Welcome, gem hunters, to spooky Week 7 of Dancing With the Stars: Where Are the Stars?
Last week our favorite googly-eyed monster Jonathan Bennett and his partner, new pro Allison Holker, power-punched their way out of the ballroom (all their dances were so aggressive!). We'll miss his incredulous facial expressions, but it's not like we REALLY have to say goodbye.
See? All better.
The eight remaining couples will dance once on their own, then together in a Monster Mash team competition. We've got Team Creep du Soleil (Alfonso and Witney, Tommy and Peta, Sadie and Mark, Antonio and Cheryl) vs. Team Itsy Bitsy (Bethany and Derek, Janel and Val, Lea and Artem, Michael and Emma). May the ones with the scariest hip action... not win.
If you can't watch liiiive on TV tonight, try the DWTS All-Access live streams to see the dances and hear from the couples throughout the show.
Discuss it here! I'll try to float back in with comments overnight.
Yay! Len is back -- fresh from the crypt, as we learned in one of my fave opening numbers ever, in which Planet Mirrorballus seemed to have been replaced by (gasp) a haunted house. I'll allow it. Because it's Halloween Week! As in it's basically been Halloween since this past Saturday, and it will continue being Halloween until midnight-3 a.m.-ish this Sunday depending on your bedtime.
This week we must say goodbye to Antonio the Underwear Model and Cheryl the Great, even though their Viennese waltz nearly put a real spell on us tonight (with extra help from the Smoke Monster), and even though CHERYL CAN'T GO, PLEASE, CHERYL, DON'T GO FOREVER! This is presumably her last season of Dancing With the Stars. End of an era. An era of hotness.
Or as Cheryl would put it -- "Shit!" (Because Sasha's there to scare her.)
Fridge Sasha was the absolute BEST. I still can't stop laughing at the mere concept!
Will the judges please reveal their scores? Carrie Ann Inahhhhh-ber!
Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: 39 Paso Doble + 36 Team Isty Bitsy = 75/80 Okay, so "Run Boy Run" is an amazing song and sometimes while I'm driving up to the desert to go to work I listen to it and imagine ballroom dances being performed to it. No joke. I'm the coolest. So for that connection alone, I was wowed by this paso. But really I only admired the song choice and staging. Bethany could have been completely absent from the dance and we still would've spent most of the number in complete bewilderment at 1) the fiercely drumming male Troupe members (decoys, none of them!) and 2) Derek's partial Snuggie (witch's hat tip to Tom Bergeron).
"You are fascinating," Carrie Ann told Bethany. Um, no she's not. Her hair, maybe.
You know what is fascinating, though? Watching Derek's training techniques. "Repetition is the mother of all skills," he told Erin, having swept into Zen-master mode. This gleaming thought nugget was not quite as mind-blowing as last season's tossed-off jewel sack of wisdom -- "Pressure doesn't exist; we create it in our minds." But it's something.
Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev: 34 Argentine Tango + 36 Team Itsy Bitsy = 70/80 Oh no. Lea is crumbling. There's no need to cry! "You stick it every single time," Julianne assured the former ballerina following her lively (if a bit hestiant) A.T. I hate watching people cry (that's a lie), but Lea's festive dangly skeleton earrings helped. Also, I loved how Artem tried to jump in on the wave of self-doubt -- no, turn back, man, there's nothing good this way! TURN BACK! -- but since he cannot help embodying a sexy, intriguingly foreign romance novel every time he speaks, when Artem said "I am doubting every decision even more" it just sounded like he was coming onto her. Like, within the five syllables he invented for the word "doubting," one could find the meaning of love, if only she searched hard enough.
Update: I eventually found the love: the answer is "Artem's arms," and they were hiding deep beneath an awful turtleneck.
Artem thanked the singer no one really cared about! He's the dreamiest.
Shortly after one of his signature impressions of a dainty hooker with extra sass -- "Ooh, don't touch me, you could never afford me" -- Bruno Tonioli toppled out of his chair while critiquing Lea. And he almost took Julianne down with him!
Fear not, though. #BrunoIsBack.
Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: 36 Rumba + 32 Team Creepy = 68/80 A knee to the groin and a cramp in his toe? What a week for Alfonso, who can add "successful rumba artist" to his resume right under "future father of two." I'm not sure if I liked the rumba more because there was a strange singer-on-a-pedestal situation happening or in spite of it. I really wanted them to knock her over by accident or at least graze her gown. Not that I'd want anyone to get hurt (especially not another toe cramp, good heavens no, not that!) but I wouldn't mind the drama. Jeez, Annie, Bruno falling out of his chair and Derek wearing an infinity scarf as a shirt isn't enough? Monster!
Janel Parrish and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 31 Viennese Waltz + 36 Team Itsy Bitsy = 67/80 I sometimes have trouble seeing Janel as a captivating character, but damn if I didn't perk up at their solo during the team dance and think wow, now this thing is finding its groove. Janel was such a breath of fresh air and devilish fun following Bethany's more subdued performance. Quite interesting to compare the two. But our love affair's over if you kill Val, girl. Watch yo step.
Val loved that the judges' comments on their V.W. were actually about Janel's dancing, so he genuinely thanked the judges for it. "That's what we prioritize, the guidance," Val trailed off.. "...anyway, I'm talking..."
"WE LOVE IT," Erin assured him. YES. Listen to the tall lady! Always.
Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: 30 Paso Doble + 32 Team Creepy = 62/80 I'm not sold on Sadie as an explosive paso dancer, but I disagreed with Carrie Ann and Len: That dance did have content! It was totally crazy-looking and so was Mark -- but level with me here, gem-hunters. At this point, after years of "WTF, Mark?"-themed agony, has your general impression of Professor Spatz slowly transitioned to "You do you, Mark"-themed ecstasy? I've long abandoned any hangups I've had with this relentless dork. It's endearing. Yeah, I said it.
Mark just wants to have fun, all right? And what's more fun than zombies?
Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: 28 Quickstep + 32 Team Creepy = 60/80 "Tommy loves to take breaks," Peta explained as the roving 76-year-old ambled out for a quick hit. Nothin' like some cannabis tea to soothe the joints! (I'm serious.) Tommy and Peta disappeared at the end of their quickstep, officially making this season Dancing With the Stars: Up in Sparkles. It's about time! Chong continues to only be worthy of Week 7, dance-wise, while he's in hold. But that's a lot more than I can say for....
Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater: 20 Jive + 36 Team Itsy Bitsy = 56/80 This guy's flailing all over the place, but apparently the NASCAR audience is more powerful than whatever Antonio Sabato Jr.'s audience is -- and I think we saw the entirety of the latter in the audience tonight. The only thing worth mentioning re: Michael's jive was that Emma's brown fringed bra with a stripe down the tummy just SCREAMED "hairy chest." And later, Michael successfully didn't ruin Derek's Masterclass Group Dance In Unison. A marvel! "You didn't make anybody look bad!" raved Carrie Ann. True. You didn't poop your pants, Michael -- and that's what counts.
Horror Story of the Week:
Michael Waltrip and his Web of Tries.
'Til next week, DANCMSTRs. Ooh, let's end on a less scary note.
Tonight's sunset in Santa Monica:
You could make a case for it being there, and you could make a case for it... not being there. Know what I mean? No big deal. It's the difference between night and day,
Happy Candy Week (that is about to last until a few days after Christmas)!