Dance Mom vs. Maks smackdown on ‘Dancing With The Stars’

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Amy Purdy and Derek Hough's breaktaking Argentine Tango earned a perfect score. Photo: Amy Purdy/Instagram

SAN DIEGO, May 5, 2014 – The most skilled competitors are battling it out on “Dancing With The Stars” as the semifinals arrive next week. It’s harder now to say goodbye to any of the competitors. With just six couples left, scores are critical and fan votes will make all the difference in who goes home.

But the judges and fans had to make the tough call. If you want to learn who it was, scroll to the end of the column.

“Dance Moms” instructor Abby Lee Miller was this week’s guest judge. Several of her young students were in the DWTS audience, and when host Erin Andrews asks the girls what they thought about her judging, they said they thought she would be meaner. Miller was plenty mean enough for several performers.

Derek Hough and Mark Ballas have both publicly criticized Miller in the past. But Miller praised their efforts; she had another target in her sights.


Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy channeled “A Streetcar Named Desire” in a drama filled Rumba, but the drama in the dance was nothing compared to the judging. After Miller criticized Meryl’s foot position, pro partner Maks Chmerkovskiy said, “I really don’t care for anything she has to say.” Snap. They still scored 36 points for the effort.

Meryl’s Olympic ice dancing partner Charlie White fared better. He and pro partner Sharna Burgess danced a sparkling Quickstep perfectly suited to his style and personality. It seemed the judges found a lot to criticize, but four tens popped up for a perfect score of 40.

Amy Purdy and Derek Hough performed a breathtaking, creative, precise Argentine tango using a bar stool as a prop. The judges struggled to put into words how impressed they were with both the execution and the effort. Miller said to her girls in the audience, “I better never hear ‘I’m too tired, I’m hungry, I have homework.” Judge Bruno Tonioli said it had power, control, precision, and immersion into the character. It also had a perfect score of 40.

Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy also danced an Argentine Tango. It was a sultry routine reminiscent of the movie “Black Swan,” with striking costumes and makeup. When in hold it was razor sharp and beautiful. It was worthy of 38 points.

Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas continued her impressive comeback with an effervescent Foxtrot, perfectly in character for her. She seems to have a new confidence and it has improved her performance. She was rewarded with 36 points.

James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd are safe and into the semi-finals, but will need fan votes get to the finals.
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd are safe and into the semi-finals, but will need fan votes get to the finals. Photo: ABC/DWTS Facebook

James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd danced a Viennese Waltz and while there were postive aspects, as with his routine last week, his feet were still awkward and he sticks his backside out too far, which was noted by the judges. Abby Miller gushed over hunky James. She crushed on him with 10 points, but the total was a sane 36 points.

The second routine for the stars this week was a new twist in the show: the “duel” (or is that “duo”) dances. Couples drew names and were paired together. As part of the routine, the two stars danced a middle section together; the routines started and ended with the couples side by side.

Two of the teams pleased the judges. Charlie White and Candace Cameron Bure made a surprisingly appealing couple, dancing a Contemporary routine that took advantage of Candace’s strength in executing lifts. The judges gave them 39 points.

The team featuring Amy Purdy and James Maslow also turned out to be a great match. Amy is the Queen of the Jive. She danced side by side with James in perfect sync; she also held her own side by side with Peta Murgatroyd. Once again, Derek Hough’s choreography was first rate. They scored 38 points.

Far less successful was the Samba patnership of Meryl Davis and Danica McKellar. For whatever reason whether lukewarm choreography, Danica’s injury, or perhaps overconfidence, the routine lacked the proper Samba bounce and flair. It scored 34 points

Left standing in jeopardy at the end were Danica and Val, James and Peta, and Cameron and Mark. All three have been there before and their scores were close. It was up to the fans, and the fans sent Danica and Val home.

The Week 8 Leaderboard:

Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: Argentine Tango, 40 points plus Jive duo, 39 points = 79 points

Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: Quickstep, 40 points plus Contemporary duo, 38 points = 78 points

James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: Viennese Waltz, 36 points plus Jive duo, 39 points = 75 points

Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: Foxtrot, 36 points plus) 35 point plus Contemporary duo, 38 points = 73 points

Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy: Argentine Tango, 38 points plus Samba Duo, 34 points = 72 points (ELIMINATED)

Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy: Rumba 36 points plus Samba Duo, 34 points = 70 points

“Dancing With the Stars” returns with “American Icons” theme week and choreographer Kenny Ortega as guest judge for the semifinals on Monday, May 12, at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time on the ABC Television Network.

