When Dancing With the Stars first announced that this season they’d be bringing back alums for the trio round instead of another pro, I thought, “America’s Dad Tom Bergeron, aren’t you supposed to protect us from potentially damaging stuff like this?” But then I saw who’d be coming back and I just knew America’s Dad Tom Bergeron would never really lead us astray. I mean, who didn’t miss Rashad Jennings? Or Laurie Hernandez? And, ahem, KRISTI YAMAGUCHI. Things are looking up.
Before we get to those trio dances, each couple will be dancing an individual routine to get the evening started. After last week’s surprise double elimination, honestly, anyone could be going home from now on, so it’s time for our contestants to dance their behinds off.
Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke
Charleston, “Bad Boy, Good Man” by Tape Five (feat. Henrik Wager)
Who would’ve thought that Terrell Owens would be so good in these fast-paced ballroom styles? He has a tough time with the speed of the Charleston during rehearsals and some of the old, defeatist T.O. starts to come out, but once he’s on the dance floor, he’s feeling the groove. He doesn’t look as in control of this dance as he has previously, but Carrie Ann is pleased to see him use his athletic prowess again, and Bruno loves how much Terrell and Cheryl capture the spirit and style of the Charleston. Len delivers his score while wearing a hat, so we’re all winners. Cheeky Len is in the house, you guys.
Judges’ Score: 27/30
Drew Scott and Emma Slater
Waltz, “Both Sides Now (Torch Songs)” by Years & Years
Drew and Emma’s season has been a roller coaster. They were sitting way down on the bottom of the leaderboard, only to shoot up to second place after their quirky-spooky (it’s a thing) Corpse Bride routine. Unfortunately, it looks like they’re sliding back down after their waltz misses the mark. Don’t get me wrong, I teared up as Drew poured his heart out about his lady Linda, both in rehearsals and out on the dance floor (maybe it was because I was thinking about Emma Thompson listening to Joni Mitchell’s version of this song in Love Actually, but when am I not?), but the judges found his technique missing something. Mainly, fluidity. And confidence. And the correct frame. Okay, so it was missing a lot of things.
Judges’ Score: 22/30
Victoria Arlen and Val Chmerkovskiy
Argentine Tango, “Down” by Marian Hill
Victoria has a tall order this week. She needs to imbue sexiness into her Argentine tango. Sexiness is not her forte. Anytime she starts to break character, the routine looks cheesy. Side note, my new ringtone is going to be Val making that noise impersonating Victoria’s inability to look sexy. You know the one. On top of a tough character dance, Victoria has a spasm during dress rehearsal and lots of scary memories of paralysis come flooding back. It’s extremely worrisome, but also we get to see Val demand people call Victoria’s mom. Silver linings, people. The dancing is nice — there are some great lifts and the Argentine tango basics are done well — but Victoria falters when it comes to character. She was trying so hard, too!
Judges’ Score: 24/30
Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas
Samba, “Morning Drums” by Gregor Salto
Here’s the thing: I’ve never been to the circus. Is this what it’s like? Sexy lion tamers and sexy lions doing the samba? If so, man have I been missing out! Yes, Lindsey is back to full form — she is no longer feeling broken physically or emotionally, just so you know — and she is ready to make up for last week’s tumble down the leaderboard. She…sort of does? She definitely doesn’t look like she’s in pain anymore, but Len and Carrie Ann are right: Lindsey is lacking the confidence and intention in her steps that we’re used to seeing. Lindsey also makes a rookie mistake when she asks an already unhappy Len about her samba bounce and the dude tears into her performance. DO NOT ASK THE JUDGES QUESTIONS, LINDS. Help me, help you, you know?
Judges’ Score: 26/30