The blink and you’ll miss it season continues at a breakneck pace.  This week we have Battle Rounds with Guest mentors: Nastia Liukin, Vonn Miller and Meryl Davis and a guest judge in former Cubs catcher and ballroom alum David Ross.  By the show’s end, we’ll have a stunning Triple Elimination and on top of that it’s “Inspiration/MVP” week!

Marai Nagasu and Alan Bersten (35) Her inspiration/MVP is her mom and their relationship is really adorable.  They quickstep to a jazzy Fifth Harmony song. It’s intricately choreographed and moves fast, but this is the first time Marai seems a little out of her element to me.  David Ross says they killed it. Len says it was full on, but she did lose her posture slightly near the end. Bruno compares the dance to a firefly and liked the visuals.  Bruno says she lost a bit of her top line aka her shoulders. Carrie Ann points out that dancing in a group was a bit of a challenge for her, but that’s about all she saw wrong.  

Jennie Finch Daigle and Keo Motsepe (29) Her inspiration/MVP is her hubby.  They do a Viennese waltz, which is fine, but she definitely still seems to have so much growing to do, while her competition is all practically finale ready. Len wanted more fluidity through the arms and more in hold. Bruno is glad she’s trusting her partner, but wants to work on her balance and, once again, her fluidity.  Carrie Ann echoes my thoughts about needing more weeks for her to fully grow as a dancer. David says it was great, because that’s all he’s there to do.

Chris Mazdzer and Witney Carson (33) Chris picks his mom as his MVP, and her reaction is just…mom-tastic! Their foxtrot is all ’40s glam and dancing on top of pianos.  It ends with Chris’ mom joining them for their final pose. Bruno says he was razzle dazzled and mentions Fosse and Gene Kelly, which is a nod to Witney’s choreo more than anything.  Carrie Ann says Chris looked a little nervous but then says it was “balls to the walls” and turns into the Lift Police for just a sec, because she is legal obligated to do that at least once a season.  David loved the hats. Len is iffy on the beginning but loved how it all wound up.

Tonya Harding and Sasha Farber (33 + 2 bonus for battle) Tonya selects her late father as her MVP and her discussion of him is touching.  They have a rumba, which is always a challenge when there’s not a ton of romantic chemistry. They make it work as a tribute, though, and it’s very heartfelt.  Carrie Ann notes its authenticity. David calls it inspirational. Len mentions light and shade, although he bemoans the lack of hip action. Bruno says her lines are better and shoulders are improved, along with her underarm turns.  You know, actual dance critiques.

Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson (39 + 2 bonus for battle) Adam’s MVP is his mom.  Their contemporary dance shows how physically strong they both are, but it’s alternates between clever and unique and just a little weird with its bird in a cage theme.  (The song is called “Fly”.) David calls it beautiful and says they were connected. Len thought it had both control and flair. He also calls it “spiky.” Bruno calls it mesmerizing and points out how in tune they are and how he can’t tell who is the pro. Carrie Ann points out just how challenging everything they did was and calls it “perfection.”

Josh Norman and Sharna Burgess (36 + 2 bonus for battle) Their contemporary is dedicated to his four brothers and is full of lifts and impressive tricks. Plus, they have lots of chemistry and seem to be very in sync.  Len calls it seamless. Bruno points out what great care he took of Sharna in a routine where he threw her around. Carrie Ann says he instilled a sense of peace in everyone and the lifts were impeccable. David says it was smooth.

Dance Battles

Jennie vs. Tonya (cha cha) The two teams have very different approaches to the same dance, and Tonya and Sasha look much more in sync.  Len thinks one had more rhythm than the other. Bruno points out timing issues. Carrie Ann points out that each had some flaws but it was good overall.  David says this round sucks because you’re going against someone else. The judges gives the round to Tonya and Sasha and two bonus points. Jennie and Keo won the viewer vote, but it appears to only count in the event of a tie.

Adam vs. Marai (jive) Marai was winning for me until Adam and Jenna did a series of splits at the end.  Bruno says it comes down to taste and style as they were both technically excellent. Carrie Ann said it was so fun and the difference was one hair, which she pulls out of her own head to illustrate. David says it’s a tough decision. Len agrees with everyone. Since the judges tie, it comes down to America picking Adam and Jenna.

Chris vs. Josh (salsa) Both guys add the beefcake by stripping off their shirts early on and they both also throw in the tricks. It was fun.  Carrie Ann says it was a tight battle and David is just glad he didn’t have to take his shirt off. Len says he’s not a fan of taking shirts off, so Bruno promptly undoes his tie and dress shirt to make him more uncomfortable. It appears to be a tie at first, but it’s actually Josh and Sharna who get the two points despite the viewer vote going to Chris and Witney.

Going to the Finale: Adam and Jenna, Tonya and Sasha and Josh and Sharna

Eliminated: Chris and Witney, Jennie and Keo and Marai and Alan

In the end, those two points won in the battle served as the difference in the results.  That and Tonya’s redemption story trumping Marai and Adam’s BFF Battle.  It would have been interesting to see how it played out over a longer season, but that is not to be.  Next week comes down to a one hour finale, and just like that, it’ll be all gone!  Join EJ for the fun!

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