“Even though I was born in 2002, I’m very familiar with the ’80s,” said teenage “Dancing with the Stars” standout Skai Jackson, making some of us feel downright ancient. “My mom and I used to have ’80s movie nights, and I used to watch ‘The Lost Boys,’ ‘The Goonies’ and ‘Back to the Future.'” She wasn’t alive until 12 years after the ’80s ended, so what better theme for her “’80s Night” jazz routine than the time-travel classic “Back to the Future”? Watch her performance above, and see what the judges had to say below.
Derek Hough: “Great Scott, Skai! That was so fun. When you’re side-by-side you light up. Your energy comes forward. I feel you. You’re like, ‘Let’s do this!’ Sometimes when you get into hold I feel your energy go back a little bit. It’s almost like this fear face. But that’s only because I want you to improve, I want you to get better. But listen, that was so fun.”
Bruno Tonioli: “‘Back to the Future’ reinvented for a new generation! I’m telling you, for you the ’80s must be like ancient history, but your mom gave you the right tips because you got the style, you’ve got the moves, you survived the lifts … When you do those lifts you have to be very careful of the dismount. You have to really keep your core very strong. If not, you go all like — me falling off a chair. But well done.”
Carrie Ann Inaba: “The lifts were great. I loved all of them. But the dismounts, watch them, they were a little — and there was one lift that maybe, did you drop something? But I do want to say, you have moments of greatness, but because you’re so petite, you need to really expand your movements to fill up the music because sometimes you finish the movement too quickly. So that’s something you could work on.”
As you could probably tell from those critiques, this performance didn’t quite match her last one, which earned her her first 10 of the season. But she received respectable 8s across the board for a total of 24 out of 30. That tied her for fifth place on the judges’ leaderboard with Justina Machado, AJ McLean, Jeannie Mai and Nelly, but Jackson was safe when viewer votes were factored in. It goes to show how closely matched this season is. You could go from the top of the leaderboard to the middle of the pack in the span of a week. But it also means Jackson could get back to the top just as easily.
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