A staple in the DWTS franchise, “Eras Night” has returned! The popular theme gives the stars the chance to perform dance routines inspired by specific decade. Of course the favorites (Nastia, Rumer, Riker and Willow) continue to please the judges—no matter the era.
But that’s not to say everything went off without a hitch this week. Derek had to bow out of the contest after suffering an injury, leaving Nastia with a new partner. And that wasn’t the only injury this week: Rumer was hurt too, just hours before competing.
Despite the setbacks, the stars took to the floor to compete, for the first time, for immunity, as well as beginning to go head-to-head in dance-offs. Let’s look at how it turned out…
Riker Lynch & Allison Holker
“Wiggle,” Jason Derulo | ’20s Quick Step
A swing and a hit! Last week’s top scorers, Riker and Allison unsurprisingly scored with their baseball-themed quick step. Something that did surprise? Their soundtrack: a jazzed-up version of Jason Derulo’s hit “Wiggle” (which is apparently less raunchy than Missy Elliott’s “Work It,” which they refused to dance to last week). Not quite as inventive as his Disney Night and Spring Break Night choreography, Riker still kept up with pro Allison, smiling throughout—and it paid off. Going into the routine, the pop star’s goal was to get the first 10 of the season from Len, and he got it. Bruno said it best, dubbing the night’s first performance “twinkle toes on the field of dreams.”
Chris Soules & Witney Carson
“Five Minutes More,” Frank Sinatra | ’40s Foxtrot
After last week’s success, underdog Chris kept the momentum up for “Eras Night,” playing a smitten sailor about to head off to war. The whole thing was cutesy and surprisingly sweet, from his heel-clicking to the costumes (Witney made for a convincing flapper) and benches. Most Improved, maybe, but the technicality still isn’t there for him. Like Len said: “You’ve got to polish up the little moments.”
Rumer Willis & Val Chmerkovsky
“Dear Future Husband,” Meghan Trainor | ’60s Jive
After an encouraging visit from dad Bruce Willis (who told Val “I wouldn’t make it” if he were to do the show), the video package jumps to their Sunday rehearsal: Val throws Rumer into a dip like a ragdoll, and her neck snaps, and she’s left in tears. Fast-forward a day, and it wasn’t quite as dramatic as the clip would suggest, and Rumer pops out in the malt shop-decorated dance floor and throws herself into character. The star kept up with the intense choreography, but something didn’t click, and her personality and edge (which she had on full display with her “Bootylicious” set last week) appeared to be missing a bit. “I feel like we lost a little something that makes you so spectacular,” said Carrie Ann. “It just felt a little bit safe.”
NEXT: The sexy ’70s, ’80s, and beyond[pagebreak]
Noah Galloway & Sharna Burgess
“Super Bad,” James Brown | ’70s Jazz
Channeling a gangster or mob boss in his jazz routine, Noah tried his hardest to turn on the swagger, but despite his attitude, the wow-factor just wasn’t there: The choreography was lacking, and he spent a lot of the time pointing fingers in the air, walking around, and throwing out gimmick disco moves. It was awkward, but the guy’s so lovable you just want him to succeed. Uninspired choreography aside, he won the judges’ table over with his attitude and pelvic thrusts. “You may have half the limbs of most guys, but you’re twice the man,” said Len.
Robert Herjavec & Kym Johnson
“Word Up,” Korn | ’80s Argentine Tango
Robert and Kym turned up the heat to the sexiest arrangement of a Korn song ever. The Shark Tank star’s been all over the place the past few weeks, but he does best when he and (possible girlfriend) Kym get to show off their passion—from his expertly executed lifts to the final, seductive dip, sparks were flying throughout their routine, and that’s the most fun thing about these two. Carrie Ann agreed, telling the pair, “The chemistry you guys have is incredible.”
Nastia Liukin & Sasha Farber
“Honey, I’m Good,” Andy Grammer | Modern Charleston
After breaking a toe and spraining an ankle in rehearsal, Derek had to bow out of the competition. Luckily for Nastia, replacement Sasha knows his stuff. Derek still choreographed the routine—and even joined them for it!—which found them performing in a subway car. The frontrunner in the competition, Nastia proved just as poised even without her original partner, displaying some fancy footwork. For the first time, she wasn’t Nastia the gymnast but totally transformed into a dancer. While the production could easily have swallowed her up (Andy Grammer singing live! Having basically two partners! All those backup dancers!), the somehow kept all eyes on her to the very end. Carrie Ann, who leapt out of her seat to give the Olympian a hug, told her, “I’m so proud of you. Tonight you were dancing. That’s the only thing that was different—you were just dancing.” The reward? The night’s top score… and immunity.
Willow Shields & Mark Ballas
“Electric Feel,” MGMT | Futuristic Jazz
Mark let his inner nerd shine tonight, choreographing a ninja-themed jazz routine for Willow. (He actually went to ninja camp when he was a kid—thank you #tbt pics!) With the dark lighting and their stealthily masked ensembles, you could barely tell the pro from the Hunger Games star. The whole thing was a spectacle and lots of fun, but there wasn’t much choreography—and how can a judge fairly critique them when they spent seemingly half the time being dragged across the floor by some chains? Still, all the judges fawned, and they came out as runners-up.
NEXT: The dance-offs begin[pagebreak]
Dance Off: Riker & Allison vs. Willow & Mark
“Temperature,” Sean Paul | Salsa
Riker chose to go head-to-head against Willow, who in turn chose to compete to a salsa. The singer flaunted his go-to hip thrusts, but it was Willow who won over the judges, unsurprisingly: With those moves (and that fantastic split at the end!), it’s hard to believe she’s only 14.
Willow & Mark: +2
Dance Off: Noah & Sharna vs. Robert & Kym
“Dance With Me,” Kelly Clarkson | Cha-Cha
Noah and Robert were neck-in-neck in their cha-chas. While Robert and Kym had a lot more going on in their routine (including some casual ass-grabbing), Noah and Sharna played it safe, making for a technically sound, if stiff, performance. They ended up tying, but because Len was the tie-breaker and voted for Noah, the vet came out on top to earn the two extra points.
Noah & Sharna: +2
Dance Off: Chris & Witney vs. Rumer & Kym
“Orange Colored Sky,” Nat King Cole | Foxtrot
Shocking no one, Rumer blew Prince Farming away, making use of the entire floor and displaying an artistry we’ve come to expect from her. (In his defense, Chris kept up better than, giving an adequate, but still kind of snoozy, performance.)
Rumer & Val: +2
Somehow, in a very rushed elimination, Rumer and Val and Willow and Mark found themselves in jeopardy, and Willow was sent packing. The entire room was shocked (Riker in particular looked completely floored), and the actress couldn’t hold back her tears, warranting a big hug from Tom, who told her, “Can I not be a TV host for a minute and just be a dad?” before wrapping the star in a warm embrace. That hug is from all of us, Willow.