‘Dancing with the Stars’ Disney Week Recap

Dancing with the Stars Disney Week Recap: Episode 3

Sometimes I want to bless Tyra’s heart. I’m bothered by her inability to ask manageable follow-up questions to a contestant who is trying to catch his or her breath after a ninety-second runaround we like to call a quickstep. I also wish that she didn’t utter “get it?” when she executes a well-delivered pun. 

But her illuminated Minnie Mouse dress paired with the charming bright lights of the Main Street Electrical Parade was the perfect intro to Disney Week. It was lit.

Get it?

Skai and Alan
“Almost There” from The Princess and the Frog

Sweet little baby Skai all wrapped up in a cozy Disney fleece is super excited to be dancing this week and wants to do her Disney family proud. And it looks like she’s headed in that direction with a darling white lacey outfit which contradicts Alan’s emerald green tuxedo.

He’s the metaphorical frog. Get it?

Thanks to her trip up last week, Skai’s nerves take over and we see that she’s not so confident. However, the dance had kicks, flicks, and crisp movement — signature choreography for any jive. Her body nailed it. She just forgot to tell her face to join the party. 

And the judges RIPPED HER TO SHREDS. I’m not sure what happened, but they pulled out the six paddles and waved them in protest over not having her “nose over her toes” and lack of elasticity through her legs. I call balderdash. 

Monica and Val
Viennese Waltz
“Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid

Let me begin by praising Val for looking so much like Prince Eric. It’s like he was plucked right out of the cartoon. I can’t tell if Monica stepped up this week or if she just performs better to the standard ballroom dances versus the Latin ones, but she did pretty good!

Prince Eric twirled her around an awful lot. And instead of the Varsity ending move where the man holds the woman as she bends backwards, the Prince chose the JV ending move where the man flings the woman on the ground and she slides into the eye of the camera. 

The confetti cannon operator, who apparently has been promoted to “Ceiling Dropper Engineer” or CDE for short, sprinkled little blue flower petals over the royal pair instead of launching bubbles like a Little Mermaid-themed dance logically requires. 

Bruno thinks Monica is confident. Carrie Ann notes how Monica looks relaxed. And Derek calls Ariel by the name ARE-EE-EL and I shout at the TV screen for him to tighten up. 

Justina and Sasha
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from Mary Poppins

You can’t ever go wrong with Mary Poppins and Burt dancing around with animated penguins. You can go wrong when you lay on your stomach and pretend to fly through the night sky. Perhaps Justina was tired or maybe she had a bad day, but that extra spark that I’ve come to recognize was nowhere to be found. Was the choreography boring? Did it feel sluggish? Was there even a Charleston step? Yes to all. Except that last one. Also, the CDE showed up hard on the red, white, and yellow streamers.

AJ and Cheryl
“Prince Ali” from Aladdin

AJ caved to the powers that be and let the hair and makeup department stylists shave his chest and cover up his neck tattoos. Cheryl looked great in her Jasmine wig and I was proud of her for not wearing something sultry procured from the naughty department of Party City during Halloween.

What I like about this performance is that AJ and Cheryl stayed in hold the entire time. Len would be so proud. It was sharp, clean, and fun! Especially the big streamers at the end. (insert eye roll here)

Tyra comes in hot and asks AJ if he could wish for anything, what would it be? He takes a beat and I answer for him, “Covid to end. A million dollars. Tom Bergeron back in the ballroom.” AJ locates his tongue and humorously answers, “An 8 from the judges.” (PS: His wish did not come true. He should have gone with Bergeron.)

Anne and Keo
“Zero to Hero” from Hercules

Here’s an InstaStory topic: I think Hercules is an underrated movie. Double tap if you agree! Is it master of the Disney animation’s glory days? No. But let me tell you why it deserves your attention: Susan Egan, the sultry voice of Megara, James Woods as a hilarious Hades, and anything Lillias White, Vanéese Thomas, Cheryl Freeman, LaChanze, and Roz Ryan perform as the muses

On paper, things look like they can work! Keo and his muscles are perfect for Hercules. Anne’s twiggy body and fabulous wig scream Megara. The acting played throughout the stage is entertaining. It’s the quicksteps that muddles things up. I believe it was Derek who said that Keo dances and Anne follows along. She relies on him too much. Thank goodness there was a cannon full of confetti to somewhat mask the botched ending. 

I’d like to point out that Anne received the same score as Skai. Put that in your cannon and shoot it. 

Jeannie and Brandon
Viennese Waltz
“Married Life” from Up

Here’s an InstaStory confession: I’ve never seen the movie Up because everyone told me it’s sad and I don’t like my cartoons bombarded with tears. But I know the gist and I understand that Jeannie and Brandon are the old couple and the balloons serve as a way to visually connect the viewer with the story. Do you think the CED was a little ticked off that items were floating into the ceiling instead of falling down from it?

