Last night ABC’s Dancing with the Stars officially hit the Season 25 halfway point and marked the occasion with a celebration of all things Disney. Running the gamut of classic Disney movies to its upcoming soon-to-be-released Coco, the show’s remaining 10 couples left their all on the ballroom floor with some awarded scores to match -- nines and tens were abundant. Sadly, the journey had to end for one couple as Sasha Pieterse along with partner Gleb Savchenko were this week’s eliminated contestants. The couple (pictured below) did receive praise for their Rumba this week and a score of 24, but it wasn’t enough to keep them in the competition. Marked improvement was evident in many of the season’s celebrity dancers, notably Frankie Muniz and partner Witney Carson. The duo’s Argentine Tango was flawless, something recognized by the judges who awarded them a total of 29 out of 30 points for their effort and high praise for the intensity of their delivery, even though they wound up in the bottom two.
“I have no expectations every week,” Muniz told me after the show. “I’m thrilled to have gotten as far as we have, but it really depressed me [to be in the bottom] because I do not want to stop [doing this]. I honestly don’t know what I would do with myself if that happened. I love this and I really want it!”
With that crucial halfway point reached, many of the contestants might still be feeling the burn of the required daily training; however, the moves required to receive those all-important high scores are coming a little more naturally to them.
“Every week is a challenge,” admitted Terrell Owens, who with partner Cheryl Burke was awarded a nine for their Quickstep. “I’m not a ballroom dancer. It’s frustrating and it’s hard. But to go through rehearsals and see the end product is what I live for; now, watching the show you can’t tell that I have had no experience, aside from being on the show.”
Lindsey Stirling and partner Mark Ballas announced they are continuing their union with an upcoming tour together. And while the couple is thrilled to be able to continue dancing together on stage, Arnold tells me she is feeling more at ease when it comes to her weekly routine. “Mark told me the skills required, like keeping my arms in place and turning a certain way are all coming into place and we aren’t taking as much time fixing them each week,” she beamed. “He’s a great teacher and it can only make me a better performer.”
For Property Brothers star Drew Scott, Disney Night proved a dream come true. He and partner Emma Slater became actual Muppets for their video package and their Viennese Waltz, to “Rainbow Connection,” earned them 25/30, which included one nine. “That was amazing,” Scott said after the show. “To hear the judges say they see the improvement every week means a lot to me. [Doing this show] was a huge passion of mine, and while I’m still nervous Emma makes it easy.”
Another high scorer was wrestler Nikki Bella. Her Jazz-inspired routine to “Remember Me,” the theme from the soon to be released Disney/Pixar film Coco, saw her and partner Artem Chigvintsev receive 27/30 and pay homage to her Latin heritage, something she was proud of. “I feel I did a good job and Artem’s choreography brought an authentic Mexican flair that we needed,” she told me. (Bella and Chigvintsev are pictured above, center, in blue.)
As for the moves coming more naturally each week, Bella laughed, “Well body wise I am feeling older. But there seems to be a new challenge every week and you feel like you are starting fresh. This week did feel more natural to me -- like a celebration of life. This was fun and for the first time I didn’t feel so much about where my feet were. It was natural.”
The remaining nine couples hit the ballroom to compete in Movie Night as Season 25 of Dancing with the Stars continues next Monday night at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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