Depending on how one feels about the House of Mouse, Disney night on "Dancing with the Stars" is either a magical romp or a look directly into the dark heart of corporate-mandated capitalist synergy.
Either way, the outfits look great.
Based on Nick Lachey's bottom-tier performance in the prior two weeks, it wouldn't have been surprising to see him go home Monday night -- his pre-dance package after two consecutive weeks of courting elimination included a shot of him looking dejectedly downward and begging his body to work with him.
"Do what I tell you, feet," he groaned helplessly.
And because he was set to do a quickstep to "Bare Necessities," he also got a short segment in which he visited a zoo and the animals taunted him about his scores.
"Dancing with the Stars" is weird, okay? We're not going to dance around it. It's an odd show.
But elimination wasn't in the cards, despite Nick scoring at the bottom of the pack with a 22/30 for his performance. Objectively, it doesn't make a lot of sense -- but, just like, Mowgli floating down the Ganges on Baloo's belly, the former boy-bander has likely been kept afloat by a raft of fans' votes.
The other Lachey-related surprise of the night was that Nick's wife and dance floor superior, Vanessa, didn't score much better than he did -- 24/30 -- for her waltz to a French rendition of "Someday My Prince Will Come."
While other couples, such as Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson, have improved their scores by leaps over the course of the season, Vanessa and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy appear to have stalled in the mid-20s. It was impressive at the beginning of the season, but without an improvement, it's unlikely we'll see either Lachey taking home the Mirrorball Trophy at the end of the season.
So who is in the running? Broadway star Jordan Fisher has been making the entire competition look easy from the first night, and he earned the season's first 30/30 score Monday by dancing to his own recording of "You're Welcome" from "Moana." We get it, Jordan: You're an absurdly talented wunderkind.
The other major contender has also been a favorite from the beginning. Lindsey Stirling, who danced to "When You Wish Upon a Star," earned a 28/30 and remains near the top of the leaderboards.
There's also a third challenger, but this is where the situation gets odd. Frankie Muniz actually scored higher than Stirling Monday night, but fans must have more middling opinions of Malcolm. He and his 29/30 faced elimination alongside consistently low-scoring "Pretty Little Liars" actress Sasha Pieterse, who went home.
So Muniz's fate is more ambiguous, but we're still calling it: He, Stirling or Fisher will claim the season. Everyone else is filler.
At this point, Nick Lachey's real prize will probably be having learned the bare necessities of dancing.