Dancing With the Stars Week 9 Recap: Did the Right Couple Go Home?

DWTS Season 23

Here’s a great distraction from tomorrow’s anxiety-inducing election: Let’s watch famous-ish people dance to Broadway show tunes!

Indeed, just hours before the clock strikes Election Day, Dancing With the Stars delivered a two-hour quarterfinals broadcast that was joyous, entertaining and — best of all — had nothing to do with politics. #blessed

Below, let’s revisit the most memorable performances from Monday’s “Showstoppers Night,” in which the six remaining couples paid homage to classic stage musicals.

Laurie Hernandez and pro Val Chmerkovskiy (Argentine Tango, Chicago) — Prior to Laurie and Val’s performance, I was ready to put their routine under the “Most Bizarre Song Choice” header and call it a day. And while that designation still applies — after all, Laurie is a 16-year-old, dancing to “Cell Block Tango,” a ditty about vengeful women murdering their adulterous husbands — the pair was so magnetic that the age difference hardly mattered. Not only was Laurie convincingly sexy, but she brought an incredible athleticism and power to her movements, heightening the innate drama of that particular dance style. Judges’ Score: 40/40

Jana Kramer and pro Gleb Savchenko (Waltz, Waitress) — Truth be told, I can’t listen to “She Used to Be Mine” without curling into the fetal position and sobbing — so I may or may not have had a built-in bias here. Still, there is something to be said for Jana’s deeply emotional connection to many of her performances, particularly this one about a woman coming to terms with her flaws. Jana has proven herself to be a stunning dancer regardless, but the sincerity behind her movements made the routine doubly memorable. Judges’ Score: 40/40 

Terra Jolé and pro Sasha Farber (Charleston, Sweet Charity) — With just a few weeks left in the competition, Season 23 has reached that tricky, uncomfortable milestone where a contestant like Terra is at a massive disadvantage. While her fellow contestants pull off show-stopping lifts and deeply intricate choreography, Terra physically struggles to meet the demands of Sasha’s routines, which have only recently gotten more complex. Still, despite the challenges posed by her stature, Terra totally embodied the cheeky confidence of “If My Friends Could See Me Now” — and she didn’t stumble on the fast-paced footwork nearly as much as her pre-dance video package suggested she would. Regardless of how much further she gets in the competition, it’s clear that Dancing has had a wonderfully positive effect on the reality star. Judges’ Score: 38/40

Calvin Johnson and pro Lindsay Arnold (Waltz, Cats) — Setting aside the fact that Calvin has yet to really connect with one of his performances (gah!), his waltz with Lindsay was the definition of aesthetically pleasing. Lindsay’s shimmering gown, the haunting light show, Leona Lewis’ soaring vocals… and, sure, even Calvin’s fur-trimmed jacket made the routine a joy to watch. Of course, it didn’t hurt that their waltz was elegant and fluid, too. Judges’ Score: 37/40

Plus, the six remaining couples paired off for three Team-Up routines, the results of which are denoted below:

* James/Jenna and Calvin/Lindsay — Paso Doble — Judges’ Score: 37/40

* Marilu/Derek and Terra/Sasha — Jazz — Judges’ Score: 36/40

* Jana/Gleb and Laurie/Val — Contemporary — Judges’ Score: 40/40

And, of course, the elimination verdict:

ADVANCING TO THE SEMIFINALS (in the order they were announced)
Laurie Hernandez and pro Val Chmerkovskiy
Terra Jolé and pro Sasha Farber
James Hinchcliffe and pro Sharna Burgess(/Jenna Johnson)
Calvin Johnson and pro Lindsay Arnold

Jana Kramer and pro Gleb Savchenko
Marilu Henner and pro Derek Hough

Marilu Henner and pro Derek Hough

Your turn, Dancing fans! Were Marilu and Derek the right choice for elimination? And who’s making a great case for a spot in the finale? Hit the comments below with all of your thoughts on Monday’s episode.

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