Blue Skies and Sunshine on DWTS Disney+ Night
It’s time to recap my favorite Dancing with the Stars theme night: Disney Night! Or rather, Disney+ night, now that the show is livestreamed exclusively on the platform.
At first I thought, ‘What’s the difference between ‘Disney Night’ and ‘Disney+ Night’? It’s just a name change to reflect the change in distribution of the program.”
However, if you look at the set list of songs from Disney+ night, you’ll see it’s slightly different from past Disney Nights of DWTS. While there are a handful of numbers inspired by classic Disney movies, there are many numbers that are inspired by movies or television shows that the public may not immediately associate with the Disney brand. It’s easy to see that the dances of Disney+ night were chosen to remind audiences of the vast catalog of content that is available to stream on the Disney+ platform, such as Hamilton or The Simpsons. These unconventional choices were placed alongside recognizable fan-favorites .
Speaking of recognizable fan favorites, I had been looking forward to an Encanto-themed Dancing with the Stars number since the soundtrack blew up last January. With the entire internet obsessed with the film’s characters and the songs they sing, I thought Dancing with the Stars would take advantage to recreate an Encanto moment in the ballroom, like they usually do on Disney night.
Instead, the credits song from Encanto, “Columbia, Mi Encanto,” was used in the brief opening number. The same song was used in last year’s Disney Night, before the movie came out, so I was a bit disappointed the DWTS team didn’t do more to take advantage of the Encanto hype since then (I was hoping for a Latin dance number to “We Don’t Talk About Bruno;” it would have been corny but SO fun).
Joseph & Daniella – Charleston inspired by Hercules 7/7/7/7
Daniella is finally back, and she and Joseph danced to “A Star is Born” from Hercules, which was the perfect choice for bodybuilder Joseph. Here’s the thing about Daniella, reigning DWTS champion, as a choreographer: she will incorporate ambitious lifts and tricks with her partner at every opportunity. This charleston was no different. However, for this number, the tricks didn’t seem to go well. A lot of the landings were less than smooth, and seemed to be a different tempo than the rest of the dance. The judges pointed this out as well. It’s really great to see how happy Joseph is to be there, though.
Sam & Cheryl – Paso Doble inspired by The Greatest Showman 7/6/6/6
Sam seems like such a sweet guy, but watching this performance made me think that his time in this competition may be coming to an end soon. He seemed to be clomping and stomping on his steps, and the tempo was too slow, which created a weird vibe for a paso doble.
Jordin & Brandon – Jazz inspired by Coco 9/8/8/9
This is the breakthrough we were waiting for with Jordin! This was a great routine. It was so fun to watch, and Jordin was full of joy the whole time. Even though the song was “Remember Me” from Coco, it was a total Disney Princess moment.
Wayne & Witney – Jazz inspired by Hamilton 9/9/9/9
In this Hamilton routine, Wayne and Witney danced to the song “Wait for It,” which was fitting because Wayne played Aaron Burr in the Broadway production. It was emotional and touching for him and the audience for him to dance to a song he performed in the musical. As for the dance itself, it was incredible. Wayne and Witney were in sync the whole time, and it was like you could feel them breathe throughout the entire piece. The judges loved it as well (“I’m gonna call you ‘the postman’ because you keep delivering week after week” -Len).
Daniel & Britt – Quickstep inspired by the High School Musical franchise 7/7/7/8
Daniel and Britt danced to the song “Finally Free” from Season 3 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, but I say this piece was inspired by the High School Musical franchise because the costume and set design was clearly modeled off of the iconic imagery of the original trilogy of movies. Some original HSM fans might be disappointed that DWTS chose a song from HSMTMTS rather than one from the movie soundtracks, but as a fan of both the movies and the series (my thoughts on the Season 3 finale are coming soon!), I thought it was cool to see the two generations of the HSM franchise blended together by the music, the costumes, and the fact that Britt was a featured dancer in the original trilogy.
As for the dance, it was not Daniel’s best performance, which was a bummer because Daniel has been one of my favorite competitors this season. Daniel carries himself so well while performing, though, that I didn’t really notice the mistakes until the judges pointed them out.
