After last week’s shocking elimination, Dancing With the Stars kicked the quest for the Mirrorball Trophy into high gear for the six remaining couples, who performed not one, but two full-length routines — each with its own twist. First up were the America’s Choice dances, which allowed fans to directly impact what happened on the dance floor by choosing the songs and outfits.
Next up were the trio numbers, which required the couples to add an eliminated pro-dancer or member of the DWTS dance troupe to their routine. As no doubt intended, adding a third set of feet to the party brought about both drama and disaster. And, while some were literally flawless with this dual dance format (including one pair who got two perfect 10s!), others faltered under the pressure of performing two routines.
We’ll have to wait until tomorrow night to find out who’s going home, however, when last week’s postponed double-elimination will knock two pairs out of the running to reveal the four couples headed to the semi-finals.
Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess
America’s Choice: Tango to “Geronimo” by Sheppard
Trio: Salsa with Emma Slater
How they did: For their America’s Choice routine, Army vet Galloway and partner Burgess took fan input and opted for a pure performance in a bright white suit and frothy gown. “I thought the performance was good,” Len said before adding, “but I would have liked a little bit more intensity between the two of you.” Julianne echoed Len’s lukewarm praise noting, “America’s choice was right on.”
The pair chose Emma Slater to join them in their trio salsa dance. Burgess was clearly jazzed about the extra set of limbs to help expand the possibilities of moves and took full advantage of Slater. “You make everything possible,” Carrie Ann declared to the group. The other judges echoed her praise and Julianne gave a shout out to the ladies’ pink feathered ensembles (which really were ridiculously awesome).
America’s Choice Score: 31 out of 40
Trio Score: 32 out of 40
Chris Soules and Whitney Carson
America’s Choice: Contemporary to “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith
Trio: Paso Doble with Lindsay Arnold
How they did: Soules and Carson were clearly energized by their positive feedback last week and rode that wave into their America’s Choice dance. During the routine, the former Bachelor dug deep to show off his sensitive side. “To me, you win the award for most improved this season,” Julianne said. “Something clicked.” Bruno praised Chris for his “tastefully sexy” performance and Carrie Ann called his lifts “astounding.” All the judges agreed this bedroom-themed performance was his best dance yet.
Things didn’t go so well in the trio dance, however. “The challenge this week is for Chris to hold his own with two professional dancers,” Carson explained during their practice video and her instincts were (unfortunately) correct. “You are the most improved, but there’s still some room to improve,” Julianne said. “Your intensity was there, but your butt was going in the wrong direction.” Bruno praised Soules’ commitment to the dance, but Carrie Ann said she felt the farmer-turned-reality star was “overwhelmed” by the two blondes beside him.
America’s Choice Score: 34 out of 40
Trio Score: 30 out of 40
Riker Lynch and Allison Holker
America’s Choice: Viennese Waltz to “What Now” by Rihanna
Trio: Jazz with Brittany Cherry
How they did: Fans told Lynch and Holker that they wanted to see the pop star’s softer, more emotional side in this dance. “It’s a little weird to be vulnerable on purpose,” the singer lamented into the camera. “It will be a challenge.” But when push came to shove, Lynch brought the love and it paid off. “You were giving it so much guts!” Bruno cheered while Julianne added, “For me, that was your best dance.”
Unlike Soules, Lynch wasn’t remotely concerned about handling two women in his trio dance. “Dancing with two amazing pros is going to be really fun,” the R5 singer opined. Their performance, which was based on making viewers feel like they were at a “Riker party” (whatever that is), inspired Carrie Ann to snap her fingers in delight. “The thing that I loved the most, was that you were leading that routine,” Julianne told Lynch. Guess that was the Riker party.
America’s Choice Score: 39 out of 40
Trio Score: 39 out of 40
Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson
America’s Choice: Contemporary to “Champagne Kisses” by Jessie Ware
Trio: Samba with Jenna Johnson
How they did: Well, first off, they used a wind machine. Also, they kissed! Also, they danced pretty well too. For the America’s Choice performance, the Shark Tank star and partner-turned-love interest Johnson went for an elegant, romantic routine that delighted the judges. “I think that you upped your game tonight,” Julianne said before describing it as “magic.” Bruno was his usual emotive self and said their dance reminded him of a “deodorant commercial,” which, to be clear, is a good thing. “Use me! You’ll get the girl!” he exclaimed.
When they added a third woman to the mix, there was definitely concern that two ladies would be too much for Herjavec to handle, but like Lynch before him, the businessman rose to the occasion. “I was actually really impressed,” Carrie Ann said. “This was a little bit on the messy side,” Len lamented, but Bruno defended Herjavec admitting that while the footwork was a bit sloppy, “The style was there.”
America’s Choice Score: 33 out of 40
Trio Score: 29 out of 40
Grade: B+ (They finally locked lips!)
Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough
America’s Choice: Paso Doble to “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy
Trio: Jive with Sasha Farber
How they did: With Hough still down for the count due to his ankle injury, Farber stepped in to do the America’s Choice dance with the Olympic gymnast. Like last week, Hough artfully worked himself into the gladiator-themed routine (as the emperor). “I liked the passion of it and the drama and the full-on intensity,” Len praised. Julianne couldn’t help but point out that her brother Derek looked ridiculous in his getup, but admitted that still, “It was really fun to watch.”
Though it seemed like Liukin, Hough, and Farber should have had an advantage this week since they had already danced together last week, their rehearsal video showed the former Olympian brought close to tears from frustration. But when it was time to deliver the goods, the trio did. Their love-triangle-themed routine got Len onto his feet. “That was fantastic,” he said, while Julianne praised it as the “most creative trio” she had ever seen.
America’s Choice Score: 36 out of 40
Trio Score: 40 out of 40 (the second perfect score of the night)
Rumer Willis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
America’s Choice: Rumba to “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps” by Doris Day
Trio: Paso doble with Artem Chigvintsev
How they did: Their video package revealed how guilty Val felt for sucking the fun out of this experience for Willis. In response, the DWTS pro vowed to approach their America’s Choice dance from a place of “love” rather than “stress.” It seems that his revised attitude paid off. “Well, isn’t love grand,” Carrie Ann opined. “That was incredible. It wasn’t about anything else except this incredible partnership.” Len seconded that. “It was fantastic” he gushed.
Though Chmerkovskiy and Chigvintsev complained that they often feel “exploited” for their sex appeal on the show, they were definitely game for a steamy dance with the budding actress. During practice, Willis promised their energy would be “explosive,” and she wasn’t wrong. “You captured the essence of the dance,” Bruno praised. “You’ve been great from day one, but tonight you’ve been superior,” Carrie Ann said while Willis’ proud mom Demi Moore nodded in agreement from across the ballroom.
America’s Choice Score: 40 out of 40 (the first perfect score of the season!)
Trio Score: 40 out of 40 (again!)
Tell Us: Who do you think should go home in the double elimination?
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