'Dancing With the Stars' 5th Judge: 'Fifty Shades' of Superheroes, Breakdancing, Jazzercise  Among 'Guilty Pleasures'
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'DWTS' Cast Season 25

There were no eliminations this week, as Mark Ballas and Lindsey Stirling come out on top.

Last week was a brutal start to the season, as the stars had to learn two dances and then two of them got the boot. Unfortunately for the track record of this show, and other competition shows like it, the older female contestants were the first to go. Arguably, this wasn't an awful choice by America, though, as Barbara Corcoran was simply awful. But Debbie Gibson showed tremendous improvement in the second week, while Nick Lachey was particularly stiff and Terrell Owens wasn't much better.

Could either of them survive this week? T.O. will likely ride his NFL fame for quite awhile, while Lachey has the competition between his wife -- the far superior Vanessa Lachey -- and his own boy band background to keep his fans calling in. It's early and America hasn't picked their favorite personalities just yet. There are no older women left, so I guess America got what it wanted there?

Tom Bergeron gave a sobering tribute statement addressing the mass shooting in Las Vegas before awkwardly shifting into the "Guilty Pleasures" theme of the night. Perhaps it was planned already, or perhaps it was a response to the tragedy, but there would be no eliminations this week, meaning it was just about improving and trying to up those judges' scores and America's votes before next week.

As we did last season, and we do for various competition shows, I will be acting as your fifth judge, analyzing, critiquing and breaking down what worked and what didn't work about each performance. 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 and Bruno Tolioni. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe. Yes, there are only three judges on the panel this season, but let's face it, you're the fourth judge. Your votes mean just as much if not more than the judges, so I'll gladly sit fifth behind all of you watching at home.

Drew Scott & Emma Slater

Obsessed with true crime shows, Drew got to show a lot of fun personality in the pre-taped segment before the dance. I'm even more impressed with Drew's growth on the dance floor week to week. Once again, he was confident and this week he was also commanding in an Argentine Tango. His partnering and posture were impeccable in this dance, and the way he spun her out of their first lift was genuinely beautiful. Going into the lifts was still awkward, and he's got a ways to go with his arm and leg placements, but they're compensating well for his height. I can't believe I’m about to write this, but Drew might be one to watch in this competition...America loves to support people who grow and improve.

Judges Scores: 8, 7, 8

My Score: 7

Derek Fisher & Sharna Burgess

"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" was his guilty pleasure, and so they put together a cha-cha to that classic upbeat theme song. Derek was clearly enjoying channeling his inner Fresh Prince, but for a dance that was supposed to be light and fun, he was heavy and stilted in his movements. Sharna did what she could to put some pep in his step, but Derek was heavy on his heels the whole time. His arm-work was better and the cha-cha was recognizable in his movements, so he just needs to relax into the style a little better so he can work on the nuances. It was just a little too stilted still.

Judges Scores: 7, 7, 7

My Score: 6

Victoria Arlen & Val Chmerkovskiy

Victoria gets giddy about the song "Tubthumping," but Val kind of doesn't get it. She channeled the bullying she experienced in school as the new kid in the wheelchair to overcome and get back up again, as the song says again. The quickstep is scary for everyone, but even more so for someone who can't feel her legs or feet. While it got better later on, I felt this was Victoria's weakest performance yet. She's one of the strongest competitors on the show, but her footwork was kind of a mess early on, and her body looked lost a bit as far as frame and carriage as Val led her through. This is called the "dreaded" quickstep for a reason, and I think it got the better of Victoria just a bit this week.

Judges Scores: 8, 7, 7

My Score: 6

Vanessa Lachey & Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Alan Bersten)

The career woman who has become a mom admitted her guilty pleasure is being able to really cut loose and enjoy a girls' night out. With Maks unavailable this week, and Alan Bersten eliminate the week prior alongside his partner Debbie Gibson, it was a new partnership made in the stars. I loved her energy in this piece, and she did a great job of keeping up with the troupe girls, but this jazz routine did get away from her from time to time. For someone so vibrant and animated, she didn't quite exaggerate her movements enough, or shine as we know she can. The few lifts that came at the end when she partnered with Alan looked a little labored, and she was unsure of what to do with her body during them. Things to learn and areas to improve for still one of the most watchable and talented natural dancers on the show.

