Dancing with the Stars just delivered it's first truly shocking elimination of the season and we seriously cannot deal. But before we can begin to understand how Tinashe — easily the best dancer in this crop of stars and a front-runner before the season even began — was sent home, let's look back on everything that went down on Trio Night.
As if learning to out-dance all the other Dancing celebs onwasn't hard enough, Trio Night always ups the ante by challenging these stars to add a third partner into the mix — and don't you dare get out-performed by your new celeb guest! Trio Night is a fun time to revisit past competitors, and this season Dancing with the Stars brought back some of our favorites. Violinist and season 25 runner-up Lindsey Stirling, who absolutely killed it last fall, is returning to try to help Bobby Bones get to victory, while Mary Lou Retton is getting an Olympic assist from gold medalist Nastia Liukin. The one I'm keeping my eye on, however, is Alexis Ren's "celeb" partner, Maddie Ziegler, who's being billed as a dancer/actress/model. Come on, guys... just admit you gave her another professional dancer.
Check out our full recap of Trio Night below!
The dance: Juan Pablo copped a bit of an attitude with Cheryl during training this week, but I guess that's what happens when you get the first perfect score of the season (and TV Guide gushes about how unbeatable you are). He might want to keep his comments to himself next week though, seeing as this routine was just not on par with his stunning performance last week. Maybe it was the pressure of coordinating two partners instead of one, but Juan Pablo seemed a little lost this week (as did Melissa Rycroft for that matter), and he lost the entertainment element that made last week's routine so fun.
What the judges said: Len scandalized the world by telling Juan Pablo, "Your bottom is the tops!" Both he and Bruno caught a small mistake though, that Juan Pablo went on the wrong foot once which threw things off a bit. Carrie Ann thought Juan Pablo was holding back and trying to be too controlled, which she attributed to the pressure to keep the routine together with two "hottie-totties" dancing around him.
Back to the middle for you, Juan Pablo!
The dance: Tinashe previewed in her package that Amy brought out her personality, and she really wasn't lying! For the first time, we got to see Tinashe take on a character and act, which is not something all stars do well. She killed it, obviously, and her performance in Brandon's little courtroom drama was so fun and full of energy! She's proven she can be sexy and sultry and that she's got the technique to compete, but now she's completed the trifecta, showing the judges that she's got the personality to perform as well!
What the judges said: Bruno enjoyed the courtroom drama of it all, finding this trio "GUILTY... of brilliance of the first degree!" Carrie Ann spent a lot of time talking about Brandon's choreography and the technique — very quickly for that matter, which she got some flak for — but Len, of course, took issues with some of the holds. Come on, Len, holds are impossible in a trio!
Talk about passing the bar...
The dance: Thank God for Joey Fatone, seriously. From the jump, this routine was rough. First Emma's hair got caught in John's shirt buckles and then a lift didn't quite go as planned and then... well, the whole thing was just kind of boring? There was supposed to be this intensity to the Tango that just didn't ever really appear. Poor Joey and John were obviously trying their hardest to give the thing some oomph, which I give them credit for, but sometimes a dance just doesn't do it for us, and that's not entirely their fault. The only thing that saved it was Joey's personality after the fact, otherwise this whole thing would have been completely unmemorable.
What the judges said: "It was a bit of a Greek tragedy to start with," Len critiqued, refusing to give up the opportunity for a good pun. I respect that. Carrie Ann also admitted that the whole thing started off rough, but she thought things kind of picked up when the violins came in. You can always count on musicality to carry a performance! She also appreciated that Emma picked a routine that gave gravitas to Joey and John, who are both kind of goofy. Way to look for that silver lining, Carrie Ann!
John's barely scrapping by :(
The dance: Mostly, this routine just made me want an entire Harry Potter themed season of Dancing with the Stars. Let's get on that, OK? On the technical side of things, this dance didn't blow the doors off, but it was a hell of a lot of fun! There was something laid back and casual about it (too casual for Carrie Ann, but we'll get there later) that made it look like it was just a couple best friends dancing it out. Who knew a Slytherin and a Ravenclaw could be so magical together?! (Spoiler alert: Every Harry Potter fan ever, that's who. Those houses are obvs the closest, and together they could take over the world.
What the judges said: Len called it a polished performance, and Bruno couldn't stop singing Evanna's praises: "Every week you seem to become brighter, livelier, and more confident. It's like finding a new side of yourself out here on the stage every week!" Despite the gushing, Bruno and Carrie Ann did find issues with their synchronicity at times. Carrie Ann thought they were too loose and casual with it, and she brought back that dreaded note from earlier in the season that Evanna was getting ahead of the music. Slow down, girl!
Slytherclaw for the win!
The dance: Oh. My. God. WHY would they show me a finger bent out of shape like that?! Don't these people know I eat dinner while watching this show?! I may honestly never forgive this. The only thing that made me feel slightly better was hearing the audience in the studio had the same, totally grossed out reaction. Unfortunately, I can't blame a finger injury for that slightly lackluster Paso Doblé. DeMarcus has never had the best form or technique, but for some reason it really showed in this routine. Lindsay has depended on impressive tricks and lifts to push them through to high scores so far, but this week's injury might have made that impossible, highlighting how far behind the other competitors DeMarcus really is. Whatever the case... not their best.
