Maureen McCormick calls Dancing With the Stars a dream world. Um, tell us something we don’t know, Marcia Brady. It’s always been the land of sparkle journeys and dreams becoming reality, but perhaps the ballroom has never been as much of a dream world as it is on Cirque Du Soleil theme night. There are tiny bikes being ridden by rain boots, acrobats hanging from the ceiling, and fire. Lots of fire.
Before we can sit back, relax, and let our jaws drop to the floor though, Tom “I don’t come with paddles” Bergeron gives us some bad news: Two couples will be going home this week in a results show double elimination. It’s a shame, too, because all of our couples (save for one) bring their A game.
Shall we dance?
Calvin Johnson Jr. and Lindsay Arnold
Charleston, KURIOS — Cabinet of Curiosities
If the flips, lifts, and tricks of Cirque Du Soleil were built for any pairing, it’s Megatron and Lindsay. In rehearsals, Lindsay pushes her partner to really go for it in this Charleston and the girl almost ends up in the rafters. Could “that was almost death” be the new tagline for DWTS? It’s intense, people. Out on the floor, there’s a cool flying bicyclist from the Cirque squad — but other than that, this routine is all Calvin and Lindsay, and it is tremendous. The dance is fast, fun, and full of seamless lifts. And good news: Since it’s Cirque night, Carrie Ann is throwing her lift deductions out the window. She even applauds Calvin for his ability to keep fluid movement in and out of those big lifts. All that sweating was worth it. Give that man a towel!
Judges’ Score: 24/30
Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev
Argentine Tango, Mystère
Well, I guess we’re all crying now. Maureen and Artem are having a tough week. Maureen can’t get a grasp on the Argentine tango steps, and Artem begins questioning all of his life choices. Should he even be dancing anymore? Artem, pull yourself together. You are a gift to all of our eyeballs. Thankfully, the cutest little pairing in all the dance world works through their issues and dance a very intense routine. But honestly, can giant drums as your music signal any other kind of dancing? The judges and Maureen are completely wowed. Carrie Ann loves that Maureen completely disappears into the world of her dance, and Julianne tells Maureen to simply trust in her partner. Julianne’s headband thought Maureen’s posture was spot on, and we all know that headband is a real stickler.
Judges’ Score: 24/30
Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko
Foxtrot, The Beatles LOVE
If you learn nothing else from Cirque night, know this: Hippies love the foxtrot. At least, that’s the story Jana and Gleb’s routine seems to tell. Like Maureen and Artem, Jana and Gleb get a little frustrated in rehearsals. It’s to be expected though, since Jana is traveling on tour and getting minimal sleep. But in the end, Jana and Gleb make up and promise to simply dance for each other. They’re really feeling the love from The Beatles LOVE, I guess. As it turns out, those little hippies dance quite the elegant routine. All the judges are big fans. Jana’s a good dancer, she just needs to lose some of the tension that crops up in her shoulders. In other news: I could listen to Bruno talk about stellar underarm passes all night long. The heart wants what the heart wants.
Judges’ Score: 23/30
NEXT: Derek Hough, Caped Crusader [pagebreak]
Marilu Henner and Derek Hough
Paso Doble, KÀ
Finally we get to hear a little bit about Marilu’s highly superior autobiographical memory because it is fascinating. Unfortunately, it also seems to be getting in the way of her nailing her routines. She’s too much in her head, not enough in her body. If she could be more consistent, she’d be great. When in doubt, just let the Hough twirl some cape-like props. It’s always awesome. All three of our judges wish that Marilu would relax on the dance floor and focus her energy on her partner. For Carrie Ann, it seems like Marilu is dancing next to her partner, not with him, and it comes off forced. She’ll get there eventually. And if not, just add more capes.
Judges’ Score: 21/30
Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Argentine Tango, Zumanity
Apparently, some drama went down between Amber Rose and Julianne after Amber caught wind of Julianne’s “I’m uncomfortable” critique during her salsa. Amber felt body-shamed, but Julianne says she was only critiquing the dancing. Regardless, all it does is fuel Amber’s desire to be true to herself on the dance floor. She’s not holding back anymore. This is great news for Maks since he knows they’ve been handed Cirque’s burlesque show: Zumanity. Amber wants to show off her sexuality, and this is the number to do that. She’s never looked more relaxed during a routine. The stripped down routine is hands down her best performance, and it’s one of the best of the night.