Jeannie and Brandon go full out and present a charming waltz, complete with Brandon holding his back (like an old man) in one portion of the choreography. I understand that Up is very popular, but I do think the instrumental music may be a knock against them during a week that is supposed to be so enriched with familiarity. 

Then the judges give them the highest score of the night. What do I know?

Nelly and Daniella
“It’s All Right” from Soul

At first I thought this was really unfair because no one has seen this movie and will have zero emotional connection to the song. Then I recognized the song as something from the 60s you would hear on Dirty Dancing or Shag. I’ll allow it. But barely.


Bottom line: Nelly is not great. And it was evident that Daniella watered down the routine to match his ungreatness.

Carole and Pasha
“Circle of Life” from Lion King

My roommate Lara: “This is an elementary talent show performance.”
Lincee: “You’re not wrong.”

Kaitlyn and Artem
“How Far I’ll Go” from Moana

The first thing I thought when Kaitlyn and Artem began to rumba was, “This is pretty fast for a rumba.” I stand by my assessment. However, Kaitlyn’s arms are pretty and her lines are open and she has so much fluidity. 

Artem did the JV spinning move and flung Kaitlyn straight into the camera man. It was a dramatic ending and I’m sad to report that neither streamer nor confetti punctuated the dance. 

The judges L-O-V-E-D it and lifted up not one, but two eight paddles. 

Vernon and Peta
“Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast

Peta: “It’s Disney week and we will be dancing to the song ‘Be Our Guest.’”
Vernon: “This is so exciting! I get to play the beast!”
Peta: “Uh, you’re playing the candlestick.”

Makes sense. Peta was a black and white embroidered napkin, I assume, since she didn’t have a turquoise dress with a white apron. Vernon owned his bright yellow tuxedo like a boss and quickly stepped all over the ballroom floor. He borrowed Justina’s personality and had a ball smiling through the colorful confetti. 

The judges commend Vernon and Peta for “finding their partnership” and confidence. They loved it so much, they gave him an 8 too. 

Nev and Jenna
Argentine Tango
“Angelica” from Pirates of the Caribbean

Everyone to please calm down. I had no idea my love for Nev’s chest hair would cause such a kerfuffle on social media. You people have strong feelings about manscaping and I am fascinated by it.

And I’m happy to report that the fleece is still intact and living happily on a man dressed like Captain Jack Sparrow. You might think that “Angelica” is obscure and instrumental, therefore I feel Nev and Jenna have a disadvantage, but you would be wrong. Most of us can relate to Johnny Depp’s version of the lovable, mostly drunk pirate. Nev nailed it. 

How he managed to dance such a sharp Argentine tango, whilst pretending to be tipsy is a delightful mystery. Jenna’s choreography was clever and the added sound effects kicked the entertainment value up a notch. They deserved the three 8 paddles they received. Take a look for yourself.

Johnny and Britt
“Reflection” from Mulan

Johnny definitely performs better when he has the freedom to be as lyrical as he wants. He’s not bound to Britt in a rumba and he can bend and sway to his heart’s content. Although the judges praise him for “projecting emotion,” I did not get that. To me, his face remains in concentration mode. Props to his Mulan man bun. 

Jesse and Sharna
“King of New York” from Newsies

If you’ve been around this website for a hot second, you probably know my love for Newsies. My bar is really, really high for any routine performed to any song from this album. Even Sharna’s choreography and Jesse’s pretty face couldn’t put this one in the win column for me.

I’ll admit that Jesse’s face was better. I think it’s because he was playing a character. Did that character jive? Nope. But Sharna’s fluffy skirt made entirely of newspaper can forgive many things. I didn’t appreciate all of the razzmatazz at the beginning in the newspaper box, but I did give some grace when Jesse admitted that this was a “short week.” Maybe they didn’t have enough time to rehearse, compared to the other contestants. 

Chrishell and Gleb
“A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from Cinderella

Of course the ruggedly handsome hot guy and gorgeously blond model girl are the obvious choice to portray Cinderella and Prince Charming. Duh. Gleb is clean-shaven. Chrishell is the epitome of Cindy at the ball. It’s odd that ten eight counts of the dance include her walking down the stairs and spinning in a circle, but the judges don’t mind. They are enchanted and reward their beauty with high marks. 

To no one’s surprise, Carole and Pasha end up in the bottom, along with Anne and Keo. The judges waste no time bidding the cat lady adieu and raising an eyebrow to Megara, warning her to step it up next week or she’ll be back in the red light of doom. 

