"Dancing with the Stars" returned this week with not one but two super-sparkly episodes—and there's much to discuss. It seems like more couples are starting to find their groove. And they're fighting hard, too: Everyone's going above and beyond to try to stand out. This week was Face-Off week (cheekily taking a cue from America's own face-off, aka Monday night's debate), which meant couples competed against each other in head-to-head battles—and the losers were up for elimination. But we'll get to that later.
First: Laurie Hernandez, guys. This tiny adorable dancing gymnast can seriously do no wrong in our eyes—we're still fully #TeamLaurie. ? This week she and partner Val Chmerkovskiy danced a tango, and the judges were in awe of Laurie's clean lines and technique. Oddly enough, they didn't make it into the "safe" category, which...huh?
Another highlight was Allison Holker and Kenny "Babyface" Edmond's jive. Though the judges thought it could have been "sharper," we think this pair might be one to watch out for this season. The couple scored themselves right into the safe zone.
The most surprising moment of the week? When we discovered that Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke had cha cha-ed their way to safety. Even Cheryl looked visibly surprised when the announcement was made. The jury's still out on whether this was a just a stroke of luck for Lochte or if he actually has some staying power in this competition. Maybe he'll surprise us! (Um, also: Lochte's Cuban grandmother, anyone?! #adorbz.)
Oh, and how fun was it to watch Jenna Johnson and Keo Motsepe (we miss you!!) dance a gorgeous routine to that Florida Georgia Line song? Jenna BROUGHT it, as per usual, and it was sheer perfection. More please!
Finally, the elimination results: Rick Perry and Emma Slater were the second couple to be sent packing this season. What did you guys think? Who did you want to go home? Let us know—and check back next week for our recap of the first-ever Cirque du Soleil theme. There's sure to be TONS to talk about with that one.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.
Isabella Boylston in "The Bright Stream" (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy American Ballet Theatre)
Beloved by ballet fans for her lucid technique and onstage effervescence, by her Instagram followers for the deftly curated photos and videos she shares of her glamorous life, and by fangirl Jennifer Garner for all of the above, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston is one of the rare ballet stars who's achieved mainstream fame. A native of Sun Valley, ID, Boylston trained at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Harid Conservatory before joining the ABT Studio Company in 2005. She entered the main company as an apprentice in 2006, and attained principal status in 2014. In addition to her successes with ABT, where she dances nearly every major ballerina role, Boylston has served as artistic director of the annual Ballet Sun Valley Festival, which brings high-level performances and classes to her hometown. And speaking of famous Jennifers: Boylston recently appeared as Jennifer Lawrence's dance double in the film Red Sparrow. Catch her onstage with ABT as Manon, Odette/Odile, and Princess Aurora during the company's Metropolitan Opera House season this summer in NYC. —Margaret Fuhrer