Eight couples dance twice on a spooky night; the fox says "Overscored Team Freestyle"; a teary-eyed small animal heads home

By Annie Barrett
Updated October 29, 2013 at 05:50 AM EDT
ABC

Dancing With the Stars

S17 E7
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Thanks to Dancing With the Stars — always on the cutting edge of the internet — for providing alternative answer to one of October’s most probing questions, “What does the fox say?” Turns out it says…. three perfect 10s?!

Yep — Team “Foxing Awesome” apparently could not have improved upon their thrashing freestyle interpretation of Ylvis’ bizarro viral hit “The Fox” — even though, as rivaling dancer and zombie guardian Bill Engvall said, they looked like they were ready to perform a school play. I blame the presence of Derek Hough for this crazy perfect 30. He’s never lost a team dance and tonight was no different. We must never break hold! These are the bedazzled hair ties that bind.

No such luck for Team Spooky Bom Bom, which had to accept straight 9s for the night despite more cohesive team choreography and a surprisingly commanding presence from Engvall as crypttkeeper/de facto team leader (he was the only one aliiiiiiiive!). Bom Bom’s 27 couldn’t push eliminated couple Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi and her partner Sasha Farber out of the red jeopardy light. They head home having out-scored three other teams and will never get to dance for Cher — next week’s guest judge — unless Cher has a nightmare about a dancing chihuahua/squirrel monkey/meatball.

“You’re a bite-size, rule-hating bundle of charisma,” Tom assured Snooki before tonight’s somewhat lackluster (but still high-scoring, at 27) samba. She didn’t know it was a compliment! I think Snooki might freeze up and instinctively start icing people out (ahem, Carrie Ann) as soon they call her short.

Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhhh-ber!

Amber Riley and Derek Hough: 91 total points (29 + 30 tonight) Midseason meltdowns abounded as injuries and fatigue took their toll on the remaining couples. Will they succumb to the evil doctors who tell them to quit tearing up their poor limbs 14 hours a day? Or will they STEP IT UP? Amber and Derek will step it up! Her knee and shoulder are “f—ed up,” Derek’s back is killing him, and Derek’s fashion hat fell off. Things were dire! But true Sparkaliens will always push through.

Len’s recent vendetta against Derek disintegrated during their passionate and seemingly effortless (how?! when they are both in such pain!) paso doble. “Every nuance of that music was picked out,” Len raved. “You are back in the game.” To be fair, they were never out and are the clear frontrunners of the season. I loved that they went with traditional paso music, and it wasn’t just the choreography that was on point: Amber’s musicality is so advanced that she knew all the right expressions to make and beats to hit even outside of the more obvious, hard-hitting moments.

Hidden gem: “Fringe Fairy, did you see the pink shoe fringe that the female pros and decoys wore at the beginning of the show?” –Colleen

Of course!

NEXT: ‘Val’s just drilling it into me over and over and over.’ Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd: 88 total points (27 + 30 tonight) This guy usually gets lost in the shuffle for me, but tonight he emerged as a real contender if people decide they want to vote for the dreamiest guy who had no idea how to dance coming into all of this. (Though believe it or not, Jack Osbourne’s in the running for that title, too!) I l loved seeing the “home video” footage of Brant practicing his jive steps in his driveway/backyard thing. (It looked like a standard-size TV ballroom, to be honest. Just made of stone.)

Brant looked absurdly cute in his little ice cream man uniform (once I removed my horrified gaze from Peta in — gasp! — non-heeled shoes) and executed not only a cartwheel but that crazy jump up from a seated position that I’m always sure would snap my spine if I tried it myself. Plus his muscle memory on those jive steps had him in a more confident place than usual. The scientific term for Brant’s whipped cream-anticipating bliss? “Frisky schoolboy sugar high,” Bruno called it. Luckily the judges didn’t seize the opportunity to mark Brant down after he slipped on part of (okay, all of) Peta’s detachable skirt midway through the jive.

Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Val Chmerkovskiy: 86 total points (27 + 27 tonight) It was an intense week for these two, which is like saying the show took place on a Monday. Val’s tough love reached a fever pitch, and Elizabeth is so “laser-beam focused” that she just gobbled his yelling right up. “It’s never at you. It’s just at.” Val insisted re: his yelling. (At…the struggle.)

Elizabeth with the humble brag: “Val’s just drilling it into me over and over and over… it’s just extreme.” #CelebrityProblems ….”I know he just wants the best out of me.” #Sparklebarf

I remember the crazy CGI UFOs better than their quickstep itself — “The aliens wanted to beam them up, but the glitterific atmosphere of Mirrorballus was too much for the spacecraft to take,” aptly sums up EW.com commenter icy treat — but Elizabeth and Val won overall raves for their “utterly full-on” routine. They’d just lost a bit of body contact because of the speed, remarked Bruno. Carrie Ann had apparently been wound up about six espressos too high because she wouldn’t stop raving (and really, it was going to be a dozen more euphemisms of the same concept — “Your performance has caused me sexual pleasure” — unless Tom helped to cut her off).

