‘Dancing with the Stars’ recap: Who survived week 6, and who danced their way out of the competition? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

All nine celebrities were safe on “Dancing with the Stars” at the end of “Disney Night,” but you can only delay the executioner for so long on the competition series. So who performed well enough to survive week 6, and whose footwork got them the boot? Find out below in our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments as they happen.

Singer Ally Brooke got the first nines of the season last week when she performed a contemporary routine inspired by “Beauty and the Beast,” but this week she and actor Kel Mitchell were both reportedly given fast-paced quicksteps to perform. This time it was country star Lauren Alaina and reality star Karamo Brown who got to dance contemporary numbers. Meanwhile, actress Kate Flannery and White House mouthpiece Sean Spicer drew the Viennese waltz. Model Sailor Brinkley-Cook danced a jive routine.

That left two dancers with the dreaded samba, possibly the single hardest dance style on the show, but it was the two front-runners: Hannah Brown and James Van Der Beek. This isn’t the first time they’ve both performed the same Latin dance on the same night. They previously faced off with dueling rumbas during “Movie Night“; Van Der Beek had the better routine that night, according to the judges, but the two have been neck-and-neck all season in the scores and in our predictions.

With almost everyone’s scores getting higher by the week and the field narrowing down, who stepped up, who (if anyone) had a breakthrough night, and who (if anyone) got the first 10s of the season? Follow along below starting at 8:00pm (times listed are Eastern).

Daniel Montgomery, 8:01pm — Celebrating the halfway point of the season, and yet only a quarter of the contestants have been eliminated. We’re definitely going to get one or two double eliminations before the season’s over.

Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber (Quickstep)

DM, 8:03pm — An ’80s-style quickstep coming up following three weeks in a row at the top of the judges’ leaderboard. They’re dancing to “Take on Me” by A-ha. Great song, and Sasha and Ally have a sweet brother-sister chemistry, so I’ve got high hopes.

Jeffrey Kare, 8:07pm — What a great way to start off the night!

Cordell Martin, 8:07pm — Love the staging

DM, 8:08pm — Too much initially in the boxes. A lot of great moments during that dance while they were in hold, but it didn’t always seem consistent to me

JUDGES — Len Goodman thought it was “first class” with good frame, but a few “foot faults”; he especially likes that the dances are longer this season. Bruno Tonioli thought it was so bright he needed sunglasses, but she “lost synchronicity” because the pace of the routine was so fast. Carrie Ann Inaba loved the “body contact” just like Bruno did, but he agrees that there were some sync problems. Len objects to that, so this could be a rare instance where Len gives the highest score at the table.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Len (9), Bruno (8) — TOTAL: 25 out of 30

DM, 8:12pm — Uncharacteristically high for Len. I agree with the 8s more than the 9, especially at the very beginning of the night. Leave some room for the other dancers!

Kate Flannery and Pasha Pashkov (Viennese Waltz)

DM, 8:17pm — Kate does great with fun dances. She had trouble getting into the character of the Argentine tango, so I hope she can step up to an elegant dance style to “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston. Some more emotional vulnerability could take her to the next level.

DM, 8:21pm — I think Kate kinda nailed that. A lot more vulnerability than we’ve seen from her. She really sold that well.

JK, 8:21pm — It was stunning!

CM, 8:23pm — Come through, Kate!

JUDGES — Bruno “loved” what she did with that and thought it had “the best possible taste” and “worked wonders.” Carrie Ann is “speechless.” It felt like “the most victorious Viennese waltz” she’s ever seen. Len is “a really happy chappy” because he saw a fleckerls, a waltz step he doesn’t usually see, along with plenty more classic choreographic content. He thought it was a “great” performance.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Bruno (9) — TOTAL: 27 out of 30

CM, 8:24pm — My girl!

JK, 8:24pm — I wonder if we’ll end up with at least one 10 tonight.

Kel Mitchell and Witney Carson (Quickstep)

DM, 8:29pm — He got 9s last week, though Len is worried Kel and Witney haven’t show chemistry as strong as they could have. I think he might be right about that. They’re getting better and better scores, but it still feels like they’re flying under the radar and they haven’t quite had a breakthrough moment. Witney’s method of training this week: teaching Kel how to move his feet fast by throwing dodge balls at him and inviting the other celebs to do the same.

DM, 8:33pm — I think Kel wins the battle of the quicksteps against Ally this week.

JK, 8:33pm — Kel and Witney’s performance this week I thought was full of energy and enthusiasm.

