Halloween Night is always a magical night of competition on Dancing with the Stars, as the remaining celebrities and their dance pro partners live out their fantasies and let their imaginations roam wild. This year’s Halloween Night was full of tricks and treats, as everyone tried to outdo each other with their lifts and playful rehearsal pranks.
Head judge Len Goodman returned to his judiciary duties on the other side of the pond and at least one dance pro was also notably missing from the festivities. Troupe member Jenna Johnson was forced to fill in for Sharna Burgess, as Sharna’s injuries proved to be worse than she let on last week (she did some damage to her restructured knee).
With three weeks remaining in the competition, the stakes are higher than ever before and it was revealed that the couple with the highest judges’ scores of the evening would be granted immunity from this week’s elimination. Let’s take a look at how everyone did on this fiendishly fun eighth week of competition:
Terra Jole with Sasha Farber, Cha Cha
I adored Terra and Sasha’s Cha Cha set to “Day-O (Banana Boat Song)” from Tim Burton’s iconic movie Beetlejuice. From the lip syncing to the moves, I enjoyed their recreation of the dinner scene. Julianne said they really set the tone for the evening but cautioned them that they need to push themselves to the next level with a little more content at this stage of the competition. Bruno loved their wacky, cartoonish Tim Burton feel, admiring how they fit in the Cha Cha content with the scene. Carrie Ann continues to admire Terra’s spark but said the dance didn’t have enough “wow factor” for her.
Laurie Hernandez with Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Viennese Waltz
A Viennese Waltz set to “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory? Pure genius. These two did not disappoint, as Val’s wondrous choreography lifted them from the rest of the pack again with this enchanted performance. The misty, candy-coated backdrop was absolutely perfect. Bruno called it a magical Halloween treat full of beautiful movement and lyricism. Carrie Ann was brought to tears, saying she truly felt the emotional tenderness between Laurie and Val, while Julianne also enjoyed the way Laurie looked at Val. It came as no surprise that they earned a perfect score.
Marilu Henner with Derek Hough, Argentine Tango
An Argentine Tango set in a spider’s lair? Creepy! But Marilu and Derek managed to make it look wickedly sexy despite a few noticeable missteps. Nice song choice, by the way: Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”. It’s interesting to see Derek in an underdog position, scrambling to make his way to the top of the leaderboard. Carrie Ann loved the way they came back this week with intensity and confidence, although she had to point out their tiny mistakes. Julianne called Marilu “a sexy black widow with legs for days,” but she thinks Marilu is second-guessing herself too much in the competition. Bruno also told her to use her killer legs more for maximum effect and to trust her partner more. Will Marilu heed their advice before it’s too late?
Calvin Johnson Jr. with Lindsay Arnold, Quickstep
Calvin and Lindsay’s skeleton costumes were on-point and so were the skeleton band props in the background that were reminiscent of the Rankin-Bass animated classic Mad Monster Party? Their Quickstep set to the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies’ “Dr. Bones” was a delight from start to finish. Julianne thanked them for capturing the theme of the dance without compromising its integrity, while Bruno called Calvin the “Voodoo Master” with the perfect balance of contact and content. Carrie Ann compared him to fan favorite Emmitt Smith, applauding him for his continued enthusiasm and energy. Uh-oh, someone’s giving Laurie and Val a run for their money tonight.
Ryan Lochte with Cheryl Burke, Tango
Wow, Cheryl really cracked the reins on Ryan this week. Their rehearsals were full of tough love, but I detected noticeable improvement in Ryan’s intensity and technique as a direct result. A Maleficent themed Tango set to The Black Keys’ “Howlin’ for You” should not have worked as effectively as it did. Bruno called Ryan “The Prince of Darkness” and admired the believability of his performance, while Julianne commended him for his continued improvement. Carrie Ann felt while he may have lost a little of his grace and elegance during the dance, he made up for it with his fierce attack.
Jana Kramer with Gleb Savchenko, Jazz
A Jazz routine set to The Little Shop of Horrors theme? YES! It may have been the first Jazz routine Gleb has ever choreographed, but you couldn’t tell from their cutesy, non-stop performance. Carrie Ann called it refreshing and entertaining and noted the improvement of their Jive content. Julianne disagreed about the Jive content, saying she didn’t feel it highlighted Jana’s strengths, but she still thought it was something straight off Broadway. Bruno said it was high-energy, very bendy and full of sparkle, likening it to a “musical comedy concoction” that hit all the right spots.
James Hinchcliffe with Jenna Johnson, Viennese Waltz
Jenna Johnson filled in admirably for the injured Sharna Burgess in this masterful Suicide Squad-inspired Viennese Waltz aptly set to “You Don’t Own Me”. There’s a reason why James is usually slated to perform last. Everyone knows you save the best for last! The struggle between The Joker and Harley Quinn was mesmerizing material for this type of dance. Julianne had to compose herself afterwards, admiring how they were able to build eight weeks’ worth of chemistry into one performance, demonstrating James’ ability to knock it out of the park no matter who his partner is. Bruno felt it was amazing, saying he delivered “the ride of a lifetime despite having a set of new wheels.” Carrie Ann called it beyond incredible, comparing James to dance pro Mark Ballas.
Since there was a three-way tie for the immunity, it fell on the highest cumulative judges’ scores in the competition to decide which couple was safe. Deservedly so, James and Sharna were granted the immunity. Then it was time for another head-to-head Halloween Dance-Off among the remaining six couples for more crucial points.
Laurie and Val vs. Calvin and Lindsay, Jive
Laurie challenged Calvin to a dance-off, but it was Calvin who selected the Jive. Both couples gave it their all in this fun-filled Jive set to Sheb Wooley’s “The Purple People Eater”. It was too close to call for me. Julianne echoed that, saying both were clean and calling it a tight match-up. Bruno said it was like watching David vs. Goliath with one being slightly more precise than the other, while Carrie Ann appreciated the hard work put into both routines.
Win: Laurie and Val (the judges and America concurred)
Jana and Gleb vs. Terra and Sasha, Salsa
In my opinion, it looked like Jana and Gleb out-shined Terra and Sasha in this Salsa match-up set to The Platters’ “(You’ve Got) The Magic Touch”. Bruno said one was fun and disco, while one was sexy and sultry. Carrie Ann was amazed by Terra and Sasha’s approach. Julianne also said it was tight because one of the couples started out strong and then the other couple came back equally strong.
Win: Jana and Gleb (though the judges were a bit mixed)
Ryan and Cheryl vs. Marilu and Derek, Cha Cha
The captivating Cha Chas were set to The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face”. In my opinion, it looked like Marilu and Derek’s routine was slightly more polished. Carrie Ann said there was one couple she couldn’t take her eyes off of, while Julianne said one couple played it safe and the other went for the entertainment. Bruno said one couple went randy, while the other went precise.
Win: Ryan and Cheryl (though Bruno preferred Marilu and Derek)
After such a spooktacular night, it was ultimately revealed that Ryan and Cheryl and Terra and Sasha were in jeopardy. Luck finally ran out for Ryan, as he was eliminated from the competition. I will miss his spirit and perseverance, but that felt like the right decision to me. Who do you think will be going home next week, just shy of the Semi-Finals?
Did the right pair go home this week? Tell us in the comments below!