Is that a plastic comb in your pocket or are you just happy to be watching Cody Rigsby dressed up as a sparkly Danny Zuko? Monday night was Grease night on Dancing With the Stars, and even though this film is literally iconic, the pros and their stars still felt the need to narrate what was happening in every scene with the help of Olivia Newton-John. It is possible to have too much of a good thing—but luckily there wasn’t an excess of good dancing, so there was some sort of moderation to be seen.
Unfortunately this week, we waved goodbye to Sporty Spice, who was unjustly placed in the bottom two alongside Olivia Jade, who absolutely should have been the one to go home. But before we get into the good stuff, a bit of housekeeping.
Replacing Megan this week is me, Emily Alford, a person uniquely qualified to evaluate how well marginally famous people did at dances based on the film Grease because I once dressed in drag and awkwardly pretended to hump my poodle skirt-clad teammates in a statewide dancing competition because everyone taller than 5'7 was automatically cast as a boy and forced to put Vaseline in her hair. Can’t believe ABC didn’t call me for a guest judge spot, to be Frank (That’s a pun because I danced dressed as a boy, and I’m sorry for it.)
Shannon: This dance and this horrible wig opened the show and although it brought in some pretty high scores from the judges it just wasn’t hitting for me. The little stunts out of frame looked sloppy, and everything in frame looked out of sync with the music. I will give Val an extra point for dancing in Converse sneakers. 5/10
Emily: This dance raises more questions for me than it answers. First of all, why are they lip-synching? This is not Ru Paul’s Celebrity Children Dancing Race. Close your mouth, Olivia. My second and more important question is only half-formed, and it has to do with the inadvisability of the foxtrot for this song, which is about the back-and-forth between Sandy’s story of a chaste summer flirtation and Danny’s story of a beachy soft-core porn. The foxtrot seems to simply take Sandy’s version as truth, especially in this completely sexless iteration. 4/10
Shannon: My thing about Amanda Kloots is that she is a professional Broadway dancer and as such has an unfair advantage over every single person in here so, of course, she’s going to perform well. These leg extensions are what literal dreams are made of. So I guess it makes sense that the producers decided to knee cap her by having an elder sing live and slightly throw the dancers off pace. As a full performance, it was cute and nostalgic but Mr. Avalon could have just done a pre-record and collected that check. 9/10
Emily: Amanda Kloot’s calves have already won this season of DWTS for me, which, as Shannon said, is the problem. She should have to dance with Olivia to make things fair for everyone else. 9/10
Shannon: Nothing about this 20ft tall man made me think he could manage such a delicate and graceful dance, and yet there he is prancing around like his body is constructed of swan feathers. He really captured the essence of the song and the general vibe of a Viennese Waltz even if the technique was a little off. 8/10
Emily: Okay, tall man is an incredibly charming dancer. This waltz achieves everything the aforementioned foxtrot does not because even though this man has to fold himself at the waist to reach his partner and his feet are not quite always doing the steps, he dances like he has both had sex and enjoyed it, which is very much missing from the majority of these awkward theater kid Grease dances. 7/10
Shannon: My mother told me if I didn’t have anything nice to say I shouldn’t say anything at all. 6/10
Emily: Cody and Cheryl dance like they just had a huge fucking fight backstage and both of them think the other absolutely started that shit. The moves, they are correct, but the energy is positively murderous. Their smiles during the “We’ll always be together” part are the smiles of two vaudeville performers who will be forever remembered by carnival history, not for their middlingly popular act, but for the gory stabbing that happened on the fairgrounds just outside of Mobile the summer of ’22. 8/10
Shannon: This dance looks like it could have been produced at least in part by Abby Lee Miller and I mean that in the nicest way possible. I have no comments or complaints but I would like to go on record as stating that these two are giving big we’re dating but don’t know we’re dating yet energy. 10/10
Emily: I could happily watch these twirls on a loop for the rest of the day. Especially since I now realize Grease would have been way better if it had explored the subtext of what was happening between Sandy and Frenchie the entire time. The scarf removal at the end would have absolutely been censored for explicit content if ABC executives had ever heard a single song by Tegan and Sara. I’m rooting for these two. 10/10
Shannon: Who among us has not spent a Halloween dressed as leather jumpsuit Sandy? Still, this bedazzled T-Bird car guy onesie might just be the best Grease adjacent costume I’ve seen, maybe ever. As our host Tyra Banks would say this whole look is working from H to T. 9/10 (for fashion)
Emily: And finally, the rasslin’ man and the jumpsuit girl understand that this song is a joyful ode to the time-honored tradition of teenage boys fantasizing about fucking in cars. The jive is a fun little flirtation that is ultimately just a tease complete with exaggerated dry humping that still leaves room for Jesus. These people are high-school-production-of Grease-performed-by-virgins-pretending-to-be-virgins-who-are-pretending-to-not-be-virgins goals. 9/10