With the Mirror Ball Trophy just in sight, Dancing with the Stars brought back several fan favorites and former champions – including Alfonso Ribeiro, Rashad Jennings, Laurie Hernandez and Kelly Monaco – to accompany the six remaining contestants during the ever-popular Trio Night. The opening number was flashy and I loved the golden streamers that came down at the end, but I was mostly tuned in for the trio round, which can make or break a competitor. Let’s see how your favorites did on this eighth week of competition:
Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke, Charleston
Dancing the Charleston to “Bad Boy Good Man” by Tape Five (featuring Henrik Wager), Terrell continues to show some razzmatazz. It wasn’t his best effort, but it was enjoyable to watch. Len said it was a fabulous start for the show, praising the content and his continued improvement. Bruno loved the way he captured the style and essence of the Roaring ’20s, while Carrie Ann enjoyed his athleticism and how well-toned and how in control of the dance he was. With a trio of 9s from the judges, Terrell is peaking at the right moment in this competition. But is it too little too late?
Drew Scott and Emma Slater, Waltz
Yay, Drew! Second on the leader board last week, thanks to that amazing team dance! I got a little misty-eyed when Drew explained how he felt about his fiancée and the emotional story behind their beautiful Waltz set to “Both Sides Now (Torch Songs)” by Years & Years. I admire how much of a leading man Drew has become in this competition. Bruno likened it to a very intense dialog set to music and he got a bit carried away in his critique, much like he thought Drew did during the dance. Carrie Ann said the intention was expressive in the upper part of his body, but the lower half of his body didn’t quite get the memo. Len loved the charm and emotion of it, though he cautioned him to work on his frame. It felt like a frustrating setback for Drew … I will continue to vote for him if he survives elimination tonight.
Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy, Argentine Tango
Being sexy enough for an Argentine Tango set to “Down” by Marian Hill was a unique challenge for Victoria this week, but she rose to the occasion. I’m still mind-blown about her legs being able to bend and move the way they do without any feeling. Carrie Ann cautioned everything matters now that we’re heading into the Semi-Finals, so she critiqued the way Victoria kept looking down, saying she wasn’t really owning the dance. Len said it was clean and exact with a smoldering intensity, but he didn’t feel transported to Argentina. Bruno continues to admire Victoria’s shapes and lines, but told her she needs to work more on becoming the intense character and maintaining it through the dance.
Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas, Samba
A Samba with an avant garde circus lion tamer? Only Mark could come up with such dazzling Samba choreography to “Morning Drums” by Gregor Salto. Lindsey was shaking her hips for everything she’s worth, proving she deserves to have a spot in the Semi-Finals. Len was a bit worried about her footing, though he did admire the imagination and rhythm. Bruno said it was the Samba meets Barnum & Bailey and he liked the unexpected twists. Carrie Ann also loved the cutting-edge creativity, saying Lindsey unleashed her inner Beyonce, though she did agree with Len about something being off in the routine. If the judges felt something was missing, their scores didn’t reflect that.
Frankie Muniz and Witney Carson, Viennese Waltz
I admire Frankie’s humbleness, but he really needn’t fear that he’s not good enough for this competition. Last week was perfection, so it made sense he would be dancing his Viennese Waltz to “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran this week. I had chills – everything was perfect about this dance, down to the music selection and his footwork. Bruno loved the flow of the movement and the starry scenery, while Carrie Ann said it was exquisite and almost perfect (though she saw a mishap). Leave it to Len to be the buzzkill, saying it was far from perfection because Frankie didn’t straighten his legs and the dance didn’t have enough hold content or rises and falls for him. And yet Frankie still charmed good scores from all three judges.
Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold, Quickstep
Dancing his Quickstep to “Chuck Berry” by Pharrell Williams, Jordan continued to dazzle with his winning enthusiasm and energy. Carrie Ann called it brilliant and sassy, while Len gave them a standing ovation (which is extremely rare). Bruno said it was the most demanding, intricate Quickstep he’s ever seen done on the program, applauding it for the psychedelic nature. Needless to say, it was another perfect score from the judges to put a smile back on Jordan’s face.
