Throughout 2022, fans of the James Bond movies have been celebrating the cinematic exploits of 007 through various methods. With The Sound of 007 documentary being released, as well as a couple of books either currently available or on the way to shelves in the next couple of months, there’s no shortage of options. However, one of the most outfield offerings has to be this week’s episode of Disney+’s Dancing with the Stars, as “Bond Night” was the theme for the dancing competition’s latest installment.
Some Of The 007 Themes Were Weirdly Abridged
While the results were wildly entertaining to watch, the handling of the theme songs absolutely stuck out to me throughout the night. More specifically, it was the abridging of some songs in the James Bond canon that really stuck out. I understand that everything from music rights to timing of the dance routines has to do with how Dancing with the Stars (opens in new tab) handles the opening melodies from movies like The World is Not Enough or Thunderball. Even with that in mind, those two 007 tunes are favorites of mine, and they felt a bit off in the moment.
That is in no way a knock towards the singers and the band that Dancing with the Stars employs. In fact, they were absolute all-stars with their renditions of the various James Bond opening themes. Throughout the night, I was questioning whether they’d gotten the actual recording for “Goldeneye” or “Writing’s On The Wall,” because the performers got really close to what I’m used to as a Bond fan.
The real issue is the abridged nature of the songs, and there’s only so much one can do with that factor. It’s just the nature of the beast, and I'm a little picky when it comes to how I hear "You Know My Name" performed. Caveats aside, my hat goes off to the performers and their musical stylings, as a live dance competition is probably one hell of a tightrope to walk as it is.
James Bond Is A Perfect Fit For Dancing With The Stars
Outside of that weirdness, and as an outsider returning to Dancing with the Stars, “Bond Night” was actually quite fun! Even with my own skepticism firmly in place, I knew there was a potential for a perfect fit, and thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. Come to think of it, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a James Bond-themed night for this competition before.
I’ll leave it to judge Derek Hough’s explanation of the Rumba, set to an instrumental version of Garbage’s “The World is Not Enough” to showcase how well the collision of Dancing with the Stars and James Bond worked:
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Besides the usual shenanigans and theatricality you’d expect from this now-Disney+ exclusive series, the respect paid to the James Bond legacy was rather beautiful. A “Bond 101” montage was included to introduce our favorite super spy, and I dare say it outdid the merely ok 007 Oscar tribute we got at this year’s Academy Awards. Of course, this is Dancing with the Stars, and “dancing” is the heart of this entire show. So the real highlights come from the footwork shown off by said stars.
Impressive Dance Routines Made Bond Night A Night To Remember
Out of all of the pairs competing on Dancing with the Stars’ Bond Night, there were four in particular that blew me away. Opening the evening with a No Time To Die-inspired set, social media star Charli D’Amelio and dancer Mark Ballas pulled off some amazing feats, despite the “story” element of their routine coming off a bit hokey. Again, I know it’s the nature of this beast, so that one’s on me.
The night was still full of other stunning acts and rousing renditions of everything the James Bond canon had to offer. Which led me to enjoy some amazing dancing by singer Jordan Sparks and dancer Brandon Armstrong, as they put on a perfect performance mapping with Licence to Kill’s title track in spirit and energy. Coincidentally, Sparks had previously sang backup for Gladys Knight, the singer behind that very track, and she felt like even more of a natural fit.
However, the two most impressive performances in Dancing With The Stars’ James Bond extravaganza came from Selma Blair and Joseph Baena. Paired respectively with dancers Sasha Farber and Alexis Warr, Blair and Baena stunned with some surprising challenges added to their routines. For the bodybuilding son of Arnold Schwarzenegger, that included lifting Alexis into the air and having her drop back into his arms during their “Writing’s On The Wall” set routine.
Without question, Selma Blair’s set was the star of the show for me. After having what she called “MS leg” during last week’s performance, Blair admitted to some sensory overload being behind it. This led Sasha Farber to introduce a blindfold into their dance, which was set to a personal favorite Bond theme for Selma and her late mother, “For Your Eyes Only.” Paying tribute to that family connection, Selma Blair stole the whole night; and she did it blindfolded, while continuing to show how representation for Multiple Sclerosis matters.
I don’t know how much I’ll return to this series outside of themed nights such as “Bond Night.” Dancing with the Stars is still interesting from afar, but not something I feel too connected too in terms of what I consider appointment viewing. At the same time, I’ll never say never, as there are some competitors I’m rooting for this season, and if James Bond were ever to return, I’d be a fool not to tune in.
Should you want to catch “Bond Night” or any other action from Season 31 of Dancing with the Stars, you don’t need a license to kill. You do need a Disney+ subscription though, as the former ABC fixture is now a streaming original, airing live on Mondays at 8 PM ET. To those who are loyal viewers, I hope you keep your streaming devices fired up and your martinis cool for the rest of this thrilling competition. Also, sorry to hear about Pasha Paskov getting eliminated in Week 2, as that would kind of make him the Timothy Dalton of Season 31.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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