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:
BEST OF THE NIGHT
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
BEST OF THE NIGHT (RUNNER-UP)
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
WORST OF THE NIGHT
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.