The time has come to spice things up a bit: It's Latin Night on Dancing with the Stars!
With all the couples performing Latin routines, it's time to separate the wheat from the chaff. The salsa from the bland diced tomatoes, if you will. Let's get to it!
Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy (salsa)
The dance: It's Monday Night Fever, as Rumer and Val kick things off with a disco-infused salsa this week. (Side note: All those crotch-in-the-face shots during their rehearsal package convinced me once and for all that I could never, ever be on Dancing with the Stars.) Rumer is a revelation. She's got the moves, the facial expressions, and a stunning sparkly flesh-colored costume to boot. Can we just give them the Mirrorball and call it a day?
What the judges say: Len says it's the best dance of the season so far, and he's right. Julianne wishes Rumer would have let loose for the whole routine, rather than just the second half (cue a chorus of boos). Bruno steals my "Monday Night Fever" line and singles out a specific move to find out if it was a misstep, and Val demurs. Carrie Ann says it was a little heavy on the disco at first, and marvels at Rumer's physique.
Score: 33 (out of 40)
Charlotte McKinney and Keo Motsepe (rumba)
The dance: In fairness, Charlotte can't feel great going out on the dance floor after seeing the edit of her package, which didn't paint her in a good light to say the least. And following Rumer and Val is no easy task either. But that said, their rumba is certainly sexy, but lacks a certain something. And did anyone else notice that something appeared to fall off of Charlotte halfway through? Her giggle-burst during the final seconds only hammer home the point that she's not totally invested in this competition.
What the judges say: Julianne is "so sad" that Charlotte didn't live up to her potential, especially where the footwork was concerned. Bruno says some things too, but I didn't hear anything past him telling Charlotte, "You're never going to win the Nobel Prize for quantum physics, but you are easy on the eyes." OUCH, BRUNO. ("Neither are you," Tom Bergeron responds.) Carrie Ann says people are being hard on Charlotte because she could be better and isn't concentrating hard enough (but compliments her drags). Len says flatly, "You get out what you put in" and doesn't want to talk about the dance beyond that.
Michael Sam and Peta Murgatroyd (salsa)
The dance: Michael, God bless him, puts forth a pretty good effort but looks pretty awkward out there. His movements are a little stiff and cautious, and that uncomfortable smile is still plastered on his face. He and Peta look more like siblings who don't really care for each other than sexy dance partners. Also, Michael is a good-looking guy, but this costume isn't doing him any favors.
What the judges say: Bruno wonders how Michael can control his muscles, but notes that his timing was off tonight. Carrie Ann says salsa is supposed to be fun, and this was nerve-wracking. Len liked the lifts, but says they can come back stronger next week. Julianne gives Michael some footwork advice - place, don't tap.
Riker Lynch and Allison Holker (salsa)
The dance: Riker's determined to show that he can be just as sexy as some of the more skin-baring competitors, and he makes a pretty strong case for himself. There's an intensity to the salsa that we haven't seen before, but it's also clear that he and Allison are having fun with each other. Nice leap, too.
What the judges say: Carrie Ann says Riker is the first male contender to win the whole shebang. She also notes the couple's "androgyny" (which I haven't really picked up on, to be honest. Anyone else?) and encourages Riker to be more of a man in the weeks to come. Len is apparently grumpy tonight and tells Riker, "You're not the best dancer this season," but follows it up with the observation that Riker could be a force to reckon with. Julianne says the dance energized her but wants to see more chemistry, and Bruno starts to gush, but gets cut off.
Suzanne Somers and Tony Dovolani (samba)
The dance: First, it must be noted that Suzanne is wearing a fruit basket and (temporarily) gargantuan feathers on her head for this number. As for the dance itself, her legs really are stunning for a 68-year-old, and their salsa is everything it needs to be - fun, smooth and sexy. Suzanne may be decades older than some of her competitors, but you'd never know it from routines like this one.
What the judges say: The dance was "juicy, fruity and full of fun," according to Len. Julianne notes that Suzanne lost her footing a bit in the middle, but compliments Tony on the content. Bruno thinks the content was a little too much for Week 3, but overall a good performance. Carrie Ann wants more depth from Suzanne.
