Perfection in the third week of “Dancing with the Stars”? Yeah, it was early, but Juan Pablo Di Pace did a sizzling samba and got a 30.
That clearly shoved him in the front and made him the one to beat – particularly since Tinashe nearly got bounced for another great dance.
“Facts of Life” star Nancy McKeon took the bullet, giving Grocery Store Joe another week to be the worst. (Shades of Bill Engvall.)
This week’s theme: “Most Memorable” year, which frequently hinged on professional success.
Mary Lou Retton drew upon her gymnastics years, Evanna Lynch picked the time she got the “Harry Potter” gig (and became pen pals with author J.K. Rowling), DeMarcus Ware embraced his football career and Milo Manheim opted for his big Disney Channel year. They all did well (ranging in the upper 20s) but it was a bunch that recalled key years in their parents’ lives that got the waterworks going.
Social media pro Alexis Ren did a stirring contemporary dance for her mother, who died earlier this year. “Dancing,” she said, was her favorite show, which made the competition particularly important. “She’s the reason I’m on this show.” She got a 26, but could easily be a strong finisher based on this performance.
John Schneider paid tribute to his mom, too, with an expressive waltz and got a 21, largely because the judges told him he had bad posture.
And Bobby Bones, a real wild card, talked about his mom and the fact that he’s the only high school grad in his family. He cried as well and got a 23 for his contemporary whatever.
The headline, though, belonged to Di Pace, who opened up about the bullying and teasing he endured while growing up in Argentina as an “artistic” person. He said he found his passion when he starred in a production of “Grease” and attracted attention when he starred in “Mamma Mia” with Meryl Streep. Surprisingly, he didn’t mention playing Jesus in Roma Downey’s miniseries, but there’s plenty of time.
Several singers accompanied some of the dances and each of the pros got to weigh in about their own “best” years.
At the moment, Di Pace has the trophy in range; Retton is such a fan favorite (and good dancer), she’ll probably figure in the final three and, if we get a vote, Manheim, who’s very, very good, deserves a place. He executed a backflip Monday, despite a back injury.
Then there's poor Joe Amabile. He seems like a nice guy. But nice doesn’t move legs in ways that spell “winner.” He’s at the top of the list to go home next week.
Maybe "Bachelor in Paradise" is taking reservations for next summer.