Should we even bother with Dancing with the Stars anymore because of last week's bogus elimination of Heather Morris? Her reward for a perfect score and proving that she was a top contender all season long was to get dumped while stumblers Nick, Bonner and David are back this week. I've had seven days to process this and I'm still as mad as ever. Shenanigans, I say!
She clearly had the judges' votes as was clear in the running standings, which means that America must have taken their votes elsewhere. What is your problem, America? Did a woman named Heather egg your house? Does the thought of a dancer who can twirl so hard she can drill straight into the Earth's core scare you? Did your finger hit the wrong button on the phone thousands of times? Sigh.
This week was movie night, which had the dancers strutting around to classic film genres. There was also a double elimination, a dance-off to get more points, and the highest score in the initial dances was elimination-proof!
Let's review the dances and find out which two couples will never, ever dance again so long as they live!
The dance: Hoo boy, things are going to be skitty tonight since we're doing movies, eh? This full-on poker scene in the Old West was full of fantastic stage sets and costumes, and Sharna and Bonner acted as card players in a rough-and-tumble saloon. Unfortunately, there wasn't too much real dancing in the routine as the story of Sharna being a two-faced thief was the central point. She did break a bottle over Bonner's butt at the end as her character took off with the cash, though. Bonner's still stiff out there, which is understandable given his accident, but come on, should we be watching this over Heather?
What the judges said: "You got so wrapped up in being a cowboy you forgot to be a matador," said Len. Guest judge Mandy Moore — the choreographer, not the This Is Us star — thought Bonner did great. Bruno made some great Westworld references that no one seemed to pick up on, and said Bonner needed to oil his joints.
The score: 29/40, with Mandy handing out the 8. The rookie's soft!
The dance: The music may have been the theme to the classic Richard Gere-Julia Roberts film, but Nancy was no lady of the night. In fact, this dance showed exactly what Bonner and Sharna did wrong. The story was plain to see: Nancy was staying at a hotel and Artem played the horny concierge. Great! But more importantly, they danced. Nancy was great and finally seems to be having fun. She actually finished the dance and didn't seem like she wanted to run into traffic! That's huge growth for Nancy, and it really shows in her performance. Two weeks in a row of great work from her, and this was one of her best dances.
What the judges said: "What a grand entrance from a grand lady," said Bruno. "Pretty woman, I tell you what, that was a pretty good tango!" said Len with a grin.
The score: 36/40
The dance: Yes! The Charleston! The best dance that only gets its time during special event weeks came out with probably the two dancers best suited for it, and they killed it. Simone's athleticism and Sasha's exuberance work so well for the Charleston, a fast-footed style that would break the ankles of anyone else. Simone had all the footwork going, shaking her hands and feet like a pro, and Sasha brought the pure joy. Sasha also put in a sweet double roll and a synchronized one-handed cartwheel, something that only Simone can do. That's the way you use your partner.
What the judges said: Bruno said it had the "fizz" and "sparkle" of classic silent films, and Carrie Ann said Simone makes everything look easy.
The score: 37/40; Carrie Ann dropped the 10!
The dance: Was this the first time Dancing with the Stars has used a computer hacking scene in one of its dances? So relevant! And pretty appropriate for the real Mr. Robot, Nick. Peta played the sexy cat burglar who hacked the mainframe and Nick played the James Bond who confronted her with a sexy tango! This was one of Nick's best dances, to be fair, but he's still lacking the flair of someone who can compete for the trophy.
What the judges said: Len liked how Nick has improved since Week 1. Len is very happy this week! Mandy said she finally stopped watching Nick and started watching a dancer. Bruno said Nick turned something that could have been Mission Impossible and turned it into Mission Accomplished! Erin called Peta a hot MILF.
The score: 34/40, same as last week's Pinnochio ode, with Mandy and Bruno handing out the 9s.
The dance: As far as putting a story and dance together in a single routine, I'm not sure it gets any better than this. Rashad was some sort of monster with scary eyes while Emma was a damsel in distress, and while they may have had their differences, they still found a way to dance together! And while most of these dances end with cheeky happy endings, this ended in the best way possible: Rashad dragged Emma across the floor by her hair (not really, it was her hands) and Emma broke free and KILLED HIM. But the dance itself was outstanding, with some great spinning and fantastic posture that the Paso Doblé needs.
What the judges said: Len loved it, and Mandy remembered how she told him early on about using his eyes, and that he has figured it all out.
The score: 37/40, tied for the lead. And no one knows what happens when there is a tie. How thrilling!
The dance: Okay. This worked for me. I'm not sure it was much of a salsa, but it certainly was sci-fi with its futuristic sparkly outfits, platinum wigs, face paint, and killer robo-hip-hop sounds from Common. There was even a little bit of the Robot in there, of course. Once again, Lindsay is great at telling her partner to toss her around like a bag of peanuts, and David spun her upside down in front of his face (a move that included a little flatulence in practice, according to their intro video) while she kicked her legs to "knock" David in the head. He also had her legs wrapped around his neck while he swung her around! Is this the future? Then please freeze me and wake me up when this is what goes on in the clubs, because it looked like fun.
What the judges said: Mandy said a lot of words to say "your feet need to be quicker." Bruno said his lack of hip action worked because of the robotic movements, and Carrie Ann said it wasn't the smoothest salsa.
The score: 32/40!
The dance: The foreign genre is the hardest genre to get, because it's obvious that the producers all think foreign movies are one thing when in fact the genre is so diverse it basically amounts to everything. On the other hand, with no real lines to color in, things can be whatever Normani and Val wanted, so they went out there and did... an Argentine tango. So that turned out to be an advantage as they were able to just dance, and Normani continues to show that she's probably the best dancer in the field and also has the best stage presence. Normani mixes elegance with power, and it's spectacular to watch.
What the judges said: Carrie Ann said Normani dances on all planes, like she's some inter-dimensional tango space explorer! Mandy loves Normani's leg action.
The score: 40/40, which makes the question of a tie-break moot! How convenient! (But seriously, this deserved a perfect score.) Unlike Heather, they're safe from elimination after a perfect score because of the rules of immunity.
Dance Offs! Ugh, the dance-offs. These things are time-wasters as couples dance simultaneously for extra points (do they even count?), but are just out there freestyling to dance styles they find out about right before they dance. Have you watched people freestyle dance before? It's like that. Even the judges were like, "this is kind of dumb" but not quite in those words. Here's how they paired up:
Winner: Simone and Sasha, 4-0. America picked them too, with 63 percent of the vote.
Winner: Rashad and Emma, 4-0. America agreed, barely, with 54 percent of the vote.
Winner: Bonner and Sharna, 3-1. America loved Bonner, too, with 64 percent of the vote.
The eliminations: Honestly, this felt like it was the elimination that should have happened last week. Will I ever get over Heather's elimination? Probably not! Should I? Heck no! Anyway, the two couples going home this week were... Nancy and Artem, and Nick and Peta. Wow. That Cubs fanbase is really turning up for David. Should Nancy have been eliminated? Again, no. She's been the one improving the most and has been a joy to watch all season long. What is this show doing? Nothing makes sense anymore. At this point it's just a monkey randomly picking names out of a hat to see who goes home. Tune in next week when Normani gets eliminated by a total random draw!
Dancing with the Stars airs Monday nights at 8/7c on ABC.