When season 19 of “Dancing With the Stars” began two weeks ago, Alfonso Ribeiro wowed the judges with his jive, and it seemed like he might easily waltz through the competition, but Lea Thompson out-performed him in week two, and week three brought even more upheaval to the leaderboard. Not only were there two new contestants at the top of the judges’ standings – they got there with a pair of perfect scores. Have we found our new frontrunners?
The first perfect score went to actress Janel Parrish and pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy, who performed a jazz routine inspired by “West Side Story” to fit the week’s “Movie Night” theme. They were thrown a major curve ball during training week, when they were told by producers that they would have to overhaul their choreography to less resemble the film they were honoring, but despite the setback they delivered a performance that judge Julianne Hough called “perfecto.”
Not to be outdone, YouTube personality Bethany Mota and partner Derek Hough closed the show with their own jazz routine inspired by a classic Hollywood musical: “Singin’ in the Rain.” Hough felt more pressure than usual, paying homage to his idol Gene Kelly, but their extra hard work paid off; they too received 10s across the board, including from generous guest judge Kevin Hart, who also bestowed a 10 on Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd.
The night didn’t end as well for UFC fighter Randy Couture, who learned he was at risk of elimination at the start of the show and had to perform his paso doble with Karina Smirnoff immediately thereafter. Julianne Hough thought the performance lacked the charm of his first-week dance, Bruno Tonioli noted that his timing was off, and Carrie Ann Inaba told him he lacked finesse. With a total of 26 points, he scored lower than any other contestant, but that turned out to be a moot point; he was sent home at the end of the show.
His ouster leaves auto-racer Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater at the bottom of the standings, though he greatly improved from last week, scoring straight 7s from the judges for his waltz. Last week, they gave him 6s.
The remaining dancers scored as follows:
Bethany Mota – 40
Janel Parrish – 40
Tommy Chong – 34
Jonathan Bennett – 32
Alfonso Ribeiro – 32
Sadie Robertson – 32
Lea Thompson – 31
Betsey Johnson – 29
Antonio Sabato Jr. – 29
Michael Waltrip – 28
Will yet another new team rise to the top next week when the contestants perform dances inspired by their most memorable year, or will Janel and Bethany keep up their momentum? And did you think they really deserved those perfect scores so early in the competition? Vote in our poll below, then predict who will be next week’s top performer.