Welcome back to Dancing With the Stars, where the competition creeps ever closer to its inevitable conclusion where someone wins the Mirror Ball Trophy moments before the entire ballroom collapses under the weight of bronzer, sequins, self-tanner, Spanx and hair spray.
This week the seven remaining contestants perform their routines, and the couple with the highest score is granted immunity. The rest are forced to take it to the streets in a dance battle straight out of Step Up 7, which doesn’t exist yet, but is also inevitable.
Here’s what happened on Dancing With the Stars:
Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev: Only on DWTS could you interpret Bonnie and Clyde as a jazz routine set to a Miranda Lambert song while clad in hot pants, fedoras and sparkles and be chided for playing it safe. “You have to risk it to get the biscuit,” scolded Len. 32/40
Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater: Everyone was happy with the decision that Tarzan would wear proper trousers for his foxtrot with Jane. After slamming Michael’s routine last week, the judges were pleased with his improvement. Of course, Carrie Ann Inaba couldn’t help but point out that at Week 8 they expect a little more polish on the moves, which left Michael in actual tears of frustration. 25/40
Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy: To play up the are-they-or-aren’t-they nature of their relationship, the producers cast them as Romeo and Juliet for their contemporary routine. For the part, Val shaved his chest and his face (despite the fact that it’s Movember) and was almost unrecognizable. Bruno Tonioli dubbed it “ambitious” and “gorgeous in every way.” Carrie Ann said it was Val’s “finest choreography,” and neither Len nor Julianne Hough could find anything in the routine to nitpick, which was the most impressive part of the evening. 40/40
Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: For their paso doble set to Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” Peta donned a brown wig to channel June Carter while Tommy went full Man in Black. The routine was well intentioned, but Tommy was noticeably behind the beat. Len told Tommy, “You’re like a hot dog, you’re tasty, but you’re never sure about the content,” and it’s hard to argue. Erin explained that Tommy had injured his calf earlier, but he shrugged and offered her some of his favorite painkiller. 26/40
Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: Sadie was very excited to imbue her contemporary dance with a biblical message, but was forced to sully the routine with Mark’s bare chest and his hand on her rear during a lift. Carrie Ann said it was their most poignant and passionate dance yet. Julianne appreciated the maturity and, no, she wasn’t talking about Mark. 38/40
Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: Despite the fact that the super duo set their Batman-and-Robin-themed routine to Prince’s “Trust” instead of “Bat Dance,” the judges were thrilled by the cha-cha. These two never fail to deliver energetic and entertaining routines that are just plain fun to watch. At this point, it seems like it’s Alfonso’s competition to lose. 38/40
Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: It was Lucy and Ricky in the kitchen with a salsa, and the judges didn’t have a clue (see what I did there?) as to how Bethany could make it all look so effortless. While Bruno could barely contain his excitement over the routine, the judges were mostly impressed that Bethany had actually seen an episode of I Love Lucy. 37/40
Immunity: With their perfect score, Janel and Val were immune from elimination and didn’t have to compete in the dance-off. Instead, they had the luxury of watching the competition from the balcony and, presumably, prepping their phones in order to get ready to vote for themselves.
Dance-offs: The remaining teams had to face off against each other in either jive, rumba or cha-cha, but they didn’t know which style it would be until the dance started.
Alfonso and Witney vs. Lea and Artem: Alfonso picked the competition, Lea picked the dance and the competition was stiff between the two top contestants. The judges doled out kind words to both teams, but when it came time to hand out the verdict, it was unanimous for Alfonso and Witney.
Sadie and Mark vs. Bethany and Derek: Sadie (*cough* the producers *cough*) picked Bethany, and Derek chose to dance a cha-cha to Demi Lovato’s “I Really Don’t Care.” Bruno called it “the clash of the titans,” because both teams did a great job. Len wanted to see both dances again, because it was too close to call. Twitter agreed, with Sadie earning 48% to Bethany’s 52% of the online votes. The judges split evenly, which meant that Len, as head judge, got final say, meaning Bethany got the win.
Tommy and Peta vs. Michael and Emma: Michael managed a decent rumba, but despite a calf injury, Tommy delivered a superior version and limped upstairs to collect his win.
In jeopardy: At this point in the competition, it’s clear that Tommy and Michael are the weakest dancers remaining in the contest. It was no surprise, when it was announced that they were in jeopardy of elimination.
Who went home: Michael. Poor Michael, he tried so hard, but despite all his effort and energy, he just couldn’t dance at the level required in this competition. He and Emma had tears in their eyes as word of their elimination came down. Guess Michael will have to comfort himself by doing the Scrooge McDuck backstroke through his NASCAR millions.