Dancing With the Stars is trying out something new with season 27’s ‘Trio Night.’ Instead of each couple having another pro join them out on the dance floor (always a crowd-pleasing formula in the past), they are having a mix of DWTS alums and contestants’ friends come to join the fun. Why is this change happening? No one knows. How does the change work out? Results are mixed. See below!
Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke with Melissa Rycroft
Cha Cha, “Wavey” by CliQ featuring Alika
Juan Pablo and Cheryl are still riding high after their perfect score last week (I’m still thinking about that samba, please tell me I’m not alone). But that high crashes pretty quickly once they start rehearsing their trio cha cha with All-Star season champ Melissa Rycroft. Things are hectic! Juan Pablo is feeling out-danced! Cheryl has to re-do some choreography because it is just. not. working. But then they come out on the floor and do a very, VERY sexy club music cha cha and it’s as if there were no problems to begin with. There’s not a ton of cha cha content, as Len points out, but there is a ton of hip action. Like, enough to last the entire season. So hot!
Judges’ Score: 24/30
Tinashe and Brandon Armstrong with Amy Purdy
Tango, “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” from Rock of Ages
Hey guys, remember how Tinashe and Brandon, one of the technically best couples in this competition, almost went home last week? Not cool, America. But things are looking up! For their trio tango, they have Paralympic snowboarder and season 18 runner-up Amy Purdy, always a delight on the dance floor. Tango is so focused on framing and dancing in hold, so it’s a tricky style for a trio. Brandon is really impressing everyone with his choreography as a first-time pro, huh? The three dance an innovative trio in which the ladies are hot lawyers and Brandon’s a hot judge and honestly, I haven’t had jury duty in a few years — is this what it’s like now? Why is no one talking about it?
Judges’ Score: 26/30
John Schneider and Emma Slater with Joey Fatone
Argentine Tango, “Torn” by Nathan Lanier
John and Emma are joined by Joey Fatone for their Greek god-inspired Argentine tango — can you believe he was on season 4? Am I 100 years old? Joey’s feeling the pressure to really show up for John, and it turns out he’s a great teammate for the guy. They get along well — maybe too well because Emma wants to rehearse and the two are starting a bromance. The routine itself is a great concept, but there are some less-than-clean parts in the beginning and the judges aren’t afraid to point them out. Emma’s choreography integrating all three of them is great and Carrie Ann really enjoys that instead of playing into the guys’ typical light-hearted personas, she goes dark and moody. A little something different goes a long way.
Judges’ Score: 21/30
Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe with Scarlett Byrne
Salsa, “Black Magic” by Little Mix
Our first non-alum trio partner comes in the form of Scarlett Byrne, Evanna’s friend from the Harry Potter movies (she was a Slytherin, so, you know). It’s a risky move to have someone who has never done the show join you — who knows what will happen when it comes time to perform! Scarlett holds her own though. You can tell Evanna is having a blast dancing this kicky salsa with her best gal, too. Len is a fan of the amount of traditional salsa in the choreography, Bruno is a fan of seeing Evanna’s confidence grow each week, I’m a fan of the fact that Keo teleported onto the stage to start the routine. More ab teleportation in the ballroom and in general, to be honest.
Judges’ Score: 24/30
DeMarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold with Rashad Jennings
Paso Doble, “Fire” by Barns Courtney
Season 24 champ Rashad Jennings walks into rehearsal with DeMarcus and Lindsay and immediately dislocates DeMarcus’s finger. It’s both sad and hilarious. His ‘hello chest bump’ dislocates the dude’s finger. After we all take a barf break once we watch DeMarcus have his finger popped back in, we get to the actual routine. This intense, aggressive gridiron paso definitely showcases the boys’ physicality, as Carrie Ann notes, but the judges are underwhelmed. Len and Bruno appreciate all the attack (Bruno really appreciates it), but there was no subtlety. Carrie Ann thought DeMarcus spent too much time trying to match Rashad instead of dancing his own way. In life and on the dance floor: Just be yourself.
