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:

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

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

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

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:

Ryan Lochte and pro Cheryl Burke
Terra Jolé and pro Sasha Farber

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.

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. Diane says:

    Time for Marilu to go next.

  2. Claire says:

    Did the right couple go home?

  3. Angela says:

    Yes to the mentions of Jana, Laurie, and James. They were so fun and enjoyable to watch tonight, and I’m so glad that James was able to still have a good dance despite all the stuff with Sharna.
    As for Ryan, he had a few good dances here and there, but I’m not bummed about him leaving. I sense Marilu will be one of the next ones to go, too, unless she really wows everyone with another dance or something.
    Also, really enjoyed seeing everyone dance to “Dead Man’s Party” at the start of the show :D. Love that song.

  4. Sara says:

    I would have preferred Marilu to go before Ryan, but I figured his time was up. He has improved so much since the first week and it was clear he was trying so hard to do something so different to what he does as an amazing swimmer. I am just happy he made it so far in the competition.

  5. Jill says:

    Should have been Marilu. Derek’s fans need to let him lose and go home. He & Marilu are miserable together.

    • Tennisnsun says:

      I sense a lot of tension between D and M. I think Bruno may have given us a clue to part of the problem when he told Marilu in review “listen to your partner”.

      • ChellemaBelle says:

        Marilu seems incredibly gifted in many facets, but this seemed to jump the rails quickly. Derek and Marilu talked incessantly at the beginning of the fast friendship, but it doesn’t feel that way in any package they show now. When you compare them against other dancers, it just doesn’t feel as genuine in respect (and literally meaning respect for the “star.”). The packages feel like the other dancers try to showcase more of the “star’s” talents, where this feels like she’s being forced into routines and not given much chance/choice. Especially when you look at Sasha, Val, Maks, and Gleb (and while not on this year– Mark and Tony).

        So admittedly, I fast forward through some packages, although really enjoy seeing a more human side to the dancers and how invested they get w/their star and designing choreography around them. Am I missing something? Is Derek always like this?

        And finally- can someone please create a showcase with Mandy Moore and Travis Wall since SYTYCD went all romper room?

  6. Veronika Fallara says:

    Finally he’s disgrace and not a star.Next week I be watching again.Can’t stand him

  7. Anita says:

    Derek Streak of making it to the Semis or quaters every season since he started being a pro continues lol I think his streak with getting at least one 10 with every partner since he started will end though. This the first time out any of his seasons he looks like he wants to be eliminated

  8. Steve Brown says:

    It was time for Ryan, even though he had improved quite a bit from the first show.
    Your Final Three will be: Laurie, James H. , & Megatron. Who wins depends on whoever has the cleanest two dances during the finals. I think this season is much too close to call- those three are that good!!

  9. Ruth Anne golab says:

    No way he was much better than Marilu..she should be gone

  10. Beth says:

    Ryan should’ve gone home before Vanilla Ice!

  11. Diane says:

    It should have been Marilu, Either Terra or Ryan next week.

  12. B. Price says:

    She really seems to not like Derek. Cut them loose.

  13. Lola says:

    I may be in the minority but I’m way passed over Terra. Talk about awkward. I feel like every season there is a underdog by disability or something that Dancing pushes to the final. They do ok but never are worthy of that spot. Terra is this seasons person.

  14. Jerry says:

    Ryan is an embarrassment to the United States and should have been eliminated weeks ago

  15. Dukewife says:

    Ryan did fine but it was either this week or next to go home for him. Get over yourselves. He’s dumb. He’s not evil and did not embarrass USA …he embarrassed himself rest of world could care less of his antics. Marilu I admire for her dancing at her age but she’s uncomfortable. I think marilu then terra will go home.

  16. lovemypug says:

    Did I miss the recap of Calvin and Lindsey? They also received a perfect 30. I figured Laurie would be a strong dancer. James and Calvin are wonderful too!

