All week long, ABC has been promising a surprise in the first minutes of Week 7 on "Dancing With the Stars." What would it be? A double elimination? The permanent departure of head judge Len Goodman? The return of the results show? Nope -- Cher will be performing next week AND serving as guest judge while Len takes another week off for "Strictly Come Dancing" in England. Sigh.
And this week, it's time for ... team dances! The couples were divided into "Team Spooky Bom Bom" and "Team Foxing Awesome," each named for the popular songs to which the pairs would be dancing. Of course, each couple must also do an individual dance, making for long, tiring rehearsals with everyone dealing with exhaustion and/or injuries. Co-host Brooke Burke Charvet, clad in a semi-see-through gown that looked like a spider web, offered some relief (to both dancers and viewers) by limiting her interviews.
There was a great opening number, choreographed by Emmy-nominated Mandy Moore. It kicked off a crazy night, and unlike last week, one couple was eliminated. After all had done their individual dances, host Tom Bergeron made an announcement prior to the team dances that after adding the judges' scores from last week and this week with viewers' votes, one couple from "Team Spooky Bom Bom" would be going home. Bet that made dancing a tad difficult!
Both teams danced, but Team Spooky Bom Bom was doomed. As the dramatic music played out, the team members -- Elizabeth and Val, Nicole and Sasha, Leah and Tony, and Bill and Emma - waited. Elizabeth and Val, and Leah and Tony were safe to dance next week. Emma shoved her head into Bill's shoulder and he put his arm around her, preparing for the worst. And then Tom declared that Nicole and Sasha had been eliminated. Total shock on Emma's face! Disbelief for Nicole as she, at first, refused to come off the stage. In tears, she said, "I can't even talk right now." It was a real stunner since she had been improving and received three 9s tonight. I guess her fan base wasn't nearly as strong as everyone thought it was.
Nicole did try to make a joke of the team's outfits as zombies, saying, "Why am I leaving a zombie?" Then through tears, "I love everybody here, so it sucks."
After seeing someone near the middle of the scoring be shown the door should send notice to all of the couples still in the competition. Judging by the level of the individual dances, they already had that in mind.
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Val Chmerkovskiy -- quickstep
The pair, who earned a 30 last week, did a great quickstep, usually a killer dance for couples. With a bit of humor added, they impressed the judges. Len called it "a UFO: utterly full on. That's the way to start the show." Judge Bruno Tonioli agreed with Len's criticism that there was not enough full body contact, but said it was a good job, and judge Carrie Ann Inaba said she was so much improved and complimented Elizabeth on her hold.
Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd -- jive
The dance was smooth and quick until Brant tripped on Peta's skirt that was ripped off as part of the routine. He said that he figured they were going to get low scores, but the judges gave them all 9s. Bruno called Brant "a frisky school boy on a candy high" and said it was well done, Carrie Ann praised him for not missing a single step, and Len like his energy, attack and enthusiasm -- "Good on you!"
Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani -- salsa
After struggling through the routine in rehearsal, Leah performed confidently. Carrie Ann told her she was "in the zone," and Len liked the mix of steps and the dance kept his interest. However, he did think that one or two (of the many) lifts was not clean enough. Bruno called her "salsalicious." It was only then that Leah revealed that she was suffering from a rib injury but told Tony to leave in all of the lifts. Good for her!
Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke -- jive
Jack seemed worn out during rehearsals but looked fresh as a daisy during the dance. Both Len and Bruno spoke of how light Jack is on his feet, and Len thought he had great musicality. Carrie Ann called the routine, "perfectly suited to you," then broke her paddle giving the pair a 10. Tom asked Jack, "You didn't see that score coming, did you?" And Jack said, "No. I'm built for comfort, not for speed."
Amber Riley and Derek Hough -- paso doble
Rumors of Derek suffering from severe back pain, added to Amber's knee problems, did not bode well for this dance. But the pair proved everyone wrong as they burned up the floor with the dance. Bruno said Amber "danced with the attack of a demon," and Carrie Ann shouted, "You slayed the beast again" as she knocked off her bracelet. Carrie Ann was having quite a night. And Len said Amber "captured the essence of the dance." Everyone was a bit silly -- after Bruno only gave them a 9, not a 10, Len said, "This girl is full of talent. I won't tell you what Bruno is full of."
Bill Engvall and Emma Slater -- quickstep
With a Las Vegas theme and Bill dressed as Elvis, the pair attempted a quickstep that got a bit sloppy in parts. Carrie Ann complimented him on not breaking hold but said the hold didn't support the dance. Len said there was speed and energy but that some of the technique got lost, and Bruno said he had a good go, although there were a couple of missteps.
Nicole Polizzi and Sasha Farber -- samba
Nicole had a really bad week of rehearsals. Her son was sick and she wasn't sleeping, so she was very grumpy and worried that she couldn't remember the routine. However, it looked good and Len said that dancing "at that speed with rhythm and control is pretty good." Bruno told her that once she was in the groove, it was great, and Carrie Ann cautioned her that she had to extend her movements.
Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff -- cha-cha-cha
After last week's miserable scores, it could only go up for this pair. The routine changed every day and Corbin admitted that he only felt it came together five minutes before they danced. Bruno said Corbin was "back in sparkling form," and Carrie Ann said it was the tightest cha-cha that she had ever seen. "You killed it!" Len said there was lovely, crisp footwork but there was too much "gyrating."
Then it was time for the team dances. The two highest-scoring pairs (Amber and Derek, and Elizabeth and Val) tossed a coin and then picked teams. "Team Spooky Bom Bom" adopted a Halloween theme of zombies in a graveyard, with Bill as the caretaker. The costumes should make any party-goer jealous -- they were fantastic. But the dance had some flaws. Len said the parts together were tight and that the individual bits were fun. Bruno said he didn't know he could have so much fun with the walking dead, and Carrie Ann said she was thoroughly entertained. All called Bill the "glue that held it together." Each judge gave the team a 9 for a total of 27 to be added to their scores.
Then it was "Team Foxing Awesome's" turn. The team -- Amber and Derek, Corbin and Karina, Jack and Cheryl, and Brant and Peta -- were dressed in fox tails and ears to perform to "What Does the Fox Say?" a crazy hit on YouTube. At the end, the guys all changed to complete fox outfits. With most of the strong dancers, the routine was tight and good, and the solos were all strong. Bruno said it was clever and inventive, and the choreography gave him goosebumps. Carrie Ann said she felt like she was on an acid trip, and Len simple stood and applauded. They gave the team a perfect score of 30.
The celebrities; judges' score; last week's judges' score; plus team score:
Amber and Derek: Carrie Ann, 10; Len Goodman, 10;Bruno Tonioli, 9 = 29 + 32 + 30 = 91
Brant and Peta: 9, 9, 9 = 27 + 31 + 30 = 88
Elizabeth and Val:
9, 9, 9 = 27 + 31 + 27 = 86
Corbin and Karina: 10, 9, 10 = 29 + 27 +30 = 86
Nicole and Sasha: 9, 9, 9 = 27 + 30 + 27 = 84
Jack and Cheryl: 10, 8, 9 = 27 + 27 + 30 = 84
Leah and Tony: 9, 8, 9 = 26 + 28 + 27 = 81
Bill and Emma: 8, 7, 8 = 23 + 24 + 27 = 74
Next week, there will be individual dances plus a promised dance-off, and Cher will be on hand. Considering what happened tonight, anyone could be sent home. And that dreaded double elimination just might pop up soon. What do you think about Snooki being sent home? Should it have been Bill or Leah?? See you next week -- keep dancing.