Dancing With the Stars Flashback: Which Couple Went Dwelling on Villain Evening?


The movie villains who inspired Monday’s “Dancing With the Stars” episode may be evil, but the performances weren’t bad at all.

ABC’s competitive series celebrated Halloween with its newest appearance, delivering 10 routines featuring legendary pop culture villains. (Cruella de Vil and Hannibal Lecter are not quite on the same level, but I get what they wanted.)

But for the remaining attendees, the real shock came at the end of the episode when another couple was asked to pack their dance shoes and leave the ballroom for good. Before we get into the results, let’s sum up the performances of the evening:

Jeannie Mai and Pro Brandon Armstrong (Paso Doble, inspired by Hannibal Lecter): Jeannie may be the season’s best actress, and I wish the judges would give her props for that. She is fully committed to all of her characters, and that was especially valuable in this intense Paso Doble. On the technical side, I’m afraid Jeannie will start a little on the plateau; Carrie Ann’s recommendation that Jeannie stifle her energy just a little bit is the same review Jeannie received in Week 1, and her feet are still a bit shaky when on hold. But she has so much potential to win the whole show, and I hope she can fine-tune some of those little details before it’s too late in the competition. Score of the judges: 25/30

Johnny Weir and Pro Britt Stewart (Viennese waltz, inspired by Dracula): Well, what we could actually see of this routine looked at least pretty solid. (Someone in the effects department loves dry ice, right?) However, I’d argue that parts of this Viennese waltz weren’t quite as fluid as the judges indicated. Although the costume and “creep” cover created a fantastic mood, at times Johnny seemed so caught up in the passion that his footwork was a bit choppy. (He also got a hand connection early towards the end.) It was a big improvement over last week’s salsa, but at this point Johnny’s performance is more unpredictable from week to week than Carrie Ann’s hair color. Score of the judges: 27/30

Chrishell Stause and Pro Gleb Savchenko (Paso Doble inspired by Maleficent, picture): Chrishell continues to show promising results in the ballroom and appears to take criticism from judges to heart every week. Whether this Paso Doble was “mesmerizing” as Carrie Ann put it, I think that might be a bit too nice. It had compelling dramatic elements, and Chrishell fully embodied Maleficent’s intensity – but Gleb’s choreography favored endless dips and drags across the floor rather than more traditional Paso content, and Chrishell was sometimes so in love with her character that her movements seemed uncertain rather than spirited. Score of the judges: 26/30

Monica Aldama and Pro Val Chmerkovskiy (Jazz inspired by Nurse Ratched): Maybe it’s her cheerleading background, but whatever expression Monica wears while dancing, it rarely seems to reach her eyes. Her additions to this number were fabulous and there was a sensuality between her and Val that didn’t show up in previous routines, but Monica is constantly struggling to sell the characters she plays, leading to routines – like this one sadly – that feeling does a little painting by numbers. (In an alternate universe, Rumer Willis and Val play the same number in season 20 and it’s fire.) Score of the judges: 22/30

AJ McLean and Pro Cheryl Burke (Tango inspired by Norman Bates): Maybe it was ongoing concern about Cheryl’s rehearsal violation – and the fear it would happen a second time – but AJ’s expression looked a bit freaky during this tango, no? Even so, AJ navigated wide-eyed skillfully through very intricate footwork, and the song that accompanied his performance – the “Psycho” of the Intermezzo orchestra – was only instrumental, which made AJ’s timing even more impressive. Score of the judges: 26/30

Nelly and Pro Daniella Karagach (Argentine Tango, inspired by Freddy Krueger, picture): Watching Nelly’s confidence fade a little more each week was one of the joys of the season, especially during this performance. Nelly has always had boasting, but his ability to be both menacing (as Freddy Krueger) and sultry (as partner of Daniella) was great … even if not every Argentine tango move was perfect once that chorus was hit. Score of the judges: 27/30

Justina Machado and Pro Sasha Farber (Tango inspired by Carrie): Sasha gets high praise for a very inventive choreography; Turning telekinesis into a dance routine isn’t an easy task, but he added some cool sportiness here to give the impression that Justina was really in control of his movements. In fact, when Justina and Sasha got into the traditional tango grip, the act didn’t have quite as much impact, but the actress was reliably solid as always. Score of the judges: 26/30

Nev Schulman and Pro Jenna Johnson (Paso Doble, inspired by Black Swan): If you’ve followed any of my DWTS reports over the years, you know I don’t have a problem with ringtones. It’s fun to see the awkward, silly gigs for maybe two weeks, but after that I’m ready to see real dancing – and that’s exactly what Nev delivered here. This Paso Doble was beautiful across the board: sporty but graceful, wild but elegant. (And Jenna can rock black lipstick in ways that I’ll forever envy.) It makes me laugh, however, that all of Nev’s pre-recorded packages show he has been dancing, or at least seeing dance performances, for years. The show initially tried to pretend Nev was virtually no pro dancer himself, but he is very much. Anyway! I love perfect dances! Score of the judges: 30/30

Skai Jackson and Pro Alan Bersten (Argentine Tango, inspired by Bride of Chucky): What a difference a pair of Tiffany Valentine Color Contacts make! Skai’s most consistent flaw this season was her nervous smile, but the fearful mood of this performance – from the hair and makeup to the Billie Eilish soundtrack to the moody choreography – made Skai’s fear go away beautifully. But if you want to dance to a Billie Eilish song on Villains Night, how about “Bad Guy”? Score of the judges: 27/30

Kaitlyn Bristowe and Pro Artem Chigvintsev (Paso Doble, inspired by Cruella de Vil): First of all, it was so rude to saddle Kaitlyn and Artem in that terrible “Disturbia” cover. Second, Kaitlyn admitted that Paso Doble had exhausted her, and you could tell that her energy drained in the end; As she sat on the floor to prepare for Artem to pull her through his legs, it honestly looked like she wasn’t interested in getting up. On the one hand, the exhaustion is understandable since her routine contained more content than any other Paso Dobles in the episode; On the other hand, the expectations of Kaitlyn are sky high and her performances will be an unforgettable experience. (Just a touch!) Score of the judges: 24/30

And now the results:

Jeannie Mai and Pro Brandon Armstrong
Monica Aldama and Pro Val Chmerkovskiy

Jeannie Mai and Pro Brandon Armstrong (saved by Carrie Ann and Bruno)

Monica Aldama and Pro Val Chmerkovskiy

Now it is your turn! Did Monica and Val deserve to go home this week? Let us know your thoughts on Villains Night in a comment below!

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