Dancing With the Stars Halloween Night Recap: Monster's Ballroom [Updated]

Skeletons, she-devils, and werewolves populated the ballroom on this week’s Dancing With the Stars, along with a robot cohost that, possibly experiencing a sugar rush from a “fun-size” Halloween candy, briefly strayed from her cue cards in a moment of giddy awkwardness. Thank heavens for emcee Tom Booo-geron, who presided over the festivities with the kind of campy glee that was absent for too much of the 90-minute telecast.

Tom’s interaction with a giant CGI spider, his references to “Scare-old Wheeler and the Zombie Orchestra,” even his gentle chiding of Bruno’s interminable critiques added a sugary balance to the bitterness of Maksim Chmerkovskiy, muzzled either by himself or the show’s producers, treating his time on the show like the end of a long and miserable prison sentence, and treating his partner Hope Solo like a pesky inanimate object.

I couldn’t believe my eyes viewing that rehearsal footage of Maks violently twirling Hope like a broom — despite her feeble protests — then Derek coming to Hope’s aid to try to teach her the dance steps that her pro partner seemed unwilling to review. I’ve long been a Maksim fan, and I didn’t even scoff last week when he took partial credit for making DWTS what it is — so have all the pros, really! — but regardless of his feud with the judges, it’s his job to bring out the best in his celebrity partner and to entertain the audience, not act like a mean-spirited child who drops a turd in the Halloween candy bowl.

Anyhow, let’s review how Halloween Week played out:

Dance of the Night: Team Paso (Paso Doble)
No surprise that the judges used the “group dance” round to put some distance between their favored child Ricki and her biggest threat for the mirrorball (J.R.) — heck, even Hope is ahead of J.R. on the leaderboard now! — but frankly, Team Paso earned its big advantage. The synchronized cape-whipping was a delight, and each spotlighted duet was sensational — especially the suddenly steely Hope and Maks. The whole shebang was so fun, I even got a laugh from Rob Kardashian sharing that his work with Derek and Maks increased his sexual confidence. (!)

Runner-Up: Ricki Lake and Derek Hough (Paso Doble)
Granted, we’ve already seen Ricki and Derek do the victim-predator act to more spectacular effect — who can forget their “Psycho” tango? — but this week’s performance as Little Red Riding Hood and Big Bad Wolf (set to Beyoncé’s “Sweet Dreams”) was full of attack and panache. Ricki’s series of skirt-lifted spins was so lightning fast I gasped with glee, although her rehearsal package raised two questions: Why was that random armoire sitting in the corner of the room? And what kind of doctor doesn’t raise even the slightest objection to his patient’s decision to continue a ballroom dancing competition despite a badly inflamed nerve in her rib? Curious and curious-er.

Will Go Home: Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus (Jive)
The show’s producers did everything short of setting up a tripwire to send Nancy into a nasty faceplant to indicate this should be her final week of competition. I mean, seriously, a ballroom dance set to “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”? Why not just set her Jive to the music of the Emergency Broadcast Signal? Alas, Nancy obliged with a dance full of stilted movements, “what’s happening to me?” facial expressions, and even a devil-horns malfunction. The woman might be a bit of a grouch, but did she really need Brooke kicking off her post-dance interview by blurting, “You’re 52!”

Should Go Home: Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Samba)
Hope certainly showed improvement this week with her Samba, but while Carrie Ann was correct that the soccer star showed a “brightness of spirit” (or in other words, her facial expression didn’t resemble someone headed for the guillotine), there’s still something painfully labored about the way she moves across the floor. In other words, Maks and Hope aren’t nearly exciting enough as a dancing duo to make up for the absence of jaunty fun in their rehearsal and post-dance interview footage. Anyone notice how Maks was deliberately mute this week, or how Hope pretty much dissed her pro’s teaching style by noting Maks’ rehearsal sub (DWTS Troupe’s Teddy) “actually helped me learn this very quickly.” Yikes.

Deserved a Special ’10!’ Paddle for Costume Alone: J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff (Tango)
I can’t even remember what J.R. was wearing, and I don’t even care if their dance had a couple of flaws (although, to my untrained eye, the footwork looked equal parts fleet and complicated). Let’s talk about Karina’s ethereal white feather cape over a nude bodysuit with sequined skeleton! Frock of the season, and most definitely among DWTS‘ Top 5 garments of all-time! Add this to the list of reasons I’m rooting with every bone in my skeleton to see Karina hoist that Mirrorball Trophy at season’s end. (C’mon, hasn’t Derek won enough?)

