‘Dancing with the Stars’ rankings: Lindsey Stirling ruled, but Nikki Bella deserved better from the judges

I think announcing to the couples that there would be no elimination at the beginning of this week’s “Guilty Pleasures” episode of “Dancing with the Stars” really allowed many of them to let loose and enjoy themselves. At the end of the night, Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas regained the top spot with a showstopping jive that earned the highest score of the season. Jordan Fisher and his partner Lindsay Arnold were right on their tails with their electrifying Charleston.

Vanessa Lachey, Drew Scott and Victoria Arlen also ended up near the top of the leaderboard, but interestingly enough we saw a five-way tie for sixth place as Frankie Muniz, Derek Fisher, Terrell Owens, Nick Lachey and Nikki Bella all scored 21 out of 30 for their routines.

But after having a breakthrough last week, Sasha Pieterse and her partner Gleb Savchenko ended up at the bottom of the leaderboard this season, earning a 19 out of 30 for their forgettable jazz routine.

But were the judges right in how they scored this week’s performances? Below are my rankings:

1. Lindsey Stirling & Mark Ballas – Jive (“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!)

Guilty pleasure: Staying in her pajamas

Lindsey and Mark are a match made in “DWTS” heaven. Their jive was full of content: flicks, kicks and high-speed action. Lindsey kept up with Mark for the entire routine. This was definitely the dance of the night! But I have a funny feeling that the best is yet to come for these two.

My Prediction:  9 (Carrie Ann) + 8 (Len) + 9 (Bruno) = 26/30

Actual Score: 9 (Carrie Ann) + 9 (Len) + 9 (Bruno) = 27/30

Well deserved!

2. Jordan Fisher & Lindsay Arnold – Charleston (“Glory Days” by Michael Giacchino)

Guilty Pleasure: Comic books

Is there a dance that this guy cannot do? Once again he and Lindsay crushed it. From the staging to the storytelling to the dancing, this routine will go down as one of the most memorable of the season. What I love about Jordan is that although he has the skills, it looks like he’s also having the time of his life week in and week out.

My Prediction: 9 (Carrie Ann) + 8 (Len) + 9 (Bruno) = 26/30

Actual Score: 9 (Carrie Ann) + 7 (Len) + 9 (Bruno) = 25/30

Of course Len would have an issue with this nontraditional interpretation of a Charleston.

3. Victoria Arlen & Valentin Chmerkovskiy – Quickstep (“Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba)

Guilty Pleasure: The song “Tubthumping”

I was impressed with Victoria’s footwork throughout the dance. Initially I was a bit concerned that there would be a potential issue with her legs, but she and Val eased my fears right out the gate. I do agree with Len, though, that she and Val need to work on maintaining body contact and frame.

My Prediction:  8 (Carrie Ann Inaba) + 7 (Len Goodman) + 8 (Bruno Tonioli) = 23/30

Actual Score:  8 (Carrie Ann) + 7 (Len) + 7 (Bruno) = 22/30

Definitely underscored by the judges. I felt that she deserved another 8.

4. Nikki Bella & Artem Chigvintsev – Viennese Waltz (“Love on the Brain” by Rihanna)

Guilty Pleasure: Romance novels

I loved the opening of this dance, in an elevator channeling “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I thought it set the tone perfectly. This is the most confident and at ease I’ve seen Nikki this season so far. I thought her chemistry with Artem was spot-on, and her movements were very fluid throughout the routine.

My Prediction:  8 (Carrie Ann) + 8 (Len) + 8 (Bruno) = 24/30

Actual Score: 7 (Carrie Ann) + 7 (Len) + 7 (Bruno) = 21/30

This was severely underscored. She definitely deserved a higher score, or at least or the same score as Drew (see below).

5. Vanessa Lachey & Alan Bernsten (filling in for Maksim Chmerkovskiy) – Jazz (“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper)

Guilty Pleasure: Hanging out with her girlfriends

Vanessa’s partner Maks was unable to compete this week, so Vanessa was paired with Alan Bersten, this season’s first-time pro who was just eliminated last week with Debbie Gibson. But despite the challenges of the partner swap this performance was fun, flirty and full of content. I thought the staging was great and loved the section with Vanessa dancing with female troupe members.

My Prediction:  7 (Carrie Ann) + 7 (Len) + 8 (Bruno) = 22/30

Actual Score: 7 (Carrie Ann) + 8 (Len) + 8 (Bruno) = 23/30

The scores were pretty much in line with what I predicted.

