It's Eras Week on Dancing with the Stars, which means... more convoluted rules for us to follow! The eight remaining couples will do their normal one-dance-at-a-time thing, only each couple has been given a different decade to pull inspiration from. Sadly, the couple assigned the '80s will not be doing The Robot.
But here's where it gets interesting: All the couples will also form two teams and collaborate on a team dance. Those team scores will be added to their individual scores for a grand total. Hey, ABC has to fill these two hours up with something, right?
It was also elimination night for one unlucky couple, and you got to think it was nervous time for Ryan and Maureen, who were looking up at everyone else after a disappointing Week 6.
Who survived? Who got sent home? Who danced like they had ants in their pants? Let's review the dances and then tackle the elimination!
The dance: Hey, these guys are like a comedy duo out there! Laurie played the adorable high-school girl and Val played the school dork and then BAM they were dancing! The '60s quickstep is really about partnership and technique, which took away a little of the pizazz that Laurie can naturally show off on her own, but it was still a good routine that showcased her talent — though maybe not to its fullest — while also showing off her infectious personality.
What the judges say: Len's back! And he was quick to tear Laurie apart by trashing her technique! Hey Len, get over the jetlag and lighten up! Take a nap or something.
The score: 34/40. Sounds about right.
The dance: They had the entire '90s and they picked this song? Minus a point. Bachelor at a bachelor party still is out there going through the steps instead of making it part of him, moving stiffly while Cheryl whirls around him making his deficiencies even more obvious. I recall a week when Ryan actually used his hands and it was his best dance, but here his limbs just go limp and he watches Cheryl dance when he doesn't feel like it's his turn. I'm still wondering how he made it this far.
What the judges say: Julianne said the song was epic. Minus a point from you too, Julianne. But she also said they didn't match the epicness of that song. Bruno said technique wasn't Ryan's forte and Ryan audibly said, "Ow."
The score: 28/40, and Len said he was giving Ryan an extra point. The audience was dead silent during this one. That was uncomfortable. Is this the week Ryan swims home?
The dance: This... was not good for Marilu. After a great Week 6, the Charleston did Marilu in. The energetic dance was a little too much for her as she couldn't quite keep up with the crispness of Derek and emote in the way the dance calls for. She seemed a little reluctant to dance out there, in fact, or maybe tired? I don't want to say that she looked a little grandma-ish out there (no offense, grandmas), but she did. Stiff and out of it. Shame!
What the judges say: Carrie Ann thought the two were out of synch at points, and then the audience booed her. Oh yeah? I boo YOU, audience!
The score: 29/40, but the 8 from Julianne was generous.
The dance: Calvin continues to bring it each week and he's the dancer that's so much fun to watch because you can see him improve. That's the real impressive thing about this competition, right? Watching talent develop! This jive was right in his wheelhouse, and he and Lindsay are so dang good together that we could watch them dance for hours. No big lifts — their strength — but Calvin did whip Lindsay through his legs and then impressively launched her in the air without so much as an ounce of effort. I expect big scores from this routine.
What the judges say: "You're good." - Len. Carrie Ann noted that Calvin is fantastic at making these dances his own, which is exactly the opposite of what she told Ryan.
The score: 36/40, tops of the night so far.
The dance: The most awesomely embarrassing decade went to the Brady Bunch star, and it was awesomely embarassing. Lots of leather, denim, studded bracelets and some chains. Maureen really wanted to RAWK it out, making some sexy lady faces to the guitar licks of Bon Jovi. But uhhh, this was weird and I'm not sure the music matched the dance, tbh. The big thing was a major stumble in the routine, which was caused when Artem accidentally stepped on Maureen's skirt. But give 'em credit: Maureen soldiered on and finished it off with the same verve she started with.
What the judges say: "Axel Rose lost the wheels," said Bruno. Clever! And Carrie Ann and Julianne giggled and giggled and giggled.
The score: 28/40. This is a low-scoring week, isn't it?
The dance: Smooth and graceful, this routine was a breath of fresh air compared to the mania of most of the other dances, and this was a great bounceback for Terra. These two have great chemistry, and the foxtrot and '30s really fit her so much better than the Paso Doble. Also, no one reaches for the sky with such dazzling wonder like Terra.
What the judges say: "You have the sparkle of a little Jean Harlow!" said Bruno. And Julianne welcomed Terra back after an off week last week. Len rightfully gave Sasha some props, too.
The score: 34/40, safe for this week, I'd say!
The dance: These two know they are so dirty together that they just love to stay as clean as they can. Last week they took a shower, this week they were in a laundromat. It was a fun dance, but it also seemed a little safe after their perfect score last week. There was nothing exceptional out there, but there was nothing wrong with it either. Move on to next week, you love birds.
What the judges say: Carrie Ann was all lift police again! Len wanted more samba in it, and chastised Gleb for it like Gleb was a teenager who egged his front door. I'm starting to like Len more and more.
The score: 34/40, with the 9s from Julianne and Bruno. You know, the two who like fun.
The dance: Ahhh, when wartime was hilarious! Set against a WWII backdrop, James played the infatuated soldier to Sharna's army girl. What's interesting here was that they took a ton of risks with the routine, including James launching his crotch into Sharna's face, knocking her to the ground, catching her neck before she gave herself a concussion by smacking her head on the ground and then pulling her up. Still, James is killing it out there, and he was throwing shades of Buster Keaton out there, which is very much a compliment.
What the judges say: Len said James was a major contender, but did want some more jitterbug. And other noticed some fault in their synchronicity, which was a product of Sharna injuring herself during the week.
The score: 36/40, tied with Calvin for the top score of the night.
And now the Team Future and Team Past dances!
Team Past (Calvin, Maureen, James, Ryan)
The dance: Paired off and dancing a Viennese Waltz to a traditional Scottish folk song, Team Past — decked out in frilly skirts and ruffled shirts — put together a nice routine that worked really well, and was a team effort. Well done.
What the judges say: Bruno loved when Calvin and James crossed paths in [Bruno voice] "total synchronicity!" Carrie Ann said it was her favorite dance of the night.
The score: 38/40! Two 10s from Carrie Ann and Bruno.
Team Future (Jana, Marilu, Terra, Laurie)
The dance: The theme here was an oppressed society in a post-apocalyptic world, so... uhhh. It was like Avatar without the blue aliens and I think the story was people colonizing the other side of the stage? The neo-jazz-techno was bizarre, and the women wore blue lipstick. What in the world was this? Plus, whereas Team Past was uniform, this was all about bringing out individual routines, so much so that many got lost in the fog machine and others literally ran off the stage at points. Whatever, Team Future!
What the judges say: They were nicer than I was, and Julianne and Carrie Ann liked the concept but noted some lack of togetherness.
The score: 35/40, probably because everyone knows this is a gimmick and the team dance shouldn't really impact the scores.
And now onto the elimination! The couples up for elimination were Maureen and Artem and Jana and Gleb. Wait, Jana and Gleb? Did no one watch Ryan and Cheryl? Hmm, in the end, it was Maureen and Artem who were eliminated. Am I alone in thinking Ryan and Cheryl should have been asked to leave here? Hmm...
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.