Warning: This recap of the October 17 episode of Dancing With the Stars contains spoilers.
Welcome to DWTS Latin Night, where the water’s warm, the flesh is glistening, and a huge glittery piñata is begging to shoot off life-affirming sparkles at any given moment. Aside from an unpalatable side dish featuring a striptease from guest judge Pitbull, this was potentially Planet Mirrorballus’ most explosive meat feast to date!
After the final platter of shimmychangas had been licked clean, Amber Rose and her professional partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy were eliminated with zero fanfare. The activist could not scoot out of there fast enough, while the ass-tivist was getting pretty fed up with her lack of effort — so voters certainly made the right call. The pair’s final dance, appropriately set to a song called “Bla Bla Bla Cha Cha Cha,” barely registered once their tension-filled rehearsal segment made it clear Amber wasn’t willing to endure how emotionally and mentally grueling the competition can be. It’s a bittersweet ending for Maks, who announced he’ll be sitting out at least the next season “on diaper duty” with soon-to-be mom and fellow pro Peta Murgatroyd. No one has been this excited for diaper duty ever.
Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold landed “in jeopardy” alongside Amber and Maks, but of course that doesn’t necessarily mean they were in the bottom two. Everyone knows by now that the red light of doom/expired salsa can be a major liar.
Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhhh-ber!
Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko: 40/40 Many fans might lunge clear across the prop beds they share with Gleb in their dreams to proclaim Jana and Gleb’s Argentine tango the new Kelly and Val’s surfer flamenco. But here’s the thing about the official bedazzled DWTS encyclopedia: it doesn’t exist. Therefore, it’s as hair-whippingly expansive as the terrain of Our Pros’ abs, or the internet, or life itself. And the more you try to compare the two, the clearer it will be that both cesspools of sexiness deserve their own chapters.
Possibly inspired by the waterfall from his own underwear ads, Gleb designed a shower scene so enticing, so nonsensical, so NC-17 that Julianne wished she had an 11 paddle to award them! Meanwhile, head judge Len Goodman, who invented the mythical 11 paddle, would have gone out of his mind with all that messin’ about come shower time. But hey, every judge is different. Pitbull, for example, was so turned on that he requested Jana go ahead and toss her soaking wet dress over his way.
Um… NO. Then there was Bruno, “pulsating with lust,” driven by the “insatiable desire” to splay his limbs all over the judges’ table.
At least he kept it to himself. Sort of. Maybe not.
James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess: 38/40 After their rumba, Julianne proclaimed the Indy car driver “the best male dancer we’ve ever had on this show.” Hmmm. Is that right? I’ll admit I spent most of this dance focusing on Sharna’s butt muscles in lieu of the overly lacy James, but I have trouble seeing him as better than Gilles Marini, Emmitt Smith, Nyle DiMarco, Alfonso Ribeiro, or Mario Lopez and those are just a few rhinestone cowboys off the top of my head. Oh, God, now Nick Carter and Kyle Massey are giving me sad looks from opposing corners. It’s too much. I need to stop spinning.
Julianne still wanted to see more chemistry between James and Sharna — this despite their endless deep stares into each other’s eyes, multiple displays of Sharna’s favorite Friends-inspired “smell-the-fart” acting technique (exceedingly intimate even though the point is to avoid eye contact), and a miraculous move in which he lifted her up from a full split using only the sheer force of the bond between them plus whatever spray tan residue had been left on her thighs.
Really? That’s not close enough? James’ girlfriend and her best brave face beg to differ.
Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 37/40 With a little help from her friends and DWTS alums Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson, Laurie is approaching normalcy in terms of letting loose and shaking her hips in front of Val, even though he’s… shhhh.. a BOY! The beauty of the televised ballroom, Shawn calmly advised her, is that unlike in gymnastics, you’re actually allowed to make mistakes. Certainly a difficult discipline for a teenage perfectionist to follow.
