Sunday, January 1, 2017

DWTS Season 23, Week 9: Broadway Dances Sparkle

The wondrous Mark Ballas returns from Broadway with his turn as Frankie Valli in "Jersey Boys."

They called this "Showstoppers Week," a new tradition in Dancing with the Stars lore. But really, every dance isn't a "showstopper," and also, it could more accurately be termed, "Broadway Week." Broadway legend Idina Menzel is a guest judge. Hometown favorite Mark Ballas (whom we miss VERY MUCH on #DWTS) is now on Broadway, singing and dancing in Jersey Boys.

So, it's fitting that the first dance to kick off Broadway night was Mark Ballas, returning to sing his new show, while friend Derek Hough and Marilu Henner dance to it.

They perform a samba to "Oh, What a Night!" Derek goes up at the end to give Mark a hug. Oh, what a night, indeed!

Lindsay and Calvin perform a gorgeous waltz to "Memory" from Cats, with Leona Lewis. They had previously been attired in Cats' outfits (when they went to NYC), but thankfully have more #DWTS-style costumes here.

After this, Allison Holker and Keo Motsepe do a stunning Contemporary bumper to "Falling Slowly" from Once, obviously choreographed by Allison. So beautiful. I miss her being in competition. Her dances are so wonderful.

The sad thing is that Sharna still has her knee injury. The great thing is that means that Jenna is dancing in her place. Here James rocks the house with a little jazz number from The Wiz. I love this pairing (and/or threesome).

Week after week, Sasha and Terra have taken the mantle from Mark Ballas of consistently having the best music. In this case, not only the best music, but the music most suited to our wonderful Terra here. Week after week. Week after week, they have been my favorite. This particular week, they rollicked through a Charleston to "If They Could See Me Now" from Sweet Charity. So perfect. So wonderful. I just don't even have enough words for how perfect and amazing these two are.

It was the only dance on "Showstoppers" Week, where Tom Bergeron actually said, "Well, you did that." (stopped the show). And they did. So fantastic.

Bruno, "They can see you in Patagonia, I'll tell you that." (They get two 10s from the judges. Shoulda gotten all 10s, IMHO.)

Also need to give a nod to the (again) amazing work that Sasha Farber is doing with Terra. This Charleston was adapted (choreography) for Terra's unique abilities. But it was stunning. She is truly a star. (And so is he.)

Then, we had a Jersey Boys bumper of "Sherry Baby," which again made us realize how gosh-darn-much we miss Mark Ballas.

Jana and Gleb give us a waltz from the musical Waitress. They receive a perfect score from the judges.

Laurie Hernandez trots out her sexy for this hot number from Chicago. The "Cell Block Tango" turns into an Argentine tango for Laurie and Val, and is just superb. The costumes (for all the Cell Block ladies) are spectacular. Even if Laurie equates some of her moves to "wiping peanut butter off" of Val... Ahem...

They, not surprisingly, get a perfect score.

Then, we had a break with Idina Menzel doing a song ("Queen of Swords") from her new album. Wonderful dancers (Allison Holker and Jenna Johnson, plus troupe members) danced along with it.

Then, we had some kind of new madness. Something called "the Team-Up Challenge," where they put two random members together to team up. These guys are The Last Men Standing. Way to plug those ABC shows!

"I was a big Megatron fan," says James Hinchcliffe. "I'm a bigger Calvin Johnson Jr. fan." The package goes on to detail their bromance. Judges give them a 37 (out of 40) for this.

So, in this paso (which is quite wonderful), James is the bandit, Calvin is the sheriff, and at the end, the women they are with (Lindsay and Jenna) hit them over the heads with bottles and take their money anyway. Nice touch.

"Jazz is like a pu pu platter of everything," says the adorable Terra Jole. Terra and Marilu do a jazz compilation of stuff, all sparkly gold and silver everywhere. Idina gushes, "Everyone hit their marks." Um...

We do find out, in case you were wondering, what "RBF" is... Also, there's a thing with a BIG dress that brings back memories of David Byrne's Big White Suit...

These guys called themselves, "Team Cubs," cause... why not?

They get a 36 from the judges.

Lastly, we have "Team Sisters," with Jana and Laurie and their partners.

And oh, the judges just ate up this Sia song done by these two dancers. Perfect score.

Marilu and Derek go home. And with that, the vaunted "Maks-Cheryl-Derek" thing that they made such a big deal out of in the beginning goes down (as I predicted). We have left those who deserve to be in the semi-finals.

1. Terra and Sasha (Charleston, Sweet Charity)
2. Laurie and Val (Argentine tango, Chicago)
3. James and Jenna (jazz, The Wiz)
4. Calvin and Lindsay (waltz, Cats)

I will say this, too, though. Marilu, in leaving, credited the usual people, plus the crew, plus the hair and makeup people and the costume people, and called out the producers by name. That's class.

Idina Menzel also was very gracious in her exit comments. The kind of judge you want to have back (except she liked everything).

NEXT WEEK: Semi-finals!

1. Jana and Gleb


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