‘Dancing with the Stars’ Recap: So Many Tears

Dancing with the Stars Recap 2020 |
Season 29, Episode 6 |

There are all sorts of wacky happenings going on in my schedule, thanks to The Bachelorette airing on Tuesday nights instead of Mondays. I’ve never recapped Dancing with the Stars in addition to seasons from the Bachelor franchise at the same time. Traditionally, they are on opposite rotations on ABC and dueling recaps are never an issue.

Most of you are probably thinking, “So you can’t write two recaps two days in a row? What’s wrong with you? Don’t you call yourself a writer?”

I get it. I don’t know what’s happening, but my brain and my fingers are not communicating. And life continues to ramble on around me, including my part-time job, small group hoopla, and completely full social schedule.

(Read: Completely full social schedule = watching Umbrella Academy and playing mahjong with Lara.)

Last week got away with me because Tuesdays are really busy, to begin with. I couldn’t fit in the recap, so I unwisely thought that I could write it on Wednesday, forgetting that I would be writing a Bachelorette recap and recording a podcast. Also, my website somewhat crashed because it was the first episode of The Bachelorette and that hasn’t happened since the days of the Farmer. Remember him?

Wednesday became Thursday and then it was the weekend and I had to watch Umbrella Academy and play mahjong. 

I honestly thought no one would notice. But a smattering of you did, and I thank you for checking in on me. I thought 80s week was a hoot and wish it was the episode I was recapping instead of the one I’m about to.

Before we get into the recap, I’d like to address the elephant in the ballroom. Tyra Banks’ magenta Aladdin pants made me sad and I’m so glad she changed out of them halfway through the show. I fully support her gold, glittery straight jacket top, but the pants need to be burned in the fire that Derek Hough blazed through during his paso doble with his beloved girlfriend Haley.

How’s that for an intro? 

Johnny and Britt
“On the Floor” by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull

Johnny and Britt scored the second to lowest this week. Why? Sadly, I think Johnny took his high marks from last week and assumed he would build from those numbers. Additionally, there may have been a little too much time finding the right black leotard and golf fringe for Johnny’s costume and not enough salsa rehearsals. 

Britt looks fantastic in her fiery red ensemble and does her best to pull Johnny along. But he misses a beat at the beginning and fumbles through a part in the middle. It was erratic and flowy when it should have been low and grounded. The judges thought it was “all over the map,” which makes sense. Johnny is an ice skater, and he dances like one. And you know it’s bad when all the judges essentially say, “You win some, and you lose some.”

Johnny was not happy with this critique and truly looked shocked as his tens from last week turned into sixes this week. That is quite the drop.

Nev and Jenna
“Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch

I’d like to report that there’s nothing to report on the Nev chest hair situation. His weird shirt/vest combo plucked from the Dowager Countess’ curtains in the drawing-room at Downton didn’t provide the necessary evidence I needed to see if he had removed all coif from his pecs. 

I would also like to report that Jenna had no idea that Mark Wahlberg was Marky Mark from the Funky Bunch. She probably has no idea that he was the subject of a notorious Calvin Klein billboard in Time’s Square and is the brother to the naughtier New Kid on the Block. 

Now, let’s talk about this dance. Jazz is a ubiquitous genre that can be translated in a myriad of ways. Instead of focusing on one lane, Jenna chooses to hit them all. Each style gets an eight count. It sounds odd (which it was), but it somehow works. I mean, there were splits, lifts, leaps, Latin ballroom, standard ballroom, quicksteps, contemporary, hip hop, twerking, disco, jazzercise, floor work, and lyrical. 

To quote Bruno, “It was deliciously bonkers.” 

It’s not my style, but I can see how the judges appreciated the work put into the dance, not to mention that it was very clean. I think there was just too much going on, which why they were only awarded two nines and an eight. That sticks them right in the middle of the pack.

Monica and Val
“Have I Told You Lately” by Rod Stewart

Monica dedicated this rumba to her husband, which was very sweet. I’m unsure why there was a Dallas city skyline in the background on the screen. Let’s not pull at that string. Monica has great arms, stunning legs, and a pretty smile. She was refined and sensual. Nothing was forced. She was in control, yet vulnerable with Val. They both looked fabulous in their turquoise costumes.

Here’s what I didn’t like: the music. The original tune, sung by Rod Stewart, is velvety and smooth. This rendition had a little bounce to it, which felt off since the dance was a rumba. I don’t want my rumba to be fast. Therefore, I was distracted the entire time because I needed more space, more breath, between the moves. 

I prefer my rumba like this:

Skai and Alan
“Say So” by Doja Cat featuring Nicki Minaj

Bless itty bitty baby Skai’s, sweet little heart. I can’t stand that she messed up. So, so many times. She just couldn’t get it back together and Alan was forced to visibly mouth the eight counts to her as they cha-cha-cha’d along. I feel horrible for her. And I feel horrible for Alan’s zebra onesie. This costume makes zero sense.