6. Frankie Muniz & Witney Carson – Samba (“It’s Gonna Be Me” by N SYNC)

Guilty Pleasure: Boy bands

Since week one, Frankie has been on roll, surprising us week after week. This week was a bit of a stumble for him. I love Frankie’s enthusiasm and commitment to the dance, but you can tell he wasn’t comfortable with the samba. He didn’t have much bounce in his steps and his movements seemed a bit small. On the plus side, he never lost timing or made any noticeable mistakes.

My Prediction:  7 (Carrie Ann) + 7 (Len) + 7 (Bruno) = 21/30

Actual Score:  7 (Carrie Ann) + 7 (Len) + 7 (Bruno) = 21/30

Pretty spot-on with my prediction. Entertaining, but lacked the samba feel.

7. Drew Scott & Emma Slater – Argentine Tango (“Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds)

Guilty Pleasure: True-crime shows

After impressing the judges with his quickstep and rumba last week, Drew looked to turn up the heat with his Argentine tango, but I felt that this was a bit lukewarm. The first half of the dance was really slow and didn’t have much passion. I felt the dance picked up towards the end with the lifts, but I was a bit indifferent to the routine as a whole.

My Prediction: 8 (Carrie Ann) + 7 (Len) + 7 (Bruno) = 22/30

Actual Score: 8 (Carrie Ann) + 7 (Len) + 8 (Bruno) = 23/30

Drew performed first, so we’ve now gone from underscoring the first couple of the night in the previous three episodes to over-scoring the first couple of the night. Drew’s score was a huge indicator as to how the night was going to be.

8. Nick Lachey & Peta Murgatroyd – Jazz (“Jump (For My Love)” by the Pointer Sisters)

Guilty Pleasure: Romantic comedies

Who knew that it would take an ’80s jazzercise theme to help Nick loosen up. Nick was fully committed to the dance and brought a lot of energy. Jazz routines are so subjective that there really isn’t much to judge from a technical standpoint.

My Prediction:  7 (Carrie Ann) + 7 (Len) + 7 (Bruno) = 21/30

Actual Score: 7 (Carrie Ann) + 7 (Len) + 7 (Bruno) =21/30

I figured the judges would throw him a bone this week.

9. Terrell Owens & Cheryl Burke – Salsa (“The Breaks” by Kurtis Blow)

Guilty Pleasure: Breakdancing

As with Nick, I was happy to see Terrell let loose and have fun. I thought Cheryl did a great job of incorporating hip-hop moves throughout the routine, while Terrell did an okay job of handling the salsa portions. This routine was a step in the right direction for him.

My Prediction: 7 (Carrie Ann) + 6 (Len) + 7 (Bruno) = 20/30

Actual Score: 7 (Carrie Ann) + 7 (Len) + 7 (Bruno) = 21/30

I was surprised to see how much the judges loved this routine.

10. Derek Fisher & Sharna Burgess – Cha-Cha (“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince)

Guilty Pleasure: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”

You could tell that Derek is a huge fan of the show. This routine was fun, energetic and surprisingly full of cha cha content. But I will admit that there were some parts of his dance that were a bit sloppy and off.

My Prediction: 7 (Carrie Ann) + 6 (Len) + 7 (Bruno) = 20/30

Actual Score: 7 (Carrie Ann) + 7 (Len) + 7 (Bruno) = 21/30

Interesting that he received his highest score for one of his sloppier dances.

11. Sasha Pieterse & Gleb Savchenko – Jazz (“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” by the Four Tops)

Guilty Pleasure: Baking

Just like her guilty pleasure, I felt that this routine was a bit boring, which is a shame considering her breakthrough last week. I knew that the song choice wouldn’t be exciting enough to pull off an entertaining jazz routine. The choreography was pretty basic and forgettable.

My Prediction: 7 (Carrie Ann) + 7 (Len) + 7 (Bruno) = 21/30

Actual Score: 7 (Carrie Ann) + 6 (Len) + 6 (Bruno) = 19/30

Ouch, I definitely wasn’t expecting those 6s. It’s not looking good for her next week.


Sasha and Gleb most definitely are at risk of going home. I’m hoping her fans from “Pretty Little Liars” will vote and help her escape elimination. I’m also worried about Derek and Sharna; although he earned his highest scores, he hasn’t yet gotten the opportunity to stand out from the pack.

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