Dancing with the Stars took a trip down the walls of teenage girls' rooms during the 1990s with its Boy Band vs. Girl Group night, so I hope you all followed my lead and drowned the tips of your hair in Hydrogen Peroxide.
All your favorite boy bands and girls groups were represented as couples danced to the music of gender-exclusive groups that dominated the radio of our blunder years. 98 New Kids in Synch! Destiny's Vogue Dolls! Even some classics like the Boys From the Beach!
And because the show needed to fill some time since so many couples have been eliminated, it was also the first week of team dances, with the guys dancing against the girls to a medley of hits.
Let's review the dances and then find out who got eliminated this week.
The dance: Sasha and Simone were dressed like gladiators or post-apocalyptic warriors for this dance, which made about as much sense as anything else in this show. The routine got off to a rough start with some big synching issues between the two — Simone was half a step behind Sasha — but about halfway through they totally jibed, and we got to see why Simone is such a competitor this season. Her moves are tight, and her partnership with the creative and boundary-pushing Sasha is a clear advantage.
What the judges said: "You're sassy!" said Bruno. Carrie Ann said Simone came out sexy, powerful and poignant. Guest judge Nick Carter was very enthusiastic! Way to go, Nick!
The score: 35/40. Nick with the 8? SAVAGE, NICK! He's no softy like Pitbull, who couldn't wait to give out an 11.
The dance: Ha ha, these two. Just take her out to the soda fountain and drive up to Make Out Point already! The dance started with the two separated by a partition fashioned to be a wall between two living rooms, and they had to time their moves by memory because they couldn't see each other, so extra point there. But once they go together, the chemistry was undeniable and these two were dancing like they were the only two people in the room. It was a good PG-rated dance that could have come right from a Backstreet Boys video, but it's clear that Bonner's body — following his paralyzing accident last year — isn't up to the task, which is a shame because he's charming us all with his aww shucks attitude.
What the judges said: Carrie Ann reiterated what I said about the wall, so I'm clearly ready to be a judge on the show. Nick said he knows how hard Sharna works from his time partnered with her in a previous season, and his advice for Bonner was to let the dance consume him and go with it, which is actually good advice! I'm used to guest judges being pretty useless here, but not so far.
The score: 30/40. Sharna was particularly jazzed about the 8s.
The dance: Some sexy vixen pretending to be Nancy came out and was fierce on the dancefloor. Seriously, who was that out there? For all of Nancy's lapses of confidence in her video intros, she can put on a stage face when it's game time and she was a total badass here. The Paso Doble isn't an easy one, but Nancy twirled her skirt and kicked and spun like she was angry at the hunks accompanying her, and Artem put together a routine that had Nancy front and center. There were a few minor technical issues that cost her points and the intro — featuring Nancy in a cage — went on too long, but she's such a joy to watch out there. If only she thought the same thing.
What the judges said: "My mind is blown, you have freed my mind," said Nick. Len told her not to doubt herself, and accept the fact that she's a great dancer. "I thought you were a lady, and you unleashed the beast tonight!" said Bruno.
The score: 33/40, with Carrie Ann handing out the 9.
The dance: More of the same from Mr. Bachelor, who doesn't seem to be improving consistently. He's not loose enough, probably because he's overthinking it and remembering the steps, which interferes with any personality to come out and for the body to be fluid. But I will always approve of a contestant dancing while wearing shorts because it looks so goofy on TV, but since this was a Beach Boys song he could have dressed more like someone from the 1960s instead of a dude pounding Coronas at Manhattan Beach last week. This is probably Nick's night to go home, but at least that will finally give him time to get to know his fiancée.
What the judges said: "If there's anyone here who fits the profile of being in a boy band, it's you," Nick said. Then he told Nick that he's got to work on his moves. Len said he wasn't picking up "Good Vibrations," and Bruno said is was "fun, fun, fun with a sun stroke." Yikes.
The score: 28/40, all 7s. Good in Vegas, bad in Dancing with the Stars.
The dance: Normani is in a girl group, is this fair? The motif for this dance was "sexy girl walks into a construction site and nearly gets sexually assaulted by horny construction workers," a classic! Normani is no joke, folks, she entered the night neck and neck with Simone, Rashad, and Heather for tops, but there's something about her that gives her the tiebreaker. She's consistently fantastic, she owns the stage, and Val is putting together killer content for her to work with. There was a twirl that involved Normani wrapping her legs around Val's neck while he spun her around, and another four-man flip of her ending with her in the splits that, showcasing the ability and freedom she has. But it's her general presence on stage and execution that makes her my pick to win. Well, until we see Heather and Rashad, that is.
What the judges said: "I'm not a big fan of the hip-hop dancing," said Len. Haha, I love this guy so much. Bruno almost exploded, he loved it so much. "You have what it takes to take this all the way," said Nick. "You got this."
