A night with a few initial sound malfunctions and the aftermath of a frightening injury ends with a tie for first, and an obvious elimination.
There’s been a little bit of drama in the week since we last saw the ballroom. We see it in the intro, which is a pretty simple one, but involves Heather coming out alone. Those of us who follow Maks’ social media know he’s out already. But as usual the show ignores that, with Tom saying only he got injured Friday, more later.
First we start the dances!
(Check back in the morning for videos of all dances performed tonight.)
Nancy Kerrigan & Artem Chigvintsev
Cha Cha Cha – “No Rights, No Wrongs” – Jess Glynne
The fluff shows Nancy struggling to deal with being complimented. She’s not used to that. The media was always critical of her, and her coach didn’t do it either. The start of the dance doesn’t go well either when she misses a step. That’s not the last mistake, even before they fumble the ending badly, plus Artem has a wardrobe malfunction with his microphone. Still she keeps his smile on and shows some ability to cha cha cha. The judges are nice about that, although Julianne also has a microphone go crazy on her. (Not the only sound malfunction we have either even before they go to commercial). They break out straight Sevens for 28.
Erika Jayne & Gleb Savchenko
Foxtrot – “Bad Intentions” Niykee Heaton
Erika feels a need to remain sexy. So Gleb comes up with a routine which allows her to be. It involves her seducing him as a cop who pulls her over and leaving him handcuffed to her car. It’s not the best of ideas, to put it kindly, but the story and character do suit her. As a foxtrot it’s not too bad either, and she shows herself able to elegant while still being sexy. The judges especially praise her lines, though they do have some criticisms to make. Once again the sounds go weird, with sirens going off in the middle of Len’s comments. They then break out the straight Sevens again.
Charo & Keo Motsepe
Paso Doble – “Espana Cani”
It’s appropriate for them to dance to her version of this old piece. She sees doing this Spanish danc as a chance to portray her life, and honor her mother and and her country. So this time she’s doing plenty of the actual dance. She absolutely throws herself into it, doing most of the steps off timing with a zeal you absolutely gotta love. Her excitement is as strong as last week’s, especially when Carrie Ann bows down to her, and judges all appreciate her passion, though things get even weirder between her and Bruno than last week. Tom finally has to bribe her with his mike to go backstage. But when three of the judges only give her Sixes, and Julianne only a Seven, Keo has to restrain her from storming back out there! They’re left with 25.
Nick Viall & Peta Murgatroyd
Foxtrot – “Love Me Now” John Legend
The fluff is a tame one. There is no mention of William Shatner’s feud with him, only ballroom visits from his fiancée and her son. He calls this dance, “masculine but pretty,” and his attitude would be pretty good. But Peta choreographs him a content-heavy routine where he manages to keep up, but barely at times, and the mood is honestly a little too intense. Len especially is displeased, breaking out that famous term of his, “hectic.” Julianne agrees, saying “less is more,” and Bruno calls it, “like a rabbit being chased by a fox.” Julianne does praise the partnership, though, and she and Carrie Ann give them Sevens. But Bruno gives a Six, and Len a Five, so they end up with 25.
Heather Morris & Allen Bersten
Jive – “Grown” Little Mix
The presenting of this whole drama gets more questionable when they follow Maks saying he’s enjoying this with the exact moment he pulls his calf, especially when he afterwards fears it’ll take him out for good. Tom finally admits after the fluff he can’t dance and dance troupe member Allen’s stepping in. Heather opens breaking it down with a couple of background girls, which of course she’s great at. The fluff showed her comparing jive and hip hop too, but when it comes time for a former, she’s good, but not brilliant. The judges are quick to tell her they’re not the same. Len especially is mad, ranting about how he wanted to see a jive and only giving her a Six. But the other judges break out the Eights for 30.
We also get a little interview with Maks. He says of the injury it’s one that’s going to keep him out a while. He’s flying out tomorrow for more work on it.
Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess
Viennese Waltz – “Unlove You” Jennifer Nettles
They talk in the fluff of making this routine country-like. Hence the use of a country song. But it ends up being surprisingly bare bones, just the two of them waltzing. So there’s nothing to hide their crazily intense emotional connection. Bonner manages to hit all the steps too. They’ve already had to deny there’s anything romantic going on between them, so they’re probably not happy when Julianne says it feels like they’re “watching something unfolding.” They might like her and Carrie Ann’s praise, though. But Bruno calls him “a bit woody.” And there’s no pleasing Len tonight; he thinks their dancing was too inward! He only gives them a Six and Bruno a Seven. With Eights from the ladies, they total 29.
