Just a week after Iman Shumpert’s unforgettable pre-Halloween horror dance demonstrated how deep the talent pool is this season, “Dancing With the Stars” crashed harder than a trick-or-treater with an emptied candy bag on Monday night.
It was messy with live TV blunders and flat performances.
Gymnast Suni Lee battled an illness that forced her to sprint off the dance floor (to return triumphantly later, like a champion). To put a nail in the post-Halloween coffin, one of most genuinely entertaining dancers, WWE phenom and “DWTS” bright light The Miz, was sent home at night’s end. We’re Miz-erable!
Here’s what went down on the dance floor during the night dedicated to the music of Queen:
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Suni Lee makes dramatic exit after dance
Olympic phenom Lee was focused on making up for last week’s performance, which inexplicably sent the gold medal hero to the bottom two. Only the intervention of the judges pulled Lee back for another week.
Lee conveyed how “shocked” she was to find herself nearly eliminated speaking intently during her pre-dance video this week.
It seemed like something truly special was going to come from her paso doble to the ultimate rock anthem “We Will Rock You.” Yet, despite a power air-guitar moment, it lacked energy. The ever-stoic Lee, 18, did not mention she had been battling a stomach illness.
To the surprise of everyone, Lee ended her dance by sprinting off the dance floor, leaving pro partner Sasha Farber to face the judges and TV audience. Host Tyra Banks made it clear that a stomach illness was plaguing the athlete/dancer, stressing “it’s not COVID” and “she’s running to take care of her tummy right now.”
Judge Derek Hough took the moment to say how “super proud” he was of Lee. In her absence, Lee earned a respectable 33/40 score.
It was an open question whether Lee would return for the evening’s second, bonus dance to “We Are the Champions.” But Lee returned, rocking radiant red lipstick. You’d never had known there was an issue to judge by her gutsy performance.
“I know you’ve been struggling all day. Throwing up. Let’s keep it real. You ran off. But you’re back,” Banks said afterward.
In a show that can mine drama from a foot blister, Lee’s simple explanation showed her athlete pedigree.
“I knew if I didn’t come back here, I’d be very disappointed with myself,” she said. The show’s producers signaled quickly during the elimination segment that Lee was out of the bottom two and will compete next week.
JoJo Siwa shows her ‘sexy side’ in supermodel tango
“That’s a JoJo we have never seen before,” Banks said as 18-year-old Siwa completed her tango with pro Jenna Johnson to “Body Language.”
The bubbly YouTube dance star wore a silver, sparkly Spandex bodysuit with high-heel boots and gyrated with her similarly attired pro partner. There was even experimental ponytail pulling in the avant-garde number that had the judges raving.
“It was a supermodel tango,” said judge Bruno Tonioli.
Siwa seemed destined for her third set of perfect scores in three weeks. However, perhaps to keep “DWTS” seem like an actual amateur competition, judge Len Goodman slipped in a 9 score among 10s, giving Siwa a 39/40.
On to The Miz’s tragic ending
Every single week, WWE star Mike “The Miz” Mizanin has brought it to “DWTS.”
He comes with the best outfits, the most insane enthusiasm, the biggest smile and, surprisingly, for-real dance moves. The WWE villain has captured the essence of what “DWTS” is supposed to be about, working hard and surprising the viewers (as well as judges) with every dance turn.
The Miz doesn’t lean into weepy stories to work viewers’ votes, he just entertains with his hilarious partner Witney Carson.
Was The Miz a bit stiff with his head semi-comically stuck in the “correct” position during his dance this week? Yes. Was he forced to dance a foxtrot to the most terrible Queen song in history, “Radio Ga Ga”? Yes, a foxtrot to that pop pimple. It was an admirable effort. Not his best.
It was obvious there was going to be trouble as The Miz was at the bottom of the scoreboard. Sure enough, the pro wrestler landed in the bottom two based on judges’ scores and viewer votes, along with (shockingly) score-leader Siwa.
That cage match was never going to end well for the WWE star.
“I can’t wait for this,” The Miz barked sarcastically with a smile as the judges got ready to reveal their decision on which contestant to save.
It was still a hard call for the judges. “You bring joy every time you’ve stepped on this dance floor,” said judge Carrie Ann Inaba. But the judges unanimously chose the polished pro Siwa to return.
Forever classy, The Miz took the microphone as the credits rolled to say, “It was an honor to be on this dance floor.”
Tune in next week to “Dancing With the Stars” for a double-elimination bout featuring the music of Janet Jackson.