Dancing with the Stars catered to its key demographic tonight -- Middle America — with the ever-popular Country Night! Now, if you're thinking ballroom dancing and country music don't exactly go together... well, you'd be right. None of the routines from this week's episode will ever make it into the history books considering how strangely the music jarred with the styles, but maybe Dancing with the Stars did that on purpose? After all, this week featured a double elimination and nothing says, "You suck at this!" better than waltzing in cowboy boots.
To find out who went home, check out our full recap of this week's episode below...
The dance: I've been on the fence about John since the beginning, but this week was a godsend for him because he was totally in his element as a country singer and country boy himself. His emotional package about going through a divorce and how it's estranged him from his kids was actually really hard to watch though. Hearing that every week he looks to see if one of his kids will show up in the audience and every week he's disappointed when they don't? Ouch, so many feelings. The dance itself catered to the kind of steps John handles best — quick, sharp and easy — with very few moments that required any kind of grace or precision. You can only really get away with that on Country Night, but fair is fair! Good job, John!
What the judges said: "That's the way to open a show. It was full of fun, full of energy, and I'm full of admiration," Len praised. Bruno said country brought the best out of him and the routine was custom made to make him shine. The few steps that he missed were easy to overlook because of how much fun he had with the routine.
That's his highest score ever.
The dance: The best part about watching Evanna every week is seeing her progress take leaps and bounds with every new routine. I figured she probably peaked last week with her Tango, but this week was somehow even better. I almost found myself mad that we kept cutting back to Carly Pearce's performance because that meant we were missing watching Evanna kill it! The Rumba can sometimes be a bit boring — or worse, it comes off awkward instead of sexy — but that was not the case for Keo and Evanna! They nailed every part of this routine, and at times Evanna even looked like a pro!
What the judges said: The judges went gaga over this routine, and not a single one of them could find issue with it! "You have shape-shifted into this kind of sultry, sexy, mature irresistible women. That was a pure proper rumba," Bruno said. Carrie Ann loved the technique and how easily Evanna adapted to the style. Even Len had nothing bad to say! He loved the attention she paid to her hands and her feet, which is the highest praise from him!
LOL at Keo running down to kiss Len for that 10.
The dance: Just because Juan Pablo has been dominating this season, it doesn't mean he's going to knock it out of the park every week. Who am I kidding? Of that's what it means! This dance was a mountain to climb since it mixed the Charleston with country, two styles that have a lot in common but look very, very different. There was one moment when he and Cheryl were dancing in the bed of the truck that Juan Pablo seemed to lose the beat a bit, but other than that he kept up well with the non-stop choreography of this routine.
What the judges said: Carrie Ann asked the question we're all wondering: Is there anything Juan Pablo can't do?! Len loved the mix of Charleston and country, which is kind of surprising since he hates it when pros go off-script on the choreography. Bruno pointed out that the beat of the song was so dangerously fast that he was actually surprised Juan Pablo was able to keep up. Come on, Bruno, this is Juan Pabs we're talking about!
Another perfect score for Juan Pablo! He's on a roll!
The dance: OK, I'm willing to admit I found the video package of Joe getting a big head because of his first week not at the bottom pretty funny. He's just so charming! Asking Joe to tango to country music was a bold ask, but he once again managed to pull off something not terrible! Joe thrives on choreography that takes its time and doesn't ask too much of him, which is how he managed to impress the judges last week. This week, Cheryl had him moving, moving, moving, which should have spelled disaster, but he didn't miss a step! Sure, his technique was terrible, but he kept on the beat which is really impressive for Joe! Is it bad that I'm starting to root for this guy? Yes. Will I be upset if he gets eliminated this week? Hell no, this is a dancing competition and he simply cannot make it to the semi-finals.
What the judges said: Len didn't love Joe's footwork, but he did commend Joe for putting his whole heart into it. Bruno made a truly confusing Mad Max comparison that I think meant he liked this routine? Honestly, no one can be sure. Carrie Ann once again praised Joe for never giving up, but she kind of implied that the fans are the only reason he's stayed on the show this long. I mean, she's right, but DAMN, Carrie Ann! Spill the tea.
Burning Man? More like slightly sizzling man.
The dance: Milo's country song may not be headed to the top the charts anytime soon, but it was darn cute. Last week's contemporary routine was built to highlight his strengths, but this week's foxtrot highlighted one of his greatest weaknesses with Witney. He's so much taller than she is that it's hard for him to look graceful when he's doing the whole dance in what amounts to a squat. He was definitely graceful, but it he'll always do better out of hold than in. Give this boy another salsa!
What the judges said: Bruno praised Milo's versatility over the course of the season, but Len was critical of the legwork this week. He sympathized with the predicament Milo was in considering he's so much taller than Witney (which makes legwork harder), but he still wanted more polish. Carrie Ann called Milo the one to beat, and she totally sympathized with the leg burn Milo must have been dealing with because of said height difference.
Len sure likes to kill those potential perfect scores, doesn't he?
The dance: DeMarcus took a page out of Joe's book this week and let Lindsay do all the hard work while he sort of swayed along behind her. I'll grant that he had more grace and precision than most of the other contestants who have taken on the Waltz before, but DeMarcus' trajectory has been the opposite of what I would have liked. He started so incredibly strong that at this point in the competition, it feels like he's disappointing us instead of impressing us. If he's not careful, he'll find himself going home because of his "meh" performances.
