(Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Week 8’s “Dynamic Duos” theme episode of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”)
The theme for the eighth week of competition on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” was “Dynamic Duos,” which meant we got to see classic combos like Batman & Robin, Adam & Eve and Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz. It was a night of consistency, with the dominant dancers continuing to dominate.
They are, however, keeping things interesting week to week as they seem to be taking turns shining the brightest. This week, for the second time in the competition, it was Janel Parrish’s turn. The “Pretty Little Liars” star, along with her professional partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy, turned in a flawless contemporary routine.
While Chmerkovskiy was the pro in their partnership, anyone unfamiliar with Parrish’s work on the ABC Family teen drama might have thought she was a professional as well. The confidence and poise with which she worked through some challenging lifts was breathtaking. She was elegance aloft, creating genuine emotion through her movement. In other words, she was a dancer.
There isn’t even a point in teasing out the top performance of the week, because there was no question. Instead, we’ll take a look at how the rest of the competition stacked up, after we enjoy their dance one more time. (Judges’ scores: 40)
1. Janel Parrish & Valentin Chmerkovskiy (Contemporary)
2. Bethany Mota & Derek Hough (Salsa)
Another one that looked like a performance between two professionals, Bethany slipped from the top perch because she had a few minor hiccups along the way. There were slight hesitations and her mugging was a bit over-the-top. Still, she was given a lot of solo work in the routine, and was very confident throughout. Let’s just say it was very close between the top two performances of the night. (Judges’ scores: 37)
3. Sadie Robertson & Mark Ballas (Contemporary)
This was another powerful piece beautifully performed. The judges scored this one higher than Mota’s, but I thought it looked a little under-rehearsed, showing its seams as it were. We couldn’t quite see Robertson counting, but we could see her thinking her way through the routine. It was a stiffer contemporary piece, which can be more difficult to pull off, and she did extremely well with it. The young “Duck Dynasty” star has something here with dance if she has any interest in pursuing it. She certainly lights up when she’s performing. (Judges’ scores: 38)
4. Alfonso Ribeiro & Witney Carson (Cha-cha-cha)
In a fun nod to Batman & Robin, the strongest male celebrity in the competition continued to make his case as a contender for the finals. You can see the confidence on his face and in his carriage, as well as the belief that Witney has in him. She normally doesn’t hold back in giving him a lot to do, which is why I was a bit surprised to see her dominating more of the scenes. Perhaps his groin injury is slowing them down, albeit only slightly. As I said, it’s a tight race between these top four couples at this point, and it really is anybody’s show. (Judges’ scores: 38)
Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev were in this conversation just a few short weeks ago, but her performances have really dropped off in recent weeks. This week was no exception, with the “
If she wants a shot at this thing, Thompson needs to step up and do it soon, before the judges and the viewing audience forget that she was one of the competition’s leaders in its first four weeks.
“Dancing With the Stars” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.