The first-ever Cirque du Soleil Night brought out acrobatic performers, unique costumes and an unbridled air of excitement on Dancing with the Stars, as the remaining 11 couples were challenged to soar to new heights in the competition. Such a sparkly opening number – I loved, loved, loved all the enthusiasm and stunning vibrancy this week! Head judge Len Goodman was notably absent from the ballroom (he was over the pond judging another competition), but the judges were clearly jazzed about this theme. Even Carrie Ann said she would let all lifts go in honor of Cirque du Soleil Night to the applause of the audience.
Who freed their imagination and rose to the creative challenge and who fell flat on Cirque du Soleil Night? Let’s take a look at how everyone did on this swinging fourth week of competition:
Calvin Johnson Jr. with Lindsay Arnold, Charleston
Dancing a Charleston to music from KURIOUS – Cabinet of Curiosities, Calvin and Lindsay were a spirited choice to begin the competition. I love watching Calvin because the smile on his face indicates he’s always having a good time on the dance floor. Julianne admired how light they were on their feet, but she felt their energy level could have remained a little higher throughout the dance. Bruno called Calvin “the showman with super powers” and told him to keep up the excellent timing and high performance level, while Carrie Ann proclaimed their dance fantastic and fun.
Maureen McCormick with Artem Chigvintsev, Argentine Tango
Maureen and Artem may not have had the smoothest week of rehearsals, but it didn’t show in their Argentine Tango set to a score from Mystere. I thought it was her best dance thus far. Bruno said she turned into a 1920s movie queen with a precision and focus to her lines, though they could still be a bit sharper. Carrie Ann complimented her for keeping everyone’s focus during the dance despite all of the obvious background distractions, saying her posture was wonderful and the connection with Artem looked stronger this week. Julianne suggested Maureen should embrace her struggles and rely on her partner more because she’s transforming into a graceful dancer. It was a well-earned trio of 8s from the judges and Maureen’s highest score to date.
Jana Kramer with Gleb Savchenko, Foxtrot
Dancing to “Here Comes the Sun” from The Beatles’ LOVE, Jana and Gleb’s Foxtrot was very aesthetically pleasing (but then again, isn’t this couple?) even with a subdued background with fewer frilly extras. It was mesmerizing choreography. Carrie Ann admires Jana’s ability to express herself, while Julianne really wants to see them break out of the middle if Jana allows her shoulders to relax more. Bruno said he was bathing in a magical afterglow but praised them for the stunning fluidity of their movements and holds. This was probably the closest I’ll ever get to seeing the iconic LOVE show, so kudos to ABC and the show’s producers for making this happen.
Marilu Henner with Derek Hough, Paso Doble
Is Marilu’s memory a blessing or a hindrance to her performances in this competition? What a fascinating question. Dancing an epic Paso Doble full of good and evil to the piece “Battlefield” from KA, Marilu and Derek do not disappoint me ever, though I guess the judges still see something missing. Julianne admired how they used the entire stage and truly captured the essence of KA, but she felt Marilu is “still too much inside her head” and needs to relax and “feel more” while performing. Bruno commented on the difficulty of the technique involved in the dance but feels like Marilu needs to “own” her performance a little more. Carrie Ann senses great ambition in Marilu, telling her she has everything it takes to be successful in this competition if she would only dance “with” Derek instead of “next to” Derek. Constructive criticism at its finest. I was a little surprised by those low scores.
Amber Rose with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Argentine Tango
Amber Rose needs to get over the “Julianne body shamed me controversy” if she wants to remain in this competition. I believe Julianne’s comments were completely taken out of context last week. Dancing a risqué Argentine Tango to the burlesque music from Zumanity, Amber and Maks sizzled on the dance floor. I will give Amber credit for apologizing to Julianne, saying she wants to move forward with a positive energy. Julianne told her to continue expressing herself through her dance, saying she was stripped down and showed her true essence and energy level this week and it was a good thing. Bruno admired the content of the dance, saying he would “order plenty more of that dish.” Carrie Ann said it was a pleasure to watch her be herself and blow them all away. It was much better than last week.
Ryan Lochte with Cheryl Burke, Viennese Waltz
Dancing a dreamy Viennese Waltz to the music from O, Ryan and Cheryl nearly brought me to tears this week. Maybe it was that haunting melody, maybe it was the misty backdrop or maybe it was their graceful movements because maybe Ryan felt more in his element because of the watery theme. I thought it was his best dance to date, and he earned a few of my votes. Carrie Ann saw improvement with his frame and extended arm movements, but told him to continue to bring life to the dance floor. Julianne said the music and choreography were stunning, while Bruno commended him for the amount of content and his powerful emotional connection with Cheryl.
