t have to wait long for a legitimate drama to emerge in Week 2. One of the show’s favorite pros, Maks Chmerkovskiy, suffered a calf muscle injury whch is no small matter for a dancer, and will be out for several weeks. Fortunately for Heather Morris, troupe member Alan Bersten will step in and compete with her until Maks is back in action.
But the real drama came at the end of the show, when one of the celebrities is the first to leave in his or her season. For some it’s a real disappointment. Others seem a little relieved. If you want to find out who it was, scroll to the end of the column after our performance recap section.
Rashad Jennings picked up right where he left off in Week 2. He went from Bruno Mars last week to leading man this week with a romantic Viennese Waltz. His confidence and his obvious enjoyment of the experience covers any small flaws. Partner Emma Slater must feel like she finally hit the DWTS lottery. The judges scored it all eights for 32 points.
Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy danced a smashing Cha Cha which finally brought smiles to all four judges. Normani knows what it’s like to compete on a reality TV show thanks to her experience on “The X Factor” creating Fifth Harmony, and it gives her an edge over many of the other competitors. Bank on seeing her in the final. The routine was full of energy and Normani delivers the performance along with the moves. The routine scored 32 points, the highest of the night and well deserved.
Heather Morris had to perform one of the more challenging dance styles with a new partner after Maks Chmerkovskiy’s injury, but Alan Bersten never fails to impress picking up the slack when he’s called on. Could we please have Alan as a full pro next season? And let’s face it, no matter how much everyone tells us that “ballroom is different,” Heather is still a professional dancer which means she can pick up choreography quickly at the very least. Len Goodman was in a mood Monday, and didn’t like the hip-hop aspects of the routine at all, scoring it a six. The rest of the judges disagreed, with all eights for a total of 30 points.
Whether it’s a romance or a showmance, professional rodeo competitor Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess are going with it all the way. Their Viennese Waltz seemed awfully short, but they did improve from a rough start in week one to score 29 points, with eights from Carrie Ann and Julianne and a six from Len Goodman. Do the ladies just want to makes sure their eye candy is around for another week? Bruno Tonioli got it right with a seven.
Also scoring 29 points, Simone Biles and Sasha Farber with a brisk Cha Cha. She was slightly shaky at the start, but kicked it into gear and showed what she can do by the end. Their scores were far more even, with three sevens and an eight from Bruno. The two eights for Bonner and Sharna skewed the results, but since it’s still so early in the season and because at this point fan votes make a bigger difference, it’s not going to affect the long term outcome. Still, it left a lot of fans on social media confused or angry.
Nancy Kerrigan’s big question mark coming into the show was how she would perform the Latin ballroom styles. Pro Artem Chigvintsev didn’t go easy on her with a brisk Cha Cha, and Nancy showed she’ll be just fine with the Latin moves. She scored a solid 28 points, the same as in week one. Later, Nancy posted a message to fans on Twitter: “Felt a little nervous but WOW SO MUCH FUN! Want to keep dancing!!” There’s no doubt she will.
Erika Jayne and Gleb Savchenko took the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach to their Foxtrot, making it nearly as steamy as their first week Salsa. The judges rewarded them with an improved score this week of 28 points. This pair will need to expand their repertoire though, or their ability to stand out will be limited.
Retired pro baseball player David Ross is the sleeper contender of the season. Lindsay Arnold is a smart choreographer who knows exactly how to play up her partner’s best qualities. Even though she wasn’t even born in the 1990s (wow), she channeled the era perfectly for their “Bust A Move” Cha Cha. David’s enthusiasm and charm along with his devoted Cubs fans will keep him around for a long time no matter his score of 27 points.
It’s always a little odd when a celebrity dances to his or her own song. Charo and Keo Motsepe performe a Paso Doble to her song “Espana Mori.” Charo is actually an accomplished flamenco guitar player. Compliments to Keo on the choreography, and Charo greatly improved her performance from last week. Her score was 25 points, including a seven from judge Julianne Hough.
Nick Viall’s Foxtrot with Peta Murgatroyd was all over the judges’ scoreboard. Len Goodman gave it only a five, Bruno Tonioli a six, and Carrie Ann Inaba and Julianne Hough sevens, for 25 points total. It’s hard to see how Goodman scored Nick lower than Charo for a fairly good effort. Peta’s beautiful dress got a ten for the costume department.
Mr. T and a Paso Doble to “Eye of the Tiger” are a match made in DWTS dreams. Pro Kym Herjavec gave Mr. T choreography playing to his strengths, literally his strength. The boxing ring setting and the costumes were terrific but judges don’t score those. At least he improved with 22 points from last week, but it still leaves him dead last on the leaderboard needing fan votes to stick around.
Chris Kattan pushed through injuries to perform a Jazz routine with pro Witney Carson. They were originally assigned a Jive routine. Perhaps the change accommodated his injuries? Witney did a terrific job choreographing a routine that worked. It’s clear to both they are probably going home but perhaps it let Chris loosen up a bit. He gave it his best with good humor, and it was a lot better than in week one, for 22 points.
For once the producers didn’t drag out the inevitable. Charo and Keo were named in jeopardy along with Chris and Witney, but as predicted it was Chris going home. This is the first time Witney Carson has been eliminated in the first week and it had to sting. But she’ll be back with the troupe of the rest of the season.
Next week’s theme is “Vegas Week,” followed by “Most Memorable Year” week, and then “Disney Week” in the fifth week. Mark your calendar.
Week 2 Leaderboard:
Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy, Cha Cha: 8-8-8-8 = 32 points
Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater, Viennese Waltz – 8-8-8-8 = 32 points
Heather Morris and Alan Bersten, Jive: = 8-6-8-8 = 30 points
Simone Biles and Sasha Farber, Cha Cha = 7-7-7-8 = 29 points
Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess, Viennese Waltz: 8-6-8-7 = 29 points
Nancy Kerrigan and Artem Chigvintsev, Cha Cha: 7-7-7-7 = 28 points
Erika Jayne and Gleb Savchenko, Foxtrot: 7-7-7-7 = 28 points
David Ross and Lindsay Arnold, Cha Cha: 7-6-7-7 = 27 points
Charo and Keo Motsepe, Paso Doble: 6-6-6-7= 25 points
Nick Viall and Peta Murgatroyd, Foxtrot:7-5-7-6 = 25 points
Mr. T and Kym Herjavec, Paso Doble: 6-5-6-5 = 22 points
Chris Kattan and Witney Carson, Jazz: 6-5-6-5 = 22 point
Viewers may cast their votes for their favorite couples via phone during and up to 60 minutes after the end of the “Dancing with the Stars” broadcast in each time zone. Online voting at ABC.com and on Facebook is open for 24 hours, beginning from the start of each episode on the East Coast at 8:00 p.m. EDT/5:00 p.m. PDT and closing at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Tuesday evenings.
“Dancing With The Stars: Season 24” bring us “Vegas Week” on Monday, April 4, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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