Only People Who Seem to Still Be Fully Embracing the Camp: David Arquette and Kym Johnson (Cha Cha Cha)
David probably isn’t going to show much more of the “improvement” the judges seem to emphasize in their weekly critiques, but I can’t help but enjoy any contestant daft/game enough to channel a “vampire magician,” rock white spats over his black patent-leather shoes, and gleefully endure a silly-string malfunction at the end of his performance. I just wonder what trick got misplaced backstage, which of their rivals stole it (oh, c’mon, you know someone did!), and whether ot not David knew he had the aforementioned silly string attached to his heel as he sprinted up the stairway to get his scores.

Brace Yourselves for Their Inevitable Sprint to the Finals: Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke (Tango)
DWTS is all but acknowledging that Season 13 is all about Ricki, J.R., and a Third Person to Be Determined at the Last Possible Moment. Increasingly, though, it seems like the judges, producers, and now even Robo Brooke Burke are pushing for that third person to be the brother of that chick who filed for divorce after 72 days of her televised-for-profit wedding and yet still doesn’t get any protests about how she’s an affront to the sanctity of marriage. Did you notice how Brooke broke from her cue cards and demanded the “non-P.C. answer” from Rob to her query about whether he could envision himself in the finals? Why is it so hard to see David and Kym or Nancy and Tristan or even Carson and Anna or Chynna and Tony in that slot? (Okay, so two out of four have already been booted. Still…) To their credit, Rob and Cheryl did a nice job of bringing to life The Addams Family theme, but to my eyes, this guy still looks like he’s lumbering around the floor and desperately trying to follow Cheryl’s lead — the same way he has since Week 1.

Injury That Need Not Be Verbalized in Future Episodes
“My right butt cheek is killing me.” –Rob Kardashian

Line of the Night
“There’s nothing wrong with a bum as long as you know what to do with it!” –Crazy-person Bruno “critiquing” Rob’s dance

Brooke-ism of the Night
“Vote, or somebody could be leaving the ballroom.” Um, honey, somebody is leaving the ballroom whether or not I vote. That’s how your show works!

And now, for this week’s scores

Judges’ Leaderboard (Carrie Ann, Len, Bruno: Total + Team Dance Score)
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough: 9, 9, 9: 27 (+26) = 53
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke: 9, 8, 8: 25 (+26) = 51
Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 8, 8, 8: 24 (+26) = 50
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff: 9, 8, 8: 25 (+23) = 48
David Arquette and Kym Johnson: 8, 8, 8: 24 (+23) = 47
Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus: 7, 7, 7: 21 (+23) = 44

What did you think of this week’s DWTS? Who was your favorite couple? Where do you stand on the Maksim-Hope partnership? Who do you think will and should go home? Sound off below! And for all my reality TV news and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Erika says:

    My votes went to Ricki and Rob. I think Nancy will go home. The biggest headline of the night to me was Maks’ mistreatment bordering on abuse of Hope. Maks needs to be put in his place and be axed from the show next season.

    • Stacie says:

      Maks and Hope are one of the most awkward pairings I’ve seen since Master P and Ashley. Maks just doesn’t care at all anymore, or at least this season. Hope rather be with anyone but Maks, she’d probably step on Mak’s bum toe to dance with someone else. Sometimes I disagree with the judges and think they are off, but last week I actually agreed with them. Although they went a little far, Hope really isn’t so good.

      I like Tristan and I actually like Nancy but I think tonight was her last dance. Should be her this week, Hope next week, then David. Final 3 based on talent and improvement is Rob, JR and Ricki.

    • CA says:

      “mistreatment bordering on abuse” — is that what really happened…or is that what the producers wanted us to see thanks to some clever editing?

      • Gitte says:

        Did you see the way he threw Hope around in the group rehearsal? And he hit her hard on her shoulders – the producers had nothing to do with that.
        Hope seemed to learn better when Teddy and Derek was teaching her.

      • Lauri says:

        How you can “edit” someone hitting and then violently twirling around their partner? They can’t make you look like a jerk if you don’t give them the material to do so.

