It was a magical Monday night indeed, as “Dancing with the Stars” presented it’s hugely popular “Disney Night” spectacular. And to add to the drama, dancers were told as the evening progressed whether they were ‘safe’ to return for another week of competition, or “in jeopardy,” meaning they could go home by night’s end.
By the show’s halfway point, three couples were already in jeopardy.
As for retired Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross? Well, he hadn’t yet danced a step to his “Cars 3”-inspired jive routine with pro partner Lindsay Arnold, but it was revealed he is safe, and will be back next week. But he will need LOTS of love from Chicago Cubs fans to keep up with the high-scoring pack around him (more on this below) .
When the performance finally got under way (danced to “Ride” from the hit animated film), it was clear Ross was having the time of his life.
In his pre-dance video package, Ross was equally all-smiles, delivering a heaping helping of self-deprecating criticism.
“This is midway through the season and … I thought I’d have one or two dances and be home!,” Ross said.
“[My mind is telling me] Now were in this, so it’s time to work your tail off! … But mentally and physically [the jive] is hard. I’m grinding. This is like August in baseball! … The competition is very stiff. There’s no weak dancer. [Laughing] It may be me. My brain keeps saying, ‘ You’re old! You’re an idiot!”
Host Tom Bergeron greeted Ross and Arnold with some video of last week’s World Series Championship ring ceremony in Wrigley Field, where Ross also tossed out the ceremonial first pitch.
“It’s the end of an era,” Ross said of his baseball career as he watched the video. “A new chapter is starting now. The travel is tough.”
Also tough were the judges comments. Len Goodman said Ross’ footwork was flat, as did Julianne Hough. His score for the night: 29 out of 40.
Ross took it all in stride, saying, “This was one of my funnest dances. I enjoyed it all week [in rehearsals]. I’m happy.”
Unfortunately Ross’ score turned out to be the lowest of the night. Grandpa Rossy finds himself at the bottom of the leader board going into next week’s competition.
At the end of the night, the couple eliminated from the competition was Erika Jayne and Gleb Savchenko, who despite dancing a lovely and emotional Viennese Waltz to the strains of “Unforgettable” from “Finding Dory,” failed to garner enough judges’ points and viewer votes to continue on in the series.
Also on tonight’s episode:
There was plenty of Disney charm to be had in the ballroom on the fifth week of competition. Standouts included Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy who earned a thunderous standing ovation from the audience and the night-topping score of 39 out of 40 for their paso doble, danced to “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” from “Mulan.” Adding to their routine was “DWTS” season nine champ Donny Osmond who sang the tune as the couple danced.
Heather Morris and her partner Alan Bersten charmed the heck out of the crowd with their gorgeous jazz routine danced to “For the First Time in Forever” from “Frozen.” The dance split the four-panel judges’ table down the middle, with Carrie Ann Inaba and Len Goodman each scoring the dance an “8,” while Julianne Hough and Bruno Tonioli each scored the performance a “9.”
“The Bachelor” Nick Viall, surprised everyone when he showed up clean-shaven to dance as the puppeteer Geppetto from “Pinocchio.” “It’s been a year-and-a-half,” Viall revealed, referring to the last time he did not sport his famous facial hair. Their jazz routine earned a 34 out of 40 from the judges.
Also scoring multiple 10s on this night were Simone Biles and Sasha Farber, who danced a dazzling and inspiring “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana.” They scored a 38 out of 40.
NOTE: The injured Maks Chmerkovskiy said he will return next week to continue on in the competition with his celebrity partner Heather Morris.