‘Dancing With the Stars’ recap: Pump up the Jam

My Jam Monday made its debut on Week 2 of “Dancing With the Stars” Season 19. The stars got to choose their favorite songs to jam to. On a Monday!

Before the celebs trotted out their choices, the judges stepped out to their favorite tunes. Classic Len Goodman trotted out to “Come Dance With Me.” Fly Carrie Ann Inaba put herself in the middle of a manwich with Rihanna’s “Only Girl (in the World).” Bruno Tonioli thrusted to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” (but of course), and Julianne Hough came out sweeping to Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars.”

Though the resulting routines in the second performance show were a mixed bag -- the stars were forced to adjust to the pressure of only having a week to prepare their dances, stress ran high, wardrobes and props threatened to malfunction, and we ended up with jams both tart and sweet.


Taking the lead away from Alfonso Ribeiro was fellow 1980s star Lea Thompson, who was a bit shaken after “the shock” of being in jeopardy last week with Artem Chigvintsev. But Lea embraced the cougar that she is and the animal print that she was wearing, and danced the bazongas out of her jive (quite literally – there was a near wardrobe malfunction where the sisters threatened to make an appearance). Bruno said the actress had “the incandescent appeal of Ann Margaret in her prime.” Carrie Ann literally fell out of her chair and said, “your wild beast is just all over the place” (again, almost quite literally). Julianne called Lea a “hot mama leopard.” Favorite exchange: “Artem wanted me to be crazy,” Lea explained to Erin. New U.S. citizen Artem nodded in assent: “You got it.” Total: 35 out of 40.

Janel Parrish was intent on working to make “everything I do tidy” after her disappointing “Bang Bang” scores last week. Val Chmerkovskiy took that as a sign to push the “Pretty Little Liars” actress hard. “I think she deserves it,” the Ukranian said. “Without pain, work, struggle, there’s no happiness at the end of the tunnel.” And the actress ended up getting the Carly Rae Jepsen “Call (Me Maybe)” of support from the judges at the end of hers and Val’s foxtrot, which was a masquerade ball hipped up to a pop audience. Carrie Ann was “impressed by [Janel’s] versatility” and “effortless elegance.” Bruno called her “hot to trot” though agreed with Julianne to be conscious of planting her foot on the ground. Len, of course, “would have liked to see a little bit more in hold.” Total: 34.

Bethany Mota not only had a respectable first week dance, but Taylor Swift tweeted out the performance “and it trended!” The YouTube star has another star to add to her video list with her impressive foxtrot with Derek Hough, set to Meghan Trainor’s hit “All About that Bass.” Made all the more impressive after Bethany suffered an ankle injury earlier in the week. Bruno said the Bob Fosse elements “really tickled my fancy.” Carrie Ann said Bethany’s “a great storyteller.” Len’s no big Twitter man, but the head judge thought the routine was “a great number” that deserved to be tweeted to the masses: “The best I’ve seen tonight!” Total: 33.

Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson were feeling the pressure, after Week 1’s astronomically high scores. “Now our job is to work and top it,” perfectionist Alfonso declared. But the pressure ratcheted up the intensity in the rehearsal room, as Alfonso felt he couldn’t figure out how “to get my body to move” (wow, he’s taking this competition seriously) and Witney struggled with not wanting to “let him down.” But their samba, as stilted as it was at times, was fun and absolutely “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It.” The judges, however, wanted more Latin flair. “I’m really looking forward to seeing something more in the samba groove,” Julianne said. Bruno agreed. “Your personal style charisma and feel for the music is unique … but the samba requires the very specific motion.” Len, still, thought Alfonso was “popping like buttons on a tight shirt.” Total: 32.

Antonio Sabato Jr. and Cheryl Burke were also feeling the pressure – Cheryl lashed out on a harmless, friendly butterfly (that she insisted was a bee) and the hunky Antonio had to take it outside with aviators and learn how to smile again. Good thing they got back on the same page, because their rumba was a thing of sensual beauty, and one the judges thought was “leaps and bounds” ahead of last week’s routine. “The connection between you two is beautiful,” Julianne said. “Subtle, smooth, totally in your element,” Carrie Ann swooned, though she cautioned Antonio to “watch the arm that’s not in hold.” Bruno was all about the bottom line: “You have a very nice butt … use it more.” Total: 31.

Sadie Robertson’s what Mark Ballas called “as country as it gets,” so it was an extra challenge for the pro to add honky-tonk elements to a jazz routine set to Jason Aldean’s “She’s Country.” Especially with “duck girl” dad Willie on video blog nixing all of Sadie’s barely-there outfit choices (“Those aren’t dresses – they’re dishtowels,” he objected). Carrie Ann said Sadie “killed it,” though the edginess and hip-thrusts brought out the judge’s concerned maternal side: “Was your dad okay with that routine?” Speaking of disapproving paternal figures, Len found the jazz and country dancing “didn’t quite gel for me.” I have to agree: It was an odd duck mix. Total: 31.

