There must have been something in the water at the Dancing With the Stars ballroom on Monday night — and it wasn’t very good.
Even though the ABC reality series has reached its eighth week of competition, when every couple should be making a convincing case for the Mirrorball, most duos seemed to go backwards when it came to technique and attention to detail.
Here’s why it was especially disheartening to see so few couples rise to the occasion on Monday: Even though every season of DWTS is a fun, feel-good affair, it’s more enjoyable when it’s actually competitive. Jordan Fisher and Lindsey Stirling proved back in Week 1 that they’d be worthy of winning the title — but now, barring a dark-horse triumph from Frankie Muniz, it doesn’t seem like any of the remaining couples are legitimately threatening a win for Jordan or Lindsey. (Vanessa Lachey was making a persuasive argument for the Mirrorball, but was of course cut in last week’s surprise double elimination.)
That said, even though Season 25 hasn’t exactly been the series’ most unpredictable cycle, it’s still wholly entertaining. Before we go to the results, let’s revisit some highlights from Monday’s broadcast, which featured the traditional trio dances — this time with a former Dancing contestant serving as third wheel, instead of a troupe member.
BEST OF THE NIGHT
Jordan Fisher and pro Lindsay Arnold (Salsa with Season 17 runner-up Corbin Bleu) — I almost didn’t finish this recap at all, because I wanted to rewind my DVR over and over until this salsa no longer left my jaw hanging on the floor. From the moment Jordan and Corbin jumped down that staircase, the routine was unbelievably speedy — and not once did either of these ballroom amateurs fall out of step, miss a combination or leave Lindsay to carry them through the number. Even more impressive? Although they were surely exhausted by the time this routine reached its halfway point, neither Jordan nor Corbin ever let on that they were feeling drained. This salsa, from start to finish, was pure electricity. Judges’ Score: 30/30
BEST OF THE NIGHT (RUNNER-UP)
Frankie Muniz and pro Witney Carson (Jive with Season 19 winner Alfonso Ribeiro) — Score-wise, the other best routine of the night was really Jordan and Lindsay’s quickstep duet — but they’ve earned enough kudos in the last eight weeks. Frankie’s performance with Witney was equally fun, with a cheekiness that made Alfonso the perfect trio companion. Sure, Frankie’s still got to work on that scowling thing he does, but his command of the choreography — even in a style that terrified him — was majorly commendable. Judges’ Score: 27/30
MOST CREATIVE CONCEPT
Victoria Arlen and pro Val Chmerkovskiy (Jive with Season 23 winner Laurie Hernandez) — All told, this jive was a bit of a mess in parts; the staging of the routine, in which the studio audience was brought on to the ballroom floor, made it hard to see the trio’s fast footwork — and the parts we could see highlighted Victoria’s half-step lag behind Laurie. But technique aside, this jive told a heartwarming, nostalgic story chronicling Laurie’s Season 23 win and the subsequent bond she and Val developed with Victoria. It wasn’t a perfect dance, but it likely had you grinning from ear to ear by the time it was done. Judges’ Score: 24/30
WORST OF THE NIGHT
Drew Scott and pro Emma Slater (Cha-Cha with Season 24 winner Rashad Jennings) — Hoo boy, this was a strange grouping. Drew’s dancing has undoubtedly improved since Week 1, but when you put him next to Rashad — the reigning DWTS champion, who has insane chemistry with Emma — it’s hard to look past Drew’s shortcomings in the ballroom. On more than one occasion, it looked like Drew and Rashad were about to crash into each other during this fast-paced cha-cha, and all the fun of watching this routine was replaced by a fear that someone would go tumbling to the floor before it was over. Judges’ Score: 25/30
And now, the results:
ADVANCING TO SEMIFINALS (in order they were announced)
Jordan Fisher and pro Lindsay Arnold
Lindsey Stirling and pro Mark Ballas
Victoria Arlen and pro Val Chmerkovskiy
Drew Scott and pro Emma Slater
Frankie Muniz and pro Witney Carson
Terrell Owens and pro Cheryl Burke
OK, your turn! Did Terrell and Cheryl deserve to go home? Drop a comment below with all of your thoughts on Monday’s episode.