Shangela & Gleb – Charleston inspired by The Princess and the Frog 8/8/8/8
This was SENSATIONAL dance. The energy Shangela and Gleb had between between them as dance partners had immaculate harmony and chemistry. It was amazing to see!! One of the best dances of the night, for sure. It was also a real treat for Jenifer Lewis to come and sing “Dig a Little Deeper” live.
Heidi & Artem – Viennese Waltz inspired by Mary Poppins 9/8/8/9
I love Mary Poppins, so this was a fun dance to watch. The choreography and set really captured the spirit of Mary Poppins just right; it was like Mary and Bert were dancing amongst the stars. Heidi has improved so much since the first week.
Gabby & Val – Quickstep inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy 9/9/9/9
This was another great dance from Gabby. She does so well each week, you can always count on her for one of the tightest performances of the night.
Trevor & Emma – Samba inspired by Cars 7/7/7/7
I don’t like to be negative, especially when I write about things that I love like Dancing with the Stars. But, I will be frank: I thought this dance was embarrassing. In my Pixar rewatch earlier this past summer, I rediscovered my unironic love of Cars, so I was really looking forward to a dance to “Life is a Highway,” especially with Trevor, who has surprised the audience, and himself, with how well he has taken to the competition. However, this was clearly not Trevor’s best performance, and the choreography wasn’t doing him any favors. There was some technique in there, but there were also sections of choreography that felt like it was meant for a Week One performance with a contestant who can’t dance. I expected more from Trevor as a dancer, I expected more from Emma as a choreographer, and I expected more for a Cars tribute. I think they should have sped up “Life is a Highway” and made it a quickstep. Trevor and Emma could have blown that out of the water (unfortunately, they already did a quickstep in Week 1).
Vinny & Koko – Samba inspired by Luca 8/7/7/7
For those who followed the Pixar countdown from this summer, you’ll know that I love Luca! As a fan of the movie, I am glad to say that this dance truly captured the spirit of it. This was also a great performance for Vinny! Some dances he struggles with, and some he does really well, but I see the effort from him each week, which makes me root for him. Carrie Ann used the words “breakthrough,” and “authentic,” and I can’t help but agree.
Selma & Sasha – Quickstep inspired by The Muppet Show 8/8/8/8
This dance was so cute! I love the magenta-pants-and-suspenders look! Selma and Sasha totally nailed it. Len called it “entertaining” and “joyful” and he couldn’t be more correct. Selma has shown herself to be such a versatile dancer.
Jessie & Alan – Jive inspired by Hocus Pocus 2 8/7/8/8
I will say, these costumes, especially Alan’s, were a bit excessive. That being said, I think this was Jessie’s best dance yet.
Charli & Mark – Jazz inspired by The Simpsons 9/9/9/9
I’ve never seen The Simpsons, so I wasn’t intrigued by a dance inspired by the show. I had no expectations. However, Charli and Mark did NOT disappoint. Even with that giant blue wig (perhaps Charli is so far ahead of the other performers, they needed to give her an extra challenge), this was a FANTASTIC performance. I couldn’t take my eyes off of Charli, and not because of the outrageous makeup. She holds herself incredibly well while dancing, and she uses her entire body while being in complete control of all of her movements.
(do not read if you are avoiding spoilers!)
The final two couples for Week 4 were Trevor & Emma and Sam & Cheryl. This season, I’ve noticed that there haven’t been any surprises in the bottom two so far. Every week, it’s the couples that are right at the bottom of the leaderboard. Maybe because there is such a short window of time in which to vote, there aren’t enough people voting to move the needle on who gets to be in the bottom two.
For this week, the judges voted unanimously to save Trevor & Emma, and to eliminate Sam & Cheryl. This makes sense, because Trevor has had good performances this season, but had a bad night, while Sam’s technique and improvement has been consistently mediocre throughout the season.
Another interesting thing I’ve noticed: Since Week 2, the couple eliminated had been in the bottom two, and saved by the judges, the previous week. I wonder how long that pattern will continue.
Thanks for following along on another week of Dancing with the Stars!