Good news from the ratings people: ABC says the season 32 premiere of Dancing With The Stars held even with the series’ prior season on the network in fall 2021, when it averaged 6.50 million viewers. That means the people who used to love their favorite fringe show before it moved to Disney+ for Season 31 came back to re-enjoy their favorite fringe show!
This isn’t the worst news. Though DWTS remains a loss leader, it’s a loss leader we all need — more than we truly can appreciate these days. What was it that they sang at the beginning of tonight’s episode? It’s just an invitation across the nation, a chance for folks to meet. There’ll be laughing, singing and music swinging, dancing in the street!
Time to kick off Motown Night with guest host Michael Strahan, who’s really not that bad with the superlatives when it comes to judging the celebrity hoofers.
Supermodel Tyson Beckford with partner Jenna Johnson. His reggae inspired foxtrot wasn’t perfect, but he sure looked fly in his afro wig and sparkly sport coat. “Your bum sticks out all the time and you stumble,” said judge Bruno Tonioli. “You’ve got to get it right. I know you can.” Added judge Carrie Ann Inaba, “You are still a work in practice but I love what you are seeing.” Score: 20 out of 40
NFL All-Star Adrian Peterson with partner Britt Stewart. Precious. There’s just no other way to describe the baller’s purple-covered quickstep with his animated partner. But his number is still up, man; the judges seem ready to give him the boot. “I’m used to watching you run with such power, then watching you dance, and take all that unbridled energy,” said Strahan. “I love watching you dance.” “That was your best dance,” added judge Derek Hough. “The mechanics, the frame, they weren’t quite there. Listen, though, you project so much joy.” Score: 22 out of 40
Real estate mogul Mauricio Umansky with partner Emma Slater: The reality star was able to redeem himself with his foxtrot, which was much slower and therefore mostly mistake-proof. (Oh, and he blamed last week’s two-left-feet performance on how he had watched a trailer for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills right before he went on and was upset over how it referenced the state of his shaky marriage to Kyle Richards). Seems a little too convenient to blame that, but whatever. Mauricio is back! “I have to say I respect the amount of work you put into this,” said Tonioli. “You were so concentrated on getting it right.” Score: 23 out of 40
Reality TV star Harry Jowsey (Too Hot to Handle) with partner Rylee Arnold. Seriously, who is this guy? Does anyone watch Too Hot to Handle? They don’t dance on that show, do they? Because the boy just doesn’t know what to do with the hand that’s not holding his partner. The judges were into his foxtrot, though. Go figure. “You are so charming, I cannot believe it. And you are starting to flow. So much more content,” said Tonioli. “You really went for it all the way through. The care you took for your girl was wonderful to watch.” Score: 24 out of 40
Actress Alyson Hannigan (American Pie) with partner Sasha Farber. Their foxtrot to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” started on a weird note with the two of them paddling upstage in a stationary canoe, but Hannigan looked so much more comfortable this week — even though her day started on the bathroom floor. She caught a strange bug or something but it went away by performance time. “Your energy made me happy,” said Strahan. “This was a perfect song for you. You continue to climb the mountain and I love it.” Score: 24 out of 40
Actor Barry Williams (The Brady Bunch) with partner Peta Murgatroyd. When the former sitcom star heard about Motown night, he informed his partner that the Bradys once met the Jackson Five. That Brady trivia wasn’t quite as sweet as the story he told in the Celebra-quarium; his TV mom Florence Henderson, who appeared on DWTS in 2010, was the one who encouraged him to compete! Williams’ tango to The Temptations was groovy enough to open the show, and had the judges giddy with praise. “Barry I hope you hear that, my man, you are winning over this audience and you are winning over us,” said Hough. “That was a strong tango. You have a fantastic awareness of timing.” Score: 25 out of 40
Actress Mira Sorvino with partner Gleb Savchenko. She said the judges are expecting a lot from her – if not the network. How many times can ABC say Oscar winner in one season? Sorvino can definitely move, but she still can’t shake that Holy $#@! look on her face whenever she hits the dance floor. It hurt her rumba, no matter how hot her gams looked in that terrific red dress. “I know it is so hard to get out here when you are nervous and uncertain,” said Inaba. “As far as the characterization of thence, I don’t feel like you sustained the character through the dance. From the moment a dance starts to the moment it ends … it feels like it keeps dancing.” Score: 26 out of 40
Social media star/Latin music artist Lele Pons with partner Brandon Armstrong. Hough thought she looked a little tense on the dance floor, but the duo’s cha cha to Rick James’ “Super Freak” was playful and a real gas to watch. “It was strong, it was smooth, it had aggressiveness to it,” said Strahan. “You were better than alright to me.” Score: 27 out of 40
Charity Lawson (The Bachelorette) with partner Artem Chigvintsev (back from having Covid!). Man, were the costumes hot tonight! Lawson looked golden and gorgeous dancing the foxtrot to “My Girl.” “That was really a gold standard foxtrot. it was smooth, it was elegant, you made it look easy,” said Tonioli. Score: 32 out of 40
Actress Xochitl Gomez (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) with partner Val Chmerkovskiy. Gomez hit pay dirt getting partnered with Chmerkovskiy; no wonder they gave her “My Guy” to dance the foxtrot to at the end of the night. Their chemistry is superb. “That was a beautiful display of elegance and grace wrapped up in charm and fun and charisma. I can’t help but smile when I watch you,” Hough said. Score: 32 out of 40
Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz with partner Daniella Karagach. Mraz was overwhelmed by all the cardio that went into practicing the jive, but he didn’t seem out of breath performing to “Do You Love Me.” He even threw in a cartwheel. “That was, woah!” said Inaba. “That is a testament to the power of dance. I can’t believe what transformation I am seeing in you! It was brilliant, you are on fire. You are a new man.” Score: 34 out of 40
Ariana Madix (Vanderpump Rules) with partner Pasha Pashkov. Um, can Sorvino spend a little time in rehearsal with Madix? That reality show girl knows how to have fun and show it on her face. Then again, the quickstep can do that to you, not to mention the opportunity to wear flat shoes while doing it. (She wouldn’t explain to co-host Julianne Hough why avoided wearing heels Tuesday, other than saying something like it’s a work in progress, blah blah). “That was so fantastic,” said Hough. “You were hopping, skipping around that floor. Stunning. Overall, that was a fantastic quickstep.” Score: 34 out of 40
There was a bottom three this time: Hannigan, Jowsey and Beckford, but it was Beckford’s turn to hit the road.
Next week is Disney 100 night.