“Dancing with the Stars” season 20 continued April 20 on ABC with Spring Break Night, an evening of routines inspired by time off and carefree fun in the sun. By night’s end, a fan favorite was sent packing (while another narrowly escaped the blade of the axe) and a former leader board topper re-claimed head of the class status. Here’s a recap of how it all went down.
Show co-hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews opened the competition’s sixth week by welcoming the eight remaining couples to the ballroom. After explaining the evening’s format –individual dances followed by the big Team YOLO versus Team Trouble battle– they summoned Grammy winner Patti LaBelle and Artem Chigvintsev to dance first.
With a quickstep that Patti termed ” part two of Hotel LaBelle,” the duo hit the floor to the sounds of “Heat Wave.” Although it was a bummer that she lost a shoe, it was still a typical Patti routine: lots of heart, but not a lot of actual content.
Len Goodman called the legendary singer “cool by the pool” and predicted that she’d be the most entertaining celeb of the evening. Julianne Hough agreed, praising her for being “light on her feet” despite the shoe situation. Bruno Tonioli echoed the other two, and Carrie Ann Inaba declared her the most consistent competitor. Patti and Artem scored an impressive 29 points to open the night.
Up second to put their inner Spring Breakers on display were Olympian Nastia Liukin and Derek Hough with a tango set to Calvin Harris’ “Summer.” The pair’s dance had a cool, futuristic vibe to it, not unlike the one given off by Derek’s futuristic paso doble with model Joanna Krupa during season nine. She may have no dance experience, but Nastia is still an amazing dancer.
Julianne felt a “disconnect” between the as a couple and told them to “keep going.” Bruno declared “that is how you attack a tango” but cautioned her against losing “subtlety of form.” Carrie Ann called Liukin’s quality of movement “insane” but told her to embrace her partnership with Derek and “allow yourself to dance.” Len, finally, criticized the dance as having too much rotation and speed, but said “otherwise, it was fabulous.” Huh. A little conflicted there, Len? Nastia and Derek notched a 34 out of 40 points, prompting Erin to reveal that week seven’s competition will conclude with a double elimination. Doh!
Third in line with their ditty were actress Willow Shields and Mark Ballas, who learned during their salsa rehearsals that the teen has extra ribs. Who knew? Willow didn’t.
Set to “Tequila,” the pair’s band class-themed routine was cute and theatrical, just like all of their dances have been throughout the season. It was really, really fun and the lifts were seriously impressive –dude, she’s 14!–, but Willow looked a little tentative at points and it wasn’t quite as sharp as some of the other performances they’ve turned in.
Bruno loved how Willow always goes for it and thought the lifts were brilliant, while Carrie Ann appreciated how “sassy” it was. At the same time, she appreciated her maturity. Len thought it was “full of fun and enjoyment” and called it “very, very good,” and Julianne liked it, but told her to straighten her legs when she rondes. Willow and Mark scored 35 points.
Disney Week leader board bottom dwellers Robert Herjavec of “Shark Tank” and Kym Johnson followed with a jive. During the pair’s pre-performance segment, Robert confessed that he felt like one of the judges was “out to get him” by giving him another fast and challenging dance following their lack of quickstep success. But it all turned out okay, with Robert declaring that no matter what happens, “this is definitely not the end of the road for Kym and I.” It’s all puppy dogs and sunshiny days for those two crazy kids, and it’s awesome.
Was their “Surfin’ Safari” jive perfect? No. But Robert puts more of his heart into his performances than anyone else on the show. He loves being there, he loves dancing with Kym, he’s having a total ball, and that’s worth more than a perfect score any day.
Carrie Ann very oddly said that she wants to “buy a dog that looks like you two because you’re so cute” but called him out for being off-time. Len said he was “picking up good vibrations” and that it was better than their week five offering. Julianne noted that Kym could well dumb down the choreography but she doesn’t, and gave him props for coming out and going for it. Bruno likened Robert to a “frisky pony” but said that he needs to stick with Kym with respect to timing. Robert and Kym scored 28 points.
A week after channeling Aladdin and Jasmine, war vet Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess were faced with the task of tackling the sensual rumba. The rehearsal segment saw the duo hit their first bump in the road as they bickered over giving one another proper doses of respect. Ooh, trouble in paradise.
Set to “Waves” by Mr Probz, their rumba was okay, but Noah danced the entire routine with a very odd expression on his face. Immediately afterward, he confessed that he’d been bothered by how “bad” he looked in the package. Double ouch.
