'Dancing With the Stars' Week 8 Dance Recap: Best Lifts, Kicks, Tricks and Flips!
By Desiree Murphy
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Season 24 of Dancing With the Stars is shaping up to be one of the bests!
The celebrities and their pro partners took it to the next level on Monday night, wowing us with creative choreography, new tricks and a few steamy moments, as well.
From Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy's emotional contemporary routine to Rashad Jennings' powerful trio dance with Emma Slater and Witney Carson, ET's breaking down all the best moments from week 8 of the dance competition show!
Rashad Jennings & Emma Slater – Jive, "Shake a Tail Feather" by Blues Brothers
Dance highlight: The jive is all about being slick and quick, and that's exactly what #TeamShadSquad did! From the sparkly costumes to the energetic choreography, this piece was a great way to kick off the night! Our favorite moments occurred at the 0:41 mark, where they incorporated the iconic twist, and at 1:24, when Rashad jumped over Emma, one of the riskiest moves we've seen all season. Judges' score: 36/40. "They should change the definition of entertainer and put a picture of you in Webster's … you are fantastic." – Carrie Ann Inaba ET's score: 38/40. Week after week, the NFL pro has proved he's in it to win it and his work in the ballroom Monday was no exception. We loved seeing his personality really shine through on the dance floor. Although Len Goodman critiqued him on his footwork, we have to admit, we barely noticed any flaws as all eyes were on Rashad and Emma's smiling faces and quick, sharp movements. Celebrity/fan reaction:
Normani Kordei & Val Chmerkovskiy – Contemporary, "Freedom" by Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton
Dance highlight: There is not one section of this dance that we didn't love! Props to Val for creating such a powerful routine that showcased Normani's true talent and strength. The Fifth Harmony singer put her heart and soul into this routine, and everyone in the audience could feel that passion. Her best moments were at the very beginning of the piece, where she was the center of attention as Val and a few troupe dancers danced in a circle around her, her lifts at 0:26 and 0:42 and a piqué turn at 0:56. Judges' score: 40/40. "I'm completely mesmerized. I literally have no words. When you can tell a story like that, it's so profound … you're creating art, you're creating history. Seeing you stripped down like that, you are just gorgeous." – Julianne Hough ET's score: 40/40. After watching this dance, we think it's safe to say Normani IS a dancer. She completely mastered what goes into a contemporary routine -- not only did she move the audience by telling her very emotional, personal story about cyber bullying and finding her strength after the hate, but she nailed each and every step and we couldn't stop watching her. She is hands down a star in every way, and the one to beat this season. Celebrity/fan reaction:
Dance highlight: A perfect song for a real-life "Believer!" We loved the creativity and vision Sharna had for this dance, and the two executed it in a sexy, entertaining way. It was refreshing to see Bonner use his arms more this week, really feeling the music and extending his movements to the full counts (0:22). The highlight of the piece began at the 0:44 mark, where #TeamDenimNDiamonds amped up their energy to fit the track's powerful chorus. Judges' score: 30/40. "You made the most of what you got, expertly guided by Sharna … I really appreciate how hard you work, but if you stay into it now, you have to push it to the next level." – Bruno Tonioli ET's score: 34/40. Although Bonner's simple movements were somewhat masked by Sharna's smart choreography, we thought his performance factor was a major improvement from last week, and we enjoyed the story this dance told, about the professional bull rider overcoming adversities after suffering a near-fatal accident last year. While we agree with many of the comments the judges made, we thought Len Goodman's remarks about Bonner making it way further than he should have were a bit out of line. Yes, at this point Bonner was not the strongest dancer in the competition, but it's clear he's improved, has been working hard in rehearsals and was here to have fun, which is what this show is all about Celebrity/fan reaction:
@ the people saying bonner is "too stiff" are you forgetting he literally was paralyzed and still has problems? 😒 screw you guys tbh #dwts
Simone Biles & Sasha Farber – Foxtrot, "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction
Dance highlight: While viewers are constantly amazed whenever Simone busts out her amazing gymnastics tricks in the ballroom, we were so happy Sasha stripped the choreography down this week and focused solely on the athlete's dancing. We especially loved her quick kick at 0:20, the floor spin at 0:46 and that graceful extension at 1:01. Judges' score: 36/40. "Your skills are unquestionable. You have this beautiful smile and you're a megastar…" – Carrie Ann Inaba ET's score: 38/40. This foxtrot was beautiful, and proved Simone doesn't need to incorporate all the advanced moves in order to leave a lasting impression on the audience. This piece was so well done, and one of our favorites from her this season. Celebrity/fan reaction:
SMILING DOESN’T WIN YOU GOLD MEDALS 🔥🔥 Get em, girl!! @Simone_Biles
David Ross & Lindsay Arnold -- Waltz, "Humble and Kind" by Tim McGraw
