It’s the show we’ve all been waiting for, Dancing friends. One of my favorite episodes each season and the night when Nick Carter is
forced excited to give us his best Backstreet’s Back zombie-dance move, right? Plus: Alfonso is hosting — our thoughts are with you, Tom! — and the contestants might be extra feisty with him after last week’s critiques. So let’s get started.
Alexa and Mark
Foxtrot | “Mama Said” by The Shirelles
Most memorable year: 2000
Alexa might’ve come off of a stellar week, but she’s not so happy with Alfonso’s comment directed at her hubs. But onward and upward for the actress whose most memorable year is when she booked Spy Kids and she and her family picked up and moved. Nice little cameo from her sister, who’s an actress on The Good Wife. As far as theatrical productions go this one was pretty great (it’s almost like it was really raining!), and except for one teeny tiny stumble, it looked pretty effortless and perfect. Both Julianne and Bruno point her misstep out, but their comments are mostly positive.
Judges’ Score: 21
Gary and Anna
Jazz | “That’ll Be the Day” by The Crickets
Most memorable year: 1979
Gary’s biggest year might’ve been when he played Buddy Holly, earning himself an Oscar nod, but it’s the thought of his motorcycle accident in 1988 that gets everyone choked up. There’s no denying Gary is way off-beat during his performance, maybe even making up some moves along the way, but as Bruno says, he’s got so much passion! It’ll be enough to carry him for a few more weeks, I’m sure, but there’s not much improvement going on here.
Judges’ Score: 16
Tamar and Val
Rumba | “King” by Tamar Braxton
Most memorable year: 2012
For Tamar, 2012 was memorable but in a horrific way: Her husband was in a coma. When he pulled through, she got pregnant shortly after! Although her video package is a downer, Tamar shines bright on the dance floor and leaves Carrie Ann stunned and in tears. I’m starting to think Tamar could make it to the final four, and if not, she’ll be close.
Judges’ Score: 27
We take a break for Allison, who brings her daughter and husband, tWitch, on camera, to announce that she’s pregnant! That’s going to be one athletic child.
WANT MORE? Keep up with all the latest from last night’s television by subscribing to our newsletter. Head here for more details.
Hayes and Emma
Contemporary | “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes
Most memorable year: 2014
Hayes says he was extremely shy, but when he and his brother Nash became social media stars overnight, he really came out of his shell. But there’s absolutely nothing about this performance that’s holding anything back, and it’s almost like we’re watching this kid grow up and mature in front of our eyes. His routine was impressive — I didn’t think he could handle a lift — and he was connected to Emma in every move.
Judges’ Score: 27
Alek and Lindsay
Pasodoble | “Wake Me Up” by Avicii ft. Aloe Blacc
Most memorable year: 2015
It’s been a few months of highs and lows for the hero who went from anonymity to taking down a gunman on a train to Dancing to learning his college had been under attack by another gunman. But although Alek had an incredibly tough few days, he put on his best game face to take on a type of dance that commands confidence. It wasn’t the best from him, but certainly acceptable enough to hopefully get him another week.
Judges’ Score: 24
NEXT: Oh my God, we’re back again[pagebreak]
Nick and Sharna
Jazz | “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” by Backstreet Boys
Most memorable year: 1992
Nick was just a baby 12-year-old when he met his future Backstreet Boys bandmates and credits the group with saving him. While the pictures were adorable, and I loved the cameos from A.J. and Brian — not to mention this fan-fiction moment — it’s heartbreaking to hear Nick tear up about his dysfunctional family. But cue the music, and there are no more tears because, wow, that was an awesome number. It pretty much felt like we were at a BSB concert, and Nick still looks damn good rocking those signature moves. Backstreet’s back indeed. And I love that the judges fangirled just as hard as I did over it!
Judges’ Score: 27
Carlos and Witney
Waltz | “Amazing Grace” performed by Ray Chew Live
Most memorable year: 2012
Carlos picks this year because he and his band Big Time Rush were at the peak of their success. But when the tour ended, Carlos admits he hit rock bottom and started smoking weed every day. Then he found the church, which led him to his wife, Alexa, and he says his life completely changed. As for the dance, it’s pretty good, although the lighting kind of killed my eyes. Julianne says Carlos is in the middle of the pack, and I’m sort of surprised he hasn’t risen to the top tier just yet.
Judges’ Score: 25
Paula and Louis
Cha Cha | “Respect” by Aretha Franklin
Most memorable year: 1989
Whether you love her or hate her, you have to admit Paula’s early years are pretty impressive considering she became a single mom, began selling sandwiches, and somehow turned her small business into a cooking empire. On the dancefloor, though, she’s not as successful, and I couldn’t really tell if she slipped or it was part of the move. And let’s ignore that attempt to whip her hair after the scores.
Judges’ Score: 18
Andy and Allison
Cha Cha | “Good to Be Alive (Hallelujah)” by Andy Grammer
Most memorable year: 2009
Andy’s most memorable year is another sad one because it’s when he learned his mom had cancer, and they found out just days before the end. He used his grief to write his next song, which is what really started his career. Andy always has a great energy about him, and though there were some minor foot stumbles, I loved the part when he got on stage and rocked it out. Carrie Ann isn’t impressed, but Bruno and Julianne liked it.
Judges’ Score: 23
Bindi and Derek
Contemporary | “Every Breath You Take” as performed by Aaron Krause ft. Liza Anne
Most memorable year: 2006
Well the last two hours have been emotionally draining, and this last package is no exception. Bindi was the most adorable child, and it’s heartbreaking to hear her and her mom talk about losing her dad. The routine is beautiful and she deserved the season’s first 10! Also, Bindi breaking down after destroyed me.
Judges’ Score: 28
And now it’s about to get even more depressing as someone is going home. In jeopardy are Carlos and Witney and Gary and Anna. Not shockingly, it’s Gary who’s going home, and despite him clearly being the worst dancer, I’m surprised he didn’t outlast Paula. “The fact that I’ve been eliminated is false,” Gary says, refusing to let Alfonso play to end credits. And that’s why I’m sad to see him go. Are you? Weigh in below!
Don’t forget to watch Derek’s video diary below where he gives us a special behind-the-scenes tour: