During the seventh week of competition, country star Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough made history on the April 29 edition of “Dancing with the Stars.” That’s because they became the first ever couple to be awarded immunity from elimination. Unlike other reality competition shows, “DWTS” has never allowed any couple to be free from the worry of elimination. On Monday night, each couple was tasked with learning an individual routine, plus one of three dances for the debut of the “Dance Off.” Here’s how it all played out on Monday night.
Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff danced a riveting Rumba for their first dance. Head judge Len Goodman questioned, “Was that an earthquake or did you just rock this place?” Bruno loved Jacoby’s hip action and Carrie Ann Inaba commented, “You get down and dirty and you just dance.” Score: 27.
Soap star Ingo Rademacher also performed a Rumba, but received lower scores than Jacoby. Bruno thought the routine did not have enough fluidity and Carrie Ann said that it lacked sensuality and connection. Len was a bit more complimentary and praised Ingo’s lines and the content of the dance. Score: 22.
Even though his partner had three concerts, Derek Hough still threw some pretty technical moves at Kellie Pickler this week. Len and Bruno awarded the pair with perfect 10s, but Carrie Ann said that their Samba was too pristine and lacked an emotional connection. Score: 29.
Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess danced a Rumba during Latin Week, but their moves were a bit routine, rather racy. Len thought their performance was too erratic and Carrie Ann commented on Andy’s bad arms. Bruno Tonioli added rather meanly, “I wish I could forget it.” Score: 17.
Despite a back injury, Mark Ballas was still able to perform a Salsa with Aly Raisman this week. Bruno exclaimed, “You are the spice of my life!” Carrie Ann loved their dance, but Len wanted a few more passes. Score: 29.
“Bachelor” Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd gave it their all with a racy Rumba. The three judges were impressed with Sean’s forward progress. Carrie Ann and Bruno liked the musicality of the routine, but Len said that Sean was a bit too “wooden.” Score: 24.
Disney star Zendaya and Val C. were up last and wanted to make a lasting impression with their Paso Doble. The judges loved the pair’s power, strength and exquisite lines. Bruno suggested to Zendaya that she work on her top line. Score: 27.
Leaderboard on April 29 after the individual dances:
- Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough: 29
- Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas: 29
- Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff: 27
- Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy: 27
- Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd: 24
- Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson: 22
- Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess: 17
After their individual dances, Tom Bergeron announced a definite game changer. For the first time ever, one couple would be safe from elimination, while the six remaining couples would have to dance for their lives. Even though there was a two-way tie for first place, Kellie and Derek were safe because they had the highest judges’ scores to date.
Tom went on to explain that the couple with the second highest total would get first pick of the couple they wanted to dance against. That couple would then get to choose one of three dance styles: Cha Cha Cha, Jive or Rumba. The winning couples would each receive an additional three points to their scores for the evening.
Aly and Mark chose to dance against Andy and Sharna, who chose the Cha Cha Cha. All three judges declared Aly and Mark the winners. Bruno said graciously, “You both did a great job.” Carrie Ann complimented Andy for not giving up.
Zendaya and Val chose to dance against Jacoby and Karina. Val wanted a challenge and stated, “We’re going to pick on someone our own size.” Carrie Ann said that it was a fierce battle and Bruno added, “It was like watching two champions.” However, in the end, all three judges chose Zendaya and Val as the winners.
The final dance-off was between Sean Lowe and Ingo Rademacher. After their Rumba throw-down, Len Goodman said that there was a very clear winner and Bruno called it “a battle of the hunks.” In the end Bruno chose Sean as the winner, but was overruled by Len and Carrie Ann’s choice of Ingo.
After the first ever one-on-one dance off, here’s a look at the April 29 leaderboard:
- Kellie Pickler: 29 (safe)
- Aly Raisman: 29 + 3 = 32
- Zendaya: 27 + 3 = 30
- Jacoby Jones: 27
- Ingo Rademacher: 22 + 3 = 25
- Sean Lowe: 24
- Andy Dick: 17
To keep the leaderboard fair, Kellie and Derek should receive three points for coming in first place on April 29. After seven weeks of competition, here’s a look at the combined leaderboard:
- Kellie Pickler: 211
- Zendaya: 210
- Aly Raisman: 204
- Jacoby Jones: 189
- Ingo Rademacher: 176
- Sean Lowe: 174
- Andy Dick: 154
On Tuesday night, one more celebrity will be eliminated. During the results show, Michael Bublé will perform “Come Dance With Me” off his new album, “To Be Loved.” The show will also feature its second “AT&T Spotlight Performance” of the season, focusing on youth organization the Camden Sophisticated Sisters and its founder, Tawanda Jones. The program, located in New Jersey, provides an opportunity for young women to learn discipline and cooperation and to gain a sense of achievement through drill team competition. This “Spotlight Performance” will feature an inspiring routine by eight members of the organization. In addition, “Macy’s Stars of Dance” returns for its fourth installment of the season. Choreographed and performed by Allison Holker and Stephen “tWitch” Boss, the dance will feature musical accompaniment by violinist and YouTube sensation Lindsey Stirling.
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