When you dance regularly with someone, even if it's just for a few weeks, as in the case of the contestants on Dancing With the Stars, you form a bond with them that's difficult to understand. Not only do you get to know the other person's style, rhythm, and temperament, you often spend more time in a rehearsal studio with them than you do hanging out with members of your own family.

So naturally, when the cast of DWTS learned they would be switching partners this week -- something that has never been done before -- all dancers, both stars and pros, were shaking in their jazz shoes. For some -- Meryl, I'm tipping my hat in your direction -- the change was a blessing. And for others ... eh, not so much. Here's how the contestants held up under this new and bizarre form of pressure.

Poor Candace Cameron Bure really needed to shine tonight since she's been a little lackluster, and her excited reaction when she discovered she'd been placed with Tony Dovolani gave me hope that she'd find herself as a dancer. Unfortunately, the judges -- which included special guest Julianne Hough rocking her fierce new haircut -- gave her lukewarm praise and weren't impressed with their chemistry and energy as partners. With a total of 60 points, she came out on the bottom this week.

The pairing of Drew Carey with the much younger Witney was an interesting one. I thought she brought out the free spirit in Drew and that he forced her to be a bit more sophisticated, though you could tell she was missing Cody throughout rehearsals. I mean, she basically called Drew a "slow learner" and referenced his age a few times. Drew never seems like a natural dancer, but he tried damn hard this week. The judges took notice and he scored a 63.

Speaking of Cody Simpson, the youngin' was psyched to be paired with fellow Aussie Shama Burgess, though if I had to hear him joke about her "mom" age (she's 28, for god's sake) one more time, I was going to hurl a bottle at my TV screen. Shama was an enthusiastic coach and tried her hardest to make the teen star shine, but even after singing a line from Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" and donning a spiffy white suit, the judges felt his form was still off and that he needed to do something less "Cody" next time. He scored a 66.

Danica McKellar traded her usual partner, Val, for his brother, Maks. As usual, Danica looked stunning, but the judges agreed her timing seemed off and she needs to appear a bit more serious on the floor. She scored a 68.

Omg, James Maslow and Cheryl Burke. Good god, these two were HOT as they performed a tango to Katy Perry's "Dark Horse." Despite how the judges criticized James for sticking his butt out too much -- which is hilarious -- these two had off-the-charts chemistry and scored a 71.

At first, I thought NeNe Leakes looked ridiculous leaping around the stage barefoot with Derek Hough. But as the number went on, I agreed wholeheartedly with the judges: she got the chance to live out her Beyonce fantasy and she nailed the number. She received a score of 63.

Charlie White and Peta performed a rumba and looked great -- to the untrained eye. But the fact that judges could immediately tell they weren't doing a proper rumba should have cost them more points than it did -- they received a respectable 69.

Amy Purdy and Mark Ballas' salsa was beyond sexy and we got to see a different side of the snowboarder. I would say more about her dancing -- which was honestly impressive -- but was anyone noticing anything other than her insane midsection? She scored a 70.

Although no one was actually eliminated this week, the couple that received the highest score (78!) was Meryl Davis and Val, who worked together like a dream dance couple. Their tango was fluid and beautiful and you could tell they had the time of their lives working together.

So who will be voted off next week? Though I have to say it's not looking so good for Candace right now, the stars will be returning to the open arms of their original dance partners next Monday, and time will tell if this switch-up helps contestants improve their game.

Which partner switch-up was your favorite?

 

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