Len tried to diffuse the awkwardness by calling Noah an amazing guy, and Julianne assured him that they understand the strength of the pair’s connection. She cautioned him against having a “robotic” arm. Bruno eschewed the video as well, and called their partner work “magic” and magnetic. Carrie Ann, finally, noted the difficulty of the style, and assured him that he deserved to be part of the competition. They scored 29 points.
Leading off the show’s second hour were week five leader board toppers and pre-show Vegas favorites Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy. With “Bootylicious” as their song for the week, Val found himself trying to get into the right choreography groove — and trying to avoid offending Rumer’s dad, the iconic actor Bruce Willis, with the final product.
Rumer and Val’s dance was power-packed, but it definitely had more hip-hop flavor than most jazz routines the show has seen. It was a little trashy, but that’s the song.
Julianne started the critiques off on a low note, declaring herself “underwhelmed.” Bruno disagreed, calling it “raunchalicious.” He praised her for her interpretation and attitude. Carrie Ann agreed with Julianne, and wished for elegance and fluidity. Len, finally, said he didn’t care for “all that raunchy stuff,” noting “it’s a ballroom, not a bedroom.” Rumer and Val scored 32 points.
“The Bachelor” Chris Soules followed, as he and Witney Carson took their turn in the ballroom with a “Hopelessly Devoted to You” Viennese waltz. Prince Farming did better than he did during week five.
Bruno called it an “awakening” and praised him for interpreting the music. He oddly likened him to “a wheel of joy.” Carrie Ann noted that he’d “wooed us all” and Len liked the feel and romance, but didn’t care for his footwork. He told him to “work on the details.” Julianne, finally, called him Chris over for a handshake. and said she was “blown away” by his confidence. Chris and Wit notched a “whoa there, that may be a wee bit inflated” mark of 31 points.
Up last to dance a samba were former “DWTS” pirates Riker Lynch and Allison Holker. During their rehearsals, Allison and Riker struggled with a song assignment that both felt was too sexually explicit for the singer’s boybander image.
Set to a replacement song –Jason Derulo’s “Want to Want Me”– Riker and Allison’s dance was fast, precise, and brought the party to the ballroom. Riker can dance, and it was the best display of chemistry between them to date.
Carrie Ann said Riker makes “her want to be a teenybopper again.” Len appreciated his enthusiasm, but said Riker moved like “Spiderman” and said he couldn’t give him a great mark. Julianne thought it was “fantastic,” and Bruno praised their ability to create “fresh and new” dances. Their score of 37 points put them on top of the night’s leader board heading into the team competition.
Before the team competition commenced, cruelty was in order for the contestants, who learned if they were safe or in jeopardy. While Nastia and Derek, Willow and Mark, Rumer and Val, and Chris and Witney were saved to danced again, Robert and Kym, Noah and Sharna, Patti and Artem, and shockingly, high-scorers Riker and Allison, were left in the danger zone.
Team YOLO, helmed by Nastia and consisting of Willow, Noah, Robert, and partners, was up first with their freestyle number to “Wipe Out.” It was totally cheesy, but also totally adorable, and they all looked great. There were no major missteps and they all seemed to have fun throughout.
Len called it “no wipeout” and “tight, together, and terrific.” Julianne was “super impressed with Robert and Kym” and thought it was exactly what Spring Break is about. Bruno loved how they showed themselves off “in a good way” and Carrie Ann thought they killed it. They scored a near-perfect 39 points, which will be added to each team member’s individual score for the week.
Team Trouble, captained by Rumer and filled out by Riker, Patti, and Chris, closed out the show with what Val termed a “‘The Breakfast Club’ meets ‘Grease'” themed dance to “Trouble’ by Iggy Azalea. Team Trouble was also very good, with Riker and Allison as the obvious standouts.
Julianne thought it was “awesome,” and Bruno called it “so cleverly put together” before hailing Chris for having “a breakthrough night.” Carrie Ann enjoyed it as well, and Len called it “so much fun.” Like Team YOLO, Team Trouble scored 39 points, which effectively negated the entire exercise. No advantage for anyone! Yeah!
With no ado whatsoever, Tom called the endangered couples to the stage for the night’s final elimination. Noah and Sharna were saved to dance again, as were Riker and Allison (well duh), leaving Robert and Kym, and Patti and Artem to face the music. Robert and Kym looked stunned when Patti and Artem were eliminated.
Patti said she’d learned a lot about herself and “made a great friend in Artem” during her tenure on the show. Artem returned the compliment by opining that he’d spent “the most incredible six week of my life” with Patti, who he called a role model for women.
So what’s next for “Dancing with the Stars” season 20? Tune in when the show continues April 27 on ABC and find out.