Dancing with the Stars Recap: Nitty Gritty

Dancing with the Stars Recap 2020 |
Double Elimination Week |

I feel for those of you in California who had high hopes incorporating yellow tulle into your Halloween costume this year. Tyra Banks procured every last inch for her sunshine-inspired, puffy runway wardrobe this week. Bummer.

Do you know what else is a bummer? Jeannie had emergency surgery on her throat and is out for the season. She’s okay, but her hopes for taking home a mirrorball trophy are gone. Luckily, the cameras followed her into the ER to record a few last words. I can’t go into the hospital to be with my dad, but I guess all COVID bets are off when ABC calls.

Yes, I understand that maybe her boyfriend took that video. I’m just bitter. 2020 continues to give nothing and take away everything. Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to start decorating for Christmas.

I’m back! Let’s see how the dancers faired and which couple Carrie Ann hates this week!

Kaitlyn and Artem
“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

Kaitlyn begins her package by bemoaning the fact that she and Artem have consistently been at the top. Still, after last week’s Halloween disaster (which was not technically a disaster), she feels terrible for being near the bottom. She’s struggling to please the judges.

This happens every season. There’s always one contestant who is really good from the beginning since they have some dance background. Then something happens that makes them doubt their abilities, and we have to watch them try to overcome their feelings of inadequacy.

The problem with Kaitlyn is that she has the judges actually telling her they want more from her. So that makes her technically proficient but emotionally unavailable. Artem tells her that she has to be happy for the dance to translate as entertaining. Plastering on a smile will not suffice.

Poor Kaitlyn plasters on a smile. And the judges feel it. It was a little bit sluggish and not as peppy as a jive should be. However, she hit all the marks and never messed up.

Bruno and Derek are cool about her struggle, but they do encourage her to attack the dance. Carrie Ann insists on taking out her hatred of Artem in the form of a lower number on the paddleboard.

In an abrupt moment, Carrie Ann asks Kaitlyn, “Could you do that jump yourself?” Kaitlyn quickly answers, “No.” But she does not understand where Carrie Ann is going with her strange interrogation. Carrie Ann thereby deems the jump as “a lift.”

The quick-witted Kaitlyn we all know and love pipes up, “I can do that jump!” Carrie Ann all but rolls her eyes straight into the camera. It doesn’t help that Artem reminds the judges that this is a jive. He can hoist her up and over with a little boost.

No, no, dear Artem. That’s called a swing dance. Big difference. He should know.

Carrie Ann is the worst.

Nev and Jenna
Viennese Waltz
“Stuck With U” by Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber

I honestly thought Nev and Jenna’s dance was lovely. In my opinion, he’s the one to beat. She looked gorgeous in her pretty pink dress, and he looked so dapper in his brown suit. It took Nev about thirty seconds to relax into the dance, but it was a solid Viennese Waltz when he did. The simple hug at the ending was particularly refreshing. Four couples this night alone ended in the dramatic backbend pose.

Bruno praises Nev for being light on his feet and in control of his partner. Derek admires Nev’s confidence. And Carrie Ann points out his slip initially, the one time he lost his balance, and the unfortunate time he stepped on Jenna’s dress.

She’s the worst.

Justina and Sasha
“Magalenha” by Sérgio Mendes 

Justina is so excited to tap into her Latin roots and samba her way into a perfect score. Although that didn’t come true, she came awfully close and landed herself at the top of the leaderboard with Nev and Johnny.

Her orange fringe outfit was to die for, and I will wear something similar one day. I appreciate Sasha’s ability to choreograph something wonderful that fits her personality. Is it a good thing? I don’t know, but I barely watch Sasha when he’s performing.

I will say that I find it adorable that Emma is always there to cheer her husband on from the balcony. It makes me wonder if Daniella and Jenna feel sad that their husbands aren’t supportive in that way?

Justina’s hair and makeup are perfect. The sacred (according to Derek) song is incredible. They even execute a pair of perfectly good samba rolls. She knows how to smile with her mouth opened and closed, without making it looked choreographed. I think that’s because her facial expressions aren’t choreographed. Justina is having a ball, and it shows.

I’m sure Carrie Ann sent this clip to Kailtyn to show her how it’s properly done. Johnny needs the clip, too, but no one seems to notice that his smile is weird, and his eyes are dead.

Of course, Carrie Ann did ask about a slip and asked Justina to confirm.

Is she doing this on purpose to see which bloggers will call her out for being so mean? This is me — calling her out — for being so mean!

Nelly and Daniella
“Nobody Knows” by The Tony Rich Project

Bless Nelly’s heart. In his intro package, he shared about his sister’s death several years ago. It’s a sad story that feels heavy. I can only assume this is why Nelly walked through his rumba with a somber disposition.

Nelly barely moves his hips, which is a huge no-no for the rumba. Daniella tries to get all up in his business, but the reality is that the viewer is still reeling in his heartbreaking story. It feels weird to be sexy at such a time as this. So he doesn’t get “into it” as much as Daniella probably wanted him to, and I don’t blame him for it.

The judges have a heavy heart for his situation, too, but they must judge what they see. And what that didn’t see. In Nelly’s case, there wasn’t a rumba in sight.

