Dancing With the Stars Recap: Did the Right Dancer Leave on Disney Night?

DWTS Disney Night

Dancing With the Stars has made a lot of changes for its latest season — but the two hours of corporate synergy known as Disney Night? That’s here to stay.

Per tradition, Monday’s episode of the ABC series found couples dancing to beloved Disney songs, complete with themed costumes, cameos from animated characters and, naturally, plenty of plugs for Disney’s latest offerings. (Pixar’s Soul is coming to theaters Nov. 20, in case you hadn’t heard!) (Ah, movies getting released on schedule, in an actual theater. Remember that?)

But the show also broke a long-standing Disney Night tradition this week: Typically, this theme brings a fairytale ending, and no contestants actually get eliminated. This time? Someone indeed went home… and the results may not have come as much sur-purr-ise. Read on for a recap of Monday’s performances:

Skai Jackson and pro Alan Bersten (Jive set to The Princess and the Frog‘s “Almost There”): The good news: Skai and Alan’s jive didn’t involve any hair-pulling, near-falling fiascoes. The bad news: Despite mastering most of the steps in this jive, Skai seems to have lost the attitude and confidence she brought to her Week 1 tango. It could just be the lack of a studio audience, but Skai’s intense focus on Alan sometimes seems to border on panic, as though she’d be completely at sea with the choreography if he weren’t there to guide her. Judges’ Score: 18/30

Monica Aldama and pro Val Chmerkovskiy (Waltz set to The Little Mermaid‘s “Part of Your World”): Before Season 29 began, I was sure Monica would have no problem memorizing choreography; I was slightly less sure she’d be able to embody a character in the way that ballroom dance demands. What a delight, then, to see her deliver a waltz that was elegant, confident and, most impressively, totally committed to Ariel and Eric’s romantic chemistry. You can usually tell when a contestant feels awkward acting during their performance (see: Nelly), but Monica didn’t shy away. Judges’ Score: 21/30

DWTS Disney NightJustina Machado and pro Sasha Farber (Charleston set to Mary Poppins‘ “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”; pictured): I’m shamelessly echoing the judges here, but this Charleston didn’t have quite enough swivel in those swivel steps; Justina does have a knack for making ballroom dance look easy, but in this case, she actually was turning in a very simple version of what’s meant to be an intricate step. Meanwhile, we could have done entirely without that bizarre spinning-on-the-stomach section, no? Judges’ Score: 19/30

AJ McLean and pro Cheryl Burke (Quickstep set to Aladdin‘s “Prince Ali”): AJ is starting to fall into that peculiar, middle-of-the-pack category that usually develops every season. He’s reliably good each week, and he looks comfortable on the dance floor… but I haven’t been blown away just yet, you know? Given the opening sequence of this routine — which found AJ dancing alone for several bars — he can absolutely handle tough choreography; now, it’s just a matter of how big an impression he’s making on voters, and whether he’ll stick around long enough to show us his full capabilities. Judges’ Score: 21/30

Anne Heche and pro Keo Motsepe (Quickstep set to Hercules‘ “Zero to Hero”): Let’s just blame the second half of this routine — in which Anne completely lost her handle on the choreography — on her thirst for Keo. (He fit into the Hercules costume quite nicely, after all!) Judges’ Score: 15/30

Jeannie Mai and pro Brandon Armstrong (Viennese Waltz set to Up‘s “Married Life”): Jeannie is the ideal Dancing contestant: She started out a bit shaky, but had massive potential, and has since improved noticeably every week. This Viennese waltz was both graceful and fun, and her extensions in those port de bras? *chef’s kiss* (Sorry, that’s probably better suited for a Ratatouille-themed dance.) Judges’ Score: 22/30

Nelly and pro Daniella Karagach (Foxtrot set to Soul‘s “It’s Alright”): Nelly has proven for three weeks straight that he’s a solid ballroom dancer — but he doesn’t seem to know he’s a solid ballroom dancer. As lovely and refined as this foxtrot was, Nelly seemed a bit sheepish throughout the routine, and I worry that his bashfulness will hold him back from becoming a frontrunner. Judges’ Score: 18/30

Carole Baskin and pro Pasha Pashkov (Samba set to The Lion King‘s “Circle of Life”): You… all witnessed this samba, right? It actually took place and was not a personal fever dream? OK. Well, there’s no need to dissect the dismal execution, which lacked any real energy and was delivered in some truly questionable velvet onesies. Instead, I’ll leave it to Derek Hough, who mustered all the enthusiasm he could with this closer: “You’re doin’ it! You’re out here! Good job!” Judges’ Score: 12/30

Kaitlyn Bristowe and pro Artem Chigvintsev (Rumba set to Moana‘s “How Far I’ll Go”): Despite some tendinitis, shin splints and swelling in her ankle, Kaitlyn was extremely sure-footed during this rumba, matching Artem in both steps and emotion. At this point, I’m only worried about Kaitlyn peaking too early; she might just be the strongest contestant of the season, and I hope she and Artem are able to keep up the momentum. Judges’ Score: 23/30

Vernon Davis and pro Peta Murgatroyd (Quickstep set to Beauty and the Beast‘s “Be Our Guest”): Vernon was totally committed to the giddy goofiness of playing Lumiere, which I respected. But his footwork got a bit sloppy at times, too — and with no disrespect to Carrie Ann Inaba, let’s not throw those eights around so casually! Judges’ Score: 22/30

DWTS Disney NightNev Schulman and pro Jenna Johnson (Argentine Tango set to Pirates of the Caribbean‘s “Angelica”; pictured): I did not expect Nev to play Jack Sparrow as excellently as he did (the drunken stumbles!), all while providing a solid base for Jenna’s many lifts. Is “shook” still a thing people say? Because that’s me. That’s what I am. Judges’ Score: 24/30

Johnny Weir and pro Britt Stewart (Rumba set to Mulan‘s “Reflection”): Johnny finally had the breakthrough performance that he needed to become a real contender this season, thanks to a moving Christina Aguilera soundtrack, excellent choreography from Britt, and Johnny’s own emotional story of the parents that sacrificed so much for him to pursue a figure skating career. That emotion didn’t quite kick in until the last third of the routine, but here’s hoping Johnny can harness it and deliver the same intensity in future weeks. Judges’ Score: 24/30

Jesse Metcalfe and pro Sharna Burgess (Jive set to Newsies‘ “King of New York”): Jesse’s jive was by no means perfect — some of those kicks and flicks were a liiiittle lazy — but I was so thrilled to see him capturing the character and mood of this dance. That furrowed brow did make an appearance or two, but on the whole, Jesse’s personality was vibrant and his face expressive, which made this dance enjoyable to watch despite imperfect footwork. Judges’ Score: 20/30

Chrishell Stause and pro Gleb Savchenko (Waltz set to Cinderella‘s “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes”): No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing… you’ll go from earning a four in Week 1 to an eight in Week 3! Though Chrishell still seems to doubt herself when she appears in the ballroom, her execution has gotten much stronger, and there was very little clumsiness to be found in this exceedingly lovely waltz. Judges’ Score: 22/30

And now, the results:

Carole Baskin and pro Pasha Pashkov
Anne Heche and pro Keo Motsepe

Anne Heche and pro Keo Motsepe (saved by all three judges)

Carole Baskin and pro Pasha Pashkov

OK, your turn! Was Carole the right choice for elimination? And which Disney Night performance(s) will earn your vote? Tell us in the comments below!

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