‘Dancing with the Stars’ preview: Will Vanessa Lachey be perfect on ‘Halloween Night’? And who will win the team dance?

For the first time since week two of “Dancing with the Stars” the contestants will dance two routines this week: one individual and one as a team. We’re getting down to the wire in the competition, to the point where each couple is only as good as their last routine, so it’s imperative that everyone continues to bring their A-game to the ballroom.

This week’s theme is Halloween, which should provide us with another great night of interesting sets, costumes, and most importantly dances. Will Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas deliver another perfect routine after last week’s show-stopping Argentine tango or will Jordan Fisher and Lindsay Arnold reclaim the top spot? How will Vanessa Lachey fare now that her husband, Nick, is out the competition? And with Nick gone, who will the judges drop the hammer on next?

Check out my thoughts below on which dances will trick or treat the judges.

Victoria Arlen & Valentin Chmerkovskiy – Viennese Waltz (“The Night We Met” by Lord Huron)

Victoria and Val saw their scores dip a bit with their sports-themed paso doble last week. With Jordan and Lindsey duking it out for the top spot and Terrell, Vanessa, and Nikki nipping at their heels, Val needs to make sure that Victoria doesn’t fall by the wayside. I think Victoria will see a lift in her scores this week with her Viennese waltz. She does well with ballroom dances and will be able to tap into her vulnerable side based on the song they’re dancing to. Val needs to make sure that he incorporates lots of sweeping and lyrical movements while keeping it traditional enough to make Len happy.

Scoring Prediction: 9 (Carrie Ann Inaba) + 9 (Len Goodman) + 9 (Bruno Tonioli) = 27/30

Nikki Bella & Artem Chigvintsev – Jive (“I Put a Spell on You” by Bette Midler)

I was a bit surprised to see Nikki receive such high marks for her Argentine tango last week. Although it was sexy and passionate, there were times when her legs weren’t as sharp as Lindsey’s were during her own Argentine tango later that night. This week Nikki and Artem are dancing a jive to “I Put a Spell on You” from my favorite Halloween film, “Hocus Pocus.” Her ability to master the flicks and kicks in the jive will determine how well she does with the judges. I’m going to venture to say that she’ll have some issues with mastering the footwork.

Scoring Prediction: 8 (Carrie Ann) + 8 (Len) + 8 (Bruno) = 24/30

Jordan Fisher & Lindsay Arnold – Paso Doble (“Animals” by Martin Garrix)

After two straight weeks with the highest scores, Jordan and Lindsay were knocked off the top of the leaderboard last week despite their near-perfect rumba. Now Jordan and Lindsay will see if their paso doble this week will not only put them back on top but maybe even get them another perfect score. Jordan is in a very interesting situation: stars who have extensive dance experience are typically held to a higher standard than their competitors. I’m confident that Jordan and Lindsay’s paso will be a showstopper, but will Jordan be able to channel the masculine energy and aggression of the dance? I think so, but I can see Len or possibly Carrie Ann having some criticisms.

Scoring Prediction: 9 (Carrie Ann) + 9  (Len) + 10 (Bruno) = 28/30

Vanessa Lachey & Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Paso Doble  (“Game of Survival“ from Ruelle)

After a couple of weeks of so-so dances, Vanessa was back in the competition on “Movie Night” with her energetic quickstep. With her husband now out of the competition, will this give her the fuel to continue to push herself even further? I think Nick’s absence will only help Vanessa focus even more on the competition. And I think that her partnership with Maks looks to be back on track. I’m expecting for the couple to knock this out of the park, hopefully earning Vanessa her first 10s of the season.

Scoring Prediction: 10 (Carrie Ann) + 10 (Len) + 10  (Bruno) = 30/30

Frankie Muniz & Witney Carson – Contemporary (“Every Breath You Take” by Chase Holfelder)

Frankie’s jazz routine last week was a bit of a mess, but he and Witney are looking to clean up that mess with a contemporary routine to “Every Breath You Take” by Chase Holfelder. Frankie does surprisingly well with more lyrical and vulnerable dances, which should be a plus for this routine. My concern is that Frankie tends to struggle in less traditional dance styles. But as long as Witney creates an emotional yet lyrical routine, they should see their scores improve.

Scoring Prediction: 9 (Carrie Ann) + 9 (Len) + 9 (Bruno) = 27/30

Terrell Owens & Cheryl Burke – Tango (“Super Freak” by Rick James)

Terrell Owens blew my mind last week with his spy-themed jive. Cheryl has done a great job in creating some creative yet difficult routines for him. Now that he’s hitting his stride, I think their tango to Rick James’s “Super Freak” will be one of the more entertaining and memorable routines of the night.

Scoring Prediction: 9 (Carrie Ann) + 9 (Len) + 9 (Bruno) = 27/30

Drew Scott & Emma Slater – Charleston (“Remains of the Day” by Danny Elfman)

For the first time this season Drew and Emma are at the bottom of the leaderboard after their action-themed paso doble flopped with the judges last week. The pressure is on for the pair to deliver high scores with their Charleston to keep them from the bottom of the pack. Drew has a great dance style this week. The Charleston is a fun, energetic dance that will suit Drew well and allow Emma to choreograph an entertaining routine that should get their scores back up.

Scoring Prediction: 9 (Carrie Ann) + 9 (Len) + 9 (Bruno) = 27/30

Lindsey Stirling & Mark Ballas – Paso Doble (“Roundtable Rival” by Lindsey Stirling)

Last week Lindsey and Mark finally received their long-overdue first perfect score and topped the leaderboard for the third time this season. This week, Lindsey and her partner Mark will be dancing a paso doble to her own song, “Roundtable Rival.” I’m really curious to see what Mark has cooking in his mind after last week’s mind-blowing routine. Whatever it is, I’m preparing myself to once again be blown away. Will Lindsey and Mark deliver a perfect routine for the second week in a row?

Scoring Prediction: 10 (Carrie Ann) + 10 (Len) + 10 (Bruno)= 30/30

TEAM DANCES

As mentioned above, tonight is a night for team dances. Team “Phantom of the Opera” consists of Drew and Emma, Vanessa and Maks, Victoria and Val, and Frankie and Witney. Team “Monster Mash” includes Terrell and Cheryl, Nikki and Artem, Lindsey and Mark, and Jordan and Lindsay.

Looking at both teams, I will say that Team “Monster Mash” has a clear advantage. Jordan and Lindsey are the top scoring stars of the season, while Terrell and Nikki have both improved week after week. Team “Monster Mash” also has pro Mark Ballas, who has won his fair share of team dances and will no doubt help choreograph a creative routine.

With that said, I wouldn’t quite rule out Team “Phantom of the Opera.” Vanessa, Drew, Frankie, and Victoria have also received solid scores and praise from the judges this season as well.

Team “Phantom of the Opera” – 9 (Carrie Ann) + 9 (Len) + 9 (Bruno) = 27/30

Team “Monster Mash” – 10 (Carrie Ann) + 9 (Len) + 10 (Bruno) = 29/30

Predicted Rankings

1. Lindsey & Mark — 59/60

2. Jordan & Lindsay — 57/60

2. Vanessa & Maks — 57/60

4. Terrell & Cheryl — 56/60

4. Drew & Emma — 56/60

6. Frankie & Witney — 54/60

6. Victoria & Val — 54/60

8. Nikki & Artem — 53/60

Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs every Monday on ABC. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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