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Plus: Derek dances in the trio number!
It's America's Choice week as the race to the semi-finals is on! My colleague Liz is on vacation so I'll be recapping and vining and (not-so-secretly) dancing along at home this week. And with the double elimination tomorrow night, everyone is safe, well, for now. So let's get right to the good stuff!
Noah GallowayandSharna Burgess(Tango)
The dance:Let's justs tart off with how dapper Noah looks in his white suit. And I appreciate that although America wanted an Army-themed dance, Noah won't wear his uniform because it won't fit to Army regulations. While I don't love this musical arrangement to "Geronimo," Noah was quick on his feet, and you can see how much more comfortable he's getting on the dance floor.
What the judges say:Len says it's difficult to judge because he usually looks for flexed knees and staccato and he can't, but the performance is good although he wanted more intensity. Julianne says America was right on and that the first dance was well done. Bruno calls him a "white, valiant knight" who maintained his frame. Carrie Ann adds that it was innovative and elegant and they continue to push the boundaries - but it was a bit "blocky."
Dancing's Derek Hough: I'm getting better by the day
Chris SoulesandWitney Carson(Contemporary)
The dance:Chris and Witney take the "dark room with candles" suggestion from a fan who they surprise at home because apparently this is The Bachelor. I have to give it up to him though because he's all in with this dance, and that lift is impressive!
What the judges say:Julianne also gives Chris props as the most improved. Bruno says it was just the right amount of sexy, and Carrie Ann gives us a big "woo hoo," calling it simple and understated. Finally, Len says it was his best dance yet.
Riker LynchandAllison Holker(Viennese Waltz)
The dance: Riker has continually shown he's the strongest male in the competition and this performance only added to that.
What the judges say:Bruno says he gave it so much guts, while Carrie Ann is clear with her, "Hell yeah." Len says it was big and bold, andRiker kept clarity in his movement, but then gets a boo when he wishes there had been a bit more hold as it felt more contemporary. Julianne adds it was vulnerable and his best dance.
Robert HerjavecandKym Johnson(Contemporary)
The dance:I was a little nervous after seeing how many people on the street were asking them to kiss, but it wasn't as over-the-top passionate as I expected - which was a good thing. I was also impressed with how fast the dance felt and that Robert kept up every step of the way. And his facial expressions have come a long way!
What the judges say:Carrie Ann says the kiss upped their game and there was magic in the air and a sparkle in the eye! "You've got a big fan in me," Len admits. Julianne agrees he upped his game tonightwhile Bruno is Bruno.
Meryl and Maks gave us chills and more Dancing 10th anniversary moments that were perfection
Nastia LiukinandSasha Farber(Paso Doble)
The dance:I still miss my dancing partner Derek, but I'm so happy Sasha is getting his time to shine. The Gladiator theme is out there Mark Ballas-style, but these two command that room. I love Nastia's early twisty thing and that she flung Sasha, but I have to laugh that Derek makes his way into the performance sitting on the throne.
What the judges say:Len likes the passion and the drama, but would've liked more recognizable Paso. Julianne points out that Derek looks ridiculous, but calls Nastia a Roman goddess. "This was the most feistiest," she adds. I can't quite make out what Bruno said but it has to do with Game of Thrones and pussycats. Carrie Ann agrees there was a little bit of bumping into each other, but that they pushed beyond the boundaries.
Rumer WillisandVal Chmerkovskiy(Rumba)
The dance:I absolutely love these two and was sad to see them both upset with the previous week. Fortunately, you'd never know because on the dance floor they're fiery and on-point, and I want it to never end.
What the judges say:Julianne says this was the Rumer and Val we met at the beginning of the season. "That was gold," she adds. Bruno calls Rumer a refined, high-class woman and Carrie Ann says they lead with love. Even Len agrees and says it was simple and beautiful.
Score: 40 (the first of the season!)
Noah, Sharna and Emma (Salsa)
The dance:The routine feels a little fast for Noah which had me on edge a bit, but they finished strong and you can't help but love a pelvic thrust, right?
What the judges say:Len says they were true to the dance while having fun with the trio. Julianne says if anyone can handle these two girls it's Noah! Bruno falls off his chair, natch, while Carrie Ann says "Two girls, one arm, probably impossible for most people" but he succeeded. And then she then goes on (and on) about how she feels badly about the score she gave them.
Score: 32 (total 63)
Chris, Witney and Lindsay (Paso Doble)
The dance:Again, I'm glad Chris survived this long because I love watching him improve. He holds his own with his partners and looks strong out there.
What the judges say: Julianne says while he gave it his all, he has room to improve and his butt went the wrong way. Bruno says he worked his butt off (perhaps in the wrong direction?), and Carrie Ann makes a sad face saying the girls overwhelmed him. Len calls it OK, but not great. Also, apparently the judges completely disagree with me.
Score: 30 (total 64)
Riker, Allison and Britney (Jazz)
The dance:Riker has experience dancing in groups so this is easy peasy for him, and his showmanship is super strong. This might be my favorite dance of the night!
What the judges say:Bruno shouts that Riker is leading from the front and that the girls should catch him while they can. Carrie Ann goes bananas, and Len says we're all happy! Julianne adds that he was leading them out there.
Score: 39 (total 78)
Robert, Kym and Jenna (Samba)
The dance: I'm not super into the whole shades thing, and towards the end Robert is definitely off the beat.
What the judges say: Carrie Ann says he handled the women well but forgot the steps. Len agrees it was messy. Julianne says they got right back up after missing the beat and Bruno calls it a bit of a shamble, but with style.
Score: 29 (total 62)
Nastia, Sasha and Derek (jive) The dance: Nastia was really frustrated during the week, but again, you'd never know she was struggling with this one. I love how Derek found a way to dance and have Nastia rotate between his slower paced room and Sasha's upbeat moves. Plus: I'm digging Derek's version of a hiatus beard.
What the judges say: "That. was. fantastic," Len says.Julianne says it was the most creative trio she's seen. Bruno says they danced to perfection, and Carrie Ann was baffled by their brilliance.
Score: 40 (total 76)
Rumer, Val and Artem (Paso Doble)
The dance: As Rumer pointed out, it's a whole lot of man on stage and I'm totally fine with it. Rumer is at her best with a sultry and strong dance style, and I love seeing Artem out there.
What the judges say: Julianne reminds us that when she was on the show there were no gimmicks and that's exactly why she loved this routine. Bruno has a hot flash and says the classic route suits them, Carrie Ann says they were superior and Len says the pressure is on, but they were brilliant.
Score: 40 (total 80)
The results show is back tomorrow so we'll see you then! But make sure to share your favorite dances below.
Check out Derek teaching me the tango: