Halloween has come a few days early to Dancing with the Stars, and with it,Len has risen from the dead! The esteemed judge — who's been absent from the show for the past few weeks — returns to the show by emerging from a coffin during the opening group number. Erin Andrews is back as well.
With two team dances to get through in addition to the individual numbers, there's no time to waste. The routines:
Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd (quickstep)
The dance: Go, Tommy, go! After suffering through some fatigue and aches and pains in rehearsal, the oldest celebrity to make it this far in Dancing gives it his all for the actual routine and proves that the quickstep isn't going to get the best of him. The dance is more like a medium-paced-step, but it's hard to find any fault with the spunk Tommy shows in those kicks.
What the judges say: Len calls Tommy "easy on the eye" and compliments him for getting through what was probably the toughest dance. Julianne has nothing but kind things to say, and Bruno says Tommy nicely covered up his one slip-up. Carrie Ann says she'll have to take off points for Tommy going off tempo, but that it's one of their best routines so far.
Score: 28 (out of 40)
Our verdict: Treat
Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev (tango)
The dance: I'm not sure if it's the best idea to have a live singer on stage with the dancers. Personally I found it a little distracting. What does everyone else think? Fortunately, Lea and Artem's tango is sensual and eye-catching enough on its own that this isn't a problem. Lea continues to impress with her incredibly assured legwork.
What the judges say: Julianne tells them both to lighten up and that Lea "sticks it" every time. Bruno loves the "right touch of evil" and the aloofness Lea conveyed (and then falls out of his chair). Len says it started off hot but lost chemistry as it went on. Carrie Ann gets cut off.
Bethany Mota and Derek Hough (paso doble)
The dance: Derek is so good at designing these routines that it almost makes me angry. This seductive, diabolical tango belongs in a Broadway show, not in a broadcast reality competition. Whatever focus problems Bethany was having during the week seem to have disappeared.
What the judges say: Bruno says they were "the embodiment of the flames of passion." Carrie Ann says Bethany is "fascinating" and calls the dance "flawless." Len says (to boos) that he felt the dance got lost in the production. Julianne says she'd like to steal the choreography for Derek's summer tour, but says the content shone through the theatrics.
Antonio Sabato Jr. and Cheryl Burke (waltz)
The dance: I'm not a huge fan of the first part of this dance. The bubbling cauldron was so jarring that it took me out of the moment. When Antonio and Cheryl (at long last) get into the dance itself, I'm back in it. Seems like Cheryl is willing to do whatever she needs to to beat this dance into submission, and Antonio, for his part, is smooth and suave. Something seems a little off, though.
Score: "I don't think the spell worked," Carrie Ann says right off the bat, adding that she's "uncomfortable" watching them. Len calls the routine "a bit hectic" and says Antonio's footwork was off. Julianne says she wishes they would have gotten to the dance itself faster. Bruno gets cut off. (Did he fall again?)
Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater (jive)
The dance: Poor Emma. Michael, bless his heart, is still completely flat-footed and stiff as a board on the dancefloor, and with the jive this week, it's more noticeable than ever. Michael tips his hat to the crowd at the end as if he knows this is probably going to be his last week at the rodeo.
What the judges say: Len flatly says that he's surprised Michael has made it to Week 7 and that he looks like he's "running on empty." Julianne calls the dance "kind of a nightmare." Bruno says there wasn't any jive content and that Michael has possibly broken records for being off time. Carrie Ann says it was a great freestyle (ouch).
Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy (waltz)
The dance: This routine is just the right blend of fun and spooky, and props to Janel for suggesting(?) that they dance to the Pretty Little Liars theme, which is a perfect fit. As far as their waltz, it's classy and graceful. Janel's glittery, skin-tight costume is something to behold too.
What the judges say: Julianne says it relied too much on the Halloween theme and not enough on a proper waltz. Bruno critiques Janel's lines, but Carrie Ann disagrees and praises her technique and fluidity. Len says it wasn't a Viennese waltz.
Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson (rumba)
The dance: Witney is really beating up on Alfonso in rehearsals — quite literally, with jabs to the jaw and another, more unfortunate, area. And I can't for the life of me figure out why the producers decided to spend the first 10 seconds of the dance focused on the singer (I already forgot her name) rather than Alfonso and Witney. But ANYWAY. Alfonso looks a little like a fish out of water at times during this dance, but overall it's fine, if a little unexciting.
What the judges say: "Captivating and involving," Bruno gushes. Carrie Ann says Alfonso's hip action was "ridiculous." Len is thrilled that it was a proper rumba but says Alfonso's posture could use some work. Julianne gets cut off.
Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas (paso doble)
The dance: It's Dancing with the Stars: Halloween Horror Nights! If I were Sadie, I'd be pretty scared of Mark's zombie getup too. This is my favorite routine of the night. Mark rivals Derk with that insane choreography, and Sadie doesn't miss a beat. Plus, she continues to do a great job of avoiding sexiness and still managing to make the dance edgy.
What the judges say: Carrie Ann says Sadie needed to show more strength and power for a paso doble. Len gripes that the theme got in the way of the dance. Julianne gives voice to the audience's thoughts and says there was content trying to peek through the theme. Bruno gets cut off.
Now for the team dances!
Team Itsy Bitsy (Bethany/Derek, Lea/Artem, Janel/Val, Michael/Emma)
The dance: This is one spider I'm a fan of. Another Derek choreography special, the group portion of the dance is inventive and entertaining. Derek and Bethany are definitely the most creepy/disturbing of the individual pairs — and I mean that in the best way possible. I'm once again in awe of Lea's flexibility. Climbing the web at the end is a great touch as well. I'm pretty sure Derek is going to continue his streak of never being on a losing team.
What the judges say: They all unequivocally love it, and Carrie Ann goes out of her way to praise Michael, who knew all along that he was the weak link in the group.
Tom Bergeron announces that all the pairs on Team Itsy Bitsy are safe. So, Michael lives to see another week and I have to assume this doesn't bode well for Antonio and Cheryl.
Team Creepy (Sadie/Mark, Alfonso/Witney, Antonio/Cheryl, Tommy/Peta)
The dance: Pretty cruel, if you ask me, to announce that all the members of Team Creepy are in jeopardy just seconds before they take the floor. But no one did ask me and hey, I'm not a Dancing with the Stars producer. Well ... this is definitely the B Team. Poor Tommy looks absolutely spent after already having gotten through one routine tonight. Sadie and Mark are really doing the heavy lifting for this group — and the circus theme is cute, but doesn't hold a candle to Team Itsy Bitsy.
What the judges say: Julianne says individuals were fine, but the group as a whole was a little out of sync. Bruno concurs. Carrie Ann loves the concept and Len is pleased that it allowed everyone's personality to come through.
So, who's going home?
Safe: Alfonso and Witney, Sadie and Mark, Tommy and Peta
Eliminated: Antonio and Cheryl
On what could possibly be her last appearance as a competitor in the ballroom, Cheryl says it's been the most memorable season for her so far.
What did you think? Did you expect Michael to go home? Are you disappointed that Antonio and Cheryl were given the boot? And which team dance did you like better? Sound off in the comments!
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.