Hooray for Hollywood! As the kid who fell in love with the silver screen at an early age, I always revel in A Night at the Movies on Dancing with the Stars. I enjoy watching the celebrities and their dance pro partners celebrate cinema through the ages and all the genres that make storytelling so rich and so vast. As an added treat, the ever-glamorous Shania Twain was in the ballroom as a guest judge and performer on this momentous night, belting out the haunting “Soldier”, a single off her new album (her first in 15 years!) which is also being used in the new movie Thank You For Your Service. And can we talk about that opening sequence? It was fun and fancy-free with so many nice touches to make me feel like I’d been transported back to the Golden Age of Hollywood. My favorite part involved Val typing away on his award-winning screenplay on a vintage typewriter at the beginning. C’est magnifique!
Let’s pop the popcorn and see how your favorites did on this sixth week of competition:
Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev, Argentine Tango
Nikki and Artem were tasked with creating an Argentine Tango with a foreign film flair. They rose to the occasion, as it was easily my favorite dance from Nikki thus far. It was a perfect way to open the show. While Len admitted he doesn’t usually care for foreign films, he loved this performance because it brought out Nikki’s tender side. Shania said it was romantic and the language of love translated well, while Bruno proclaimed, “Ooh, la la!” He enjoyed the precision and elegant sensuality that was intriguing (not vulgar). Carrie Ann called it a stunning display of artistry and vulnerability. After receiving all 9’s from the judges, it was revealed that Nikki was safe from elimination this week.
Drew Scott and Emma Slater, Paso Doble
So, Drew has always wanted to be an action star? I don’t quite see that, but I enjoyed his action-packed Paso Doble set to “Legend” by The Score. I had no idea he was so accomplished at karate, but he really grows in leaps and bounds in this competition! Shania enjoyed the struggle between the masculinity and femininity. Bruno likened it to Mission: Impossible meets The Matrix, saying Drew looked like a demented killer. He thought Drew got overexcited and his timing was a little off. Carrie Ann admitted it was a difficult routine and felt the dance got away a little from Drew, though she said it was entertaining. Len was pleased he’s safe for next week but called it an awkward routine and said he’s not convinced he’ll be safe next week. Ouch. Casting my votes your way, Drew!
Nick Lachey and Peta Murgatroyd, Samba
Nick continues to be frustrated in the competition because he feels like an idiot trying to be a dancer. I think he’s a little harsh on himself. He’s not the greatest dancer in the history of the program, but he isn’t the worst. Dancing a Western-inspired Samba to Will Smith’s “Wild Wild West” was not his best effort, but it had entertaining elements and I loved their costumes. Bruno dug their “Post-Apocalyptic Samba” that had elements of Mad Max thrown in, but he also said Nick looked too labored and not natural enough. Carrie Ann attempted to raise his spirits by saying he nailed a certain move and that he has a slow and steady trajectory in this competition. Len said he liked his solo parts but noticed he stiffened up when trying the Samba moves, while Shania could tell he was apprehensive but still felt his engaging spirit. With him in jeopardy for at least the third time, I predict Nick’s days in the competition are numbered.
Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy, Paso Doble
I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a sports movie theme on the program before, but I admired Victoria’s enthusiasm for creating a Mighty Ducks inspired Paso Doble to Queen’s “We Will Rock You”. She looked fierce and determined – don’t count her out for a second. Carrie Ann enjoyed the blending of athleticism with Paso Doble content, while Len admitted it was the first time he’s watched a hockey game and seen the puck go in the net. Shania said it was the most innovative hockey game she’s ever seen, while Bruno commended them for the concept and Spanish lines. It was well-executed, down to the blacked-out teeth in Val’s normally gorgeous smile.
Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke, Jive
It was Spy v. Spy in Terrell and Cheryl’s James Bond-esque Jive set to “Feel It Still” by Portugal. Terrell looked dashing in that tux, and some of those moves blew my mind that it was him executing them! Good lord, I hope they don’t go home any time soon. Len loved his style and ease of movement, praising it as his best dance thus far. Shania thought his determination and characterization were unbelievable, while Bruno said he brought down the house with his slick, sexy swagger. Carrie Ann called him a smooth operator, enjoying every sinewy movement. It was worth the hype and high scores. This competition is heating up …
Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson, Jazz
Who better to represent the genre of animation than Frankie and Witney? Dancing a Jazz routine to “Holly Rock” by Sheila E., it was easily one of my favorites of the night because it made me smile from start to finish. Shania loved it because Frankie was so liberated with challenging footwork. Bruno didn’t know if he was watching Frodo on acid or pixies on ‘shrooms due to the psychedelic nature, but he commended Witney for always getting the best out of Frankie. Carrie Ann was waiting for Skittles and unicorns to come out, though she called him out for several missteps. Len thought it was full of spirit and enthusiasm. A 7, really Carrie Ann?
Vanessa Lachey and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Quickstep
I’ve never seen the musical Smash, but I appreciated Vanessa and Maks’ Broadway-inspired Quickstep set to its signature song “Let’s Be Bad”. The duo seems to be getting along better and appears to be in better unison. Bruno loved the theatrical pizzazz of a ’40s musical, calling it stylish and delicious. It took Carrie Ann back to season one of DWTS by seeing Vanessa recover spectacularly from a minor wardrobe malfunction. Len told her to watch her posture and frame a little bit better, while Shania felt it was full of sass and class. It was enough to garner four 9’s from the judges.
Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold, Rumba
Jordan proved his dramatic chops by dancing a sultry, sophisticated Rumba to “Supermarket Flowers” by Ed Sheeran. It was poetry in motion and a tough act to follow. His performances move me emotionally. Carrie Ann likened his body movements to taffy because of the way he elongates and contracts and the overall beautiful fluidity. Len said it was well-crafted, but he didn’t care for his hand and arm movements, saying they were distracting and not as expressive as his face. Shania didn’t feel it was distracting, saying she felt Jordan had Lindsay with him even when she was distant. Bruno praised them for amazing storytelling and for always stretching movements to their maximum while appearing effortless. Naturally, Len was the one hold-out keeping him from a perfect score this week.
Lindsay Stirling and Mark Ballas, Argentine Tango
When I found out Mark and Lindsay had the sci-fi genre, I was beyond excited! Mark is a bit like a mad scientist consistently coming up with creative choreography and characters in his laboratory a.k.a. dance studio. I predict their sci-fi Argentine Tango set to “Human” by Sevdaliza will go down in DWTS history as an instant classic. Their dance gave me actual goosebumps every time she executed a robotic movement. Host Tom Bergeron thought it was sexy and creepy and wonderful all at once (I’d concur). Len said although it was the sci-fi genre, the fact was it was phenomenal choreography and terrific dancing. Shania felt it was graphic and intense with elegant, sharp edges. Bruno called him Professor Ballas, saying he’s created another work of genius (and the best dance of the season), likening it to Metropolis and Ex Machina. Carrie Ann said while everybody upped their game this week, Lindsay’s in another realm all to herself. It was, of course, a perfect score of 40 from the judges!
After such an elegant, fun-filled evening, it was once again time to get down to the dirty business of eliminating another couple. It was revealed rather early on during the night that Nick & Peta, Terrell & Cheryl and Victoria & Val were all in jeopardy. Ultimately, Nick & Peta were sent home. I was sad to see him go, but I was relieved it wasn’t Terrell after such a triumphant night. And my face didn’t frown long when I remembered that next week is Halloween Night and the Team Challenge – I can’t wait to see what Mark Ballas and company come up with next week!
Which dance transported you? Did the right star go home and who will go next? Tell us in the comments below!