‘DWTS’ Recap: Maks Is Back, First 10s of the Season Scored

"DWTS": Jacoby Jones jumps over Karina Smirnoff! (Photo: ABC)

Maks was back in the ballroom! Yes, “Dancing with the Stars” bad boy Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who quit the show after last season, was right back where we wanted him for a cameo appearance sure to thrill fans who were missing his dark energy this year. On Week 5, Judge Len Goodman’s side-by-side challenge would have the celebrities and their partners dancing right next to a pro couple so that viewers could compare. And, of course, Maks would be one of those pros. More interestingly, his brother Val Chmerkovskiy had revealed to yours truly last week that Maks would be dancing with former fiancée Karina Smirnoff and football player Jacoby Jones. Bring on the fireworks! It would also be fun to see regulars Tony Dovolani, Tristan MacManus, Chelsie Hightower, and Anna Trebunskaya.

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The show opened with host Tom Bergeron paying tribute to the people of Boston after the tragic day and then, in true “show must go on” fashion, “DWTS” indeed did go on. Maks made a funny entrance in the pro group dance that opened things up, brushing his eyebrows back and doing a little mugging. Welcome to old home week!

Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson: Cha Cha Cha
The soap star and Kym would be dancing with Tony and one of the troupe dancers this week, a blonde I didn’t recognize. Ingo talked about bribing Tony to tone it down so he could shine. The actor was having trouble shaking his hips and Tony tried to help him out in rehearsal but Ingo was talking about just skating by if he could, which didn’t bode well. Okay, so of course Ingo looked incredibly awkward next to Tony and it was hard watching the two couples together. Call General Hospital—Ingo was a stiff! He couldn’t seem to use his waist very well even though his hip shaking got a tiny bit better as the dance, set to “Lady Marmalade” progressed. And he slid along the floor well to wind up the number, I’ll give him that. Len mentioned how long the routines would be tonight (yes, I noticed that) and said Ingo needed to work on the details. Bruno Tonioli said Ingo had used his athleticism to disguise the technical problems but I had noticed those issues pretty easily! Carrie Ann Inaba said his pelvic thrusts were a hit but he needed to work on stuff “below the belt.” Or did she say “stiff below the belt”? Say what?! Brooke Burke-Charvet helpfully pointed out backstage that this was one of the easier dances—thanks a lot for your support, Brooke. Anyway, Ingo can’t seem to get out of his low 20s averageness.
Score: 21

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Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff: Jive
Maks and Anna would join this crazy couple and this would sure be intriguing to see Karina and her former love put their differences aside. The football player was mumbling and stumbling in practice and he kept telling Karina, “I’m a man!” There was Karina giving Maks a big hug and Maks teaching Jacoby how to look more masculine; the rehearsals went pretty smoothly for the pros who had once been engaged and then had a bad breakup. The dance began with them all playing cards and then busting into the jive. Maks looked awesome in all his tall glory but the surprise was that Jacoby held his own. In fact, he seemed meant for this dance. He did the splits a couple times and popped back up and later jumped all the way over Karina which garnered cheers in the press room. Man, were we going to see another football star win this show? He was very skilled although looked pigeon-toed. Applause in the media area as Jacoby had a hard time getting to his feet after that energetic number! Bruno stood and said it was like watching two stallions with Maks and Jacoby. But he wanted to see toes pointed in the flicks and kicks. Carrie Ann loved it, too. Len said he never though Carrie Ann was going to shut up and complained Jacoby would never get 9s from him with those flat feet. Oooh! Anyway, the rest of us had so much fun with it although there was not the drama between the pros that I had expected, if you know what I mean.
Score: 26

Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold: Viennese Waltz
The boxer was in the bottom two last week and determined to improve but he seemed like a whiner in practice. Pissed off would be a better description, and then he complained about his girlfriend running off with another man. Okay, some drama. Victor decided to take the pain and channel it into dance. Tristan and that same blonde troupe pro joined Victor and Lindsay in their waltz. Victor acquitted himself well in the side-by-side with Tristan (though, as Brooke would sneer, this isn’t a very hard dance, ha). Victor kept smiling and he spun Lindsay around like she was his girlfriend, but not the one who left him for another man. It was romantic and lyrical. According to Carrie Ann, “That was a victory. You nailed the grace of this dance.” She mildly chided him for an illegal lift, though. Len said it was better than last week while Bruno also said he was back in the game. Tom announced Stevie Wonder would perform on “DWTS” next Monday. Victor told Brooke about his love trouble backstage that he was “only human.” But a score of 21 could send him home to mourn in private instead, huh?
Score: 21

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Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas: Samba
Fresh off their high-scoring contemporary dance last week, Aly and Mark were stoked in rehearsal. Mark said the theme of the dance would be Aly playing the girl Mark couldn’t have and the gymnast thought that was funny. Tony and a troupe pro, Whitney, would be the ones helping the couple out and Mark laughed at Aly camping it up and trying to look sexy in practice. Aly looked almost as good as the pro dancer on the show as the dace got going, but you knew that would be the case already, didn’t you? Aly’s hair got in her face during their solo part of the number but she shook it gamely with perfect samba beat. Then Ingo interrupted reporters in the press room with a little politicking: “Vote for Ingo and Kym! Vote for Ingo and Kym!” the “GH” star shouted as we all laughed. Len said Aly and Tony were right in sync and she had nailed it. “I had no idea you could be sassy,” Bruno purred. He said she now had a “carefree attitude,” which I had seen as well. Carrie Ann saw that her inner sexiness came out but according to her, it went away during a brief falter in the dance. I had missed the falter; maybe that’s when Ingo had distracted me. Then a sweet moment during a commercial break was shown on the press room monitor—Derek Hough was wheeling an elderly lady in a wheelchair around the ballroom. Aly spoke backstage and as she is from Boston, she said how her heart went out to everybody back home.
Score: 25

Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd: Quickstep
Tristan and Chelsie would be joining Sean and Peta and The Bachelor was really bummed after his poor performance last week in the waltz. Fiance Catherine was shown comforting him backstage. But enough of the romance and on to dance lessons! Tristan and Sean were both wearing hot pink tee shirts and the joke was, Sean was mimicking everything the dance pro did in a move that was surely dreamed up by desperate producers. Yay, Tristan and Chelsie! They didn’t have a false move in their quickstep. Sean, on the other hand, looked like an amateur when compared side-by-side with Tristan. His bouncy quickstep moves were underwhelming, too. It didn’t look any better than last week and a score of 20 would be my guess. But then Bruno contradicted me and said to Sean, “Tonight you’ve turned into a swan.” Carrie Ann said she liked it, too, “you’re back.” Back? From what? However, Len called Sean a pigeon instead of a swan as Bruno got an attack of the giggles. Did Len mean pigeon-toed? I guess not, as Len then backtracked and praised Sean’s performance to the hilt. What was happening? It didn’t look good at all to me.
Score: 24

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Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough: Foxtrot
Kellie thought foxtrot would be a huge challenge and the golden couple was really tense in rehearsal for the first time. Derek, of all people, was swearing and not happy at all with his partner not understanding what was going on. On to the dance! Troupe pros Henry and Anna T. were doing a mean foxtrot when Kellie and Derek had to step it up and be just as good, hopefully. And they were! Boy, Kellie could perform in any Broadway musical now—take note, “Chicago” producers looking for an awesome Roxie Hart. This was really fun choreography with an old school ’30s movie feel that required Kellie to do a lot of high leg kicks and “act” the dance as well, like Ginger Rogers. She was so blonde bombshell in her curls and glittery ball gown. A little applause greeted that fine effort in the press room; should have been more reaction but it had been a hard day in the news, after all. Carrie Ann said how much she was enjoying the side-by-side challenge theme and said Kellie had been fabulous. Corny Len said she put the “oo” in smooth while Bruno compared her to Jean Harlow in “Dinner at Eight.” Just like I had said, Bruno, a ’30s movie! Derek did a hilarious Kellie impression backstage for Brooke. But that dance was no joke — three 9s!
Score: 27

D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke: Tango
Cheryl told D.L. it was going to be a foursome this week and the comedian in general seemed to be having a good time after his rough first couple of weeks. Then Chelsie and Sasha joined them in rehearsal but it wasn’t that interesting a TV package. Couldn’t Maks come in and stir things up in some way here? I couldn’t imagine D.L. being able to compete with these pros in any way, but it could be worth a laugh. During the tango, D.L. seemed to be holding onto Cheryl for dear life. He had a lot of trouble dragging his pro across the floor; I think I noticed that last week, too. Sadly, it wasn’t good enough to be good or bad enough to be entertaining this week for D.L. Len said his dance didn’t have any buzz to it and he hadn’t attacked the tango. Still, Bruno thought he went for the aggression and disdain; the trouble was, it fell apart technically. “You were a little bouncy,” Carrie Ann complained. She added kindly, “But I loved the focus.” Brooke was Debbie Downer again, pointing out comedians don’t have a good track record on DWTS when she spoke to D.L. backstage. Three 6s added up to a disaster for D.L. I had been wrong before, but would the joke be over this week?
Score: 18

Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkovskiy: Argentine Tango
I loved Zendaya’s dance so much last week that I was looking forward to this teen’s tango, sure it would be the best performance of the night. And Maks was back again, even better! He and Anna would be his brother and Zendaya’s pros and they started the number in a dramatic way, showing everyone how the Argentine tango should be done—or the Russian tango, as the case was. This side-by-side was one of the best of the night, as the 16-year-old actress came on all intense and full of fire. She and Val did a huge spin rewarded by an ABC overhead shot and the dance took full advantage of Zendaya’s long legs. At the end, it was revealed Zendaya and Anna were jewel thieves who had fleeced their men; very nice how the whole thing told a story and we were expecting 10s tonight in the press room. Bruno said she was the ultimate femme fatale and as strong as Anna. Carrie Ann couldn’t hold back her admiration while Len compared Zendaya to a lemon tart, crisp and tasty, which creeped us all out backstage. He’s the only judge who held out on the tens, so a near-perfect 29.
Score: 29

Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess: Paso Doble
Season 16’s most inspiring couple were back and happy and Andy was ready to play the matador! Well, not exactly, as Andy confided he lacked the machismo. Where was Maks when you needed him? Ha. No, it wasn’t Maks but Sasha and another pro helping out Andy and Sharna during rehearsal. Sharna was sitting on a chair as the pro couple gyrated around her to start the routine and then Andy rode in on a zip line, soaring over the DWTS stage! He came to rescue his Spnaish maiden Sharna, and the dance was too complicated to do much of a side-by-side comparison. Andy flubbed one of his moves and frankly looked like Zorro, The Stiff Blade, throughout the dance. But he ended on a high note with a really swift cape twirl. “The best entrance I’ve ever seen,” Carrie Ann said, but added without the cape, something was off with Andy. Len compared it to a Hollywood blockbuster for some reason, and said it was more Pasadena than Paso Doble. Groan. Len’s lines were really bad tonight, folks! I don’t remember what Bruno said but he didn’t like it either, so our beloved Andy looked in danger for Tuesday night.
Score: 18

Find Out Which Star Will Be Going Home on Tuesday’s “DWTS” Results Show at 9/8c on ABC.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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