Dancing with the Stars Recap: Trio Night

To quote crusty Len Goodman’s favorite line, “There was no messing about.” The kicked off pros from season 27 and the JV team only have thirty seconds to strut their stuff instead of a big elaborate opening dance number. You see, it’s trio night and producers need those precious minutes to explain who these extra folks are and how they fold into the lives of those left on the dance floor.

Let’s meet the third wheels!

Juan Pablo and Cheryl
“Wavey” by CLiQ
How Do We Know Melissa Rycroft?

Melissa is a reality TV show darling. You may know her as the woman on The Bachelor who was famously given an engagement ring at the end of the show, only to have that Neil Lane rock taken back to be placed on the ring finger of the runner up. She was also on Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, and she competed on seasons 8 and 15 of Dancing with the Stars. She won season 15 with Juan Pablo lookalike, Tony Dovolani.

Translation? This ain’t Melissa’s first rodeo.

Cheryl continues to be a drill sergeant in rehearsals, chastising JP for his demeanor. She barks, “YOU CAN’T LOOK WEAK” and then threatens to change the choreography. Methinks someone is feeling the pressure of securing another perfect score like they did in week 3. Calm down, Cheryl.

Lasers, lasers, everywhere! And all the smoke you can find! The girls looks great and Juan Pablo looks like he’s about to hurl. I have no idea why he is so nervous, but the dude can’t seem to get any pep in his step. Moreover, Cheryl looks like she’s toned down hitting her marks with a sharp snap. As a result, the entire thing looks and feels sluggish. It’s like they are moving through tar. Although the male judges professed to love the routine, Carrie Ann agreed with me, stating that she felt the trio was holding back. Their score reflected that sentiment: 24.

Tinashe and Brandon
“Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar
How Do We Know Amy Purdy?

Amy is a Paralympic bronze and silver medalist who is the first double amputee to compete on Dancing with the Stars. Had she not been against the force that is Olympic figure skater Meryl Davis, just may have taken home the mirrorball trophy. She settled for runner-up. And fun fact, she has the second highest average score of any contestant on the show EVER. She never received lower than an 8 from the judges. Can you guess who holds the number 1 spot?

Brandon lets the audience know that dancing a tango with an extra person is going to be difficult, because the couple is traditionally supposed to stay in hold, or in frame, the majority of the dance. That’s why we saw a lot of third wheels dancing against the middle person’s back a la Penny, Johnny, and Baby in Dirty Dancing. NO SPAGHETTI ARMS!

I didn’t love the courtroom shenanigans at the beginning. And I never like it when some sort of costume piece is supposed to be ripped off. This season, it seems that contestants have been cursed with dramatic wardrobe mishaps. Brandon was half a second away from not flinging his judge’s robe off in time for the dance to finally begin.

And once it did begin, I absolutely enjoyed myself. They were perfectly together with every kick and head snap. The technique was there, as well as the syncopation. Brandon did a phenomenal job incorporating steps that Amy could easily master. The judges rewarded them well with a score of 26.

Emma and John
Argentine Tango
“Torn” by Nathan Lanier
How Do We Know Joey Fatone?

You may have heard of a guy named Joey Fatone from a little boy band called NSYNC. He was the DWTS runner-up in season 4, ELEVEN YEARS AGO, and now resembles a Russian villain in a bond movie. Especially when he wears guy liner.

I think Joey is awesome. He knows he’s never gonna be Justin Timberlake and he’s okay with hosting Family Feud and cycling back around into the DWTS cast roster. However, home slice is very, very rusty. He’s not out “bye, bye, bye-ing” like he was as a young whipper snapper back in the day. I see the struggle.

Emma probably understands that her trio’s Argentine Tango isn’t going to blow anyone out of the water, especially when two powerful pro football players are performing later in the show. So she conjures up a story about Greek gods and asks the stage production crew to procure a bunch of broken marble columns and marble statues so she can dance around in smoke with two big lovable non-dancing men.

She also thinks that wrapping her body in a sequined snake that covers all her bathing suit parts will distract some from the non-existent technique. Unfortunately, her hair/snake head gets caught in the toggles of John’s Greek god vest and the beginning of the routine runs amuck. The lifts were awkward. And the performance will be forgettable with a score of 21.

I’d also like to point out that Emma showcased herself in this tango. I had a problem with that decision. Shouldn’t John have been in the middle with two women? Isn’t that the point of the trio?

Then I watched Witney, Riker, and Milo. I take it all back.

Evanna and Keo
“Black Magic” by Little Mix
How Do We Know Scarlett Byrne?