        • sandy says:

          When my daughter and I are watching what is supposed to be a fun, dancing show and I have to talk to her about not ever letting a man hit her or push her like Maks did Hope, there is a problem! Maks needs to feign illness, and let the Troop dancer take over. Hope, little girls are watching you…..please stand up for yourself and say enough is enough!

        • JO says:

          I think CA has a point. And if Maks really was abusing her, why hasn’t Hope (who looks like she can handle herself) not stood up and walked out. And why is she going out saying things this week like “Maks stood up for me last week”, etc, etc, etc.

      • H says:

        Maybe I’m wrong about this because I can’t remember all the past seasons, but I’m not sure it is the editing and producers. I mean, I’m sure they’re milking it but Maks has been like that before. He has been physical with partners and verbally abusive. I believe he was with Brandy one year and was treating her the same way, it was really uncomfortable to watch because I thought it was a little abusive then.

    • Bruno says:

      I just don’t see any chemistry when Hope and Maks dance together. He is a bully and a tyrant. Professional dancer or not, his arrogance has completely lost him a fan base. I was glad he finally kept his yap shut last night. I said it last week, the “dancers” need to keep quiet because we are not interested in anything they have to say. This show has given them fame and fortune, they should learn to just keep quiet and stop with the ridiculous phone gestures at the end. It is beyond pathetic. Looking forward to Hope’s tell all about what a brute Maks really is. I hope they don’t ask him back next season.

    • janet knight says:

      every year except for last year the hollywood elite choose the winner, last year steerler nation chose the winner, I being one of them, but “here we go” hollywood has choosen their winner and the disco ball has already been won by ricki and derek, end of story…

    • JudyVee says:

      I also thought Maks very much manhandled Hope – actually gasped a little when I saw it. He is now pretty much on my *&%$#%& list.

  2. Spencer says:

    Aww, I really like Nancy. But it seems as if no one else does…..

    • Brandon R. says:

      I do too! And I was SO not looking forward to her joining the show at all. (She annoyed me in everything I’ve seen her in previously, to no end.) I think she’s really showing a different, kind of vulnerable side of herself that’s really interesting to see, and her dancing’s really improved. Her and Tristan have their share of arguments, but they really seem to genuinely like each other. Tonight was kind of an off night for her, though. I didn’t catch much of the show, but it didn’t really look like a jive. I hope she stays, but it might be her last week going off how she did tonight.

    • Joyce Pendleton says:

      I Like Nancy too. I would really like to see her win. Really.

    • Dana says:

      I like Nancy, but I love Tristan more!

      • 2dogmom says:

        Copy that on Tristan!!! He needs to replace Maks. His comments on how a pro should ‘never physically handle a star’ reflect his maturity and highlight Maks immaturity. Go Irish!

    • Rebecca says:

      I like her too! She’s giving it her all and showing different sides of her personality. I’d much rather have her around than the wooden Hope and sullen Maks.

  3. Miss says:

    I LOVE Maks. He’s my reason for watching the show since none of the “Stars” are doing it for me this season. I loved what he had to say to the judges last week, agreed with every word and was cheering him on. But this week, something was definitely off with him. :/ He was walking off camera and away from Hope when the camera was still on them backstage, then away from his team after they danced. Hope just went back to the couch and Maks went off camera. So I don’t know if he’s just having a bad week or what but he definitely wasn’t his funny charming self. And I don’t think the cracks Hope was making that made him look bad were helping. “Teddy came in and just made me learn the dance really fast” as if to say that Maks doesn’t do that. Hopefully they will be back next week and so will his normal spirit.

    Perosnally I think Nancy should go home.

    • Karen says:

      “And I don’t think the cracks Hope was making that made him look bad were helping. “Teddy came in and just made me learn the dance really fast” as if to say that Maks doesn’t do that.”

      It wasn’t “as if to say”….it was a fact…I’m sure she doesn’t respond well to Maks. He looked bad and deserved to be outted with his abusive behavior.

      Think Maks will be back next season?

