Ahh the dreaded "Dancing with the Stars" switch-up week: Just as this season's celebs began to feel at home in their dancin' shoes, they had to give up their pro partners, aka their security blankets. Last night, there was no hiding behind established chemistry or fan-favorite partnerships—and the contestants felt that added pressure in some remarkably low scores. It was a reality check for "DWTS" front-runners like Alfonso Ribeiro, who tied for second place with Lea Thompson behind Sadie Robertson. This is anyone's game, folks.
That's not to say the show lacked its high points, though. The evening opened with a super hot group number, featuring the killer vocals of guest judge Jessie J. (Talk about starting things off with a "Bang Bang." Amiright?) The pseudo-dominatrix vibe was powerful, steamy and downright entertaining:
And not all of the new partnerships were complete busts. Sadie Robertson and Derek Hough brought us straight back to the 1920s with a Charleston number that showcased the "Duck Dynasty" star's lanky limbs:
Plus, Alfonso Ribeiro may not have scored a perfect 40 this time, but his flamenco with Cheryl Burk was oozing with passion and intensity. It really demonstrated Ribeiro's commitment to character:
The best news of the evening? No eliminations—and everyone will go back home to their original partners next week. Phew.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.