Dance highlight: We only have one word for this routine: Stunning. We've seen the former MLB pro show off his humorous side, his sexy side and his strength, but this was the first time the judges didn't critique him for his footwork and it's because it appeared he and Lindsay were dancing on air. The two share a father/daughter-like relationship, and this elegant dance encapsulated that perfectly, with Lindsay standing on top of his feet at 0:20 followed by a pretty arabesque at 0:54 and spin to the floor at 1:21, which David assisted his partner with ever so gently, making the movements appear effortless. Judges' score: 36/40. "It was 100% your best dance." – Len Goodman ET's score: 37/40. Without a doubt, this was the most emotional we've seen David on the show, and we want to see more of where this came from. If he's here to stay, this is the type of performance he needs to bring out each and every time he hits the ballroom. Celebrity/fan reaction:
— Atlañta Braves Fañ For Life (@BravesChatter) May 9, 2017
Rashad & Emma + Witney Carson -- Argentine Tango, "Dreams" by Gabrielle Aplin & Bastille
Dance highlight: Where do we start?! We have to give major credit to Emma for jam-packing this lust vs. love-themed routine with lifts -- they were executed impeccably and delivered that "wow" factor the audience loves. A few of our favorite moments included Rashad's solo lifts with Emma and Witney at 0:18, 0:37 and 0:51, and a lift with both of the girls at 0:58. Judges' score: 39/40. "You had different dynamics when you danced with Emma versus Witney … When you can see that, that's when you know you're a good dancer. Like, you've got this!" – Julianne Hough ET's score: 40/40. Come on, Len! This piece was damn near perfect, and we still don't understand why he docked a point from this fierce and fiery trio. THIS is how an Argentine Tango is done!
David & Lindsay + Hayley Erbert -- Paso Doblé, "Gangsta's Paradise" by 2WEI
Dance highlight: When we heard this trio would be dancing to "Gangsta's Paradise," this is NOT the type of dance we expected, but, hey, it worked! Giving us major Game of Thrones vibes, David stayed in character throughout the dance, serving us with an aggressive performance where he was truly the leading man of the ballroom. The way he ended the routine was both powerful and hilarious. Judges' score: 29/40. "It was colossal! That's what you are." – Bruno Tonioli ET's score: 35/40. Again, we felt the judges were being a bit hard with the scores. David was clearly having a good time out there, and it showed. Our only advice to him would be to not get so caught up in the energy of the dance that you lose form.
Simone & Sasha + Brittany Cherry -- Paso Doblé, "Don't Let Me Down" by The Chainsmokers featuring Daya
Dance highlight: The flipping of the skirts, the gorgeous spins and a backflip at 0:44 -- it was dynamic, unique and certainly fun to watch from beginning to end. Judges' score: 36/40. "If you counted up my scores, you are my favorite to win." – Len Goodman ET's score: 37/40. Simone was the only celebrity who had the challenge of dancing with an additional troupe dancer of the same sex for Trio Night, which in our opinion was a bit unfair because she was expected to dance to the same level of expertise as Brittany. Luckily, she killed it.
Bonner & Sharna + Britt Stewart -- Jazz, "That's What I Like" by Bruno Mars
Dance highlight: Once again, Sharna gave #TeamDenimNDiamonds exactly what they wanted - a risqué routine showcasing Bonner's sexy side. The sure highlight was Bonner dancing atop a desk at the 0:23 mark. Judges' score: 28/40. "I think I'm still recovering from that performance. I feel like we like watched the security cameras and I feel bad. The girls are sassy as can be." – Julianne Hough ET's score: 32/40. We have to agree with most of the judges' remarks on this one, as this routine felt a little uncomfortable to watch. We're not sure if Bonner just wasn't feeling it, or perhaps they didn't have enough rehearsal time, but many of the movements were off count and we felt as if Bonner was just kind of marking the steps. Unfortunately, this was the athlete's last dance as he was eliminated at the end of Monday night's show.
Normani & Val + Alan Bersten -- Jive, "Feeling Alive" by Earl St. Clair
Dance highlight: Leave it to Val to find yet another way to spice things up this week! The pro dancer created a super sassy Southern-themed routine for Trio Night, incorporating a combo of kicks, flips and dips at the beginning of the routine, Normani dancing atop the judges' table at 0:50, plenty of shirtless moments by the guys and a surprise cameo by the ballroom's resident Southern gentleman, Bonner, to end the dance on a perfect note. Judges' score: 39/40. "That was a glorious all-American jive and it was so clever … it added an extra dimension, and extra excitement, without taking over a fantastic dance." - Bruno Tonioli ET's score: 40/40. Just when we thought Normani couldn't possibly get any better, she DID THAT. As we previously mentioned, she is for sure the one to beat this season. The remaining contestants have a lot of work to do in order to try and knock her off the top of the leaderboard.
Which is YOUR favorite pair competing on season 24 of Dancing With the Stars? Which team do you think had the best dance? Let me know on Twitter (@desireemurphy_ ) or in the comments section on our official Facebook page! And be sure to follow all of our DWTS coverage all season long, right here on ETonline.com.