Hidden gem: Karina and Leah’s “WTF is she even talking about?” sesh.

Val provided the night’s breeziest interview moment (breeziest overall moment would of course belong to his shirtless self during the amazing Mandy Moore-choreographed opening number) when he opted to deliver the “politically incorrect” answer that yes, last week’s 30 had them under more pressure this week. “I, personally, was very stressed.” Atmosphere once again corrupted! Another alien has shifted the script!

NEXT: Carrie Ann beheads a ’10’ paddle, and it’s not even Game of Thrones week Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff: 86 total points (29 + 30 tonight) There’s literally nothing Corbin can do that’s threatening or wrong, so their rehearsal package was all about how Karina couldn’t decide on their choreography. And while this admittedly seemed super stressful and nuts, the finished product — a professional-grade yellow-feathered cha cha complete with hand-hearts and impeccably timed leg-crossing at the end — was no surprise considering Corbin’s general prowess.

Len didn’t appreciate all the gyrating — or “gyratoring,” as he called it — which strikes him as something that “comes between rap music and a crying baby for me. I just want it to stop!”

Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke: 84 total points (27 + 30 tonight) Midseason blues hit Jack hard, as he struggled to determine whether his bouts of fatigue were induced by his MS or if he was simply really freaking exhausted from constantly working out. “Yes, we’re all exhausted,” said Cheryl, gearing up for one of her best after-school special pep talks to date: “But there’s no reason, Jack, that you can’t win this. You’ve come so far. You need to hold your head up.” YES! So intense! (Their intensity is less creepy than Elizabeth and Val’s. It just is.)

I totally agreed with Len that there’s a naturalness about Jack’s dancing, and Bruno that there’s “great charm in what you do.” Jack even ramped up the mid-dance smiling this week, seemingly without Cheryl’s help. He’s looking really good, by the way! Just physically. Because it does matter. Carrie Ann awarded Jack his first 10. Huh. Really? Okay. Maybe it was the amount of extra coffees she wanted, and then she effectively cut herself off when her super-caffeinated strength caused the glittery part to fly off the handle.

Never give it back, Jack!

“I’m built for comfort, not speed, so this is a big deal,” Jack said in a stunning acceptance speech for his perfect-10 (according to Crazy Arms) quickstep.

NEXT: Bruno’s weird, non-science-y, poetry in motion… Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani: 81 total points (26 + 27 tonight) “Dumb it down for me,” Leah begged Tony. Nope. Next!

Just kidding. The couple managed to create a convincingly clubby vibe (all the cool club kids wear violet bustiers and nude ankle boots) with their salsa. Purple is always a great shade on Tony, though I’m not sure why he had to be such a stickler and wear a shirt during the salsa. His gleeful reaction after Crazy Arms rubbed her coffee filter hands together and announced “That was like going to the hottest salsa club and you are the hottest salsa dancer!” was just as enjoyable as the dance itself, which featured a bunch of somewhat awkward lifts and the steps blatantly gearing up for them.

Leah made me laugh out loud after Bruno rambled on and on, when she admitted to Tom and Tony, “I didn’t understand a single word he said.” And it’s true — I didn’t fare much better in my notes, which read “Look at you all gone salacious on me…you’ve got the face for it… you… tasty… …….” (He’d seriously been speaking for 30 seconds.) So no worries, Leah — we’re all in the dark with you there.

Bill Engvall and Emma Slater: 74 total points (23 + 27 tonight) “I hate this f—ing dance,” Bill huffed and puffed as he tried to master a Las Vegas-themed quickstep. Channeling Elvis definitely helped him have fun with it, but the technique wasn’t there for the most part. I did really, really love Bill and Emma’s synchronized windup to their final point towards disco heaven as well as the red, white and blue overlays on the floor. Whee, Britain!

“The red girl is very distracting!” Bruno yelled. Do we think he even knows who Emma is?

Hidden gem: Emma’s head as the COVETED MIRRORBALL TROPHY

If Bill hadn’t stepped it up so profoundly in Team Spooky Bom Bom’s freestyle, I’d say of course he should have been eliminated. But there he was, at the center of the stage, directing the flow of a haunted group freestyle. He was a marvel! And he didn’t look nervous at all. He’s got so much heart and he manages to make things funny without seeming over-the-top cheesy. The guy might still have a safe week in him yet.

What about you? Is Snooki’s departure a travesty, or does it make sense? Did Jack get three times more handsome this week? Did you already know what the fox says? Did you care?

Now here it is, your moment of Len….

Discuss!

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