'Dancing with the Stars: Juniors' -- Meet the Cast

Donny Osmond, Boyz II Men and Blue Man Group represent Las Vegas for the week's theme as all twelve couples dance again before one is sent packing.

The producers did a much better job on this second week of "Dancing with the Stars" in showcasing actual dancing from the actual stars on this show.

Last week, we inexplicably got something more akin to a bloated season finale, but even those feature more dance. Everyone learned two dances last week, but only five couples performed their second routine. This week, everyone performed twice and it was a better show for it.

"Bachelorette" breakout star "Grocery Store Joe" Amabile continued his very slow and incremental growth, while another star may have hit the wall. It's not from a lack of potential, though, but rather a lack of willingness to put everything into doing these dance styles properly.

Overall, though, this remains a very strong group of competitors. This week was a heartbreaking elimination, costing us a journey we would have really liked to see blossom and come to fruition. At the same time, we can't fault the voters for standing by those couples who are already wowing us.

In the last full season, we got a bit of both with the consistent greatness of winner Jordan Fisher and the impressive growth of second-runner-up Frankie Muniz, and now both of them are being rewarded with hosting positions on the new "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" spinoff show, debuting Monday.

Who do I think I am? you ask. Well, I spent nearly a decade of my life sweating and bleeding to the music as a dancer. 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. During this time, I was also a member of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as a gymnast, writer and cartoonist. I had a lot more energy in my younger years. And I've spent the last sixteen years analyzing and critiquing reality competition shows for various media publications. I've got this.

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 Tonioli. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.

Juan Pablo Di Pace & Cheryl Burke

Once again, Juan Pablo comes out with a confident and strong performance, this time bringing the right amount of sizzle to the foxtrot. It was nice to see the way he slid across the dance floor with grace and precision, even if it looked a little more like a stroll than a foxtrot at times He thought a little hard about arm placement, missing the mark a few times, and his frame was slightly inconsistent, but these were things you had to be looking for to notice. On the surface, it was a lovely bit of storytelling, with wonderful personality.

Judges Scores: 9, 8, 9

My Score: 8

Milo Manheim & Witney Carson

Damn, boy, get it! Milo was strong and fierce and sultry and totally committed to the character and attitude of the tango. On top of that, he had very nice form throughout. His knees went a little wobbly again this week, and you could see the height difference as he seemed to reduce himself to match Witney, which he doesn't need to do. Be tall and towering and own it. But man, his head placement, tone, footwork and even his frame was top-notch through most of that.

Judges Scores: 9, 8, 9

My Score: 8

Danelle Umstead & Artem Chigvintsev

She got lost a little bit toward the end when Donny Osmond -- who sang live for their performance and joined them briefly -- let go of her harm. Maybe she thought she had a little longer, but it really threw her. There was really very little quickstep in this routine, but she handled it pretty well, allowing Artem to lead her through the motions. They probably spent too long up at the casino tables at the front of the stage, as she did very little dancing through that, but that was probably to protect her as she's struggling to keep up with all of this choreography in such a short time due to the added challenge of how she must learn them being blind. But she handled this quickstep very well.

Judges Scores: 7, 6, 6

My Score: 6

Alexis Ren & Alan Bersten

Once again, Alan incorporated a bunch of lifts into this routine, which means she had to learn all of last night's lifts and tonight's at the same time. The lifts were a little hesitant at moments as you could tell she was new at them, but they were still all executed quite well, and in some case brilliantly. The camera didn't help us see the footwork through a good portion of that dance, but Alexis has a real attack to these different styles, and what we saw looked like salsa, She and Alan had some fun hip action going and there was an exuberance to the dance that was infectious.

Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8

My Score: 8

John Schneider & Emma Slater

The creative on this Elvis-impersonator routine was through the roof; Emma really outdid herself. And John really embodied the character of the piece. Bringing out another duo to also dance as Elvis impersonators made it even more challenging, and John did stand out a bit as the guy least experienced as a dancer. His hits weren't as sharp, his movements slightly unsure and sluggish in comparison and his body shape wasn't as strong. He did a great job of jiving his way through it and really giving it his all. Emma asked a lot of him in this one routine, and they've got a lot to be proud of.