Of course the producers go full on Harry Potter with this pairing. Scarlett was in Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows, playing the part of Pansy Parkinson. Naturally, the girls will be dancing to “Black Magic” because it’s a thing now. Someone has wagered their season’s salary that they can squish in some sort of magic reference in all of Evanna’s dances.

Keo says this routine is all about girl power, but I didn’t get that. What I did see was Evanna come out of her shell, thanks to her dear friend sharing the stage that looked like a discarded set from Saved by the Bell. Evanna and Scarlett worked their butt ruffles like they were Slytherins at a Yule Ball.

Yet I have a bone to pick with DWTS. (Does this surprise you?) How is it fair that Evanna gets a trio partner who has never been on the show before? Everyone else landed someone who either won the entire thing or was a close runner-up. Poor Scarlett did a phenomenal job keeping up with Keo and Evanna, but she was scared to death. It didn’t help their score of 24.

Lindsay and DeMarcus
Paso Doble
“Fire” by Barns Courtney
How Do We Know Rashad Jennings?

Rashad is the season 24 champion. He won with Emma. Part of me wonders if she was ticked off that Lindsay got her winning partner as her third wheel and she was stuck with Fatone.

We can’t do anything about that now. Rashad is over the moon excited to dance with DeMarcus and goes in for this big chest bump when he first meets him. Sadly, he breaks DeMarcus’ finger in the process. The cameras do NOT warn us that they are going to show his jacked up finger and I almost faint at the sight of DeMarcus’ finger pointing in the wrong direction. Come on, ABC. Give us a parental guidance warning before that shot next time!

Let the record show that DeMarcus never once cried. He just asked his buddy to pop it back in. When Rashad couldn’t, they trotted over to the ER to have it looked at and two seconds later, they were back in the ballroom dancing like matadors.

Lindsay makes them both go shirtless. Thank you for that. There we too many abs to count. But the dance wasn’t the best in my opinion. It felt slow. It also felt like DeMarcus wasn’t getting into it, so Rashad came down to DeMarcus’ level, instead of the other way around. It could have been great, because the choreography was there and Lindsay was perfectly willing for the boys to toss her around like a cape. Instead it fell flat. The score was flat, too: 22.

Mary Lou and Sasha
“V.E.S.P.A” by Dimie Cat
How Do We Know Nastia Liukin?

Nastia is the Mary Lou Retton of the 2000s. She won everything, except that time she was on DWTS and was a semifinalist, despite constantly having the highest scores of her season. Mary Lou loves Nastia like her own daughter and is excited to have her as a partner. When Nastia picks up the choreography in a heartbeat, Mary Lou becomes insecure. She cries about her imperfections.

Here’s a book you can read on that, Mary Lou.

Mary Lou pulls it together and performs a darling Charleston with her partners. It’s fast and spunky and full of energy. There are cartwheels and flips and this whirly thing with Mary Lou around Sasha’s waiste while Nastia is on his shoulders. It was a breath of fresh, fun air in the ballroom. The judges loved it and gave a score of 26.

Milo and Witney
“Adrenalina” by Wisin
How Do We Know Riker Lynch?

Riker would like you to know him as one of the members of the group R5. I know him as a Warbler on Glee and second place winner on season 20 of DWTS. He performed a paso doble as Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean and I still remember it to this day.

As far as the dance goes, I watched it four times last night. It was P-E-R-F-E-C-T in my opinion. Click to read my thoughts over at InStyle and then watch the performance for yourself.

Joe and Jenna
“I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred
How Do We Know Jordan Kimball?

I kid you not. When Joe and Jordan took the stage in overalls, I thought, “Here comes the heartburn.” Grocery Store Joe is painful enough. Throw in his pensive Wilhelmina model friend from his season on The Bachelorette and we’re talking acid reflux for days.

I have several thoughts. Joe can’t dance. Joe is not taking the wacky entertaining route like Bobby Bones. Even Joe’s demeanor has reached a point where he no longer cares, but is happy to chill in the big pile of cash he receives each and every week, thanks to the votes that keep him out of the red light of doom at the end of the show.

At what point does Jenna want to throw in the towel? Sure she gets a hefty paycheck, too, but she has to be tired of choreographing junior high musical theater meets Magic Mike. Jordan did nothing to contribute to the routine, except a wardrobe malfunction when his shirt wouldn’t rip off UNDER his overalls. Also, the dude is neither a dancer nor an almost winner of DWTS. Bless Jenna’s heart. Throw the girl a bone!

And while you’re at it, throw the girl a sandwich. I saw all her bits and pieces, and I mean ALL her bits and pieces, when she cartwheeled in her denim panties and teeny tiny cropped tank top. At this point, I think she’s vying for a shot as a Playboy model. Fun fact: Scarlett’s fiancé is Hugh Hefner’s son. It’s the only explanation for her get up.

The trio received a 15. Let’s release this guy back into reality and concentrate on the ones who want to be there!

Alexis and Alan
“Move Your Body” by Sia
How Do We Know Maddie Ziegler?

Maddie was the star performer on the reality show Dance Moms. She’s also Sia (the singer’s) muse. Her sister is on Dancing with the Stars Junior. But Maddie is the true star. And even though she’s never been on the show before, she’s danced her entire life and has twelve million followers on Instagram who listen to everything she says. Including, “VOTE NOW!”

Needless to say, Alan is in a good place. He pushes Alexis and Maddie hard and they totally hang with him. The trio is good which makes me so irritated that rainbow lasers flashed in my eyes the entire time they danced. I saw hot pink costumes and fabulous ponytails. I also saw Maddie spooning Alan from behind, which was an interesting take on the Dirty Dancing montage from above. I’m sure the sixteen-year-old loved that choreographed moment.

Carrie Ann thought they looked like three different dancers doing solos, instead of one cohesive unit. I imagine that’s what contributed to their low score of 25.

Bobby and Sharna
“U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer
How Do We Know Lindsey Stirling?

Lindsey was a semifinalist two seasons ago. She’s the one who plays the violin for a living, with Irish dancers skipping around her on stage. She’s a self-proclaimed spaz, which seems to work for Bobby’s personality. The trio gels in rehearsals, but when the music starts, Bobby is on stage in an exact replica of MC Hammer’s notorious Hammer pants. And a gold chain.

I know.

Where Joe just sort of stands there and clomps through his novelty routine, Bobby actually attempts to dance correctly with the help of Lindsey and Sharna. I will say that I watched him the entire time, which I believe is the point of a trio. Carrie Ann points out that he never missed a step, which is great! Then she followed that up with, “Your technique was non-existent.” His score was better than Joe’s, though. Here’s to 20!

Tom and Erin scoot everyone to the steps so they can create a small panic attack for two of the contestants. Evanna and Tinashe are deemed unsafe and after twenty seconds of turmoil, Evanna looks utterly shocked when Tinashe was voted off the island. Brandon just looked pissed.

I get it. Tinashe is one of the top dancers, rivaling Milo. Yet here she is standing in red light when neither of the goons are bathed in crimson. It’s not a fair fight, Brandon. Welcome to reality shows. This ain’t your mama’s ballroom.


4 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
haleyalexisDawnKelliSara Recent comment authors
newest oldest

Great recap, Lincee!! I knew those dancing trios were reminding me of something, and almost spit out my drink at the Dirty Dancing reference. That was it!! No spaghetti arms, indeed!!
Totally agree about the parental guidance warning necessary for that gruesome close up! I think it’s also important to note that DeMarcus didn’t go to the ER for his finger, they showed him going into the URGENT CARE!!! I literally turned to my daughter and said, “There is no way I’m letting the Urgent Care just casually pop my finger back in place!!” LOL.


At this point, I’m just embarrassed for Joe and that trio was AWFUL. Even Kevin rolled over and put his paws in the air. I did like Evanna and Keo’s trio. Scarlette did her best. Milo is freaking awesome and I hope he wins.

The finger thing didn’t bother me too much–I’ve jammed many a finger playing softball. It cracked me up that DeMarcus said “just pop it back in”. Now that made me cringe.


I totally agree with your analysis, Lincee! I think Joe’s dance was one of the worst I have ever seen on DWTS! It was so bad that I actually rewound and watched it again to confirm that it was THAT BAD. Did you see Val and Gleb (?) in the background making lewd gestures with a tire and tire iron? I was surprised they let them do that.

Milo is AWESOME! He should definitely win, followed closely by Juan Pablo. DeMarcus and Alexis are good too, but not quite up to their level. The rest are meh, IMO.

Thank you for the Dirty Dancing clip! Patrick Swayze was so gorgeous then! Love that movie!!!


Lincee, I know you’re not a fan of Whitney, but I am! I have always loved her choreography-I think she almost always delivers. She showcases her partner’s best abilities with the choreo. Girl is always killing it <3

I loved getting to see Riker dance again-that. boy. can. dance.

I am rooting for Evanna (I just find her very likable) and Milo.

Anybody else a little bit annoyed by Alexis?

I usually watch for the pros more than the stars 🙂