Never underestimate the power of Dancing With the Stars.
In the course of just one episode, the ABC reality competition has taken nine iconic dances from pop culture and ensured that we will never be able to look at them the same way again — some for the better, and others for much, much worse.
On one hand, future listenings of ‘N Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye” will bring me right back to Wanyá Morris and Lindsay Arnold’s ultra-badass jazz routine set to the 2000 pop jam. And on the other, anytime I spot a rerun of Slumdog Millionaire on basic cable, I’ll have flashbacks to Doug Flutie and Karina Smirnoff’s Bollywood routine, and that’s a grudge I’ll hold against DWTS forever.
Let’s break down the highs and lows of Week 6, aka Famous Dances Night:
BEST OF THE NIGHT
Wanyá Morris and pro Lindsay Arnold (Jazz inspired by ‘N Sync’s 2000 MTV VMAs performance) — If you know me at all, you know that using ‘N Sync as a soundtrack for any routine will instantly turn me into the human equivalent of the iPhone’s heart-eyes emoji. (Go ahead, ask me if I’m ashamed of seeing ‘N Sync in concert seven times during my youth.) (Not even a little.) But even better than the killer musical choice was Wanyá and Lindsay’s intense, energetic and crazy-crisp execution. Lindsay wasn’t the only Dancing pro to let her partner take center stage during Famous Dances Night, but Wanyá was the only one to seize the spotlight and completely own it. Judges’ Score: 29/30
BEST OF THE NIGHT (RUNNER-UP)
Paige VanZant and pro Mark Ballas (Jazz inspired by Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery) — If ever there were a Dancing pro who could whip up an entirely new routine on limited time (after his initial song choice was legally restricted), it’s Ballas. While paying homage to the original Mike Myers flick, he and Paige added just enough modern flair to make the number work in 2016. (Bonus points to the UFC fighter for not cackling on the spot the moment she made eye contact with her snaggle-toothed partner.) Judges’ Score: 28/30
Antonio Brown and pro Sharna Burgess (Jive inspired by Footloose) — Sure, the NFL player went just a touch overboard in the last third of the number, moving from enthusiastic to manic territory as he nearly flung Sharna across the ballroom. But it was refreshing to finally — finally! — see Antonio take the Dancing gig seriously, as he kicked and flicked his way through a leading role in the routine. Say what you will about the couple’s pre-performance video package — which focused more on Sharna’s Week 5 comments re: who might win the competition, instead of Antonio’s lack of commitment to rehearsals — but the footballer’s brief scuffle with his partner made way for their best performance yet. Judges’ Score: 27/30
WORST OF THE NIGHT
Doug Flutie and pro Karina Smirnoff (Bollywood inspired by Slumdog Millionaire) — OK, now this just seems cruel. There are So You Think You Can Dance all-stars who still struggle with this intricate style, and one of the season’s weakest remaining contestants is saddled with it? I have no doubt that Doug gave it his all, but the entire routine resembled a sloppy jig that your uncle might deliver after a few too many drinks at Thanksgiving dinner. Judges’ Score: 21/30
And now, the results:
THREE COUPLES IN JEOPARDY
Paige VanZant and pro Mark Ballas
Doug Flutie and pro Karina Smirnoff
Von Miller and pro Witney Carson
Doug Flutie and pro Karina Smirnoff
With that, I turn it over to you. Did Doug and Karina deserve to go? Which dances earned your cheers (or jeers) on Monday night? Tell us in the comments!