Latin Night was all about heightened drama, early injuries, flying jewelry, and — gearing up for something really important here — fringed anklets.
Full-time model/actress/social media victim Charlotte McKinney and her professional partner Keo Motsepe have been eliminated. It’s tragic to say goodbye to hunk of love Keo, but hopefully he’ll be back every week to pec-dazzle us in the pro bumpers. Meanwhile, The Hamboobglar seemed quite ready to rumba on out of there. She is now free to check her phone without an audience. And if that ever ends, it’ll be time to get to work on proving judge Bruno Tonioli wrong. Those Nobel Peace Prizes for quantum physics don’t just win themselves.
Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhh-ber!
Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough: 34/40 These two somehow pulled it together for the samba even though there were more holes in their training schedule than in Judge Julianne’s dress. They barely saw each other thanks to Nastia’s classes and Derek’s busy Broadway schedule in NYC; she trained with trouper Henry for the rest of the week in L.A. Therefore the slinky Olympic gymnast and the shirtless stage star have encountered very little friction, which is the building block of chemistry. Henry, for one, is worried. But Derek never seems worried about anything anymore. “Mind over matter,” he urged as my eyes glazed over. I so want to believe!
Riker Lynch and Allison Holker: 34/40 With his fighting spirit (“I might have to take down Derek to win”), noticeable testosterone level on Week 3 (“not to say you’re not testosterone-y,” said Cleavagie Ann) and refusal to sell out and bare his torso to the world (until the end of the dance), Riker is now positioned as the strongest male contender of Season 20. Who, him? “I’m just a scrawny rocker dude!” Riker sputtered to Erin up in the skybox, the glittery breeze rippling against his chest. Better get used to it, androgyny boy. “You’re not the best. But you could be, because you’ve got flair,” said Len Goodman after their energetic salsa.
Rumer Willis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 33/40 What better way to ease into the difficult art of salsa lifts than… on wheels?! Val was kind of asking for it, and by it I mean a staggering crotch-butt to the face during his and Rumer’s trouper-sized roller skating rehearsal.
“What’s the most disco thing to do, ever?” wondered Val.
The answer is this.
But setbacks are normal. A blunt-force ass to the lip is nothing to a Dancing With the Stars pro. You’ve just gotta turn the beat around and go for it. For their solid gold samba, Rumer channeled both her mama Demi Moore in Striptease and Britney Spears circa her sparkly skin suit era. Not to be outdone, Val channeled Elvis, liquid gold, and himself. Len called it the best dance he’s seen all season.
Willow Shields and Mark Ballas: 32/40 Despite the amazing “fire and ice” production design, compelling song (“Hanuman” by Rodrigo y Gabriela) and Willow and Mark’s Girl on Fire and Jack Frost costumes, I had trouble watching their paso doble because I couldn’t stop thinking about her rib pain! This was a tough training week for Willow and Mark — “Her ribcage landed on my quad,” explained Mark, British accent switched on. But as Julianne argued, “even that nasty ice cannot extinguish the flames inside” Willow.
Indeed, no viewer could possibly deny the way this feminine firestorm bravely engulfed the glacier packed with Mark’s intense paso doble concepts. I just hope Willow feels better this week so she can continue to melt the treacherous frozen terrain of our hearts. Hey, this judging thing is pretty easy.
Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess: 30/40 The prosthetic arm they tried to incorporate for this week’s Argentine tango was a no-go, but Sharna quickly worked her magic to modify the choreography. The same couple that spent the early part of the week mired in “I hate this f—king arm” frustration delivered an uplifting routine on the circular platform. From Noah’s flexibility to Sharna’s “bicycle legs” to their overall chemistry, tonight’s performance was a triumph. “Like two instruments totally in tune,” cried Bruno. “And the lifts: out of this world.”
Hello! This was much more impressive than using a new arm.
Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson: 29/40 Robert had a hard time breathing during rumba training — trying times, to be sure, but they did provide ample opportunity for the Shark Tank judge to start crying and reach for his partner’s face, as lovers do. Robert impressed the judges this week with a difficult dance, but Carrie Ann wants him to size up and “expand the space out.” Bruno complained, “You still do airplane wings hands,” as if that’s something Robert should have known all along. Len didn’t need to say much, as is often the case; the DANCMSTR just wanted to get up and swivel his hips in time with his young(er) protégé.
