Even if you’re afraid of clowns, it would be hard not to love Dancing With the Stars‘ Cirque du Soleil night (well, unless you’re Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, that is). On the Monday, October 3, episode of the ballroom competition, contestants were assigned dances with themes of various Cirque shows. While some pairs ended up with little more than standard spotlights to aid in the artistry of their performance, others had whole armies of acrobats behind them. The standout couples, however, proved they didn’t need any extra production value because they could bring out the big guns all on their own.
Laurie and Val Land the First Perfect Score
Nailed it! Besides being beyond adorable, obviously talented and insanely hardworking, Laurie Hernandez also revealed she is a huge Michael Jackson fan, who dressed up as the King of Pop twice as a child for Halloween. She and Val Chmerkovskiy performed a jazz routine set to the theme of One (Cirque’s Michael Jackson tribute), which was completely flawless, according to the judges. Not too shabby — especially considering that Laurie had to carve out time to meet President Obama between rehearsals. Sigh.
“A star is born!” Carrie Ann Inaba declared, while Julianne Hough anointed the 16-year-old gymnast the “queen of the ballroom.” Bruno Tonioli said it was “stunning,” and they all gave Laurie and Val perfect 10s, putting them at the top of the leaderboard.
James and Sharna Nab a Perfect 10 Too
But before you write off the competition as over, James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess were right on Laurie and Val’s heels. Clad in red sequins, the duo performed a Paramour-themed quickstep that had the judges floored. (ICYMI, Paramour is Cirque’s Broadway show.)
Bruno declared it a “Broadway showstopper” and said their “holds were pure Fred and Ginger.” Carrie Ann and Julianne also gushed about the routine, but both of them noticed one small mistake, which kept them at 9s instead of 10s. James joked that he sits down for a living, so dancing is a bit new for him. Everyone was completely charmed.
Amber Rose and Julianne Make Up
Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy‘s video package focused heavily on her complaining about Julianne’s comments the week before. “I did feel very shamed,” the model lamented to her dance partner before insisting she was just a normal girl who was “really taken back by what Julianne said.” She decided that her rebuttal would be to embrace her sexuality even more this week and not apologize for it. She and Maks performed an Argentine Tango that ended with her writhing around on a table.
Before the judges gave their remarks, Tom Bergeron clarified that Julianne and Amber had not spoken since the disagreement. “Like I said in the package, when you said that, I felt very embarrassed, and I felt like you weren’t talking about my dance, but if I misunderstood, then I apologize,” Amber said to Julianne, who smiled and nodded politely. For her part, Julianne said she was only there to critique the dancing and emphasized that what she loved about dance was that it acted as a “universal platform for people to express themselves.” The two women then declared they were over it and ready to move on. The judges gave Amber a 24, which put her squarely in the middle of the pack.
Marilu and Babyface Wipe Out
In Marilu Henner‘s video package, she talked about how she has a condition called Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, which allows her to remember random (and seemingly useless) details about her life (like what the weather was on a specific day a decade ago), but interferes with her ability to remember dance steps she learned five minutes ago. Derek Hough was clearly struggling to keep Marilu on task as they practiced, and she was openly frustrated they’d been stuck in the 7 range for a while now.
Unfortunately, they didn’t break into the 8s tonight. Derek noted that Marilu had “trouble with consistency,” and their routine was pretty rough this evening. Julianne urged Marilu to “think less and feel more,” which Marilu seemed determined to do — though it’s unclear if she can.
But she fared better than Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, whose tango with Allison Holker, themed after Love (the Cirque Beatles show), was a complete disaster. They used only spotlights to assist with the production, and they basically ended up racing around the dance floor trying to get into each spotlight as it turned on, without achieving many dance steps in between. Babyface knew it was bad before the judges opened their mouths.
“It went completely away,” he said. Allison said she wished everyone could have seen their dress rehearsal. Carrie Ann shrugged and said, “It happens.” Bruno said it was like watching Poltergeist. Yikes.
Everyone else basically hovered in the middle. Terra Jole and Sasha Farber did stand out, but at 25 total, they were far behind the two top scorers. Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev tied with Amber Rose and Maks at 24. Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold, Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko, and Vanilla Ice and Witney Carson clocked in at 23. Ryan Lochte tried to bring his A-game, but he and Cheryl Burke still ended up with a paltry 22.
Tell Us: Who do you think will go home in tomorrow’s double elimination?
Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.