    • Kim R says:

      I have always been a Maks fan. Last week I was with him as he stood up for Hope & for Chaz against unequal judging standards…but..this week he was acting like a petulant child. I disappointed for sure. The edit was interesting in what the producers chose to air but it doesn’t take away from the fact that it happened in the first place. Maks was being verbally if not physically abusive to Hope. They obviously have no love lost between them at this point. She gave it back to him in the post-dance interview which just added fuel. I don’t think they deserve to go home for their dancing skills but won’t be surprised if they do because of Maks’ attitude this week. If he doesn’t want the producers to edit him in this light, he should stop giving them material to work with. :)

  4. DAnn says:

    One question – why is it every season (or so it seems) we are treated to “Derek’s poor partner dances through the pain” or “Watch Derek being taken away in an ambulance and yet returning to triumph”? Dancing with the Stars is tough on everybody and if you can’t get votes with the dancing, you shouldn’t go for the sympathy vote. I was also taken aback at Ricki’s face when they cut to her in the skybox. i am going to assume that she was in pain and not the very poor sport she appeared to be.

    • dan says:

      I noticed Ricki’s sourpuss face also. She never smiled and barely clapped for the other contestants. I thought that maybe she was in pain or maybe she was just a nervous wreck, but I’m thinking she just isn’t a team player. The comraderie with the guys (JR, Rob and David) is hysterical; the women (Nancy, Hope and Ricki) barely seem to acknowledge one another. As for Maks: he never made eye contact with the judges and clearly was out of his comfort zone (ie: he wasn’t the focus of the show…clearly that light has passed to JR and Derek this season). Both Maks and Ricki come across as poor sports and Hope just looks miserable!

    • Marilyn says:

      Ricki may be good, but I cannot wait for her to go home which looks like it will be after the finals. She is a constant whiner, and seems like a lot of work as a person and snide.

  5. Sam says:

    i do realize that the rehearsal packages are edited to show what the producers want us to perceive…what I can’t believe is that if, and that’s a big if, Maks was being abusive to Hope, why didn’t Rob, Derek, Cheryl, or Rikki, or the cameraperson, step in and say something to him. Or call security?

  6. HarleySportster883 says:

    I miss Louie!

  7. ady says:

    I don’t think team paso was that much better as the judges made it seem, the choreography was better but the actual dancing was on the same level on both teams, hope and maks solo section was definitely not sensational,once again she looks like maks is dragging her across the floor and rob is just stomping while trying to catch up with Cheryl. i hope to god he doesn’t make the finals ’cause i can’t stand seeing the kardashians, they need to disappear already.
    i hope the third person in the finals is david, he’s actually enjoying himself and not taking it too seriously, he may not be technically great but i always enjoy his performances and he makes me giggle.
    Ricky is very very lucky to have Derek, i’m not sure how good she would look on the dance floor with a different partner, i wanna see her do a fast Latin: samba or cha cha but right now i would say i think JR is a slightly better dancer.
    Nancy and Tristan are one the couples i most look forward to seeing their rehearsal package, people seem to misinterpret it and think they don’t like each other but i see a affection between them and and all their little spats are just sarcastic humor and Tristan is just too cute to handle, i mean HOW CUTE IS HE?!
    Hope and maks should go tonight and be out of their and our misery.
    and finally Karina looked INCREDIBLE!!! i really hope she gets the credit she deserves and wins it this season.

  8. Lisa says:

    The producers always put together their edited packages to get the audience cheering/jeering for certain couples every season. The funny thing is, it works since we’re all here giving our opinions, me included haha.

    Maks has always been a bully, some seasons not as bad as others, but that’s because his female celeb also has a strong personality who puts him in his place very quickly. When he has those celebs, they have great chemistry together, when he doesn’t, we get to see the bully, egotistical, poor loser side of him.

    What does it say of the producers who use it to try and win viewers? Time to tell Maks to suck it up, this is the way the show plays out, which he’s gained popularity and cash, or take your sore loser attitude and find another gig.

    I’m sure the professionals go through a lot, we all see the frustration, but an abusive bully mentality isn’t cool. I like Maks, but it’s time to move on Maks, your abusive image is not appealing.

  9. I Heart Damon Salvatore (and Chuck Bass) says:

    Once again, Derek gets functional music while everybody else gets campy songs they have trouble creating routines around. Could TPTB at least try to be a little more subtle? Like I’m too dumb to notice JR gets “Ghostbusters” while Derek gets a popular song that was released in the past two years?

    And if I never see another “Derek/Derek’s partner is injured but soldiers on for the sake of the dance!” story it’ll be too soon.

