What a night! High emotion of one kind or another was a major part of every routine, plus a new leader took over the scoring, and tears were on tap for audience and judges, alike.
The Week 4 theme for Season 16 of "Dancing With the Stars" was "Most Memorable Year" or "Best Year of My Life," and routines had to include a 15-second solo by the celebrity. But for one celeb, it certainly wasn't the best week -- Lisa Vanderpump passed out while rehearsing the cha-cha-cha with Gleb Savchenko, and doctors attributed the fainting spell to a possible touch of the flu plus an unrelentingly difficult week of travel and work. At the start of the show, host Tom Bergeron explained that Lisa was resting, and she didn't appear on stage until the last minutes of the show. For a time, it looked like Tom would need to improvise like crazy to fill those last several minutes.
But I'm not sure who should claim the title of "star of the show" -- it could have been the creative way the pros worked with the celebs' different stories, or it could have been the fantastic choreography produced in many of the routines. Or it could have been the flat-out incredible contemporary dance by Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas that received 9s from all three judges for the high score of the night. Head judge Len Goodman got a good laugh when he told Aly that her "back flopper" -- an amazing gymnastics pass of flips and turns -- needed more height and that "he'd show her later how to do it right." Even Len couldn't keep a straight face at that one.
Or the "star" could have been the "Beyonce-rific" samba by Zendaya and Val Chmerkovskiy, or the sexy-smooth rumba by Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough, who danced to a song written and sung by Kellie's husband, Kyle Jacobs. Both Zendaya and Kellie scored 9s from judges Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba, and an 8 from picky, picky Len , tying for second-place on the leaderboard.
The celeb who is winning my heart, and had Carrie Ann sobbing so hard she couldn't speak, is Andy Dick. I thought that he would be an easy out at the start, but he came into the competition to redeem himself and prove that he could learn to dance. His Viennese waltz with Sharna Burgess had me grabbing at the Kleenex myself -- dedicated to his 15-year-old daughter, his dancing really showed that he is working his butt off in rehearsals. I don't think he will go all the way, but he's doing much better than most people expected and was rewarded by the judges.
Also working hard to make up for lost time was D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke, but D.L.'s performance had too many comedic overtones and just walking, instead of dancing. I guess because he actually tried a little bit, and maybe because he makes the audience laugh, the judges gave D.L. the same good score (three 7s) as Andy. Seven? Really? Len even played nice-nice, telling him he did a good job.
Light-footed Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff did a respectable foxtrot dedicated to his son, and Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson danced a Viennese waltz that was for Ingo's wife, Ehiku. Both men are doing well, and their scores hover in the high-middle of the leaderboard each week, but the judges pointed out that they need to concentrate on things like how they hold their hands and their posture. Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd would have joined Jacoby and Ingo with similar scores, but during their Viennese waltz, Sean did two illegal lifts of Peta and Carrie Ann called him on it, deducting points for the goofs.
At the bottom this week are Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold, and Lisa and Gleb. Victor's paso doble had the appropriate ferocity for the dance but his stomping, uh, footwork was poor. As Bruno said, "You punched the living daylights out of the paso doble. You missed the footwork and lost the Spanish line." And when she finally came out to dance the cha-cha-cha with Gleb, Lisa had several mistakes that the judges attributed to lack of rehearsal, and Gleb included a lift in his choreography that Carrie Ann (the Lift Police) spotted.
The good dancers this season just keep getting better, and the average dancers are trying harder and harder. Who winds up on top is all going to come down to who has the stronger fan base. Who do you think should be sent home? Should Lisa be given another chance, or just allowed to go back to her reality shows? Or does Victor deserve another opportunity to show that he can be a little lighter on his feet?
The celebrities and their scores:
Aly and Mark -- 27
Zendaya and Val -- 26
Kellie and Derek -- 26
Jacoby and Karina -- 24
Ingo and Kym -- 23
Andy and Sharna -- 21
D.L. and Cheryl -- 21
Sean and Peta -- 20
Victor and Lindsay -- 18
Lisa and Gleb -- 18