Dancing With the Stars Week 7 Recap: Did the Right Couples Go Home?

DWTS Season 25

Much like that bowl of assorted candy you’ll be offering to trick-or-treaters Tuesday night, Dancing With the Stars‘ Halloween episode was a mixed bag.

Though some celebrities’ performances were scary good, others had me watching through my fingers for fear that a massive misstep was just around the corner. (And in the case of Drew Scott and Emma Slater, it was. Curse you, slippery special-effects fog!)

But the evening’s biggest scare didn’t come from a dance; it came from host Tom Bergeron, who revealed in the final seconds of the broadcast that there would be a double elimination, and the two couples awaiting their fate on the ballroom steps would both be going home.

First, let’s revisit some memorable moments from Monday’s spook-tacular:

Frankie Muniz and pro Witney Carson (Contemporary) — In true Muniz fashion, Frankie followed up his worst performance of the season — last week’s abominable jazz — with his very best. This creepy contemporary was utterly hypnotizing, from the hip-hop-infused opening sequence with Frankie at the window, to the high-energy lifts for which Frankie provided a sturdy, solid foundation. Given Frankie’s roller coaster season, there’s no telling what next week will bring; but this time, his appearance on the dance floor was simply fantastic. Judges’ Score: 30/30

Terrell Owens and pro Cheryl Burke (Tango)
— From a technical standpoint, Terrell and Cheryl were actually among the night’s strongest performers — and proper tango technique is no cakewalk. But compared to last week’s sensational jive, Monday’s routine was sorely lacking in energy. When Terrell bared his fangs to the camera, or conjured a fire with a flourish of his hand, or “bit” Cheryl at the end of the number, there wasn’t enough electricity behind those movements. The duo’s steps were spot-on, but technique only goes so far without the enthusiasm to match. Judges’ Score: 25/30

Lindsey Stirling and pro Mark Ballas (Paso Doble) — Usually, when a Dancing contestant struggles through an injury, it’s hard to tell that they’re experiencing any pain, leading to a flurry of “I completely forgot you were hurt!” comments from the judges. That wasn’t the case for Lindsey this time; after dislocating a rib during last Monday’s show (and worsening the injury during rehearsals this week), Lindsey was visibly tense during this paso doble, and some of her movements were cut short when they should have been elongated. Fortunately, Lindsey powered through both her duet with Mark and her team dance later in the episode, and she deserves endless kudos for braving the live show. But her performance, even though it was far from a horror movie, still had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Judges’ Score: 27/30

Victoria Arlen and pro Val Chmerkovskiy (Viennese Waltz) — Every week, I keep hoping that Victoria and Val will have that routine, the one that puts them at the top of the leaderboard and cements their reputation as contenders for the Mirrorball. And every week, they fall a little short. It’s not that these two don’t have a wonderful chemistry, or that Victoria isn’t a lovely dancer. But in a season full of innovative routines, perhaps it’s Val’s low-stakes choreography concepts that have held this duo back. Monday’s Viennese waltz was expectedly elegant and well-executed — but without rewinding my DVR, I couldn’t tell you a single moment that truly stuck out. Judges’ Score: 27/30

The Halloween installment also featured the first team dances of Season 25. Team Monster Mash — including Jordan, Lindsey, Terrell and Nikki — scored 24 out of 30, while Team Phantom of the Ballroom — made up of Victoria, Frankie, Drew and Vanessa — earned 30 out of 30.

And now, the results:

Terrell Owens and pro Cheryl Burke
Nikki Bella and pro Artem Chigvintsev
Drew Scott and pro Emma Slater
Vanessa Lachey and pro Maks Chmerkovskiy

Nikki Bella and pro Artem Chigvintsev
Vanessa Lachey and pro Maks Chmerkovskiy

Your turn! Do you agree with Vanessa and Nikki’s eliminations? Drop all of your thoughts on Monday’s episode in a comment below.

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