“Dancing with the Stars” - Episode 8 Review

Story posted November 9, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Kaitlyn Murphy.

Since this week’s episode of “Dancing with the Stars” conveniently landed on Oct. 31, the dancers traded in their typical glitter and heels for creepy costumes to celebrate Halloween night.

Half of the episode would follow typical “DWTS” procedure with every couple getting their spotlight dance, but the second portion saw the return of the team dance, where the contestants split into two groups and battled each other for higher judge scores.

One of the “scariest” aspects of the episode was how judge Carri Ann Inaba killed the confidence of many of the female performers of the night.

The first dance of the evening was singer-songwriter Jordin Sparks and her partner Brandon, a spooky tango to the “Oogie Boogie Song” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

While the male judges had mostly positive comments on Jordin’s frame and how she should be moving to the top of the leaderboard, Carri Ann said she “couldn’t believe the performance,” meaning Jordin’s acting was off, and that Jordin still has slip-ups in every number.

It continued with TikTok star Charli D’Amelio’s dance to an instrumental version of “El Tango de Roxanne” from Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge!” Carri Ann said it lacked “intensity and intimacy” and she wanted to see Charli get “messy” with her performances.

She was the only one to give Charli a 9 instead of a 10 for scores. While this may just be a coincidence for the night, it was certainly a noticeable trend for the female performances.

One of the most shocking moments of the night was drag queen Shangela and her partner Gleb’s jazz number to Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do,” (let’s give a round of applause for whoever got the rights to the amazing music used in tonight’s episode) where they played Annabelle-like creepy dolls.

The performance was undeniably Shangela’s best of the season, and the most impressive of the night overall. The judges reflected that in their score, a perfect 40.

Die-hard fans of “DWTS” know that pro-dancer Sasha Farber loves to play pranks on the cast, so he utilized Halloween to scare the living daylights out of them.

Sasha learned the hard way not to sneak up on a Jersey boy when a scare went sideways and Jersey Shore star Vinny Guadagnino ended up accidentally punching him in the face. He was fine, but production made sure to play back the unfortunate moment in slo-mo.

Speaking of Sasha, the rumors of his ex-wife Emma Slater and her partner Trevor Donovan having a “relationship” outside of the show picked up this week.

For most of the other dances of the night, the stars picked the theme and characterization of the performance. But for the “Tremma” dance, Emma (the pro) pitched the idea of her being a ghost and Trevor being her still-living husband struggling with her loss.

Trevor quickly responded “I love this idea,” leading fans into a frenzy. Their contemporary routine to Justin Bieber’s “Ghost” was their most vulnerable yet, and the tension between them could’ve been cut with a knife.

The judges loved it, and they shot from the bottom of the leaderboard to the top with a 39 out of 40.

Next up was the team dance segment, with Team Wicked composed of Vinny, Gabby, Shangela, Jordin, and Heidi performing first. They danced to “The Witches are Back” from “Hocus Pocus 2,” and scored a 33 out of 40, fairly low for this point in the competition.

Headed by Trevor, Team Scream included Charli, Wayne and Daniel, who danced a murder-mystery inspried piece to “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Their creativity and precision earned them a 39 out of 40 from the judges.

*Elimination SPOILERS*

Since the competition is becoming fiercer every week, there was no way to predict who would leave the ballroom at the end of the night.

Vinny had the lowest overall score of course, but the love New Jersey has for him should be studied because he was saved yet again.

The ballroom unfortunately said goodbye to Jordin and Brandon this week, after Len decided to save Heidi D’Amelio instead.

The Halloween episode was a strong addition to the fantastically entertaining 31st season of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Rating: 5/5

Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email kvm6255@psu.edu.