It was a wonderful theme on this week's "Dancing With the Stars," when the show paid tribute to Stevie Wonder. The music legend's biggest hits were featured on the show, and Stevie was in the house to perform with "DWTS" musical director Harold Wheeler and the house band.
The all-Stevie theme was the first time in the show's history that an entire episode was dedicated to one artist, a refreshing first amid some kooky themes from the past. (Who can forget last season's dance fusion combos, which featured the caveman hustle and the "Knight Rider" bhangra?)
But with Stevie in the ballroom, why did the house band still perform most of the songs? Turns out it was a matter of timing.
According to Washington Times, producers considered having Wonder play live for all of the performances, but Wheeler decided against it because the dances are only a minute and a half long. "Stevie would have to learn abbreviated version of every single dance, and there can't be any adlibbing, which Wonder is known for," Wheeler explained.
Stevie's iconic presence on the show had host Tom Bergeron telling the music legend, "We are so happy to have you here on Stevie Wonder Night because had you not shown, it would have been really awkward."
"I (had) to be here or I would have had to watch it on TV," Stevie cracked.
Speaking of awkward, while this season's celebs did Stevie's songs proud (two standouts were Zendaya Coleman's cha cha to "Do I Do" and Kellie Pickler's quickstep to "Part Time Lover"), one "DWTS" star may have been eliminated just in time.
Last week, comedian D.L. Hughley was booted from the show, one week shy of the Stevie theme - and it may have been a blessing in disguise. According to the New York Daily News, Hughley once revealed that he used to work at an L.A. radio station run by Wonder, and the music icon fired him.
"One day on the air I made the mistake of saying, 'Do you think this station would be this raggedy if Stevie Wonder could see?'" Hughley wrote. "Forty-five minutes later, Stevie Wonder came barging through the door and he was livid …. He started dressing me down. Of course I'd always loved Stevie Wonder, so to have an icon like that yell at you was more weird than anything. He kept going on about how it was disrespectful and it wasn't funny, and that I don't understand… I was so fired."
Meanwhile, who had a Wonder-ful night on Monday? Zendaya and Kellie topped the leaderboard with 29 points each, but the team dance scores gave the "American Idol" alum the edge.
"Dancing With the Stars" airs on Mondays and Tuesdays on ABC.
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