One contestant saw their season cut short when an old injury forced them out of the competition and directly into surgery!
Just as injury took out Christie Brinkley in the week leading up to the season premiere, another star fell to injury in only the third week of competition. This time, it was NFL superstar Ray Lewis.
You could see the pain on his face, both emotional and physical, as he learned that he would have to withdraw from the competition to have surgery on the tendons in his foot -- an old football injury triggered again by the rigors of dance.
Lucky for "DWTS" fans, former winner Rashad Jennings stepped in to perform the routine, which would also serve as the swan song for Ray's partner, two-time Mirrorball champion Cheryl Burke.
Elsewhere on the night, it was a week of tremendous growth for most of the dancers, with unexpected greatness emerging. In fact, one star turned the dreaded quickstep into their strongest performance yet and made themselves an instant contender for the title.
Check out all the dances, judges scores and our takes below. But first, we'll take a look at the dance Ray would have presented, as interpreted by his partner Cheryl Burke and former "DWTS" winner Rashad Jennings.
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.
Rashad Jennings & Cheryl Burke
(Cha Cha) You could see in this piece where Cheryl had simplified things for Ray, because Rashad could have killed much more complex choreography. But it was great to see him, and the other stars should look at his commitment and the hip action that he gave even when standing there. It's all about just being loose and in the moment and everything else will come. Poor Ray, though, you could see how much it killed the competitor in him to have to step away.
Lauren Alaina & Gleb Savchenko
(Tango) Well, Lauren clearly isn't comfortable being a sultry woman yet, and she had no musicality in that opening sequence. Her body moves well for these types of moves, though her hold could have been more structured; she looked like she was draped over Gleb's shoulder through a lot of that. She also needs to attack stronger and really just grow in confidence, because she has great lines and her body is ready to do this. She just needs to get her head on board.
Judges Scores: 6, 7, 7
My Score: 6
Hannah Brown & Alan Bersten
(Rumba) For the first time all season, Hannah looked hesitant and unsure of this performance. On top of that, she looked heavy throughout that routine, lacking a finesse and hip groove which would have added to the elegance and heat of the style. The splits even stuttered as if her feet were catching the floor over and over. Hannah is a much better dancer than this routine would show. Carrie-Ann summed it up well saying she's doing jazz in these Latin styles. Her arms were lovely and she has a great overall performance.
Judges Scores: 7, 7, 7
My Score: 6
Karamo Brown & Jenna Johson
(Jive) There's a peppy hoppiness that comes through in jive, and yet Karamo often looked like he was high-stomping rather than jumping and flicking. It was all a bit reckless, out of control and way too heavy. The lightness of the body helps the whole thing bounce and infects it with joy. Karamo looked lost at times and when he was in it, he was racing to catch up to the moves. We really wanted this to work out better for him, but the style just swallowed him up.
Judges Scores: 5, 5, 6
My Score: 4
Ally Brooke & Sasha Farber
(Rumba) Wow, last week must have been a real confidence booster for Ally, as she really came out strong and commanding. Her hip action was good (we could have used a little more attack), but her overall movements were just wonderful. She has such a great musicality and presence about her when she dances. Her hold was nice, and she practically purred through that routine, it had such a full-body grace and sinuous musicality to it.
Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8
My Score: 8
James Van Der Beek & Emma Slater
(Rumba) James continues to command the stage with leading-man presence every time he hits the dance floor. He was powerful and in control throughout this with a subtle sensuality that really worked. His posture, partnering and lines are just fantastic all the time, but we could have used a little more hips. This week, James had a minor miscue that messed up his timing, but recovered almost instantly.
Judges Scores: 8, 7, 8
My Score: 7
Kate Flannery & Pasha Pashkov
(Quickstep) What a fun routine, and with plenty of real quickstep that Kate handled admirably. We only noticed one point where she was on the wrong foot, but she recovered quickly. It was smart of Pasha to ease into the speed of it as it allowed Kate to keep her feet under her throughout. She had great musicality and performance and she really captured the character of the film. We'll say it again, Kate is one to watch in this.
Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8
My Score: 8
Lamar Odom & Peta Murgatroyd
(Tango) Did this cha cha? Not really, but we saw something in Lamar we'd never seen before. For a few moments here and there, he looked like a dancer. He had a groove and a swagger that was totally new to him on the dance floor. At other times, though, he was destroying the footwork, messing up what he was supposed to be doing and looking completely unprepared. So it's a long way to go, but we're thrilled to see at least some progress, and the idea that maybe he had a little fun this week.
Judges Scores: 6, 5, 5
My Score: 3
Sailor Brinkley-Cook & Val Chmerkovskiy
(Tango) What a joyful performance, though Sailor needs to beware she doesn't come across as hamming it up with her facial expressions. That said, her technique was really good throughout this, and her footwork in particular was impressive. She looked like a polished dancer throughout this piece.
Judges Scores: 7, 8, 8
My Score: 8
Kel Mitchell & Witney Carson
(Rumba) Kel needed to sink into the floor a bit so he could get his hips loosened up a bit for the rumba. He looked all tall and stiff during the parts where he was just being present for Witney, and his hands looked a little like a Ken doll, when he could have looked seductive and complicit in the heat she was bringing. Still, he was where he needed to be and continues to show marked improvement. This might be a matter of just not being familiar with how to move his hips, or losing focus on them for want of remembering the steps, which he did.
Judges Scores: 7, 6, 7
My Score: 6
Sean Spicer & Lindsay Arnold
(Cha Cha) We're not sure that Sean can even hear the beat (some people just have no musicality at all). His timing was all over the place, his steps were labored, he went too fast, too slow or missed what he was supposed to be doing altogether. This was just a disaster from top to bottom and honestly, it's becoming very clear that Sean is the weakest link on the season. How long will the fans keep him around?
Judges Scores: 5, 5, 5
My Score: 2
Once again, Lamar and Sean were in the bottom, so immediately we got concerned about Karamo. We were confident that if either Lamar or Sean fell into the bottom two, the judges would go ahead and cut them loose, but both skated by last week.
With everyone stepping up their game -- well almost everyone -- this week, we were sweating it a little as Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews started declaring couples safe and declared Sean safe second.
From there, we sweated each safe couple but as it went along and Lamar continued to stand there, we began to think that maybe his time was up. And when "Queer Eye" fans kept Karamo in the game, that left Lamar and Kel at the bottom two.
This should have been a no-brainer, right? Kel is the better dancer, he's showing growth. Lamar is just nowhere near where he is and there isn't enough time on the show to make him into a dance champion. So Lamar is the obvious choice, but that's not what happened.
Instead, coming as no real surprise to anyone, the show took the departure of Ray Lewis into account and saved all of the couples this week. Thus, no elimination. Thus, Lamar gets another week to rally his fans.
"Dancing With the Stars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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