Dancing With the Stars recap: Dance Mom Said Knock You Out

Dance Moms' Abby Lee Miller joins the judges' panel for the first (and probably last) time as the show introduces the Celebrity Dance Duels
Ep. 08 | Aired May 5, 2014

Moving to the Celebrity Dance Duels, the celebs and their partners hit the floor with another duo to try their hand at a small group number. The twist: For approximately half of the dance, the pros would leave the floor and let the celebs duke it out. Sadly, it turned out less like Stomp the Yard than I had hoped. Or even American Gladiators for that matter. Here's how it went down:

Meryl and Danica: 34/40 Going into this samba, I was really excited to get some brother time x2, not to mention two great female dancers. However, Danica and Maks immediately butted heads in rehearsal, so somebody -- Tom? -- called in the boys' grandmother for back-up. She was just the thing the boys needed. Well, sort of.

Something was off from the start of this number. The music was weird to me, and the timing was iffy at best. I loved this shirtless brother aspect -- obviously -- but the routine didn't let the girls play off each other. It was a little awkward at times, which pains me to say.

Len acknowledged that the samba is very difficult, but also mentioned that lack of synchronicity. Abby tried to critique Danica, but now the other brother was on top of her. Val wasn't about to let her critique someone who wasn't a professional dancer with her standards. And why did she want them in heels? Abby and I do not see eye-to-eye. Carrie Ann agreed that the content was there but that the timing was off, and Bruno gave us more of the same.

And just in case you were wondering, the boys' grandmother loves them both the same. That's right. Tom asks the hard-hitting questions. Next stop: 60 Minutes!

Charlie and Candace: 38/40 Charlie and Candace's approach to contemporary was simple: Keep Candace's feet from touching the ground. And aside from an opening pose that looked like Candace was a sack thrown across Mark's back -- I laughed out loud -- this dance exceeded my expectations. I thought the concept was genius -- purple belongs with purple! Matching is important! -- and worked so well with the choreography. Not to mention that it was educational.

Also, I appreciated Candace's crazy hair, because it gave me a glimpse into what I would look like if I ever went on the show.

Abby loved it, but wanted to know what a one-night stand was. Really? Your students are still here, and also, just stop. Did you all see Carrie Ann's face when she made that comment? Oh yeah, Abby's definitely not invited back.

Bruno thought Candace and Charlie were made for each other, and Carrie Ann thought the lift was flawless. Well, except of Sharna's one screw up. Len, however, thought the whole thing was in time with the music, everyone involved, and the universe as a whole. OK, I added that last one, but he was thinking it.

I kind of want an app on my phone that tells me what Len would say about any given decision I make. You know, just to see how I'm doing in life. That being said, I don't want one that says what Abby thinks, because who cares?!

Also, Gymnastics With the Stars? I'm in, Candace! Let's watch people wear sparkly leotards and hurt themselves! I'm only sort of kidding.

James and Amy: 39/40 The final celebrity duel of the night involved James nearly killing Amy but oddly sort of fixing her rib in rehearsals before hitting the stage for the jive. I'm not sure I saw much of the actual routine through the layers of fringe, but from what I think I saw, Amy out-performed James. Her kicks were sharp, and I thought that this group choreography really worked well. What we're learning is basically not to pair the Chmerkovskiy brothers up for choreography (though they do get shirtless, so …)

Bruno thought the number was extraordinary, and Carrie Ann loved how their knees were all at the same height. She, of course, mentioned Amy's one mess up, but we all knew that was coming. Len said it was everything and more, and Abby was -- shockingly! -- still in love with James.

At the end of the night, Danica and Val were eliminated, which actually bummed me out. Danica is a good dancer, and Val is approximately 30 percent of the sun in my DWTS sky. I would've rather said goodbye to either James or Candace, if I'm being honest. But if James had left, I'm scared Abby would've run out on the floor and tried to fix his butt, so I'm thankful to all of you for making sure that didn't happen.

What did you all think of the episode? Did Danica deserve to go home?

The dancers' total scores from tonight's two numbers are below. Combined with the viewer votes from this week, these scores will help decide which couple leaves us next week:
Amy: 79
Charlie: 78
James: 75
Candace: 74
Meryl: 70

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to Google shirtless pictures of Val and weep while I DON'T watch Dance Moms.

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