CM, 8:34pm — Great job, Kel.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann thinks they’re “so in sync” and “ridiculously amazing” despite one small mess-up with his feet. Len thought it was “terrific,” but there was a “major incident”; Witney takes the blame for the mistake, but Len says it doesn’t matter if the jockey or the horse who messes up. I think he might have sort of called Witney a horse kind of? Bruno calls Kel a “full-time dancer”; it was “light, fast-paced” and executed with “such lightness and musicality.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (8), Bruno (9) — TOTAL: 26 out of 30

Karamo Brown and Jenna Johnson (Contemporary)

DM, 8:41pm — It was initially reported that Karamo would be dancing a rumba after doing a tough samba last week. I’m so glad he’s doing a contemporary instead. I want him to have a great moment, and contemporary could do it. This week’s routine is inspired by his relationship with his father, who rejected Karamo for year for being gay. Last week Karamo was inspired by his relationship with his sons, and now’s it’s a different parent-child dynamic he’s doing. Karamo really needs a ballroom breakthrough, so maybe this will be it.

CM, 8:43pm — Karamo better get those sympathy votes!

JK, 8:45pm — They might’ve just given their best performance in the competition.

CM, 8:45pm — Definitely his best performance.

DM, 8:45pm — Probably his best dance of the season yet. I still think he could tighten up some of his movements in general, but he didn’t need to worry about that so much in a contemporary

JUDGES — Len thought it was “fluid” and had a “lovely flow” with “great lifts” and “lovely light and shade.” Bruno thought he had “focus and intention” all the way through. It was “truthful, expressive, and you.” Carrie Ann felt the “love, compassion and intention,” and he didn’t miss a single step.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (8), Bruno (8) — TOTAL: 25 out of 30

DM, 8:49pm — I agree with the 8s, very good performance, but still some room for improvement. Hopefully that’ll be enough of a buffer against Spicey, though.

Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten (Samba)

DM, 8:57pm — Samba is a killer, but this week it’s the two front-runners who are performing it, so I think they’ll be fine. This is supposed to be a southern-style samba, which sounds interesting. I’m not sure if that sounds like a natural fit for me, but it’s inspired by how homesick Hannah is now that she’s living in LA, and it’ll be great to see her open up more.

DM, 9:01pm — Her timing looked a little off in a couple of places, but in general I think Hannah has the best technique and posture of any celeb in the competition.

JK, 9:01pm — I thought that was skillfully terrific!

JUDGES — Bruno thought she pulled off the tough combo of samba and country, but it looked “slightly off” because she dances “too high” so she doesn’t get the right bounce. Carrie Ann thinks she’s a “phenomenal dancer,” but agrees with Bruno that Hannah was “ahead of the beat” because of how weirdly samba and country meshed. Len credits Alan for his choreography and credits Hannah for coping well with a difficult routine, though she needed to work on her feet some to get better hip action.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (8), Len (8), Bruno (8) — TOTAL: 24 out of 30

DM, 9:05pm — I agree with those numbers for Hannah. She did a solid job on a tough dance which was an odd match for the music.

Sailor Brinkley-Cook and Val Chmerkovskiy (Jive)

DM, 9:08pm — A jive routine for Sailor, and Val is trying to get her out of her shell by having her practice the routine in public. Val is right that Sailor needs to push herself out of her comfort zone. She has lots of potential, but we haven’t seen too much of her personality this season.

JK, 9:11pm — That was excellent!

DM, 9:12pm — Her footwork was spot-on, great job from her.

CM, 9:12pm — Everyone is bringing it tonight.

JUDGES — Carrie Ann thought it was “amazing” and she finally “found her groove.” Len thought it was “full of taste and flavor” and “full of wham and personality.” Bruno loved it too, telling her, “Way to go!”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Bruno (9) — TOTAL: 27 out of 30

JK, 9:14pm — I have a feeling that we’re about to get at least one 10.

CM, 9:14pm — James or Lauren. Spicey is going to get all 7s.

DM, 9:16pm — Quite possible now that we’ve gotten two dances with straight 9s. Lauren probably has the best shot with a contemporary routine, but if James nails his samba, the degree of difficulty alone could get him a 10.

Sean Spicer and Lindsay Arnold (Viennese Waltz)

JK, 9:20pm — Now we’re about to face the continuous elephant in the room.

DM, 9:19pm — It does Spicey no favors that Kate Flannery nailed a Viennese waltz earlier tonight. They’re dancing to “Somebody to Love” by Queen. Speaking of which, Spicer’s former boss told the Supreme Court it should be legal to fire somebody like Freddie Mercury for being queer.

