Everyone’s favorite head judge Len Goodman was back in the ballroom just in time for Eras Night on Dancing with the Stars. (However, don’t get too attached, as he said he won’t be back again until the finale.) The eight remaining couples were each tasked with creating a unique dance for their assigned era (1920s-1990s), which made for a dynamic package of entertainment spanning the evolution of dance and music through the decades. What was really great about this theme was seeing everyone’s elaborate costumes! The hair, makeup and wardrobe departments always hit it out of the park on this program, and this week was no exception.
Let’s take a look at how everyone did on this unforgettable seventh week of competition and fun stroll down Memory Lane:
Laurie Hernandez with Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Quickstep
A Quickstep set to The Chiffons’ “One Fine Day”? Count me in, and what a colorful way to begin the eras! Laurie and Val looked adorable in their ’60s prom outfits. It was fabulous and full of energy from start to finish. Len admired the way Laurie came out and gave it her all, though he felt it was a bit rushed and she lost a little bit of her technique. Julianne thought it was quick and praised Laurie for being so light on her feet, while Bruno said it was groovy and he loved the sporty elements thrown into the performance. Carrie Ann felt it was spectacular, but she didn’t like the lifts at the beginning and the end of the dance. Nice cover, Val – saying the illegal lifts were added to teach Laurie about the rebellious nature of the ’60s. Laurie managed to make me feel old when she was recounting what she had “learned” about the ’60s this week.
Ryan Lochte with Cheryl Burke, Rumba
Self-admitted goofball Ryan attempted to seduce Cheryl with a ’90s Rumba set to Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”. I didn’t want to miss a thing about their dance, as he looked pretty serious to me. Julianne felt the dance could’ve been a little more epic to match the Aerosmith anthem, while Bruno echoed that sentiment saying he needed to resonate with the character and conveying the passion more. Carrie Ann disagreed, noting that Ryan is out of his comfort zone and she felt moments when he was connecting. However, she was quick to point out that he still needs to take that next step to remain in this competition. Len gave him an extra point for stripping down the dance and not relying upon props to carry the performance, saying he admires his pluck. It wasn’t his best, but I thought it was a decent effort.
Marilu Henner with Derek Hough, Charleston
Marilu and Derek continued their stride with a Roaring ’20s-inspired Charleston set to “Never Forget You” by Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox featuring Addie Hamilton. I hadn’t realized Marilu had appeared in a Broadway production of “Chicago” – no wonder she looked to be in her wheelhouse. I thought the dance possessed a lot of razzle dazzle, but the judges were not as easy to impress. Bruno called her a feisty flapper, admiring the gaiety of the dance although something went wrong with the footwork at the end. Carrie Ann felt it was somehow lacking and a little bit tense, while Len noted it was energetic and entertaining and really captured the ’20s vibe. Julianne also felt the fun and she applauded Marilu for being the oldest competitor this season and for doing so well with the high-energy dances. Give her props, people!
Calvin Johnson Jr. with Lindsay Arnold, Jive
Dancing a ’50s Jive to “Good Golly, Miss Molly” by Little Richard, Calvin and Lindsay remain a fun couple to watch in this competition. Everything about this dance was vibrant, from the classic red car they cruised into the ballroom in to their yellow costumes, which were almost as bright as the smile that never left Calvin’s face. Carrie Ann loved it, saying Calvin made it look effortless and easy on the eyes. Len called it a polished, high-octane performance and commended Calvin for improving so much since he’s been away. Julianne and Bruno applauded him for improving his footwork and called it spot-on to the era. I really don’t want him to go home any time soon.
Maureen McCormick with Artem Chigvintsev, Tango
I love the ’80s, and I loved Maureen and Artem’s Tango set to the signature Bon Jovi anthem “You Give Love a Bad Name”. Everything was spot-on about their look, from Artem’s mullet and jean jacket to Maureen’s black lace and velvet. Len thought the feisty rock chick look suited the spirit of a Tango well, while Julianne told her to take that outfit home because she looked hot. Bruno called her a hell-raising dominatrix, telling her to focus on the positives. Carrie Ann admires her attitude but cautioned her to improve her body contact while in hold. The judges all concurred that while she did slip up slightly, she was still able to hold her head high and go on. Maureen was on fire.