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds with Allison Holker, Tango
Dancing to the iconic “Come Together” from The Beatles’ LOVE, Babyface and Allison danced an ambitious Tango. I had never considered how much precision was involved with spotlights prior to now. Their timing may have been slightly off at times, but they looked like they were shining to me. Julianne praised him for keeping a smile on his face, saying he can always come back next week and to keep that positive attitude. Bruno humorously compared it to Poltergeist (something to do with the spotlights being possessed I think), while Carrie Ann cautioned that he can push stronger and harder and have an ultimate comeback next week. I hope Babyface sticks around. For the first time in this competition, I’m nervous for him.
Terra Jole with Sasha Farber, Samba
Though Terra appeared to be struggling in rehearsals, you couldn’t tell when she and Sasha took to the dance floor with a fiery Samba set to a score from O. She seemed to nail every move, and her hair was on-point. Bruno told her that she had him on fire, saying the promenades were very difficult moves for someone to even attempt let alone get through. Carrie Ann called her in a league of her own because Samba is one of the hardest dances to do, but she was clearly captivated, awarding them their highest score yet in this competition: a 9. Julianne praised her for the sexiness of the dance, admiring how she inspires everyone else to feel free when she dances. It was not my favorite of the night, but it was a well-earned score and I continue to enjoy this partnership.
Laurie Hernandez with Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Jazz
Dancing to a crowd-pleasing favorite from Michael Jackson ONE (“The Way You Make Me Feel”), Laurie and Val killed it again to the surprise of no one. Jazz was the perfect dance style for that song. Carrie Ann told her “a star is born,” while Julianne was temporarily speechless. She then called her the “Queen of the Ballroom.” Bruno compared it to watching Debbie Allen, Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul all combined yet uniquely Laurie. Earning the first perfect score of the season on Week 4, she’s going to be tough to beat in this competition!
Vanilla Ice with Witney Carson, Viennese Waltz
An urban circus combined with Ice’s cool demeanor? A match made in heaven! Vanilla Ice and Witney danced an intriguing Viennese Waltz to a piece from La Nouba, and I absolutely adored it. For someone who literally had no time for rehearsals, he managed to appear polished to me. Julianne felt the theme and character really worked in his favor for this number, while Bruno called him a mesmerizing magician. However, he cautioned him about not turning into “Edward Scissorhands” next week because of his frantic arm and hand movements. Carrie Ann felt he brought his “A” game, noting it was much improved on all levels. I hope Vanilla Ice skirts through to the next round, as he’s one of my favorites to watch this season!
James Hinchcliffe with Sharna Burgess, Quickstep
Dancing a lively Quickstep to a tune from the first-ever Broadway-inspired Cirque du Soleil show PARAMOUR, James and Sharna remain one of my favorite couples in this competition. It was definitely a show-stopper and an excellent choice for the final dance! Bruno loved the artistry and holds, calling it a rousing performance. Carrie Ann said it was the perfect end of a magical evening, while Julianne praised him for his continuing charisma, calling him the “real deal.” It was worthy of 2 more 10s in my humble opinion.
It was revealed this week would bring a shocking double elimination – and nobody has immunity this time around. Who do you think will be going home? I’m honestly not sure myself. I’m thinking perhaps Babyface and Amber Rose, but it’s really still anybody’s game and that’s what makes it a great season thus far.
Update | Results episode
Can we talk about that shocking double elimination this week? I wasn’t that surprised to see Babyface and Allison go home considering his low scores, but Vanilla Ice and Witney? Say it ain’t so, America! He deserved to be in the competition at least another week or two. He was so entertaining to watch and I will sorely miss him.
However, seeing dance pros Sasha Farber and Emma Slater get engaged live on Dancing with the Stars did much to remove that sour taste in my mouth. After dancing a Contemporary routine to Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are,” Sasha got down on one knee and popped the question. After Emma said yes, confetti came down on the happy couple and I had all the feels. What a beautiful couple and proposal – I wish them a lifetime of happiness together! I can’t wait to see what surprises next week will bring on the program.
Who is your favorite so far? Who should go home next week? Tell us in the comments below!