xml:space="preserve">
Ryan Locthe, Cheryl Burke.
Ryan Locthe, Cheryl Burke. (Eric McCandless / ABC)

Halloween Night on "Dancing With the Stars" starts with an opening routine to Oingo Boingo's classic "Dead Man's Party." They were more than just "Weird Science"!

Sharna Burgess is injured, so Jenna Johnson is stepping in for her. Aieee. I hope this doesn't hurt James, who's become my favorite this season.

Advertisement

Terra Jolé & Sasha Farber
Cha-cha-cha

They're playing off "Beetlejuice" in their dance to Harry Belafonte's "Day O." Which is fine and all, but "Jump in the Line" is my preference — both as a song and for its scene at the end of the movie.

The routine starts with Sasha and Terra at opposite ends of a long table, with four backup dancers sitting two apiece on either side of the table. Sasha and Terra jump up and dance together on the table for a while before moving down to the ballroom floor.

Sasha ends up eventually getting around to the actual cha-cha-cha content and it's good! Faster than I expected it to be, which is a good thing.

Julianne Hough says they set the mood and tone for the evening with the routine. She wants them to push a little harder to get to the next level in Terra's dancing. Bruno Tonioli comments on her "splendidly shocking table manners." He points out that the song isn't really in cha-cha-cha time, but that they did a good job fitting it to the style. He would have liked for them to dance a little sharper. Carrie Ann Inaba thinks they need to bring more "wow" and "surprise" next time they dance.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8

There's been some mention now from Carrie Ann, Erin Andrews and Tom Bergeron about immunity, but no explanation yet of what that means or how it's earned.

Laurie Hernandez & Val Chmerkovskiy
Viennese waltz

Laurie and Val are worried about the scores they're getting, particularly getting 8s after 10s. Val specifically talks about losing momentum. For this week, Val is going to be Willie Wonka and Laurie will be Charlie Bucket. Val gets emotional during rehearsal, to the point of tears. It's never clear to me, but I think they're supposed to be tears of joy, maybe?

It's a lovely routine, but it's on the "sweet" side for my personal taste. The judges all use words like "beautiful," "magical," and "amazing." I dunno — Laurie is cute and bubbly and fun, and yet somehow I just don't connect with her.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Julianne: 10; Bruno: 10

Marilu Henner & Derek Hough
Argentine tango

Last week during the team dance, Marilu fell on a move when she and Derek were going away from one another. When he asks her after the dance what happened, she says, "I feel like I got pushed." At least she said it directly to Derek. She's apparently having issues with her heels — like the actual heels of her feet, not the heels on her shoes.

Len Goodman's not here this week, so we're back to giant production numbers like this one, with big set pieces, props and backup dancers. Marilu's legs look a million miles long, but that just means you notice when they're not as sharp and precise as they should be.

Carrie Ann likes that Marilu came back this week with renewed intensity but she did see a few missteps in the routine. Julianne chides Marilu for second guessing herself in her moves, saying that it shows on her face and makes her miss steps. Bruno tells her to trust her partner and follow his lead more. After her comment to Derek about him pushing her, causing her fall, I'm not sure how well Marilu is going to follow that advice.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8

Calvin Johnson Jr. & Lindsay Arnold
Quickstep

Ooh, Lordy! Someone as tall as Calvin is will either make for an exhilarating or disastrous quickstep. They're going to be in skeleton costumes, which means all those movements could show up even more. During rehearsal, they're totally failing at their high fives. This does not bode well. Calvin's 2-year-old son, Caleb, comes to visit his dad, and he's so very cute.

Advertisement

Luckily, they've been given a proper quickstep song, from the rockabilly revival group Cherry Poppin' Daddies. There's a fun sequence with several consecutive twirls that I have a sneaking suspicion is one of those things that is much, much harder than it looks.

