Monday night (15 April 2013) on season 16 of “Dancing with the Stars,” it was “Len’s Side-by-Side Challenge.” The competitive pressure produced the first tens of the season and some amazing transformations. DWTS fans could also celebrate the return of DWTS bad boy of the ballroom: Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Fans of that flashy, fiery redhead, Anna Trebunskaya could also celebrate. This new challenge is a total win-win.

This time Maksim and Trebunskaya were dancing in top form because they were part of a professional pair. Each celebrity couple had to dance side-by-side with a professional dancer couple. Some of the eliminated pros such as Tristan MacManus and Tony Dovolani also returned to the ballroom.

Of course, considering the events of the day, not everything was glitter and spandex with performance smiles. The show began with a somber introduction from hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke Chavet acknowledging the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.

Professional dancers came out to open the show and each competing celebrity couple had to  do a solo. There’s more personality and less pressure dancing party style. The celebrity show really shines here and comes as a total surprise is Jacoby Jones.

Last week’s leader, Alexandra Raisman & Mark Ballas fell to fourth place. Raisman got to see how Ballas was a girl. Then professional dancer and real girl Witney Carson gave Raisman tips that helped smooth out her gymnastic hard lines and employ hairography.

In first was, who else? The Disney kid, Zendaya & Val Chmerkovskiy  got two tens for a 29, with Len Goodman giving only a nine. Goodman gave a nine to Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough as well so in his eyes, the second and first placed couples were of the same high standard. Pickler was elegant and I could easily see her as a musical star and fans know that Hough already has stage musical credentials (“Footloose” on London’s West End).

Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff were in third. Second through fifth places were only separated by one point. Jones has the bravado for the dance floor and the flair with a powerful jump featured in his routine where he goes over Smirnoff’s head without using her shoulders for a little boost. Amazing! Even better, especially with Gleb Savchenko eliminated, is that Jones can’t seem to wait to take his shirt off. Yes, that’s one of the lessons he must have learned from Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Maksim helped Jones channel the masculine in the hip movement and hand positioning. Jones’ biggest problem is pointing his feet. Like Maksim, Jones likes to reply to the judges.

Who was at the bottom? Last week it was boxer Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold who were tied with the couple that was eliminated (Lisa Vanderpump and Gleb Savchenko). Ortiz improved his performance and was tied with soap opera star Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson. This week it was the comedians who were tied for the bottom spot with 18.

  1. Zendaya & Val Chmerkovskiy (29)
  2. Kellie Pickler & Derek Hough (27)
  3. Jacoby Jones & Karina Smirnoff (26)
  4. Alexandra Raisman & Mark Ballas (25)
  5. Sean Lowe & Peta Murgatroyd (24)
  6. Victor Ortiz & Lindsay Arnold /Ingo Rademacher & Kym Johnson (21)
  7. D.L. Hughley & Cheryl Burke/Andy Dick & Sharna Burgess (18)

One of the treats of this new challenge is the return of the professional dancers Tony Dovolani, Anna Trebunskaya and Maksim Trebunskaya. Do you love the side-by-side challenge? Judge Carrie Ann Inaba did and so do we.

Zendaya & Val Chmerkovskiy/Maksim Chmerkovskiy & Anna Trebunskaya :

  • 29 (10,9,10)
  • Argentine Tango
  • “Discombobulate”—Hans Zimmer
  • 1-800-868-3406

Kellie Pickler & Derek Hough/Henry Byalikov & Anna Trebunskaya :

Jacoby Jones & Karina Smirnoff/Maksim Chmerkovskiy & Anna Trebunskaya:

Alexandra Raisman & Mark Ballas/Tony Dovolani & Witney Carson:

Sean Lowe & Peta Murgatroyd /Tristan MacManus & Chelsie Hightower:

  • 24 (8,8,8)
  • Quickstep
  • “Go Get It”—Sepalot feat. Ladi6
  • 1-800-868-3407

Victor Ortiz & Lindsay Arnold/Tristan MacManus and Emma Slater :

Ingo Rademacher & Kym Johnson/Tony Dovolani & Emma Slater:

Andy Dick & Sharna Burgess/Sasha Farber & Emma Slater:

D.L. Hughley & Cheryl Burke:/Sasha Farber and Chelsie Hightower

  • 18 (6,6,6)
  • Tango
  • “Love Letter” —Clairy Browne & the Bangin’ Rackettes
  • 1-800-868-3405 

During the live shows, the judges will give each couple a score based on several factors, including technical execution. But the judges’ scores alone do not decide a couple’s fate.

Phone lines, text votes (AT&T customers only) and online voting will open at the top of each performance show so that viewers can vote for their favorites. Phone and text lines will stay open until 60 minutes after the end of the show in your local time zone. Online voting will remain open until 11 a.m. (Eastern Time)/ 8 a.m. (Pacific Time) the following day. Tuesday night, 16 April 2013, will be the third elimination for season 16 of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Who do you think should go? I’m hoping that Hughley won’t be eliminated so I’m hoping either Andy Dick or Sean Lowe. These two are reality show veterans and they are bound to already have another reality show in mind.

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