It was three times the fun on Dancing with the Stars with each remaining competitor and their partner dancing a regular routine (with the song picked by their partner) followed by the tantalizing Trio Round. However, this season’s Trio Round had a twist – because of course it did. Instead of leaving it up to each couple to pick their second dance pro, the judges were tasked with selecting the third member of each trio.
We were also treated to a preview of the DWTS Hot Summer Nights Tour (it looked steamy), and Julianne Hough reprised her role as a judge. Let’s see how your favorites did on this eighth week of competition:
Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater, Jive
Rashad and Emma earned my votes this week for dancing their spirited Jive to The Blues Brothers’ “Shake a Tail Feather”. I’ve never seen a sparkly Blues Brothers before, but they were adorable. Len thought it was full of joy and content but told Rashad to improve his footwork. Julianne said it was a fun way to start the night but echoed Len’s sentiment about needing to see sharper footwork. Bruno complimented Emma on the song choice, calling Rashad a stage animal with a lot of charisma. Carrie Ann said you could look up the word “entertainer” in the dictionary and find a picture of Rashad but cautioned him that he needs to still work on the tiny details.
Normani Kordei & Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Contemporary
Normani and Val danced their Contemporary routine to “Freedom” by Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton. After hearing about Normani’s dealings with racist online bullies in the past, it was a beautiful song/dance combination. Julianne was completely mesmerized and told Normani she was creating art and history. Bruno said she deserved the Pulitzer for extraordinary storytelling on the program. Carrie Ann praised Val for the healing choreography, while Len admired the way she had the entire audience – including him – spellbound by her performance. Naturally, it was another perfect score for the couple.
Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess, Argentine Tango
Sharna picked the song “Believer” by Imagine Dragons for Bonner because she felt the lyrics spoke volumes about overcoming his painful struggles. I enjoyed their Argentine Tango – Bonner has never looked more smoldering. Bruno believed he gave it his all but the difficulty of the dance got the better of him. Carrie Ann felt it was a great music choice because she said no one believed he would get this far in the competition, but she believes in him. Len said it was far too stiff for an Argentine Tango and said Bonner shouldn’t still be there (take a chill pill, Len!). Julianne told him to use the intensity and frustration of Week Eight to his advantage, noting that she saw improvement from the last time she watched him dance two weeks ago. Hopefully, it wasn’t too little too late.
Simone Biles & Sasha Farber, Foxtrot
Dancing a Foxtrot to One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”, Simone and Sasha have never looked smarter. Carrie Ann commended her for hitting every line in the performance but cautioned her to work on her authenticity. Len liked the mix in and out of hold, saying it was full of youthful exuberance. Julianne called it a very pretty dance but said it was too safe and didn’t wow her enough. Bruno told her she needs to bring more unique, unforgettable moves into her performances. I get what the judges are saying. Simone doesn’t ever do anything wrong, but she doesn’t quite “wow” me either.
David Ross & Lindsay Arnold, Waltz
I think Lindsay nailed it when she selected Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” for David. Their Waltz was as tender and poignant as a father-daughter wedding dance. When David teared up, so did I. Len loved the section with Lindsay dancing on top of David’s feet, saying it was his best dance to date. Julianne praised him for his growth, saying he’s the heart of this competition. Bruno felt the love, truth and honesty emanating from the dance, while Carrie Ann said they should call themselves “Lady and the Champ” instead of “Lady and the Gramps”. (Haha, I love David’s humble sense of humor.)
And then came the Trio Round, which is usually a mixed bag. I guess I don’t usually enjoy this week because it doesn’t have a fun theme and it’s never fun to see a couple go home just shy of making Semi-Finals.
Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater with Witney, Argentine Tango
Rashad and Emma were joined by Witney to create a sultry Argentine Tango, and I’ve never heard a sexier rendition of “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. Len said it was full of passion and storytelling but once more told Rashad to work on the footwork. Julianne loved the concept and choreography, enjoying the different dynamics to his dancing depending upon which partner he was tangoing with. Bruno couldn’t look at his feet because of the erotic chain reaction. Carrie Ann called it his best dance because he came back in control, saying his footwork was spot on this round. It was great to see Rashad finally earn 3 10’s, although it really should have been a perfect score!
Normani Kordei & Valentin Chmerkovskiy with Alan, Jive
Normani and Val were joined by Alan for a good ol’ Jive with an American flag backdrop, frilly red cowgirl boots and all. I don’t blame Normani – I’d choose Bonner over Val and Alan too! Julianne complimented her for owning the stage with her youthful energy. Bruno called it a glorious, All-American Jive that added an extra dimension to the dance. Carrie Ann thought adding Alan was a nice touch, but Len apparently wasn’t a fan of the table-dancing (neither was I really – she’s better than that).
Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess with Britt, Jazz
I thought Bonner, Sharna and Britt’s Jazz trio was fun and sexy, albeit a bit stiff and awkward in places. Bruno called it “The Bull of Wall Street” but told the girls they deserved a rise (quickly amended to a raise!) for their moves. Carrie Ann said it was raunchy and that Bonner needed to “pop” a little more (she felt he was overshadowed by the women). Len echoed the dance being too raunchy to the surprise of no one, but he praised Bonner for getting the steps right. Julianne said it was like watching a security camera and she felt a little bad. Too hot to handle?
Simone Biles & Sasha Farber with Brittany, Paso Doble
Simone and Sasha sizzled with the addition of Brittany to their Paso Doble. Carrie Ann definitely saw improvement in the emotion and applauded her for the authenticity. Len said she took skirt-twirling to a new level but she’s still his favorite to win. Julianne had a mixed reaction. Bruno said it was sharp, clear and precise with ruthless efficiency but felt it lost a little bit of the artistry as a result.
David Ross & Lindsay Arnold with Hayley, Paso Doble
A Gladiator-inspired Paso Doble set to an instrumental “Gangsta’s Paradise”? Now I’ve seen it all, and it worked far better than I expected it to honestly. Len didn’t like it, saying it was really rough without any dance content. Julianne said the song choice and character were great, but he needed to work on his shaping. Bruno told him he looked like Godzilla at times, mocking his arm movements. Carrie Ann felt this dance was a bit clumsy compared to his first effort of the night, and I’d concur. Was it enough effort to secure his spot in the Semi-Finals?
With the clock winding down to the last possible moments, the elimination came down to Bonner & Sharna and Rashad & Emma. Ultimately, Bonner & Sharna went home (which I was okay with at this stage of the competition, although I did vote for him a lot this season). Who do you think will take home the Mirror Ball Trophy? I’m still rooting for Rashad and Emma!
Did the right pair fall short? Who is your favorite? Who should win? Tell us in the comments below!