Everyone was in the Halloween spirit this week on Dancing With the Stars.
Not only did the contestants give some of their spookiest performances, but even the judges got into the holiday, dressing in their best costumes as they doled out healthy doses of praise and criticism for each of the remaining nine couples.
And it wouldn’t be Halloween without resident trickster Sasha Farber trying to frighten the couples during rehearsal. He snuck up behind some during their interviews and dropped fake spiders into the rehearsal rooms, but the pranks fell mostly flat.
In addition to their individual routines, the couples also participated in two group performances to compete for extra points to keep them out of the bottom two.
Jordan Sparks and Brandon Armstrong. Praised for her “musicality” last week, the platinum singer’s goal going into Halloween night was to nail down the details and finally perfect her frame during her tango to “Oogie Boogie’s Song.” It seemed to pay off, as head judge Len Goodman told her that “sparks were flying” during the performance and complimented Armstrong for his choreography. Her technique still needs a little work, according to the judges, and the performance still wasn’t enough to earn her the 10s she’d been hoping for. Score: 35 out of 40.
Charli D’Amelio and Mark Ballas. Coming off another week of perfect scores, the social media star was met with a bump in the road when Ballas told her he wouldn’t be able to rehearse with her due to pain in his lower back. Pasha Pashkov stepped in to take his place, and thankfully Ballas recovered in time to take to the ballroom floor for Monday night’s performance. Their Argentine tango inspired by vintage horror films earned the duo even more praise from the judges. “My head is spinning like Linda Blair from The Exorcist,” Bruno Tonioli said. Carrie Ann Inaba said she’s still looking for more intensity from the teen. Score: 39 out of 40.
Daniel Durant and Britt Stewart. the CODA star and his partner took a different approach to Halloween night, dancing a paso doble to Billie Eilish’s “bury a friend” as video game characters stuck in a zombie apocalypse. He was also thrown off his game after missing some rehearsal time due to illness, but somehow still pulled out one of his best performances of the season. “It still amazes me every time you get on this dance floor, as I’m sure it does everyone at home,” Inaba said. She and Goodman agreed they’d like to see Durant work on his form as the semi-finals approach. Score: 34 out of 40.
Shangela and Gleb Savchenko. After Len called her Michael Bublé night performance her “best of the season,” Shangela was prepared to shake things up again with her jazz routine to “Look What You Made Me Do” by Taylor Swift. Savchenko told his partner that this would be the “perfect opportunity” for her to show off her acting skills while also executing her technique. “You were in such a deep, dark, mommy dearest kind of place. I loved every minute of it,” Inaba said, adding that Shangela had successfully managed to one up her last performance. She hit the floor when she realized she’d earned a perfect score. Score: 50 out of 50
Vinny Guadagnino and Koko Iwasaki. the Jersey Shore star might be a fan favorite, but he received some pretty harsh criticism last week from the judges, who were not impressed with his cha cha on Michael Bublé night. Guadagnino hoped his bad guy paso doble might give him the confidence boost he needed to take give a cleaner performance, explaining he was “tired of being a good guy.” He did seem to step on the floor with much more assurance this week, but he still received some lukewarm comments from the judges. Goodman admitted it “wasn’t all bad,” but isn’t that great either. “I have zero dance experience,” Guadagnino said, telling host Alfonso Ribeiro that he’s a “work in progress.” Score: 30 out of 40
Heidi D’Amelio and Artem Chigvintsev. Mama D’Amelio is looking to be more “inventive” this week, as comparisons between her and her daughter continue to roll in week after week. “Charli and Mark have been very adventurous with their choreography,” she said. She and Chigvintsev danced a tango with an elastic band connecting them together for the first part of the performance — a risk that The D’Amelio Show star said could pay off or put them in the bottom two again. Well, it paid off for some and not for others. “Heidi, bondage becomes you!” Tonioli exclaimed. “You had this killer instinct in you tonight. I loved it.” Meanwhile, Goodman and Inaba think she’s in a plateau after giving a few “strong” performances in a row. Score: 37 out of 40
Gabby Windey and Alan Burst. The former Bachelorette’s partner Val Chmerkovskiy tested positive for COVID last week, so Bersten (who, along with his Season 31 partner Jessie James Decker, was voted off last week) filled in about halfway through rehearsals. “It took me a while to get comfortable with Val coming into my space. Alan and I need to get comfortable with each other,” Windey said. Whatever they did to fast track their chemistry worked, because the judges were thoroughly impressed with their vampire Argentine tango. “I am so proud of you tonight,” Inaba said. “The way you were able to shift and pivot to a new partner and still have that much chemistry, that requires so much vulnerability but yet you had your strength the whole time.” Score: 38 out of 40
Wayne Brady and Witney Carson. Brady fell down the leaderboard last week after missing most of his rehearsal time due to illness. He said he left Michael Bublé night feeling “disappointed” and was hoping to make a comeback this week. Carson said she’d be using his strengths as a storyteller to help catapult the couple back to the top by giving him a character to play. They danced a difficult contemporary as some sort of creepy cyborgs, but Inaba and Goodman still felt like there was something missing. Score: 37 out of 40.
Trevor Donovan and Emma Slater. After being saved from the bottom two for the second time, Donavan was determined to make his way up the leaderboard with his Halloween night performance. “You have to really feel the dance,” Slater told her partner of their contemporary dance to “Ghost” by Justin Bieber, where Donovan played a grieving husband and Slater was his wife in the afterlife. Unsurprisingly, their chemistry was off the charts, and the 90210 star brought the emotion needed to earn some high praise from the judges. “It’s such a beautiful thing to witness the gift of dance and…to see the love of dance grow within you,” Hough said. The pair earned three 10s. Score: 39 out of 40
Following the individual dances, it was time for the group routines. Team Wicked was Vinny and Koko, Shangela and Gleb, Gabby and Val, Heidi and Artem and Jordin and Brandon. Score: 33 out of 40
Team Scream was Trevor and Emma, Charli and Mark, Wayne and Witney and Daniel and Britt. Score: 39 out of 40
The bottom two were D’Amelio/Chigvintsev and Sparks/Armstrong. Inaba voted to save D’Amelio, while Hough and Toniolo voted for Sparks. Goodman broke the tie in favor of D’Amelio, so Sparks was sent home.
It’s 90’s night next week in the ballroom.
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