Dancing with the Stars, Week 8: Double Elimination, but Not Really

The latest episode of Dancing with the Stars was scheduled to have not just one, but two couples be eliminated this week. However, with the unexpected withdrawal of Jeannie Mai, the producers decided to just eliminate one couple.

I am incredibly disappointed that Jeannie had to withdraw from the competition. I could have seen her getting to at least the semi-finals, if not the finals. Jeannie and Brandon’s dances were a pleasure to watch and she seemed like such a breath of fresh air in the competition. Of course, her health comes first, and I wish her a speedy recovery.

The opening of the episode had the remaining contestants urging its viewers to vote, slightly playing it off like the viewers should vote for them. We all know that the producers, specifically Tyra, had something to do with adding this into the show somehow. I think it is important to vote as it’s one of the most important things you can do as an American citizen, but to me this was not the outlet to advertise this. Dancing with the Stars is supposed to be an escape from the news cycle, political strife, and general messed-up nature of life. It should not be a way to throw politics in your face for the hundredth time. Also, I’ve said this before, but I will say it again. Tyra needs to fire her stylist for this show. Her opening outfit made it look like she was doing her worst Big Bird impression. The outfits thereafter were not that great either. Despite the opening of the show, the dances were good, but nothing to write home about. Let’s discuss:

Kaitlyn Bristowe (partner: Artem Chigvintsev)

Dance: Jive to “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

Score: 25

Thoughts: I love how determined Kaitlyn is to improve each week. It’s obvious she’s annoyed with the judges’ comments and I hope she’s using that fuel to add to the fire under her. I thought her jive was her comeback dance after a dance last week that was just okay. She looked so happy and I had no complaints about her steps. I can understand why Kaitlyn is getting annoyed with the judges; Derek said that she didn’t have enough attack and Carrie Ann Inaba criticized her about the fact that there was a lift in the dance. There was plenty of attack in that dance, at least much more than last week. Also, Carrie Ann, knock it off with being the lift police. Now you’re just fishing for stuff that will push her to get eliminated prematurely. I will blame you if that happens.

Nev Schulmann (partner: Jenna Johnson)

Dance: Viennese Waltz to “Stuck With U” by Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber

Score: 27

Thoughts: Nev is a busy man but has more passion and determination in his pinky finger than most of us would have if we were put in this situation. I become more and more impressed with his dancing each week. Nev was light on his feet and led Jenna well. The judges yet again made me angry with pointing out all these mistakes; I didn’t see a thing.

Justina Machado (partner: Sasha Farber)

Dance: Samba to “Magalenha” by Sergio Mendes feat. Carlinhos Brown

Score: 27

Thoughts: It’s crazy how life works that Justina idolizes Rita Moreno from watching her in West Side Story and now that she gets to work with her on One Day at a Time. Her samba was good, but not my favorite. Justina’s arms needed to be more controlled and she looked a little nervous. However, I did like the dance break in the middle and her footwork was great.

Nelly (partner: Daniella Karagach)

Dance: Rumba to “Nobody Knows” by Tony Rich Project

Score: 21

Thoughts: Nelly’s video package talked about his sister and her battle with leukemia that led to her death about 15 years ago. The song he performed to ended up being her favorite song. His video package hit me in the feels. I thought he gave his best effort. He had the right hip action and fluid arm movements, but his feet were flat. However, I’m starting to see more potential in him than in weeks’ past.

Chrishell Stause (partner: Gleb Savchenko)

Dance: Viennese Waltz to “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna

Score: 24

Thoughts: Chrishell is also busy while she is doing the show, still involved with the real estate business, and filming her show. Her co-workers are helping her a lot, which is great to see. I wasn’t impressed by her dance. There wasn’t a lot of Viennese Waltz content and I’m almost positive there was a lift, even though Carrie Ann Inaba didn’t point it out. It was still a steamy dance and reminded me of the Viennese Waltz that Gleb did with Jana Kramer in season 24 (search for this on YouTube; you won’t be disappointed).

Skai Jackson (partner: Alan Bersten)

Dance: Salsa to “Work It” by Missy Elliot

Score: 25

Thoughts: Skai talked about how close she is with her friends, but the conversation via Zoom looked so awkward. I also wasn’t impressed with her dance. I liked the song and thought Skai looked like Scary Spice, but I thought she still looked stiff. She needed to loosen up her arms and the rest of her body. I did like the lift at the end though.

Johnny Weir (partner: Britt Stewart)

Dance: Foxtrot to “Wonder” by Shawn Mendes

Score: 27

Thoughts: Can I just say that Johnny Weir is adorable, and I can’t get enough of him? He is his own person and that’s why we all love him. His dance was impressive too. Johnny was fluid, he finished each movement flawlessly, and he led Britt well. I’m not sure why it was necessary to point out Johnny’s outfit, Derek. Who cares if his pants look like floods?

AJ McLean (partner: Cheryl Burke)

Dance: Rumba to “Way Down We Go” by Kaleo

Score: 24

Thoughts: It was heartbreaking to watch his story of addiction and how his children helped him to get sober recently. I also wanted to like this dance but would have much preferred to see this dance as a Contemporary. There was an intensity in this dance that would easily have given him a 10 if the dance style were different.

The remaining contestants also participated in a relay dance with which three couples would dance to the same song with the same style. This relay was a good way for the contestants to socially distance, but still bring it all even though they couldn’t do group dances. Nev and Jenna, Chrishell and Gleb, and Nelly and Daniella were the first group to dance the Cha Cha to “Rain on Me” by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande. I thought that Nev and Jenna was the best dancer out of the three couples, which Carrie Ann Inaba agreed with (one thing her and I agree on this episode). Justina and Sasha and Johnny and Britt then danced to “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston (this was also supposed to include Jeannie, but with her withdrawal, it was just the two couples). Johnny and Britt were easily the best ones between these two. The last relay group performed a Samba to “Levitating” by Dua Lipa, which included AJ and Cheryl, Kaitlyn and Artem, and Skai and Alan. I thought Kaitlyn and Artem were better than AJ and Cheryl, but Bruno thought otherwise. Whatever.

The bottom two ended up being Chrishell and Gleb and Skai and Alan. I wasn’t surprised by these couples being in the bottom as I thought they had one of the weakest performances this week. Unfortunately, Chrishell ended up being eliminated this week, which was disappointing. She has made such a great improvement throughout the competition and I think Skai’s inconsistent quality in her performances should have been enough to send her home.

Next week will see the contestants dancing to various icons in the zeitgeist. This theme night has been done before, so I’m curious to see how production will make this new and fun.

(Picture courtesy of ABC/Disney)

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