If only the little turtle/squirrel monkey/chihuahua could’ve just been a fox for one week.
We were poised to see our beloved Bill “Elvis” Engvall leave the building on Dancing With the Stars Season 17, Week 7 — especially when he and Emma Slater were in the “bottom two,” but instead it was Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Sasha Farber who went home.
Snooki was so shocked and upset, Brooke Burke-Charvet practically had to drag her down for the awkward farewell interview.
What happened? Snooki seems to have a big fan base and she was dancing very well — surprisingly well, every week. Did she and Sasha just fall prey to middle-of-the-pack disease? Did she turn off voters last week with some whininess? It’s hard to say.
Her team dance didn’t end up helping, even though Team Spooky Bom Bom did an amazing job. When they revealed (they have to stop doing this) that one of the members of that team would be leaving, we naturally assumed it would be either Bill or Leah Remini, since they were at the bottom of the judges’ leaderboard. So this is a big wake-up call that we really have no idea where these couples stand with the voters. It’s especially hard to sleuth out what happened when you have to factor in two weeks of scores and votes, since no one left last week.
Anyway, wow. Are you shocked? Surprise elimination aside, what did you think of the team dances and the scores? Did Team Foxing Awesome deserve the perfect score? How insane is that song? Do you think Corbin Bleu “killed it”? (He did, right?) It did seem to be a great night for him, but neither he nor Amber Riley managed to get a perfect score in their individual routines. Maybe next week.
Here’s a quick rundown of where the couples stood, combining Week 6’s scores with Week 7:
Amber & Derek: 32 + 29 + 30 = 91
Brant & Peta: 31 + 27 + 30 = 88
Elizabeth & Val: 32 + 27 + 27 = 86
Corbin & Karina: 27 + 29 + 30 = 86
Jack & Cheryl: 27 + 27 + 30 = 84
Snooki & Sasha: 30 + 27 + 27 = 84
Leah & Tony: 28 + 26 + 27 = 81
Bill E. & Emma: 24 + 23 + 27 = 74
Read on for a full recap of the Week 7 action:
BIG PRO OPENER: Male pros vs. female pros to Neon Jungle's “Trouble,” choreographed by Mandy Moore. “I don’t look for trouble but trouble looks for me.”
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: Next week, the guest performer and judge will be Cher! If we could turn back time, we’d stress less about the big announcement being a double elimination. Cher is also on The Voice, which competes with DWTS for viewers, and they had her first this season. So … did they win?
1. Elizabeth Berkley and Valentin Chmerkovskiy — Quickstep — Val is being very tough on Elizabeth, pushing her and saying she has to discipline her frame. He said if the camera wasn’t on he’d punch the wall. Elizabeth said Val can be a task-master sometimes. It’s just dancing, guys. Deep breaths. Love the fake newsreel. Was that Henry Byalikov? Weird end of the world theme, but Val is a cute nerd. This sweet wholesome style isn’t really their strength, but it’s technically good.
JUDGES: Len Goodman said it was a UFO - utterly full on. Flying around the floor, flowing movement, lost body contact occasionally, but that’s the way to start a show. Bruno Tonioli said there’s no need to panic, the aliens aren’t coming. What a good job. The reason she lost body contact was because of the speed. Overall it really was breathtaking. Carrie Ann Inaba said it was breathtaking. She’s seen how far Elizabeth has grown, she’s not doing the individual stuff she used to do as a Jazz dancer. Carrie Ann went on and on.
SCORES: 9, 9, 9 = 27 out of 30. Good on Val for not letting Elizabeth just give a PC answer about the stress in rehearsals. He owned it. That’s all you can do!
Vote for Elizabeth & Val: 1-800-868-3405
2. Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd — Jive — Brant said he’s been scored lower in the past when he’s seemed unsure. He works on his muscle memory at home. They have another wholesome routine. Old-fashioned week so far. That’s not a bad thing, just interesting. Love those plaid pants. Nerd night! They have the right personalities for this goofy ‘50s style. She really puts him to work too. Great kicks, but he slips a little over the skirt.
JUDGES: Bruno said Brant was like a frisky schoolboy on a sugar high. To be honest, that was a fully loaded, full of content Jive. He lost timing a couple of times because he was putting so much time and energy into it. Carrie Ann loves seeing a hot hunky guy like Brant taking himself lightly and showing a new side. The routine may have been just a hair challenging for him. He didn’t miss a single step. He pushed himself way beyond what was comfortable. Carrie Ann had an espresso before the show.Len said right now you have to dance full on and flat out and that’s what he did. He came out with no messing about. He slipped a little but len loves Brant’s energy, attack, and enthusiasm. “Good on ya!”
SCORES: 9, 9, 9 = 27 out of 30.
