Actress Rumer Willis had a perfect night tonight on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” after two rounds of competition on America’s Choice night. Two stars will be eliminated tomorrow just one week shy of the semi-finals.
Last week’s elimination of consistent high-scorer Willow Shields shocked judges, fans and the ballroom audience, and the actress cried when her name was announced.
Tonight’s show had the remaining six couples performing an individual routine, with styles, songs and setting chosen by fans on social media. They each also performed a second dance, where each couple was joined by an eliminated dance pro or member of the “Dancing” troupe.
Noah Galloway: The U.S. Army veteran and double-amputee’s tango drew praise for the judges, even as they acknowledged that he couldn’t perform the tango exactly as required because of his missing arm and leg. Head judge Len Goodman said he liked the performance, overall, but would have preferred to see more intensity between Galloway and pro partner Sharna Burgess. Julianne Hough agreed with Goodman about Galloway’s restrictions but said she appreciated his speed. Carrie Ann Inaba was impressed with the innovation of the routine. “It was very elegant,” she said, adding: “It was a bit blocky. I know it’s very hard to avoid that.” Bruno Tonioli liked the performance. “You even managed to maintain the frame. How you did that I have no idea … I mean, come on, guys! That was good!” Galloway earned three 8s and a 7, for a total of 31 out of a possible 40 points.
Chris Soules: The “Bachelor” star’s contemporary routine drew unanimous praise from judges. “Well, you guys are just pulling out stops at exactly the right time. I’ve gotta say, Chris, to me, you win the award for most improved this season … I’m so impressed. I’m so grateful that you’re here,” she said. Tonioli said he liked the “new, different shades of Chris,” calling his performance emotive and “tastefully sexy.” He did caution Soules to think more about using his entire body when he was performing this dance style. Inaba cheered, telling Soules it was “by far, your best dance.” Goodman agreed, adding: “Well done.” Soules earned two 9s and two 8s, for a total of 34 points.
Riker Lynch: The R5 band member’s powerful Viennese Waltz drew high praise from the judges. “You were like a raging torrent of emotions. Wow! What intensity and yet such control of execution,” Tonioli said. Goodman said “it was big it was bold it was full on and yet you still kept clarity of movement,” but drew boos from the audience when he said he would have liked to see more dancing in hold. Hough was impressed. “For me, that was your best dance.” Inaba had one comment: “The question tonight is, are you semi-final worthy? For me, hell yeah!” Lynch earned three 10s and a 9, for a total of 39 points.mn
Robert Herjavec: The “Shark Tank” star’s contemporary routine was a big hit with judges – especially since Herjavec and his pro partner delivered a fan-requested kiss during the routine. “You didn’t need a wind machine up there; you‘ve got a big fan in me and that was well done!” a smiling Goodman said. Hough and Inaba said they believed Herjavec “upped” his game. “The way that you two danced was magic …,” Hough added. Tonioli, with his trademark animated enthusiasm, added: “It was like watching a deodorant commercial. ‘Use me; you get the girl!’” he said, adding that his comment was “a good thing.” Herjavec earned three 8s and a 9, for a total of 33 points.
Nastia Liukin: With her pro partner, Derek Hough, still not fully healed from his injury, Liukin again danced with Sasha Farber with Hough playing a cameo role. The Olympian’s paso doble drew mixed reviews from judges. Goodman liked the passion of the routine but said he wanted to see more recognizable paso content. Hough said she believed the pair were out of sync in a couple of spots, but said the routine was fun to watch. Tonioli agreed that the performance was “amazing,” but told Liukin sometimes getting too much into a character could result in a loss of artistry. Inaba said the pair’s partnership “wasn’t so smooth” but said she appreciated Liukin’s performance. Liukin earned four 9s, for a total of 36 points.
Rumer Willis: Coming off a disappointing turn last week, the actress’ rumba tonight earned her a standing ovation from the ballroom audience and rave reviews from all four judges. “That was your best dance that I think you’ve done … that was, like, that was bold,” Hough said. Tonioli called it a pitch perfect, refined, high class rumba.” Inaba called it “sheer perfection,” and Goodman, too, had high praise: “There’s no perhaps about it. It’s great,” he said. Willis earned four 10s, for 40 points and the first perfect score of the season.
