TV Recap: “Dancing with the Stars” – Season 31, Episode 4 – “Disney+ Night”

Thanks to the move to streaming, our beloved Disney Night has taken on new life in the ballroom. The broader Disney+ Night is upon us as the remaining couples continue to compete for the mirrorball trophy. With this being a broader variation on the usual theme, song choices aren’t all in the immediate Disney canon. This change could bring us greatness or some painful failures on the dance floor tonight. We know one thing’s for sure…I will avenge Cheryl’s elimination until my last day on Earth!

After Ezra danced with Mickey and Minnie, the show quickly got under way.

Joseph Baena and Daniella Karagach – Charleston – “A Star is Born” from Hercules – Joseph? As Hercules? Who would’ve thought? (Everyone. Literally everyone.) Our first Charleston of the season is not something I’d necessarily assign to Joseph. It was a true cluster. He had the goofiest face the entire time, but I don’t know why? Nerves? Len and Derek both want to see less tricks throughout, because the content is not bad, per se. Carrie Ann sees that he’s rushing, which is hurting every performance. I just don’t understand, because nothing is consistent with him. There’s something there, so here’s hoping he works even harder going forward.

Judges Scores: 7 – SEHven – 7 – 7

Sam Champion and Cheryl Burke – Paso Doble – “The Greatest Show” from The Greatest Showman – I’m immediately off my game, because Ezra started the dance flexing at the camera. When I actually paid attention, he was happy, he was fine, he was whatever. I enjoy Sam, he’s a sweetheart, but I think he’s plateauing. Len wants to see better posture, but all the judges are overwhelmingly proud of him. When the judges are “proud,” it’s code for “you’re not good, but we’re happy you’re here.”

Judges Scores: 7 – 6 – 6 – 6

Jordin Sparks and Brandon Armstrong – Jazz – “Remember Me” from Coco – She sings this song to her son as a lullaby, so let’s hope she doesn’t put us to sleep! HEY-O! She starts by singing to her son, then Brandon throws and spins her around for two minutes. She was like a ragdoll, but with purpose! As Bruno said, all of her movements had reason and flow and Len highlighted it was her best dance yet. I have, personally, found Jordin rather forgettable, but this dance put her on the map. Phenomenal!

Judges Scores: 9 – 8 – 8 – 9

Wayne Brady and Witney Carson – Jazz – “Wait For It” from Hamilton – Wayne’s dancing to a ding-dang song he’s sung in Hamilton! Witney is appreciative of his Broadway background to help her craft the dance. This dance was just gorgeous! Carrie Ann makes sure to highlight that he took the note to make sure his footwork was tight. Len perfectly described that the nuances Wayne brings to the ballroom are the best of the season. Wayne is crying, I’m smiling at home, and Ben Veeren is Wayne’s godfather?! So many emotions flowing!

Judges Scores: 9 – 9 – 9 – 9

Daniel Durant and Britt Stewart – Quickstep – “Finally Free” from HSMTMTS – Y’all already know that I’m on board for any Joshua Bassett song in the ballroom. Daniel is very worried about being back in a dance with a strong frame, but he delivers. His frame is better, his synchronicity with Britt was exceptional, but Len hates the props. He did have to dance around desks, which made his footwork flub a few times. As Derek said, his diagonal pass was gorgeous. (Regardless, the dance included Ezra dressed as a Wildcat, signing, and looking cute. Tens across the board!)

Judges Scores: 7 – SEHven – 7 – 8

Shangela and Gleb Savchenko – Charleston – “Dig A Little Deeper” from The Princess and the Frog – Shangela’s bestie is Jenifer Lewis and THAT is culture. That is history. That is legendary. She’s in the rehearsal space! MAMA ODIE IS IN THE REHEARSAL SPACE. Jenifer Lewis is singing live! Courtney Act (first ever drag star to perform on a DWTS franchise) is in the ballroom! Derek wanted the dance to get going a little sooner, but it was great once it got going. Len was full of praise and I was full of screams. Shangela is just a delight.

