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Disney magic sparkles on ‘Dancing With The Stars’

Written By | Apr 18, 2017

SAN DIEGO, April 17, 2017 – Competition is getting so tight on “Dancing With The Stars,” one week a star is on top of the leaderboard, and the next week with just a few points off, close to the bottom. Fan votes start counting more than ever.

Some of the year’s best routines emerge from “Disney Week,” and even the couples who scored in the bottom half of the leaderboard all performed thoroughly entertaining dances. It is a difficult week to see anyone go home.

If you want to find out who was eliminated, scroll to the end of the column for the news.

Normani Kordei embodied the spirit of a fierce modern princess, dancing a Paso Doble as the character Mulan with Val Chmerkovskiy. It was full of power and attack, precision and artistry. The martial arts section through the middle was a risk that paid off with every move in the right place. It was Normani’s first week not traveling and if this is what the extra rehearsal and real time produces, she’s become a real threat to win. It scores 39 points, with only Len Goodman giving them a nine. And how could it miss with a live performance from Season 9’s Donny Osmond?

Simone Biles played the fierce Princess Moana to perfection in her Contemporary routine. Photo: ABC

The other fierce princess of the night, Moana gave Mulan a challenge. Simone Biles used her gymnastic talent to good use in the Contemporary routine, but it was still very much a strong dance number thanks to the choreography by pro Sasha Farber. It scored 38 points including two tens from Julianne Hough and Bruno Tonioli.

Nancy Kerrigan’s Jazz peformance would have looked right at home on Broadway. Photo: ABC

Nancy Kerrigan and Artem Chigvintsev staged a delightful production number set to music from “Enchanted” for their Jazz routine, aided by members of the troupe. It looked every bit like a full Broadway production. Nancy expressed concern about keeping up but she fit in beautifully. The judges universally praised the joyful, exuberant spirit. It received all nines for 36 points.

Nick Viall had his best week playing Pinocchio in a fun Jazz number. Photo: ABC

Nick Viall and Peta Murgatroyd drew “I’ve Got No Strings On Me” from Pinocchio. Their Jazz routine was energetic, clever, whimsical, high energy and even used props without a single mishap. The judges loved the fun-spirited choreography and execution, calling it a “breakthrough.” It was a surprisingly good fit for Nick. The scores were his highest of the season, 34 points.

Heather Morris and Alan Bersten performed a Jazz number to a song from “Frozen.” Photo: ABC

Heather Morris danced for another week with substitute Alan Bersten in place of Maks Chmerkovskiy. This pairing is working beyond expectations, but their Jazz performance from “Frozen” left judge Carrie Ann Inaba cold, the other judges loved her portrayal of Elsa and the slightly off-kilter fun. The scores were eights and nines, for 34 points. Maks said he will be back next week.

Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater made the perfect Prince and Princess, but their scores weren’t perfect. Photo: ABC

Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater channeled “Beauty and the Beast” with a challenging Foxtrot. All four judges praised Rashad’s connection to the music and story, his performance and skills. Judge Len Goodman said he’d never seen Rashad perform a bad dance. But the judges’ scores were all over the place, from seven to nine for a total of 32 points.

Erika Jayne brought out her vulnerable side in a lovely Waltz with Gleb Savchenko. Photo: ABC

Erika Jayne and Gleb Savchenko danced a Viennese Waltz to the classic song “Unforgettable” as performed by Sia, which appeared in the film “Finding Dory.” The pair knew they were on the bubble with scores from last week and Erika struggled with her emotions. The judges praised Erika for the flowing movement and for giving it all she had through her ability to be vulnerable. It scored 32 points.

Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess danced a Tango a bouncy song choreographed as characters in a video game. They pulled it off and judge Len Goodman loved the “proper” Tango with so much dancing in hold. The judges encouraged Bonner to dance more three-dimensionally and freely. The pair received 30 points, down from last week.

David Ross and Lindsay Arnold danced a “Cars” themed Jive. David loved it, the judges not so much. Photo: ABC

David Ross and Lindsay Arnold drew the Jive, a really tough dance for the oldest competitor left. David didn’t miss a step and always seems to be having a great time, calling it one of his “funnest dances,” although the judges pointed out he was a little flat-footed. The judges gave it 29 points, his lowest score of the season.

Would The Bachelor or the Real Housewife leave tonight? After both made significant performance breakthroughs on the show, it was Erika Jayne leaving on a high note.

Next week’s show is a face-off between “Boy Bands” and Girl Bands,” with the stars dancing to favorite hits. A little “Fifth Harmony” anyone?

Week 5 Leaderboard:

Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy, Paso Doble: 10-9-10-10 = 39 points

Simone Biles and Sasha Farber: Contemporary: 9-9-10-10 = 38 points

Nancy Kerrigan and Artem Chigvintsev, Jazz: 9-9-9-9 = 36 points

Heather Morris and Alan Bersten, Jazz, 8-8-9-9 = 34 points

Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess, Tango: 7-8-8-7 = 34 points

Nick Viall and Peta Murgatroyd, Jazz: 9-8-9-8 = 34 points

Erika Jayne and Gleb Savchenko, Viennese Waltz: 8-8-8-8 = 32 points

Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater, Foxtrot: 7-8-9-8 = 32 points

David Ross and Lindsay Arnold, Jive: 7-7-7-7 = 28 points

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 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.

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.

Copyright © 2017 by Falcon Valley Group



Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award-winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.