What the judges said: Bruno had a very difficult time focusing on the dance with two hot, shirtless men standing in front of him. Same, Bruno. Same. The "robustness" of the performance wasn't enough to distract the judges from the missing technicality though, and Carrie Ann noted that DeMarcus seemed like he was trying to match Rashad rather than dance to his own style. "You've got the guns, but not always the ammunition." LEN GOODMAN, bringing it with the puns tonight. Here for it.
I actually respect Lindsay for getting uppity about those 7's. LOL.
The dance: Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! Is five wow's enough for a routine like that?! Riker really pushed Milo to a level he's never been to before (and I wouldn't be surprised if they're real life best friends now) to the point where it's hard to imagine why Milo was ever nervous to take this salsa on! As with all hot, young contestants on Dancing with the Stars, Milo is consistently able to pull off showy numbers with lots of energy and acrobatics, but this week he proved he's got the technique to back it up, even when a routine gets out of control like this one. Hands down, the best routine of the night!
What the judges said: Len was not lying when he compared Witney to a frisbee getting tossed back and forth the whole time. When he said that he wanted more hip action at times, Carrie Ann literally screamed like a banshee, and I legit though she was going to claw his eyes out. She made sure to point out how none of them ever had to look at each other to check that they were on the beat, which is a sign of what a perfect trio they make.
Len, you curmudgeon! You robbed them of a perfect score!
The dance: God, I just love it when gymnasts pair up for trios on this show!! This routine was full of flips and tricks and cartwheels and lifts that only a couple of Olympians could pull off. Tom really had it right when he called Sasha "gymnast shelving" at one point. There was a point in the dance where I thought Nastia kind of out-danced Mary Lou, which was probably more the choreography's fault than anything, but other than that, this was definitely a fun routine that should score Mary Lou another week. Someone make me GIFs of all those lifts please!!
What the judges said: "Last week you were really great, but this week... you were better!" Carrie Ann, you rascal, you! Making us nervous like that! Len thought the choreography could have used a little more Charleston in there, but Bruno argued that Sasha showcased the girls' abilities perfectly. That's fair... he didn't have two Charleston experts, he had two gymnasts! He'd have been stupid not to take advantage.
Still waiting on that 10 for Mary Lou please...
The dance: It didn't seem possible, but Dancing with the Stars actually managed to find someone less coordinated than Joe. Jordan Kimball.... you tried? Maybe? Never before has there been such an ironic use of "I'm Too Sexy" as Joe and Jordan muddled their way through failed shirt-rips and missed steps and just a whole lot of awkward — honestly, I'm not too sure what happened for most of it because at some point I blacked out thanks to second-hand embarrassment. Jenna knew we'd be suffering though, so she had Val and Gleb grinding away in the background to make it all better.
What the judges said: Bruno was actually a lot nicer than I ever expected, though he did call it a mix of Magic Mike and Tragic Mike: "The timing — non-existent." Carrie Ann praised Jenna for trying her very best, and Len agreed that this show often gives pros celebs who have been on stage and danced or acted in some capacity. Jenna... she had none of those things as her disposal, so kudos to her.
Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch.
The dance: Alexis and Maddie were two more celebs who instantly clicked and seem like they'll probably still be going out for coffee and pilates 10 years from now. That's the real magic of Trio Night: watching celebs get super giddy over each other! Alan did a good job making sure the girls got to showcase their talents while also staying in hold 90 percent of the time (damn you, Tango!), and he made sure to highlight that Maddie has some dancing chops of her own with her flexibility and precision. Mostly though, this dance was a treat to watch because Alexis couldn't keep that totally goofy smile off her face the entire time, giving away how much fun she was having. A tip for other stars: We have fun when you do!!
What the judges said: Carrie Ann called it very strong, but she also thought it felt more like three solos than a unified Trio. Len was similarly disappointed in some of the holds (particularly for Maddie, which was surprising), but Bruno must have been watching an entirely different dance because he loved it. He called it elegant, sophisticated, brilliant, etc. and he gave it the highest score!
For all the negative feedback, this trio sure got a good score.
Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess with Lindsey Stirling: Cha Cha - "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer
The dance: I'm not quite sure Bobby nailed the MC Hammer vibe totally, but Lindsey was the perfect partner for him in this routine. They're both so goofy, and unabashedly themselves, and "U Can't Touch This" felt so on brand for both of them! Bobby is another example of a dancer who has little to no dance ability, but his joy and energy make watching him fun. And when the audience is having fun, they're more likely to pick up the phone and vote!
What the judges said: Len looked like he wanted to push Bobby off the judges' table during that routine and Bruno pretty much agreed, "You took a sledgehammer to the Cha Cha Cha." He softened it by saying that the Cha Cha just got lost in translation amidst the performance. Carrie Ann was slightly nicer about it, complimenting him for not missing a single step of the routine, even if he didn't master the technique.
Did Bobby actually break that mic talking about to the judges?
Elimination: WHAT in the world? Somehow, the competition turned topsy-turvey and Tinashe — yes, you read that right, Tinashe! — got eliminated?? The boos from the crowd were so well deserved for this elimination. I get that sometimes good dancers don't pull in the votes to stay on the show, but with people like Grocery Store Joe, who couldn't find the rhythm if it walked up and smacked him in the face, still around, how does this make sense?
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.