Chris Soules and Witney Carson (tango)
The dance: Feeling the pressure of being at the bottom of the leaderboard, Chris and Witney rise to the occasion for their Argentine tango. Their chemistry is undeniable, and the dance also includes some pretty jaw-dropping lifts. For the tango content specifically, Witney does most of the heavy lifting at first, and Chris definitely looks like he misses a step or two by my count, although the judges don't say anything.
What the judges say: Julianne calls them "the comeback kids," while Bruno says he could feel the sparks between them - don't tell Chris' other Whitney! - but has a few notes on Chris' turns. Carrie Ann loved seeing Chris leave his farmer boy persona behind and take some risks. And Len says it's the best dance they've done.
Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson (rumba)
The dance: Robert's fighting through an injury this week. Whether or not the rumors are true about he and Kym shacking up off-screen, there's no denying that there's more than a few sparks between them on the dance floor. It's a gorgeous dance, both in terms of the music and the visuals. And, Robert stays in his intensely seductive character until long after the last note has ended. Charlotte, take note!
What the judges say: Bruno is touched by their chemistry but cautions Robert to watch his "airplane wing hands." Carrie Ann says she's even more nauseated by their chemistry this week (in a good way), but would like to see a firmer frame from Robert. Len notes that Robert is in the middle of the pack, and needs to show a little bit more greatness to move up. Julianne disagrees with her colleagues and says that was one of their best performances.
Patti LaBelle and Artem Chigvintsev (cha cha)
The dance: Oye como va? Pretty well for Patti and Artem. Patti pulls some moves out of ... I don't even know where. Suzanne's fruit basket hat? And what's even better than her dancing is her clear delight in feeling sexy and youthful out on the floor. I'm not sure how much cha cha content there is in some parts of the dance, but it's clear that Artem knows how to treat a lady.
What the judges say: Carrie Ann was "a little underwhelmed" at Patti's swagger, compared to last week. Len thinks Patti is charming and entertaining, but criticizes Artem for the lack of cha cha content. Julianne and Bruno agree.
Willow Shields and Mark Ballas (paso doble)
The dance: Willow and Mark go for a "fire and ice" theme for their paso doble, with Willow having gotten quite banged up during rehearsals. It seriously blows my mind every week that she's just 14, because she demonstrates a maturity with her dancing that not many people would be able to pull off regardless of age. And she does it all without being too sultry for her age. Their paso doble is tight, and Willow admirably holds her own against Mark's movements.
What the judges say: Len says their paso will be hard to beat as the season goes on. Julianne loves that Willow has improved steadily week to week (though her core needs some work). Bruno throws as many Hunger Games references in as possible while admiring Willow's competitive edge. And Carrie Ann says she dances like a "seasoned performance."
Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess (tango)
The dance: Noah is incorporating a prosthetic arm into the routine this week (or at least attempting to), in order to have a full frame for their ballroom dance. But frustration eventually gets the better of him, and he decides to ditch the extra limb. The result? For their entire dance, I'm picturing what Sharna had in mind if Noah had kept the arm. It probably would have made the routine better, but not if Noah would have been uncomfortable the whole time), but their tango is still great. Most notable is Noah's balance during those insane lifts with just one arm.
What the judges say: Julianne says it's their best dance so far, and Bruno calls it "miraculous" and the lifts "out of this world." Carrie Ann admits she's being picky but notes one moment where they fell out of sync. Len calls Noah his hero and praises Sharna for her "imaginative" choreography.
Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough (samba)
The dance: Their cross-country rehearsal regimen is apparently taking a toll on Nastia and Derek, but you'd never know it from their samba. You'd think these two were spending every minute together, on and off the floor. Derek obviously opts to go shirtless for this routine (where was the reaction shot from Riker?), and both he and Nastia's flexibility is astounding - though Derek does look like he's trying to rein Nastia in at one point.
What the judges say: Bruno thought the routine was "exhilarating," but Nastia overextends sometimes. Carrie Ann disagrees and thought Nastia's extensions made the dance. Len guarantees them a spot on next week's show, and Len also critiques Nastia's extensions.
Now to the rapid-fire results, which have three minutes to be revealed.
In jeopardy: Charlotte and Keo, Witney and Chris, Sharna and Noah
Safe: Noah and Sharna
Eliminated: Charlotte and Keo
What did you think? Which was your favorite routine of the night? Did you feel like the judges were too harsh on Charlotte? And were you disappointed to see her and Keo go home? Sound off in the comments!
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.
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