Dancing with the Stars, Season 23, Week 7: Eras Week


Memorable team dances highlight of Eras Week; Len drops in for a night.

Week 6 this season is Eras Week. More importantly, it’s Len is Back Week. One week only, sadly; we won’t see him again after this until the Finale. But we don’t get any fancy opening tonight, just the couples marching out. They’re covering every decade from the 20s to the 90s, but while they come out in chronological order, they don’t perform in that order.

Laurie Hernandez & Val Chmerkovskiy

1960s Quickstep; “One Fine Day” – The Chiffons

Val tells Laurie a bit about the 60s, then gets it into his head they should do a prom night dance. Learning Laurie was homeschooled and never went to prom makes him all the more determined there. He dresses up like a dork, and they do an over the top routine. Laurie lends herself to over the top, but one wonders if maybe this one was a little too manic. Or maybe too fast. Len accuses them of rushing through it, even as both the other judges and Val accuse him of being jetlagged. Carrie Ann gets mad they began and ended with lifts. Val tells her the 60s was about rebellion, which gets her to declare she’ll only dock one point. So that’s 8s from her and Len and 9s from the other two for 34.

Ryan Lochte & Cheryl Burke

1990s Rumba; “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” – Aerosmith

The rumba requires Ryan to be sensual and passionate. Not his strong suits. His fiancée pays a visit to the studio to try to help. It was perhaps too much to ask, really, that he match Cheryl. She comes out with all the passion and sensuality, and thanks to that it’s hard to even pay attention to what he’s doing. But that’s also because he’s not doing much. No big mistakes, but nothing to stand out either. Julianne goes out of her way to give props for effort, but all four judges have to say he isn’t passionate enough. Len does say he’s happy they at least didn’t use props, but the scores are straight 7s for 28.

Marilu Henner & Derek Hough

1920s Charleston; “Never Forget You” – Postmodern Jukebox feat. Addie Hamilton

This isn’t completely unfamiliar territory for Marilu, who’s played Roxie in Chicago. Although the dance Derek choreographs is a lot more cheerful than that show. Marilu adapts well enough to the goofiness of the routine; she can do cheeky. But technically she’s weak. The side by side choreography especially shows her struggle to keep up with Derek and the ending goes wrong. Carrie Ann, though she acknowledges lifts are allowed in the Charleston, also criticizes their rough edges. The other judges are nicer, and Julianne even gives them an 8, but 7s from the other three leave them with 29.

Calvin Johnson, Jr. & Lindsay Arnold

1950s Jive; “Good Golly, Miss Molly” – Little Richard

In the fluff, we learn football has left Calvin with permanent ankle damage that’s a problem for this dance. Lindsay tells him to put energy in his feet and hopefully the judges will forgive some lack of toe point. He proceeds to bounce about from the top of the vintage red car to all around the dance floor. His torso, limbs, and energy are perfectly suited to the jive, of course. It pays off; the judges praise him and praise the dance, both in content and execution. Len is especially impressed with how much he’s improved while he was gone. They break out the straight 9sfor 36.

Maureen McCormick & Artem Chinvintsev

1980s Tango; “You Give Love a Bad Name” – Bon Jovi

Maureen notes in the fluff she’s lucky to still be on the show. Also she wasn’t really into the whole side of the 80s this song expresses, but she goes with it anyway. She and Artem don the ridiculous black clothes and wild hair and rock it out best they can, especially at beginning and end. Sadly, it feels like they can’t as much while actually doing the tango, even before they have a huge stumble. Artem blames that one on his stumbling on her skirt. The judges are sorry for the error, but Bruno still calls her a “hell-raising rock and rolling dominatrix,” after which the ladies can’t stop giggling. They break out a second set of straight 7s for 28.

Terra Jolé & Sasha Farber

1930s Foxtrot; “Cheek to Cheek” – Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

The fluff has Terra getting stressed out, especially after last week’s disappointment. Things take a sweeter turn when her young children pay a visit to the studio. For the dance, she gets dressed and made up to look like she walked right off of the classic silver screen. She dances like it too, all shiny and like a dream. The judges rejoice in her return to form, with Julianne even telling her, “Welcome back, bombshell!” Bruno compares her to Jean Harlow, and Len praises both her and Sasha for the work they’ve put in. The ladies break out 9s and the men 8s for another 34.

