Finally, it was Halloween Night on Dancing with the Stars! I look forward to this event every year because that’s usually when the best costumes and routines are brought out to haunt the viewers. The celebrities and their dance pro partners did the Monster Mash and it was a graveyard smash. After 25 seasons, you would think the show’s producers would run out of tricks and treats, but they’re still a’plenty. “The Time Warp” opening sequence was a nice touch, but my favorite moment was when host Tom Bergeron cautioned about turning the Halloween puns on the show into a drinking game (nobody would survive that!). Well played, Tom. Well played.
Let’s see how your favorites did on this eighth week of competition:
Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy, Viennese Waltz
Victoria and Val danced an ethereal Viennese Waltz to “The Night We Met” by Lord Huron. It wasn’t my favorite dance of hers, but I don’t understand why she’s been at the bottom of the leader board the past few weeks. She’s a phenomenal dancer. Len said that since tonight’s theme was supernatural that the routine was super and her movements were very natural like “a leaf on a stream.” Bruno likened it to watching Heathcliff and Kathy from Wuthering Heights reunited in the afterlife, while Carrie Ann noted an elevation in the performance quality because she could tell Victoria was more emotionally vested in telling the story. Their chemistry was enchanting enough to bring out a trio of 9’s from the judges.
Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold, Paso Doble
Dancing to “Animals” by Martin Garrix, Jordan and Lindsay’s Paso Doble was a howling good time. I loved, loved, loved the werewolf costume!!! Bruno called it the biggest, baddest Paso ever, saying he’s the leader of the pack with all the visual impact of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and all the Spanish styling and flavor required of the Paso Doble. Carrie Ann enjoyed seeing Jordan’s aggressive side because it was outside of his comfort zone, while Len called him “a little devil that dances like an angel.” It was the first perfect score of the night, and how adorable were those ghost paddles?!
Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev, Jive
Dancing the Jive to Bette Midler’s version of “I Put a Spell on You” from cult favorite Hocus Pocus was a wise decision on Nikki and Artem’s part. Spellbucks Coffee was a brand I could get behind, though don’t expect me to buy that Artem’s a nerd just because you put a pair of glasses on him. Carrie Ann told her she was visibly concentrating too much on her steps and didn’t look as natural with the music as a result. Len said it lacked a bit of punch in the routine, while Bruno said people would line up around the block for her creamy latte. All the judges seemed to think she was a bit off this week. I predict she will be going back to the wrestling ring soon.
Vanessa Lachey and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Paso Doble
Dancing a spooktacular Paso Doble set to “Game of Survival” by Ruelle, Maks makes a really convincing zombie, but I just wasn’t that impressed by Vanessa’s performance. Len said it was lacking a bit in Paso Doble content, while Bruno called it a fright fest, telling Vanessa she needs to watch her lines and shaping. Carrie Ann has high hopes for her, but told her to watch her footwork. If she’s not careful, Vanessa may soon follow her husband.
Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke, Tango
Terrell continues to be on an upward swing, dancing a fangerrific Tango to “Super Freak” by Rick James. I was captivated by every moment of it, especially the part when it looked like he lit up the fireplace with his vamp powers. Bruno said it had a deadly bite, but Terrell was as charming as ever. He was most impressed by Terrell maintaining his posture no matter his height. Carrie Ann said he’s better in the dances that require more movement, but he’s still growing with improved technique. Len thought he really captured the staccato feel of the dance and commended Cheryl for doing such a wonderful job with the choreography.
Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas, Paso Doble
I was most excited to see what Mark and Lindsey would come up with on Halloween Night, and their Day of the Dead meets Zorro-inspired Paso Doble set to Lindsey’s own song “Roundtable Rival” didn’t disappoint. The way the violin notes kept building to a crescendo matched to their dance movements was mindblowing. Carrie Ann said she’s a beast because it was a difficult routine (the fastest Paso Doble ever) and she could see the pain in her face and back but not in her movements. Len liked that she came out full of attack and aggression, while Bruno called it totally intriguing because it was a unique blend of Paso Doble and Irish folk dancing. However, it was a trio of 9’s from the judges – I thought she’d get at least one 10 for her tenacity.
Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson, Contemporary
Contemporary pieces are always uniquely powerful. It was chilling to watch Frankie choreograph his creepy stalker character movements to Chase Holfelder’s version of “Every Breath You Take”. This was the only routine of the night to give me actual goosebumps. Len admitted he’s not a fan of horror movies, but he thought that was worth the nightmares. Bruno said he was back at the top of the league with the dramatic tension all the way throughout, calling it spine-tinglingly good. Carrie Ann loved the way it elevated dance with mesmerizing storytelling and movement, saying they were connected by an invisible thread. It was a much deserved perfect score from the judges – Frankie’s first!
Drew Scott and Emma Slater, Charleston
I was a little surprised to see they had saved Drew and Emma’s Charleston for last. Dancing to “Remains of the Day” by Danny Elfman, I loved their Corpse Bride-esque costumes and the moving skeletons in the background!!! Bruno called it “murder on the dance floor” with a lot of Jazz, Jitterbug and Charleston content. Carrie Ann said it was quirky and uplifting and she appreciated how in sync the two were with their energy. Len said he came back to life this week with a fun, joyous routine that he loved from start to finish. ‘Atta boy, Drew! However, I was hoping he would get at least one 10!
Team Monster Mash: Lindsey, Jordan, Nikki, Terrell
Team Monster Mash was so much fun to watch! I loved the vintage feel of the costumes and it was a really creative take on what I expected for this dance, as I was expecting them to be in a castle laboratory setting as the Universal monsters but instead it was like a retro prom night in a cornfield. Jordan was the breakout star of the routine – he is so amazingly limber! Apparently, I liked the routine more than the judges. Len thought it was a bit messy with too much “wheeling and dealing,” though he did admire the imagination involved. Bruno called it the nightmare of the garden center and thought they went wrong with trying to make the group’s synchronicity with Jive movements. Carrie Ann thought they all “underdanced” to match each other and felt they danced really small because of the cornfields.
Team Phantom of the Ballroom: Vanessa, Victoria, Frankie, Drew
Team Phantom of the Ballroom was perfection in motion. It was hauntingly beautiful and Frankie was definitely the breakout star of this routine. Bruno called it a splendid theatrical extravaganza, while Carrie Ann said it was the most exquisite team dance ever on the program. Len said to shut the front door and call him Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was an impressive effort, and I wasn’t surprised to see it was another perfect score from the judges.
It was revealed that Terrell & Cheryl, Nikki & Artem, Drew & Emma and Vanessa & Maks were in jeopardy of elimination. The biggest trick the producers had up their sleeves was that it ended up being a surprise double elimination with both Vanessa & Maks and Nikki & Artem going home! I did not see that coming, though I’d agree with the choices. Next week marks the return of the Trio Dance Night and they’re bringing back two former champions – Alfonso Ribiero and Kelly Monaco – and a runner-up – Corbon Bleu – to dance with the remaining couples. I can’t wait!
Which dance was your favorite Halloween treat? Did the right stars go home? Who are you rooting for? Tell us in the comments below!