‘Dancing With The Stars’ Recap: Kellie Pickler Gets Her 10

Monday’s episode of Dancing With The Stars was full of top-notch dancing and even better music. The ABC show challenged the six remaining couples to a team routine as well as their individual attempts.

While a few of the couples showcased their stellar steps, others fell short of the steep competition. Stevie Wonder was in the studio to perform “My Cherie Amour” and “Sir Duke.” His other tunes tickled fans throughout the night as each couple did a routine to one of his hits.

Team Pickler-Dick finally emerged when it was time for the team round. Kellie Pickler, Sean Lowe, Kellie Pickler and Andy Dick comprised the samba team, along with their respective pro partners. Meanwhile, the battled Zendaya, Victor Ortiz, Jacoby Jones and Inga Rademacher and each of their pro partners formed the paso team.

In a shocking turn of events, I agreed with almost everything judge Len Goodman had to say. His critiques were still cutting, but he finally gave credit for cool points where it was due. Case in point: Andy Dick.

While Team Pickler-Dick was triumphant in the group round with their samba, his individual attempt at the same dance was a technical mess. Still, he earned a standing ovation from the audience and made bad look awfully good — and fun. Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli pointed out the flaws, while Len recognized the showmanship. “What you do is you come out here and you give us fun. The samba’s all about entertainment, it’s a joyful dance,” he said. “It wasn’t that good technically, but … if the others have climbed hills you’ve climbed mountains and I think you’ve done a great job. Well done!” Amen.

Aly Raisman’s routine was just as good as usual, even though the judges critiqued her form. They felt her booty was sticking out too much. Um, hello… she’s a gymnast? Bruno said she was “pretty as a picture,” and the judges awarded her foxtrot a respectable score of 27.

The almost annoyingly perfect Zendaya gave another great showing with her show-opening foxtrot. The 16-year-old sweetheart seemed to really catch her groove with this one. Bruno complimented her “mesmerizing shape, hypnotic presence, and slick hip action,” after calling her “gob-smackingly gorgeous.” Calm down. She’s still a kid. She has set a high bar again, earning 29 points at the top of the show.

Country star Kellie Pickler really stood out with her crazy good quickstep. Judges said the performance was nearly perfect, and it earned the first “10” of the season from Len. The usually tough judge called the dance “the best of season 16” and Bruno said it was “superb.”

Victor Ortiz had another rough night on the dance floor after his rumba failed to impress the judges. Bruno said he wasn’t the first dancer to “fail” at the rumba, but likened his form to “an airline safety drill.” Ouch. Carrie Ann was more caring when she praised the pair’s chemistry. He and pro partner, Lindsay Arnold, earned 18 points, tying with Andy Dick for the night’s low score.

Who do you think is going home next?