DWTS 23 Week 8 Live Blog and Performance Videos


Welcome to week 8, “Halloween Night,” on Dancing with the Stars. Following tonight, there’s only three weeks left of season twenty-three. Seven couples remain, and one more will bite the dust at the end of this evening’s events. Let’s discuss what we can expect tonight.

In round one, each couple will once again dance in a previously unlearned genre. In round two, the one couple who scores the highest in round one will be immune from being eliminated and will not need to participate in the dance-offs (instead earning five extra points). The remaining six couples will then dance-off. The three highest scoring round one couples will pick who they want to compete against, and the couples they pick will choose the dance style (out of Jive, Salsa, or Cha-Cha-Cha). The three winning dance-off couples earn an additional three points. The losers, however, do not receive anything.

After both rounds of competition are over and all dance-off points are rewarded, the next couple will be eliminated and we will have our final six couples. Suffice it to say, this will be one suspenseful night, and not just because the show will be paying tribute to the scariest night of the year. Before we begin, let’s take a look at last week’s poll results.

James & Sharna have taken a commanding lead in the favorite partnership poll, with 43%. Laurie & Val have 21%. Calvin & Lindsay earned 14%, and Jana & Gleb ended up with 12%. Could that end up being our final four? You guys loved the jitterbug from James & Sharna, giving them 44% of the vote. Calvin & Lindsay’s jive had 24% and Laurie & Val took 16%. On the opposite end, 43% of you were not feeling the rumba from Ryan & Cheryl while 30% disliked Marilu & Derek’s charleston. 10% went to Jana & Gleb for their samba. An overwhelming 76% of you picked Team Past in terms of the group dances.

87% agreed with Maureen’s boot last week, and the episode itself was mostly received as above average in quality. Who do you guys think will be heading home tonight? Ryan & Cheryl are at the top of the list with 63% of the vote. 23% of you think this could be the end of the road for Marilu & Derek. I don’t see either of those two couples earning immunity and I have to agree with the majority that Ryan will be leaving us. In all honesty, he is the weakest dancer of the remaining couples and he has survived just about as long as he could considering the competition. I would be very surprised if his journey does not end tonight.

Len Goodman is back in the UK and won’t be returning until the finale. Will tonight continue to show that we are heading for a James/Laurie/Calvin/Jana final four? Can Marilu rebound? Will Terra play spoiler? And is there a way at all for Ryan to escape without being booted? Let’s put on our costumes and dancing shoes (not really but trying to get in the spirit) and see what happens…

A really cool Halloween inspired opening kicks off the show- which includes the pros and their celebrity partners. Everyone is dressed up in great costumes with lots of makeup. That looks like it was a lot of fun. Mandy Moore choreographed that and Tom and Erin welcome us to the show. – Watch the Performance VIDEO

More on this later but Sharna is out with an injury and so, Jenna is stepping in for her and dancing with James. Round one begins now…

Terra & Sasha – Cha-Cha-Cha
Terra is happy she is back into the top 3 in terms of the judges scores. Sasha notes how tough the cha-cha-cha is for Terra when it comes to the moves. Terra knows that technique is key. Hilarity ensues backstage as Terra tries her hardest to scare Sasha. It finally works. Sort of. LOL. This tribute to “Beetlejuice” is hysterical. Sasha has basically choreographed the famous dinner scene where the party guests end up dancing to “Day-O.” A solid performance by Terra within the context of a cha-cha-cha but a stand out routine when it comes to performance quality. She totally immersed herself in the role and Sasha made it fun and spirited. A great way to kick off the show. – Watch the Performance VIDEO

Julianne felt Terra set the mood and tone for the night. She compliments Terra’s dedication. She wants to see the two of them to push a little more with content if they want to get to the next level. Bruno liked it. He liked the cartoon feel of it. He felt it could have been a bit sharper (the cha-cha-cha steps). Carrie Ann says it was a really good performance but not great. She says nothing was surprising and she agrees with Julianne that Terra should push a little more.
Carrie Ann- 8
Julianne- 8
Bruno- 8
Total- 24/30
You can vote for Terra by calling 1-800-868-3412 during the show and for 60 minutes after the broadcast in each time zone. You can also vote online at ABC.COM and/or on FACEBOOK (voting is combined via this method) from the start of the East Coast show till 11AM Eastern Tuesday.