Judges Scores: 7, 8, 8

My Score: 7

Nikki Bella & Artem Chigvintsev

I'm not gonna lie, that was hot! "Fifty Shade of Grey" is Nikki's guilty pleasure, and she and Artem pulled out all the stops in channeling the aggressive lovemaking style of that story in a very intense Viennese Waltz. Even better, it had so many elements of quality waltz throughout, Nikki was positively shining right alongside her partner. Her feet had a few misfires along the way, but more often than not she was where she needed to be and really stood out here. It was aggressive for a waltz, but that fit the story so I didn't really have an issue with it.

Judges Scores: 7, 7, 7

My Score: 8

Frankie Muniz & Witney Carson

Frankie did the boy bands proud with this samba tribute to his guilty pleasure. He was a little too bouncy at the top of the number and lost some of his confidence and swagger from last week's double-shot, but Frankie remains someone who is imminently watchable. He had genuine samba content in there though much too timid in those movements. He worked very well with his partner, and his arm and hand extensions were lovely. I could not stop smiling at the boy band breakdown in the middle with the three other dancers, either. You lip synch, boy! Own it!

Judges Scores: 7, 7, 7

My Score: 7

Lindsey Stirling & Mark Ballas

Despite her tough times with a breakup last week, this jive was pure joy from Lindsey and Mark. I loved the PJs guilty pleasure theme, but mostly I loved how light on her feet Lindsey was, hopping and bouncing confidently. There was so much jive in this piece and so much to love. We didn't get any fun lifts or tricks, which would have been nice considering how confidently she was performing what we did get, but I can't fault what is easily one of her strongest dancers of the season. Lindsey is another one to watch, for sure.

Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9

My Score: 9

Sasha Pieterse & Gleb Savchenko

I'm going to put the blame on this misfire with Gleb as this jazz choreography was just kind of bland and boring. Her guilty pleasure was baking and he had a counter setup with fun props, but the dance just never really went anywhere. We know Sasha can move and dance, so why did he give her so little to actually do? I can’t fault any of the actual dancing we saw, but it was all so rudimentary and silly, there was nothing that really showcased either of them particularly well.

Judges Scores: 7, 6, 6

My Score: 5

Nick Lachey & Peta Murgatroyd

Based on costuming, I thought Nick's guilty pleasure was jazzercise, but instead it's romantic comedies. But jazzercise was the theme, to "Jump," and while it saw an improvement from Nick in overall movement, he is still so stiff and stilted compared to the other stars in the competition. At first, I thought maybe his hips were actually loosening up, but that lasted less than four bars and he was back to too tight and too stiff. I'm not sure he'll be able to relax into dance as he's just not showing the signs of improvement we need to be seeing. He had the energy of the jazz, but compared to the five pros around him, he stood out like a very stiff, very awkward sore thumb.

Judges Scores: 7, 7, 7

My Score: 4

Terrell Owens & Cheryl Burke

T.O. mixed some old-school breakdancing into his salsa this week, and it kind of worked. The concept was there, but Terrell is as tight in his hips as Nick, and once again can't seem to settle down into the floor to get loose enough to really capture the essences of these different styles. The lifts he did were labored and awkward, and I found myself feeling bad for how poorly this whole thing came together. He still doesn't know what to do with his length, and missed the mark pretty wide here.

Judges Scores: 7, 7, 7

My Score: 5

Jordan Fisher & Lindsay Arnold

I really didn't see as much Charleston as I expected in this dance, and it would have been a great fit for the 1960s "Batman" kitsch look of the whole routine. What little of it we did see, I saw a lack of confidence and strut in Jordan's feet compared to prior dances, which makes me wonder if Lindsay didn't protect him by keeping it to a minimum. It felt more like a jazz number, which he’s great at, than something that really challenged and pushed him as it should have. They need to remember that voters respond to growth.

Judges Scores: 9, 7, 9

My Score: 7


With the judges feeling generous tonight, only Sasha got less than a seven from them, and that was more about the poor choreography than anything she did. The other lower performers all got sevens, including Nick Lachey, Terrell Owens, Frankie Muniz, Nikki Bella and Derek Fisher. In other words, they're really leaving it up to you who goes home next week.

"Dancing With the Stars" continues Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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