Terra Jole with Sasha Farber, Foxtrot
I’ve always enjoyed the whimsical song “Cheek to Cheek”. Terra and Sasha danced a ’30s-inspired Foxtrot to the song with style even if they couldn’t physically dance cheek to cheek. Julianne called her a bombshell, saying this was the Terra everyone fell in love with during week one. Bruno said she had all the sparkle of a mini Jean Harlow, applauding her for her knack to get everything right. Carrie Ann loves how she fully commits herself to every single movement. Len thought it oozed class and sophistication and commended Sasha for being a great teacher. Kudos to both of them!
Jana Kramer with Gleb Savchenko, Samba
Dancing a hip-shaking ’70s Samba to KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight” is no easy task, but Jana and Gleb made it look effortless. I don’t know who thought of the laundromat setting with the bubbles in the background, but it was perfect for this era. Bruno admired their down and dirty dance moves, while Carrie Ann sees her star growing brighter and brighter. Len called them out for not having enough Samba content and too much larking about (though he’s expecting to see them in the finale), while Julianne admired the amount of funk they put into their routine. She feels they broke out from the pack at just the right time.
James Hinchcliffe with Sharna Burgess, Jitterbug
James and Sharna’s ’40s Jitterbug set to Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” was easily my favorite of the night. It’s impossible not to be in a good mood when you hear that song! I hadn’t realized Sharna hasn’t won a Mirror Ball yet (she’s so deserving of one). That choreography was among the best, most entertaining I’ve ever witnessed on 23 seasons of this program. Carrie Ann admires how James is able to seamlessly blend in with whatever world Sharna creates for him week to week. Len called him a major contender in this competition, though he felt the dance had a bit more Jive than Jitterbug. Julianne was left wanting more, while Bruno said it was unstoppable and praised the compelling, cinematic storyline and production value style. At the beginning of the season, I felt Laurie and Val would win hands-down but not any more. I’m 100% behind a James and Sharna win, and I have been for several weeks now!
Not only was it Eras Night, but it was also Team Dance Night for added pressure on the remaining celebrities and their dance pro partners. Competing head-to-head in teams of four, it was Team Past vs. Team Future for added points to their judges’ scores.
Team Past (James and Sharna, Calvin and Lindsay, Ryan and Cheryl, Maureen and Artem), Viennese Waltz
Led by James and Sharna, Team Past went way back – dancing a Viennese Waltz to an old Scottish folk song. Their costumes and backdrop were breathtakingly spectacular. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them, and I felt all four couples dazzled. Len believed it was a proper team dance (saying they all shone equally) and commended their bravery for dancing a Viennese Waltz instead of a traditional trumped up team dance. Julianne said it was executed beautifully, while Bruno likened it to a perfect romantic dream. Carrie Ann was mesmerized by the haunting quality and amazing synchronicity.
Team Future (Laurie and Val, Marilu and Derek, Terra and Sasha, Jana and Gleb), Tango
Led by Laurie and Val, Team Future brought together four women from all walks of life. The choreography was edgy and futuristic, typical of a Val or Derek routine. It was very apropos for the style and tone they were trying to convey. I felt everyone was utilized to their full potential, but it was tough to follow that Team Past act. Julianne felt like she was in Divergent, appreciating the individual performances and poignant concept. Bruno likened it to a cross of Star Trek with Pandora, admiring the style but saying he noticed a few out-of-sync moments. Carrie Ann, too, loved the expression but noticed the shapes weren’t always matching. Len praised the high standard of dance seen in the competition thus far along with the incredible imagination that went into developing this routine.
After such wonderment in the team dances, it was easy to forget the unpleasantness of another elimination. The two couples revealed in jeopardy in what is sure to be the quickest elimination of the season: Maureen and Artem vs. Jana and Gleb. I was sad to see Maureen and Artem go home, but it was definitely not time for Jana and Gleb who are near perfection. Who do you think will be going home next week? It’s tough to predict, so I’m not even going to try this time.
Did the right pair go home this week? Tell us in the comments below!