Julianne calls it awesome. Bruno says he used his height for maximum effect. Carrie Ann says he reminds her of Emmitt Smith, but taller.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Julianne: 10; Bruno: 10

Hmm. I thought it was good, but maybe not PERFECT. If Len had been judging tonight, I bet he would've given it a 9.

Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke
Tango

Cheryl bears down this week in rehearsal and has the bar on Ryan's shoulders to teach him proper frame. She's also strung up ropes in the rehearsal space, and if he hits them it means he's in the wrong position. This is fascinating as a teaching method.

They're riffing on "Maleficent" but dancing to "Howlin' for You." CLEARLY this song calls for a WEREWOLF theme. Ryan's shoulders are still hunched up too much, but he does seem to be trying to hold his frame and point his toes.

Bruno calls it a good performance but mentions the hunched shoulders. Carrie Ann too says it was hunched over but had a good amount of content. Julianne calls it "squatty" at times but says his performance made up for some of that.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8

Jana Kramer & Gleb Savchenko
Jazz

This is the first time Gleb has choreographed a jazz routine. It ends up feeling like a very jive-y jazz routine, which is fine.

With her hair pinned back and her makeup done this way I really don't recognized Jana. It's strange how such a small change can make such a big difference.

Carrie Ann loved the high energy and wonders how many more splits Jana could have done in that routine. (She did a lot.) Carrie Ann points out the jive content and likes that it looks improved from the actual jive Jana did earlier in the season. Julianne disagrees with Carrie Ann, thinking Jana's jive isn't improved enough to showcase it. Bruno calls it high energy and high sparkle. He's also impressed by how "bendy" Jana is.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 9

James Hinchcliffe & Jenna Johnson
Viennese waltz

I am very dubious about Jenna. I wish they'd been able to rope in one of the more experienced pros who's already been knocked out this season, like Emma Slater, Witney Carson or Allison Holker. This was Jenna's debut season as a pro and she was out after the first week!

Apparently Sharna's injury occurred during last week's dress rehearsal of the team dance; she tripped on her skirt and as she went down she felt something "go" in the knee that she's already had reconstructive surgery done on. If she keeps dancing, she's at risk for tearing the ligament, which would then mean more reconstructive surgery. Her doctor recommends three to six weeks off. James says he knows a thing or two about not rushing a recovery and assures Sharna he understands.

With all that, we see no rehearsal footage and go straight into their "Suicide Squad" routine. It's two-thirds of the way through the routine before I figure out that the main reason James looks different isn't the green hair or the makeup, but that he seems to have shaved his beard!

It's a sharp routine and James dances it clean and looks great. Julianne is fanning herself at the judges' table.

Advertisement

Julianne tells James she knows how hard it is to switch partners but says that this just shows that James is the real deal, because he can dance that well with a different partner. Carrie Ann says it hurts her heart to see Sharna up in the skybox but then tells both Jenna and James that they were great. She concludes by saying that James reminds her of Mark Ballas. I hiss at my TV, "You take that back!" but then realize she just means the dancing and not the attitude or questionable hair choices.

Tom tells James & Jenna that two other couples have a perfect score already tonight and that should James & Jenna get a perfect score, based on the cumulative scores for the season, James would get immunity tonight.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Julianne: 10; Bruno: 10

So that means they have immunity. They'll also get 5 extra points added to their score. The remaining six couples will face off in a dance-off, with the winner of each dance-off adding 3 points to their score from Round 1. They don't know which dance style they'll be doing until now, so they had to prepare for cha-cha-cha, salsa and jive.

Both couples will start the dance on the floor together, then each couple will have a solo segment, then they'll both be dancing at the same time for the last 15 seconds of the routine. America will vote live during the routine. Booo. I don't want America to get more influence than the regular vote. Also, worth noting, it's only the part of America that lives in the Eastern or Central time zones.

