DWTS Season 22 Switch-Up

Dancing With the Stars Switch-Up: Who Were the Best and Worst New Couples?

A few short weeks from now, when Paige VanZant or Wanyá Morris or Nyle DiMarco hoist that Mirrorball trophy in the air, Monday’s Switch-Up edition of Dancing With the Stars likely won’t be one of the Season 22 memories flashing before their eyes.

Although the traditional partner swap has worked wonders in past seasons, most of Monday’s mixed-up duos suffered from lack of chemistry, communication or — in a few disconcerting cases — proper choreography. (When TVLine compiles its year-end Best and Worst lists, you can expect to see Keo and Len’s Viennese Waltz debate somewhere in the “Most Cringeworthy Moments” section.)

Alas, there was no elimination on Monday’s so-so episode, leaving us to jump right into the night’s best and worst routines:

Nyle DiMarco and pro Sharna Burgess (Viennese Waltz) — I would have been happy to skip right over any and all appearances from Tyra Banks, but it turns out Ty-Ty’s rehearsal tears were warranted. Not only did Nyle practically glide across the dance floor, with a sense of musicality and elegance that I still don’t understand, but the insta-connection he forged with Sharna made their waltz particularly enchanting. Unfortunately, guest judge Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Bruno Tonioli couldn’t reward Nyle with 10s — after writing down nines on the Official Judging Notepad — but the routine was, indeed, practically perfect. Judges’ Score: 37/40

Ginger Zee and pro Mark Ballas (Salsa) — Though Ginger faces stiff competition for the Season 22 crown, she might just be the cycle’s most adaptable contestant, shifting from a sweet-as-pie Beauty and the Beast routine to a sexy, fast-paced salsa in just seven days’ time. The GMA meteorologist kept up with Mark every step of the way and, when the number required her to be fiery and fierce, didn’t hesitate to embrace the style’s endless shimmies. Judges’ Score: 32/40

Kim Fields and pro Keo Motsepe (Viennese Waltz) — Let’s set aside the uncomfortable Keo/Len scuffle for now, which found the two men arguing over Keo’s not-exactly-a-proper-waltz choreography. Although Keo and Kim’s height difference might have prevented them from doing a classic hold, the former Facts of Life star moved across the floor with an ease she hasn’t shown off since the Season 22 premiere. Sure, she might be more adjusted to Sasha’s teaching methods, but Kim’s pairing with Keo allowed for her most effortless performance yet. Judges’ Score: 28/40

Antonio Brown and pro Karina Smirnoff (Cha-Cha) — Confession: Even though Antonio’s cha-cha was mediocre and lacked any real chemistry with Karina, he ranks at the bottom of our leaderboard less for his footwork and more for his attitude. I’m sure the NFL pro isn’t planning to make dancing a full-time job anytime soon — but his perpetual late arrivals to rehearsal and general blasé demeanor have gotten old. Perhaps earning the lowest score of the night will get Antonio to take the competition a bit more seriously, but when you’ve got Doug Flutie breaking props in rehearsal and Wanyá Morris triple-checking his dance vocabulary, lack of commitment just won’t cut it. Judges’ Score: 26/40

OK, your turn. Which Switch-Up routines will get your vote this week? Hit the comments with your thoughts on the episode.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Logan says:

    Nyle was overscored. 10’s should be earned, not handed out. That did not deserve a 10. It should’ve gotten at least 2 8’s, but a 10? Wtf…

    • Dave says:

      It was totally deserved. There was nothing wrong with that viennese waltz.

    • Ash says:

      From someone with two decades of dance experience, as well as having watched the show for most of its run, I say that aside from some issues with flat hands, Nyle’s dance was far and above the best of the night and totally deserving of 10s.

  2. Al says:

    Maks was a terrible judge
    He makes Julianne Hough look good and that’s say a lot

  3. Angela says:

    I was so thrilled for Nyle tonight. I wish the scores hadn’t been all goofed up for him, but still, yeah, he was fantastic. So impressed with him.
    I also really liked Jodie and Val. Definitely her best dance, and I hope tonight helps save her from being in the bottom group again come next week.

  4. Nichole says:

    I don’t personally think Antonio was the worst of the night, but no one was terrible so that is debatable. The sixes however were definitely not warranted. The dance wasn’t perfect. There were problems with the pacing, but it wasn’t six bad. It seems like the judges did what you did, which was unfairly score a negatively edited package rather than the dance performed.

  5. Janet says:

    I think the judges should have scored Ginger higher than what they did. She should have received some 9’s and 10’s for her dance with Mark.

  6. kevstar says:

    I was happy to see Len back. Now, it’s time to put him out to pasture. He’s turning into Get Off My Lawn territory. Stick a fork in him he’s done.

  7. Zulema says:

    What is the matter with Macs???? I thought he would give better scores, as he has been in that situation before and has gotten angry!! Buu to Macs!!

  8. AngelWasHere says:

    Max and Len were Debbie downers tonight. They seem extra cranky.

  9. Lisa says:

    poor attitude and commitment should always be voted off, regardless ability.

  10. HT says:

    somehow putting Jodie towards the end of the show would get her first 10. but she didnt and i was bummed. She was amazing and truly Val brought the fire in her. I saw that on the episode of Fuller House and i wish Val is her dance partner on this show.

    • Marie says:

      I agree. I think Val brought out a better dancer in her than Keo does. I find Keo is not great with any of his partners.

    • Liz says:

      I agree, he really pushed her and was very strict about the holds and getting all the moves, while I don’t think Keo has really pushed her to excellence, which is disappointing.

      It seems like last week she faltered because she wasn’t completely prepared, which I don’t think was her fault (but, rather, Keo’s).

      • Jacqueline schwartz says:

        I think Keo is the least competent choreographer and is more interested in how he looks than in making his partner comfortable

  11. James E Triplett says:

    If I had never watched DWTS until last night, I would never watch it again. That was the worst episode ever. The dancing was often sub-par, and the judges were continuously inappropriate. They have demonstrated in the past that it’s possible to award low scores without insults and personal attacks. There were a few wonderful moments… but why Doug Flutie is still on stage baffles me. Hopefully next week will return to quality entertainment.

  12. The Kaibosh says:

    I get what Max and Len were saying about Keo and Kim. It was a very nice dance but it wasn’t a Waltz. So yeah, they’re right about that and scored it accordingly. But Max should have stopped there and let it go. He shouldn’t have brought up Keo and Kim again when talking about the next pair of dancers. It was unprofessional to continue like he did. Not cool Max, not cool!

  13. flutiefan says:

    I guess I’m the only one who thinks Ginger Zee is overscored…

  14. Jacqueline schwartz says:

    Keo seems to be more interested in showing how great a dancer he is than getting his partner to look good