Dancing With the Stars originally planned the “Double Elimination Night” for the episode of this evening – and, as the title clearly states, this meant that two couples would be eliminated from the competition. However, the producers of the series were forced to abandon these plans as Jeannie Mai, co-host of the syndicated daytime talk show “The Real”, announced Monday morning that she had recently received an unfortunate diagnosis of an epiglottis – a potentially life-threatening condition that required immediate surgery. So instead, only one couple would be sent home at the end of the eighth episode of season 29.
In a somewhat surprising move, Chrishell Stause, star of the Netflix reality show Selling Sunset, and her professional dance partner Gleb Savchenko dropped out. In the end the choice fell between her and Disney Channel star Skai Jackson (the latter is paired with professional dancer Alan Bersten). Tonight the two stars were among the last two for the first time, but Skai advanced after judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli had safely chosen them both before Derek Hough had the chance to vote. (He revealed afterwards that he would have chosen to save Skai as well).
Mai’s absence was noticed throughout the show, and a somber tone was often felt. Her general state of health weighed heavily on the entire cast, the judges and even a tearful Tyra Banks after Mai took an emotional video from the hospital. The 41-year-old was also a favorite among fans due to her positive attitude and the fact that she often shared funny and sweet video messages from her Vietnamese mother.
But the show must go on and Tyra must make a big entrance. Tonight she strutted out in a bright, fluffy dress to the sounds of “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. Catfish presenter Nev Schulman also had another great evening with his partner, professional presenter Jenna Johnson. After the duo had scored a perfect 30 last week, they were tied with a 27 for the highest score tonight. Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, who continues to improve, and his professional partner Britt Stewart also scored 27 points.
Among the further highlights of the evening were the Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean and her professional partner Cheryl Burke with a Rumba to “Way Down We Go” by KALEO as well as the Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe and his partner Artem Chigvintsev, who danced Jive to “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen.
Rapper Nelly and professional Daniella Karagach gave a bad performance with a rumba to “Nobody Knows” by The Tony Rich Project. They received three 7s, making a total of 21, which was the lowest score of the evening, and so it seemed as if they were about to be eliminated, but in the end they were immediately called “safe”.
The second part of the evening was the relay dance, in which a judge judges groups of couples who dance the same dance. Inaba judged Nev, Chrishell and Nelly in a Cha-Cha-Cha, in which Nev again stood out and received the highest 3 points.
Hough judged a Viennese Waltz danced with Johnny (in an outfit that made him look like Pee-Wee Herman) and Justina, and Tonioli judged a Samba with AJ,
Kaitlyn and Skai. Of these Johnny, AJ and Kaitlyn scored all 3s.
Next week the audience can look forward to the “Icons Night”, which will be inspired by legendary music stars.
Dancing With the Stars will be broadcast on Mondays (20.00 ET) on ABC….