Jana Kramer & Gleb Savchenko

1970s Samba; “Get Down Tonight” – KC and the Sunshine Band

In contrast to Terra, Jana’s trying to cope with the pressure of following up a perfect score, and a week on the road doesn’t help. Also in contrast to Terra & Sasha, she & Gleb look appalling, but that’s the difficulty of getting the 70s. They make the most of it by making a fun disco routine in a laundromat. Jane throws herself into it, and she pulls it off with quality and energy. The judges all praise her for that. But Len criticizes the routine for not having enough samba in it, and Carrie Ann cites them for lifts, even though it was Gleb getting her on top of the washers. So the two of them only give them 8s, but Julianne and Bruno like it more and break out the 9s. It’s a third 34.

James Hinchcliffe & Sharna Burgess

1940s Jitterbug; “In the Mood” Glenn Miller

At least they don’t have to worry about the lift police. The jitterbug’s another one where they’re allowed. On the other hand, he worries how far she pushes the tricks in the fluff. Her injuring her knee in the dress rehearsal doesn’t help matters there. Indeed, there are moments of awkwardness during those tricks tonight. But the rest of the dance more than makes up for it. The two of them have an obvious World War II-themed concept, and James is flawless while doing the leg-related jitterbug movements. The judges all shower that with praise, though Len once again objects there’s not enough of the dance. Bruno also notes sync issues, which Sharna blames on her knee. They get straight 9s to tie Calvin & Lindsay for the lead.

The team dances this season have tied into the week’s theme: the teams are Team Past and Team Future. As usual, the two highest scores, in this cast Laurie and James, are the captains and choose their teams. James & Sharna lead Team Past, which includes Maureen & Artem, Calvin & Lindsay, and Ryan & Cheryl. Laurie & Val are joined on Team Future by Jana & Gleb, Terra & Sasha, and Marilu & Derek.

Team Past

Freestyle; “The Skye Boat Song” – Raya Yarbrough

In the fluff they describe this simply as an 18th century Scottish ballad, so we don’t know if they know it’s the theme from Outlander. While they’re technically doing freestyle, what they choreograph is a group Viennese Waltz. It’s an enchanting number, one that relies on ensemble work, much more so than is usual for these team dances. During the Sunday blocking rehearsal they struggle with it, but tonight their performance is absolutely flawless. This ultimately ends up being the moment of the night. The judges are as swept away as the rest of us, and Carrie Ann and Bruno even break out the night’s only 10s. With 9s from the other two, they get 38. James & Sharna and Calvin & Lindsay remain tied for the lead with 74, and Maureen & Artem and Ryan & Cheryl both go to 66.

Team Future

Freestyle; “Embrace” Armin van Bureen feat. Eric Vloeminns

Four women, four different heights, they comment, though the fluff shows Terra getting anxious she’s holding the others back. They too have difficulties on Sunday. They too also choreograph a brilliant number. Unlike the last one, it has solo moments for each couple as well as group dancing, all filled with innovative moves, and all serving to help tell a clear dystopic tale. Had they hit this one clean, it would’ve been the moment of the night. Unfortunately, they instead have a lot of sync issues. The judges lament this, because they all loved the concept. Carrie Ann gives it an 8, and the other three give it 9s, for 35. Laurie & Val, Terra & Sasha, and Jana & Gleb all go up to 69. Marilu & Derek drop to the bottom of the leaderboard with 64.

With only two minutes for the elimination, Tom and Erin simply call out two couples, Maureen & Artem and Jana & Gleb, and announce everyone else is safe. It’s such a bizarre final two when Jana & Gleb took that perfect score last week you almost think they’d only put them out there if they still somehow got voted off…but no, it’s Maureen & Artem out. Maureen praises everyone as much as she can, but Tom has to cut her off due to lack of time and send them out for a final bow.

Next: The Unreleased Song That Bruce Springsteen Wrote For Harry Potter

Next week is Halloween Week. Of course. That annual monster ballroom mash will commence next Monday at 8.

Check back tomorrow morning for video of all performances.