What the judges said: Carrie Ann called this routine dynamic and poetic, but Len criticized the footwork and demanded a little more content in the dance. That earned him some boos — even from the skybox where the other couples were hanging out — but I'm in total agreement. We're more than halfway through the competition, routines need to start getting harder! Bruno complimented the partnering of the dance (and he still managed to hit on DeMarcus while doing it), which is exactly what Lindsay was trying to achieve with her choreography. Overall, a mixed bag of feedback.
DeMarcus shouldn't have any trouble staying in the competition with a score like this.
The dance: Who the heck was supposed to concentrate on the dancing for this couple when there was a confession of love hanging between them?! Alexis started to have feelings for Alan and told him so last week, and he pretty noticeably didn't say whether those feelings were returned. This week, he finally got with the program and told Alexis he's falling for her. Awwww! As for the actual dancing, it was probably the best Alexis has ever performed. She hit every step perfectly and her turns were so tight and elegant! It was probably the best dance of the night, but Alexis could still be headed home unless her army of Instagram followers actually picks up their phones to vote instead of scroll.
What the judges said: Len confirmed I'm an awesome judge of dancing by also calling it the best dance of the night, so where the heck is my paddle at this point? Bruno pointed out that a lot of "good" dancers can get into a step but fail to finish the motion by getting out of it, which was a problem Alexis does not have. Whatever that means, Alan seemed very happy about it, so I'll trust it's good feedback. Carrie Ann claimed Alexis was ahead of the beat and dancing on top of the floor at times, and Len nearly lost it on her. Bruno actually had to hide under the table when they started bickering.
Now if only Instagram voted...
Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess: Viennese Waltz - "Can't Help Falling in Love"- live performance by Chris Janson
The dance: Country week was right up Bobby's alley considering he's got the biggest country music show in the history of the format. I'm pretty sure he recruited all the performances in this week's show now that I think of it... Bobby did just fine with his Waltz (actually, I kind of enjoyed it more than DeMarcus'), but there was a lack of grace that made the whole thing feel stiff. It didn't help that the camera kept cutting away to Chris Janson's live performance and it always seemed to cut back to Bobby when he was making a mistake. Rude, camera guys. Rude.
What the judges said: Bruno commended the footwork and the effort to get the technique right, though he mentioned Bobby lost the steps twice, and he said Bobby delivered exactly what they wanted. I guess that's the bar with Bobby? Carrie Ann saw the strain and the tension Bobby felt, and Len saw it too, especially in the shoulders. When Len gave him that 8 though, he couldn't resist running around the desk and planting one on him. He even gave Bruno a kiss!
You should have held out for 10s for those kisses, Bobby!
#TeamHayNow - "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton
Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess
Evanna Lynch and Keo Motsepe
John Schneider and Emma Slater
Milo Manheim and Witney Carson
The dance: Team HayNow had to work a lot longer than 9 to 5 to nail this routine, but at least there were no dustups or breakdowns that usually occur when team routines roll around. I've got to give props to Evanna in this round because she managed to keep up with the three female pros in her group, which is freakishly hard to do. She did get ahead of the beat a few times as she's prone to do, but Keo always got her back on the count. As for the boys, Milo trounced everyone else in the group, but that was to be expected.
What the judges said: Len loved everything about it, The balance between the ensemble and the individual was absolutely brilliant. Everyone shone!" Bruno raved. Carrie Ann was worried Bobby wouldn't be able to keep up with the other guys in the group, but she was happy to be proven wrong, but she threw some subtle shade about a simple routine working best. Girl, that wasn't simple, it was crazy fast!
Len kills another perfect score by handing out a 9. :(
#TeamJoeDown - "Country Girl" by Luke Bryan
Alexis Ren and Alan Bersten
DeMarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold
Joe "Grocery Store Joe" Amabile and Jenna Johnson
Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke
The dance: It was exceptionally cruel to put Joe on the same team as some of this season's strongest competitors, but it was actually really nice to see how his teammates tried to coach him into getting the steps down better. Unfortunately, nothing could put him on their level, so naturally, they decided to put him on a mechanical bull while the other guys did the actual dancing. Yep, you read that right — a mechanical bull. Still, there were cooler stunts and tricks in this dance, which made it a lot more fun to watch!
What the judges said: Bruno thought Alexis looked like one of the pros, though he did notice that a few times the couples lost sync in the dance. Carrie Ann said there was so much going on that it was hard to focus on what was happening, but she also recognized that it was a harder routine that Team Hay Now's, which she gave them points for. Len actually loved this routine so much he allowed Carrie Ann to put a cowboy hat on his head. I think he's officially lost it.
Team Joe Down loses to Team Hay Now... bummer.
Elimination: This week had a double elimination, meaning we had to say goodbye to two couples, which is always hard. DeMarcus and Lindsay and John and Emma both got the ax this time, which is a bummer considering how much heart these guys have put into the competition. It does even out the male to female ratio though, which had fallen woefully out of balance.
"This show is about family, everybody just coming together. I feel like I won every week," DeMarcus said of his elimination.
"Truly this was one of the best experiences of my life," John agreed.
Sad to see these guys go!
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.