With only a half dozen celebs remaining, Dancing With the Stars producers had to get creative to fill an increasingly empty ballroom floor — not to mention two hours of airtime — for Monday night’s Week 8 performance show.
But, of course, where there’s a will — and 15 million eager viewers — there’s a way. In addition to a standard ballroom dance, we also got a Trio Dance — a DWTS first — that allowed each couple to hand-select a third partner (either an eliminated pro or member of the DWTS Troupe) for another shot at striking the judges’ fancy and climbing up the leaderboard. Here’s everything you need to know about the eighth week of DWTS:
Who’s Finale-Bound? | Just when it looked like season-long front-runners William Levy, Katherine Jenkins, and Donald Driver were primed to separate themselves from the pack, tonight’s dances helped nudge some apparent also-rans right back into contention. William definitely earned that 30 for his opening Fox Trot, but was anyone else pleasantly surprised by that near-perfect Roshon opener, or his overall second-place finish for the night? With Katherine’s less-than-stellar first dance — though she more than made up for it later, especially her graceful save from a potentially disastrous wardrobe manfunction — I wonder if the Disney kid can actually ride this newfound momentum to have a real shot at the Mirrorball Trophy?
Three’s Company? | I might be veering into cranky Len territory here — and certainly Carrie Ann made it clear she loved the concept — but I’d say the first-ever trio round left me believing that when it comes to DWTS, three’s a crowd. Adding a random No. 3 back into the mix at this crucial stage only distracted from the couples still in contention, making it harder to figure out who’s worth backing, and who should be sent packing.
Quotes of the Night | “I’m the kind of guy, I don’t like so much rules, I like freedom.” –William Levy, on his attitude about the strict parameters of ballroom dance
“It’s like watching a young Mickey Rooney.” –Bruno to Roshon, after his delightful, engaging Fox Trot
“There was a little bit of a Cirque du Soleil moment going into that lift.” –Carrie Ann, about Katherine’s somewhat shaky Viennese Waltz
“Yeah, right now, about a minute and a half ago.” –Bad boy Maks (looking very sheepish), when asked by Brooke if he ever goes too far with Melissa
“All I can say is meow, meow, meow!” –Carrie Ann, about William’s Fox Trot
“There is nothing hotter than dancing with the two Chmerkovskiy’s.” –Melissa, commenting on the Trio dance
“Is it Melissa or Miss Rita Hayworth?” –Bruno to Melissa after her Trio round Samba
“You were like two skinny fries chasing the ketchup.” –Len to Roshon and Sasha, in response to their Trio dance with Chelsie
Judges’ Leaderboard (Carrie Ann, Len, Bruno: Total)
William Levy and Cheryl Burke: 10, 10, 10: 30
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower: 10, 9, 10: 29
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough: 10, 8, 19: 28
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd: 9, 9, 9: 27.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas: 8, 9, 9: 26
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 8, 8, 8: 24
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas (with Tristan MacManus): 10, 9, 10: 29
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd (featuring Karina Smirnoff): 10, 9, 9: 28
William Levy and Cheryl Burke (featuring Tony Dovolani): 9, 9, 9: 27
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower (featuring Sasha Farber): 9, 9, 9: 27
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (featuring Val Chmerkovskiy) : 9, 9, 9: 27
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough (featuring Henry Byalikov): 9, 7, 9: 25
Now it’s your turn. Did the presence of Roshon’s delightful, dance-savvy grandmothers in the rehearsal clips and in the audience inspire his best scores ever? Did William really deserve that perfect 30? What was up with potty-mouthed Maks and Derek in rehearsals this week? And what was that decorative thing on Brooke’s shoulder? Leave your comments!–Mitch Rustad