Warning: This recap of Week 8 of Dancing With the Stars contains spoilers.
The pros called the shots this week on Dancing With the Stars — for the first half of the show, anyway — when they picked the song and dance style for their celebrity partners for their Week 8 dance. Later in the show, the judges picked a troupe member to join each couple for a trio round. In a nutshell: Three was company — and Len was grumpy.
Even before this trios biz, the Week 8 itch hit Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess hard, and it didn’t help that the Aussie pro wanted the pro bull rider to revisit his near-fatal riding accident for the umpteenth time this season. The tension was so high that Bonner walked out of rehearsals, but the couple reconnected on the dance floor for a 30-point Argentine Tango to Imagine Dragons’ “Believer.” Still, Len Goodman made it clear that he thought Bonner overstayed his welcome on the celebrity ballroom competition.
“You get frustrated, please don’t blame the judges. Blame the viewers,” the cranky judge said. “You’ve gone a bridge too far. I’m sorry but you should have been…” (We imagine the fill-in-the-blank word to be “gone,” but the audience boos cut him off.)
For the trio round, two sexy secretaries (Sharna and troupe beauty Britt Stewart) weren’t enough to keep CEO Bonner on the payroll. Carrie Ann Inaba and Len both thought the office-themed trio dance was raunchy, (“I feel like I need to take a shower,” CAI quipped), while Bruno said the girls deserve “a rise” — oops, he meant “a raise.” What they all got were pink slips, though. Bonner got the news that he won’t be heading to next week’s semi-finals, so it’s back to the ranch for Sharna’s stud.
“I was very surprised at how far I went,” the bull rider said after his elimination was announced. “I went farther than I ever thought I would. I’m just so thankful for the journey I got to take. I found out how far I can really push myself and how much I can take.”
Here’s how the rest of the duos (and trios) did:
Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy: 40/40 + 39/40
Normani and Val performed a stripped-down Contemporary to the song “Freedom” by Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton after The Fifth Harmony singer detailed her past experience with cyber-bullying and racist attacks. The emotional dance included troupe dancers forming a ring around the singer, and it earned the star her second perfect score in a row. Bruno Tonioli said Normani deserved the Pulitzer Prize for “extraordinary storytelling,” while Julianne Hough gave her a standing O during her critique. “I can’t sit down. I’m completely mesmerized,” Julianne said. Carrie Ann told the star, “I’m sorry for what you have been through, but tonight what I saw was healing. Thank you for such a profound moment.”
Trio Time: Normani and Val scored Alan Bersten for a “Feeling Alive” jive, and the country-themed dance got rave reviews—and an almost-perfect score. Len dinged the trio a point for one particular section: “I don’t like the standing on the judges’ desk,” he said of Normani’s mini- solo. “It’s just a little timewaster!”
Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater: 36/40 + 39/40
Rashad did his happy dance after Emma chose the Blues Brothers song “Shake a Tail Feather” for their jive. The pro dancer said the “happy song” reminds her of the NFL star because people gravitate towards him and he’s the “ultimate teammate.” The judges all loved the routine, but all four of them pointed out that Rashad needs to work on his footwork. “It’s Week 8,” Carrie Ann said. “It’s the tiny little details.” Hmm, in dancing isn’t footwork kind of a big deal? Guess that’s why we’re not the judges.
Trio Time: It was a Ménage a Shad when Rashad and Emma teamed up with Emma’s bridesmaid Witney Carson for an Argentine Tango to “Dreams” by Gabrielle Aplin & Bastille. Len emphasized once again that the NFL star has footwork issues: “You got dancing in your blood, it’s just not reached your feet yet!” he said.
Simone Biles and Sasha Farber: 39/40 + 36/40
Sasha Farber clearly doesn’t know his partner’s musical taste, as could be seen by the massive eye roll Simone gave him when he picked the One Direction song “What Makes You Beautiful” for their foxtrot. 1D disses aside, Simone performed a “safe” dance which Len said was “full of youthful exuberance,” but Carrie Ann told the Olympian she still doesn’t feel like the audience knows her well because she hides her emotions. That’s what living in a gym for 14 years will do to you, we later find out.
Trio Time: Simone and Sasha were joined by Brittany Cherry for a Paso Doblé to “Don’t Let Me Down,” and Carrie Ann said she was happy to see more smiles and emotion from the Olympic gymnast. But Simone later threw shade at the judge by saying, “Smiling doesn’t earn gold medals.”
David Ross and Lindsay Arnold: 36/40 + 29/40
David and Lindsay took a father-daughter dance to an adorable level with a waltz to “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw. The pro dancer said the MLB catcher is like a second dad to her, and their dance was so sweet and poignant that Bruno predicted that brides-to-be will download it and copy the moves for their father-daughter wedding dances. While Julianne said Fun Dad David is the “heart” of the competition, Len gave the World Series champ the ultimate compliment: “You attempted to get the correct footwork, which most of the celebrities totally disregard,” he said. “It was 100 percent your best dance.”
Trio Time: Troupe member Hayley Erbert was in the house for a “Gangsta’s Paradise” Paso Doblé, but Len thought the whole thing was a crime. “I didn’t like it at all,” he said. “It was rough.” Bruno’s comment wasn’t much better: “At times you looked like Godzilla chasing jet fighters,” he told the MLB star.
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC. Watch clips and full episodes of DWTS for free on Yahoo View.
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