“How Long Will I Love You?” wondered Ellie Goulding’s lyrics during Robert and Kym’s rumba. My guess? ’Til the end of the season. But I could be coming up short. For the record, Tom Bergeron doesn’t care.
You know Erin Andrews has been sniffing the Planet Mirrorballus fumes too long (or just long enough, depending on your worldview) if she thinks this looks like a wedding gown.
Chris Soules and Witney Carson: 28/40 “I just f—ked it up,” Chris moaned to Witney after last week’s cha cha. This poor Bachelor is so used to drumming up drama that under the pressure of Week 3, “I felt like I wanted to jump off a cliff,” he admitted. Can you blame him, though? The stakes have been raised! It’s not just about finding true love anymore. It’s about the Argentine tango.
The judges loved Chris and Witney’s dance. Chris had some fun, controlled lifts in there, and I loved Witney’s extensions and effortless mid-air twist. But overall the dance left me wanting more — I felt like as soon as the purple plasma exploded on the floor, I blinked and it was over. I hate when that happens.
This rehearsal studio sunset, on the other hand, will last forever.
Suzanne Somers and Tony Dovolani: 25/40 Suzanne really went all out for their “Copacabana” samba, sporting an entire meal on her head and trails of rainbow-colored tail feathers for dessert. The entire look reminded me of Edyta’s costume for her “Conga” with George Hamilton, but with a much more significant fruit topping. (Can you tell I’ve been digging through the DWTS archives all week?)
Unfortunately, Suzanne’s fierce commitment to training and Tony’s adorable backwards hops weren’t enough to satisfy the grumpy judges. “I would like to see a little more… depth,” said Carrie Ann, straining for the right word. She meant emotionally, she clarified, but not before Tony delivered this sizzling grilled-fruit burn: “I don’t know Carrie Ann’s version of depth.”
Things got pretty tense. The only reason any of this even went down, by the way, is because Carrie Ann felt the need to comment on Tony’s facial expression instead of sticking to her critique of their samba.
“If I were dancing for the judges, I would’ve stopped a long time ago,” Tony said upstairs on DWTS All-Access. They’ve never really been on my side, and I don’t expect them to be.”
Michael Sam and Peta Murgatroyd: 24/40 The footballer’s awkward timing and choppiness in the samba made Carrie Ann nervous. “I didn’t feel safe watching it,” she admitted as if reacting to some sort of horrifying crime scene like, I don’t know, Keo dancing with a shirt on. Len pointed out the quality of his lifts, so at least figuring out how to hoist tiny gem heap Peta instead of 300-pound anvil men was to Michael’s benefit.
Michael’s OK, he’s just not really coming alive for me. And if you can’t pop onscreen while wearing a bedazzled mint-colored vest, I just don’t think there’s much hope for you.
Patti Labelle and Artem Chigvintsev: 22/40 Who cares if there was little cha cha content in Miss Patti’s delightful “twinkle-toes shuffle” through the Hotel de la Belle? What the music legend lacks in standard dance steps, she makes up for with her extensive wig collection and endless charm. We need someone to call Artem “Bunny” each week. We just do. And if Patti isn’t around to clue him in to what “Bye, Felicia” means, then who will? She’s the life of this party and needs to stay. My body of evidence stands, much like how the crystals on Artem’s lapels beautifully offset his glistening orange chest.
I loved the syncopated luggage assists from Troupers Henry, Sasha, and Alan. Bellhops are for commoners. Ballroomhops are where it’s at.
A partially nude support staff, too? This hotel has everything!
We Salute the Troupe Move of the Week:
Lindsay flipping Sasha in the fabulous opening pro number.
Carrie Ann’s Challenge for the Long Week Ahead: “This is the week of critiques.” It’s just like every other week, you see. Time to head butt-first into a difficult situation and see if anyone bites.
Good luck, sparklebarfers. See you next Tuesday!