Would Laverne & Shirley have approved? After using the title song from the aforementioned ABC sitcom to re-introduce the cast, week 8 of Dancing With the Stars featured tears, shame, a chicken liver reference, and the season’s first (and second!) perfect scores. Do we have a new frontrunner?
“Normally by now, somebody is leading but this season not so,” said judge Len Goodman. And normally, by now, the worst dancers are gone. But let’s not split hairs!
Sean Spicer and Lindsay Arnold: The politico got a last-minute partner sub (Jenna for Lindsay, whose mom-in-law died) before performing the most awkward jazz interpretation ever to Styx’s “Come Sail Away.” Why, music and dance planners of DWTS? And why did he get to go first? “We keep throwing you out of the boat and the viewers keep throwing you a life-preserver!” groans Goodman. “That’s true,” added Carrie Ann Inaba. “I think Dory in Finding Nemo has better direction but you always manage to get to shore,” adds judge Bruno Tonioli. And one more quote from Inaba: “Sometimes it looks like you are doing the same dance over and over again. That’s why your scores haven’t improved. Learning to dance with someone else has given us another shade of you.” Score: 20 out of 30
Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko: The country star had trouble keeping up with her jiving partner and holding back the tears after hearing the judges’ so not-so-positive thoughts. “You did forget, something went wrong there,” Inaba said. “Even though you’ve had a setback here … don’t give up.” “The competition is getting so intense now…there were mistakes,” Goodman said. Score: 24 out of 30
Kate Flannery and Pasha Pashkov: One of seven kids, Kate reflected on the recent death of her sister, Nancy, and how she wanted a dance party for her funeral. Kate has one better for you, sis: how about a super fun jive performed in your honor? “Dance is a celebration of life and I felt that celebration,” said Inaba. “I’m so proud of you.” “It was tailor-made for your ability. It allowed you to play the steps,” said Tonioli. “As always, charming.” Score: 24 out of 30
Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson: Man, can this comedian dance a mean salsa. Can we declare him a finalist now? “You took me way back, the way you went back and forth getting the cool groove … you are leading!” exclaimed Inaba. “You are pushing her back and forth!” “Wow Kel, my old sausage you are on a roll,” added Goodman. “Full of rhythm, plenty of junk in the trunk. Those hips were going to town. You were large and in charge.” Score: 28 (first 10 of the season!) out of 30
Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten: The reality star went home to Alabama, where she used to eat chicken livers and was crowned homecoming queen. After perusing her old yearbook and gazing at the local river, the Bachelorette returned to the ballroom with a new sense of purpose. Quickstep? No problem! “Tonight you really used the floor to give you lift and spring,” said Tonioli. “It felt like you. That’s what we are talking about! You are open-hearted every time you come on this dance floor,” said Inaba, who gave the Bachelorette a hug. Score: 29 out of 30
Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber: The pop star-cum-alumnus of The Sound Academy visited her old stomping grounds to find inspiration for her game-changing Paso doble, which featured a crazy floor spin at the end. Magnífica! “It was a mix of good technique and high performance,” said Goodman. “Well done.” “You are a frickin’ superstar!” added Inaba. “Something has shifted in you. My mind is blown.” Score: Perfect 30
James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater: After telling us he was “ridiculed mercilessly” in school, Van Der Beek silenced his bullies by performing a one-armed cartwheel and a flawless lift in a show-stopping contemporary dance. “This was like a good book. There’s something good for everyone,” said Goodman. “You did a section of lifts there that was absolutely exquisite,” said Tonioli. Score: Perfect 30
Time for the dance-off! (Van Der Beek had the highest scores from last week so he was exempt from this challenge. Lucky.)
Kel and Witney versus Ally and Sasha: Kel had this jive from the moment he pointed his finger at Ally. There was no upstaging his raucous performance to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” Still, the judges try not to be too judge-y during these time-filling dance-offs. “Who knows? This could be jive to survive,” said Goodman. “It’s almost impossible to call!” added Tonioli. The winner: Kel (Two points are added to his score, bringing their total for the night to 30)
Sean and Witney versus Kate and Pasha: Sorry Sean, it’s just too hard to take my eyes off of Kate and those hips. She is a terrific performer — or in this case, cha-cha’er. “Both of you gave me a really great time,” said Tonioli. “I thought you both did a really good cha cha cha. There was lots going on.” The winner: Kate (total for night is 26)
Lauren and Gleb versus Hannah and Alan: They put the two Southern girls against each other! The judges really had their work cut out for them, as both gals shook their (sparkly) tail feathers like pros during their saucy salsa. “Nothing like a girl fight!” (Really, Carrie Ann?) “I wish I could give you one point each,” added Goodman. The winner: Hannah (total for the night is 31)
The bottom two couples were Kate and Pasha and Ally and Sasha. “It’s confusing for me why these are the bottom two,” complained Inaba. “You shouldn’t be here,” added Tonioli.
And the latest celebrity to leave season 28 of DWTS is (boo, hiss!) Kate Flannery. She took it like a champ though!
Want more Dancing With the Stars? Make sure to download the Sirius XM app and search for Eye on the Ball, EW’s first DWTS recap show hosted by me and Patrick Gomez! It drops every Tuesday afternoon.
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