Dancing with the Stars is heading into the home stretch, but things are very, very different. The promised double elimination this week seems to be pushed to next week as we’re getting the 10th Anniversary Special on Tuesday instead of a results show. And then there’s the Derek Hough issue. Or lack of Derek.

'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: Eras, Immunity, Dance-Offs and the Top 7

Following last week’s performance, Derek Hough injured his foot and is now on the D.L. (that’s disabled list, not down low or Hughley). This should’ve been expected. He’s been doing 10 shows a week at Radio City Music Hall, rehearsing for DWTS with Nastia Liukin (now for two dances per week), rehearsing for the DWTS 10th Anniversary Special, AND flying cross-country multiple times per week. The human body, even one as godlike as Derek’s, can only take so much.

Will Nastia’s new partner, Sasha Farber, be an adequate stand-in? It could go either way. Getting a new partner this late is troublesome, but chemistry was never Nastia and Derek’s strong suit, and with his injury, Derek might actually have more time this week to focus on helping with the choreography.

Besides that drama, the seven couples will dance for immunity, the six others will compete in a series of dance-offs for extra points and one couple will be eliminated. I think two bad weeks in a row is enough to end Robert and Kym’s fairy tale romance, but I’ve been wrong every week except for Michael Sam. It’s usually my second-choice prediction that gets eliminated, which means Noah Galloway has reason to worry.

And once again, we’re all on the lookout to see if Len Goodman will finally raise his 10 paddle for the first time this season. This is the first time since season 16 that there have been no perfect scores in the first six weeks.

LIVE…from Hollywood…this is Dancing with the Stars!

OK, Noah is dressed like a pimp. Which I guess makes Sharna his ho. That’s gonna be awesome.

Tom Bergeron confirms that the double elimination is next Tuesday, so presumably tonight’s scores and votes will be combined with next Monday’s scores and votes to send two couples home Tuesday. That mean’s we’ll be losing one-third of the couples, which is insane.

Riker Lynch and Allison Holker: ’20s Quickstep

They have a baseball routine and Riker really wants to get Len’s first 10. It’s cute and he seems to get all of the steps, but something feels off to me. Oddly it’s not as quick as most of his routines and I think I prefer it when Riker isn’t holding onto Allison the whole time. But the judges really loved the content. It definitely had a lot of technique, that’s for sure. But Len Goodman seems to love it more than the others.

Judges’ Scores: 9+10+9+9=37

Ask and ye shall receive as Len gives his first 10 of the season and, ironically, he’s the only one.

Chris Soules and Witney Carson: ’40s Foxtrot

Their inspiration is a sailor asking for one last dance before he ships out to war. Chris does a reasonably decent job, but he seems a little stiff and his posture appears to be awful. Maybe it’s these old-timey eras, but it just doesn’t appeal to me. However, Chris is charming, and the judges liked it. They’re impressed with how he keeps improving and call him an underdog who might have a shot.

Judges’ Scores: 8+7+8+8=31

The same as last week.

Rumer Willis and Val Chmerkovskiy: ’60s Jive

Bruce Willis showed up for rehearsals. He’s wonderfully gruff, but sweet and a loving and proud papa. And yesterday she was really freaking out over the dance and got a bit of whiplash from one of Val’s dips. I find the first half a little off and sluggish, but then Rumer hits her groove and I really enjoy the energy of the second half. It’s light and bubbly, but I’m not wild about all the troupe members crowding the ballroom. Can we please stop the madness of turning individual dances into group routines? The judges have some qualms and Carrie Ann Inaba thought it was too safe.

Judges’ Scores: 8+9+9+9=35

She’s like the opposite of Chris, losing momentum after being such a solid frontrunner for the first few weeks. But the judges don’t seem to think so, because those are generous scores.

Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess: ’70s Jazz

Amy Purdy showed up during rehearsals to offer some advice on doing the show without legs, although she knows his amputation makes it harder. She urges him to focus on personality, so naturally, he’s playing a pimp during a heist.  Yikes, he is not funky enough to pull off James Brown. He has no soul, but I have to agree with the song that it is “super bad.” Also, it was another group routine with too many other people involved. Carrie Ann LOVED it and stands up while flailing her arms. Julianne Hough praises his swag and groove. WTF? Did I have a mini-stroke during this dance, because I missed whatever it is they saw?

Judges’ Scores: 10+8+9+9=36

Are you kidding me? That’s mind-boggling to me.

Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson: ’80s Argentine Tango

They totally thought they were going home last week. They’re dancing to “Word Up,” which makes no sense, but they’re both into the sexiness of the routine. If the point of an Argentine Tango is foreplay, they get a 10. It’s extremely steamy and sensual. It’s dark and brooding but fine for what it is. The judges make a slew of double entendres about how obviously Robert wants to bone the crap out of Kym, with Carrie Ann thinking that he was distracting by her sexuality.

