Our HELLO! recap of Dancing with the Stars' newest episode might be remiss without mentioning the fact that this is the season's best episode - by a huge margin.
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Almost every contestant brought their best moves to the table, and they pushed themselves to the absolute limits, giving us some show-stopping routines.
But what really made it exciting and interesting was more proof of the fact that there are no real front-runners in this show.
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Audiences and fans, for instance, have been bemoaning the fact that JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson have consistently been the only benefactors of the judges' high scores.
But seeing three separate couples earn perfect 40s this week, none of which had gotten them before, is refreshing, especially given that they comprise the endearing trio of Melora Hardin, Suni Lee, and Amanda Kloots. All of them also won their dance offs, so...serendipity much?
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You could attribute a lot of that to this being Janet Jackson Night, given that her songs lend to contestants embracing their sultrier, more powerful sides. Sometimes it worked, like with Suni and her samba. And sometimes it proved counter-intuitive, like with Iman Shumpert and his not-so-cha-cha cha-cha-cha.
Janet herself made an appearance in the beginning of the episode from London. Would it have been nice if she spoke to the contestants instead of Tyra Banks, reminiscing on some memory from some time ago? Sure, yes, let's say so.
Jimmie and Emma's elimination was the result of a relatively rough night
Also, we have to talk about the pre-dance packages. Two pairs had very similar segments, both focussing on the tense moments they faced with their partners, even including some swearing (I blushed).
It's interesting that both contestants, Amanda and Melora, also ended up with perfect scores, deservedly so, for giving the judges exactly what they asked for: something new. The raw moments are ones audiences generally enjoy, since it gets rid of some of ABC's sugar coating.
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As far as the elimination goes, Olivia Jade and Val Chmerkovskiy getting the first instant boot was a genuine shock. Yes, they'd been in the bottom before, but they were among the most consistent and joyful of the contestants there, and seeing them go was truly a shame.
On the other hand, it kind of became writing on the wall when Jimmie Allen and Emma Slater got the boot, given that despite their popularity with fans and the judges, they were the casualty of a rogue bad week, especially against surprising bottom dwellers Melora and Artem. A stinging loss all the same.
Olivia and Val were the episode's (major) shock boot
Maybe we need more Janet songs to keep the season at this momentum?
Episode highlight: Amanda diving into a split after receiving her first perfect 40. Bless her heart.
Episode lowlight: Tyra stepping right in front of Olivia and Val before they made their exit off the stage.
Episode parting thought: JoJo revealing her fans are called "Siwanators." Ariana Grande's lawyers will be calling.
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