Laurie & Val – Viennese Waltz
Val is happy with what he and Laurie have done but he knows that the pair of them need to do better. Laurie has cleared the week so she can completely concentrate on the show. Val is worried they are losing momentum. Laurie is playing Charlie, with Val as Willy Wonka. Val is tearing up in rehearsal because Laurie brings such joy and he doesn’t want to blow it for her. Aww. What a sweet dance. Val did a great job with this routine. A fun, appropriate viennese waltz that flowed beautifully, had great rise and fall, and perfectly captured the awe and wonder of the film- that is, someone experiencing a world of pure imagination for the first time. This was probably Laurie’s strongest dance for quite a few weeks. A reminder to viewers that she is a force in the competition for sure. – Watch the Performance VIDEO

Bruno called it a magical Halloween treat. He compliments Laurie’s acting. Carrie Ann is crying. She loves that something magical happened between the music and the pair of them. She calls it divine. Julianne says the quality of dance is very high. She is all compliments and notes that Laurie and Val had a great connection tonight.
Carrie Ann- 10
Julianne- 10
Bruno- 10
Total- 30/30
You can vote for Laurie by calling 1-800-868-3407 during the show and for 60 minutes after the broadcast in each time zone. You can also vote online at ABC.COM and/or on FACEBOOK (voting is combined via this method) from the start of the East Coast show till 11AM Eastern Tuesday.

Marilu & Derek – Argentine Tango
Marilu says that last week was a step backward and was tough. She notes the show is very challenging in an emotional way. Marilu’s feet are hurting her but Derek wants her to dance with ease and not have any doubts when they go out there. He wants this to be a comeback week. I say this each season I blog but I really do believe Derek is the king of the argentine tango. He just gets that dance so well when it comes to mood, feel, and the details. And this was no exception. That being said, Marilu is once again too careful for her own good. It just seems like she is trying so hard to nail the steps and not make any errors that the dance doesn’t come off completely natural. At one point, she even accidentally hits Derek in the head with her arm. It just continues to show that when Marilu is nervous and concentrating too hard, she is far from being at her best. – Watch the Performance VIDEO

Carrie Ann loved the intensity. But she says the dance had so many missteps. Julianne enjoyed the performance but she agrees with Carrie Ann. She says Marilu second guesses herself too much. Bruno wants Marilu to use her assets even more. He doesn’t want her to ever hesitate and trust Derek completely.
Carrie Ann- 7
Julianne- 8
Bruno- 8
Total- 23/30
You can vote for Marilu by calling 1-800-868-3408 during the show and for 60 minutes after the broadcast in each time zone. You can also vote online at ABC.COM and/or on FACEBOOK (voting is combined via this method) from the start of the East Coast show till 11AM Eastern Tuesday.

Calvin & Lindsay – Quickstep
Calvin is happy with his place in the competition after last week. Lindsay is excited about Halloween as they get to go full out. Calvin notes how he and Lindsay’s chemistry is growing. Calvin loves messing around with Lindsay in rehearsal. Calvin’s son arrives at rehearsal and he is just one big ball of adorable. A really fun quickstep filled with character, fast footwork, and a nice race around the ballroom floor. I did notice a few moments when in hold that Calvin looked like he may have felt unsteady but Lindsay held it together. Perhaps the height difference played a part in that- Calvin having to keep his posture without slumping over to reach a shorter Lindsay. All in all though, another solid routine to add to Calvin’s journey on the show. – Watch the Performance VIDEO

Julianne felt they captured the theme without compromising the integrity. She loved it. Bruno felt it was a perfect balance of content and theme. He calls it superb. Carrie Ann compared Calvin to Emmitt Smith. She loved it as well.
Carrie Ann- 10
Julianne- 10
Bruno- 10
Total- 30/30
You can vote for Calvin by calling 1-800-868-3403 during the show and for 60 minutes after the broadcast in each time zone. You can also vote online at ABC.COM and/or on FACEBOOK (voting is combined via this method) from the start of the East Coast show till 11AM Eastern Tuesday.

*That’s two perfect scores (so far) and Tom notes that the couple that wins immunity tonight will be based on cumulative scores from the season. That means, the only couple right now that can defeat Laurie & Val and get immunity would be James & Jenna. They have the higher cumulative score this season but they would need a perfect 30 tonight to get it.