The Trio Routines
Noah Galloway, Sharna Burgess and Emma Slater: For his trio salsa, Galloway and his partner were joined by pro dancer Emma Slater. Judges appreciated the routine, Goodman calling it fun and in keeping with the character of the dance. Hough called it “hot, hot, hot," adding: “If anybody can handle those two girls, it’s you.” Tonioli called the “armography” clever: “You girls really worked that out.” Tonioli was so excited that he fell off his chair and onto the floor, but got up laughing it off. Added Inaba: “OK, so two girls, one arm. Probably impossible for most people but not for you, Mr. Noah … You make everything possible, you make it fun.” She expressed regret at not being able to change her score. Galloway earned four 8s, for a total of 32 points and a night’s grand total of 63 points out of a possible 80.
Chris Soules, Witney Carson and Lindsay Arnold: Soules’ paso doble with Carson and Arnold didn’t impress judges. Hough said “The Bachelor” star had more room to improve and said his butt was “going in the wrong direction.” Tonioli appreciated Soules’ commitment to the routine but said he needed to keep his posture. “Spanish lines, very important…,” he said. Inaba, too, found flaws. “The sad truth for me is ... this is about how you stand out within the two girls. I really honestly felt that they overwhelmed you, which surprised me because you’re the bachelor,” she said, adding that the performance was off-timing and “clompy.” Goodman said Soules got so wrapped up in remembering the steps he forgot to inject the required flair of the routine. “It was okay but not great,” he said. Soules earned two 7s and two 8s, for a total of 30 and night’s grand total of 64.
Riker Lynch, Allison Holker and Brittany Cherry: Lynch’s upbeat jazz brought the ballroom audience to its feet, and the judges loved it. Inaba seemed thrilled. “Eighteen snaps! Get it! Get it! Get it! You hammered, hammered that number,” she said. Goodman declared it happy hour on “Dancing With the Stars,” saying judges and Lynch and his partners were all happy with the routine. Hough added: “Now that was a jazz routine … the thing that I love the most is you were leading the routine.” Tonioli called the performance “a mover and shaker.” Lynch earned three 10s and a 9, for a total of 39 points and a night’s grand total of 78.
Robert Herjavec, Kym Johnson and Jenna Johnson: Judges noticed that Herjavec had some missteps in his samba, but there appreciated his style. “You handled those two women beautifully,” Inaba said. Hough added: “It was a bit messy, but you look sharp.” Tonioli said “the samba time was a bit of a shamble, but the style was there.” Goodman was his customary blunt self. Pointing out that it was difficult to do two dances in one night, he nevertheless added: “Unfortunately it’s not do one, get one free and this was a little bit on the messy side.” Herjavec earned two 7s and two 8s, for a total of 29 and a night’s grand total of 62.
Nastia Liukin, Derek Hough and Sasha Farber: Dancing the slower parts with Derek Hough, her injured partner, and the faster parts with Farber, Liukin’s jive found high favor with the judges. It even brought Goodman to his feet. “That was fantastic,” he said. His comment led Liukin’s injured partner to gingerly make his way up to the judges’ bench to give Goodman a hug. Tonioli called the routine “total genius,” and Julianne Hough, Derek’s sister, called it “the most creative trio I have ever seen.” Inaba said she was baffled “because it was beyond brilliant.” The routine earned Liukin a perfect 40 points. Her grand total for the night was 76.
Rumer Willis, Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Artem Chigvintsev: Willis’ trio paso doble earned her a second perfect score of the night. “You’ve been great from day one but tonight you were superior,” Inaba told the actress. Goodman said Willis was brilliant. Her grand total for the night was a total 80 points.
Tonight’s Scores (Individual Routine, Trio Dance. Grand Total)
Rumer Willis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 40; 40 Total: 80
Riker Lynch and Allison Holker: 39; 39. Total: 78
Nastia Liukin and Sasha Farber: 36; 40. Total: 76
Chris Soules and Witney Carson: 34; 30. Total: 64
Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess: 31; 32. Total: 63
Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson: 33; 29. Total: 62