“Dancing with the Stars” celebrated “Halloween Night” on October 31, and it was arguably the best night of season 23 so far, at least as far as the scores were concerned. There were not one, not two, but three perfect scores handed out by the panel of judges — and yet, there was only one contestant on top of the leaderboard. That’s because of a special tie-breaking rule that gave one contestant immunity over the others.
First, gymnast Laurie Hernandez scored 30 out of 30 points for her “Willy Wonka”-inspired Viennese waltz. Then football player Calvin Johnson scored 30 for a skeletal quickstep. And race car driver James Hinchcliffe closed the round with a perfect 30 for his “Suicide Squad” Viennese waltz — all the more impressive because Hinchcliffe’s regular partner Sharna Burgess was out with an injury and he had to perform with a substitute, Jenna Johnson.
But Hinchcliffe won immunity for the night because he has the highest cumulative judges scores for the entire season to date. That gave him an extra five points and the high score for the fourth time this season, while the rest of the contestants were left to perform dance-offs for three extra points. Hinchcliffe has now been the judges’ top dancer more times than Mirror Ball frontrunner Hernandez. We had predicted Hernandez to get the top score this week (5/4 odds), but Hinchcliffe was close behind her (2/1 odds), so several of our predictions contest entrants still got that right.
But most of us correctly predicted who would be eliminated. Swimmer Ryan Lochte was the heavy favorite to leave with 2/5 odds even though he wasn’t the lowest scorer last week on “Eras Night,” and indeed he was sent home in seventh place.
The bad news for Lochte was very good news for actress Marilu Henner, who moves on to the next round even though she got the lowest judges score last week — and again this week. Will her fans come out in force for her two weeks in a row? If not for her, fans of her partner Derek Hough might be eager to keep him around a while longer, but they’re losing momentum after two straight weeks of faltering scores, so it’s starting to seem unlikely that he’ll win his seventh Mirror Ball Trophy.
What do you think will happen next week? Our predictions center is open so you can start betting on next week’s “DWTS.” Refer to the judges’ scores below before making your picks:
Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts throughout the week, just click “Save” when you’ve settled on your choices. You’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate, bragging rights and a place of honor on our leaderboard. Our racetrack odds change as you make your predictions, just as they do when you bet on the Emmys, Oscars, Golden Globes and more. Be sure to read our contest rules and sound off on the season of “Dancing with the Stars” in our reality TV forum.