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VanZant survives DWTS cut; back with Ballas



After all the teams were shuffled last week for week five’s “America’s Switch-Up” episode, the remaining tandems on Dancing with the Stars were reunited for an evening of famous dances on Monday night, but having spent a week apart, how will the couples do when they reconnect, after some managed better performances away from their regular partners?

Both members of "Team Pow Right in the Kisser" had a little step back on the scoreboard last week, with Mark Ballas moving off to dance with Ginger Zee and collecting a 32, while Paige VanZant was paired with Sasha Farber for a Rumba that earned them a 31. Both Paige and Mark landed in the middle of the pack while working separately, and now that they’re back together, it’s time to return to being legitimate title contenders.

This week’s show pulled dance routines from various movies, television shows and music videos, including “Hairspray,” “Footloose” and Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” and though it was familiar and fun, was it successful for Team Pow Right in the Kisser?

Reconnected after the Switch-Up episode – and on the heels of a trip to Las Vegas to watch UFC 197 – the duo faced some struggles during preparation, having their style switched and music switched up two days into practice.
While the changes put them under the gun time-wise, the shift didn’t seem to have any impact when VanZant and Ballas hit the floor on Monday night, dancing a jazz routine to the opening theme to “Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery.” Their routine came complete with a cheerleader lift and launch for VanZant to close out the performance.

“I’ve got to be honest – there is nothing about that dance that I didn’t like,” said birthday boy Len Goodman, who slow-played his praise, making it seem like something negative was on the way.

“Smoking, baby!” gushed the ever-excited Bruno Tonioli. “It really was being brought back to the Swinging ‘60s and what I love about it was the accuracy of the stylistic details.”

“This is by far one of my favorite dances,” offered Carrie Ann Inaba, who played Fook Yu in “Austin Powers in Goldmember.” “You guys were on it. I love the new spin, the additional moves, everything you did.”

And their scores reflected the praise, as Team Pow Right in the Kisser got a 10 from Goodman and nines from the other two judges to earn a 28, the top score of the night through the opening four performances. Not bad for losing two days of prep time.

“Good Morning America” meteorologist Ginger Zee had what was almost a solo performance, dancing a jazz routine to “Nasty” by Janet Jackson that earned her and partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy a score of 24, while Nyle and Peta reunited with a number inspired by “The Mask” to earn a 25.

After struggling a little last week, Boyz II Men singer Wanya Morris reunited with Lindsey Arnold and killed a routine to NSync’s “Bye Bye Bye” that earned them 10s from Carrie Ann and Bruno, but not Len, moving them to the top of the leaderboard with a score of 29.

Antonio Brown and Sharna Burgess closed out the show with the closing number from “Footloose” that brought rave reviews and nines across the board, and then it was elimination time.

There were no cuts last week, but this week marked the end of the line for one team, and now that the competition is through five weeks of performances, there aren’t really any more obvious eliminations. Scores from the last two weeks were combined for this week’s cut and, surprisingly, Team Pow Right in the Kisser was on the chopping block, along with Doug Flutie and Karina Smirnoff and Von Miller and Witney Allen.

But VanZant and Ballas survived, as Week 6 was the final performance for Flutie and Smirnoff, who earned an ovation from the studio audience.

Next week, two couples will be eliminated, and with 24s landing teams at the bottom of Monday night’s leaderboard, everyone is going to need to step up their game or else they’re going home.

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