Tonight’s theme was the first ever “Boy Bands vs. Girl Groups” on Dancing with the Stars. And for the first time this season, each remaining competitor was expected to learn two new routines: one for the individual round and one for the team dance round. Do you think it’s coincidental that there were eight remaining contestants and four of them just happened to be male competitors and four of them just happened to be female competitors to allow for an even mix of boys vs. girls? That seemed a little too perfect for a show that’s supposed to base live eliminations off judges’ scores and viewers’ votes every week, but maybe that’s just my inner cynic talking.
I was excited to see Backstreet Boy Nick Carter return as a guest judge (filling in for Julianne Hough) and Maks’ return to the ballroom floor to dance with his partner Heather. But I was even more excited to see a team dance set to New Kids on the Block! Let’s see how your favorites did on this snazzy sixth week of competition:
Simone Biles & Sasha Farber, Samba
I’m not sure that her Samba set to Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” was sexy, but Simone looked uber confident and limber. Len felt it was full of control and recognizable Samba content with clever choreography, though the timing was a little suspect. Bruno said her future is set in gold and admired her radiant, sassy confidence. Carrie Ann thought it was sexy in Simone’s unique way, while Nick said it was a great way to start the show. Loved Sasha’s gold jeans!
Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess, Rumba
Dancing a Rumba to The Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” with Nick Carter sitting just a few feet away = no pressure! However, I thought Bonner and Sharna rose to the occasion admirably, and I loved their setting / story. Bruno admitted the Rumba is difficult for men because of the continuous flow of movement required, but he loved the overall concept. Carrie Ann enjoyed the dynamics, commending them for being so in sync this week. Nick was proud of the performance but advised Bonner that he needs to “let go” a little more. Len thought the lines were good, but felt it could’ve used more fluidity.
Nancy Kerrigan & Artem Chigvintsev, Paso Doble
I root for Nancy every week, but her drama is getting a little tiresome. She always comes out looking almost perfect, and this week’s Paso Doble to “Free Your Mind” by En Vogue was no exception. Carrie Ann said to “let the caged bird fly” – she admired Nancy’s energy and commitment. Nick loved how she commanded the floor, while Len told her not to doubt herself because it causes unnecessary tension in her body (notably in her shoulders this week). Bruno said she unleashed the beast and he enjoyed the section not in hold because of her fierce attitude and attack, though he cautioned her not to lose her shaping.
Nick Viall & Peta Murgatroyd, Jive
How much fun is a Jive set to “Fun, Fun, Fun” by The Beach Boys? Nick is not my favorite competitor, but I have to praise him for his performances the past two weeks. Nick said he has the look but needs to work on the moves. Len liked the fun and freedom but felt the dance lacked some good vibrations and finesse. Bruno thought it was fun in the sun with a bit of sunstroke, saying the footwork could’ve used a bit more work. Carrie Ann commended him for coming out of his shell but warned him to watch his hands and feet. Did it deserve the night’s lowest scores?
Normani Kordei & Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Salsa
The song choice of “When I Grow Up” by The Pussycat Dolls seemed like an appropriate choice for Normani and Val’s Salsa. Can I award points for Val’s sexy construction motif? I think that was another first for the show. Len thought it showcased what a great dancer Normani is but didn’t think it contained enough Salsa content. Bruno wanted to borrow one of her handymen because the dance “blew his boxes” because she nailed every movement. Carrie Ann praised her focus and perfect lines, while Nick said she has what it takes to take this all the way.
David Ross & Lindsay Arnold, Argentine Tango
It looks like Lindsay gives David some tough love when she’s “coaching” him week to week. But maybe that’s what he needs because their Argentine Tango set to “I Want You Back” by *NSYNC looked more focused compared to last week. Bruno said it started well but noted that David nearly dropped Lindsay when he attempted the lift. Carrie Ann wondered why David didn’t seem himself, saying she felt he gave up midway through the routine. Nick asked if he preferred *NSYNC or Backstreet Boys, and to David’s credit, he gave the answer Nick was looking to hear. Len admitted it wasn’t his best, but he applauded him for the effort. David said he was trying to come across as more sensual and didn’t mean to seem grumpy … fair enough.
Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater, Tango
Rashad and Emma danced an amazing Tango to “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” by The Four Tops. I adored the sparkly purple outfits and the big grin on his face at the end! Carrie Ann called the beginning absolute perfection, saying he danced with style and technique throughout the performance. Nick applauded his elite status in this competition, while Bruno echoed that sentiment, saying he loved it and it possessed a classic combination. Len said it was a proper ballroom Tango and admired his attack.
Heather Morris & Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Rumba
Maks was finally back to dance the Rumba with Heather to TLC’s “Waterfalls” (back to the sidelines for poor Alan) and the producers wisely saved his dramatic comeback for last. Heather was a vision in red, and it was her best dance to date. Nick admitted it was his favorite dance of the night, saying she was elegant, beautiful and told a story. Len welcomed back Maks and applauded Heather for the speed and legwork, calling it a knockout performance. Bruno said it was like watching “Dancing with the Stars Confidential” with nobody being able to resist Heather. Carrie Ann praised it for being her best dance, remarking that it was stunning and grounded. It was the first perfect score of the season and a well-earned welcome back to Maks!
Team Boy Band
Bonner, Nick, David and Rashad danced their team dance to a medley of “Dancing Machine” by Jackson 5, “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” by New Kids on the Block and “Best Song Ever” by One Direction. When they ripped off their shirts to the tune of The New Kids, that was the highlight of the night for me. Len said it was full of gimmicks and crowd-pleasing moves, but it was plenty of fun. Bruno called it the Spinal Tap version of a boy band but thanked them for being so entertaining that they had him in tears. Carrie Ann loved it – her favorite part was the group section with the four celebrities holding their own. Nick said there was a new boy band in town and they all missed their calling.
Team Girl Group
Simone, Nancy, Normani and Heather danced a team dance to a medley of “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Chiffons, “No Scrubs” by TLC and “BO$$” by Fifth Harmony. The women looked incredible and made good use of their partners as props on Ladies’ Night. Bruno said girl power was still alive and well and loved seeing the girl groups through the decades kicking ass. Carrie Ann was a bit underwhelmed, and Len must have felt the same way, saying he found the guys’ routine a bit more entertaining. I would concur with that. However, Nick said what we were all thinking: he was stunned that the girls were in jeopardy tonight.
And that brought us to a truly shocking elimination on Dancing with the Stars. After it was revealed that all four male competitors were safe, my heart immediately went out to Nancy, Simone, Normani and Heather. None of these ladies deserved to go home this week! Ultimately, it came down to Nancy & Artem and Heather & Maks. Despite receiving the first perfect score of the competition, Heather and Maks were given the boot. And I can’t remember ever seeing the studio audience so visibly and audibly upset by an elimination.
Next week’s theme is a twist on “Movie Night,” with each couple dancing to a different genre of movie. I can’t wait! Who deserves to go home next week? I can certainly think of a couple likely candidates, but this week proved anything is possible. I know I’m going to continue voting for my favorites. Take nothing for granted, people!
Did the right star go home? Who is your favorite? Who do you think deserves to go home next week? Tell us in the comments below!