Latin Night means more dances, more injuries, and fewer clothes; plus, one couple goes home

By Samantha Highfill
Updated April 29, 2014 at 03:56 AM EDT
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Dancing With the Stars

S18 E7
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  • TV Show
network
  • ABC
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As Erin Andrews would/did say, “Bienvenidos, everybody!” It was Latin Night in the ballroom, and Ricky Martin was ready to kick off the night like it was 1999! Literally. His big hit “Livin’ la Vida Loca” came out in 1999. And suddenly I’ve explained my joke, and it’s no longer funny. And yet I’m still talking. Let’s refocus our attention on the half-naked professional dancers, shall we?

During Ricky’s opening performance, I had a few thoughts. First, he clearly needed to wear better pants, because he could barely move in those, and personally, I felt robbed. Think of it this way: If Shakira has the best hips in this business, Martin is number two, and tonight, the only move he gave me was some weird hand motion where it looked like he was driving a car. Second thought: Why did only some of the men have their shirts/jackets open? I say, equality for all! Democracy needs more abs! Third thought: Ricky Martin hasn’t really aged. I wonder what moisturizer he uses.

As a guest judge, Martin was looking for “passion, focus, and engaging.” It wasn’t really a complete thought, but Erin didn’t care. As far as she was concerned, she was engaged to Ricky. Week after week, I’m convinced Erin is the one choosing these guest judges. And here’s where I give a special shout-out to Peta’s intro shimmy. Somebody either just drank a Red Bull or blew off a little steam backstage, if you get what I’m saying. *wink*

Sorry, I would say I’m done being gross, but I’m not! Did anyone else cringe when they realized that Dancing reject (and former Bachelor) Juan Pablo was sitting in the crowd with his girlfriend Nikki? Honestly, the person that put him in direct shot of the camera was a bit of a genius, but also made me feel incredibly awkward. And was he just there because he speaks Spanish and it was Latin night? (Side note: I have seen him move those hips, and he was better than Ricky Martin was earlier, so …)

Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: 36/40 First up, Amy and Derek had to work on a passionate rumba, which brought up a lot of feelings for Amy, whose long-term relationship wasn’t doing so hot. I would comment on how touching it all was, but I never got past this comment from Derek: “How do you feel about getting intimate?” For starters, that is the greatest opening line to any conversation ever, and now I can’t stop imagining him saying it at the start of all of his dates. Guys, I want this to be my ringtone. In other important news: Derek is very sweet, a musical-for-one is the quickest way to cheer Amy up, and Derek should probably never write a song.

The dance itself had a very impressive starting pose, but I felt it could’ve used more hips. Perhaps my feelings just carried over from Ricky’s opening, but this is Latin week, people! Shake it! Overall, their dance of love was lacking a bit of fire for me. And couldn’t we see him instructing her at one point? I thought it was good but forgettable. The judges, however, disagreed with me. Len thought her movement was fluid, and Bruno loved the balance of sexuality and elegance. Carrie Ann called her Wonder Woman (but was mad about the lift), and Ricky couldn’t even take notes through all the sensuality. As he put it, “I felt a lot. Thanks.” Does it take a lot for you to feel, Ricky? Suddenly I’m attributing his lack of hip movement to his lack of feelings and a general sociopathy. It’s clearly all in my head, but wouldn’t it make for a good gossip column? Excuse me while I re-evaluate my life.

Also, who was the guy they cut to after the dance was over? Please tell me that wasn’t her boyfriend, or I’m going to sue these cameramen for making me feel uncomfortable tonight. Go back to Juan Pabs if this is my other option!

And in host talk this week, I’m still on the fence with Erin. Half the time, she’s kind of endearing and great. Other times, I’m cringing. Calling Derek “Dr. Phil” was the perfect example of that. Part of me was all “Good one, E” — Yes, I call her “E” like we’re on Gossip Girl — and the other part of me was like, “Ughh.” However, Tom’s comment about there being “a lot of spray tanning this week” always gets an A in my book. That man can do no wrong.

NEXT: James and Peta are the opposite of platonic

James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: 35/40 Let’s be real: Dancing a sexy samba was really just a way to get James and Peta to fess up to dating this week. I mean, the interviewer straight-up asked Peta if they were dating, to which she responded, “All I’m gonna say is I look forward to coming here and seeing him everyday.” Mmhmm. I guess I would too if my “seeing him” involved “rubbing” and “hip action.” You know what else involves those two things? Yes, you do, and I feel no need to say it. And I loved how James said they were “trying to keep it as platonic as possible right now,” which means: We slip every now and then, but we try.

