It’s ‘Eras Night’ on Dancing With the Stars, which means we’re treated to some fun costumes, new dance styles (what up, jitterbug), and lots of our young contestants and pros revealing they know nothing about history. ‘Merica! We also get the return of ballroom hero Len Goodman, the first Team Dance Challenge, and a good 30 seconds of Laurie Hernandez giggling about women burning bras in the 1960s. So, yeah, it’s a good time.
Let’s run through the dances, which are not in chronological order of assigned decade, because DWTS likes to keep you guessing. To the dance floor:
Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy, 1960s
Quickstep, “One Fine Day” by The Chiffons
Laurie’s going to the prom, you guys! Val makes it clear their version of the 1960s isn’t the hippie/anti-government one, which is all good with Laurie because she has no idea what that means. Instead, they’re off to Laurie’s first prom. She even gets a corsage. If only all proms looked like this one. And if only all prom dates did splits like Val. The duo dances a fun, bubbly quickstep. Most of the judges love the blend of lightness with Laurie’s inherent strength of movement. It’s Len, of course, who finds fault with a lot of Laurie’s technique. Val brushes it off, though, citing Len’s obvious jet lag. And when Carrie Ann calls him out for putting lifts in the routine, he tells her the 60s are about rebellion. Val’s so cheeky tonight. Just get Laurie home before curfew, okay?
Judges’ Score: 34/40
Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke, 1990s
Rumba, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith
True Confession: I saw Armageddon in the theater four times back in the day. Animal crackers make me feel things now. So, yes, Aerosmith’s weepy anthem screams the 1990s to me. The routine is just okay on its own, but if you imagine Cheryl as a sparkly asteroid and Ryan as a steely, stubbly Bruce Willis, it gets so much better. It’s the most tragic love story of our time! The judges don’t see it that way, and although there seems to be increased chemistry between the couple, everyone on the judges’ panel wants more out of the performance. They’ve basically given up on Ryan improving technique-wise, so it’s all about getting into character. Carrie Ann thinks Ryan looks like he’s just doing what he’s told, rather than feeling the movements and connecting to the music. In Armageddon terms: He needs to be less of a Colonel Sharp, and more of a Harry Stamper.
Marilu Henner and Derek Hough, 1920s
Charleston, “Never Forget You” by Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox feat. Addie Hamilton
Marilu once played Roxie Hart in a production of Chicago, so she’s feeling the Charleston. Derek, on the other hand, is having trouble with the two-dance week. Derek is super old now, so it takes him a few seconds to pick up choreography, rather than zero seconds. We don’t feel bad for you, you glorious starfish. Unfortunately, Marilu may have overcompensated for feeling comfortable in her dance style. The judges go easy on her, but overall, the majority of the 1920s number looked out of synch and low-energy. Bruno points out the end was a big ol’ mess. They did capture the essence of the decade, though, plus Derek did some tap dancing. There are also points to be had for tap dancing.
Judges’ Score: 29/40
NEXT: Lift free since ’53!