After last week’s “Switch-Up,” everyone was back with their regular partners for week 6 of Dancing With the Stars. This week, the theme was “Famous Dances,” in which each pair performed a routine based on a well-known musical, music video or movie. The producers chose the dances, so if there was a number that a celebrity dancer didn’t like… well, tough.

The DWTS stage and costume design teams got a chance to shine, re-enacting the sets and looks from those famous dances. Here is how the four athletes in competition fared this week, with at least one facing elimination.

Von Miller: Jazz

For his “famous dance,” Miller performed the routine from Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” Getting to dance like Jackson seemed to inspire Miller, who’s a big fan, but pre-tape rehearsal video showed he was putting a lot of pressure on himself to get it right. One thing the Denver Broncos linebacker has shown in six weeks of competition, however, is a willingness to get into character and act. He was tapping into his inner Michael Jackson.

Doing a Jazz dance, which is a bit more freeform and not as formal as the traditional ballroom routines, certainly allowed Miller to have some fun. That always goes a long way with the judges and fans, who want to see the celebrity dancers enjoy themselves.

Results: The judges were all impressed by Miller embodying Jackson, which is maybe even more commendable considering how much bigger he is than The King of Pop. No guest fourth judge this week, so every score is out of a possible 30. Miller scored an 8 from all three judges for a total of 24.


Paige VanZant: Jazz

VanZant got a chance to show off her goofy side with an Austin Powers-inspired routine for her Jazz dance. The MMA fighter has performed well with three different dancers this season, something no other contestant has had to deal with, but the chemistry developed with regular partner (and “teammate”) Mark Ballas was certainly on display in this routine. However, there were some obstacles during rehearsals as the song to which they intended to perform was pulled for legal reasons, resulting in a new dance having to be performed as well.

But no worries, apparently. Throughout DWTS’ run, Ballas has shown himself to be a creative choreographer, capable of coming up with exciting routines on the fly. And VanZant’s innate athleticism has allowed her to adapt to virtually any situation. She continues to look like a natural dancer on the ballroom floor, capable of winning this competition.

Results: Getting a 10 from oft-grumpy judge Len Goodman is like gold, but VanZant earned the high mark with her flawless routine. Surprisingly, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli each gave a 9. But the total of 28 was the second-highest score for the night.


Doug Flutie: Bollywood

Last week’s switch-up seemed to give Flutie a boost, but maybe it was dancing the tango, which requires more precision and sharp movements. He and partner Karina Smirnoff were dealt a tough hand this week by having to perform a Bollywood routine to “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire. Even Smirnoff admitted she’s never performed a Bollywood dance before, which didn’t seem to bode well for the pair.

Unfortunately, Flutie has been anything but a natural dancer this season and the Bollywood routine exposed that. No one might work harder in practicing routines, and Flutie has been notoriously hard on himself during rehearsals. But when you look like you’re trying on the dance floor, rather than just doing, it usually isn’t good. That continues to make Flutie appear stiff in his movements, though he clearly had fun with a relatively good performance.

Results: The judges each gave Flutie a 7, and that total of 21 was the lowest score of the night. This probably would’ve been a really good dance early in the season, but as the competition progresses, it’s just clear that everyone else in the contest is better than Flutie.


Antonio Brown: Jive

If you’re going to perform to “Footloose,” you’d better bring it because so many are familiar with that song and the dance number from the movie. Brown stepped up to those expectations, often left out on an island to dance alone. Being surrounded by professional dancers isn’t always a good situation for a celebrity contestant on the show, but Brown fit right in with his kicks and choreography. The jive requires quick, springy footwork, which played right into the light feet of a star NFL receiver. And it most certainly doesn’t hurt that Brown wears a permanent smile on his face, looking like he’s having the greatest time on the dance floor.

The Steelers wideout might face some tough weeks ahead as he has to perform more formal ballroom routines, but if partner Sharna Burgess creates routines that allow his athleticism and charm to shine through, he may be able to get by on those skills. Of course, Brown could end up showing that he can do ballroom as well as anyone else in the competition. The longer he stays in the contest, the better his chances get.

Results: That was easily Brown’s best performance of the season, with technique finally catching up to his natural athleticism and charisma. Brown had the final routine of the night, which is sometimes not the best spot to be in, creating a letdown following other impressive performances. But the “Footloose” number was a total crowd-pleaser that roused the entire audience and charmed the judges. Brown scored three 9s from the judges, his best score this season and tied for the third-best of the evening.



Three athletes faced elimination this week, with Miller, VanZant (which is outrageous) and Flutie in the bottom three. But Flutie could only stave off the inevitable for so long. He’s been among the bottom three in scoring and fan votes for the past few weeks, and only the touching, emotional performance from week 3 probably saved him from being eliminated earlier.

While it was compelling to see him get better each week, the other dancers in the competition have shown more natural gifts for ballroom dancing. Hard work and determination can only go so far, unfortunately. With that, Flutie became the first of season 22’s athletes eliminated from the contest.

You can read all of our Dancing With the Stars recaps here.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.