Carrie Ann chooses her time to scold Nelly, claiming she wants to see more from him. He nods his head and wipes away a tear as he remembers a time when his beloved sister was in his life.

I have no words. And words are my life.

Chrishell and Gleb
Viennese Waltz
“Love on the Brain” by Rihanna

I find Chrishell delightful. She can not dance worth a lick. I believe Gleb knows it, and he tries to do everything he can to mask the fact, even if it means choreographing a Viennese waltz and rumba crossover.

Do you think the dance should begin with two people in black tie evening wear sitting on a bed? No problem? Should they dry hump each other? Sure thing! Bumping and grinding between sweeps across the floor? Do it!

Derek claims he felt uncomfortable a few times. I agree. Carrie Ann didn’t say anything negative, which makes me wonder if she’s in the market for a luxury home in Los Angeles and is looking to find a good deal with her good friend Chrishell.

Skai and Alan
“Work It” by Missy Elliott

The thing that I love about Skai and Alan as a couple is that he can whip her up onto his shoulder or fling her about like a rag doll with ease. She weighs the equivalent of half a fourth-grader, so the acrobatic nature of his choreography is fun.

Unfortunately, both Bruno and I noticed that Alan forgot to teach Skai how to land out of these impressive tricks. It ruins an otherwise impressive moment. But she’s so cute in her pink and black salsa dress, and he’s so lovable in his purple silk shirt, and you want them to go the distance.

Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. Skai suffers from the frozen smile, a dead-eye disease that has crippled many of our contestants this year. If facial expressions win this season, it’s up to Justina and Nev to duke it out for the crown.

Johnny and Britt
“Wonder” by Shawn Mendes

Johnny danced the foxtrot in a sleeveless tuxedo and high water pants. I understand they are trying to remain true to his style, but something bothered me, and I couldn’t put m finger on it. Then Derek said the high pants made him “lose the line,” and the lightbulb went off.

It’s like me wearing pants that end at my knee or calf. It just looks wrong, and no one can concentrate on the cute top I may have on or the darling shoes because my short legs have been chopped in half. It’s also why I look the best and get the most compliments when I wear black pants and black shoes.

You get that for free here on the IHGB blog.

The dance was fine. Once again, Johnny had choreographed open mouth moments that look manufactured. I still think he’s in his ice skater head and would do so much better if he stepped out of that frame into a full-on dancer.

AJ and Cheryl
“Way Down We Go” by Kaleo

AJ and Cheryl’s pre-packaged time took a turn I wasn’t expecting. Both admit to being addicts, and AJ shares that his kids are what saved him from drugs. It was very emotional and sad.

Here we go again. Just like Nelly and Daniella, it feels unnatural to transition from something so heavy to a sexy dance, which is probably why Cheryl chooses to make AJ’s rumba angry and raw.

It backfired. None of the judges liked it and didn’t have any qualms about saying so. I also thought their outfits were the color of gangrene, which is unsettling in and of itself.

The next portion of our competition is uneventful. The contestants are broken into teams of three, and each pair must perform against the others to a chosen dance genre. I didn’t get anything out of it, other than I thought Johnny and Britt landed the best part of Whitney Houston’s song “I Have Nothing.” You know the part I’m talking about. The crescendo. So good.

They are each given a score, and it allegedly helps them not get kicked off the show. I’m unsure how this works, nor do I care. I can report that Chrishell and Skai are left in the red light of doom at the end, and the judges band together to save Skai.

If you ask me, Chrishell looked happy. She’s ready to leave this show and make millions on her other one!

Photo By: abc.com
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November 3, 2020 8:40 pm

Tyra’s first outfit, and absurd runway strut onto the dance floor, were beyond ridiculous. For someone who has worked in fashion, to choose the shapeless neon yellow tulle explosion on a plump-ish body is confusing to say the least.
And her over-the-top yelling in exaggerated enthusiasm makes me long for gentle and subtle Tom Bergeron.

November 4, 2020 2:52 pm
Reply to  Cheryl

Every time Tyra speaks, I feel bad for not appreciating the gentle genius that is Tom Bergeron!

November 11, 2020 11:12 am
Reply to  Crystal

…and Erin Andrews.

Sally H
November 4, 2020 10:01 am

Tyra is an epic fail as a host-no doubt about it.
I agree about Skai having the deer in the headlights look -she looks very scared most of the time. Justina and Nev are the ones who look like they enjoy the heck out of this experience so they are the most fun to watch. It is getting to that point where it’s hard to see anybody leave.

November 11, 2020 1:46 pm

I just don’t like Tara and the screaming and the emPHAsis on some words and what is with the counting with the fingers when stating the telephone numbers?

Mollie A
Mollie A
November 11, 2020 9:16 pm

Minus the group dances, I’m actually enjoying this season and find Tyra a refreshing change. Tom and Erin were so stale. It’s nice that there are no clear winners at this point and, outside of Kaitlynn, I find myself rooting for each of the contestants.

November 20, 2020 5:50 pm

Did you stop recapping DWTS this season? I can’t seem to find any newer than this!

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