TooFab's officially unofficial "Fifth Judge" went to the movies for the seventh week of competition on "Dancing With the Stars," only it wasn't all popcorn and previews. It was a dreaded double elimination, so the stakes were higher than ever. At the end of the night, only five couples would remain! The top scorer earns instant immunity, and then the rest face the normal process.
A quick reminder about me: I spent nearly a decade of my life sweating and bleeding to the music as a dancer, all for this moment: armchair judging a dance competition. From a young boy learning a shuffle-ball-change to performing with the St. Louis Ballet Company, I experienced the ups and downs of one of the most difficult physically demanding sports on the planet.
Julianne Hough's absence again brought "La La Land" choreographer Mandy Moore to the dais as a guest judge. I hope someone warned her about me. Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Mandy Moore and Bruno Tolioni. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.
Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess
Bull-rider Bonner Bolton & Sharna Burgess tackled the Western genre, and he was immediately in over his head. There was too much non-dancing in the piece, and he struggled to fully capture the tone of his character. Surrounded by tough gunslingers, he looked like a scared little kid. His movements were soft and slow, while theirs were sharp and quick. I think we got less than fifteen seconds of actual paso doble in the routine. Sharna catered to him as best she could, but it left me very uninspired. "Hoedown," Aaron Copland Judges Scores: 7, 7, 8, 7 My Score: 4
Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan & Artem Chigvintsev tangoed almost completely throughout their piece, while still capturing the romance theme wonderfully. This was Nancy's most relaxed and confident performance, and the most consistent she's been all season. The choreography was beautiful, challenging and graceful. Even better, Nancy proved up to it completely both in dancing and her stage presence. It was a very confident tango. "Oh, Pretty Woman," Roy Orbison Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9, 9 My Score: 9
Olympic gymnast Simone Biles & Sasha Farber were genuinely adorable in the happiest Charleston I've ever seen. Simone could have been a little sharper and higher on her footwork early in the piece, but she really picked it up as things got going and became a nearly flawless dancer. The silent movie theme came through in the joy of the performance. The choreography was challenging and full of gymnastics tricks and just a lot of fun to watch. "Charleston," Bob Wilson & His Varsity Rhythm Blues Judges Scores: 10, 9, 9, 9 My Score: 9
Nick Viall & Peta Murgatroyd
'The Bachelor' Nick Viall & Peta Murgatroyd worked with Maksim Chmerkovskiy to try and bring some action movie mojo to an Argentine tango. The man crush must have worked because this is a leaps-and-bounds level improvement from Nick. He was confident in his movements, he actually performed a solid tango, had excellent partnering with Peta, and totally sold the spy vs. spy theme. Peta choreographed a great piece, and Nick genuinely stunned me with how well he pulled it off. "Dangerous," David Guetta f. Sam Martin Judges Scores: 8, 8, 9, 9 My Score: 8
NFL running back Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater went horror in a paso doble that was almost overly dramatic. As that was kind of the point in Emma's choreogrpahy, I have to give them a pass. It was confidently performed with a fun horror story put right into it. The acting was campy but perfectly suited the piece. The only criticism I have is that it was a bit overdone at times, missing pure paso doble at points. "O Fortuna," Carl Orff Judges Scores: 9, 9, 10, 9 My Score: 7
David Ross & Lindsay Arnold
Former Cubs catcher David Ross & Lindsay Arnold had some truly dynamic moments in this fun 1980s inspired sci-fi salsa, but alas they were too few and far between to really save the technical side of the dance. The performance was very light, and you could see David settling in and having fun, but the moments of salsa were not strong, and most of the other dancing wasn't that strong either. He more lumbers through the steps than performs them with any precision. It's good that he's so likable, because he's battling week to week with Bonner for the weakest technical dancer left in the competition. "Universal Mind Control," Common f. Pharrell Williams Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8, 8 My Score: 5
Normani Kordei & Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Fifth Harmony member Normani Kordei & Valentin Chmerkovskiy had to deal with her severe back strain as they danced the Argentine tango in the spirit of foreign films. You would have never guessed it based on the quality of her dance and overall performance. They managed complicated lifts, and contortions and it looked effortless. Once again, Normani stole the night and she's well on her way to stealing the whole competition. Her carriage was flawless, the flicks were fierce, her lines impeccable. Everything was exactly what you need out of this dance, and she never lost the character of the piece. They earned and absolutely deserved immunity on the night, plus the extra three points. "Quizas, Quizas, Quizas," Andrea Bocelli f. Jennifer Lopez Judges Scores: 10, 10, 10, 10 My Score: 10
DANCE-OFF (WINNER GETS ADDITIONAL TWO POINTS)
Simone & Sasha vs. Nancy & Artem
Simone & Sasha challenged Nancy & Artem, who chose a cha-cha-cha. Simone was definitely sharper and more confident in this one, while Nancy faltered a few times, and didn't look as confident in herself or her movements. "Crave," Pharrell Williams Judges Scores: Simone, Simone, Simone, Simone My Score: Simone
Rashad & Emma vs. David & Lindsay
Rashad & Emma challenged David & Lindsay, who chose a jive. America was Team David as it began, but Rashad performed a much better jive, which was expected. It's a very light and hoppy style, and David has always struggled with heaviness in his movement. This time, he even struggled with timing, falling behind the music and his partner. It wasn't even close. "Gimme Some Lovin'," The Spencer Davis Group Judges Scores: Rashad, Rashad, Rashad, Rashad My Score: Rashad
Bonner & Sharna vs. Nick & Peta
Bonner & Sharna and Nick & Peta were left with a rumba for their battle. Bonner was better than I've seen him all season with excellent hip motion and carriage, whie Nick continued his strong evening, leading to the tightest competition on the night. Bonner's spin was a little out of control, but all of his other dance movements were just a little stronger and more confident than Nick's. "I Will Always Love You," Whitney Houston Judges Scores: Bonner, Bonner, Bonner, Nick My Score: Bonner
With a double elimination, the choice was made to announce the couples that were safe. It got down to David, Nancy and Nick. While Nancy is technically the strongest of the three and David is the weakest, Heather's elimination last week proved that this means nothing. And America once again went with the popularity contest, keeping David over the two superior dancers, so it was farewell to Nancy Kerrigan and Nick Viall.
With Bonner stepping up his game tremendously in the dance-off, he has the slight edge over David technically. Bit it may not matter at all with America steering the show the past few weeks. In other words, everyone is in danger!
'Dancing With the Stars' continues Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.