DWTS' Halloween Villains Night Was Full of Tricks and Treats
by Kim Krober
My mom and I look forward to Halloween Night on Dancing with the Stars every year. This year's Halloween Villains theme did not disappoint. From the "found footage" spoof to Tyra Banks' entrance to Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me" to seeing the judges go all out with their costumes, the opening was bizarre but attention-getting. I loved seeing Bruno as Beetlejuice (or Brunojuice as Tyra called him), Carrie Ann as Pennywise the Dancing Clown from It, and Derek as Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (two Dereks are better than one). The fact they also got so much into character almost made up for the fact that we didn't get any elaborate team dances due to social distancing.
Let's take a look at how your favorites did on this seventh week of competition:
Jeannie Mai & Brandon Armstrong, Paso Doble
Jeannie and Brandon's Paso Doble to Nelly Furtado's "Maneater" was brilliantly paired with costumes inspired by The Silence of the Lambs. What a fun opening dance! Derek proclaimed she absolutely ate up that Paso with proper shaping and framing. Bruno said she made a meal out of the dance, admiring her gusto and attack. Carrie Ann called it an explosive way to open the show, saying it was full of powerful attack and excitement.
Johnny Weir & Britt Stewart, Viennese Waltz
After being in the bottom two last week, Johnny and Britt came back with a vengeance with a steamy Viennese Waltz to Radiohead's "Creep." I loved their theatrical Dracula theme - Johnny made a great vampire. Bruno was bitterly disappointed that it wasn't bad at all with wonderful sweeping motion and all the qualities of a Gothic romance. Carrie Ann said he floated through it like a rock star with powerful storytelling elements. Derek enjoyed seeing his redemption from last week, calling it a perfect formula for success.
Chrishell Stause & Gleb Savchenko, Paso Doble
Chrishell and Gleb's Paso Doble to "In the Air Tonight" with Maleficent costumes was magnificent. Carrie Ann told her she was in her element with storytelling at its finest and beautifully executed moves. Derek called it cinematic, admiring the way she tapped into the villainess' spirit. Bruno felt the dance was mesmerizing, although he noted that she lost the fluidity of the Paso Doble at times. Kudos to the costume department for nailing that killer outfit!
Monica Aldama & Val Chmerkovskiy, Jazz
I haven't watched Netflix's Nurse Ratched series yet, but Monica and Val were clearly channeling it with their costumes and a Jazz routine set to "Fever." Derek complimented the musicality, lifts, and seductive energy of the character. Bruno got more of a mild chill than a fever from the performance because he didn't see enough Jazz body movement. Carrie Ann agreed with Bruno, noting it was lacking some of the intention behind the movements. It's good to see Monica feeling more confident and having fun. She received two 7's, and an 8 from Derek for her efforts.
AJ McLean & Cheryl Burke, Tango
A few hours before the show, it was revealed that Cheryl sustained a head injury during Sunday's rehearsal. It was unknown whether she was going to be able to dance. Cheryl was cleared to perform, and she and AJ danced an adrenaline-filled Tango to the Psycho theme with AJ channeling his best Norman Bates. Carrie Ann was impressed, praising him for nailing such a challenging routine. Derek loved the intro and intricate footwork, but he took off a point due to issues with AJ's frame. Bruno admired the way he translated the neurosis of the character into the dance.
Nelly & Daniella Karagach, Argentine Tango
Nelly and Daniella's Argentine Tango to The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face" was nightmarishly good with a nod to one of the best horror villains of all time: Freddy Kruger from A Nightmare on Elm Street. Carrie Ann called it his best dance to date with a sense of urgency to his movements and fancy footwork. Derek could tell how great their partnership is, commending him for being sturdy on his feet. Bruno said he killed the Argentine Tango, admiring the way he handled himself on the floor. I loved that he dedicated the dance to his horror-obsessed girlfriend. Cute!
Justina Machado & Sasha Farber, Tango
Justina and Sasha's Tango set to "Take Me to Church" by MILCK was perfect, although I didn't really care for their Carrie-inspired costumes. Justina channeled her best spurned prom queen, but Sasha looked like a generic zombie quarterback. Maybe I'm a bit too sympathetic of the Carrie character, but was she really a villain? The choreography was as incredible as ever. It really looked like she was jerking Sasha all over that dance floor. Derek told her she set the place on fire with an exquisite frame. Bruno said she stormed through it like a woman possessed but thought she was a little hoppy for the Tango. Carrie Ann agreed with Bruno, telling her she needs to listen to their critiques because she owns the ballroom floor and she's a serious contender this season.
Nev Schulman & Jenna Johnson, Paso Doble
The Black Swan on Villains Night, really? Nev and Jenna's Paso Doble set to "Swan Lake Remix" was eerily captivating even if it was a non-traditional choice to set the fear factor. It ended up being an epic showdown of light vs. dark and Nev managed to make that look far way creepier than it had any right to be. Bruno called it perfect, saying he loved this piece. Carrie Ann had high expectations but said he exceeded them with a breathtaking job. Derek thought it was gorgeous with beautiful shaping. It was the first perfect score of the season. Was it worthy?
Skai Jackson & Alan Bersten, Argentine Tango
Skai and Alan were tasked with dancing an Argentine Tango to "Everything I Wanted" by Billie Eilish while wearing costumes inspired by Bride of Chucky. It was a tremendous improvement from last week's chaos, but I'm not sure how I felt about seeing a grown-up Chucky. Carrie Ann was proud of Skai for coming back stronger than ever. Derek could tell she was on a mission to kill the routine with her determined focus and gorgeous lifts. Bruno said there wasn't a bad step in the Tango or a bad bone in this sweet girl's body. It was a trio of 9's from the judges.
Kaitlyn Bristowe & Artem Chigvintsev, Paso Doble
I love Cruella de Vil and cannot wait to see her backstory from Disney hopefully next year. Kaitlyn and Artem's Paso Doble set to Rihanna's "Disturbia" was full of attack. Derek wants to adopt Artem because he's so cute (haha, you and half of America!). He also complimented them for the challenging choreography. Bruno loved the character but thought it felt slightly rushed and the timing could have been crisper at this stage in the competition. Carrie Ann could tell she was struggling a bit this week because her elbows give out and her spirit drops. It did feel a bit forced.
I didn't want the Halloween Villains party to ever end, but it was revealed Jeannie & Brandon and Monica & Val were in jeopardy of going home this week. Bruno saved Jeannie and Brandon, while Derek saved Monica and Val based on her continued improvements. Carrie Ann was the tie-breaker, choosing to save Jeannie and Brandon. I was supportive of the judges' decision, though I didn't agree with the bottom two. How did your favorites fare this week? Are you nervous about the impending double elimination?
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8:00 PM on ABC.