For Week 6 on "Dancing With the Stars," Stevie Wonder was on hand tonight both in person to perform and through the music for every dance. The remaining eight celebs and their pro partners had to perform two dances tonight -- an individual dance and a team dance number -- and for those who had trouble remembering their right foot from their left, the stress and strain showed.
Proving that DWTS can feature a genuine star, Stevie Wonder opened the show, accompanied by country singer Hunter Hayes, who was largely ignored in the post-song chat with host Tom Bergeron and did not reappear during the show. After Tom commented that it would have been really awkward if Stevie had not appeared on Stevie Wonder Night, the super-singer said, "If I hadn't been here, I would have had to watch it on TV." At that point, Tom pointed out that only Stevie could make that joke.
Each week, Zendaya, Kellie and Aly have alternated taking the top spot, and this week was no different. Zendaya and Val led off the night with a cha cha to "Do I Do," and had the judges grinning from ear to ear. Head judge Len Goodman said, "There's one word that sums up great dancing: Zendaya," while judge Bruno Tonioli called the dance, "Gob. Smacking. Gorgeous." The pair scored two 10s and a 9.
Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas did their best to keep up with the others, dancing a spirited foxtrot to "Isn't She Lovely," dedicated to Aly's hometown of Boston. The judges nitpicked her technique, but judge Carrie Ann Inaba called her, "an understated performer heading for perfection." They were given three 9s.
And then it was Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough's turn to go for the gusto with a quickstep to "Part-Time Lover." It was fast, smooth, fun and what Bruno called, "sumptuous, exciting, superb." Len topped him by saying it was "for me, the best dance I've seen all season." And the scores followed the compliments: two 10s and a 9.
But this week, there were team dances to add to the scores, and one team out-danced and out-costumed the other, mixing up the top scorers on the leaderboard. Zendaya, Victor Ortiz, Ingo Rademacher and Jacoby Jones, and partners, made up Team Paso, which danced to "Higher Ground," while Kellie, Aly, Andy Dick and Sean Lowe, and partners, comprised Team Samba, dancing to "Superstition."
The guys on Team Paso came out shirtless and ended ripping off the girls' skirts to use as capes. Carrie Ann nailed it when she said it was "a little bit too broken, just too sloppy." Victor looked like he was sleepwalking, and it seemed everyone was counting on Zendaya to make them victorious. Big mistake -- it would have helped for all of the dancers to at least be in sync.
Team Samba, on the other hand, took a theme of '70s disco and dressed the part, complete with mustaches and shades on all of the guys. It looked like everyone was having fun, fun, fun and even when Andy or Sean missed a step in their solos, the group effort pulled them through and the girls "killed it," said Bruno. It was a great number with lots of spirit between the dancers and even Len said, "Well done." In the end, Team Samba beat Team Paso, 25-22, and each dancer added the appropriate score to their total. Zendaya lost her top spot to Kellie, and she didn't look one bit happy about it when all of the couples stood together at the end of the show.
In rehearsal, Ingo spelled out how the bottom four -- him, Sean, Andy and Victor -- needed to step it up to stay in the competition. While he did exactly that in a tango to "Up Tight" with Kym Johnson that got their highest scores of the season, the others failed in their attempts. Ingo put everything he could into the dance and was rewarded by "Bingo, Ingo, on the tango," from Len, a nice gift on Ingo's birthday.
Victor's rumba to "I Just Called to Say I Love You" was statuesque -- he was a statue while Lindsay Arnold danced around him. To "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," Andy did his best to bring his personality to the samba with Sharna Burgess, but his technique was not well done. In the end, his entertainment value may encourage fans to vote for him to stay another week or two. As for Sean, the story of how he missed a day of practice was meant to garner sympathy, but his samba to "I Wish" with Peta Murgatroyd was clunky and didn't match the music. Len even compared it in a very unkind way to Andy's dance, producing boos from Sean's fiancée and others in the audience.
Jacoby Jones capped the individual dances with a quickstep with Karina Smirnoff to "For Once In My Life" that had lots of energy but poor footwork. Instead of being just below the top three, Jacoby was mired with the bottom four.
The team dances boosted some low scores and mixed up the top scorers. It will be interesting to see if Victor and Lindsay once again will be in the bottom two, and if Sean and Peta could join them.
The fans were encouraged to vote for the Encore Team Dance on Twitter, and Stevie Wonder ended the show on a high note, saying, "I gotta come back next year and do my thing," to the delight of Tom and co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet.
The celebrities and their scores, plus team scores:
Kellie and Derek -- 29 + 25 = 54
Aly and Mark -- 27 + 25 = 52
Zendaya and Val -- 29 + 22 = 51
Ingo and Kym -- 24 + 22 = 46
Sean and Peta -- 21 + 25 = 46
Jacoby and Karina -- 23 + 22 = 45
Andy and Sharna -- 18 + 25 = 43
Victor and Lindsay -- 18 + 22 = 40
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