Amber Riley and Derek Hough: 39/40 jazz + 40/40 Viennese waltz = 79/80 total A few astute EW.com readers pointed out that the "difficult, intricate choreography that also will save Amber's knees" that Derek conjured up for their jazz number reminded them of Nappytabs' incredible "Puttin On The Ritz" opening number from this past season of So You Think You Can Dance. And they are RIGHT! I mean, it's not a blatant ripoff or anything, but it sure is more apt than comparing a freakin' DWTS jazz routine to the work of Bob Fosse, which happened tonight for the second week in a row.
Really, with the Fosse? I don't regularly communicate with the spirit of the Fos, but I have to guess that if confronted with an episode of Dancing With the Stars, Bob Fosse would provide one dramatic snap of cautious approval and then slowly look away, forever. I mean, granted, Maks would know better than I would, but come on. Enough with the Fosse.
Judge Maks was the only one to not give Amber and Derek a 10 for this, which I loved. I can't argue that she didn't perform the hell out of it. She did. But 10s? Much of it was just them sitting down and resting her knees. Einstein could have done it, said Carrie Ann. That doofus was always just lazing around!
Later: A tarp is pulled up. Smoke. Spotlights. Clouds! Stars? What's next?! An angel? No, dummy, Amber is the angel, dream-gazing her way through Kerli's acoustic (ha! hardly) version of Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven." I think I spent more time fascinated by how this singer with sticks coming out of her head had managed to change the time signature and entire structure of the song than I did focusing on Amber and Derek -- but to be fair, the dancers were extremely hard to see amidst that thick chest-level fog. "There was smoke on the floor but fire in that performance!" raved Len.
Maks acknowledged the elephant in the room, which is that Amber is likely to win the season because if Derek makes the finals, it's pretty much a done deal that he has the COVETED MIRRORBALL TROPHY (nice enthusiastic delivery by Tom there!) all wrapped up. "You have a guy who knows how to win," said Maks, adding that it's not just about making it, but "knowing how to package that and get the trophy." Underhanded compliment, statement of the obvious, or both?
NEXT: It's a #sparklebarf miracle!