I will say that Skai looked fierce in her outfit. Her ice blue ensemble and pink hair looked like what Elsa would wear if she were a Pussycat Doll.

The judges raked her over the coals. After claiming that “we’ve all been there,” they gave her sixes, which landed her at the very bottom of the leader board. 

Vernon and Peta
“Celebration” by Kool & The Gang

So, Vernon cried during his rehearsal package, which made Peta cry, which made me cry. The man allowed huge crocodile tears to slowly drip down out of his eyeballs onto his shirt as he shared about his deceased grandfather. I have no idea what it has to do with Kool & The Gang, but I felt his emotion, and I wanted him to soar!

He did not. 

What’s frustrating is that Vernon can dance! He can totally gyrate his body. There’s an ease about Vernon that makes you relax when you watch him. He just messes up a lot. And Peta has to count out to him as well, which is a telltale sign that the dance is not going to plan. 

As for Peta, I want her legs and her severe ponytail and I want them now. 

Nelly and Daniella
Viennese Waltz
“Humble & Kind” by Tim McGraw

Oh my goodness, Nelly is growing on me each week. The more he smiles, the more I love him. And the fact that he likes country music and sang a song with Tim McGraw. Applause all around for that decision!

Daniella is killing it with her choreography. She knows that she needs to dance around Nelly, but she does it in a way that doesn’t look like she’s dancing around Nelly. And when you wear a skirt that is straight-up made from a Muppet, you tend to pull focus away from hunched shoulders and an inverted frame.

With that said, Nelly did a great job! He still has this look on his face that reads, “Don’t bother me right now. I’m concentrating.” That’s a bummer. Luckily, his fluid movement and nice arching arms endear him to the audience, with each sweep across the floor. I’m rooting for him! 

Derek Hough Extravaganza 

Tyra takes a quick break to let Derek show everyone how it’s done. Here’s proof:

Jeannie and Brandon
“You Gotta Be” by Des’ree

Jeannie’s pre-package b-roll made me cry, just like Vernon did. Her family is from Vietnam, and they risked their lives to get to America. It was all very dramatic, and I felt sorry for Jeannie that she was obviously emotional when the music started. She had just heard that sad story about her family, and now she has to dance!

Then all my feelings went away because I’m pretty sure I saw a nip slip in Jeannie’s plunging gold lamé neckline that exposed her voluptuous cleavage. I was further preoccupied with her music, as it was too fast. Then I went down a mental rabbit hole, wondering if rumba music is indeed fast now. Just call me Len Goodman, everybody. 

AJ and Cheryl
“Mi Gente” by J Balvin and Willy William

I think I liked this dance, because I only wrote down two things. 

  1. Cheryl knows how to work a camera. 
  2. AJ needs to put his tongue back in his mouth.

Chrishell and Gleb
“Stars” by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals

My goodness, what a heartfelt tribute to the memory of Chrishell’s parents, who both passed away in the last year. This makes the third time I have cried during this episode, if anyone is counting. 

The thing about contemporary, much like jazz, is that you can get away with pretty much anything. In this instance, Gleb clearly instructed Chrishell to be a rag doll. Then he threw her around for two-and-a-half minutes. I wish with everything inside of me that she knew how to point her toes. I guess Chrishell was too wrapped up in the moment. Her performance was emotionally raw. 

There was a flail here and a flop there. An angsty face here and a furrowed brow there. Lifts, twirls, slides, more lifts. Gleb got quite the workout. And the judges rewarded Chrishell with her highest score yet, which tied her with Nelly. 

Kaitlyn and Artem
“Sorry” by Justin Bieber

Kaitlyn and Artem looked sassy. The orange fringe and sequins combo was a delight. 

Here’s something you probably never thought I would write: I wouldn’t say I liked the dance. 

What?! I know! I totally agreed with Carrie Ann’s critique. Although the choreography was a classic samba and the moves were executed to a tee, it felt boring. It’s like Artem and Kaitlyn were instructors teaching a classroom of amateur ballroom dancers how to perform a clean samba. No umph. Very little fire. To quote Derek, “I wish you would attack it a little bit more.” 

I think that’s the dance version of Tyra’s “smize” mantra. 

Kaitlyn understood and agreed with everything the judges said. Yes, she still received three nines, but all of the outstanding dancers did tonight. If there had been a little more aggressiveness with the moves or some saucy personality, I bet she would have landed a 10. 

Justina and Sasha
Viennese Waltz
“She’s Always A Woman” by Billy Joel

First of all, Justina’s billowy skirt was exquisite. Imagine a unicorn and a swan having a baby. That’s what billowed around her legs as she floated across the floor. It was smooth and lovely. 

Justina is also dancing for all the women out there who have ever felt insecure about her body. She has the curves, and she’s not afraid to flaunt them! 

But in the end, someone has to end in the red light of doom. This week, it was Vernon and Johnny. I assume since Peta and Vernon were in the bottom last week, the judges felt it was appropriate for him to go home. 

I will miss him. And Peta’s hair. 