Judges’ Score: 22/30
Mary Lou Retton and Sasha Farber with Nastia Liukin
Charleston, “V.E.S.P.A.” by Dimie Cat
Please can we never watch Mary Lou Retton crying again? It’s heart-breaking! When Mary Lou cries, the world cries with her. She’s upset because the Charleston is incredibly fast, and she’s not picking it up easily. She feels like she’s letting down Sasha and their trio partner, Olympic gymnast and season 20 contestant Nastia Liukin. Both Sasha and Nastia are like, YOU COULD NEVER LET US DOWN. America is like that, too. Anyway, it seems she’s picked up the steps because she nails this Italian Riviera, old Hollywood glam Charleston. It’s so fun! And light! And my face hurts from smiling. Len wanted more swivel in the Charleston section, but otherwise the routine earns rave reviews. See? No reason to cry at all.
Judges’ Score: 26/30
Milo Manheim and Witney Carson with Riker Lynch
Salsa, “Adrenalina” by Wisin featuring Jennifer Lopez & Ricky Martin
Oh, hi. Just over here trying to catch my breath after the insanely fast salsa Milo, Witney, and season 20’s runner-up Riker Lynch just laid out on the dance floor. I mean, I didn’t move from my couch, and still, that was a lot of work. These three work so well together—Riker (I miss Allison Holker on this show!) is a great addition for Milo, who attributes his renewed determination to having to keep up with his teammate. The judges praise how incredibly in sync Milo and Riker are, how well Milo hit all the nuances in Witney’s fab choreography, and all the energy they just left on the dance floor. This is the routine I’ll be re-watching this week. Anyone else?
Judges’ Score: 29/30
Joe Amabile and Jenna Johnson with Jordan Kimball
Salsa, “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred
When I heard Joe’s trio partner would be another Bachelorette contestant, I knew. When I heard they’d be dancing to “I’m Too Sexy,” I knew. Yet still, I had no idea. You guys, I literally get paid to watch this show and I had to look away during this “garage worker strip show” salsa. The judges struggle to say much more than things along the line of “I have nothing to say” or “Jenna, bless you for having to deal with this.” Okay, actually Bruno asks if that routine was “Magic Mike or Tragic Mike” and I’d like that on a T-shirt. All I truly know is that if there is any goodness in this world, someone, somewhere, would have been turning on Dancing With the Stars for the first time ever at the exact moment they cut to a bumper consisting of Gleb and Val taking showers in overalls. Welcome to Dancing With the Stars!
Judges’ Score: 15/30
Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten with Maddie Ziegler
Tango, “Move Your Body” by Sia
It takes some guts to dance next to Maddie Ziegler in your trio routine, but Alexis gives it a whirl anyway. Alan’s choreography is sexy and cool — the girls give him a hard time in rehearsals for being a taskmaster, but, the guy is a pro for a reason. Lay off Alan, is what I’m saying! Carrie Ann doesn’t find the tango to be as successful as others might — she feels like they were never truly dancing as a cohesive unit, especially when in hold. Len, too, had some problems with portions that were in hold — Alexis’s frame isn’t up to snuff according to the Head Judge. But Bruno fell for the whole thing. He loved the addition of paso choreography and thought the entire thing had a sophistication to it that he enjoyed. Overall, the risk was worth taking, apparently.
Judges’ Score: 25/30
Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess with Lindsey Stirling
Cha Cha, “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer
I was still recovering from that striptease salsa thing we had to endure when I realized I’d be watching Bobby Bones and Lindsey Stirling (season 25’s runner-up) dancing to MC Hammer. Let it sink in and wash over all of you. Bobby is still having the time of his life and living out actual dreams — to do real Hammer moves on live television? He can cross it off his bucket list. The judges love his enthusiasm, but again, want to see improvement in technique. He’s a true entertainer, now they need some finesse. He’ll work on the finesse, but right now Bobby is “living his best Hammer life.” That is very time-consuming, so I hear.
Judges’ Score: 20/30
In jeopardy this week are Evanna and Keo and Tinashe and Brandon. WHAT IS HAPPENING? Neither of these two couples should be in the bottom two, and yet, tonight, we say goodbye to Tinashe and Brandon. It’s sad because Tinashe was consistently on top of the leaderboard and sad because Brandon made such a strong impression in his first season as a pro. What a roller coaster of an episode, huh? How is everyone holding up?