Judges Scores: 7, 6, 7

My Score: 7

DeMarcus Ware & Lindsay Arnold

Well, DeMarcus didn't quite get down fast enough for the final pose, but he otherwise moved with confidence through this quickstep. His hold was a little off, that elbow poking a bit too high because his shoulder was rolled in, and his posture not quite back enough, but it didn't detract from the confidence with which he and Lindsay filled that space. He had the difficult steps down, so it's more about the overall presentation

Judges Scores: 8, 7, 8

My Score: 7

Joe Amabile & Jenna Johnson

Honestly, it was kind of a disasterpiece. Jenna's vision for this jazz number at the bar was fully realized, but Joe could not for the life of him remember the choreography, and it left him behind everyone else on stage, struggling to catch up. It's unclear if his early fumble with the arms threw him off for the rest of it, but he didn't recover until Jenna launched herself at him and he caught her. This was tepid, unsure, insecure and just woefully executed.

Judges Scores: 6, 6, 6

My Score: 5

Evanna Lynch & Keo Motsepe

This is the most confident Evanna has been in her own skin since the competition started, and it was wonderful to see. She owned her own femininity and really embraced the energy of this jive. She had as light misstep early on, but otherwise did a great job of keeping up with very challenging choreography. She did, however, telegraph that she was thinking about the steps, in part by staying so stiff and upright through much of it, rather then really digging into the floor. But considering the difficulty level, there was a lot of great jive content and she has a lot to be proud of, especially her growing confidence as a performer and dancer.

Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8

My Score: 8

Bobby Bones & Sharna Burgess

It's as if Bobby doesn't even care about the footwork at times; he just runs around the stage like a madman and has a blast. If any dance style was built for his manic energy it would be the quickstep, and we got a few brief moments of him executing genuine quickstep moves, but he didn't seem to be really committed to form and precision in this routine. He needs to channel his energy into actual dance than just wackiness.

Judges Scores: 7, 6, 6

My Score: 6

Nancy McKeon & Val Chmerkovskiy

Shout out to the costume designers for putting together some truly fierce looks for this paso doble. Nancy really embraced the ferocity of the style, and composed herself well throughout this routine. After the turns, she looked a little lost behind Val briefly, and it lacked a bit of fluidity and grace through the routine. But for the most part she was absolutely commanding throughout.

Judges Scores: 7, 6, 7

My Score: 7

Tinashe & Brandon Armstrong

What a fun and high-energy cha cha routine, though it was perhaps more modern dance than full cha cha content. Nevertheless, there were enough elements in there for it to represent the style while maintaining a very cool vibe. Tinashe's tandem partnering is beyond impressive, matching Brandon's lines and strikes almost perfectly. She's a natural performer and has command of her entire body from core to extension.

Judges Scores: 9, 8, 9

My Score: 9

Mary Lou Retton & Sasha Farber

Sasha gave Mary Lou some seriously relentless samba choreography and she went with it. No pain, no gain was definitely the mantra this week, as her lifetime of gymnastics injuries started catching up with her this week, but you'd hardly have noticed it. That slide move through Sasha's legs wasn't executed as smoothly as it should have been, but Mary Lou really came through. Her lines were great, her hands were just the way they should be, and she came through with the footwork admirably. She was sharp and on point.

Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8

My Score: 8

RESULTS

If you called in to vote for your favorites, they don't care about you. Tom Bergeron revealed that those votes were somehow lost or corrupted, so they don't count. Instead, online votes and judges' scores will determine everything, so tough luck to anyone with disconnected fans.

The celebrities in jeopardy this week were John & Emma and Danelle & Artem, quickly narrowing it down to just two couples. Danelle lacks John's overall star power, and she hasn't as quickly been able to embody the different styles she's received, so it was the end of the road for her.

Danelle's journey was one of inspiration and perseverance, but the brutal start to this season did her no favors, as she has more of a learning curve than anyone else.

Oh, and once again, those "Bachelorette" fans are keeping "Grocery Store Joe" from even seeing the danger zone. Maybe one day he'll step up his dancing to be worthy of all of this love and support.

"Dancing With the Stars" airs Mondays 8 p.m. ET on ABC. And don't forget new companion show, "Dancing With the Stars: Juniors," premiering Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

See the Cast Getty 'Dancing with the Stars' Season 27 Cast Revealed -- Who Made the Cut?

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