Go big or go home — that was the theme of Team-Up week on Dancing With the Stars. After a double elimination last week, the remaining six couples buckled down in rehearsals to turn it up on the dance floor, and for the most part, their efforts paid off. Ultimately, there were only two particularly notable surprises: a perfect score from a dark horse, and a stumble from one of the more consistent performers.
But that was just the beginning for the quarterfinalists. After performing their individual routines, the couples paired off in groups of two to be coached by one of the three judges. Carrie Ann Inaba worked with Antonio Brown and Sharna Burgess, plus Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas; Len Goodman was with Wanya Morris and Lindsay Arnold, plus Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy; and Bruno Tonioli finished things off with Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd, with Jodie Sweetin and Keo Motsepe.
Jodie and Keo Get a Perfect 30
Facing criticism that Keo might be holding her down, Jodie insisted that he was actually lifting her up. For his part, Keo was more determined than ever to prove himself to both his partner and the nation, and he choreographed a production-heavy jive complete with backup dancers and plenty of props.
Carrie Ann insisted, "Keo is the bomb," and told Jodie her "star continues to rise." Len said the dance made him feel happier than any other so far, and Bruno declared that all he could see was "goodness." They then showered the hardworking couple with three perfect 10s, launching them to the top of the leader board.
Wanya Falls Flat
On the other side of the spectrum were Wanya and Lindsay, whose jive stood out (by far) as the worst performance of the night. In their video package, Lindsay admitted she was feeling the need to help move her partner up the board a bit, but it seemed that pressure got the best of both of them.
Though the most noticeable error was the Boyz II Men singer tripping on his partner's bandana, as Carrie Ann pointed out, that was hardly the only mistake. Though she was smiling, Carrie Ann called the routine a "rough ride" (not in a good way). Len was slightly more positive, arguing the pair came out "all guns blazing," but still admitted they lost their timing. They ended up with a 25 out of 30, which put them in last place for the night.
Meanwhile, Ginger and Val continued to dominate, this time with an Argentine tango that required the bubbly new mom to channel a "dirty brothel of a character." Though she wasn't totally comfortable with her new persona, the Good Morning America meteorologist rose to the occasion, and the judges went totally gaga over the routine. Carrie Ann told Ginger and Val they moved like they "were on torso," while Len called it "one hell of a dance." They, too, earned a perfect 30.
Nyle Misses Perfection by One Point
Another stunning routine came from Nyle and Peta, who performed a dramatic paso doble that included several eight-counts in which Nyle danced with a group of backup dancers in absolute silence. The idea was to (dramatically) show America what Nyle experiences every week when he's performing without being able to hear a single note of the music. It was a risky move, but it worked.
Though Len thought the performance needed a bit more polish, he still insisted it was "amazing." Bruno said, "It was like watching five men dancing to the beat of a single heart" before calling it a "Dancing With the Stars classic that no one will ever forget." Still, the model came up one point shy of perfection.
Viennese Waltzes Land in the Middle
Filling in the middle were Paige and Mark, as well as Antonio and Sharna. Both couples performed stunning Viennese waltzes for the quarterfinals occasion, but neither routine was enough to put them at the top of a very competitive pack.
Most notable, however, was Antonio's improved attitude. After weeks of showing up late and not taking rehearsals as seriously as some of the others, the football player experienced a clear change of heart. He showed up not only on time, but actually early for practice, and really focused on the work at hand — but was it too little, too late?
Team-Up Routines All Score Big
As is usually the case, the team-up routines (choreographed by the judges) all received top scores. Bruno seemed obsessed with bringing out the sex appeal of Nyle and Jodie, while Len wanted to make sure Wanya and Ginger had fun. Last but not least, Carrie Ann went for high drama with Antonio and Paige.
All three routines earned 29s — 9s from the American voters and two perfect 10s from the judges. (ICYMI: Only two judges voted on each routine, since the judges did not vote on their own routines.) Basically, these scores all just canceled each other out.
Perfect Scorer Jodie Sweetin Goes Home
Despite moving to first place tonight, Jodie was sent home. While she was sad to be leaving, she realized she was going out on a high note.
"I got to go out on all 10s! That's amazing!" she said before noting, "I start production on Fuller House tomorrow morning at 8 a.m." In other words, she's a busy girl who isn't about to let this get her down. She also made sure to thank Keo and gush about all of the incredible friends she had made on the show. Keo, however, didn't have anything to add.
Tell Us: Were you surprised by who went home? And did someone else deserve to get the boot?
Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.