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‘Dancing With the Stars’ Recap: Laurie Hernandez Is Compared to Beyonce; Ryan Lochte in Over His Head

Don’t touch that remote — because it’s TV theme song week on Dancing With the Stars! The Monday, September 19, episode seemed hell-bent on proving what Derek Hough had screamed at the Ryan Lochte protesters the week before: This is a positive show. By and large, the vibe was upbeat, and the show was a delight to watch … even for the celebs whose actual dancing fell short.

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The scores and votes from this episode will next be combined with those from last week to determine who will be the first couple to go home on the Tuesday, September 20, episode. Tonight, however, was all about bringing the best and brightest to the ballroom.

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Couples Who Sizzled

It’s no surprise that Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy continued to dominate the leaderboard. In their video package, the Olympic gymnast revealed that she had two dreams in life: The first was to be in the Olympics (check); the second was to be on Dancing With the Stars (hmm… really?). This week, the bubbly teen performed a jive to the theme song from the cartoon DuckTales, which was all well and good — except that she had never seen the show. Because he is money, Val dressed up as Scrooge McDuck for the number. Judge Julianne Hough called her “Disney’s Beyoncé,” leading an honored Laurie to reply, “I love Beyoncé!” With 32 points, Laurie and Val nabbed first place.

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Only one point behind them, however, were Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber, who dazzled with a quickstep to Bewitched. Julianne told the pint-sized reality star the “performance was made for you” and called it the best they’d seen all night (though that was before Laurie and Val). Terra admitted she was “scared,” but Judge Bruno Tonioli said it was the most “complete and rounded quickstep” they’d seen.

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Rounding out the top three were Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Allison Holker, whose Argentine tango to the X-Files theme song had the judges going gaga. During rehearsals, Babyface looked uncomfortable at best and terrified at worst as Allison rubbed up against him, and he readily admitted he has trouble being sexy. Fortunately, he’s besties with Toni Braxton, and she dropped by to help him get in touch with his more seductive side. Apparently Toni had the magic touch, because the judges all raved after he and Allison danced. Bruno called it “intriguing” with “just the right amount of simmering sensuality bubbling beneath the surface” (damn!), and judge Carrie Ann Inaba described the routine as “yummy.” They clocked 30 points for their steamy number, putting them in striking distance of the top.

Couples Who Fizzled

Poor Rick Perry. This guy just can’t dance. It was clear from his video package (which had a fun, self-deprecating campaign theme) that he is in on the joke (the joke being how ridiculous it is that he is competing on this show). Unfortunately, unless he gets a whole lot more votes than he did last time he ran for something, he will likely be going home soon. He and Emma Slater did their best with a quickstep to Green Acres, but it fell rather flat. Bruno said it was “very catchy … like a bad cold.” No one else said much, but Carrie Ann praised him for being “perky and efficient” … whatever that meant. Ultimately they scored 22 points, placing them dead last.

Just above the former politician, four other couples tied with 24s. Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev (who performed a quickstep predictably to The Brady Bunch); Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (who stumbled through a Game of Thrones–themed Viennese waltz); Jake T. Austin and Jenna Johnson (who did a cha-cha-cha to the theme song from the cartoon he used to voice, Go Diego Go); and Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke (who did a quickstep to The Muppets).

Dancing with the Stars
‘Dancing With the Stars’ cast

Judge Len Goodman called Maureen’s routine “fun” and “entertaining,” while Carrie Ann said she was blown away by the star’s newfound confidence. Still, numbers don’t lie. They weren’t that impressed. Amber mainly blamed her boots for her poor showing, and Jake agreed with the judges that he needed to take a breath and slow down.

Ryan was last to dance. In a video package, he described how much it killed him looking in the stands the week before and seeing his mom in tears when the protestors rushed the stage. This week, he and Cheryl were going to turn things around. He was psyched to dance to The Muppets, but when Cheryl asked him which Muppet was his fave, he said “the green dude.” (Oh, Ryan …) In any case, he lip-synched part of the song, but the judges didn’t seem to care because they were too distracted by his terrible frame and footwork — basically, by his terrible dancing. When the camera cut away to his mom, however, she had a big smile on her face, so pretty much nothing else mattered.

All of the other couples fell in the middle: James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess, Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko, Vanilla Ice and Witney Carson, Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold, and Marilu Henner and Derek Hough. They all gave solid performances that were unlikely to be remembered beyond tonight … well, except that Witney Carson dressed up as Peggy Bundy. That was something to remember.

Tell Us: Who do you think will be the first couple to go home this season?

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET. 

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