  17. Anna says:

    FINALLY Ryan goes home. He should have been out before Babyface, Vanilla Ice, and Amber … even disregarding the Olympics scandal, the man cannot dance. For most of the season he just stood there while Cheryl twirled around him. I think Marilu is a good dancer, but, you’re right, she and Derek seem so uncomfortable together and he seems … not used to being in a position where he actually needs to choreograph around the weaknesses of his partner (no shade to Marilu, but she’s 65 years old and naturally will have different challenges than Bethany/Nastia/Bindi/etc.).

    The finale will probably (rightfully) be Laurie, Calvin, and James. My money’s on Laurie (America’s sweetheart, fan vote will pull her through) but the judges seems to LOVE James.

  18. Nancy A Lemke says:

    Terra should be sent home next

  19. Rita says:

    That was the best Ryan has danced all season. He really showed improvement. I think Marilyn should have gone.

  20. Up until DWTS I have loved Marilu… she was great on Broadway and the woman can dance. I continue to blame Derek and his expectations and teaching style for her failures. She looks miserable. She looks uncomfortable. She looks terrified when she messes up. It could be as simple as their styles do not match or enough time dedicated to practice… but no matter what it is, the chemistry is not there and passion for the dance is gone. I expect they will be gone soon (expected them to leave last night – they are not getting better).

    We had 3 sets of perfect 30’s last night and each couple offered something different. And with them – we saw our final 3 (I think). Lindsay has been choreographing some strong material for her partner, upping the difficulty each week. It was sad to see Sharna sidelined but for her health and her leg, I hope she takes more time off… that said, she can still choreograph for James and he can still kill it – he was amazing – transformed into the Joker. And Laurie/Val – that was absolute perfection; it was one fluid motion.

  21. Becky says:

    I believe Marini and Derek should be eliminated. They are going downhill for some reason. Derek doesn’t seem to care. She’s a good sport, but I agree she seems timid. Seemed more confidant b4

    • Becky Steman says:

      Sorry Marilu not Marilyn. I believe Laurie, James and Calvin will be in the finals. Jana I’m not so sure. Terra impresses, but I don’t believe finalist

  22. noelle says:

    Marilu and Derek should have been an unbeatable team. But the judges have consistently underscored them and their ‘packages’ have been edited to make Derek look like a spoiled brat and Marilu like a scatterbrained klutz (which they definitely are NOT!!!). This kind of manipulation is reprehensible and I sincerely hope Mr. Hough makes this season his last!

    • C Patterson says:

      I hope this is not Derek’s last season! He is fantastic!! I agree that they could have been a great team but Marilu has psyched herself out by putting Derek on a super high pedestal and worries too much about disappointing Derek. She forgets that he always says he is there for the celebrity and there to make their experience great. I agree the package editing hasn’t been good but that is the way it has always been on this show so I never put much stock in it.

  23. C Patterson says:

    I agree that Marilu and Derek’s Argentine Tango did not go well. She does need to trust Derek more but I think her big problem is that she put him on too high of a pedestal. She said he was like a god and she told him that she thinks he is a combination of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bob Fosse, and Sting and would have said Jesus but that might have gotten them in trouble. So it seems clear to me that she has psyched herself out and made it impossible for her to relax for fear of letting him down. She needs to get it in her head that he is just a human being like her. Yes he is an extremely talented and gifted human but still just a human. What frustrates me is that she is supposed to have this incredible memory but doesn’t seem to remember the countless times Derek has said he is there for the celebrity and he doesn’t want to let them down and wants to give them his best. She needs to stop stressing and let him do his thing and let him lead her and then I think great things would happen for her. I will say that for 64 years old she has done an incredible job. Derek was flipping her around like she was in her 20’s. For her age she has done better than any other older celebrity that has ever been on.

  24. Suzy says:

    I am astounded that Marilu Henner is still on DWTS! She is so stiff and couldn’t have fouled up more on the Halloween number. Also the chemistry between Marilu and Derek has gone the way of the Dodo and it is now painful to watch them together. She should have gone instead of Ryan who is showing steady improvement!