DWTS Season 23

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

In the spirit of Halloween, Dancing With the Stars‘ Oct. 31 outing offered up plenty of sweet treats — but plenty of grisly horrors, too.

For every tearjerking Viennese waltz — thanks for ruining my makeup, Laurie and Val — there was an Argentine tango full of awkward limbs and missed steps. Plus, Monday’s episode reintroduced the dreaded dance-offs, which might not exactly be fun for the contestants — but if it gives Gleb Savchenko an excuse to take his shirt off, I can’t say I’m mad about it.

Let’s break down the evening’s best and worst routines:

BEST OF THE NIGHT
James Hinchcliffe and pro Jenna Johnson (Viennese Waltz) — Despite getting paired with a new partner, after Sharna was sidelined by a ligament injury, James more than delivered the magnetic intensity required of his Joker alter ego. His chemistry with Jenna was natural, his waltz was graceful (and, when appropriate, sexy) and his commitment to nailing the routine, even alongside a new dancer, was evident throughout. Judges’ Score: 30/30

BEST OF THE NIGHT (RUNNER-UP)
Laurie Hernandez and pro Val Chmerkovskiy (Viennese Waltz) —  Come with me, and you’ll be in a world where Val cries in rehearsal. (All together now: Awww.) After getting emotional about his adoration for Laurie, Val and his effervescent partner delivered what may have been their strongest routine of the season. Sure, their waltz was full of clean lines and fluid footwork — but even more memorable was the sincerity and unabashed glee they brought to the performance. Judges’ Score: 30/30

MOST ENTERTAINING
Jana Kramer and pro Gleb Savchenko (Jazz) — Jana and Gleb might never be able to top their sensual, rain-soaked Argentine tango that earned them a perfect 40 just weeks ago. But during Monday’s jazz routine, Jana seemed to have more fun than she’s experienced all season, kicking and flicking and splitting her way through a massively enjoyable performance. She was light on her feet, at total ease with Gleb and — best of all — seemingly unconcerned with the numbers that showed up on Carrie Ann, Julianne and Bruno’s paddles moments later. Judges’ Score: 27/30

WORST OF THE NIGHT
Marilu Henner and pro Derek Hough (Argentine Tango) — Setting aside Ryan and Cheryl’s performance — which was also among the night’s duds — Marilu and Derek’s routine was even more disappointing because they have such potential. After all, Marilu’s got the dance background, the dedication and, seriously, those legs. But her partnership with Derek, quite frankly, is a bit uncomfortable; she seems downright terrified to mess up in front of him, and when she does begin to bungle the choreography, their dances never quite recover. When Marilu and Derek are on, they’re on. But when they’re off, as they were on Monday, it’s hard to see them lasting much longer in the competition. Judges’ Score: 23/30

And now, the results:

TWO COUPLES IN JEOPARDY
Ryan Lochte and pro Cheryl Burke
Terra Jolé and pro Sasha Farber

ELIMINATED
Ryan Lochte and pro Cheryl Burke

With that, I hand it over to you. Did Ryan and Cheryl deserve to be sent home? Hit the comments with all of your thoughts on Monday’s Halloween episode.