Ryan & Cheryl – Tango
Cheryl says Ryan has come far and she is going to push him this week. She is planning on approaching this week different. She is putting her foot down. Ryan notes that Cheryl is drilling things into him this week. This is a good rehearsal package as it shows Ryan trying and he says he will have a breakthrough this week. Well, I don’t know if I would necessarily deem it a breakthrough but this was Ryan’s best dance. Cheryl really hit home the tango steps- those kicks and fierce in hold twists and turns. Ryan executed them well. And he was actually doing something I haven’t seen him do much at all this season- dance as though he wasn’t just going through the motions of memorized steps. This actually looked like a well choreographed and danced routine. So good on him and he should be proud of that accomplishment. – Watch the Performance VIDEO

Bruno loved that it was a believable performance. He doesn’t want him to lose the shoulders and he says the tango shouldn’t be so “steppy.” Carrie Ann agrees with Bruno and says the dance lost some elegance but it did have a lot of content. She is mixed on on it. Julianne gives Ryan credit for the performance, even though she basically agrees with her co-judges on the dance.
Carrie Ann- 7
Julianne- 8
Bruno- 8
Total- 23/30
You can vote for Ryan by calling 1-800-868-3411 during the show and for 60 minutes after the broadcast in each time zone. You can also vote online at ABC.COM and/or on FACEBOOK (voting is combined via this method) from the start of the East Coast show till 11AM Eastern Tuesday.

Jana & Gleb – Jazz
Jana notes how busy the routine will be. This is the fist time Gleb has choreographed a jazz routine and so, he is feeling pressure. Gleb notes that back home, his teachers were strict on him, which is why he is tough on Jana. And he is at rehearsals. Jana appreciates Gleb and where he is coming from. Alright, so Gleb needs to do some jazz research. I feel like he thinks jazz is synonymous with mashup. Just throw everything in the dance that you can. That’s not really jazz technically. That being said, Jana didn’t miss a beat and actually kept up with everything Gleb put it in there. She flipped, split, and ran around with vigor and vitality. I can absolutely appreciate the dance even if I think it could have been put together with a bit more cohesion. – Watch the Performance VIDEO

Carrie Ann loved the flexibility. She mentions she saw some jive in there and enjoyed it. Julianne feels like the jive shouldn’t have been in there because it was a weak point of Jana’s. But she loved the performance. Bruno loved the high energy. He felt it hit all the right spots.
Carrie Ann- 9
Julianne- 9
Bruno- 9
Total- 27/30
You can vote for Jana by calling 1-800-868-3406 during the show and for 60 minutes after the broadcast in each time zone. You can also vote online at ABC.COM and/or on FACEBOOK (voting is combined via this method) from the start of the East Coast show till 11AM Eastern Tuesday.

James & Sharna (Jenna) – Viennese Waltz
Sharna hurt herself during dress rehearsal last week. She was in a lot of pain. As it turns out, she is at risk of needing surgery, so she needs to sit out tonight. No official word on whether Sharna will be back this season but she for sure will not dance tonight. James is very supportive and just wants Sharna to get better. Nice. You could tell Sharna was the creator behind that because no disrespect to Jenna but from her previous work on the show (this season with Jake for example), she isn’t as good creatively. Anyways, a really good dance from James. It was the same dance as Laurie had- yet in a completely different perspective. This was more a dangerous viennese waltz, and James handled the performance of it all with gusto. It isn’t easy to glide around the floor looking elegant while you are playing the crazed Joker. Good stuff. He is also lucky that with the theme, there was no real requirement for him to have any super chemistry with Jenna. That would have been difficult to do in such a short time span. For example, at least they didn’t need to do a sexy contemporary or anything. – Watch the Performance VIDEO

Julianne says this goes to show that James is the real deal because he can dance with any partner. Bruno loved it and felt that despite new wheels, James delivers the ride of a lifetime. Carrie Ann says James reminds her of Mark Ballas as he handled the dance like a pro.
Carrie Ann- 10
Julianne- 10
Bruno- 10
Total- 30/30
You can vote for James by calling 1-800-868-3405 during the show and for 60 minutes after the broadcast in each time zone. You can also vote online at ABC.COM and/or on FACEBOOK (voting is combined via this method) from the start of the East Coast show till 11AM Eastern Tuesday.

Immunity from elimination, dance-off, and five extra points- James & Sharna

The six couples are ready to pick their opponents and dance styles.