Sexual tension aside, this routine was kind of amazing. I admittedly laughed at the very literal take on the song “Gasolina,” but I always enjoy a good strip tease. Following in Ricky Martin’s footsteps, James also gave us some weird steering motion dance move, but I’ll look past it because ABS. Other takeaways: Overalls are on their way back in style, but I really hope James Maslow isn’t Regina George in this situation, because I don’t want everyone to start rocking them quite like that. Let’s just say, if that’s the new style, I need to stop writing and hit the gym.

Bruno made a very sexual comment about how the dance blew his spark plugs before Carrie Ann fanned herself. Ricky called them the gift that keeps on giving, and Len thought that although the footwork could’ve been better, they never ran out of gas. Get it?

More host talk! Tom had this winner: “That’s exactly what happens in the gas stations I go to.” And a tip for Erin: If you have to say, “Here’s a sarcastic comment,” your delivery is probably off. However, the “Peta’s so naked where would we put a mic?” comment was a graceful recovery, so I’m still torn.

Danica McKellar and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 33/40 This salsa was all about sexiness and speed! Too bad Danica broke her rib in practice. Geez, Val. Don’t you listen? She said you could touch her boob, not her rib! Always go for the fatty tissue, man!

But in all seriousness, Danica decided to press on. However, her texts were my fave.

“Fractured.”

“So yeah it’s broken.”

Genius. The routine, however, was a little confusing. In what Bruno would later label “salsa from the hood,” this routine was more hip-hop than salsa. There were a few little hiccups in the execution, but nothing that Danica’s hair didn’t make up for. I wasn’t sure what the motif was — why were construction workers dancing? — but I did appreciate how Danica was wearing a doctor-approved mesh top that would properly hold her abs in place. And let’s not forget my favorite moment of the night when, at the end of the performance, Val totally gave Danica a “good game” vagina pat. It’s the new ass pat, guys. I’m telling ya.

All the judges agreed that Danica’s injury kept her from fully opening up and getting down and dirty in her movement, but they all knew she’d be back. More importantly, Erin called Ricky out on doing her job — their engagement is SO off — and Danica told everyone her healing secret: Twitter. I think Shia LaBeouf would disagree with her, but what do I know?

Speaking of which, Erin had a Twitter-related idea that even I can appreciate. She asked fans to tweet either #DWTSShirtOn or #DWTSShirtOff to decide how Tony would dance tonight. And yes, Tom, we “may have just witnessed the exact moment when social media jumped the shark,” and I’m loving it. Spoiler: 90 percent of America — a.k.a. this beautiful, ab-obsessed country we live in — voted for Tony to take his shirt off. Cue it up, y’all!

NEXT: NayNay!

NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani: 31/40 In their grown sexy — Catherine Lowe made it a thing! — Argentine tango, NeNe was bringing out her alter ego, NayNay, albeit mostly to talk and walk and shimmy. The opening of the routine was great, but things got a little rough during the Tony-attempted-to-drag-NeNe-across-the-floor part. And if I’m being honest, I thought I was watching the entire dance in slow motion. Newsflash: Unless this is Baywatch, slow-motion should have nothing to do with it. #respect

The judges gave NeNe more of the same: She needs more technique but always brings the fun! But keeping focused on what matters: Tony undid his pants for their visit to Erin, because even I could tell they were a bit too tight. They almost made watching him dance shirtless unenjoyable. I said almost.

News! After her routine, Amy hurt her shoulder, so Erin went back to harass talk to her. Amy said she had gotten through the routine fine, but that afterward, she had turned her heard and heard something crack. Now, it was painful and hard to breathe. “Oh that sucks, Amy. Let’s make you talk about it some more.”

Okay, I know Erin was doing her job — this isn’t about her. I always hate situations like this. The takeaway was this: For Amy’s team dance, they’d have to be judged on their dress rehearsal footage. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming!

Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: 36/40 Charlie wanted a perfect score, and he wanted it now! The adorable Olympian was handed the paso double this week, which is honestly one of my favorite dances. But the dance itself didn’t matter as much as getting some 10’s! I love that Charlie went to Meryl to talk about how she got her scores, because it reminds us that these two are freakin’ gold medalists and also, adorable friends.

During the dance, my notes were pretty straightforward: “Intense! Sharna is amazing! Stripping!” What can I say? I’m deep. But in all honestly, I loved Charlie’s enthusiasm, but he was a little bit like a kid who’d just eaten one too many of those giant Pixy Stix I used to get at the local pool. He needed to reel it in a bit, and the judges picked up on it. Len said it wasn’t special enough to merit a 10, and Bruno mentioned his loss of steadiness. Carrie Ann needed sharper edges, and Ricky didn’t say anything of use. But I do love how much Meryl and Maks support Charlie and Sharna. This foursome. Ugh, I can’t.