Judges’ Score: 24/30
Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke
Viennese Waltz, “O”
When Cheryl tells Ryan to keep that head up, she means it both as a note on his dancing and advice for life, probably. In regards to both, it’s working! With each passing week, Ryan seems like he is more confident and comfortable out on the dance floor. The guy is having fun. He’s feeling extra sure of himself since he and Cheryl are performing a routine based on “O,” which surprisingly is not about one woman and her love for bread, but about water. Ryan Lochte’s back in the pool! Pulling from his gracefulness in the water really does wonders. It’s the best he’s looked on the floor, and the judges take notice. They can tell Ryan’s taking their critiques to heart and they see the improvement. Ryan’s reward: His first eight of the season, courtesy of Bruno.
Judges’ Score: 22/30
Babyface and Allison Holker
Tango, The Beatles LOVE
How to describe the emotions evoked by this dance? First, there were chills. Then, nausea. Babyface and Allison’s package was all about how it is imperative that they hit their marks in their tango. The staging of their routine is all about spotlights all over the dance floor. If they over-step, they’re in the dark. The opening sequence of spotlights over dancers was fabulous (hence the chills), but it quickly went off course. Once it ends, Babyface is smiling, but he fully admits that it was a disaster. Not smiling so much? Allison. She is disappointed and braces herself for the judges critiques. The judges are just glad Babyface could admit he went wrong. Rather than kick a dude when he’s down, they simply tell Babyface that he’ll get them next time.
Judges’ Score: 18/30
NEXT: The King of Pop meets the Queen of the Ballroom [pagebreak]
Terra Jolé and Sasha Farber
Terra is very intimidated by the samba. It’s fast. Also, it’s fast. And finally, it is very, very fast. Her relationship with Sasha continues to be aww-inducing though, as he calms her down and tells her he’s only pushing her because he knows she can do it. See what I mean? Aww. Sasha’s confidence in his partner rubs off on Terra. Girl brings her sexy back immediately. Carrie Ann loves the energy she brings to each dance, her movements are bigger than herself. But let’s get down to what’s most important here: We’ve seen regular blazer, no shirt. We’ve seen lace blazer, no shirt. But until tonight, we’ve never been treated to ZEBRA BLAZER, NO SHIRT. As previously mentioned, DWTS is the place where all of your dreams come true.
Judges’ Score: 25/30
Laurie Hernandez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Jazz, Michael Jackson ONE
Do we even need to go through this one? LAURIE AND VAL DO MICHAEL JACKSON. It is phenomenal. Laurie is all sass and intention in her movement. Sure Val is portraying MJ in this routine, but Laurie owns the floor. There’s lots of stellar bench-work (a must-have in all jazz routines from now on), but it’s really that solo she does surrounded by five dudes that stands out. No one is looking at the hot dudes, Laurie. The judges are speechless, and like me, I’m sure they just want to see it again. And again. And again? The only people shocked that Laurie and Val get the first perfect score of the season are Laurie and Val.
Judges’ Score: 30/30
Vanilla Ice and Witney Carson
Viennese Waltz, La Nouba
Team Ice and Spice has a grueling schedule to contend with this week. Vanilla Ice has five concerts in five different cities and won’t be back in Los Angeles until show day. It’s not great, and both he and Witney are stressed out. Adding to the stress is the fact that they have to tackle the Viennese waltz, a very technically challenging dance. It turns out to be some of his best work. Carrie Ann notes that his shoulders are down and he’s finally showing some elegance. Ice is taking this seriously. Also taking this seriously is that acrobat who spins upside down for almost the entire routine. She’s the real MVP of the evening.
Judges’ Score: 23/30
James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess
Sharna asks for “all the things” and whatever Queen Sharna wants, Queen Sharna gets. In this case, “all of the things” means two insane acrobats and also a floor that is actually a trampoline. Those are some pretty good things. She also gets a stellar performance out of James. After their surprising first showing, the two have been sliding down the leader board, but not anymore. James is all Broadway top hat and tails, and not even a little mistake can bring him down. His performance is obviously great, but as Bruno points out, James nails the technique of the quickstep as well. We all echo Julianne’s headband when it asks, “Who are you?”
Judges’ Score: 28/30
So, can we do Cirque Du Soleil night again?