Every Monday at 8 p.m., fans across the country tune in to watch celebrities, some of whom have never danced before, compete for the coveted Mirrorball Trophy. With more contestants getting eliminated and more challenges being added each week, Season 31 of “Dancing With the Stars” is getting hotter and hotter.
Week five was a two-night event, culminating in the theme of “Stars’ Stories.” On Monday night, the celebrities picked songs from their most memorable year, resulting in tear jerking stories and emotionally rich dances. In a sad turn of events, actor Selma Blair withdrew from the competition after she explained that the intensity of the competition, in addition to her MS diagnosis, was becoming unsafe. The Tuesday night theme was “Prom Night,” a much lighter and amusing concept. Bodybuilder and actor Joseph Baena was eliminated on the second night after receiving a score of 32.
Despite being a week of sadness and goodbyes, week five contained happy moments as well. Social media star Charli D’Amelio received the first 10s of the season with a contemporary dance, and the first perfect scores of the season went first to Bachelorette star Gabby Windey, and then to actor Wayne Brady. To top off the week, Prom Night ended in a riveting dance marathon, which was won by country singer Jessie James Decker.
Week six didn’t only bring around a new theme, but also a new judge. Michael Bublé Night meant not only that the dancers would perform to his songs, but also that Bublé himself would make an appearance as a guest judge. His presence on the show also inspired one of the show’s former professional dancers, and current judge, Derek Hough to choreograph and perform his own Bublé-backed number. Despite her victory at the dance marathon the week prior, Jessie James Decker’s salsa to “Come Dance With Me” was not enough to keep her in the running. Charli D’Amelio received her first perfect score with a foxtrot to “Fever,” which was described by one of the judges as one of the most perfect foxtrots the show had ever seen.
Halloween Night has always been a spooky and special-effects-filled extravaganza at the show, and this year was no different. Despite receiving 9s across the board, singer Jordin Sparks was eliminated after performing the “Oogie Boogie Song.” This year also brought back the classic Halloween team dance, including the songs “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and “The Witches Are Back” from “Hocus Pocus 2.” Drag queen Shangela was the only one to receive a (well-deserved) perfect score with a jazz dance to Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do.”
The most recent theme was '90s Night, in which stars young and old paid tribute to the era of pagers and corded telephones. Gabby Windey, Wayne Brady and Charli D’Amelio all received perfect scores, in keeping with their consistently high placement. However, '90s Night wasn’t a complete success for the D’Amelio family; Charli’s mother, Heidi, was the first to be eliminated on this double elimination night. Second to be eliminated was actor Vinny Guadagnino, despite his improvement over the past few weeks.
The past four weeks have been chock-full of memorable moments. The most notable is Selma’s final dance after the announcement of her withdrawal from the show, which received straight 10s from the judges. The emotional response from her castmates and all of her fans was both tragic and heartwarming. Despite her partner, Sasha Farber, being left without a dance partner, he still kept up his tradition of being the show's resident prankster on Halloween night, which resulted in a hilarious highlight reel of his best pranks (and the stars’ most blood curdling screams).
Charli’s first dance during week five was another remarkable moment. For her most memorable year, the social media icon picked the year she began creating content online, which was also the year anxiety began to have a much more active presence in her life. The eerie and provocative dance, in which Charli played herself and her partner played the character of anxiety, not only warranted the show's first 10s, but also the following quote from judge Derek Hough: “This show is about moments. That was a moment.”
Actor Daniel Durant has been one of the show's biggest inspirations, given that he has been performing so well without being able to hear any of the music. On '90s Night, he gave the audience a little taste of that experience by muting the sound for a section of the dance, causing a stir of emotion and understanding in the audience.
With six dancers remaining and the semi-finals approaching, the excitement around “Dancing With the Stars” Season 31 will only increase.