Week 6 of “Dancing with the Stars” was sure to be wonder-ful with all the celebrities and their partners performing to soul icon Stevie Wonder’s big hits. It was the first-time ever that one artist got this honor on “DWTS.” The first album I ever bought was Stevie Wonder’s “Talking Book,” so I couldn’t wait to see him performing live on the show. With comedian D.L. Hughley eliminated last week, the show wouldn’t be as funny, but at least we’d be able to laugh at the always-fun group dance competition Monday night!
Here was what went down as the final eight couples tried to do Stevie Wonder justice:
The singer opened the show accompanying a pro dance number with country star Hunter Hayes joining him on guitar. Host Tom Bergeron joked to Stevie that if he had not shown up, it would have been really hard and the blind singer made a quip about watching “DWTS” on TV. During the parade of stars, dancer Kym Johnson showed some daring cleavage and Andy Dick was dressed as a mailman.
Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkovskiy: Cha Cha Cha
The Disney cutie was such a hit last week with her tango that now she was the one to watch. She was after a ten from Judge Len Goodman this week after a near-perfect score of 29 last time. Val was expecting a lot from her in rehearsal, and as their dance started, Zendaya strutted like a champ. Wearing a glittery fringe-y number and looking about eight feet tall, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Val expertly stirred her around the floor and was in a mood to celebrate at the end of the routine! Judge Len said one word summed up great dancing—Zendaya! He wanted her a tad more straight in the legs, but no biggie, and Bruno Tonioli said she was mesmerizing with her slick hip action. Carrie Ann Inaba told the teen, “You blew me away.” But she still didn’t get that elusive ten from Len; maybe next time.
Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess: Samba
It turned out the comic was continuing to take the competition seriously and wanted to get his scores up after that awful Zorro-themed number last week. For Week 6, Sharna demanded Andy show some technique. Playing a mailman who fell in love with one of the ladies he delivered mail to, they were dancing to Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours). ” Andy sang along to the song as part of his act and shook his hips gamely. Okay, this was a little stiff but everyone backstage seemed to enjoy it, especially when he vanished inside Sharna’s “house” to kiss the real housewife! Bruno said it was a personality-driven shambles of a samba, very entertaining. Andy swore to Bruno there WERE samba steps there. Carrie Ann said he touched her every time but couldn’t even tell it was a samba. Len said samba was all about entertainment and he delivered a lot of fun. Yes, signed, sealed, delivered, he was mine! I had really enjoyed the whole thing. Backstage with Brooke Burke-Charvet, Andy handed the hostess a flower and said he’d never have the technique of the other dancers. And he got a lousy score and looked sad behind his big glasses. But Andy had told a story and reporters murmured that he should have gotten a little more.
Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd: Samba
Last week, this team got their highest score of the season and now Sean wanted to make sure his samba was better than Andy’s. “The Bachelor” really wasn’t getting it in rehearsal and even dropped some expletives. Anyway, their samba involved Sean and Peta prancing around in purple outfits and Sean displayed his chest under a blazer but had absolutely no rhythm in this overly bouncy number. And it was week six, so of course Peta tore his blazer off so we could enjoy his manly magnificence with fianceé Catherine clapping in the audience. Carrie Ann noted there was a lot of bouncing going on and he wasn’t really following the music. “You have so much potential [but no] musicality,” she complained. Len said he had to set his sights higher and not just want to beat Andy and the audience booed. Len also noted the bad bounce action in this samba and Bruno said he could always get a job as a stripper. In other words, his dancing was terrible! Sean seemed to take it well, laughing sheepishly, but backstage, we rolled our eyes. Andy was much better and got a lower score!
Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas: Foxtrot
This Boston girl was still feeling bad, naturally, after the Boston bombings and just couldn’t do this playful number in rehearsal. “It’s definitely hitting me this week,” Aly said. Later, she had a heart-to-heart with Mark and he told her to find some joy in their dance. So their foxtrot to “Isn’t She Lovely” stressed happiness. It was light and true and yes, lovely. This was a delicate dace that was a pleasure to watch. The gymnast looked very elegant in a white glittery ball gown and I liked her little side-by-side steps and gentle mugging with Mark (who wore a hat throughout the routine). Len said her bottom stuck out a little bit but loved the feather steps Mark had put into the choreography (were those the ones I liked?). Bruno called her “pretty as a picture” and so consistent this season while Carrie Ann raved, “I’m seeing you really connecting to your emotions.” They got a great score.
In another musical interlude, Wonder performed “Sir Duke” for a pro number before Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson performed.
Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson: Tango
Kym told Ingo they really had to step it up this week given their average to low scores all season. The soap hunk appeared to be slipping and sliding around in practice. During their live number, performed to Wonder’s “Uptight,” Ingo tried his best to keep up in a very fast tango and I think he accomplished that. He seemed to be talking to Kym at one point during the dance—wonder what that was all about? Overall, Ingo really sold this dance. Anyway, it was Ingo’s birthday today so they’d be nice to him. Bruno cited his animal magnetism and said he had beautiful lines Monday night. According to Carrie Ann, this was a really good dance: “Welcome to the game!” Then Len said, “Bingo, Ingo! This is a dance that suits you. Well done!” Ingo’s birthday wish was to get through to next week. I thought he surely would after getting his highest score on “DWTS.”
Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough: Quickstep
The country singer did such a great job last week that I still saw her as a front runner. Derek was very exacting in rehearsal but Kellie laughed that the pro dancer made some mistakes this time, which made her feel good. Nobody’s perfect! Sweet moment during commercial break—Derek was dancing on the floor with a little bald girl audience member who looked like she might be suffering from cancer. Performing to Wonder’s “Part Time Lover,” Kellie and Derek began their quickstep on opposite sides of the stage, then strutted together and went into a strong hold. I loved Kellie’s disco look in a red pantsuit and curly wig. Man, Kellie was so lithe and graceful in the flicks and kicks and kept up the fast pace throughout in perfect time to the song. The dance just made me smile and stop looking for mistakes—there weren’t any! If Kellie wasn’t in the finale, there was something wrong! As Kellie fluffed her hair, Carrie Ann said everything about it was perfect except for a little bit too much space in hold. Len said that was the best dance he’d seen all season—wow! Bruno stood up and said it was exciting and superb. A near-perfect score for the disco dolly and her golden boy. “We’re going to the dollar store!” Derek shouted.
Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold: Rumba
The boxer has been in the bottom two consistently even though I think he’s quite a good dancer. He was whining again about the girl who broke his heart in rehearsal with Lindsay and she must be really tired of that. Get over it, man! Anyhow, Victor and Lindsay were all in white for this romantic dance. There was a major bobble in the middle and Victor honestly seemed to just be going through the motions in this slow dance as he waited for his elimination. “I Just Called To Say I Loved You”? Maybe not! Len told Victor he knew dance didn’t come easily to him and he coped very well. Bruno said his dance looked like an airline safety drill with his slow arm movements, which made everyone laugh backstage. That kind of summed it up! The judge said the boxer had “failed” in the rumba. But Carrie Ann, although she said there was no hip action, liked the sparkle in Victor’s eye. However, I didn’t see any chemistry with Lindsay this week. Victor said, “I love Lindsay,” in an awkward interview with Brooke, then seemed to backpedal when Lindsay got all weirded out about that. No folks, they’re not dating; Victor is still mourning his lost love. “Team Bottom Two!” Victor laughed after getting another low score.
Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff: Quickstep
The football player is always being criticized for his bad feet but otherwise, he’s been a standout this season. Karina was trying to coach him on keeping his pigeon toes turned out but Jacoby was doubtful he could do it. As the dance started, they were checking personal ads and then went into quickstep hold and then plowed into the audience and danced in the audience aisle, which was a lot of fun. Jacoby was trying but still had pigeon toes and Karina appeared to give him a little kiss during the dance. He did his trademark impressive splits and caught Karina in his arms. Jacoby was always so athletic, obviously, if a bit chaotic in the ballroom. Bruno said his energy was amazing and he adored it. Carrie Ann mentioned the feet, the feet, the feet but liked the frame and the attitude. Len was a big downer, saying he needed to work on things and the dance didn’t suit him at all. The cranky judge made a lot of Beatles references, which made no sense on Stevie Wonder night. “I gotta go back to my day job. I need my pigeon toes!” Jacoby told Brooke.
Team Dance Round: Before the team dance, Wonder was back to perform “My Cherie Amour” and we all sang along backstage in the press room.
It would be Team Samba, led by Kellie, and Team Paso Doble, headed by Zendaya. In practice, the samba folks were laughing and playing around and Zendaya felt like an adult with her team. Derek was his typical perfectionist self, and Andy was sighing about his team not having things together. Samba was stuck on finding a theme, and finally came up with ’70s disco. That seemed appropriate for Stevie Wonder week! The Paso team, meanwhile, was struggling through and Val was having a panic attack.
Team Paso Doble:
Zendaya really strut her stuff during this dance, looking the best of anyone on the floor to start out. Victor seemed better here than in his individual number but it looked hard on his knees. Then Ingo had a nasty face and did a good job swirling Kym around like a Swiffer. Jacoby took Karina into a cool lift and jumped over her then Zendaya and Val took over, showing ‘em all how it was supposed to be done with a fierce paso attitude! I loved the swirling capes from all the guys at the end. Len called it a spirited effort; Bruno liked all the writhing bodies but felt they were a little out of sync. According to Carrie Ann, “This was a little bit broken.” Then her critique got worse, as she called the group dance “a mess.” The guys flexed their pecs at the audience, showing off their bare chests, which I had inexplicably forgot to mention earlier. Each of the couples only got 22 points added to their individual scores tonight for this one.
This dance looked funny from the get-go as the group surrounded a giant disco mirror ball. Dancing to “Superstition,” they were all groovy cool but Sean really looked bad, too bouncy again in his samba moves. Aly and Mark were a little awkward, too, as the young gymnast probably didn’t understand disco (ha) but Andy really got into the spirit by pointing at the audience. Derek’s glasses almost came off and he had to push them up but his dance with Kellie was by far the best. Still, everybody seemed tired. Even Kellie bobbled around a bit. Time to go home from this disco? Bruno likened it to a reunion of Boogie Nights and said the girls killed it. Carrie Ann said there was flow and unity and Len said it was a pleasure to watch. The score was generous; I didn’t think either Team Dance was that great tonight, but Stevie Wonder was a blast!
Find out who’s going home on the “DWTS” results show, which airs Tuesday at 9/8c on ABC.