Disney Night on Monday’s “Dancing With the Stars” meant the contestants had to channel their inner animated heroes.
Basketball star Iman Shumpert let it go and wowed in a “Frozen” dance! Matt James looked icy on the dance floor as Frozone! The Miz was wonderful, magnificent, glorious and entirely blue as Aladdin’s Genie! Jojo Siwa ditched the glass slippers and waltzed as Prince Charming!
The Disney celebration was heightened as judge Derek Hough made his comeback after missing last week’s show due to COVID-19 protocol, while dancers Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke returned from quarantine and hit the ballroom once again.
But like every Disney movie, there was conflict. In Monday’s case, it was the reminder of Tom Bergeron. A past interview of the still-popular “DWTS” host discussing his July 2020 firing went viral before showtime.
Here’s what went down on the Disney dance floor and beyond:
Tom Bergeron was ‘butting heads’ with show producers before firing
During a podcast appearance on Sept. 13, Bergeron said he saw his dismissal after 28 seasons coming long before he and co-host Erin Andrews were replaced by executive producer/solo host Tyra Banks.
“The end of the (2019) season that turned out to be my last season, I kind of knew,” Bergeron said during an episode of the “Bob Saget’s Here for You” podcast. “So I took everything out of my dressing room that I really wanted. It was kind of obvious that we were kind of butting heads.”
“I didn’t think a political person was an appropriate booking for the show,” Bergeron said. “I don’t think that sat well with the producers or the network.”
However, he and his former co-host, Andrews, who joined in 2014, kept the smiles going for the TV audience. “I can compartmentalize,” Bergeron explained. “Erin and I had more fun being fired than virtually anybody.”
Jojo Siwa channels inner Prince Charming to dance the waltz
The 18-year-old YouTube star made “DWTS” history choosing to perform with a same-sex partner, pro dancer Jenna Johnson. After weeks of dancing in matching outfits, the duo took a “Cinderella” spin Monday night – Siwa danced as Prince Charming, while Johnson wore a sparkly blue Cinderella gown for the Viennese waltz to “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes.”
As Siwa chirped after the dance, “I was more excited to be a prince.” The dance was TV magic, with graceful spins in front of a pink castle. Siwa cradled Johnson after a final, deep bow.
Judge Bruno Tonioli proclaimed it to be “a Viennese waltz for the 21st century” and bellowed that “you two are a dream come true.”
Carrie Ann Inaba praised the power dynamics. “You showed the whole world that girls can do anything guys can do, maybe even better.”
The judges’ 9 scores came out for the first time this season as the duo waltzed to the top of the leaderboard.
Iman Shumpert delivers a fantastic foxtrot and his ‘Frozen’-loving children
Shumpert was impressive enough Monday dancing elegantly — yes elegantly — with his sweeping foxtrot to “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” But Shumpert’s real-life tale of “hand-delivering” his two children with wife Teyana Taylor had the studio audience even more enthralled.
“I became Dr. Shump,” the 6-foot-5 baller said, harkening back to 2015 when the pregnant Taylor went into early labor. Shumpert was compelled to deliver their baby girl, Iman Tayla, 5, in their bathroom. Playing the 911 emergency call on the broadcast only tugged more at the heartstrings, with a relieved Shumpert heard saying, “It’s a little girl.”
“Dr. Shump did it again” in 2020, when Shumpert played his part in delivering their second daughter, Rue Rose, 1, via at-home water birth.
Naturally, his two girls are both “Frozen” fanatics with Iman in the “DWTS” audience cheering her father on.
After Shumpert wowed with earnest grace on the dance floor alongside partner Daniella Karagach, judge (and frequent critic) Len Goodman summed it up, saying, “It’s obvious you’re great at delivering. And you delivered a really great foxtrot.”
Like a terrible basketball referee, somehow Goodman still gave Shumpert a low 6 score amid the praise. The other judges were right on with their higher 8 scores.
The Miz rocks it as The Genie, Matt James is incredible as Frozone
Sure there was a dance competition Monday night. But the real question was: Who won the “DWTS” Disney Night costume competition?
Mike “The Miz” Mizanin was a shirtless vision as he transformed into The Genie from “Aladdin” for his spirited samba to “Friend Like Me.” The all-over blue body make-up was so pervasive that his partner Witney Carson literally could not dance too close to him, lest her Princess Jasmine costume be stained perma-blue. And as the weeks progress, so does the WWE star’s magical footwork. Check it out.
Olivia Jade generated heat as Nala from “The Lion King” with her samba to “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.” The judges noted her growing chemistry with partner Val Chmerkovskiy, dressed as her Simba. As host Banks said, “you two have a beautiful bond.”
But, in terms of costume, you cannot deny “Bachelor” Matt James’ attention to detail. He was a dead-ringer for Frozone from “The Incredibles,” even owning the superhero leotard. Pro partner Lindsay Arnold joined him on the dancefloor in her best Edna Mode garb, and James never stumbled during the difficult routine even as he kept on the unwieldy Frozone glasses during their quickstep. The dance ended with James dramatically hurling confetti like Frozone throwing instant-ice. (Darn near froze out the competition there.)
And they all lived happily ever after… for now.
The villainy will continue on “Dancing With the Stars” Oct. 12 for a special Disney Villains Night episode (ABC, 8 EDT/PDT). Eliminations will go down tomorrow.