I could’ve sworn last week they said it was going to be “Most Memorable Year Night” on Dancing with the Stars. Imagine my surprise when I realized it was actually the first-ever “Vegas Night” (and “Most Memorable Year Night” will apparently be next week). Finally we had a show-stopping opening number set to Elvis’ “Bossa Nova Baby”, resplendent with show girls, magicians, tacky tourists, Elvis impersonators, card sharks and slot machines. It’s said that what happens in Vegas usually stays in Vegas, but not when you’re on a national reality dance competition. Let’s see how your favorites did on this third week of competition:
Nick Viall & Peta Murgatroyd, Tango
Dancing a Tango to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”, Peta and Nick set the bar high from the get-go. I loved their poker-themed costumes! Len saw a bit of improvement in the movement and content, while Julianne felt Nick completely delivered with this performance’s strength and power. Bruno admired his pecs and sheer determination (but I have a feeling mostly his pecs). Carrie Ann appreciated that it all came together and he had a regal, calming presence this week that has been lacking in previous weeks. I thought the positive comments from the judges didn’t quite match their paddle scores.
Mr. T & Kym Herjavec, Foxtrot
Mr. T is so badass that he used to actually hang with the Rat Pack! He showed his “razzmatazz” in a classy Foxtrot set to Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head”. He clearly looked comfortable and more at ease this week, and it was his best dance to date. Julianne called it absolutely beautiful seeing Mr. T’s debonair style come out. Bruno admired his elegant appearance, noting he captured the glitzy, old Vegas style remarkably well. Carrie Ann said this theme fit him perfectly and told him to use his audience appeal to take him further in the competition. Len felt it possessed quite a bit of charm. He received his highest scores thus far, garnering 4 “6’s” from the judges.
Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess, Charleston
Due to a previous injury, Bonner is limited to the amount of lifts and tricks he can do in the competition. But these two never disappoint when they perform together – they light up the room with a special kind of magic all their own. Bruno noted a Charleston performance needs to be more high-octane and precise. Carrie Ann agreed, saying it needed to be less introverted. Len said it needed a bit more wild, wacky movement to be a true Charleston, though he admired seeing more of Bonner’s personality emerge. Julianne advised him to continue projecting more character into the dance and not to get too discouraged because not every dance will be among his best.
Heather Morris & Alan Bersten (filling in for Maksim Chmerkovskiy), Tango
Channeling her best Britney Spears, Heather’s Tango with fill-in partner Alan Bersten was anything but toxic. Carrie Ann praised her for bringing “the ballroom to Britney,” while Len applauded her for “going all in” with the Tango content. Julianne admired their palpable connection and chemistry, while Bruno proclaimed, “Hit me Heather, one more time!” The first “9” of the season was awarded to Heather … the ante has officially been upped.
Charo & Keo Motsepe, Foxtrot
A Vegas wedding on Dancing with the Stars! Charo and Keo were going to the “Chapel of Love” for their Foxtrot, and much as I hate to admit it, I loved it for its kitschy appeal. I wasn’t the only one. Len said it made him smile from beginning to end. Julianne loved seeing the sweet, innocent side of Charo and told her she gave her major wedding inspiration. Bruno called it demure and refreshing, while Carrie Ann gave Keo much-deserved props for the choreography and for subduing Charo this week (not an easy task I’m sure).
Simone Biles & Sasha Farber, Quickstep
Viva Las Vegas! Who doesn’t appreciate a lively Quickstep to the Elvis standard? Simone and Sasha nailed it (especially with their costumes), but how pathetic was it that Simone had never heard of Elvis? Are you kidding me? Julianne loved the lift and precise footwork and frame, while Bruno told her she’s on the fast track to Vegas with such an exhilarating performance. Carrie Ann also loved it but didn’t appreciate the lift, while Len said it had both speed and control. The judges must be feeling generous this week, as Simone also received a “9.”
Nancy Kerrigan & Artem Chigvintsev, Samba
Nancy and Artem shook their bon-bons for all they were worth, Ricky Martin style, for their Samba. And they even got to meet the man himself (who hasn’t aged at all since the ’90s) for personal pointers! Naturally, Bruno loved it. He felt the technique was very effective and contained many well-executed moves. Carrie Ann commended her for having a proper Samba with a fun performance. Len told her she has the dedication to win this competition. Julianne also admired the technique and production value, saying it was the best Samba she’s seen on this program in some time. It was entertaining to watch, and Nancy looks incredible. They also received a “9” for their efforts.
David Ross & Lindsay Arnold, Jazz
David and Lindsay took us to 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop” in a Magic Mike inspired Vegas routine. When he “stripped” down to the t-shirt with spray-painted abs, I about lost it. Carrie Ann was speechless before finally calling him “Super Dave” with a fantastic tongue-in-cheek dance style. Len loves how he embraces the entertainment value of this show, while Julianne gave him “magic props” for coming out and doing that on the ballroom floor. Bruno felt it was action-packed and this was probably the first time I’ve ever heard him utter the phrase “thunder in the underpants” on this program. Worth it!
Erika Jayne & Gleb Savchenko, Jive
With a Jive set to “Take Me to Heaven”, Erika dazzled this week. Vegas suited her well. Len thought it had lots of eye-catching moves but not enough Jive content. Julianne said it had legs and content for days. Bruno also praised her legs but noted that she lost her timing several times. Carrie Ann agreed with Julianne but docked points for a lift. Erika annoyed me far less this week.
Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater, Samba
Rashad continues to impress. He and Emma performed a shimmy-shaking Samba set to “Swalla” by Jason Derulo (featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign). Julianne commended him for feeling the groove but felt the song choice hurt him a little this week. Bruno noted that he went on the wrong foot and it wasn’t as precise as he normally is, while Len admitted it was a little flat-footed but he praised the setting and overall relaxed mood. Carrie Ann said the competition is heating up and this isn’t a good time to make mistakes. She’d like to see Rashad more comfortable in the technical moves. I still think Emma got herself a good partner this time around.
Normani Kordei & Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Foxtrot
“Hey, Big Spender … spend a little time with me.” Normani and Val’s Foxtrot was sophisticated in a James Bond meets Las Vegas kind of way. Bruno told them “they broke the bank in Vegas” and it was easily the best dance of the night. Carrie Ann said she danced herself into a whole other realm, though the lift police struck again. Len called it a fantastic routine full of promise and joy but criticized Val for not having enough hold content. Julianne couldn’t stop shaking her head, calling it a Broadway number full of subtleties. It was a great number to end the show on, and Normani was the first star to receive 2 coveted “9’s” from the judges.
The highlight of the night was seeing a sneak preview of Derek and Julianne Hough’s new dance tour. It was spellbinding, emotionally charged and left me wanting more.
After being sucked into the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas, it was time for another heart-sinking elimination. It came down to Charo & Keo and Nick & Peta on the hot seat. Ultimately, it was Charo & Keo’s final goodbye. I wasn’t sad to see Charo go, though she did have her best dance to date. She went out on a high note and should hold her head up high.
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!