Dancing With the Stars Week 8 Recap: Did the Right Couple Go Home?

How did it already get to be Week 8 of Dancing With the Stars? (The same way your local mall started in with the Christmas decorations.)

Like it or not, though, it’s time to start seriously contemplating the inevitable “Who the Heck Is Going to Win the Mirrorball Trophy?” question. With just seven couples left vying for that highly coveted prize, Monday’s two-hour “America’s Choice”-themed show featured icon tributes, an Immunity Challenge and an interesting/historic first – real-time voting by the fans (on ABC.com) during the episode-concluding, head-to-head dance-offs. Talk about pressure!

That said, let’s high-kick right to the highlights, rank tonight’s Top 10 dances/moments and reveal tonight’s results.

10. Andy Grammer and pro Allison Holker Vs. Alek Skarlatos and pro Lindsay Arnold (Samba Dance Off) | This gets the Hot Mess of the Night award: Wacky flips, mysterious hand-springs and very little samba. Judges’ Score: 3-0 in favor of Andy & Allison; America’s score: Andy & Allison (54%)

9. Andy Grammer and pro Allison Holker (Viennese Waltz) | Finesse that frame, Andy! Thought the judges frowned on his overall technique, everyone was moved by Andy’s inspired heart-on-his-sleeve performance. Judges’ Score: 22/30

8. Alexa PenaVega and pro Mark Ballas (Argentine Tango) | Two little slip-ups stood out, but while judge Carrie Ann Inaba called this David & Goliath-inspired performance “epic,” Alexa’s post-dance growls revealed her frustration. Judges’ Score: 25/30

7. Alek Skarlatos and pro Lindsay Arnold (Contemporary) | A collapsed lift (or was it a missed catch?) aside, this not-so-perfect dance still enthralled the ballroom with its raw power and free-flowing emotion. Judges’ Score: 25/30

6. Bindi Irwin and pro Derek Hough vs. Carlos PenaVega and pro Witney Carson (Jive Dance Off) | The judges were in accord on this one – it was thrilling, unexpected, and all about Carlos & Whitney. But did the fans at home see a whole difference dance? Judges’ Score: Unanimous for Carlos & Whitney; America’s Score: Bindi & Derek (64%)

5. Tamar Braxton and pro Val Chmerkovskiy vs. Alexa PenaVega and pro Mark Ballas (Cha Cha Dance Off) | Sex appeal, hips gone wild, and runaway energy dominated, but once again, the judges did not see eye-to-eye with America. Judges’ Score: Tamar & Val 2, Alexa & Mark 1; America’s Score: Alexa & Mark (76%)

4. Carlos PenaVega and pro Witney Carson (Salsa) | Stripping off his shirt mid-dance, Carlos displayed major pec-power and “armography” (according to judge Bruno Tonioli) for a sizzling start to the night. Judges’ Score: 27/30

3. Bindi Irwin and pro Derek Hough (Foxtrot) | Featuring elegance, energy and non-stop fun – minus that pesky shoulder issue that judge Julianne Hough and Bruno keep complaining about – this beautiful dance brought the ballroom to its feet. Judges’ Score: 28/30

2. Tamar Braxton and pro Val Chmerkovskiy (Paso Doble) | This high-energy powerhouse of a dance showcased Tamar’s best (“the flavor of Spain was tangible!” gushed Bruno) and worst (Carrie Ann said she lifted her foot-gah!). Judges’ Score: 28/30

1. Nick Carter and pro Sharna Burgess (Contemporary) | “A love poem perfectly visualized through dance,” is how Bruno described this stunning, tear-inducing performance, which dazzled all the judges and was in a word — both aesthetically and numerically — perfection. Judges’ Score: 30/30

And now the results…

FINAL THREE COUPLES LEFT “IN JEOPARDY”
Andy Grammer and pro Allison Holker
Alexa PenaVega and pro Mark Ballas
Carlos PenaVega and pro Witney Carson

FINAL TWO COUPLES LEFT “IN JEOPARDY”
Carlos PenaVega and pro Witney Carson
Andy Grammer and pro Allison Holker

ELIMINATED
Andy Grammer and pro Allison Holker

“It’s been a really sweet process to help me kind of grieve through it,” said Andy of his DWTS experience, which he dedicated to the memory of his mom. Then he went out with a real bang, hitting the ballroom floor one last time for a very jaunty hand-spring — and a bow! Well done, Andy!

And with that, it’s your turn. Did the right couple really go home? Sound off in the comments!