We’re past the halfway point on Dancing with the Stars season 23, which means all of the couples will now be performing twice. For the Top 8, that means individual routines inspired by different eras, from the 1920s to the ’90s, followed by the always exciting team dances.

'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: Past vs. Future with the Team Dances

At the end of the night, one more couple will be eliminated. And with Ryan, Terra, and Maureen at the bottom of last week’s leaderboard, odds are good that one of them will be gone.

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Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy: 1960s Quickstep

They have a prom theme, which is hard for her because she was home-schooled and never went to a prom. And she knows nothing about history. It takes a while to get going and I’m not sure what prom has to do with the ’60s. The dancing itself is good as always, fast and bubbly. But I don’t get much of a “wow” factor from the routine. Len Goodman points out some technical problems because she was going too fast. Carrie Ann Inaba hated that it started and ended with lifts.

Judges’ Scores: 8+8+9+9=34

In the three performances since their perfect score, they’ve only received one 10. And Laurie giggles about women burning their bras.

Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke: 1990s Rumba

They’re dancing to the Aerosmith song from Armageddon. They need to be sensual, but he’s too goofy. There’s more content than usual and I appreciate all of the actual dancing and steps. But there’s something a little off. They dance around, and then they have a brief sensual moment, but it’s not consistently romantic. There are long stretches with no sensuality. The judges kind of mock how little technique he has. Len admired that there were no bells and whistles, it was just dancing, even if it wasn’t good.

Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28

Ouch. He’d better go home tonight. If not, he’d better go next week.

Marilu Henner and Derek Hough: 1920s Charleston

Back in the ’70s, she was in the musical Chicago, so this suits her. Having two dances this week is making rehearsals harder for Derek. The choreography itself it fantastic, but her dancing isn’t. She isn’t quite in sync with Derek and she looks like she’s inside a box. She doesn’t have full extensions. The judges liked the vibe, but agreed that it wasn’t in sync and felt too tense.

Judges’ Scores: 7+7+8+7=29

Yikes. They could be in real danger next week.

Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold: 1950s Jive

Ankle injuries from football make it hard for him to point his toes. The dance is tons of fun and once again highlights Calvin’s megawatt smile and charisma. The judges loved the energy and Len is surprised by how much he’s improved since the last time Len was here.

Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9+9=36

He’s on a roll. And the show decides to mock Lindsay by showing that she doesn’t know who Napoleon is.

Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev: 1980s Tango

They’re gonna rock, which neither of them is really familiar with. Huh. I don’t think either of them really captures the hard edge they need. It required more physical grit. There were a few stumbles and Artem blames himself for slipping on her skirt. The judges feel bad for her with the slip, but they liked her attitude more than I did.

Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7+7=28

Ugh, so many 9s this late in the season. That’s not good. But it probably just saved Marilu and Derek next week.

Terra Jole and Sasha Farber: 1930s Foxtrot

It’s a perfectly quaint routine, nothing objectionable. Terra excels with this kind of old-school, Silver Age of Hollywood glamour. She has a very elegant sense about her. This is in her wheelhouse and the judges loved their connection. Len loves the elegance and says she puts the “all” in “small.”

Judges’ Scores: 9+8+9+8=34

The judges’ comments and Erin’s questions make me think there’s a possibility she’s going home tonight.

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko: 1970s Samba

She’s on tour, making two dances even harder. She’s also kind of breaking down. They go for a Disco laundromat theme. They have a lot of funk, but they don’t quite have as much chemistry as last week. Carrie Ann complains about her musicality problems and lifts. Len didn’t like that it didn’t have enough Samba content. I kind of agree with him and Len gets VERY snippy with Gleb.

Judges’ Scores: 8+8+9+9=34

Sadly, Len isn’t coming back until the finale. But that’s good news for Gleb.

James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess: 1940s Jitterbug

Sharna injured her knee in rehearsal earlier this morning, but she’s dancing with a brace. He gets a message from Helio Cstroneves saying that Julianne’s claim that James is the best male dancer is because Helio didn’t have a good partner when he won (a joke at Julianne Hough‘s expense). James plays a lovestruck WWII soldier and he plays it to perfection. He’s goofy, endearing, charming, and silly, all while dancing beautifully. As always, he’s a chameleon and the story is so fun. Len wanted more Jitterbug and less Jive.

Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9+9=36

No 10s so far tonight.

Team Past

It’s the three male stars, James, Ryan, and Calvin, with Maureen. Poor Ryan was picked last. They have a Scottish folk song from the 1700s which is also the theme song to the TV show Outlander. They’re focusing on a Viennese Waltz as the centerpiece. The routine certainly fits the theme, a very classic and pretty group routine. There’s very little individual content and Len loves that it was refreshing to see a genuine team dance with beautiful execution. No one stood out, which was the point. It was one big troupe with a lot of stunning formations.

Judges’ Scores: 10+9+9+10=38

Very little room for Team Future to beat them.

Team Future

This is an all-female team with Laurie, Jana, Terra, and Marilu. They’re going with the post-apocalyptic future. Terra feels very badly that she might hold her team back because the things she can do limit the choreography and make the other male pros ask a lot of questions. The routine has a very Divergent/Hunger Games feel to it, but it’s far more traditional for a team dance. Each couple gets to shine individually, but there’s very little actual teamwork. And when there is, it’s not completely in sync as a group. The song was hard to tackle and the lack of emotion in their premise made it all about the shapes.

Judges’ Scores: 8+9+9+9=35

Wow, Derek Hough loses ANOTHER team dance!


We’re going right to the bad news.

The first couple IN JEOPARDY is…Maureen and Artem!
The second couple IN JEOPARDY is…Jana and Gleb!

WTF? Jana and Gleb got the perfect score last week. Way to kill the suspense.

Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev ARE ELIMINATED!

Not a huge surprise, her time was up. Now let’s just hope Ryan goes next week. The odd thing is that, for the last seven seasons in a row, Cheryl, Sasha, and now Artem have all been eliminated in eighth place two times.


74: Calvin Johnson, James Hinchcliffe
69: Laurie Hernandez, Terra Jole, Jana Kramer
66: Ryan Lochte
64: Marilu Henner

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.

(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.