Terrell Owens & Cheryl Burke & Kelly Monaco, Rumba
A sexy trio Rumba set to “Slow Hands” by Niall Horan was a good choice for Terrell, Cheryl and Kelly Monaco. You’ve gotta admire Terrell’s determination for a perfect score in order to get Kelly to agree to go out with him. He was very sensual and commanding. Len didn’t feel the Rumba suited his personality but felt he did a great job anyway. Bruno told him he was a lucky man with two lovely cherries on his Rumba cake, saying he was too distracted to follow all of the Rumba moves. Carrie Ann called out all the goofy grins from the ladies (I guess I’d include myself among this bunch), saying she thought it was well-performed though the choreography could have been a bit more challenging. The pros in the Sky Box had Terrell’s back, awarding him all 10’s, even though the judges did not, in an effort to get him that date.
Drew Scott & Emma Slater & Rashad Jennings, Cha Cha
I was a little surprised about the song choice of “Get Up Offa That Thing” by James Brown for Drew’s trio Cha Cha, though it made perfect sense for Emma and Rashad. Rashad did a wonderful job of coaching Drew … I loved it even if I was almost blinded from all the bling by the end of it. Bruno said they must have stolen all the mirror balls in Hollywood and he commended Drew for being able to keep up with Rashad. Carrie Ann called him “The Prince of Soul,” saying she could feel him getting down and raising his game. Len liked that everyone contributed equally to the performance, though he did point out how hard it is to dance next to someone with so much natural rhythm (Rashad). I thought he looked great out there.
Victoria Arlen & Val Chmerkovskiy & Laurie Hernandez, Jive
“Magic” by B.o.B. (featuring Rivers Cuomo) is one of my guilty pleasures, so I was incredibly excited to see this trio Jive set to it. This trio was magical to watch, though I didn’t understand why they waited so long to step it up. I thought a Jive was all about high-octane energy from start to finish? Carrie Ann noted that Victoria fell behind a little in the kicks and she thought she could still step up the acting more. Len liked that it started slow and built up in momentum, though he thought it could have been sharper. Bruno felt it was clever, but he didn’t feel her legwork was precise enough for the Jive. All in all, I thought it was a decent effort.
Lindsey Stirling & Mark Ballas & Kristi Yamaguchi, Jazz
Lindsey, Mark and Kristi looked handsome in their trio Jazz routine set to “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” by Seth MacFarlane. It was stripped down and elegant, showing that Mark doesn’t always have to have tricks up his sleeve to elevate the competition. Len said there should be no trouble ahead for Lindsey, while Bruno loved the classic Hollywood style. Carrie Ann admired their incredible synergy, saying she would pay to watch a routine like that. The best part was when both ladies imitated Mark getting a creative idea … priceless. Carrie Ann gave them a 10, but the men were a bit stingier with their scoring, giving them 9’s.
Frankie Muniz & Witney Carson & Alfonso Ribeiro, Jive
Out of all the fan favorites who were back in the ballroom, I could not have been more excited about seeing Alfonso come back to dance a Jive with Frankie and Witney to “Good Place” by Leo Soul. Hands down, it had the most energy of the night, and I loved their bow ties! Bruno applauded Witney for bringing out the best in both of them without having either of them overpower each other or her. Carrie Ann called it a strong performance, though she thought Frankie pulled back at key moments when he should be feeling more confident at this stage of the competition. Len felt it was full of content, energy and fun, but he also thought Frankie needs to approach it with more confidence reflective of his technique.
Jordan Fisher & Lindsay Arnold & Corbin Bleu, Salsa
Dancing a trio Salsa set to “Que Viva La Vida” by Wisin, Jordan, Lindsay and Corbin Bleu nailed it with their precision and mirror-imaging movements. I loved seeing how connected they were during their package and then on the dance floor. Damn, that was a show-stopping Salsa! Carrie Ann said it was “hashtag amazeballs” and she was bleeped for saying something fiery about the performance. Len said that while two’s company and three’s a crowd, on this occasion, three was perfect. Bruno called it phenomenal, comparing it to two bodies responding to music with one soul, and saying it will go down in DWTS history. To the surprise of no one, it was another well-deserved perfect score from the judges.
With the Semi-Finals in reach, it’s never easy to say goodbye to someone who has worked hard to get this far in the competition … especially this season full of underdogs persevering. It came down to Frankie & Witney and Terrell & Cheryl in jeopardy of elimination, with Terrell & Cheryl ultimately being the ones sent packing. I could not be more excited – all of my favorites remain standing! Do you think America and the judges got it right? Who do you think will make the Finals? I feel like this season is still truly anyone’s game.
Which Trio burned up the dance floor? Did the right stars go home? Who are you rooting for? Tell us in the comments below!