After last week’s “Night of Double Elimination” where there was only one elimination because Jeannie Mai resigned for emergency surgery, Dancing With the Stars returned tonight with a different theme – the “Night of Symbols”.
Tonight was also the last episode before the semifinals start next week. Unfortunately for Backstreet Boy AJ McLean, he won’t get any further. At the end of the evening, the last pairs of McLean with his professional dance partner Cheryl Burke and Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir with professional Brit Stewart. The judges took little pleasure in AJ’s routine, which was performed to Queen’s “Somebody to Love”, and sent him home.
Tonight, “Icons” referred to musical icons, and the night began with the obligatory cold open sketch, which was stilted at best. Soon after, Tyra Banks had her big performance as J. Lo in a less cracked version of his infamous Versace dress. (Later she put on a Nicki Minaj costume).
But the real story of the evening – even more so than McLean’s retirement – was that two couples got the perfect score of 30: Weir and Stewart (in a suitable cast for Amy Winehouse) for their Quickstep routine to “Valerie” by Mark Ronson with Winehouse and Kaitlyn Bristowe (as Britney Spears) with partner Artem Chigvintsev for their Argentinean tango set to “Toxic” by Britney Spears.
Seeing Weir so close to take off at the end of the night was therefore strange, though perhaps not as strange as it was for fans of The Bachelorette when Judge Carrie Ann Inaba Bristowe gave a 10. Throughout the season, Inaba has been attacked in the social media for attacking Bristowe excessively harshly, with some suspecting that Inaba has led a vendetta against her ex-boyfriend Chigvintsev. Tonight, however, Inaba gave Bristowe a standing ovation and the two hugged each other.
Catfish host Nev Schulman danced the jive with professional presenter Jenna Johnson to “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)” by Elton John, and it turned out to be her only performance of the evening. Since the duo was so far ahead on the ranking list, they were able to avoid the next round of dance-offs between couples. In this competition Justina Machado (One Day at a Time) and professional Sasha Farber beat Bristowe and Chigvintsev for two bonus points, McLean and Burke beat Weir and Stewart, and Disney Channel star Skai Jackson beat rapper Nelly and professional rapper Daniella Karagach with Alan Bersten.
Although Nelly finished last on points that evening, he surprisingly failed to advance to the last two places. Judges Bruno Tonioli and Derek Hough shared the votes – Tonioli voted to save Johnny, while Hough voted McLean. Inaba was faced with the unenviable task of choosing who to save and who to leave. Eventually, she saved Weir and Stewart, and McLean and Burke, who once looked like favorites to go far ahead in the competition, said goodbye.