After hearing about Lindsey Sterling's dramatic injury during rehearsals,we were a little worried she wouldn't make it on stage this week on Dancing with the Stars. Luckily, Lindsey managed to pull it together in time for the show. She even managed to compete in the Team Round after another huge routine.
It was a seriously spooky night, filled with zombies and werewolves and ghosts, oh my! Unfortunately, someone had to go home, and there were a few subpar couples that have been on the chopping block for weeks.
The dance: The tear-filled intro package, which featured Victoria and Valentin clashing over choreography, was probably prepping us for the super sad theme of this Viennese Waltz. There was a dead wife or both of them were dead and they were ghosts, or — oh, whatever it was something spooky and sad. Maybe they just prepped me too well, but it did seem like Victoria got better this week, right? She's got to keep that up though. The herd has thinned so much at this point that anyone who's not flawless starts to stick out like a sore thumb. Victoria's going to need to continue getting better each week if she doesn't want to go home.
What the judges said: The judges had nothing but wonderful feedback about Victoria's arms and how natural she looked on the floor. The judges love it when they can say, "You took our notes! You fixed it!" so it's no surprise that she got a score bump this week.
The dance: Compared to Jordan's other dances this season, his werewolf-inspired Paso Doble was't anything to stop and stare at. To add insult to injury, thanks to a staging mishap, Lindsay couldn't get through the door she was supposed to walk through and had to run around the stage to make it into the dance. Whoops. Otherwise though, Jordan and Lindsay executed this routine pretty flawlessly, which is probably why they got rave reviews from the judges.
What the judges said: The judges loved this Teen Wolf/Dancing with the Stars mashup, even comparing it to "Thriller" at some point. Carrie Ann also liked that he stretched himself outside of his comfort zone since he's not typically a very aggressive dancer.
Another perfect score for these two! They're winning this thing, or there's no justice in the world.
The dance: It's always confusing to me why Dancing with the Stars puts troupe dancers into stars' routines since it's inevitably only going to highlight how good the star is not. Put anyone next to a professional, and you'll see that the footwork isn't quite as neat, the wobbles are more pronounced and the form just isn't what it needs to be. This routine was fun, but it was too easy to focus on all the ways Nikki fell short and Artem tried to make up for it.
What the judges said: "You were strong and your were sure of yourself, and a I really liked the confidence," Carrie Ann said, though she did have a few negative notes as well. According to Len, "it lacked a bit of punch."
The time for 24's is over. Step it up, girl.
The dance: There's probably a beauty vs. brains joke to me made about this zombie-filled dance, but it's hard to make jokes about a routine that cool. Vanessa went through another quick change on stage, but this time it was a zombie ripping her dress off instead of a wrong turn. Maybe she and Maks didn't quite have the grace of a normal Paso Doble, but they had all the aggression and creativity, which has been lacking from their routines so far.
What the judges said: "I thought you were going to break her!" Bruno said about one of Maks' moves where he threw Vanessa to the floor, and he was totally right! Some of those lifts looked downright dangerous. Unfortunately, the overstated nature of the choreography meant that Vanessa went a little too hard on the movements and a little too soft on the balance and grace. She needs less power, more balance.
Uh-oh.. this might not be up to snuff.
The dance: I don't think I'm ever going to get the image of Terrell Owens as a nerdy, bow-tie-wearing vampire out of my head. There was a slight wobble during one of the more complicated spins, but other than that, Terrell improved yet again this week. You don't get the Mirrorball for "Most Improved" though, so he's got to start scoring some 10's if he wants to stick around.
What the judges said: Bruno had great notes, calling this dance "super slick with a deadly bite." They also had some great notes for Cheryl about how she's chosen to train Terrell, which is no easy mountain to climb (pun totally intended) considering his height.
Is there an echo in here? What's with all the 24's?
The dance: Last week's awesomely acrobatic routine might have gotten Lindsey and Mark a perfect score, but it came with a cost. She displaced a rib during dress rehearsal, and it got progressively worse as the week went on. If Lindsey was hurting tonight though, I certainly couldn't see it. There were kicks and lifts and more than a few tricks that should not have been possible considering her injury. Unfortunately, Lindsey walked away from this routine hardly able to stand, which is just too much. She needs to pull out of the competition if she's in that much pain.
What the judges said: The judges could see the pain Lindsey was in on her face, but not in her movements. "What saved the dance were the twist, turns and that fantastic press line," Len complimented, and he didn't forget those knee walks either. How the heck did she pull those off?!
Lindsey actually looked disappointed that she only got a 27. What?!
The dance: So the story of this dance was a little hard to follow, but I think Frankie was Witney's stalker... who also had like psychic powers or something? Whatever it was, it looked super cool and it definitely had the whole slasher flick, "watching you through the window" thing going on. Contemporary could have been a disaster for Frankie, who has done well with big ballroom numbers but has been less hot on the more emotional, less structured routines. Lucky for him, he killed it. And possibly Witney. It's unclear.
What the judges said: Last week the judges were not so hot on Frankie's animation routine, but this week they thought it was "spine-tingling good." All the mistakes and missteps from last week were gone, which meant Frankie went right back to the top of the leader board. Let's make a permanent note — don't give Frankie goofy stuff, give him psychotic, intense routines. That's where he thrives.
Frankie's first perfect score!
The dance: Drew just can't catch a break. After floundering through last week's overly-intense routine, Drew did a whole lot better with tonight's Charleston, but there were still issues. The synchronicity was less than perfect and Drew definitely fell down in a really bad way. The judges thought the fall was part of the choreography though, so the quirky nature of this routine saved the day.
What the judges said: The judges were hot on the choreography and the energy, and none of them mentioned the fall, which seemed like a ridiculous oversight. If even I could tell that was a huge error, shouldn't they have been able to?
Yeah, the scores would probably have been lower if they'd realized the fall wasn't on purpose.
Team Monster Mash: Putting Lindsey Sterling and Jordan Fisher on the same team seems like it might have been a little unfair, but apparently their team building techniques were to their extreme disadvantage. Lindsey was hurt, Terrell was falling behind, and even the pros were having trouble getting choreography that worked for everyone. The mandatory 20 seconds the stars had to dance alone really ended up being the only shaky part of this routine, though none of it really blew me away either.
What the judges said: The judges noticed the bumps and bruises of the routine, mentioning that the synchronicity took a hit. Carrie Ann even said they all "under danced" the routine, and the corn maze set made them all dance really small.
24 is the new C-, pass it on.
Team Phantom of the Ballroom: This team blended really well and they all got along together, which made for a way less chaotic intro package. That was reflected tenfold during their routine, which was honestly one of the best dances of the season. I don't know if it was the costumes or the choreography (waltz, tango, paso doble — all the best ones) or if these four pairs just knew how to make it work, but Team Phantom is where it's at.
What the judges said: Carrie Ann pretty much sums it up. "The most exquisite team dance in the history of Dancing with the Stars." Tom had to cut them off they were gushing so much and they needed to move on to scores and elimination!
Elimination: No wonder Tom and Erin were so weirded out when they opened the envelopes! Halloween was deadly for two couples as both Nikki and Artem and Vanessa and Maks were voted off the show. That's brutal, but we kind of knew it was going to happen when they had an episode without any eliminations earlier this year.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.