Vote for Brant & Peta: 1-800-868-3403
3. Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani — Salsa — They never expected to get to Week 7 but now Tony feels like they can contend. He gave her a hard dance this week ‘cause he wants even the pros to be surprised by what she could do. Tom talks to Chelsea Handler in the audience. She’s there to support Leah, but also to flirt with Tom. Last week it was J.Lo, now it’s Chelsea. Leah is bringing out all her famous friends. They do a complicated lift. It is a tough dance and maybe Carrie Ann should revive her speech about it maybe being a little too challenging. She gives it her all, though. It’s not that fluid and some of the transitions aren’t that clean, but they put forth huge effort. She worked it! That probably would’ve been tough for Elizabeth, too.
JUDGES: Carrie Ann laughed and said Leah is in the zone. That was like going to the hottest Salsa club and they were the hottest Salsa dancers. Len said there was so much going on, it kept his interest. He did feel like one or two of the lifts weren’t quite clean enough. (It’s true! They should stop doing lifts when they don’t even need them.) Bruno said whatever he said.
SCORES: 9, 8, 9 = 26 out of 30. Leah had a rib injury but she didn’t want to make it obvious or go for sympathy.
Vote for Leah & Tony: 1-800-868-3411
4. Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke — Jive — Cheryl said, compared to everyone, they are still in the bottom three. He has a bit of the “midseason blues.” It’s heavy. There’s a lot of pressure. He hits walls when it comes to retaining information. They have a classic pro/celeb “I’m pushing you because I believe in you” speech, but they also talk about communicating with each other. They’re all exhausted. There’s no reason Jack can’t win, Cheryl said. He needs to hold his head up. He wears suspenders too. Is it official suspenders/nerd week? She really puts him to work too, with tons of steps. He keeps smiling and seems like a fun country nerd. What’s with the run up the stairs, though? Exhausting on top of a fast routine.
JUDGES: Len said Jack has great musicality, he’s always in tune with the music and light on his feet. He likes the Jive to be crisper in the feet, but he’s always great to watch. Bruno said Cheryl didn’t make it easy on him. He has a wonderful ease of movement and great charm in what he does. Light on his feet, musicality, great performance flow. He has to be careful in kicks and flicks, he can get flat-footed. Carrie Ann didn’t agree with that. Jack and Brant did two different styles of Jive. What he did was perfectly suited to him, and this is the dance she wants to see again. Jack said Brant is a lot better looking than him. See how he’s always comparing himself to the other guys? Stop the self-deprecating comments!
SCORES: 10 (whoa), 8, 9 = 27 out of 30. The paddle apparently didn’t agree, since it broke right in her hand. Oh enough with Sharon in the audience with the tears.
Vote for Jack & Cheryl: 1-800-868-3402
5. Amber Riley and Derek Hough — Paso Doble — Derek is giving up trying to please Len. Derek and Amber are both pushing through pain this week. Derek’s back hurts and Amber’s knee hurts. And her shoulder. This dance is kicking their butts. This is the point in the competition when people start to get tired and injured, Derek said. They need to step it up. Looking at them, you’d never know either one was in pain. Great intensity and passion. Perfectly in time with the music. Wow. Three 10s? Love seeing the pros and celebs cheer along.
JUDGES: Bruno said that Paso was like vintage wine - full of depth, flavor, amazing color. You dance with the attack of a demon. One tiny thing - she has to be careful with her shoulders, they rise. Carrie Ann said she slayed the beast again. Carrie Ann was already on a high from Jack’s dance and she was stomping along with Amber, who went from intense to big moves to slow. Amber lit the ballroom up. Len said they captured the flavor of the dance. Every nuance in the music was picked up. Len liked this one!
SCORES: 10, 10, 9 = 29 out of 30. Now Bruno is getting booed for the 9! Len takes a shot. “This girl is full of talent, I won’t tell you what Bruno is full of.” Hey now. At least he gave them a 9, not a 7 or an 8.
Vote for Amber & Derek: 1-800-868-3407
6. Bill Engvall and Emma Slater — Quickstep — Bill: This old guy ain’t dead yet.” They’re dancing to his favorite artist, Elvis. He had a show in Vegas this week too. They’re channeling the spirit of Vegas and the King. He hates this bleeping dance since it’s a non-stop sprint. He’s aiming for 9s. Emma is a great showgirl. Bill should’ve gone for the black Elvis wig. They’re always fun to watch, and they really work the dance floor -- all over the place. But his strength is always going to be the performance power.
JUDGES: Carrie Ann said the good news is he did not break hold. The bad news is the hold wasn’t strong enough for the dance. He didn’t miss a step, though. Len said it had speed and energy. He lost technique, but if Len could judge with his heart Bill would get a 10. Bruno said you roll your dice and you hope for the best. Most of the steps were right but a very good try.
SCORES: 8, 7, 8 = 23 out of 30.
