On Week 8 of Dancing With the Stars, the theme was “America” i.e. select social media users chose the wardrobes, hairstyles, songs, and dances for the remaining six couples. PLUS! DANCE TRIOS! The second round was where the real action was Monday night. Let’s not kid ourselves: We were all in it for the extra limbs — tasty, crispy, and deep fried in spray tan solution. The more, the better. Extra limbs = wings.
So it was basically “America’s Choice/Threesomes,” if this were a Justin Timberlake album or, you know, a regular old episode of Dancing With the Stars. Congratulations to us all.
Eliminated seventh and eighth: No one… yet. The dreaded double elimination happens on Tuesday’s liiiiiiiive results show. So tune in, Tokyo.
Horrifically objectified pieces of meat Val and Artem will be devastated if you don’t.
Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhh-ber!
Rumer Willis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 40/40 rumba + 40/40 paso doble trio = 80/80 This week, just in time, we were treated to Emo Val. Psych! That’s every week, but this glimpse of our pro’s softer side was rather profound. After realizing he might be “dragging the fun out of it” for Rumer, the weeping Chmerkovisionary vowed to get back to what the pair does best, “and that’s dance.” Their high-class rumba was “created out of love and happiness, not out of stress and anxiety” — and the difference was clear even against a thick red smoke. Imagine having a terrible week, then waking up the following week amidst this mighty wind of Val-nerability.
All that deep sleep and the dance was a classic rumba with no frills? Forget it. First perfect 40 of the season, well deserved!
Rumer and her shirtless fierce-bots Val and Artem continued “down the classic route” with a gimmick-less paso doble trio that beautifully showcased the rising star. It would have been so easy to scatter the spotlight on the pros’ glistening prime ribs instead. Judge Julianne, for one, was glad they stuck to basic ballroom. Why, back in her day, no one even knew what a trick was. I want to say this is when Bruno fell down laughing.
But that’d be a lie. Carrie Ann’s new toppleganger fell while demonstrating the art of “armography” after Noah Galloway’s trio. No one could believe it’d taken 10 whole years to witness what already feels like a recurring highlight of DWTS history.
Riker Lynch and Allison Holker: 39/40 Viennese waltz + 39/40 jazz trio = 78/80 One Twitter fan wanted this couple to dress like penguins and dance with cactuses in the background.
I don’t think they gave this enough of a shot (not to mention that thanks to those three cacti, I’m having tragic flash-forwards of a Len-less future in which the remaining judges solemnly compete to be Most Succulent). Instead, Riker and Allison chose to address the urgings of a different Twitter user, who wrote: “Portray RAW EMOTIONS!! What actually happens after losing yourself?!?”
This fan seemed much more disturbed than the first one, who had a lot of good ideas and was on a much better trip. But this week isn’t called Annie’s Choice. It’s America’s Choice, which really means Allison’s Choice. She aggressively demanded that sweet, sweet emotion from Riker, but I didn’t see any in their — wait, what? That was supposed to be a Viennese waltz?
Too much pyro, too uptempo, and I could not shake the illusion that Allison’s costume was nothing more than a sparkly thong. Not even in the face of FIRE!
Riker and Allison generously allowed troupe member Brittany Cherry to join them for a hip-hop-inspired jazz trio, because they knew she could dance up to the level they’ve been performing at all season. (But not before Riker dropped her during practice; I guess that was the real test.) Perhaps in an effort to prove that “a party for Riker has to be extreme,” Riker rushed through the dance and performed a beat ahead of the ladies. The judges didn’t really care (Carrie Ann was probably hammered) — except for DANCMSTR Len Goodman, who doled out another 9. What kind of party does that pooper even need?
Certainly not one in which America’s Chosen dance is… The Carrie Ann. [Blood-curdling scream!]
Nastia Liukin and Sasha Farber: 36/40 paso doble + 40/40 jive trio = 76/80 Season 20’s own Fall Out Boy, Derek Hough, still refuses to let pool boy/deck of cards/seaweed/crustacean specialist Sasha Farber be Nastia’s sole partner, so he spent their paso doble perched upon a throne as the ultimate sidelined gladiator. “You will remember me for centuries,” the nefarious young ruler Houghry Broketoean wailed from within as he ordered Sasha’s execution at the end of the dance. DEREK WAS NOT EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE IN THE DANCE.
I could never make all of this up. It was that crazy.
On to the trio round: Why collect a fresh-faced extra pro in good health when you’ve got Hop-along Hough crouching in pain right there? He’s got a sofa! “It was kind of a no-brainer to have Sasha in our dance,” Nastia explained, AS IF SASHA WAS NOT ALREADY HER PARTNER. What is going on? How is this legal? I demand to speak with the king!
The judges reveled in the genius of their jive, which involved just a few seconds of actual trio dancing and plenty of artful switches on Nastia’s part from Derek’s room (the drab office of a mad psychologist) to Sasha’s room (the artsy loft of a cool crab) through a magical portal called a doorway. Sure, it was clever, but perfect-40 worthy? I think not. The judges may have been blind to any activity North of the Wall, but Derek can barely move. He had to waddle up to the table like a penguin just to kiss Len!
In their rehearsal package, Nastia adamantly refused to discuss her feelings, almost as if she has no clue what this show is really about. (#sparklebarf.) Carrie Ann swept in to put Nastia in her place: “You showed us all your incredible moves with split personalities. I hope you miss that double elimination that’s coming up!” Whoa. Is Nastia heading home this week? How will she find the door?
Chris Soules and Witney Carson: 34/40 contemporary + 30/40 paso doble trio = 64/80 Silly America had not seen enough of the Bachelor surrounded by candles while a woman does all the work, so the nation naturally chose a dimly lit contemporary setting for Chris and ethereal nightie fairy Witney. Rave reviews all around: “Something just clicked, and you’re here, man,” said Judge Julianne. What exactly clicked, though? A gear shift in the machinery? Nah, Chris said, he just worked really hard. And no one could deny Julianne’s claim. The man was standing there. Bruno liked the “new, emotive shade of Chris” but reminded him to — unlike a candle — emote on both sides.
Some impressive visual effects and extra paso doble whirling from Witney’s virtual clone Lindsay helped support Chris in his second-round trio. Surely he felt right at home spinning blondes around on the floor just to see what would happen. But his main job was to stand in the middle looking burly and stoic, and somehow he didn’t quite pull that off. (Open shirt.) “The intensity was there, but your butt was going in the wrong direction,” explained Julianne. Len was so let down he only used one syllable for his “7” instead of his usual lilting “Seh-vehhhhhhn!” So you know it was pretty bad.
Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess: 31/40 tango + 32/40 salsa trio = 63/80 Noah deflected America’s wish for a military-themed tango, explaining that he could only wear his uniform under strict regulations. “I can’t just wear a costume.” Whoa, not sold. Let’s remember which show this is and try again. OK, problem solved: An all-white suit against giant white flags and a partly cloudy digital sky would do just fine for the tango. I noticed watching it back that this dance looked much better on TV than it did in the ballroom — plenty of clever camera switches suggested more of those “dynamics” Len wanted in the tango. Carrie Ann called the routine “a bit blocky.”
Noah jumped the gun in selecting Emma as their trio buddy — something tells me he was all about dat ass, but Sharna saw something else: dollar signs in the form of EXTRA LIMBS. Together the ladies marveled at what Emma’s assets could bring to the gilded platform. “Between us, we’ve got five arms,” cooed Sharna. “There’s gotta be something we can do.” Of course they were speaking in the context of dance, but I could not stop hypothesizing on the infinite, potentially deadly capacity of a five-legged, five-armed salsa monster. And then suddenly, I didn’t have to.
Go to hell, Beyoncé’s “Partition”. There’s a new explicit video in town. Gird your loins (with extra limbs).
“Two girls, one arm — probably impossible for most people. Not you, Mr. Noah,” raved Carrie Ann, happy to no longer be the only judge who had fallen out of a chair but frustrated by the trappings of time. She wished she’d scored Noah higher after the fact. Yet what could possibly be more rewarding than those beautiful lines?
Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson: 33/40 contemporary + 29/40 samba trio = 62/80 Robert and Kym visited the Farmer’s Market (copyright infringement on The Bachelor?) to collect America’s feedback on how often and how hard they should kiss throughout their contemporary routine. We’d seen it all before from Season 20’s showmancers. “But this is a whole ‘nother level,” Robert assured viewers as we prepared for more will-they/won’t-they reaching. Were these two love angels scampering around on a high-rise balcony even reaching for the same thing?
Hard to say — probably impossible for most people. We may need another week to figure this great mystery out. (But probably not, as Robert will surely be eliminated this week.)
Robert, Kym, and Jenna danced a “sexy supermodel” samba trio “in Men in Black mode” set to “Cinema Italiano” — a trio which seemingly took place on the set of Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open” video. As if these descriptors don’t suggest enough of a mess, he also forgot his steps! But you know what? It was OK. That Robert’s all right, the judges determined in a pity party — because he’s got style.
Eventually the conversation devolved into playfully absurd “You look like a sexy supermodel.” “No, you!” sparring up in the Celebriquarium. Oddly enough, this was right around the time I was fiddling with my bedazzled headset alongside confirmed sexy supermodels Tony Dovolani and Gethin Jones on top of the world, aka as a featured guest on DWTS: All Access!
Nice game face, weirdo. Just put it on! Blue Steel ahead.
Bonus High Score of the Week:
From Len: The Mannequins.
See you soon, sexy supermodel readers. Which two remaining sparklebots do you think will be unplugged tonight?
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.