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Quite the show last night and the judges were certainly in rare form. In fact I think the home voters could be affected by the judges behavior more this week than ever before. Bruno calling Billy Ray’s dancing “crap” could well save Billy Ray for another week as a form of fan backlash. In fact, I was far more entertained by Billy Ray’s dancing than I was by Ian’s. The judges also scored oddly I thought, more details on that as we dive into my rankings for the week.

First place is really a tie for me this week:

  • Apolo came roaring back this week after his good-but-not-great turn in week 7. He came out with a fantastic tango (who’d have thought that “Jessie’s Girl” could be a tango?) that sizzled. I was surprised that Len didn’t like it and I thought his 8 was harsh and uncalled for. I was glad that Carrie Anne and Bruno gave it a 10. His paso was also first-rate. I’ve written in the past how much I love the paso and this was superb (Apolo and Laila had the only good Pasos all season). It hit all the right combo of drama and passion. I was surprised at his perfect score though since it looked like there was a misstep at the beginning… still nice to see Apolo back on top!
  • Laila and Maks were so moving. The waltz she did for her father was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. It would’ve been a great dance, and that it was for her father just made it all the more special. The jive was sheer fun. Here again, I was stunned by her low scores on this. I don’t understand why the judges didn’t go a bit higher.

Here are the other three, ranked in order:

  • Joey bored me with his waltz. He may have been trying to be more technically correct to impress Len, but it left me cold. The Mambo was also just “okay” this week, but didn’t really wow me. In this case, I thought the judges scored too high. I felt like Joey had the kind of week Apolo did last week.
  • Billy Ray and Karina entertained again, and I really thought he should’ve gotten the 8 he’s been looking for their mambo, which was quite fun and he hit a lot of the right moves. Their foxtrot was also nice, a bit clunky, but I liked it more than Ian’s because it had more personality.
  • Ian was also dull this week. His foxtrot was okay as was the rumba, but there were some parts that seemed not-so-polished to me. He seemed to be working too hard on both dances rather than letting go, which he’d done so well last week.

As for who is leaving… I think the bottom two comes down to Ian and Billy Ray. I’d love to see Billy Ray stay for one more week because he’s working so hard on this, and at this point he’s more entertaining that Ian. Plus, I think Billy Ray will get a fan boost because of Bruno’s rather rude remarks to him.

Post Results Show Update: Good show tonight, especially the dance-off between Maks and his brother. Certainly a stunner with Joey ending up in the bottom two, I didn’t see that coming at all. And Billy Ray’s road ended last night. I know I didn’t pick him to go because I thought that he would get saved one last time, but it was the right choice overall because it does save the best four dancers to go at it in next week’s semi-final.