What did you think? Am I totally wrong about Nelly? Does Johnny look like he’s constipated to you? Will Nev ever shave his chest hair? (psst: please keep the fleece!) Did you think Nev and Cheryl’s Arrrrrrgentine Tango was the best of the night? Get it?

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September 29, 2020 11:28 pm

Thank you for the recap Lincee! I must admit I like reading your work more than the podcasts. I can’t find enough time for podcasts. You are a gifted writer. Loved your books too!

I just can’t warm up to Tyra as host. I didn’t like her on AGT either. I so miss Tom. Tyra makes it too much about Tyra and she. needs. to. stop. pausing. between. every. word. So annoying! I don’t see what is so “next level” about the show.

i like that there is no clear great dancer this season (except maybe Kaitlyn). By the way, I always thought Kaitlyn was a pretty girl. All the cosmetic work she has had done just makes her look like all the other pretty girls. She lost her individuality.

It’s nice to see different leaders each week and watch the improvements.

Nev and Jenna were my favorite couple this week. Jenna looked amazing in her choreography and Nev totally captured the role of Jack Sparrow. Poor Skai needs a confidence boost. They have been hard on her but I think she has potential. A lot of the celebrities have potential this season.

I was ready to see Carol Baskin go. And really, did they have to make EVERY dance cat-themed? It was time to whisker (whisk her) away. Get it?

September 29, 2020 11:34 pm

Still not a fan of Tyra.
I. Hate. Her. Staccato. Delivery. ‘Nuf said.

Justina (Mary Poppins). I LOVE Justina, but I have to admit I did not love this dance. I was sadly disappointed. I was surprised (not in a good way) by Sasha’s choreography. I agree with your opinion on the flying through the clouds while lying on their stomachs the floor–just didn’t work for me. The whole dance lacked energy, even though she was selling it with her facial expressions. I hope she gets back on track next week, because I really like her.

Jeannie (Up) I LOVED this dance. LOVED it.

Carole (Lion King) I think she wanted to go home. I honestly do. Last week she did so much better than the first week. But this week it looked like she wasn’t even trying. I think she was ready to leave. Don’t know specifically why, but I do think she wanted to be done.

Kaitlyn (Moana) — she did a good job. But on the Rhumba, it seems like in the past, the judges were always critical of the hip action for that dance. And I didn’t really see that much of it from Kaitlyn. (Maybe I need to watch it again.) None of the judges commented on her hip action, positive or negative. Maybe she was doing it and I just couldn’t see it because of her dress. She was very graceful, but I kinda thought the 8’s were a bit generous.

Vernon (Beauty & the Beast). I love his energy and thought he did a great job. I look forward to seeing more from him.

Nev (Pirates of the Caribbean/Johnny Depp) This guy shocks me by how good he is. At the beginning of the season, I thought he would be a nerdy, awkward type of guy. This guy can DANCE. AND he can ACT! I was really impressed by his dance.

Chrishell (Cinderella) She showed great improvement this week and did a respectable job, but I think their scores were inflated because of how attractive they are as a couple on the dance floor. (They did look fantastic together!)

The rest of the dances didn’t grab me, one way or the other.

This season the budget for confetti must be huge! I guess that is their attempt to generate excitement without a live studio audience. But for me, the confetti is getting old.

Ellys Cartin
Ellys Cartin
September 30, 2020 12:50 pm

This night was mostly a downer for me. All the contestants must have checked the news or something, and the 2020 insomnia and depression caught up to them. Nev and Jenna were superb. I also loved Vernon and Peta which I wanted to spell Peeta just now. Brandon and Jeannie were super cute, and her joy over the 8 paddle was the highest energy of the whole night. Everyone else seemed strained or tired, although Monica had improved. The choreography for Justina was just BAD. I missed Tom and Erin the most this week.

Sally H
September 30, 2020 12:58 pm

Agree that Tyra just bugs-her enunciation this time was so over the top. And that over the top costume-she is not walking a cat walk. Enough already! Miss Tom so much-sigh
Loved watching Vernon this week-I smiled though that routine. Brandon and Jeannie’s routine was so sweet. Loved Nev’s Argentine Tango. Where were the fun Mickey shaped paddles for the scores? That was always a cute addition.

October 1, 2020 4:03 pm

I’m not sue DWTS will survive after this season. ☹️

Mollie A
Mollie A
October 4, 2020 8:59 am

Great recap, Lincee! I have to admit that when I’m reading your recap, I struggle to remember who is Johnny and some of the other contestants even though I watched the show! Where are the fantastic group intro dances? I’m really hoping those aren’t a Covid casualty. And, lastly, I’m enjoying the departure of Tom and Erin. IMO, They felt really stale and a little condescending (esp Erin) for sometime now. Tyra, while not perfect, is a breath of fresh air into the show.

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