Even though “Spring Break Night” had some skin-baring outfits, unlike many co-eds’ wild getaways, it was something we’ll all remember. Frontrunners like Riker, Nastia, and Rumer continued to pull ahead, but not all of the competition did so hot individually. Luckily for the underdogs, there’s strength in numbers, and this week’s group performances gave everyone a boost.
Here’s who surfed their way to the top of the leader board—and who was sent packing.
Patti LaBelle & Artem Chigvinstev
“Heat Wave,” Martha and Vandellas | Quickstep
Surrounded by her younger, more scantily clad competitors and backup dancers, Ms. Patti (in her flowing white pant-and-tunic combo) appeared to be better suited for a senior citizen resort than a Spring Break night—until she started dancing. The diva proved she could keep up, and then some, visibly having fun as she trotted across the floor (as always, surprisingly light on her feet), and not even wavering when she lost a shoe. A smile beaming on her face throughout the routine, Patti was praised by the judges. Carrie Ann termed it best: “Effervescent.”
Nastia Liukin & Derek Hough
“Summer,” Calvin Harris | Tango
The gymnast’s laser-like focus and formidable technical skills are impressive—but can we talk about how a tango can be perfectly choreographed to an EDM hit? Nastia and Derek’s dramatic, regal, staccato-like tango steps paired seamlessly with Harris’s pumping synths and the club lights. Add in the major wow moment of her spin on the floor and their dip at the end, and it’s a surprise the favorites didn’t score better. (Julianne blamed a “disconnect in your bodies.” But like, whatever.)
Willow Shields & Mark Ballas
“Tequila,” The Champs | Salsa
“Tequila” (or what this millennial recapper imagines was the “Shots” or “Party Rock Anthem” equivalent of 1958) was the perfect PG-rated jam for young Willow, who (hopefully!) hasn’t yet had a ratchet weekend in PCB. After finding out in her video package she has some spare ribs, literally, Willow and Mark hit the floor for an age-appropriately choreographed salsa—think mild to medium. That boded well with Carrie Ann: “What I loved was that it was sassy, but you didn’t turn up the heat; you didn’t go sexy.”
Robert Herjavec & Kym Johnson
“Surfin’ Safari,” the Beach Boys | Jive
Landing in jeopardy after last week’s messy quickstep, Robert was basically being circled by sharks. “I hate being at the bottom; it burns every fiber in my body,” he said in his opening clip. Those nerves showed in his performance, too—but they didn’t hold him back too much. Their jive, which played out like a scene straight out of Grease, was full of some fun and flirty action with pro Kym. His steps were still a little off, but he had fun and made up for last week’s flub at least enough for Bruno to call him a “frisky pony.”
Noah Galloway & Sharna Burgess
“Waves,” Mr Probz | Rumba
After disappointing Disney night scores, “the pressure is really on this week,” Noah says in the video package before the clip jumps to him and partner Sharna getting into a tiff during practice this week. Regularly a pair with great chemistry, something didn’t connect during their rumba, and it looked as though they were still fighting, despite the romantic routine they gave. (Broody vibe aside, the Army vet sure knows how to shake his hips.) Talking to Tom, Noah vocalized that having the video upset him, which may explain the disconnect. “That was one five-minute moment of our week: We have a wonderful friendship,” Sharna chimed in. Pro alum Julianne got it: “We know the connection you guys have,” she said. “It’s really hard to watch and dance again.”
NEXT: It’s getting hot in here…[pagebreak]
Rumer Willis & Val Chmerkovsky
“Bootylicious,” Destiny’s Child | Jazz
For all the swagger he’s got, Val’s insecure about at least one thing: “I’m not bootylicous at all,” he regrettably admits in the opening package. Lucky for him, Rumor is—just ask Patti, who, upon examining the starlet’s derriere, exclaims, “You got it going on, girl!” (Baby got back! Who knew?!) Rumer put Miley’s twerking to shame, channeling her inner Queen Bey, shaking it, whipping her hair, crawling, and even at one point straddling her pro’s face during an insane lift. The sexy routine drew mixed reviews from the judges. Len, Julianne, and Carrie Ann thought it was a tad uncouth. But, “I like it hot and raunchy!” Bruno bellowed, jumping from his seat. So does proud mom Demi Moore, who gave the pair a standing O.
Chris Soules & Witney Carson
“Hopelessly Devoted to You,” Olivia Newton-John | Viennese Waltz
Before we get to his so-so Viennese waltz, let’s talk about who chose poor Prince Farming’s outfit this week. The pink (salmon? dusted rose? peach?) was a little much for the super-masculine Bachelor star, even if he is competing for a mirror ball trophy… Anyway: His calf appears to have healed up since last week’s injury, and Chris actually looked like he was having fun gliding around the floor with Witney. The goof’s swooping arm motions came off as charming, if not technically sound, but he struggled to keep up at times, making for some awkward lines. Like Len said, “You’ve got to work on the details. The whole feeling was great—it just lacked technique.”
Riker Lynch & Allison Holker
“Want to Want Me,” Jason Derulo | Samba
If their video package was any indicator, we were in for a hot mess of a samba from Riker and Allison this week: They asked for a new song (because Missy Elliott’s “Work It” was apparently too sexually explicit), Allison had to choreograph as she taught Riker the moves, and the boy bander had to leave for work at one point. But as soon as they took the floor, they brought the same electricity they did with last week’s Pirates of the Caribbean-themed routine. Although it may come off as sloppy at times, Riker’s just one big ball of raw energy. And that’s what makes him so much fun to watch: His hip thrusts! How he points his fingers perfectly! His shoulder rolls! That time he slid to her on his knees! The guy’s pure fun, and Rumer apparently agrees: At the end of the performance, it looked like she was mouthing, “I love him.” Carrie Ann found just the right words: “You make me want to be a teeny bopper again because I’m totally fan-girling,” she said. “You make it music on your body, and I love listening to you dance, Riker.”
Team Dance: Team Yolo (Willow & Mark, Noah & Sharna, Robert & Kym, Nastia & Derek)
“Wipe Out,” The Surfaris
Taking their song über-literally, they stepped out in bathing suits for a beach-themed performance. It was cute, and there were some fun moments (Kym jumping off Robert!) as well as potentially hazardous ones (the towel-whipping would worry me if I were in the front row of the audience), but Team YOLO’s group routine was a total gimmick, even if they did earn a near-perfect score.
Team Dance: Team Trouble (Rumer & Val, Chris & Witney, Riker & Allison, Patti & Artem)
“Trouble,” Iggy Azalea feat. Jennifer Hudson
Team Trouble’s choreography was much more inventive. Going for a Breakfast Club-meets-Grease look, each of the couple’s solo spots packed more of a punch, and they made better use of the whole floor with their classroom setup.
Despite her consistency, Ms. Patti was sent home, leaving Robert (who was in the bottom two with her) looking rattled. “I’m honored to have been here as long as I have been. I’ve learned so much about me. I’ve learned that I can take direction,” the soul legend said during her goodbye, tears welling. “I made a great friend in Artem. And the audience, they’ve been supporting me like crazy. Thank you to the judges. I’m happy.”