Dancing with the Stars: '80s Invasion Complete with Surprise NKOTB Cameo [Video]

Everything was bigger, from the hair to the makeup to the costumes to the scores — plus, we got a genuine “Flashdance” recreation of that iconic water scene and it was incredible!

“Dancing with the Stars” went with big hair and bright colors as they brought back the ‘80s for a wild night of big dances.

The night also saw the season’s first contemporary routine, as well as a few jazz routines to shake up that ballroom vibe a bit. The new styles fit well with the music and style of the decade of excess as we some some marked improvements from many of our stars.

Nev Schulman also opened up about his struggles growing up, being one of the first children ever diagnosed with ADHD and how he found an outlet for all that energy. Jesse Metcalfe, meanwhile, revealed how his hero from “The Breakfast Club” taught him a method for coping with feeling ostracized from his peers — not a great method, perhaps, but one he used to protect himself emotionally.

On top of that, Chrishell Stause admitted that she is a bona fide Blockhead before performing to New Kids on the Block, and then getting an incredible surprise that left her speechless. And we actually got a full “Flashdance” moment from one of our stars, complete with chair and bucket of water and the pose and it … was … glorious!

Justina Machado & Sasha Farber

(Jazz) She did the “Maniac” water drop at the end! Justina is fearless in this competition and she brought so much energy and pizzazz to this jazz piece from “Flashdance,” it was quintessential ‘80s in all of its garish glory. What a great way to open a show and continue to cement herself as a real contender in this competition. Justina had jazz hands, she had the right push and grit. This piece was just a smile factory!

Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8

My Score: 8

Jesse Metcalfe & Sharna Burgess

(Tango) Jesse opened up a bit about being that outsider he looked up to in Judd Nelson’s “Breakfast Club” character. He felt like an outsider and wasn’t popular, so he’d overcompensate by ostracizing others before they could cut him out, playing it off like he didn’t care. But obviously as a young kid, he absolutely did.

There was a sharp staccato of movement missing throughout much of Jesse’s movement, even going so far as to march rather than tango during a tandem portion. He also needs to remember that the hand not in contact with Sharna is just as important; a few times it’s as if he forgot about it entirely. His hold wasn’t as back and tall as it needed to be, either. Actually, we’ll just chalk it down to a lack of that crisp edge that makes a tango pop throughout.

Judges Scores: 7, 6, 6

My Score: 5

Chrishell Stause & Gleb Savchenko

(Cha cha) She had some nice swivel-hips action going and then she got off on the wrong foot, messed up her timing and it cost her the next two moves before she almost got it back. From there, Chrishell seemed a bit rattled, focusing too much on not getting the steps wrong that she did a few more times (though not as bad), and failed to deliver a full committed performance. It was too much in her head and not enough through her body after that mishap.

She almost didn’t care about the scores, though, as this New Kids on the Block superfan was beside herself with excitement to get a personalized message from the boys. It’s probably a good thing they waited until after she’d danced, because her love is real, as evidenced by video footage she had of her sleeping outside their venue for tickets and screaming stage side.

Judges Scores: 6, 6, 7

My Score: 6

Jeannie Mai & Brandon Armstrong

(Jazz) There was a lot to love about this routine, though we wish we could have gotten a little more attack out of Jeannie in the side-by-side portion The spin-to-lift move, though, was handled incredibly well and the weightlift spin was solid, though a little clunky on the exit. It was a very fun dance, though, overall. Jeannie had the choreo, she just needed to give it that little more Brandon was looking for in the package … and never quite got.

Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8

My Score: 8

Monica Aldama & Valentin Chmerkovskiy

(Tango) Wow, this was like a different performer than we’ve seen all season. Val gave so much tango content in this and Monica was all over it. She had so much attitude and conviction, she sold it even on those few occasions where she wasn’t sinking into the floor quite as much as we would have liked. Still, her power, her kicks (almost perfect), and the overall strength with which she hit every movement had us unable to take our eyes off of her. Incredible growth after a crazy night last week.

Judges Scores: 9, 9, 8

My Score: 9

AJ McLean & Cheryl Burke

(Waltz) This was such a sweet routine and one of the show’s sweetest partnerships. We would have liked a little more fluidity and grace from AJ as they moved across the floor, he looked like he was reaching at different points rather than just gliding. It was as if he wasn’t quite settled into the flow of the dance so he was chasing it rather than just being in it, forcing his — and Cheryl’s — position rather than just letting it come naturally.

Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8

My Score: 7

Skai Jackson & Alan Bersten

(Jazz) This should have been more than it was and yet it felt like Skai was dancing under the energy of the choreography through so much of this. For as petite as she is, she also looked like she was laboring a bit during her parts of the lifts, which are more about momentum than size. Not that this was bad, as she had some very nice moments, but it definitely also had some awkward moments as if she still doesn’t quite trust Alan as her partner (another key for successful lifts).

Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8

My Score: 7

Vernon Davis & Peta Murgatroyd

(Tango) Vernon was lumbering on his heels, rather than stalking across the dance floor like a panther. The strength was there, but not the sharpness, nor the sharp pokes. It was all just a little blobby and heavy as if his gravity was about twice as hard to fight against as hers. The steps were there for the most part, but the classic tango performance was definitely lacking and he definitely wasn’t hitting anything as hard or sharp as he needed.

Judges Scores: 7, 7, 7

My Score: 5

Kaitlyn Bristowe & Artem Chigvintsev

(Tango) This is turning into a really fun partnership, and they really came together strong on this tango. The musicality with the head turns to the drum beats was just divine, as was the way they moved across the floor. Kaitlyn needed to prove her diversity of movement and she made a good statement here with great frame, synchronicity and attack.

Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9

My Score: 9

Nelly & Daniella Karagach

(Samba) Nelly continues to improve week by week and he really threw himself into this one in a way that was a lot of fun to watch. He’s still a little heavy on his feet and lacking finesse in all of his movements, but he’s definitely getting better, putting a little bit of hip action into this one. This was the first week he looked like he was completely comfortable in the choreography and it carried through in his quality of movement.

Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8

My Score: 7

Johnny Weir & Britt Stewart

(Contemporary) There was definitely a lyrical quality to Johnny’s movements that Britt brought out of him. This was a lovely piece, though we would have actually liked even more movement across the main dance floor so we could see even more of their great partnering … but that’s more a choreo issue. Johnny stepped up where needed and really did have lovely lines, beautiful extensions, he got lots of lift on his jump and he did everything that was asked of him and the two of them having great chemistry at this point.

Judges Scores: 10, 10, 9

My Score: 9

Nev Schulman & Jenna Johnson

(Quickstep) Nev revealed that he was among the first kids ever diagnosed with ADHD, which created a lot of challenges for him. It was actually an after-school dance program that gave him an outlet for his energy. Now, it’s been 20 years since he danced, but that connection could explain why he’s been such a natural on this show.

This piece was nonstop energy and he looked fearless attacking what many called the “dreaded” quickstep. His footwork was impeccable. He could work on going a little higher with his heel lifts, but overall this was further proof that Nev is a born dancer. He has great presence, timing and just brought infectious joy to every step of this.

Judges Scores: 8, 9, 9

My Score: 8

We got a little bit more of a spread from the judges’ voting with a dead-heat at the bottom of the leaderboard with both Jesse and Chrishell tying for the lowest scores of the night. We actually went a little easier on Chrishell, but a little harder on Vernon, dropping him into our tie for the bottom.

We definitely agreed that those are the bottom three couples, so it comes down to what America thinks? It’s a big gap between these and the five couples tied in the middle of the pack, so it would be surprising to see anyone else fall to the bottom.

Our pick for Bottom 2 was Jesse and Vernon, based on what we saw, but what did you see? And will Tyra read off the right names? We have to imagine they are being so sure they get this right after last week’s disastrous reading of the results.

Tyra may be saying it’s in no particular order, but she wound up with the same Bottom 3 as the judges and us, so we think this is supposed to be a bit of a wakeup call for that last couple called safe — no matter what she says.

It also marks yet another week of America being right in line with the judges’ scores, which is nice to watch. We love the idea of actually rewarding the best dancers on a show about being the best dancer!

Ultimately, it came down to Jesse and Vernon in the Bottom 2, which means you agreed with us even more than the judges — you’re so smart! It also means that this should have been the last hurrah for Jesse. He was never bad, but he also wasn’t improving much at all week over week, whereas Vernon has shown glimmers of growth.

The advantage of having the judges make the final decision now is that they see what we see week after week and more often than not, they get it right And they did so again, sending Jesse Metcalfe & Sharna Burgess home.

“Dancing With the Stars” continues Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

[via TooFab]

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