The stars show off their villainous sides on the "Dancing with the Stars" stage, and Cheryl Burke performs after that scary head injury!
“Dancing with the Stars” embraced the season with a Villains Night theme, complete with a very silly found-footage intro that brings back all the cheesiness some critics feel has been missing under Tyra Banks’ reign.
The night also featured some incredible makeup and costuming work, transforming the contestants into classic horror monsters from Stephen King’s “Carrie” to “Nightmare on Elm Street’s” Freddy Krueger.
The wild energy of the Halloween season brought wild and unfocused energy to some of these dances as well, but others stepped up to the plate in a big way -- including the season’s first perfect score.
So who scored that? And who survived the week for the chance to come back for next weeks’ double-performance, double-elimination night of sure-to-be-chaos? You’ll just have to read on to find out.
Plus, Cheryl Burke took to the dance floor after a scary head injury during rehearsals that the show was not too shameless to tease out for as long as humanly possible. Will she perform? Is she okay? We’ve seen this all before.
And Johnny Weir opened up about his struggles in the figure skating world as a gay teenager, including being told by an agency that wanted to work with him and told him in no uncertain terms, "You can't be gay." This when he was just 16 years old!
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 eighteen 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, Derek Hough, and Bruno Tonioli. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.
(Paos Doble) Jeannie did a great job of finding the character of the piece, but her tendency to go big worked against her ever so slightly as she was even bigger than Brandon, and a little bigger than the style demanded. Paso needs command and power, but it’s really all about control, so her reckless abandon doesn’t work here. If she can dig down a bit, control her extensions and create that tension more, she’d have had this. That said, she is growing leaps and bounds and quickly becoming a favorite.
Judges Scores: 8, 9, 8
My Score: 8
Johnny Weir & Britt Stewart
(Viennese Waltz) We know that intolerance remains a stubborn part of American culture, but it’s still shocking to hear stories like Johnny’s of being told flat-out, “You can’t be gay.” It happened at 16 years old when he was really stepping into the world of international ice skating, and apparently one agency told him quite plainly that homosexuaity just wasn’t allowed to be a part of his journey.
Thankfully, his mother proved his biggest advocate in that moment, telling him that they didn’t need this agency, and she proved right. He didn’t need anyone but belief in himself, with the unconditional love and support of his mother, to achieve his dreams without them.
As for his dance, we have to say that this was a very strange Viennese Waltz, a little frantic and wild overall. It lacked some elegance, though some of that was likely intentional as part of the story of the piece. We’re just not sure it worked completely, as it left Johnny looking a bit animalistic. He did have graceful flow and lovely lines throughout -- and his arms are impeccable -- but we wanted more consistency in those areas.
(Paso Doble) Chrishell wasn’t quite as steady or confident on her feet as she could have been throughout, but we applaud her character in the piece. Gleb also didn’t give her as much quality paso content to do, though he painted some nice visual pictures throughout. There was plenty of attack, but we would have personally liked more dancing with all that aggressive performance.
Judges Scores: 9, 9, 8
My Score: 7
Monica Aldama & Valentin Chmerkovskiy
(Jazz) There was so much to love about this performance, and Monica performed it with so much panache throughout. It just also looked like she was running out of energy by the time we got to the end. We’d have also liked a little more character in her facial expression, but there were some great lifts and moves and she executed everything she was given. It was a piece with so much personality and she just didn’t rise up to it consistently throughout
Judges Scores: 7, 8, 7
My Score: 8
AJ McLean & Cheryl Burke
(Tango) This was another piece that felt like it lost a lot of its character in trying to fit the theme. From very awkward music to that opening “Psycho” bit that we didn’t work at all, this was almost confusing to watch. AJ stutter-stepped and had a stooped posture as if he was straining to keep up with the demands of this piece -- it was all over the dance floor! He brought plenty of grit and attack, though, while Cheryl was an absolute beast to power through just a day after a tough head injury during rehearsals.
(Argentine Tango) Nelly was killing it with these lifts in a very cleverly choreographed piece. He even had to dance with Freddy’s infamous glove and managed it all very well. Daniella brought a lot of creativity to this piece, and Nelly was there. He would work on his posture and arms a bit in frame, though he was very close to having that right, too. This was another big improvement and a lot of fun to watch.
Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9
My Score: 9
Justina Machado & Sasha Farber
(Tango) What an unusually choreographed piece, but Justina injected so much anger and emotion into her “Carrie”-inspired performance, we were feeling her pain by the end. Also, big props to Sasha for performing as if she was controlling his body with her mind several times in that piece. This was not an easy piece to perform. She could have been a little sharper in the tango portions -- less bouncy, more stalking -- but it had a lot of great attitude.
Judges Scores: 9, 9, 8
My Score: 8
Nev Schulman & Jenna Johnson
(Paso Doble) Now this was a performance from start to finish. It’s like we got a full show in one dance. Nev brought so much attack and perfectly controlled aggression to the piece, he nailed the character of the paso from the first strike. His posture, his arms, his footwork. Honestly, this looked like two pros hitting the stage. He had so much poise, control, confidence and command. Nev has been a front-runner for weeks, but this was his best performance yet. We could find no flaws.
(Argentine Tango) Alan took full advantage of the size difference here, as Skai spent more time in the sky (almost) than on the ground. And yet, she is incredible at her part of those lifts, creating a lot of magical moments. On the ground, she was solid, too, nailing most of her footwork and even making room for Alan’s huge foot for those flicks. Skai needed redemption this week after a rough outing last time, and she definitely got it.
Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9
My Score: 9
Kaitlyn Bristowe & Artem Chigvintsev
(Paso Doble) Aftera very strong start, it kind of felt like Kaitlyn tapered off a bit as this went along. By the end, her attack just wasn’t as fierce as the music or the style demanded. Something went wrong along the way that shook her confidence, and she just seemed a bit rattled and off from that point forward. The content was there, but the attack of the style was definitely inconsistent throughout the piece. Maybe, as she said, she just got tired.
At this point in the game, no one left is bad at dancing, which makes these eliminations harder. At the bottom this week was Monica, and we kind of feel like she’s spent more time toward the bottom of the back than the top. Maybe her strong weeks are the anomaly?
Certainly she has felt out of her comfort zone, and she just seemed to be going through the motions in a rather intricate dance. It was almost surreal to watch, like she was an animatronic rather than a person.
Also hovering toward the lower end of the leaderboard were Kaitlyn and Jeannie. Both have also been better in previous weeks, but proved inconsistent tonight in their performances. And we’re not sure any of the three have what it takes to go all the way.
We’d side with the judges’ scores in sending Monica home, but did she even fall into the Bottom 2? All three women wound up the last three standing (so we don’t by that “no particular order” as this happens every week), with Kaitlyn snagging that last safe spot.
Jeannie outscored Kaitlyn even with the judges, so we imagined she would get their support to stay. She’s had more strong moments than Monica throughout the season and has shown more signs of consistent growth.
Derek, however, thought it was Monica who has shown consistent growth, while Jeannie has stayed consistent, so he threw his support behind the “Cheer” star, balancing out Bruno’s nod to Jeannie.
That left Carrie Ann to make the final decision, and she saved Jeannie, meaning it was the end of the journey for Monica Aldama.
"Dancing With the Stars" continues Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.