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'Dancing With the Stars' week 2: Latin Night is not all right

Victoria Leigh Miller
Writer

SPOILER ALERT: This recap of Week 2’s Latin Night of Dancing with the Stars contains spoilers.

Dancing with the Stars is seriously testing it contestants. It’s Week 2 and there’s already a double elimination with two big dances to learn? An unusual scheduling move so early in the season, but the DWTS power-that-be are no dummies. They rolled out one of the show’s popular theme nights as This Is Us’ tearjerker premiere played out on a rival network. Latin Night heat is a good diversion from the Jack Pearson death pool. Well played, ABC!

With Barbara Corcoran and Keo Motsepe this season’s first casualty on Monday night’s episode, Night Two of Dancing With the Stars’ house-cleaning ended with another couple out the door. But this one came as much more of a surprise.

Debbie Gibson’s Argentine tango had Bruno Tonioli calling her “the cougar from Cuba,” but later in the show she got the news that her days on the dance floor were done. While her scores weren’t the worst on the leaderboard, Gibson may have fallen victim to the Troupe Member Turned Pro Syndrome. Just a theory here, but her partner, the very capable Alan Bersten, is a first-time DWTS pro and doesn’t yet have the fan base some of the other pros have.

While her time on the show was short, mission was still accomplished for Miss Debbie. Dancing with the Stars got her back into the game of life after a debilitating Lyme disease battle. “This show, in the short amount of time and this guy right here, I feel like I got my life back,” Gibson said of her partnership with Bersten. “So I am so thrilled. And we’re gonna keep dancing!”

Hey, who needs “Electric Youth” when you can have 40-something sizzle?

Speaking of, let’s see who sizzled and who fizzled on Dancing With the Stars Latin Night.

Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson: 25/30

No one seems more dedicated to this competition than Frankie Muniz. The Malcolm in the Middle star didn’t let his ongoing back problems stop him from delivering a crazy Bruno Mars cha cha. “Who are you?” a stunned Carrie Ann Inaba asked after the dance. “Frankie you have swagger!” Bruno Tonioli loved this dance so much much he wanted to see it again: “The dance of the night!” he declared, before whipping out the very first  9 paddle of the season.

Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold: 24/30

The leaderboard does not lie. There’s a reason Jordan was tied for first place for his first two dances. And there was nothing wrong with this dance — Carrie Ann thanked the couple for the nuances in their true Latin samba, while Bruno called it “top notch” — but Len Goodman needed something to pick on. The grumpy judge went for Jordan’s Cuban heels, telling him if he’s going to wear them on the live show he needs to practice in them.

Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas: 24/30

The violinist turned into a showgirl for a top-scoring salsa with Mark Ballas. Bruno couldn’t get enough of this high-energy dance. “Showgirl is a firecracker!” he said. “The energy, the speed, the back kick…it left me breathless!” And can we talk about her costumes? Whoever’s styling this girl deserves a 10.

Vanessa Lachey and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 23/30

Vanessa and the mommies were in da club, where the former MTV hostess proved that real women can wear pants to dance. “You outshone Maks,” Bruno said of Mrs. Lachey and her sassy salsa moves, while Len told the mom of three, “You are 100 percent a contender for this show.”

Sasha Pieterse and Gleb Savchenko: 22/30

No lie! The Pretty Little Liars star got real about her personal story (she was diagnosed with a hormone imbalance after gaining 70 pounds), then played a perfect prom queen for a samba with Gleb. Len liked the dance, citing all of that samba content and sparkle, and Bruno told the actress, “You are such a good dancer!”

Drew Scott and Emma Slater: 21/30

The Property Brothers star is thanking his lucky stars he got the mirrorball champ for his partner, especially since Carrie Ann pointed out he didn’t come into this comp with much of anything. (That backhanded comment had Bruno falling out of his chair and choking.) Len used a home improvement analogy in his critique of Drew’s rumba, telling him he hasn’t worked on the house yet but he worked in the backyard. “It’s your best dance so far,” he said.

Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy: 20/30

It was Victoria Arlen’s birthday, but Len was being a party pooper. The head judge called out choreographer Val out for the lack of content in their dance. “There was emotion in it but very little else,” he said. “I wouldn’t have known it was a rumba.”  It was more celebratory in the skybox when Victoria was presented with a pink birthday cake and a note from Taylor Swift. Happy Birthday, girl!

Derek Fisher and Sharna Burgess: 19/30

Derek Fisher unleashed his mean streak with a Paso Doblé to “Diablo Rojo” by Rodrigo y Gabriela. Bruno compared him to “Megatron, bent on destruction,” but he also pointed out that the former NBA star got so into the characterization that he lost some of the artistry.

Nick Lachey and Peta Murgatroyd: 19/30     

Nick Lachey couldn’t remember his first date with his wife Vanessa (The Cherry Lounge!), but he’ll probably remember his first date-themed Argentine tango with Peta. Bruno reminded the 98 Degrees alum “you cannot step a tango, you have to glide,” while Len said the dance lacked passion. Tell that to the screaming girls in the audience!

Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke: 19/30         

It’s getting hot in herre! Less than 24 hours after Len Goodman called their foxtrot “raunchy,” T.O. (not to be confused with Terrell) got down and dirty with Cheryl for a samba to Nelly’s clothes-shedding anthem. The judges gave mostly positive reviews, But Carrie Ann still thinks this big guy needs to dance more.

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev: 18/30

Not much of a costume budget for Nikki and Artem this week, and Len definitely didn’t like all that gyrating during their dance. But the nitpickiest judge did like the samba content. Bruno called this dance “the longest foreplay in samba history.”

Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC. Watch clips and full episodes of DWTS for free on Yahoo View.

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