It's TooFab's officially unofficial "Fifth Judge," ready to dive into Week Five of the competition. That's right, you're not rid of me yet. I'd be crazy to leave during Disney week. I'm kind of holding out that maybe all of us judges will get free passes to Disney World at the end of the night. Fingers crossed!
A quick reminder about me: I spent nearly a decade of my life sweating and bleeding to the music as a dancer, all for this moment: armchair judging a dance competition. From a young boy learning a shuffle-ball-change to performing with the St. Louis Ballet Company, I experienced the ups and downs of one of the most difficult physically demanding sports on the planet.
Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Julianne Hough and Bruno Tolioni. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.
Season 19 winner Alfonso Ribeiro returned to the Mirrorball stage to offer a fun song-and-dance asking what a little magic can do. In the Wonderful World of Disney, it's been able to do quite a bit. But would the magic of Disney elevate the performances of the nine remaining contestants?
In the spirit of celebration, they did mix things up by declaring most couples safe immediately after their performances based on their scores and viewer votes last week.
Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater
NFL running back Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater followed up their powerful contemporary piece last week with a foxtrot that reminded us Rashad is still very much learning. The spin at the end of this dance was kind of a mess, with him struggling to stay in his spot as he spun. His footwork was heavy and sloppy at times, showing that he's got a ways to go with the technical side of his performance. They were declared safe, but there's still work to be done.
"Evermore," Josh Groban -- "Beauty and the Beast"
Judges Scores: 7, 8, 9, 8
My Score: 7
Nick Viall & Peta Murgatroyd
'The Bachelor' Nick Viall & Peta Murgatroyd had the unfortunate distinction of finding out they were in jeopardy mere moments before they hit the stage to perform. I'm going to give Nick props in getting through very quick and tough choreography in this fun jazz piece. The problem was that he was clearly working very hard to do so, and playing catch-up a few times. His face telegraphed how hard he was working, which is a dance no-no. But I see this as a piece he could have performed very successfully with more time to master it. It was the closest to a finished dance I've seen, and very close at that.
"I've Got No Strings" -- "Pinocchio"
Judges Scores: 9, 8, 9, 8
My Score: 8
Erika Jayne & Gleb Savchenko
'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' star Erika Jayne & Gleb Savchenko were told they were in jeopardy after the first dance, adding pressure to this performance out of the gate. On top of that, the package showed that she struggled after their poor outing the week prior, so to say it was an emotional rollercoaster for her would be a huge understatement. While I didn't care for her solo opening at all, the dance improved tremendously once Gleb entered. The contact was there and there was a lovely flow across the dance floor. She looked confident and in command, as if the danger and doubt was fueling her. Her strongest performance of the season, but is it too little too late? (Viennese Waltz)
"Unforgettable," Sia -- "Finding Dory"
Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8, 8
My Score: 9
Heather Morris & Alan Bersten
'Glee' star Heather Morris & Alan Bersten (standing in for Maksim Chmerkovskiy) were declared safe after the first dance, probably helping them to relax a bit. It also helped that the style was jazz, which is something Heather is familiar with. While Maksim still wasn't able to perform, he did choreograph the piece. Heather's acting background came in very well, as there was a lot of performance to this piece, and she handled the playfulness of it beautifully. Once again, she danced like she was a professional on the show, though it wasn't an intensively complex piece. An incredibly fun piece beautifully executed. "For the First Time in Forever," Kristen Bell & Idina Menzel -- "Frozen"
Judges Scores: 8, 8, 9, 9
My Score: 9
Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess
Bull-rider Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess were also able to relax after the first performance, getting word that they were safe for the week. Once again, a very awkward introductory sequence was improved by actual dance once they got into the Tango aspects of the dance. I officially hate Bonner's "shocked" face and hope I never have to see it again. The piece was hit or miss from the beginning. Thankfully, it was the tango parts that were the strongest, which helped tremendously in the overall piece.
"When Can I See You Again?," Owl City -- "Wreck-It-Ralph"
Judges Scores: 7, 8, 8, 7
My Score: 6
Normani Kordei & Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Fifth Harmony member Normani Kordei & Valentin Chmerkovskiy (Paso doble) were put in jeopardy moments before tackling a Paso Doble, so the pressure was real. This is one of the best dancers in the competition, so she shouldn't be here. And she proved that with one of the best dances we've seen all year. In the spirit of the film, Normani was every bit as strong and masculine as Valentin in the choreography, making for a very fun Paso Doble, and she absolutely hit her poses, and the sharpness of her movements. My jaw was hanging open as it progressed at the sheer mastery she showed for a very difficult dance style.
"I'll Make a Man Out of You," Donny Osmond (live) -- "Mulan"
Judges Scores: 10, 9, 10, 10
My Score: 10
David Ross & Lindsay Arnold
Former Cubs catcher David Ross & Lindsay Arnold didn't have nearly enough hop for this jive, which is supposed to be light and full of spring. You could see where she was protecting him with the choreography, which only serves to reveal his limitations. He looks like he got a little lost a few times with the simple choreography he was given, but he remains likable and someone worth rooting for for a while. But he is absolutely one of the celebrities that hovers around the bottom and middle and goes early. This week, he's got the lowest score so far.
"Ride," ZZ Ward (live) -- "Cars 3"
Judges Scores: 7, 7, 8, 7
My Score: 5
Nancy Kerrigan & Artem Chigvintsev
Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan & Artem Chigvintsev revealed her perfectionism and passion and anxiety before each performance, but she proved why she is an Olympian. When the time is upon her, she steps up in a major way. This Jazz routine had complicated staging, and other performers, and Nancy confidently kept up with everyone. There were only a few moments where she looked a little like she was working at remembering her marks, but it was a masterful job overall.
"That's How You Know," Amy Adams -- "Enchanted"
Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9, 9
My Score: 9
Simone Biles & Sasha Farber
Olympic gymnast Simone Biles & Sasha Farber were declared safe in the second group, so they had time to relax before closing the show with a Contemporary piece. Sasha took full advantage of Simone's athleticism and strength in crafting a piece with impressive lifts and partner work. She managed to marry her strength with grace, beauty and joy and was mesmerizing to watch. It was a wonderfully joyous piece with some real challenges, covering a lot of the stage throughout the number. Her lines were amazing, her extensions long and pointed. It was about as flawless a piece as you could hope for, and the second strong week in a row for this power couple. (Contemporary)
"How Far I'll Go," Auli'i Cravalho (live) -- "Moana"
Judges Scores: 9, 9, 10, 10
My Score: 10
And so it came down to Nick & Peta alongside Erika & Gleb for the final elimination. Both couples of skirted with the lowest scores each week, failing to live up to their full potential. Erika finally came out of her shell with a strong performance this week, but alas it came too late as she was eliminated from the competition.
While there are still some weaker dancers left in the competition, the top of the ranks is extreme competitive. After the next few eliminations, things are going to get really nasty as we narrow this talented group down to a single winner.
'Dancing With the Stars' continues Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Watch TooFab's behind the scenes interview with Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess.