The reality star found herself at the bottom of the leaderboard, alongside spelling bee phenom Akash Vukoti, after turning in a solid "Ghostbusters" jazz number.
Halloween came early to "Dancing with the Stars" as the contestants tried to scare up some good scores from the judges, and good will from the voting audience.
Last week, Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson showed some real growth for the first time all season, looking like an actual dancer out there, and this week, she was challenged with a jazz routine. Would she continue her upward trajectory?
Meanwhile, "black-ish" star Miles Brown has been practically running away with the competition, showing even more technique and poise than trained dancer Mackenzie Ziegler ("Dance Moms") at times.
There were some surprisingly low scores this week and some real standout performances as the likes of Jason Maybaum ("Raven's Home) and pro skateboarder Sky Brown really stepped it up. Can they make a run for the Junior Mirroball?
Who do I think I am? you ask. Well, I spent nearly a decade of my life sweating and bleeding to the music as a dancer. 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. During this time, I was also a member of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as a gymnast, writer and cartoonist. I had a lot more energy in my younger years. And I've spent the last sixteen years analyzing and critiquing reality competition shows for various media publications. I've got this.
Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Mandy Moore, and Adam Rippon, because they are really being sweet to these kids. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.
Akash has really made some serious progress as a dancer, though he still has a long, long way to go. This was recognizable as an Argentine tango, and I even saw some legitimate footwork there. He's nowhere near where he needs to be in posture or overall presentation, but his mad scientist was fun to watch, and he overall performance ability continues to grow.
Judges Scores: 7, 7, 7
My Score: 5
Mandla Morris & Brightyn Brems (w/ Cheryl Burke)
They really came at this Charleston with a lot of attack, and what Mandla lacks in polish he made up for in some solid showmanship. There was recognizable Charleston swivel going on with the feet and ankles, which was nice to see, and a sense of fun on the whole routine. He's another one who is growing more confident and outgoing as the season goes on, showing real growth.
That last lift was tricky, and they pulled it off without a hitch. Mackenzie is a trained dancer so expectations are higher for her, but she proved up to the challenge, offering plenty of great jive content throughout this high school monster mash. Her form was great, she had the right hop and brought all the energy. She was a little ahead of the music in the middle, like she was perhaps anticipating what was coming a bit too much, but this was again great from this powerhouse duo.
Wow, Jason was unrecognizable from previous weeks, fully present in his vampire persona and really bringing this Argentine tango to life. He had performance for days and actual technique on top of that. Sure he was still a little stiff from time to time, but this was a truly impressive breakthrough performance for him in all the right ways.
There was a lot of charm in this paso doble, and it only got stronger as it went along and you could see Ariana getting more confident in the fierce and sharp attack of each movement. She really captured the strength and powerful essence of the style quite well, and that had a lot of paso content! She missed the footwork perhaps the most out of anything, but she was quite good overall.
Judges Scores: 7, 8, 7
My Score: 8
Alana Thompson & Tristan Ianiero (w/ Artem Chigvintsev)
This "Ghostbusters" jazz routine was definitely more personality than technique, but it was also a lot of fun to watch. After a solid outing last week, Artem let Alana slide with much simpler choreography again that had her most standing there and shaking her hip. This was the week to push her creatively as jazz offers more freedom of style than some of the stricter ballroom styles.
There was so much great jive content throughout this routine, and Sky was all about it. She got a little ahead of JT toward the top of the number, but settled in nicely. Her hand positioning was good, and her footwork was accurate, it just needed a little more extension and flick. But overall, it was another strong performance from one of this season's front-runners.
Judges Scores: 9, 9, 8
My Score: 9
Miles Brown & Rylee Arnold (w/ Lindsay Arnold)
Look at those hips move on Miles, getting into this samba with some proper steam and form. Miles was out there like he was a professional dancer through a lot of that routine, really keeping up with Rylee in a fast and complex routine. It was truly something special to watch. Miles might just be the one to beat.
Once again, Alana stumbled to the bottom alongside Akash. Both dancers are showing legitimate growth and progress in recent weeks, but pale in comparison to their more polished competitors. So the question remains, is the audience looking for them to be good now, or improving?
At least the "Juniors" edition doesn't single out couples in jeopardy, considering every week is waterworks from the poor kid who gets eliminated. Their emotions are already heightened even competing, and then facing elimination and knowing it came from the very audience surrounding you. Well, that would be tough for anyone.
This week, the tears came from Alana as she couldn't overcome her low marks on the night. Honesetly, Alana was one of the weakest dancers on the show, but her fans had kept her going until this point.
She should be proud to have made it to Week 4, and even more proud that she was really starting to come into her own out there. Alana was becoming someone to watch. She's always been an outsized personality, but seeing that channeled into something that required discipline and training was neat to watch.
"Dancing With the Stars: Juniors" returns in two weeks on Sunday, November 11 at 8 p.m. ET, and don't forget "Dancing with the Stars" every Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.