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‘Dancing’ goes retro; Johnson, Kramer safe another week

The former Lions wide receiver earned high scores for his footwork, despite former ankle injuries

Stephanie Steinberg, The Detroit News

“Dancing with the Stars” traveled back in time Monday as the eight remaining celebrity couples danced to popular songs from the roaring 1920s to 1990s.

For “eras night,” former Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson Jr. and partner Lindsay Arnold danced a jive to the 1950s “Good Golly Miss Molly” by Little Richard.

During rehearsal, Arnold found out the jive footwork is more challenging for Johnson.

“Calvin has some serious ankle injuries from football that are actually not allowing him to point his foot as normal people can,” she said.

Her recommendation: Channel all energy to his size 15 feet.

“If you show you are keeping energy in them, then that counts,” she said.

And it worked.


Dressed in bright yellow and white ’50s attire with a red convertible in the backdrop, on which Johnson danced at one point, the two received positive remarks from the judges and a high score of 36 out of 40.

“What is so fantastic is you make it your own. You took that dance and you made it Calvinized. .... You know your body so well. It was energetic, it was effortless and it was very easy on the eyes.”

“You surprised me because you’ve improved so much in those few weeks I’ve been away,” added judge Len Goodman, who returned returned to the show after a few weeks on hiatus filming Britain’s “Strictly Come Dancing.”

Actress and country singer Jana Kramer of Rochester Hills and partner Gleb Savchenko performed a samba to the 1970s “Get Down Tonight” by KC and the Sunshine Band.

After earning a perfect score of 40 out of 40 last week, the pressure was on. But their ’70s routine dancing in a Laundromat set-up earned them a decent 34.

While Goodman wanted to see more samba among the funk and fun, he said their performance was “nice and clean.”

“I’m not back to until the final, and I’ll be so surprised if you’re not there,” he added.

This is the first week the stars danced twice throughout the show — once with their partners and again among two groups of four.

Dubbed Team Past, Johnson performed with IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and actress Maureen McCormick. Their Viennese Waltz earned an impressive 38 out of 40 from the judges.

During the judges’ feedback, Bruno Tonioli singled out Johnson and Hinchcliffe.

“There was one section, where James and Calvin, you were crossing the floor in absolute total synchronization — it was gorgeous,” he said.

Judge Carrie Ann Inaba said it was “absolutely haunting” — but in a good way, as she named it her favorite dance of the night.

Called Team Future, Kramer danced with actress Marilu Henner, Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez and actress Terra Jole. Their futuristic and imaginative routine earned a 35 from the judges, who docked a few points for missed synchronization.

Last week, both Johnson and Kramer were in jeopardy of going home, but were named safe when model Amber Rose was eliminated.

Kramer was again placed in jeopardy Monday night, earning one of the two lowest combined judges’ scores and viewer votes from last week. Yet she held on for next week’s Halloween-themed episode, as McCormick and partner Artem Chigvintsev were eliminated.

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Twitter: @Steph_Steinberg