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 +

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

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  • Rebeckah Earl Cooper

    Not sure why everyone is hating on Abby so hard. I thought she was right on track, and I think she is tough but usually fair. Her score for TeamMnM was low, but Maks’ mouth may have been to blame more than Meryl’s feet. Also, Dance Moms is reality TV, so we are just seeing compilations if the best and worst- not a true accurate portrayal. I honestly don’t get the problem. So she’s tough- She’s preparing those kids for a cut-throat industry. She gives some kids more solos- I danced for years and lots of talented kids NEVER had a single solo. The moms and kids should be thankful they get to perform on stage every week and be on national television. People say she is abusive, but I don’t agree. I am a survivor of REAL abuse and find those allegations offensive. Even if it was abusive, at the end of the day, the blame should lie with the parents who are paying her. People can hate, but at the end if the day, the woman is starting her THIRD dance related television show in June, so clearly, she knows what she’s doing.

    • Samantha

      the judges scores are handed in before the judges even comment. So their score had nothing to do with him saying anything to her.

      • cori

        no they arent. they comment. stars go upstairs, score paddles are raised

        • Crystal

          Samantha is correct. Scores are written on paper as soon as the dance is finished & Carrie Ann hands the paper to the scorekeeper before judges comment.

          • Crystal, I back you and Samantha up here. The scores are immediately written down by Carrie Ann Inaba, who hands them to a production assistant. This is how they are displayed on the screen when the judges raise their paddles. Sometimes a judge “forgets” the score they wrote down and raise the “wrong” paddle which causes problems. Occasionally you’ll hear a judge apologize for their score because after the discussion, they have changed their minds but are stuck with their original score. I’ve been in the studio during the show and you can see this for yourself when you are there.

    • cori

      I think it was to knock m&m down. Come on…they are at the bottom of the leaderboard??? seriously? their dancing was worse than any of the others??? B.S. she scored them a 8. bruno scored it a 10. and I replayed the dance and didn’t see her feet all on top of each other.

    • Rebeckah, it’s time to end the guest judges experiment on DWTS. They are a distraction and they don’t add anything except stretching time to the show. I’m not entire sure Abby Lee Miller should be considered “successful” at anything but being a reality TV star by starting her third dance related TV show.

    • Sue Wagner

      I not exactly hating on her, but I do think she was obnoxious. After Maks and merly’s dance she tried to interrupt Bruno’s comments and when it came around to her, she tells everyone to be quiet because she has a lot to say. I don’t know how constructive it was to say that she would never slap Maks. She didn’t like Merly’s feet, but when it came time to score James and Peta, she gives him a 10 even though the other judges all mentioned his legs not being straight and his bum sticking out. “Look at me that way!” she said. Bruno even says, “You fancy him” “oh yeah”. So professional.

  • jazzdrums

    Miller is a media creation…yes she had a school but it was on the brink of completing a bankruptcy owing more than $300k to creditors. She was bailed out when the show that was initially going to follow the dance girls and moms, sorta day in life of and then they included abby miller thinking they could create drama and most important viewership, Right now Chloe, Paige and Brooke are not students at the school. Chloe was only showing up for show taping and doing meet and greets. Her mother Christi reportedly started to charge for tickets to the meet and greets and I dont know if the show will come back. Also I think the charges for assault will be dropped against Kelly and Kelly might get a settlement in her civil suit. One of the producers Collins is a moron and scripted/pushed too many confrontations. all for ratings. Our band provides music to real dance schools and occasionally play live for competitions. We met a competition director/owner on the east coast who said she turned Lifetime television down when they approached them to let their cameras in and do a pseudo competition before or after the real one. This woman wanted nothing to do with the tv show. The girls do have talent. Maddie repeats her same style and facials over and over. Chloe has the most potential. Hope the girls go on to college and then decide what they want to do and not be blinded by celebrity and fame that is often short lived.

    • @jazzdrums, thanks for the fascinating insight. There is always a whole lot more going on behind reality TV shows than viewers are ever aware.

  • Amanda Nevada

    While the liberty school believes in democratic processes, it also recognizes that attempts to usurp and wield absolute power in the name of fleeting majorities are illegitimate.