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October 21, 2020 8:01 am

Here’s what I will say: Samba and Argentine Tango are my two favourite dances. I thought AJ and Cheryl’s Samba was FIERCE. I thought it should have been a perfect score, but that’s just me. I did not care at all for Kaitlyn and Artem’s Samba. It did not have the pizazz that I needed to see.

October 21, 2020 10:40 am

Bless Derek for reminding us how good the dancing USED to be! Remember the dance duels with Derek and Mark Ballas? All the creativity this show used to have? Maybe it’s the missing audience or Tyra’s inability to connect, but this show has definitely lost it’s appeal. The costumes are horrible, the dancing isn’t as creative, the songs are cheesy – eek.

Sally H
October 21, 2020 10:40 am

Glad to have you back this week. Derek’s dance number was unreal-that’s my least favorite of the types of dances they have to do but it was mesmerizing to watch him and Haley.
I was confused as you were about some of the costumes-what was with the striped onesie on Alan and I did not like Johnny’s at all. Neither made sense with the type of dance they did. Nelly is growing on me every week -thought he would be the type to think he was too cool for this type of show but he’s fun to watch. Peta just never seemed into it this season which is too bad since I hate to see Vernon go-will miss that smile.

October 21, 2020 12:25 pm

I am so glad you and Carrie Ann articulated how I felt about Kaitlyn’s samba. I love Kaitlyn and am rooting hard for her since I know she sincerely appreciates this opportunity and is excited about it. But as soon as she finished, I found myself wondering why I wasn’t super impressed even though it looked good. You’re right–it was just missing that extra oomph that we know she and Artem can bring. I could not believe Derek’s dance! I know you aren’t a big fan of him, but I was shocked at the difference between watching two professionals as compared to the “stars.” It was amazing! So fun to watch. Each season I wish Carrie Ann, Bruno, or Len would perform a dance, but I will settle for Derek this go round. I like Nelly and want him to do well, but I don’t think he is a great ballroom dancer — he has rhythm, but I think that can only carry him so far.

October 21, 2020 1:21 pm

I’m not loving this season. I know there are limitations with the COVID situation. But it’s hard for me to get really into this season. Part of it is Tyra Banks. I cannot embrace her as host. Her delivery is so choppy and feels rude to me. I haven’t liked the camera angles on the dancers at times. It often seems like too distant of a shot to see their movements well, or it is too much of a close-up where we can’t see arm and leg movements. Then there’s the costumes. Yikes! It seems like they have a completely different costume crew for this season. I wonder if Johnny gets any input into his costumes? I have not liked a single one of his costumes. They are just bizarre to me. And while I like him as a person, I’m not a big fan of his dancing in this format. Partnering is a new concept for him, I understand (vs. his solo skating), but I just have a hard time accepting his pairing. I may get some hate for this, but I think he competes with Britt, that he wants to be the female in the pair. I do still enjoy many of the other dancers, but the season just feels flat to me. Maybe it’s lack of a studio audience bringing in more energy.

October 21, 2020 3:04 pm

Thank you for doing double duty this season! I logged on for bachelorette and realized that I get 2 great recaps this week.!

October 21, 2020 3:09 pm

Random Thoughts:
I love Justina, and in a just world she wins. Watching her is almost worth putting up with the horror of Tyra Banks. Her skirt made her look like a bus, but despite that, she was magnificent.

Derek’s routine was intimidating and at least half as good as Meryl Davis would have performed it a few seasons back.

Johnny’s fans have every right to expect him to be a much better dancer than he is.

Can you imagine a worse partner for Skye than a 6’5″ guy?

Carolina girl
Carolina girl
October 21, 2020 5:02 pm

Who ever put Tyra in those pants is No Friend of Hers…..Bless….

October 21, 2020 8:35 pm

This season is no fun! The costumes are so tacky and the dances are not that great. Loved seeing Derek!! I miss Tom and his comments, sorry Tyra but I’m not feeling you. I’m sure it’s harder with no audience but lordy it’s been hard to watch

October 21, 2020 11:24 pm

Thank you for recapping DWTS Lincee! I was afraid when the Bachelorette started up again you wouldn’t have time for both.
My thoughts…
Derek and Haley were amazing! It reminds us just how far the celebrities have to go. Although most of the stars are doing well, there is no standout, which is a good thing. It still could be anybody’s mirror ball.
Tyra just has to go! Her outfits are ridiculous. Her second outfit last week reminded me of that Gone With The Wind skit where Carol Burnette wore the drapes as a dress. She should apply for Project Runway. It seems more up her alley.
For that matter most of the costumes this season are weird and not attractive. Maybe they fired the old costume designers along with Tom and Erin.
The lighting guy must be new too. I don’t know why he thinks neon lights flashing right into the camera lens would be appealing. You can’t see the dancers half the time. And don’t get me started on the confetti guy. Enough already!
Carrie Anne needs to stop buying her wigs at the pop-up Halloween store. She can afford better ones. Tyra too for that matter.
I had no idea who some of these celebrities were, but I like Nev and Justina. Nellie and AJ are quite endearing too.

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