Simone Biles & Sasha Farber
Cha Cha Cha – “Burnin’ Up” Jessie J feat. 2 Chainz
Sasha presumably thinks he needs to push Simone hard due to expectations. But when he’s criticizing her for not being sexy enough, and talking about he wants this cha cha to be on the sexy side, it doesn’t come off very well. She’s not underage, but still. Still, it’s a relatively “clean” sexy, as Carrie Ann notes. And by tonight, she’s dancing with full gusto, and she’s very good with the moves too. Or would be, expect she gets carried away and gets a little bit ahead of Sasha. Three of the judges are forced to point this out, and she only gets Sevens from them. But Bruno declares, “I think you set off all the fire alarms in the studio!” and gives her an Eight, so she ends up with 29.
Chris Kattan & Witney Carson
Jazz – “Hey Ya!” OutKast
The fluff reveals new details about Chris’ neck and back problems he’s never talked about before. The extent of them reduces Witney to tears. We learn just how limited his movement is, and how in previous years, he actually couldn’t have done this show. With what he’s overcoming established, he comes out to do a comedy filled routine where he does a Marilyn Monroe impression and a good deal of dance steps. It’s a character he embodies brilliantly, and the steps suit him pretty well too. The judges praise his courage, and his improvement. He gets Sixes from the ladies and Fives from the men for 22.
Normani Kordei & Val Chmerkovskiy
Cha Cha Cha – “Give Me Your Love” Sigala feat. John Newman and Nile Rodgers
Monday night after the show she and Val had to fly off to Asia. Fifth Harmony’s on tour. Val talked of it as a chance to bond and build chemistry, but of course touring cuts into rehearsal time and strains things. It didn’t help matters they only landed in LA hours ago. We even saw her getting her costume fitted two hours before showtime! But you wouldn’t know about any of that watching them dance today. They come out with a lot of energy and nail the dance, and they did build up plenty of chemistry too. Bruno even asked what they served on that plane as they judges shower them with praise. Len finally pulls out his Eight paddle, as do the other three, as they get 32. They’re flying off to China tonight…
Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater
Viennese Waltz – “Suffer” Charlie Puth
In the fluff, Emma gets Rashad talking about a huge heartbreak in his past he can channel. He tells the world he’s not afraid to be vulnerable. And indeed he isn’t. He meets this routine with strong emotion and surprising amount of heat. He also nails the moves. The judges are really impressed with a lot of his technique, though they have various suggestions for improvement. Julianne and Bruno also both call it hot, with Bruno calling it, “Fifty shades of Viennese Waltz.” For the second couple in a row, the judges break out the straight Eights, and they and Normani & Val end up tieing for the lead.
Mr. T & Kym Herjavec
Paso doble – “Eye of the Tiger” Survivor
Mr. T is not happy with all the mistakes he made last week. But, he reminds us, the movie this song is from had the boxer do much better in his second fight. With this song, they have to set it up as a boxing match. Tom even participates as announcer, with a “Let’s get ready to paso!” Kym still does most of the hard stuff, but this time Mr. T does his part clean. But while the judges are happy for that, they tell him he needed to perform with more aggression, or at least more projection of it to the audience. Len nonetheless salutes him. But he and Bruno still only give him Fives. Sixes from the ladies leave them with 22.
David Ross & Lindsay Arnold
Cha Cha Cha – “Bust a Move” Young MC
This was one of young David’s favorite songs back in the 90s. He spends the fluff reminiscing about dancing to it in school and showing Lindsay the moves he did back then. She incorporates them into a routine that pretty much puts them back at a 90s school dance. In fact, he almost does as much of them as he does cha cha cha, though he does a bit of the latter well enough. It’s a great and joyful show, and the judges acknowledge that. Julianne, for whom this song also has special significance, because she won her first trophy with it, is especially pleased. Len even goes so far as to say he’s now past second base. But he still only gives them a Six. The others break out Sevens for 27.
With two minutes left for the elimination, Tom and Erin call two couples in jeopardy and everyone else safe. Predictably, they’re Chris & Witney and Charo & Keo. But given the impressions made the scores of both couples last week, you figure it’s Chris & Witney leaving. Indeed it is. Chris openly wishes he’d talked the full extent of his injury earlier. Perhaps it might have made a difference.
They might have done the first two weeks without themes, but that ends next week. That’s when we get Most Memorable Year. Get the tissues ready for next Monday.