The score: 38/40, with Len giving an 8 like the killjoy he is.
The dance: First, let's talk about this intro vid, where Lindsay scolded David for wanting to rest! I've never seen her like that before. ANYWAY. Goofy Dad had to be kind of a Creepy Dad with the Argentine Tango, a notoriously sexy dance. One thing about Lindsay is that she loves to be tossed around, which Calvin had no problem with last season, but David struggled with with an overhead lift where he looked like an Olympic weightlifter at his max weight. But overall, David seemed a bit out of his element, probably because it's hard to be romantic with your surrogate stepdaughter. The good news is that this was probably the most difficult dance style for David, and it's over with. But will he be around next week to try something new?
What the judges said: "You nearly dropped her," Bruno said. Carrie Ann wondered what was wrong with David, to which David replied that it was hard to get sexy and sensual with his "daughter."
The score: 29/40, Nick gave the 8.
The dance: This was a real solid effort from Rashad, starting out with three other male dancers for a sweet homage to Motown. But then he walked down the stairs and paired up with Emma and immediately transitioned to a tango. Rashad took the criticism from last and pounded out his moves instead of being loose like he was last week, and brought back that confidence. A lot of things aligned here nicely for him — the song choice, the will to do better than last week — and it manifested in one of his best dances.
What the judges said: "You have elevated yourself to the level of elite," said Nick. "You stuck in hold," said Len, which is a dance term, I suppose. Bruno screamed something, but I do not know what he said because it was indecipherable.
The score: 37/40. A big bounce back from last week's disappointing 32.
The dance: Dances don't always need to blow the roof off the joint to be great, and Heather and Maks put together an incredible stop-and-start sultry number was the best dance of the evening. There was a great story here too as Maks made it about him stealing Heather back from Alan, complete with Heather throwing a drink in Alan's face at the end. I maintain what I've always said about Heather's twirling; I honestly don't think there's anything better to see this season than Heather spinning on her axis and perfectly nailing the full turn. Heather's ability to extend her body and shift her weight to form incredible shapes with her figure — helped out by her never-ending legs — without breaking a sweat or making it look difficult is a wonder. The story going in was Maks is back, but really, after a few disappointing weeks of good dances from someone we know can be great, the story now is Heather's back, and right up at the top with Normani.
What the judges said: Honestly, I was still in awe of what I saw I forgot to pay attention to what they said, but everyone was stoked. But yo, did you see Chili from TLC? She looked great!
The score: 40/40, the first perfect score of the season!
Team Dances: Before the team dances, it was announced which team would be safe next week. And given that David, Nick and Bonner are all on the male team, it was obvious that they would be the ones in danger, right? Wrong. The women — with Heather, Normani, Simone and Nancy — were in danger of elimination. That's total hogwash.
Bonner Bolton, Nick Viall, David Ross and Rashad Jennings - a medley of "Dancing Machine" by Jackson 5, "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" by New Kids on the Block and "Best Song Ever" by One Direction
The dance: Oh lordy. Team dances are incredibly silly. Everyone was off synch, people were facing different directions, but hey, no one cared because they were all safe next week so this dance really meant absolutely nothing. But it gave the guys a reason to take their shirts off and Carrie Ann certainly loved it. I swear one teenage girl in the crowd just shot through puberty watching this.
What the judges said: "It made Bruno and I cry," said Len. Bruno called it one of the finest messes he's ever seen, and said it was like "Lost Direction" and "N-Stink." Carrie Ann loved it, but also called out Bonner for missing some steps. C'mon, Carrie Ann.
The score: 33/40 for some reason.
Simone Biles, Nancy Kerrigan, Normani Kordei and Heather Morris - a medley of "My Boyfriend's Back" by The Chiffons, "No Scrubs" by TLC and "BO$$" by Fifth Harmony
The dance: Again, these are kind of silly and mostly just fill time, but this was a much better dance than the guys simply because it seemed much more coordinated. The theme was girls night out and it looked like it! Well done, ladies. Too bad one of you is going home.
What the judges said: "Girl power kicks ass!" said Bruno. Carrie Ann thought it was underwhelming. Maybe if the guys took their shirts off? Nick said what we were all thinking, "I have no idea why the girls are in trouble tonight."
The score: 34/40. But again, it doesn't really matter.
Who got eliminated? The women were on the chopping block, which — again — is absolutely preposterous. David, Bonner and Nick should be up here, and any one of them can leave. But instead, it came down to Nancy and Heather for elimination. And going home was... Heather and Maks. This makes no sense. There was obviously some backlash because Heather has a history as a backup dancer and America didn't appreciate that. This is terrible. What a crock. Though Heather was visibly upset, she took it gracefully.
Dancing with the Stars airs Monday nights at 8/7c on ABC.