The house band is joined by an orchestra for classical night.
Kudos to Dancing with the Stars for this week's theme selection. While most genre picks function as a draw for fans of that music type, this week's focus on classical music brings a smaller built-in audience, but a more disciplined and demanding set of routines.
Katherine and Mark are up first, dancing an elegant, arrhythmic rhumba to "Pachelbel's Canon in D." The judges are divided on the pair's chemistry, but they have nothing but unanimous praise for her technique: She earns straight nines.
Maksim and Melissa follow, dancing an Argentine tango to "The Marriage of Figaro." Maks recently discovered a cyst in his foot, which meant a lot of uncertainty going into tonight's routine: Mellissa learned her tango with both Chmerkovskiy brothers just in case Val had to step in. The strained rehearsal leads to a sloppy performance and some apologetically brutal judge comments. They earn straight sevens, a fairly damning score at this point in the competition.
William faces a similarly threatening ankle injury for his Viennese Waltz with Cheryl, though it doesn't hurt his routine a bit. Twelve-year-old singing prodigy Jackie Evancho guest sings "Ave Maria," and the result shows, as Bruno notes, a refreshingly vulnerable side to William. They score straight nines.
Roshon and Chelsea tackle an Argentine tango tonight, accompanied by a sweeping orchestral arrangement of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance." The cleverly reimagined music outshines the dancing by a fair bit in my opinion, but they still manage mixed-to-positive comments from the judges. They score a nine and two eights.
Donald and Peta are next on the floor. The fiercely competitive football player brings his A-game to the Viennese waltz, performing a fluid, elegant, entirely on-point classical dance. He fails to net any coveted tens, but he does earn nines across the board.
The routine of the night, without question, belongs to Maria and Derek, dancing a crowd-pleasing tragic vampire story. Though Maria stumbled a bit last week, she proves tonight that she is a top contender in no uncertain terms. They earn raves from the judges, and score perfect tens across the board.
Ups and Downs
Jaleel and Kym conclude the regularly scheduled dances with a fast-paced Viennese waltz. Jaleel is perhaps a little too confident going into this week, as he delivers a content-heavy performance that lacks a little in the details. They score straight eights.
Tango vs. Paso Doble
In addition to regularly scheduled routines, all remaining contestants participate in a team dance as well. First up is Team Tango, consisting of Katherine, Maria, Roshon, Jaleel and their partners. They divide the judges, scoring an eight, a nine and a ten.
Team Paso Doble consists of Donald, Melissa, William and their respective partners. Their routine is heavy on flames, opera and hulking man bodies, earning its members two nines and an eight -- that one point discrepancy nearly sparks a riot in the ballroom.
That does it for classical night. Tune in Tuesday night for a double elimination.