Dance-Off Round
Laurie & Val get to pick their opponent and Laurie chooses Calvin saying he should "Pick on someone his own size." That doesn't even make sense as a taunt. NO ONE is Calvin's size, and the only one there smaller than Laurie is Terra. Calvin gets to pick the style and he chooses jive.

Jana & Gleb are next to pick and they choose Terra & Sasha. They in turn choose salsa, which Terra says is a style they've never done before.

That leaves Ryan & Cheryl to compete against Marilu & Derek with a cha cha.

I like that in general the contestants seem to have punched at their own level instead of going for the obvious, easy win.

Laurie & Val vs. Calvin & Lindsay - jive

I'm not sure why Calvin picked Jive given the documented issues he has with pointing his toes. Maybe he just feels comfortable with other aspects of the dance. He looks loose and fun, though, which is a part of the jive I like. Laurie is bouncy and fun, as you would expect.

Julianne has trouble with her words but essentially makes the same point I did about couples picking their strongest competition for the dance-offs. She does point out a tiny misstep Calvin had near the end. Val jokes that he saw it, too. Bruno calls it a solid battle, with one couple slightly better than the other. Carrie Ann also makes a point of respecting how couples chose their competitors.

All three judges choose Laurie & Val, as did 63 percent of the viewers.

Apparently, the winner isn't determined solely by viewer vote, but viewers are essentially the "fourth judge."

Winner: Laurie & Val (with 63% of the viewer vote)

Jana & Gleb vs. Terra & Sasha - salsa

Jana looks a little awkward somehow, having that Marilu thing of long legs that show every hesitation. They have a very awkward lift with Jana in an upside-down split.

Sasha & Terra have a big lift with Sasha holding Terra's arms as he spins her around. It goes on too long and seems like a bit of a cheat, in terms of replacing actual content. Gleb takes off his shirt because he's shameless and no dummy and wants votes.

Carrie Ann says something about Gleb pulling out all the stops by taking off his shirt, so Sasha rips off his shirt. Then Bruno is on his back on the judges' table, with his legs in a split up in the air. We have officially devolved into madness. Julianne says it's a tight competition.

Carrie Ann votes for Terra & Sasha, while Julianne and Bruno give it to Jana & Gleb. Viewers chose Jana & Gleb (54 percent).

Winner: Jana & Gleb

Marilu & Derek vs. Ryan & Cheryl - Cha Cha

Marilu & Derek start out timidly, even taking several beats longer than Ryan & Cheryl to get into hold and start dancing. Once in hold, though, they look good. In their solo time, Ryan looks really pigeon-toed. I hadn't noticed that before. He still has his pancake hands, too.

Carrie Ann says there was one couple she couldn't take her eyes off of. Julianne says one couple played it too safe. Bruno says one couple was randy and the other precise.

Carrie Ann and Julianne pick Ryan & Cheryl. Bruno chooses Marilu & Derek. America picked Ryan & Cheryl (58 percent).

Winner: Ryan & Cheryl

Results

Marilu & Derek are the first announced safe and I am SHOCKED. I thought for sure she was going to get steamrollered by Lochte Love. Laurie & Val and Calvin & Lindsay are both safe, as are Jana & Gleb. This leaves Ryan & Cheryl and Terra & Sasha in jeopardy.

Oooh, Terra & Sasha were only 3 points ahead of Ryan & Cheryl in scores last week. This could go either way. Ryan & Cheryl are OUT. Thank goodness — he really wasn't going to get much better and I feared he might sneak his way into the finals instead of a more deserving competitor, based on his redemption storyline.

Scoreboard
James & Jenna: 30 + 5 = 35
Laurie & Val: 30 +3 = 33
Calvin & Lindsay: 30
Jana & Gleb: 27 + 3 = 30
Terra & Sasha: 24
Marilu & Derek: 23

Predictions

As much as I like Terra & Sasha, I'm OK with either her or Marilu & Derek going next week. It seems likely whoever of the two goes next week, the other will go the week after and then the toughest cut will be going from four to three for the finale.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement