Warning: This recap of the Oct. 31 episode of Dancing With the Stars contains spoilers.
Oh, the horror! Tragedy abounded on Halloween night in the DWTS ballroom, as Queen Sharna had to sit out due to injury, Creepy Costume King Mark Ballas was still missing, and Princess Valentin got super-duper seriously emo and sobbed in a stairwell while wearing a top hat.
Also somewhat sad: Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke were eliminated in Week 8.
And just when he’d mastered guyliner. Dare I say it was too soon, friends? Surely no one would have been devastated had Lochte exited in Week 1, but his sheer effort and lack of shirts had become endearing over time, and he did improve as a dancer. I’d like to have seen the above power trio (Cheryl and her ice-blue contacts) stick around for next week, if only to put Marilu Henner and Derek Hough out of their shared “He’s missing Hairspray Live rehearsals for this?!” misery.
Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhhh-ber!
James Hinchcliffe and Jenna Johnson: 30 + 5 = 35 total
The unthinkable has occurred: Someone on DWTS has finally listened to a doctor, and not just some throwaway contestant either. Our beloved pro Sharna’s supposed to take three to six weeks off following a flare-up of a former knee reconstruction. Oof. As we all shudder and grab our bum legs due to sudden-onset phantom knee pain, behold this couple’s thousand-yard “I love and respect you 1000 percent and you’ll always be my Partner” gaze.
“I know a thing or two about not rushing a recovery,” the once-impaled Indy car driver told her. It was perfect, and so were they. Sniff! We may never know if they’d have won that mirrorball together. But the silver or, shall we say, deeply bronzed lining of the situation is that James wasn’t just good with Queen Sharna. He’s a damn good partner, period.
The stunning and expressive Jenna glided right in to become Harley Quinn to James’ Joker — and their Viennese waltz set to “You Don’t Own Me” by Grace featuring G-Easy from Suicide Squad (can’t you just feel the utter Sharnacity pulsing through that technical description?) won them immunity from this week’s elimination plus five extra points.
As a devastatingly dull-toned Sharna cheered them on from the Celebriquarium, we could only guess what beyond “Is that skeletal bitch behind me mocking my knee injury right now?” was running through her mind.
(Probably something like this, give or take the bedazzled tissue box I once grabbed in the flesh during Season 20.)
But we mustn’t dwell on what could have been — there’s a new pair of frontrunners in elaborately embroidered jewel tones, and they’re lost in their own world of wonder, wisdom, and CANDY.
Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 30 + 3 = 33 total A life-affirming Viennese waltz inspired by Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: That’s the power of Chmerkovision. You want “Pure Imagination”? Behold this sensitive dance lord on the verge of tears as he compares Charlie Bucket’s enthusiasm to see the world with Laurie’s pure joy on the dance floor.
“It’s crazy how fast life moves,” Val sputtered during a personal timeout in the stairwell. “But for me, by sharing it with her — you know, it lives on, forever.”
And so he wept. I’m not really sure what’s going on with Val that’s turned him into Laurie’s dying great-grandfather overnight, but I don’t care. I LOVE IT!
Even more tears — plus a bit of tongue (paging Tristan MacManus…) leaked out once Val officially transferred his hat of life experience to young Laurie at the end of the dance. It was just the soaring heart-swell they needed on Week 8. Total #Sparklebarf City. A+++.
Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold: 30 total Before Laurie and Val edged them out in the jive dance-off, Calvin and Lindsay finally earned the perfect 30 they’ve deserved for weeks with the most dramatically lit skeleton quickstep the Glitter Galaxy has ever seen.
Dr. Bones, I presume? “More like MEGABONES!” screamed Julianne, ironically right after commenting that Calvin had perfectly captured the theme of the dance without compromising its integrity.
Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko: 27 + 3 = 30 total Their high-energy “Little Shop of Horrors” routine was all over the place, ranging from confident “Watch us overreact in unison” moments to the more panic-stricken “No, seriously, what do I do with this leg?”
“Ohhhh, where is the plant? I don’t know,” wondered Bruno in a jet-lagged daze — but it was the most sense he’s ever made. The gravity of Audrey 2 might have really tied this dance together.
Luckily, they had another shot at Bruno’s approval during the salsa dance-off against Terra and Sasha. Gleb is no natural nerd, mind you, so it wasn’t enough for him to merely change out of Round 1’s brutal dork costume. Nah, he had to take that new shirt right off. You can see him contemplating his strategy as Sasha and Terra used up nearly half their solo on an unnecessary Swinging Dad Hug.
Been there, done that, guys! Now get with the program, Sasha, and take your clothes off too.
Hey, IT WORKED.
Can’t see Bruno? Try looking upside down.
Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber: 24 total Their faithfully pantomimed Beetlejuice cha-cha-cha set a strong tone for Halloween night, but the judges want to see sharper moves and more content from these two pranksters.
“You kinda, sorta, didn’t wow us,” said Carrie Ann. “It wasn’t your normal oomph.” Yikes, I’d watch out if I were Our Lady of Perpetual Vagueness. Terra has some high-grade Alice in Wonderland-esque downsizing glitter — and she knows how to use it.
Marilu Henner and Derek Hough: 23 total Derek just doesn’t have time for this season anymore, okay? His partner’s obviously not going to win, so why should he even bother? That seems to be his philosophy as he spent the week passive-aggressively placating Marilu during Argentine tango rehearsals as if she was some loser following him around at the school dance. Dude, stop it! This is your elegant-legged dance partner and she was in Taxi. You can’t just shove her to the ground when you’re ready to move on. Show some respect.
Is it any wonder that Marilu accidentally whacked Derek in the face during the lyric “Some of them want to be abused” from “Sweet Dreams”? I cannot get over how perfect this timing was. He had it comin’, is all I’ll say.
Derek’s sister Julianne even sold him out for “playing it a little bit safe” after the cha-cha dance-off, which is some Hocus Pocus Houghery if I’ve ever seen it. If Derek actually gave a crap this season, the fact that he lost a dance-off to someone who twirled right into Tom Bergeron’s arms offstage — Ryan Lochte, no less! — might bother him. But nope. He’s checked out.
See you next Tuesday!
The Fringe Fairy
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Watch clips and full episodes of DWTS on Yahoo View.