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Dancing with the Stars recap: Dance Mom Said Knock You Out

Dance Moms’ Abby Lee Miller joins the judges’ panel for the first (and probably last) time as the show introduces the Celebrity Dance Duels

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Dancing With the Stars

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Tom Bergeron, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman, Erin Andrews, Julianne Hough
Current Status:
In Season

Week 8 of the competition might not have had a theme, but it did have Dance Moms‘ Abby Lee Miller as a guest judge, which is perhaps why they decided to go without a theme in the first place. Trying to have both would’ve made the night feel like a little much. As far as I’m concerned, Miller’s hair was a big enough deal — and definitely full of secrets — before we even got to her attitude or her absolute obsession with James. (You guys know what I’m talking about.)

So who’s ready to dance? Well, I hope you brought a large number of stage decorations (a.k.a. home furniture), or else you probably won’t be allowed to take the floor this week. Cherry trees and sofas or nothing at all!

We kicked the night off with the debut of Mark Ballas’ best Robin Thicke impression! As far as the song was concerned, it sounded like a fun dance track, but I was a bit more obsessed with the dance number. Ballas’ single, “Get My Name” — I have no idea what that means — got things off on the right note, I’ll give it that much. However, the thing that really got me excited for the show? Watching Maks and Meryl constantly pat each other.

Tonight would mark the introduction of the Celebrity Dance Duel — said in Tom’s best movie-trailer voice — and, of course, Abby Lee Miller as a judge. Her checklist of perfection included: Straight legs, pointed feet, perfect musicality, inspiration, emotional changes, and pretty much everything. And by everything, she means you have to look like James Maslow … and be named James Maslow.

Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: 40/40 The quickstep is usually the kiss of death for dancers, but I think Charlie finally managed to find a dance that matched his energy level. And even though this was the perfect opportunity to get him back in his Mary Poppins blazer, I’m willing to look past that oversight because his mom is so adorable. That’s right, Charlie’s mom paid a visit to remind him what a little optimist he is. And just like that, the man was working those high kicks — Olympian coming through! — and quickstepping his way all around that floor. I was very impressed by how together their feet were throughout the entire routine, and I thought Charlie did a great job of toning it down a little, even though his hyper, six-year-old-on-a-Surge-induced-sugar-high personality worked particularly well for this number.

Afterward, Len was deciding if this was special enough for a 10, but Abby was here to correct people: She wanted him to straighten his knee on some jump that she was wrong about, and get this: Bruno was right! Not an arabesque, Abby. Sorry we’re not sorry! Also, did she really just make a comment that he needed to slick back his hair? Is she crazy? The bounce in those locks accounts for at least 60 percent of his charm. The other 40? All gold medal, smiles, and optimism!

Bruno praised Charlie’s precise footwork, and Carrie Ann thought tonight might be his lucky night. Spoiler: It was. Also, how awkward would it have been if she’d said that and Len didn’t give them a 10? Risky, Carrie Ann. But it paid off.

OK, between Erin’s romper and her making fun of the thoroughbred comment, she did win me over tonight. Plus, anyone who defends Charlie’s hair is alright with me.

Important note: Len loves him some “Hey Ya!”

NEXT: “I smell some spray tan wrestling coming on.”