Judges’ Scores: 7+8+8+8=31

Ouch, those scores are like a cold shower.

Nastia Liukin and Sasha Farber: Modern Charleston

“Guys, Derek’s down, we need a medic.” That overly dramatic message segues into Derek breaking his toe two hours after last week’s show. He can’t dance, but he can choreograph and coach Sasha Farber with Nastia. Poor Sasha gets treated like Jan Brady, especially since Derek is right there the whole time and even makes himself a big part of the routine. It’s really great, but it feels more like a Trio dance than a regular routine, which hardly seems fair. Still, I can’t deny that the whole production was top-notch and Nastia was actually better than she’s ever been, full of bubbly energy and excitement. Getting injured really forced Derek to step up his choreography in a major way.

Judges’ Scores: 10+9+9+10=38

And they move into the lead for the immunity. Derek’s summer tour will be fine, but it sounds like he might be out for the rest of the season.

Willow Shields and Mark Ballas: Futuristic Jazz

Apparently, Mark’s idea of the future involves ninjas because he really loves ninjas. They do some bad dubbing in the rehearsal footage that seems kind of offensive to me. WTF is this? What do ninjas have to do with the future? It’s just kind of slow and dull, and I don’t know why they get dragged across the ballroom floor in the middle. This feels more like Mark playing around after school. The judges liked it a little bit, but it didn’t wow them.

Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9+10=37

It’s all about Mark’s love for ninjas and it has nothing to do with Willow. Mark has surpassed Derek this season in terms of making it all about him.

The Dance-Offs

Nastia and Sasha have IMMUNITY!

This is the fourth time DWTS has given out immunity at the Top 7, and three of those times it went to Derek and his partner. Now the other six will pair off to go head-to-head in Foxtrot, Cha-Cha, or Salsa for 2 extra points. And since these scores are for next week’s results, Nastia and Sasha get 3 more points too.

Riker and Allison vs. Willow and Mark: Salsa

Riker and Allison go first with cool, sexy, fast moves. Willow and Mark are OK, but he spins her for about 10 seconds and it just seems to have less content. The judges loved both, but they had two different flavors, so it’s just a matter of personal preference. Riker won on Twitter with 68 percent.

Carrie Ann picks…Willow and Mark
Len picks…Willow and Mark
Julianne picks…Willow and Mark
Bruno picks…Willow and Mark

Willow and Mark win!

So viewers overwhelmingly loved Riker more, but the judges gave it to Willow and Mark in a sweep?

Noah and Sharna vs. Robert and Kym: Cha-Cha

Noah shakes his hips a bit and takes a few steps, but he does almost nothing else. Robert isn’t that good, but at least he dances. This should be a no-brainer, but I thought the same thing about the first dance-off for Riker. Basically, Noah had zero content and no mistakes while Robert had a lot of content, but more mistakes. Noah won on Twitter with 69 percent.

Carrie Ann picks…Robert and Kym
Len picks…Noah and Sharna
Julianne picks…Noah and Sharna
Bruno picks…Robert and Kym

Noah and Sharna win!

Because it’s a tie, head judge Len gets the deciding vote.

Rumer and Val vs. Chris and Witney: Foxtrot

Rumer and Val put everyone else to shame. Honestly, their little Foxtrot is better than their individual dance. Chris isn’t terrible, and I feel a little bad for him because he probably could’ve beaten Noah or Robert, but we shouldn’t even waste our time.

Carrie Ann picks…Rumer and Val
Len picks…Rumer and Val
Julianne picks…Rumer and Val
Bruno picks…Rumer and Val

Rumer and Val win!

Chris probably just wanted to concede.


The first couple SAFE is…Noah and Sharna!
The second couple SAFE is…Robert and Kym!
The third couple SAFE is…Chris and Witney!

WTF? Rumer, Riker, and Willow in the bottom? This is nuts!!!

The fourth couple SAFE is…Riker and Allison!

Willow Shields and Mark Ballas ARE ELIMINATED!

Wow, they tied for second last week, so they really didn’t have much voter support. This is the kind of thing that happens when the judges are too nice and second place is only 6 points ahead of last place, even with two scores. It’s a bit of a shock, but seeing as how I thought they were overscored and didn’t deserve that dance-off win, I can’t complain. This should solidify Nastia, Riker, and Rumer as the Final 3.

Next week is a double elimination, and while we will have to add the scores from next Monday’s show, it’s insanely obvious from the current leaderboard which two SHOULD be eliminated.


41: Nastia Liukin
38: Noah Galloway
37: Riker Lynch, Rumer Willis
31: Chris Soules, Robert Herjavec

(Image courtesy of ABC)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.