It was a big night for “Dancing with the Stars,” when one pair retook the lead after picking up the first 10s of the season.But, the tragedy in Boston was not far from everyone’s minds.
The evening began on a somber note, with co-host Tom Bergeron telling America, “Our thoughts are with everyone in Boston tonight.”
And that sentiment was evident throughout the show, including after Zendaya and Valentin Chmerkovskiy picked up the first two 10s given out by judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli in Season 16.
The pair had performed an Argentine tango during the newly introduced side-by-side dance. It found them – like all the couples – taking the stage with an additional pair of pros (in their case Anna Trebunskaya and Val’s brother, Maksim Chmerkovskiy). The two groups would break off and do brief bits of dance on their own, and then come together — the side-by-side nature meant to show off the weakness or strengths of the celebs. In Zendaya’s case, she floored the judges with her ballroom skills.
“Next to Anna, you were as good and as strong,” Bruno said.
“It was like a lemon tart — sharp and tangy at the top, crisp and tasty below. A gem of a dance. Well done,” Len Goodman, who came up with the side-by-side concept, said.
After earning those two 10s (only Len gave them a 9), and the top spot on the leaderboard, Val, who hails from the East Coast, paid tribute to Boston.
“These are our first 10s, and I don’t want to overdo the subject, but I wanna dedicate these 10s to everybody in Boston,” the pro said. “Honestly, this is a difficult show to be part of right now and I just hope we’re doing something special for everybody. Thank you.”
Val wasn’t the only one who spoke about the city after his dance. Gymnast Aly Raisman, who earned 25 points for her samba with Mark Ballas (and fourth place for the night), hails from Boston, and said Monday was hard.
“It’s so devastating, you know. The Boston marathon is such a special day,” she said. “It’s where everyone comes together, so it’s just so heartbreaking that this happened and my heart goes out to everyone back home and everyone else who is affected.”
Co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet had announced at the start of the show that “DWTS” hoped to still be able to provide “an entertaining night of competition” for fans, and one of the most entertaining routines came courtesy of Season 16’s NFL star.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones and pro Karina Smirnoff brought out a thrilling number during their solo spot away from side-by-side pros Anna and Maks. Jacoby got shirtless, tackled a couple of James Brown-worthy half splits and at one point ran and jumped over a standing Karina.
Bruno thought seeing Maks and Jacoby dancing earlier in the number, with their respective partners, was very impressive. (And it earned them third place with 26 out of 30 points.)
“Jacoby and Maks — it was like watching two stallions at the peak of their power, fighting for supremacy, masculinity and testosterone pouring from everywhere,” Bruno said. “Two ladies up there [in the audience] had to be restrained. They thought they were going to jump off the balcony.”
Second place for the night went to Kellie Pickler who wasn’t as acrobatic as Jacoby, but pulled off a graceful foxtrot with Derek Hough (their pro pair was Anna and Henry Byalikovf).
“You put the ‘oo!’ in smooth,” Len said. “You dance like that, and I tell you what, you’re in the final!”
Monday night’s leaderboard was:
Zendaya and Valentin Chmerkovskiy performed the Argentine tango and were scored 29/30
Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough tackled the foxtrot and earned 27/30
Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff tackled the jive and were scored 26/30
Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas tried out the samba and earned 25/30
Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd performed the quickstep and earned 24/30
Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson performed the cha cha and earned 21/30
Victor Ortiz and Lyndsey Arnold performed the Viennese waltz and earned 21/30
D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke tried out the tango and earned 18/30
Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess tackled the paso doble and were scored 18/30