Monday night was Queen Night on Dancing With the Stars and, to my dismay, they did not mean Queen Elizabeth II, which surely would have been a much more difficult task. But Queen the band is also awesome so this is a win for both monarchists and music fans. What was most appreciated about this episode is that for some numbers, the ballroom was blessed by the pre-recorded voice of Freddie Mercury himself as opposed to every number being performed by the in-house DWTS band.
This week, the ballroom said goodbye to The Miz, who should’ve gotten a certificate or something for the most improved dancer. It was also a doubleheader for the couples who each danced twice. For the purposes of expediency, we are only judging the first dances because you only get one shot at a first impression!
Shannon: Obviously, we all love JoJo Siwa very much, but this number this week was doing absolutely nothing for our girl. While the hair-whipping was cute, this all just felt like two girls trying to figure out how to meld together what they learned in their vogueing basics class and the mechanics of a tango. I’ll give Jenna an extra point because she was selling that very ugly pink onesie the best she could. 7/10
Emily: Oh my. Yes, if we are meant to be interpreting the body language of this tango, it is positively screaming, “I am deeply uncomfortable.” Which makes sense! JoJo was very recently a child, is dancing with a lady partner for the first time in DTWS history, and is performing the forbidden dance. That’s a lot of taboos. She seems like she’s only half-stepping most of her moves, getting especially sluggish when her and Jenna’s legs are meant to sexily tangle. She also looks sort of terrified, so just the all-round opposite of the nonverbal cues a tango is historically meant to convey. Rated PG for awkwardness 6/10
Shannon: I really have no idea how this dance earned three 10's from the judges because it was completely void of personality or any level of skill. I will give it to Olivia, she looks like she’s having a great fucking time and this outfit was incredibly cute which seems to have elevated the performance, but when you strip that all back, there’s not a lot happening. 4/10
Emily: Olivia and this man’s entire strategy seems to be him swinging her hair around week after week, then allowing Olivia to step back and smile while he dances. Why are we still watching this? Suspense? We know this man can dance, but at some point, will Olivia Jade try it? 5/10
Shannon: As a wrestling fan, I’m pretty familiar with Miz’s body of work so throughout this competition, I’ve only been half paying attention to his performances. That said, they have been getting progressively better from the first, which was awful. This was the first week I really noticed how far out this man pushes his lips when he is dancing. That duck face really accentuated just how stiff the Miz has been all season and is probably the thing that sent him home. 6/10
Emily: I knew nothing of the wrasslin’ man coming into this journey, yet week after week, I’ve been charmed by his willingness to take this to the mat (I googled wrestling euphemisms). However, this week reminded me of a scene from a movie in which the protagonist secretly learns to dance and performs a stilted but appreciated little effort at the end of the film that mostly highlights the fact that a co-star is a trained dancer. Sad to see The Miz put into a corner. 5/10
Shannon: This was an emotional number for both Cheryl and Cody. The performance was dedicated to Cody’s best friend, Oscar, who died last year as a result of addiction. Cheryl is an addict herself (which she openly admitted in the package before the dance) and the two connected on a way they haven’t in previous routines. Some of that raw emotion translated into the routine, but ultimately, the dance suffered because of Cody’s framing and, of course, his stiffness. 7/10
Emily: Shannon seems to believe this is an armistice in what I believe is an ongoing feud between these two resulting in the fact that the two of them dance as if their poles are repelling each other. I respectfully believe my learned colleague is, on this point and no other, incorrect. Look at their outfits. They couldn’t even bring themselves to text one another pre-show to ask, “Hey, what are you wearing?” 6/10 for the dancing 7/10 for the believable suppression of roiling mutual contempt