“Dancing With the Stars” - Episode 9 Review

Story posted November 14, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Kaitlyn Murphy.

Grab your CD player and sideways baseball cap– this week was 90s night on “Dancing with the Stars.”

The couples (all of whom were alive in the 90s with the exception of Charli D’Amelio) chose their favorite hits from the decade to perform radical routines to.

Since this episode is the last one before the semi-finals, co-host Alfonso Ribeiro announced that tonight would be a double elimination. That’s totally buggin’.

The dancers would also have to face off against one other couple head-to-head in a dance battle, with the winner gaining extra points from the judges. With the semi-finals right around the corner, every additional point matters.

The night kicked off with a performance of “What a Man” by En Vogue and Salt-N-Pepa, who were accompanied by the show’s pro-dancers. Is there anything more 90s than that?

First up to dance was actor Trevor Donovan and Emma, who last week blew the judges away with their emotional contemporary that earned them a 39/40. This week was a little more lighthearted, with the pair dancing to “Barbie Girl” by Aqua.

Trevor was a little disappointed they didn’t get a headbanging rock song, but Emma assured him “you look like Ken!”

Emma incorporated doll-like movements into the routine that judge Bruno Tonioli called “a sitcom set to music.” However, they scored on the lower side with a 34/40.

Later on, viewers got a look into the hectic schedule of actor Wayne Brady, who is currently filming two shows besides “DWTS” and is preparing to host the AMAs. It’s incredible that he shows up every week to rehearse and rarely misses a beat in his performances.

That was certainly the case this week with his and Whitney’s salsa to “Motownphilly” by Boyz II Men, which earned them a perfect score from the judges.

Tonight, the audience got a glimpse into CODA actor Daniel Durant’s childhood in the 90s, after his mother left him on a friend’s doorstep at 18 months old. His mother reached out to him after he graduated high school, but she sadly passed away two weeks later.

Britt said their jazz routine this week would be dedicated to resilience, and Daniel added that it would also give the judges and audience an idea of what it’s like to dance as a deaf person.

The couple performed to “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode, and halfway through the routine, the music stopped completely. Daniel and Britt continued the routine in silence until the music came back for the ending.

Viewers familiar with Daniel’s work in CODA were of course reminded of the film’s recital scene, where the music cut and the deaf perspective was powerfully displayed.

The judges gave their highest praise for Daniel so far this season, and scored the couple a 39/40.

Something that makes this season of “DWTS” more enjoyable to watch than previous seasons is that there seems to be at least one moment in every episode that is completely, wildly improvised and slightly unhinged.

Tonight, that moment came after Bachelorette star Gabby Windey and Val’s samba to “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin.

Co-host Tyra Banks shrieked after the routine ended, and swooned with Bruno over how “hot” it was. Derek exclaimed how he felt the need to take his shirt off (which by the way was a bright fuschia turtleneck…), and when the couple went up to the skybox for scores, Val rubbed Alfonso’s head on his bare chest to “dry it off.”

That’s shockingly not all, Alfonso was interrupted by audience screams while interviewing Gabby, as Bruno and Derek both removed their shirts at the judging booth. Gabby joined the crowd’s cheering, and Alfonso exasperatedly announced “We’ve lost control here, the shirts are off.”

Anyway, they of course scored a 40/40.

For the dance battle portion of the show, Shangela and Daniel kicked it off with a cha cha that Shangela ended up coming out on top for.

Trevor and Vinny faced off with a samba that earned Trevor the extra points, Wayne and Heidi also danced a samba that Wayne took home, and in the closest battle, Charli danced a better salsa than Gabby.

After all of the extra points were added, it was time to send two couples waltzing out of the ballroom.

*Spoilers for elimination*

After an unimpressive routine tonight, Heidi D’Amelio was the first star to walk out, unable to be saved by the judges.

The judges did have an opportunity to choose between Tremma and Vinny and Koko, since unfortunately even the might of New Jersey could not save Vinny’s abysmal performance this week.

The judges saved Trevor and Emma, and the ballroom said goodbye to the charismatic Jersey Shore star.

With next week being the semi-finals and another double elimination, the dancers all have their work cut out for them.

Rating: 4.5/5

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