“This is, like, some Rihanna stuff right here,” said the 16-year-old quesadilla enthusiast as she tentatively dipped into the salsa. “I just have to not be so weird about it.”
Mission accomplished: Bruno was so head over heels for the “little cheeky salsa devil, unleashed with deadly accuracy!” that he nearly lost his footing again. Carrie Ann noticed just a few missteps, but compared Laurie to an invigorating B12 shot. Mmmm. Latin food.
Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold: 37/40 At first, an Argentine tango set to the Eagles’ “Hotel California” seemed both too wild and too tame — but then again, isn’t it in that very sweet spot that Megatron continues his slow, low-lit burn towards possible mirrorball glory?
The couple transitioned beautifully between death-defying lifts and perfectly grounded poses throughout the routine. It was sexy, magnetic, intense — and perhaps most importantly, Fons-approved.
Backstage with only a rather un-refreshing hand towel to his name, a deliciously sweaty Calvin wished Jana and Gleb’s shower was still set up — that’s how freaking hot he was right then. “Amen,” muttered Erin Andrews, speaking for us all.
Marilu Henner and Derek Hough: 34/40 The unthinkable has occurred: Derek Hough has finally taken a backseat to his celebrity. Well, this week, anyway, while he reeled from the drama of a crush on his mama. “She’s like, my mom’s age,” our bewildered pro realized in a confessional once he’d openly drooled about his partner’s long, elegant legs. “I shouldn’t be looking at her, right? That’s weird. No, don’t talk about it! That’s so weird.” This conversation between Derek and himself could’ve gone on for hours, and I’ll tell you what’s truly weird: I would’ve watched.
“You managed to be graceful, yet sexy,” cried Bruno after this week’s gam-tastic cha cha. Don’t think he’d neglect all those other body parts, though: “I loved the armography!”
Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber: 32/40 Sasha = fierce, especially given this week’s puffed-up purple pirate sleeves. But we already knew that. Sadly, Terra couldn’t measure up to her partner in the crucial skill of faking anger in the paso doble. She can’t help it — she’s just that benign of a person. Say what now? Excuse me while I sparklebarf for a spell at the notion that a bona fide reality TV star has declared herself unable to simulate rage. Sometimes I really don’t know what this alternate universe is coming to.
Nevertheless, Terra couldn’t summon even a local vagabond evil spirit from somewhere in the crowd (we all saw Season 19 alum Jonathan Bennett and his huge, incredulous eyes begging for it), and their paso suffered under her one-dimensionality. “It was a little bit try-hard,” Julianne said ever so sweetly. “But I appreciate your fire.”
Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev: 31/40 No convincing samba moves? No problem! Blazing colors in the background, a costume-size replica of the mirrorball piñata, and some excessive feather work provided by the Troupe helped cover up Maureen’s tentativeness after a rough week of rehearsals.
Even Pitbull could tell that the hot-and-cold star — who’d moments ago proclaimed herself a fearless flamingo — was overthinking this dance.
Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke: 30/40 Bless Our Pro for trying so hard with Ryan, and props to the Olympian for diving into the minefield of confusion that is a fast-paced salsa while wearing a highlighter-yellow ruffled shirt so hideous you just knew it had to come off.
It takes a big man to stand up and be spray-tanned without getting lost in the maze of reflective decals splattered across his body. Still, those KNEE PADS. Oy! Not to mention his thud-like excuse for footwork. “You need, like, energy,” Carrie Ann attempted to explain the obvious, nicely.
As neither Maureen nor Ryan is winning us over with their routines, next week’s elimination may come down to which nostalgic entity viewers love more: The Brady Bunch or Cheryl. Meanwhile, sorely missed head judge Len Goodman will be back for Monday’s Eras Night, in which each of the eight remaining teams will portray a different era from the 1920s-1990s. Plus: Team Dances. Also: Halloween. A dazzling data overload awaits. See you then!
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Watch clips and full episodes of DWTS on Yahoo View.