Dancing with the Stars recap: Halloween Week

I always look forward to Halloween night on Dancing with the Stars because the wardrobe and makeup departments go above and beyond. It’s up to the choreographer to then weave their specific dance format into the theme without compromising the integrity of the piece. Some people do that well. Others phone it in like the random opening number from last night’s show. In the end, we can be sure of three things:

  1. Of course Erin’s wears ears with a slinky black dress like a Playboy bunny at a fancy cocktail party as her costume.
  2. Marilu looks amazing, but needs to tuck her boobs back into her outfit before she suffocates.
  3. If Chris Harrison wasn’t already my pick, Tom Bergeron would definitely be my favorite host.

Terra and Sasha
“Day-O” by Harry Belafonte
On the surface, a routine inspired by Beetlejuice has potential. Especially when you’re music showcases this particular moment of the movie. Unfortunately our dynamic duo didn’t pull it off, even with the help of a gaggle of eager JV dancers. The biggest problem is Terra’s legs. She has a hard time straightening them, which is ideal cha-cha technique. Second, Sasha puts her on the dining table for the first half of the entire dance and she looks nervous. Even I’m afraid she might fall off. (PS: I think it would be hard for pros to dance a cha-cha on a table.) Finally, “Day-O” is a slow song, which subconsciously makes your mind assume that Sasha had to dumb the routine down so Terra can keep up. I don’t think that was the case. All the judges agree that they want to see Terra move up to the next level. Ironically, she received pretty good numbers even with those specific notes. Sometimes dancing first in the lineup is a good thing. Had she performed later in the evening, those 8s would have been 7s.

Laurie and Val
Viennese Waltz
“Pure Imagination” by Jane Monheit
Val made me cry. I won’t deny it. There were so many feels that I didn’t know what to do with myself. Neither did Laurie. Her partner is upset because they received a perfect score way back in week 4. Since then, they’ve been middle-of-the-roaders. Val tells the camera that Laurie is phenomenal. He can only conclude it’s his choreography or his personality that is bringing her down. He hates this because Laurie exudes joy. She can win. Moreover, she deserves to win. He transforms himself into Willy Wonka at the chocolate factory (or lollipop factory in this particular case) and dances with Laurie who is a beloved girl version of Charlie. It was a pretty, swirly waltz, complete with golden tickets dropping from the ceiling. I thought it was charming, sweet and well executed. I also believe Laurie can win. But I think that about Calvin and James, too.

Marilu and Derek
Argentine Tango
“Sweet Dreams Are Made of This” by Emily Browning
Marilu’s montage begins with b-roll footage of her falling in the group routine last week. Or should I say Derek pushing her down in the group routine last week? With all the mistakes from her previous dance, bruised heels and lack of confidence, Derek decides that his technique this week is to convince Marilu she can do no wrong. Even when she messes up steps in rehearsals, he tells her she looks great. She’s the SPIDER QUEEN! Whatever she wants to do in her web, she can do. Marilu takes that direction and proceeds to mess up again this week. She slips as she stands up from a seated position, misses a few steps and whacks Derek in the head with her elbow. Marilu is her own worst critic right now and needs to settle down. She knows the steps and she has fabulous legs. She just needs to breathe.

Calvin and Lindsay
“Dr. Bones” by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
What I love about Calvin is that he’s a hard worker. You never hear him complaining. You never hear him saying that he can’t do something. He just does what Lindsay needs him to do. Sure he kids with her, claiming he’d rather have Witney as a partner, but everyone knows (and by everyone, I mean me) that Lindsay is one of the best choreographers on the show. Her steps are interesting and true to the dance form. She manages to make the audience invest in the story she is telling with this quickstep. The skeleton outfits make it fun and interesting. But it is still at the core, a quickstep. This is the key. And this is why it was one of my favorite dances of the night. See for yourself:

Cheryl and Ryan
“Howlin’ for You” by The Black Keys
Cheryl goes all drill sergeant on Ryan this week and it actually works. When she treats him like an Olympian who has switched swimming hours in the pool for dancing hours in a rehearsal room, there is literal improvement. Also, bless his sweet baby heart for trying so hard.

Jana and Gleb

“Little Shop of Horrors” by Alan Menken
When Gleb tells Jana this is the first jazz routine he has ever choreographed, I thought she was either going to cry or punch him. They have a love/hate relationship like that. Gleb throws everything into this routine. There may have been a kitchen sink. I do know there were two different sets on opposite sides of a single wall. JV dancers are everywhere and Jana does the splits every other eight count. Gleb throws in some traditional Latin ballroom steps. Carrie Ann loves this idea. Julianne hates it. Bruno is too distracted by Gleb to notice. It was a high school musical on crack. The music called for quick choreography, but it was a little mass chaos to me.

James and Jenna
Viennese Waltz
“You Don’t Own Me” by Grace featuring G-Eazy
Sharna is down with an injury and is out for the season. This makes me so, so sad. You know if James wins, Sharna isn’t going to feel that her first mirrorball trophy is truly hers. She’ll have to share it with Jenna. James consoles her, reminding Sharna that he knows a thing or two about recovery. (That’s right, Sharna. Talk to James when you have a piece of metal sticking through your gut and poking out the other side.) James slays his Viennese Waltz with Jenna and it’s not just because he is extremely graceful with impeccable posture. James and Jenna both become their characters from the movie Suicide Squad. This movie bands a bunch of incarcerated super villains together to save the word. James plays The Joker and Jenna plays Harley Quinn. Think of them as crazy murderers who are in love with each other. That’s why some of the moves look a little jarring. When James holds Jenna around the neck as she’s laughing or twists her into weird positions, it’s essential to the performance. Although most people probably have not seen the movie, it is a really cool interpretation of how the Joker and Harley would have waltzed. They both NAILED IT. The judges give them a perfect score. Jenna freaks out because she’s never seen 10s before. Bless her. Sharna cheers from the Glitterdome and James wins immunity. Here’s their performance:

The six remaining couples face off, each with a different form of dance. It’s up to the live audience to vote. Too bad we were watching the show via DVD so we could fast forward, but I think the chips fell precisely where they were supposed to in most cases.

Laurie requests Calvin and Calvin asks for the jive. Both couples look great in their sparkly outfits. Everyone is clean and energetic, but Laurie and Val pull ahead with 63% of the votes.

Jana chooses to face off with Terra. She and Sasha choose the salsa, because they have never danced it before. Seems odd to me, but whatever. Sasha twirls Terra for half their solo while Gleb wisely takes off his shirt during their solo. Voters select Jana and Gleb, but only by a small margin of 54%.

Marilu and Ryan each cha-cha-cha into the competitor’s side of the ballroom on numerous occasions. I’m sure Carrie Ann took points off for that. Both are mediocre, but the voters feel more sorry for Ryan and choose him to win the dance off.

Sadly, that didn’t keep him from remaining in the competition. Ryan and Terra stand in the red light of doom, but it is our redeemed Olympian who is sent home in week 8.

What did you think of Halloween night? If you had to choose between Calvin’s quickstep or James’ waltz, which would you choose? Did Ryan deserve to go home before Marilu? Does Laurie have a better shot now that Val cried on national television? Sound off in the comments!

Photo By: ABC.com


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