Jonathan Bennett and Allison Holker had a heart-to-heart at a nail salon where the “Mean Girls” actor confessed he felt like she’s his best friend. Allison, however, wanted to turn on Jonathan’s “sexiness” to a more-than-friends status for their rocking cha-cha. The judges liked the sharp edges, but would have liked more cha-cha content. “Loads of flim-flam,” Len complained. Allison defended that she was hired to freshen up the choreography (danger, Will Robinson! Don’t ruffle the judges your first season out!). Jonathan diplomatically tried to smooth things over by saying it was a rookie move. Total: 30.

Randy Couture continued to “think soft” in his cha-cha with Karina Smirnoff. The former UFC star, self-proclaimed “competitive SOB” and the first dancer out of the Week 2 gate said he embraced the naughtiness of the cha-cha a bit more than the romance of the fox trot. Though I agreed with Carrie Ann that the whole routine, set to the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction,” was a bit too buttoned up (though props to the Army vet’s nod to our military servicemen and women) and ultimately “underwhelming.” The other judges were a bit more positive, though they agreed that Randy’s “energy and enthusiasm are in the right place,” like Bruno said, but he needed “to tidy up the edges.” Total: 28.

Tavis Smiley wanted to go back to the Earth, Wind & Fire disco days for his jam, but his cha-cha with Sharna Burgess suffered from book tour fatigue syndrome – the small amounts of rehearsal time they were able to squeeze in hotel hallways and elevators wasn’t enough to pull off a polished performance. At least the talk show host had hair for the first time since 1972 with his super fly Afro that Tom joked was straight from Bruno’s hairstyle collection. And while Tavis predicted a “meltdown,” most of the judges thought he “sold it” come performance time, though Bruno wanted Smiley to be “lighter on your feet.” Carrie Ann, however, thought Tavis had all the steps, but “wanted to see the joy.” Total: 28.

Feel good routine of the night went to Betsey Johnson, who rebounded beautifully after last week’s “embarrassing disaster … the worst experience I ever had in my life.” But under the loving tutelage of Albanian awesome Tony Dovolani, the fashion designer was able to shed that awful boa from last week and blossom into a princess in an utterly charming and elegant foxtrot to Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” “All hail queen Betsey!” Carrie Ann bowed down. “You are exquisite, you dance beautifully, you’re flexible. What a transformation.” And the thunderous reception and applause just made Betsey that much more effusive. “I feel completely remade by Tony. … He did my makeup, my dress, my hair, my everything.” Tony wins for best person of the week for wanting her to feel pretty on stage. And she got all 7s from the judges!” Seven’s my favorite number!” Betsey gushed. “Oh, Tony.” Oh Tony, indeed. Group hug! Total: 28.

Tommy Chong said his and Peta Murgatroyd’s first dance “raised the bar really high.” Now the famous Mary Jane toker needs to take it “a little higher.” And whaddaya know, but this “Up In Smoke” star is not new to the salsa bowl. He complemented Peta’s rainbow sherbet outfit with a bright pink shiny shirt of his own, and then had what Carrie Ann called the “cojones” to be the first guy on Season 19 to pull his shirt open. “Tommy’s not wasting any of his spray tan,” Tom observed. Nor did he waste a step. “You are really proving that age is a state of mind,” Bruno admired. The salsa had Julianne on a F-word spree, saying it was “fun, fast … funny … fearless … Basically, it was F-in fabulous!” Tommy and Peta received straight 7s for the salsa, which I thought could be higher. Which is only appropriate with Tommy Chong. Total: 28.

Poor Michael Waltrip. The NASCAR star said he was “spinning my tires, not getting forward bite,” after last week’s dance. ”I need traction,” he said somewhat morosely. “I’ll do whatever it takes.” Though he’s got bon mots and charm for days, this week’s samba to Lee Brice’s “Girls in Bikinis” with a two-piece clad Emma Slater will not go down as Michael’s “DWTS” breakout moment. Carrie Ann pointed out there wasn’t much of a samba there, even as she said “the world needs more of what you are because all you are is just joy.” Len said Michael “put the ‘sin’ in syncopation.” Waltrip chalked up his haphazard Latin skills to “I was just so happy I couldn’t contain myself,” but you know he’s none too happy about being in danger of driving straight out of the competition with the Week 2 low. Total: 24.

What do you think, ballroom fans? Was My Jam Monday a hit, or would you prefer to keep your jams with a side of toast?