LOS ANGELES -- We're down to seven couples on "Dancing with the Stars" and for Week 8, it's double the fun.
Here's a hint of what happened: not one, but two perfect scores!
Six of the couples dance twice for this round. Once in a style they have not yet performed, and the second round is a "dance off" challenge worth two extra points. James Van Der Beek was given immunity from the dance off because he has the highest cumulative score so far this season. He was automatically given two points.
Here's a rundown of the night's judges scores, from highest to lowest:
James Van Der Beek- 30 + 2 bonus points: 32 total
James and Emma performed a flawless contemporary routine to "Don't Stop Believing." He reflected on how devoted his parents have been to him, and to his dreams, and how their belief in him got him where he is today. Of course, mom and dad are in the audience! Head judge Len Goodman said the dance was like a really good book: it had something for everyone, held his interest, kept him on edge and had a happy ending. Bruno Tonioli called it emotional, compelling and fluid, with exquisite lifts. And Carrie Ann Inaba said the routine was pure artistry in motion.
Hannah Brown- 29 + 2 bonus points: 31 total
The previous "Bachelorette" was rattled last week when Carrie Ann called her out about being a bit disconnected from the emotions of the dance. Hannah admitted that Carrie Ann was right, and she knew the trick to "right" herself; she went home to Alabama. The visit certainly centered her! Bruno said the Quickstep she performed was a game changer. Len liked the frame and clarity of the dance. Carrie Ann offered a big hug and told Hannah she felt like she showed us her fullest self.
Kel Mitchell- 28 + 2 bonus points: 30 total
Kel and Witney did a Salsa to the Montell Jordan hit "This is How We Do It." Carrie Ann thought the dance had a cool groove with good partnering and praised him for leading the dance. Bruno said this routine was a star turn, and Kel is focused and centered. Len said something about junk in the trunk and hips going to town, but we quickly moved by that and settled on Kel being "large and in charge."
Ally Brooke- 30 points
She might not have won the bonus, but Ally didn't really need it! She got a perfect score from the judges for her paso doble. Her field trip for the week was to "The Sound Academy," a place that helped her understand and pursue her dreams as a kid. She offered the class some advice and was moved to tears remembering her own story. Ally vowed to put all that drive into her dance. Len said the routine was a perfect mix of good technique and high performance, which is an irresistible combination. Carrie Ann told Ally she proved to everyone that she is a superstar.
Kate Flannery- 24 + 2 bonus points: 26 total
Kate had an emotional week, as she dedicated the dance to her late sister. She did the Jive to a Linda Ronstadt classic, "Heat Wave," and it's a song that brought back lots of fond memories about her older sister, Nancy. Kate reflected on her loss, plus her time on "DWTS," and feels she was put here for a reason. Carrie Ann said the dance felt like a celebration. Len told Kate and Pasha that they are always a joy to watch, and Bruno praised the charming, clever choreography.
Lauren Alaina- 24 points
We learned last week Lauren has three bum ribs but she is determined to work through the pain and do her job. Her week was brightened when she learned her Jive would be to an Elvis Presley song. Elvis was her grandma's favorite singer. Unfortunately, she made a few mistakes in the routine. Bruno said "the King" would have loved the dance and reminded her that mistakes happen. Carrie Ann told Lauren she played it off well, and reminded her to come back stronger. Len said Lauren definitely deserves to be here.
Sean Spicer- 20 points
Sean's partner Lindsay Arnold hoped that by being assigned a jazz dance Sean would have better luck with the steps because the focus is on being entertaining and not so technical. Unfortunately, Lindsay had a death in the family and had to leave, so pro Jenna stepped in to help. The judges didn't mince words about the fact that Sean keeps surviving week after week. Len said "we keep throwing you out of the boat, and viewers toss you a life preserver!" But even with some harsh words from all three judges, they did all say they respect his efforts and resilience.
Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews read the names of those who are safe: Sean, Hannah, James, Kel and Lauren. That meant Ally and Kate were in the bottom two. Both Carrie Ann and Bruno voted to keep Ally so it was Kate's time to head home.
The competition continues next week with Boy Band and Girl Group Night, with guest judges Joey Fatone and Emma Bunton.