Life question of the day: What would you rather have: A 10 from Ricky Martin or a high five on the chest from Maks? I won’t answer, because, you know, professionalism. (But my answer rhymes with best nap.)

Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: 35/40 After meeting with a sports psychologist about her fear of live performances, Candace was ready for an Argentine tango. My only two notes on this dance were: Lifts on lifts on lifts! And surprisingly, I was impressed with Candace’s footwork. One slip and she could’ve prevented Mark from having kids, but she didn’t. And she looked good doing it. Her face could still use some work, but who looks at anyone’s face, anymore? It’s 2014. Unless it’s a selfie, I don’t care.

Carrie Ann thought her lines were crisp, but she did realize that Candace forgot two pieces of choreography — Carrie Ann’s boo night continued! Bruno liked her legs, Ricky liked her lines, and Len thought she could’ve smoldered a bit more, but he still thought it was hot. My advice? Smolder like this, and you’ll be golden next week, Candace. Also, important, life-changing tip from her psychologist: Breathe!

Thank goodness she told me, because I almost forgot …

NEXT: Team Dances (but really Maks and Meryl)

Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 39/40 Who’s ready for a salsa? This recapper is because holy crap these two are just too much! The way she was wearing his hat in rehearsal and talking about “the depth of the sexuality” involved? Yeah, I’m done. I’ve passed out on the floor. I’m in love, and I’m honestly shipping them harder than any couple ever. Whether they’re friends or lovers, I’m there. I’m on board.

Their amazing interaction of the week:

Meryl: You’re a jerk.

Maks: I’m one of the biggest. Self pro-claimed and understandable.

After beating each other up a bit, these two took the stage, where back-up dancers and skin were all the rage! I love how he practically envelops her when they dance together, and this was another instance of a couple pulling out all the tricks and flips! Watching a salsa in high-heeled sneakers was interesting and felt a little sexy and wrong, but as usual, I loved these two.

The judges all had great things to say, but Len thought it was a bit of a hectic production. Surprisingly, I kind of agreed with him. When it’s Maks and Meryl, I want it to be all Maks and Meryl all the time. If we’re being honest, I want them to have their own spin-off where they dance around the house all day, argue, and then snuggle. Also, if I never hear Bruno say “she bangs” again, I’d be alright with that.

*Insert uncomfortable “dirty place” talk with Erin and Maks here.*

Now, it was time for the team dances! Charlie and Meryl were captains — gold medal says what? — and they chose their teams. Spoiler: Candace was picked last. Just breathe, girl. Never forget.

Team Vida: 35/40 Charlie’s team had James and NeNe, and involved Charlie’s bare chest. And yes, he waxed between rehearsals and this show. That’s commitment, people.

Their Latin freestyle had a few highlights: James jumped! NeNe shimmied! Tony shimmied even harder! And then there was some tribal section that confused and excited me all at once.

Dancing to Ricky’s song, he invited them all on the road with him — not you, Erin! — and Len thought they all coped well with having to perform twice this week. Carrie Ann thought the energy was great, but she and Bruno agreed that the group had some synchronization issues. And in case you forgot, you’re all in jeopardy.

Did they mention that one of you is going home?

Team Loca: 39/40 Meryl’s team had Amy, Candace, and Danica, and due to Amy’s injury, the judges had to look at dress rehearsal footage. But quickly, I have to mention Candace’s ridiculous and amazing crush on Maks from rehearsals. BREATHE.

The performance itself had its highs and lows for me. It was great all around, but Maks and Meryl were the highlight. Candace had a few rough moments, but other than that, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dancing along. And the judges thought it was the best group performance yet. They weren’t at all bummed that we didn’t get to see it live, and I wouldn’t have been either if it weren’t for the fact that in the dress rehearsal, the guys had (open) shirts on! Live, they were shirtless! The injury gods are on my list right now.

And in the show’s final moments, NeNe was eliminated. It was her time, but I will miss her attitude next week. Wait, does NayNay have to go too?

What did you all think of tonight’s show? Are you as on the fence about Erin as I am? And if we keep tweeting #DWTSShirtOff, will everyone be shirtless next week? Sound off in the comments below!

The dancers’ total scores from tonight’s two numbers are below. Combined with the viewer votes from this week, these scores will help decide which couple leaves us next week:

Meryl: 78

Amy: 75

Candace: 74

Danica: 72

Charlie: 71

James: 70

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some tweeting to do.

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Dancing With the Stars

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  • 28
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network
  • ABC

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