Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten were on fire this week. (Kelsey McNeal, courtesy ABC)

"DWTS" Week 8 Recap: Fighting to the Finish

Well, fellow "Dancing with the Stars" lovers, the Season 28 finale is officially in sight. With only two more weeks standing between us and the announcement of the Mirrorball Trophy winner, things are starting to get real. So, in a way it was unsurprising that last night's episode included some of the best dancing we've seen this season (or in "DWTS" history, for that matter). In case you missed it, we rounded up the highlights.


Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson: Salsa

Reminder from Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson that *this* is how they do it! We were totally blown away by this performance: Kel delivered all the sassiness, sexiness, and booty-shaking we ever could have asked for. He and Witney are hitting their stride just in time to make a play for the Mirrorball Trophy, and we are officially naming this couple one to watch. The judges seemed to think so too, awarding the duo two 9s and (drumroll, please) the first-ever 10 of the season, for a total 28.

Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten: Quickstep

For the past few weeks, the "DWTS" judges have been particularly hard on America's sweetheart. (We're looking at you, Carrie Ann Inaba.) But this week, Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten totally dazzled with their quickstep to "American Girl." Hannah Beast is back and better than ever, folks! The judges gave Hannah and Alan two 10s and a 9, totaling 29.

Emma Slater and James Van Der Beek: Contemporary

There is nothing we love more than a super-emotional "DWTS" contemporary dance. The long, meaningful glances! The sad covers of usually-upbeat songs! The drama when the dancers reach for something invisible off in the distance! James Van Der Beek and partner Emma Slater delivered on all of the above, and then some, with their performance. This couple has always been the one to beat, and they don't seem to be slowing down as the season heats up. The judges gave them three 10s, for a perfect 30.

Following the individual dances, the couples went on to compete in one of our favorite "DWTS" traditions: dance-offs! We got to see Kel and Witney face off against Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber, Kate Flannery and Pasha Pashkov up against Sean Spicer and Jenna Johnson, and our favorite matchup: Hannah and Alan versus Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko. Both Southern belles shocked with spicy salsas, and we couldn't get enough. (Plus, Gleb and Alan both lost their shirts somewhere along the way, something we're always fine with.)

With all of the amazing dancing, we almost forgot that another elimination was on the way. And this season's eliminations have been particularly painful—is it starting to feel like Groundhog Day to anyone else? Yet again, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer was spared from jeopardy, leaving the judges to send home a better-qualified dancer. They opted to ax Kate and Pasha instead of Ally and Sasha, but, again, didn't seem too happy with their choice.

What do you think? Who's going home next week? Who's headed for the finale (and the Mirrorball Trophy)?

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

Margaret

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