  10. pteop says:

    I agree that Karina should be lifting the mirror ball trophy this year. Her choreography has been great and J.R. is just a joy to watch. I know that Derek is awesome but I’d like to see what he could do with one of the less talented “stars”. Also, Karina & J.R. got the worst music of the night – Tango to Ghostbusters? Who the heck came up with that one? Hope and Maks need to go. She can’t dance and they can’t stand each other. They’re adding nothing to the show. I have to disagree with you about Rob K though. I think he’s actually doing a pretty good job and his willingness to play along with whatever they throw his way is charming. Much more personality than his sister, for sure.

  11. Brooks55 says:

    Sorry….but I don’t get all the hate for Ricki unless it’s because she happens to be partnered with Derek. Her performances week in and week out have been spot on and her improvement tangible. I like JR as well and believe that the trophy should/will go to one of them. As for Hope….well, there isn’t any! To me, she is just further proof that being a world class athlete does not a dancer make, e.g, Monica Seles. She lacks the “musicality”, grace and emotion needed to really sell her dancing even when her footwork is technically accurate. Just my two cents…..

  12. Lucky says:

    Love Tristan! That brogue is so damn adorable, and he’s a great dancer too.

  13. Robert M. Cerello says:

    J.R. is miles ahead of every other contestant. Both his routines had footwork, urns and command no one could begin to touch. The competition is being fixed by the producers against judging actual dance–this by allowing strange costumes, inequalities in music, not having contestants do the same dance and comments about performance by judges who know better than don’t reflect the scores the give in proportion to complaints or praise nor the difficulty, total content nor professionalism of the routine. J.R.’s group dance singles presentation was the best dancing of the evening, again. If he doesn’t win,. the show is over as far s am concerned. Maybe now that Nancy is going home after a game try, we can get to real dancing by those left.

  14. ron says:

    I miss the Tuesday night recap/just performance show. I got a whole different take on the dancing, without the backstage drama !

  15. GingerSnap says:

    I think Max decided to rein it in this week, and keep his mouth shut. If he doesn’t return next season, I can’t blame him. He has said Freedom of Speech is very important to him, so the folks at DWTS have obviously told him to keep quiet.
    As far as his treatment of Hope, Len has accused Hope of “not working hard enough.” I think Max is competitive and wants to do well. Hope has said she is a “perfectionist”. So he pushes her because that’s what athletes know. I don’t think it’s abusive, but it makes people uncomfortable. Walk along an NFL sideline during a game, if you want to hear abuse. Winning is everything in that sport.
    Historically, Maks has been paired with women who are competitive and want to excel. Consider the following partners: Laila Ali, Mel B, Misty Mae Traynor, Erin Andrews, Brandy, Kirstie Alley. Except for Misty Mae, they all finished in the top 3 or higher. They paired Hope with Maks because they thought she would do well because of her athleticism. Except she has no musicality, no femininity, and no grace. She wants to do well, but can’t. Easy way out is to blame it on Maks. But the truth is, if he has a willing partner, he can push them to excel. I don’t think Hope has it in her to better. No sorrow if she goes home tonight or next week, but it would be a terrible loss for the show if Maks decides not to come back next year.

  16. Lana says:

    GingerSnap, I agree that we need Maks in our DWTS life. He was rough with Hope but it was after all those mean “DIGS” at Maks, and they were meant to be mean. She has been a poor sport since the beginning and its the first time I’ve seen that attitude on this show. I’ve never seen a star act like that since the beginning and I pray I don’t see it again. Personnaly, as a female I would like to smack Hope myself!! It doesn’t excuse Maks but I feel Maks frustration.

  17. I could not believe the way Maks punched Hope’s shoulder and then dragged her around. You could tell the others were not happy and didn’t quite know what to do. Glad the others stepped in and helped Hope. Maks needs to go, he has a bad attitude. Of course Dereck is given the best music and Ricki looks like she is being dragged around half the time by Dereck. She is good but Dereck moves her arms and keeps her balanced. Love David and Kim, so funny and cute. Tristin and Nancy have fun together, love their joking. My favorite are J.R. and Karina. They have a good chemistry and truly care about each other. J R. is an amazing man and a great dancer. He got cheated with that stupid Ghostbuster song. And team Tango had the best chemistry and you oould see they really cared for each other.