Not even the sweet sounds of Florida Georgia Line can save our stars from elimination

By Maggie Fremont
September 28, 2016 at 02:32 AM EDT
Eric McCandless/ABC

Dancing With the Stars

S23 E5
  • TV Show

Dancing With the Stars is getting very serious, you guys. At the top of every results show, viewers are intensely asked: WHOSE JOURNEY WILL END? Seriously, it’s in all caps. It’s very scary. Don’t worry, stars: You’re not, like, sent out to exile for a year or anything (I don’t think?). The good thing about last night’s challenge is we’ve already narrowed down the list of who might be headed home. After losing in their respective head-to-head battles, Amber and Maks, Ryan and Cheryl, Rick and Emma, Terra and Sasha, Marilu and Derek, and Babyface and Allison are all up for elimination. Of course, we’ll have to sit through two hours of recaps, musical performances, and America’s Dad (don’t fight it, man) Tom Bergeron trying to get substitute co-host Kym Johnson Herjavec to go off-script.

Because of America’s Face-Off (you know, that pesky presidential debate), competition night was condensed. To fit 12 dances in, the judges were basically given the shaft. Frankly, I missed those guys. But as we get a look at the highlights reel this evening, we’ll hear what the judges really thought about our 12 couples on “Face Off Night.” Let’s review:

Both Babyface and Allison’s and Jana and Gleb’s jives were a little shaky. The judges thought Babyface needed to be much sharper in his movements. Jana’s kicks and flicks ended up giving her the edge in this matchup. Apparently, the latest DWTS tradition is to have a shot of Gleb in his underwear during each results show. I don’t hate it? Tonight he’s joined by Artem, so I definitely don’t hate that. But the greatest gift is yet to come: a photo of Len and Bruno modeling their underwear. BLESS THIS SHOW.

We get another look at James and Sharna’s super-smooth cha cha, and I still think he was underscored. Bruno wanted better footwork from our IndyCar driver, but he definitely got into the spirit of the dance. The judges were glad to see Ryan have better energy in his routine, but for the most part it was Cheryl handling the cha cha steps. You know who doesn’t care about that? Ryan’s grandma. She’s Cuban and knows how to cha cha and she’s so proud of her grandson. It’s nice to see Ryan enjoying himself and this process so much. Cheryl wanted to show off more of her partner’s personality; mission accomplished.

The best face-off of the night was Terra and Sasha vs. Calvin and Lindsay. Both performed some classy Viennese waltzes. Terra’s is very emotional and light, and Julianne was super impressed with her lines and frame. But the real story here is Calvin. He’s not used to being delicate and graceful, but that’s what Lindsay needs from him. He’s enjoying showing his softer side and it makes the dance better. All the judges agree: Megatron’s a contender.

NEXT: The Chmerkovskiys make me wanna shout

The biggest problem with Amber and Maks’ salsa to J. Lo’s “Big Booty” is it was more hip-hop than salsa. Julianne serves a little shade to Maks for his choreography, but I feel like she’s forgetting he wore glitter jeans? GLITTER JEANS, JULIANNE. It’s like glitter jeans mean nothing to people these days. So, of course, Maureen and Artem’s traditional salsa wins over the judges. She has a few missteps, but she gets the major salsa steps down.

Obviously, I’m really excited to see Val and Laurie dance amongst the lasers again, but even better than that is the video they dig up of 16-year-old Val. He loves soccer, drawing, and girls. Typical Val. We also get another look at Marilu and Derek’s tango, which Carrie Ann thought was great until she got nervous, stopped breathing, and lost it. Even Derek, known for his positivity, looks pretty disappointed. I have a feeling these two will be just fine. It’s Derek, you guys!

There’s some pretty great routines tonight to soften the blow. The pro and troupe gals come together for a sexy (too sexy?) number from Mandy Moore. It’s mainly just an excuse for Jenna to serve us face, as she was born to do. Speaking of Jenna, she and Keo (come back to us, Keo!) dance a beautiful routine to the soothing tunes of Florida Georgia Line. More of that, please! Fitz and the Tantrums are also in the ballroom, and there’s a fabulous futuristic song featuring Allison and troupe set to “Handclap.” Is Allison the most underrated pro? Discuss.

After Florida Georgia Line performs one last time — with an assist from Gleb and Lindsay — the moment we’ve all been waiting for arrives: The Brothers Chmerkovskiy take the floor. They’re clad in gold blazers, they make jokes (“stars that shine brighter than Tony Dovolani’s dentures”), and they even drop some Magic-Mike-style moves on one lucky member of the studio audience. What is this new glorious world we’re living in? The boys and Co. dance. Maks even lets Carrie Ann slap his butt. I NEVER WANT TO LEAVE THIS PLACE.

Unfortunately, the bad news keeps piling on: First, I’m informed Maks and Val’s routine can’t last forever. Second, Len is going to be gone for a few weeks to go judge Strictly Come Dancing in the UK. They try to ease our pain with a number from the troupe, but it doesn’t help. Just kidding. There were sparkles, so obviously it was fabulous.

Enough with the sparkles, though (there’s never enough) — it’s time to get our results on. Out of last night’s six losing couples, three are put in jeopardy. They are:

Amber and Maks

Rick and Emma

Terra and Sasha

Tom quickly announces Terra and Sasha are safe, which leaves Rick “I live in jeopardy” Perry and Amber Rose. The second couple to leave the ballroom in season 23 is Rick and Emma. What you think, Dancing buddies? Did the right couple go home? And is the upcoming Cirque du Soleil theme stacked for Laurie?

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