Laurie & Val pick to dance-off against Calvin & Lindsay. Calvin & Lindsay pick the jive.
Jana & Gleb pick to dance-off against Terra & Sasha. Terra & Sasha pick the salsa.
That means Marilu & Derek compete against Ryan & Cheryl in a cha-cha-cha

1. Laurie & Val Vs. Calvin & Lindsay
Interesting. Were they not supposed to start off at the same time? It was weird. They all danced together but the camera seemed to stay on Laurie and then Calvin bowed out until it was his turn. Then all four danced again at the end. Anyways, this was a close one but I would give the slight edge to Laurie for having a bit more jive content from what I could see. It looked like Calvin may have won on performance quality though. Should be interesting to see how the judges score it. – Watch the Performance VIDEO

Julianne enjoyed the strategy behind the picking- too couples close in scores. She notes a little mess up with Calvin toward the end. Bruno calls it an epic battle. He feels one was slightly more precise than the other but both were brilliant. Carrie Ann feels it was brave for Laurie to choose Calvin. She makes a joke about Calvin blocking Laurie so they couldn’t see Laurie dance. LOL. But she agrees one couple was more precise.
Carrie Ann- Laurie & Val
Julianne- Laurie & Val
Bruno- Laurie & Val
America picked Laurie & Val with 63% of the vote

Laurie & Val earn the points.

2. Jana & Gleb Vs. Terra & Sasha
Well, this is more obvious. Jana was definitely the winner here, at least in my eyes. First, I’m not really sure Terra was even doing salsa. It looked like she was doing a number of steps from previous routines while I saw new steps from Jana. I also some more of a cohesive dance from Jana & Gleb- something that resembled an actual routine with a beginning, middle, and end. Terra made no huge errors here but I don’t think she did anything that stood out and definitely failed to do anything that exceeded what Jana & Gleb were doing on the opposing side. – Watch the Performance VIDEO

Bruno says one was sexy and one was fun. He doesn’t know what to do. Carrie Ann felt like each team brought it in their own respective ways. Julianne feels like both were tight because one started strong and then the other hit back.
Carrie Ann- Terra & Sasha
Julianne- Jana & Gleb
Bruno- Jana & Gleb
America picked Jana & Gleb with 54% of the vote

Hnm. A little surprised the judges (and America) felt like that was so close. Anyways, Jana earns the points.

3. Marilu & Derek Vs. Ryan & Cheryl
You know what, as surprising as it is for me to even say it, this wasn’t the blowout I thought it would be. Ryan & Cheryl actually gave Marilu & Derek a run for their money here. Neither couple was amazing but I appreciated Ryan’s attention to detail in his cha-cha-cha. Despite the steps being simplistic, he was clean. Marilu & Derek did more, though not all of it was precise. This was really close. Hmm. Marilu by a hair? I thought the previous dance-off wasn’t close but everyone else did. This I feel was so now watch it not be. LOL – Watch the Performance VIDEO

Carrie Ann could not keep her eyes off of. Julianne agrees. Bruno feels like one went precise, while the other went all out. He is being cryptic on purpose.
Carrie Ann- Ryan & Cheryl
Julianne- Ryan & Cheryl
Bruno- Marilu & Derek
America picked Ryan & Cheryl with 58% of the vote

Ryan earns the points.

Final Leaderboard For Week 8 (the total amount of points a team could earn was 35
James & Sharna (Jenna) – 35 (30 + 5 pts for immunity)
Laurie & Val – 33 (30 + 3 pts for dance-off)
Calvin & Lindsay – 30
Jana & Gleb – 30 (27 + 3 pts for dance-off)
Terra & Sasha – 24
Marilu & Derek – 23


SAFE… Marilu & Derek, Laurie & Val, Calvin & Lindsay, Jana & Gleb

Out of the 2 remaining couples, the one leaving us tonight is…

Ryan & Cheryl

Ryan gets a nice send off in the ballroom from the audience and judges. He says the show has taught him a lot about himself. He is sad to go home but he has been touched by everyone on the show. They go to the center of the ballroom to say goodbye. – Watch the Elimination VIDEO

Aww. I don’t know why exactly but that elimination was tough. It was no doubt time for Ryan to go as he was the weakest but I do feel like he was genuinely happy to be on the show and did indeed grow from it. At least he went out on a high considering he won the dance-off.

And that’s it for Halloween night. I’ll be back in a few with a new POLLS thread and of course, I hope to see you all one week from tonight. We are getting close to the finale people! :D