I wish I could litter this opening with a bevy of Janet Jackson quips other than demanding everyone refer to me as Ms. Valles Melero-Urena, if you’re nasty, but alas... my musical knowledge doest not extend that far back! Anywho, it was another two-dance night for the stars and pros on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars and they did their best to fill up an entire 120-minute block with maybe 20 minutes of actual dancing. There are only a few more episodes until the mirror ball is gifted to one couple (most likely JoJo and Jenna) so the battle for perfect scores is heating the fuck up.
Olivia Jade did her best, but was ultimately sent home without the chance of being saved by the judges. Jimmie Allen was also sent home after landing in the bottom two, alongside Melora Harden who got saved by the judges. Next week, the semi-finals!
Shannon: Last week, Sunni was slightly off her game and performed through a mysterious illness that saw her running off the stage to vomit before the judges could offer up their scores. Being a perfectionist, she took this as a personal failure and came back this week with an absolute vengeance. Mission accomplished! This was her best performance to date and one of the more exciting Sambas to come out this season. The bounce-back is beyond real! 10/10
Emily: As you all know, I too am stricken with some mystery illness when I am forced to disagree with my pal Shannon, whose opinion should hold much more weight than my own always, on any subject. That being said, All for You is supposed to be a song about meeting a guy at a party, sensing a big dick, and deciding, almost instantaneously, to sample that D later in the evening. This dance, while technically lovely, seemed better fitted to a song about meeting a man at a party, having almost no impression of him at all, and twirling over to the hors d’oeuvre table to sample a deviled egg. Again, it’s not about the dancing; it’s about the spirit of the thing. Nasty? 4/10 Control? 9/10
Shannon: I love a good Paso Doble, but this for me was just a so-so Paso. It was one of Cody’s better performances, but when you love someone, you always want more from them. I firmly believe that kitty cat Cody has one more level to ascend to. What impressed me most about this dance was Cody’s execution of these super masculine movements. He wasn’t too stiff or too languid, which have been the two extremes he’s mainly been dancing between. We love balance. 9/10
Emily: Cody and Cheryl are reading this. They have to be. I’ve been blathering about their dynamic—that of two surly vaudevillians about to be famous for that tragic stabbing the cold, dark winter of ’21—and now lookey here. Dancing to a little ditty about black cats and death, Cody just tossing Cheryl to the back of the stage like a heap of rags not even good enough to stitch new tent flaps at the old ten-in-one. I did this. You’re all welcome. Nasty? 10/10 Control? 9/10
Shannon: Latin dance, at any level, is extremely sensual and this Argentine Tango was really trying to be that. But wow, it was extremely awkward to watch Olivia Jade, who is a very child-like adult, try to be sensual with this grown-ass man. I simply don’t want to watch either of these people attempt to dance-seduce each other and fail. Their lack of sensuality not only killed the vibe, but it muddied the execution of the movements. 7/10
Emily: As a geriatric millennial with fond memories of slow dancing to Janet Jackson’s timeless classic about fucking in public at a middle school dance where I was beyond terrified to touch another human’s hand in public, Olivia Jade’s good-natured but obviously put on bravado is the most charming she’s been this season. Much like the 12-year-olds in those boy/girl garage parties of yore, sweating into each other’s palms while someone’s mom chaperones through the kitchen window, Liv J seems to intuit what this song is about, feel deeply humiliated by it, and smile through her little routine despite the mortification of it all. Nasty? Bless her Control? Sure, why not.
Shannon: Of all the performances on Monday night, this one understood the assignment the least. Instead of a jazz number set to a Jackson tune, this was really just an audition by Kloots to be Janet’s blonde body double at some point in the future. There was nothing interesting or original about it. 7/10
Emily: In Kloots’s defense, this is one of Janet’s boppiest but least horny songs. However, this completely robotic display misses everything that’s fun about Janet and turns iconic moves into a TikTok impression adapted for a cruise ship audience. Nasty? Infuriatingly not so. Control? Too much.
Shannon: I’m told that this was a salsa, but nothing about this dance communicates salsa to the viewer. If this was just about looking cute and doing amazing lifts, then this would have been a true winner. Overall as a performance, JoJo doesn’t appear to be cut out for Latin. 7/10
Emily: Sadly, JoJo just seems out of her depth the last couple of weeks. With this salsa, I can almost see her thinking it out as she goes, and that’s a shame because when she has fun with it, that sense of fun is contagious, which is what so much of Janet Jackson’s music and dancing is about. Nasty? 5/10 Control? Let go, JoJo!