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  • Writer's pictureNicole Grace

Trick or Treat: Halloween Night on Dancing with the Stars

Halloween is always a huge night on Dancing with the Stars, and this year’s Monster Night did not disappoint, with a lot of great routines and the first night of the competition to have two rounds of dancing for our remaining teams! For the second time this season, we had a guest judge. I usually don’t care much for guest judges, because oftentimes a guest judge is invited because they have something to promote or they have a connection to the night’s theme, instead of actually being qualified to judge. This week’s guest judge was Niecy Nash. I am not familiar with her work as an actress, but she placed fifth on DWTS season ten, so she brought her previous knowledge as a former competitor to the judges’ table. I thought she delivered intelligent and kind feedback with poise.


THE DANCES:


Fantastic choreography from Daniella, as usual. It was great to see Jason getting the chance to do something different. The performance went pretty well, except there was one lift that was a little bit shaky, so they weren’t able to get that perfect score this week.


The last time Alyson played a character in a dance, the judges felt that she lost a lot of technique in the process. This week, Alyson’s vampire paso doble was filled with character, and was still a solid dance performance. The choreography was right on her level, and was the perfect balance of personality and skill. Alyson was so strong and confident while dancing side-by-side with Sasha. The ending of the routine was very striking, as well.


Often when a really good female contestant does a contemporary routine, I feel underwhelmed because usually there are so many lifts, that I am left wanting to see more of that contestant actually dancing. This new style gave Xochitl the opportunity to show a new side of her, but I was less than impressed with the choreography, and felt that it didn’t show what she was fully capable of. There were mainly one or two moments I thought were cool in the whole dance.


In the rehearsal package, Harry and Rylee discussed how critical and negative comments, from both the judges and the general public, are pushing them to do better. I was hoping their performance would go better than it did. A lot of the traveling looked clunky, and there were several moments where it seemed as if their size difference was slowing them down. For Harry, it seems that he is consistently struggling with being confident on the dance floor, and with the size difference between him and Rylee. These issues are not uncommon on the show, but this team has yet to overcome them.


First of all, I love the Into the Woods inspired look. Usually you don’t see a Viennese waltz staged like a battle, but I thought the routine looked pretty nice. I noticed Barry was a little off-rhythm sometimes, though.


Another great performance from Ariana! I loved all the intricate details with their legwork. I was watching their feet the entire time. Carrie Ann said Ariana has what it takes to win, and I agree.


In the beginning of the dance, Lele’s arm placement wasn’t very strong, which is pretty important to the paso doble. I did think that her arms got a bit stronger as the dance went on, and that she performed with a lot of control and power. Lele is getting better every week!


For this routine, Mauricio was hitting all of the steps, but it looked like he needs a bit more strength and groundedness.


I was all smiles for this dance! The levity and bubbliness was so cute. I don’t think we’ve seen a routine like this from Charity, which shows how dynamic of a performer she is. The judges still saw a little room for improvement, so she didn’t get any 10s.


It was really fun watching the teams prep for the dance marathon. I definitely laughed a couple times when different people would describe their strategies.

The dance marathon itself was so great to watch. It was a continuous visual treat because there was always somewhere new to look, with so many couples dancing at once. While last year’s dance marathon was a bit of an upset, this year the judges eliminated couples more or less in reverse order of the leaderboard. I think everyone held their own for as long as they were on the floor, though.

The last team standing was Xochitl and Val. I thought this was well-deserved, because they’ve been one of the top teams for the whole competition, and in the dance marathon they danced strongly both together and side-by-side. I just wish the camera had given us more close-ups of the second-place couple, Ariana & Pasha.


THE ELIMINATION:

The bottom three couples this week were Mauricio & Emma, Alyson & Sasha, and Harry & Rylee. None of these are surprising. The team ultimately eliminated was Mauricio & Emma. He’s worked really hard, but I’m fine with this elimination. We’ve reached the point in the season where the competition is more intense, and he wasn’t performing at the same level as many of the other contestants. I wouldn’t be surprised if Alyson and Harry are eliminated in the coming weeks as well.


We’re about halfway through the competition, and I’m excited to see what happens in the upcoming weeks, starting with the team dances on next week’s Music Video Night!




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