Vote for Bill E. & Emma: 1-800-868-3409
7. Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Sasha Farber — Samba — This week she’s channeling Beyonce in the first part of the dance. Between the two dances and traveling and her son having the fever, her body is exhausted. She feels like she’s turning into a zombie. This week is hard for everyone, apparently. Nothing is sticking in her brain and she feels stupid. Snooki really is a naturally great dancer -- great rhythm and natural entertainment value. Sasha’s doing a great job with her too. She joked before the dance about attacking the floor like a squirrel monkey or Chihuahua; after the dance she said she felt like a turtle out there.
JUDGES: Len said to dance at that speed and show rhythm and control is terrific. She got a little screwed up in her feet at first. Bruno said it took her a little while but once she got into the groove she was flowing. Carrie Ann said she has to stop dancing like a Chihuahua since she’s a little too ahead of her music. She needs to think bigger. Like a Great Dane.
SCORES: 9, 9, 9 = 27 out of 30. They seem so relieved! Snooki gets a little intense and hard on herself. She thought she might get like a 6.
Vote for “Snicole” & Sasha: 1-800-868-3412
8. Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff — Cha-Cha-Cha — They were at a loss to start the routine. Corbin wanted to start off with more content, instead of something with brooms. Karina was frustrated, but they started over the next day. They kept changing choreography through the week. It wasn’t coming to her. On Friday, she still wasn’t happy. Poor Corbin has to learn so many new things. They have faux rain in the routine. More suspenders! Definitely official cute nerd week. Nice breakdown in the middle. Great entertainment value!
JUDGES: Bruno said the sun is shining on Corbin. Back in sparkling form. Crystal clear moves. Immaculate. Brilliant. Carrie Ann said she’s been hassling about his form, but this was the tightest Cha-Cha. His posture was right. Len said lovely crisp footwork. Nice leg action. He’s not a lover of the gyrating, though. For him, “it comes somewhere between rap music and a baby crying.” Oh, Len.
SCORES: 10, 9, 10 = 29 out of 30. Close.
Vote for Corbin & Karina: 1-800-868-3406
They revealed that, at this point, a couple from SpookyBom Bom would be going home, unless they got huge points. And only 40 percent of Facebook voters want them to win. This poor team!
• Team Spooky Bom Bom (Sam and the Womp's "Bom Bom")
Elizabeth & Val
Bill & Emma
Snooki & Sasha
Leah & Tony
Bill came up with the idea of a Halloween theme. They’ve got people jumping out of graves and Bill is the caretaker. He joked that the other team’s costumes look like they’re from a children’s play.
Creative, very fun routine - great spin from Snooki and Sasha. Love Elizabeth’s outfit. Tony bites Leah like vampire. Bill is so much fun -- and he looks great, actually. This is a good look for him. Great routine with cheerleader move end. Fun!
Judges: Len said the parts together were tight and right on the money. The individual bits were fun. Bruno never thought you could have so much fun with The Walking Dead. They played to the couples’s strengths. So much fun. Carrie Ann said it was totally entertaining and they showcased themselves beautifully. Bill was the glue that held it all together.
Scores: 9, 9, 9 = 27
• Team Foxing Awesome (Ylvis' "What Does the Fox Say?")
Amber & Derek
Corbin & Karina
Jack & Cheryl
Brant & Peta
Derek has never lost a team dance. Interesting bit of trivia. They have no storyline, Derek said. It’s just big and loud. It was hard to find the right balance, because the song is so insane and they don’t want to look like chickens with their heads cut off.
They kind of look like Playboy bunnies in their fox costumes. The smoke overwhelms them in parts. Love Brant and Peta and Corbin and Karina the best. Karina really gets into the craziness! Oh the costumes get wild. Love it. Actually, though, these routines are pretty evenly matched. It could go either way.
Judges: Bruno said it was so clever and inventive. The choreography gave him goosebumps. Sly foxes. Corbin killed it. Jack was so cuddly Bruno wanted to take him home. Carrie Ann felt like she was on an acid trip. She loved that they were super detailed. The choreography was super in sync. Len said it was full of little touches that made it irresistible. He stood up and applauded both teams for all they had to do.
Scores: 10, 10, 10 = 30. Derek’s streak remains intact.
WHO GOES HOME FIFTH?
Who is safe: All members of Foxing Awesome. Elizabeth & Val, Leah & Tony.
Not necessarily the bottom two: Bill & Emma, Snooki & Sasha. Boyfriend vs. girlfriend in Emma and Sasha.
Who is going home on Week 7? Snooki. Wooooooooow. Never saw that coming.
Nicole didn't want to go down to talk to Brooke. She must've been shocked. She didn't want the farewell speech. Has she learned anything about herself on the show? She said she can't even talk. She loves everybody and this sucks. Tom said this is the hard part of the season when someone is so loved and has to go.