Judges Scores – 8 – 8 – 8 – 8

Heidi D’Amelio and Artem Chigvintsev – Viennese Waltz – “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Mary Poppins – Artem has a smidge of fear to go from a flowy dance last week into a rigid dance this week. As my friend put it, this dance was beautifully elegant. She’s so light on her feet that it felt effortless from start to finish. The judges were glowing, everyone stating how clean it was throughout. Derek also made sure to highlight how strong her frame was, which was sensational. Alfonso even pulled out an “I told ya so!” Huzzah for Heidi!

Judges Scores: 9 – 8 – 8 – 9

Gabby Windey and Val Chmerkovskiy – Quickstep – “Mr. Blue Sky” from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – She is in full Gamora, honey. FULL Gamora. It was a wonderful dance with lots of exceptional technique, but the song choice was bizarre for me. The judges were glowing, with Len highlighting Val’s commitment to choreographing intense routines. Gabby loved being able to fall into a character in this performance, but she did mention she wanted to be Groot.

Judges Scores: 9 – 9 – 9 – 9

Trevor Donovan and Emma Slater – Samba – “Life Is A Highway” from Cars – Trevor has a shoulder injury that is hindering his rehearsal process. His shoulder didn’t hinder the process…the dance was bad enough on its own. Len, understandably, thought it was a mess. His legs were messy, he seemed the most stressed the entire competition. Trevor has been on the up-and-up, but this dance wasn’t his strongest. It was a backwards step, but I know he’ll do better going forward.

Judges Scores: 7 – SEHven – 7 – 7

Vinny Guadagnino and Koko Iwasaki – Samba – “Il Gatto E La Volpe” from Luca – Listen up, y’all. Luca is in my Top 5, so Vinny being assigned this movie is making me sad. It’s not awful, but it’s Vinny. He played the character very well, but it was just eh. It’s Vinny, I don’t know what else to say! Pauly D and “The Situation” were in the ballroom. All the judges highlight the improvement from last week, which was true! He is trying! It’s still Vinny, though. *sighs*

Judges Scores: 8 – SEHven – 7 – 7

Selma Blair and Sasha Farber –  Quickstep – “The Muppet Show Theme” from The Muppet Show – Selma’s dog is just sleeping in various places around the rehearsal room. This is essential information to take with you throughout the dance. Her footwork was pitch-perfect this week with this delightful Muppetsational performance. Carrie Ann loves their partnership, while Len highlights their clean performance. Miss Piggy loved the performance and I have to agree!

Judges Scores: 8 – 8 – 8 – 8

Jessie James Decker and Alan Bersten – Jive – “One Way or Another” from Hocus Pocus 2 – So, Alan is dressed as Billy Butcherson this week. He’s been sort of popping up into frame throughout the episode and it has been a level of frightening that I haven’t experienced since I saw Hereditary for the first time. This dance, however? Not scary at all! Without a doubt, this was her best performance yet. Her legs were so confident and clean, adding in that essential bounce needed for the jive. I am thrilled for her, as she really killed it this week. Carrie Ann spread pixie dust out of excitement! AMUCK AMUCK AMUCK!

Judges Scores: 8 – SEHven – 8 – 8

Charli D’Amelio and Mark Ballas – Jazz – “The Simpsons Theme Song” from The Simpsons – They went absolutely kooky with the body paint this week, ‘cause both Charli and Mark are in full yellow body paint. The dance was very good, let me make that clear. However, it was surreal. It was so different from what’s normally on DWTS that it was just so kooky. Len absolutely loved it, while Derek assures us it will be going viral. Mark knows how to choreograph freaky stuff and he did not disappoint tonight. Just W I L D, friends. WILD.

Judges Scores: 9 – 9 – 9 – 9

After the judges scores and the online votes, our bottom two end up as Sam & Cheryl and Trevor & Emma. The judges ended up saving Trevor & Emma, sending home Sam Champion & Cheryl Burke. Cheryl, the DWTS icon, always deserves time in the ballroom. Sam is a delight and will be sorely missed in the ballroom. Next week, I’ll be back for a DWTS two-night event! Until then, BA BA DA BA BA BA BA BA BA DA BA BA

Marshal Knight
Marshal Knight is a writer based in Orlando, FL. He is the co-owner of the pop culture blog and the full owner of a Rosie O’Donnell Barbie. He’d like to thank Sandra Oh.