JK, 9:23pm — Okay, it looked to me like Sean was just running around in circles.

JUDGES — Len admires his “tenacity and hard work.” Bruno says it was the “smartest” he’s ever looked, and it was a “brave” attempt at a difficult dance, but he looked like a “tumbleweed.” Carrie Ann appreciated the “tenderness” he brought to the routine.

SCORES — Carrie Ann (7), Len (7), Bruno (7) — TOTAL: 21 out of 30

CM, 9:27pm — Oh hell.

James Van Der Beek and Emma Slater (Samba)

DM, 9:31pm — Another potentially deadly samba, but it could be high risk, high reward if he nails this. James knows hows to sell the character of any dance, so if he nails the footwork and hip action, he could get a 10 from the degree of difficulty alone. While training, Emma attached him to cables just to keep his hips and feet in the right place.

JK, 9:35pm — Once again, James and Emma knocked it right out of the park!

DM, 9:35pm — Dynamite work by James. Don’t know if it was a 10, but should be at least 9s.

CM, 9:36pm — I agree, Daniel.

JUDGES — Bruno called it “Close Encounters of the Hips Kind.” It was “loose, flexible and very rhythmical.” Carrie Ann thought it was “off the charts,” but sometimes his moves are a little too big. Len concludes, “Tutti Frutti, what a booty. Your bum was out of control … It was a really, really good samba.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (9), Bruno (9) — TOTAL: 27 out of 30

DM, 9:40pm — That leaves it to Lauren to score the season’s first 10. But it feels like 9 might be the ceiling tonight if the judges didn’t give it to that James routine.

CM, 9:41pm — I think the backstory will probably tip one of them to give her a 10. Also keep in mind she has yet to top the leaderboard by herself.

DM, 9:41pm — Yeah, she’s closing the show, has the emotional back story, and she’s dancing to her own music, so they could give it to her as a climactic ending to the night.

Lauren Alaina and Gleb Savchenko (Contemporary)

DM, 9:43pm — This performance will mark the anniversary of her stepfather’s death when he was only 47. She’s performing to a song inspired by him titled “The Other Side,” her style is contemporary, and the door is open for a season’s best score.

JK, 9:48pm — No matter where Lauren ends up on the leaderboard tonight, it should not change how breathtaking her performance just was.

DM, 9:48pm — Lovely performance, great positions in those lifts, it was an emotional 10, but was it a dance 10?

JUDGES — Carrie Ann calls her a “brave woman” for delivering that performance, but “you touched all of our hearts … You have blessed us all with a beautiful dance.” Len adds that it was danced with “so much emotion” and it was “worthy” of her stepfather. Bruno is happy see so much “love, truth, and honesty.”

SCORES — Carrie Ann (9), Len (8), Bruno (9) — TOTAL: 26 out of 30

DM, 9:51pm — Wow, that 8 was surprising. I didn’t think we’d see lower than 9s, and after those comments I thought maybe a 10 really was coming.

CM, 9:51pm — Me too.

JK, 9:51pm — Maybe we’ll finally get a 10 next week.

DM, 9:52pm — I think they’re gonna whip out the 10s next week for sure. But I like that they’re still holding back. Honestly, I think a lot of those 9s were deserved, but I didn’t feel like I saw a 10 routine tonight.


DM, 9:54pm — Safe from elimination are Lauren Alaina, Karamo Brown (hooray!), Kel Mitchell, James Van Der Beek, Sean Spicer (Jesus take the wheel, America) and Hannah Brown. That means Ally Brooke and Sailor Brinkley-Cook are the bottom two and democracy is officially dead.

DM, 9:58pm — Terrible position to put the judges in. Carrie Ann decides to save Ally. So does Bruno. Which means Sailor is gone despite getting the night’s highest scores. Complete unjustifiable result, but America left the judges with nothing but bad options. I would have saved Ally too. But they should both have been safe.

CM, 9:59pm — Yeah, let’s pencil Sean in the finale.

JK, 10:00pm — Just what the hell is wrong with the general public that keeps on voting for him?

DM, 10:00pm — “DWTS” 27: “It can’t possibly get worse than Bobby Bones winning!” “DWTS” 28: “Hold my beer.”

CM, 10:01pm — If he wins this will be my last season of “DWTS.”


1. Sailor Brinkley Cook — 27 (ELIMINATED)
1. Kate Flannery — 27
1. James Van Der Beek — 27
4. Lauren Alaina — 26
4. Kel Mitchell — 26
6. Ally Brooke — 25
6. Karamo Brown — 25
8. Hannah Brown — 24
9. Sean Spicer — 21

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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