'Dancing with the Stars' Season 28 Cast Revealed

Remember when "Dancing with the Stars" was a dance competition? Remember when good dancing is what mattered if you wanted to stick around?

We're not sure when what it took to win "Dancing with the Stars" changed, but it certainly seems to have shifted into something other than quality dancing. Reigning champ Bobby Bones is indicative of that, and every bit of tonight's results continued the madness.

Infuriatingly crazy results notwithstanding, there were some truly stunning performances tonight, including a couple of contemporary pieces by Karamo Brown and Lauren Alaina that touched on their relationships with their father figures.

We'll even have to give it up to Sean Spicer, who started off this competition totally stiff and uncomfortable on that dance floor. For the second week in a row, he showed signs of improvement. And the fans seem to love him, so who knows where that'll take him.

You know, there is one good thing about the dancing not seeming to matter anymore. There are clear frontrunners in this competition based on the quality of their performances and their scores from the judges.

But none of that matters, so the show has become completely impossible to predict.

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 seventeen 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 Carrie-Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.

Ally Brooke & Sasha Farber

(Quickstep) Ally was chasing the beat during the opening portion of the dance, falling a bit behind Sahsa, but got it together once they partnered up. She was a little more bouncy than she needed to be at the top but settled into the flow of the hectic piece. Sasha choreographed a pretty classic quickstep that kept her moving, Her carriage and frame looked spot-on, and her footwork was significantly improved.

Judges Scores: 8, 9, 8

My Score: 7

Kate Flannery & Pasha Pashkov

(Viennese Waltz) While the staccato opening was great with the music, and Kate was absolutely on point with her timing, she stutter-stepped slightly during one turn and her hand positioning and movements were almost too sharp and precise, lacking the fluidity and grace that keeps the dance moving like water over rocks. Across the floor, though, she was stunning. It was a beautiful dance, her body position was perfect throughout and she and Pasha were seamlessly together.

Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9

My Score: 8

Kel Mitchell & Witney Carson

(Quickstep) Kel may not be the most proficient dancer -- though he was quite strong this week -- but he's so infectious and watchable, we could see him running away with the season. His quickstep was lively, it was quick and it was full of proper hold. He did have a footwork mishap rounding the corner (that we caught hardcore on the camera), but he bounced back from it and really drew our eyes throughout.

Judges Scores: 9, 8, 9

My Score: 8

Karamo Brown & Jenna Johson

(Contemporary) While he was a little precise and stiff here and there, this was by far the most abandon with which Karamo has danced and it was wonderful seeing him pour himself emotionally into his dance. Technique is at the core, but heart is what makes it soar. And his technique was great; his arms were mesmerizing in the opening bars. Karamo was strong, they did some incredible lifts and everything was executed to near perfection.

Judges Scores: 9, 8, 8

My Score: 9

Hannah Brown & Alan Bersten

(Samba) Hannah missed the beat early on and had to play catch-up in a quick routine that kept her moving and offered her no place to hide any issues with technique. Bruno said it's because she rides too high in her carriage, and that was definitely happening. The country line dance elements didn't quite fit the technique, and it was a bit awkward getting in and out of those segments. But Hannah is turning into a real powerhouse on this show.

Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8

My Score: 8

Sailor Brinkley-Cook & Val Chmerkovskiy

(Jive) Sailor did actually look more confident here, so kudos to Val for making her perform it on the streets in front of strangers. That said, we would have liked to see more jive content consistently throughout the piece, and a little more of a challenge for Sailor, who really is much better than she thinks. She had personality for days on this one, bringing so much sass and attitude, elevating the whole routine into something truly memorable.

Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9

My Score: 8

Sean Spicer & Lindsay Arnold

(Viennese Waltz) There was really only one portion where Sean's robotic stiffness really stifled the dance. For the most part, Lindsay did a masterful job of hiding his flaws with a flowing dress and a lot of graceful movement all around him. That said, he does continue to show incremental signs of improvement, and actually gave us some proper waltz; especially in the early parts of that dance. This is probably more thanks to Lindsay's clever choreography, but it was actually pretty respectable.

Judges Scores: 7, 7, 7

My Score: 6

James Van Der Beek & Emma Slater

(Samba) James put so much character in those body rolls, there was almost an EDM vibe to them. It was a very cool samba; dare we say it was hip. His hips were definitely loose and moving as they needed to be, and he brought lots of technique and personality to this routine. James may have just sealed his spot in the finale with this (unless he falls apart completely)

Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9

My Score: 9

Lauren Alaina & Gleb Savchenko

(Contemporary) The song and the sentiment were actually stronger than the dance, which is more on Gleb than Lauren. He just didn't really reach into the possibility of such a compelling and heart-wrenching story to really pull out the full depth of emotional expression Lauren was clearly feeling. That said, she was truly beautiful throughout this piece, and she moved with such a fluidity it was easy to imagine this was freestyle, rather than something choreographed and honed over the week.

Judges Scores: 9, 8, 9

My Score: 8


In theory, Sean and Karamo are running out of places to hide. The next stars above them in judges' scores are Lauren and Hannah, and both have had some amazing performances throughout their time on the show.

Our pick would be the same as last week. While both Sean and Karamo are showing improvement, Karamo is actually doing so in a way that could impact this season, while Sean's is more like the progression of a glacier across the land. It's there, but very slow.

But early on, Karamo was declared safe -- which is great for his improvement arc, but not so good for someone else. He was then followed up by Sean, and now we know all hell is about to break loose.

Wasn't the new judging format supposed to stop this sort of thing from happening? It would help if the judges would actually send someone home every week. That said the two bottom scorers have gotten through yet again, and Sean has been at the bottom practically since week one.

With both of them safe, that spelled trouble for Ally and Sailor. For perspective, Ally's combined two-week total was tied for second on the night with Kel, and only one point off the leader. That means she clearly has no one voting for her.

Sailor was only two points off the lead and tied for fourth place, so clearly the judges scores still don't mean much of anything and this remains a popularity contest. The Bobby Bones effect is still fully in play.

In the end, it was Sailor Brinkley-Cook who fell short with the judges, as they kept Ally's winning streak going. Poor Sailor was absolutely shocked and crushed, unable to control her tears as the show went to credits, and we were right there with her.

It's an entertainment show, yes, but it's always frustrating that the quality of the dances doesn't seem to matter at all with audiences, and with each passing season it seems to matter less and less. Are people trolling the show?

The votes come in during the live broadcast, so you'd think what happens on the screen would matter, but that doesn't appear to be the case. We shall have to see how it ultimately plays out. Maybe this is just the same kind of midseason chaos "American Idol" used to have to endure.

All of that griping aside, though, it is a testament to how tight this competition is. Aside from Sean, everyone else was within four points of one another on the night, though the two-week spread was a little more dramatic. Maybe actual weekly eliminations would help. Time will tell.

"Dancing With the Stars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.