Six duos remained going into Tuesday's "A Celebration of Taylor Swift," during which the pop star's choreographer Mandy Moore served as a guest judge
It was a typical Tuesday night on Dancing with the Stars celebrating yet another music megastar. After honoring the library of the late Whitney Houston on last week’s episode, DWTS held "A Celebration of Taylor Swift" Tuesday.
The pros kicked things off with a dance to “Love Story” choreographed by guest judge — and Eras Tour choreographer! — Mandy Moore. Taylor called Mandy her “friend” and sent her well wishes in a video from Brazil, where she continues her Eras Tour.
Mandy joined judges Derek Hough, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba to watch the remaining six contestants perform twice: once with their partner and again in a Relay Dance against another pair, all to the tracks of T. Swift.
Alyson Hannigan and Sasha Farber
As a self-proclaimed Swiftie, actress Alyson Hannigan wanted to nail her Cha Cha to “You Belong with Me.”
“My kids and I all love her music and that night where we got to see her in concert was so special for all three of us,” the How I Met Your Mother star said in her intro package. “That’s the one artist we can play and not be like ‘Ew, change the song.’”
Alyson channeled Taylor to overcome the physical challenges — including damaged toenails — during practice. “Let’s do it for the Swifties!” she declared in rehearsal.
After the performance, Derek told Alyson he loved her “charisma and joy.” “You have improved so much from Week 1,” he said.
Mandy recognized the Taylor inspiration in Alyson’s moves. “We’re in the Fearless Era and girl, you were fearless out there,” Mandy told Alyson.
Bruno, however, thought Alyson was “racing through it.”
Still, Alyson called the experience “a dream come true.”
“I obviously should’ve listened to ‘You Need to Calm Down’ before because I was really excited,” she told Julianne. “But, you know, this is me trying.”
Ariana Madix and Pasha Pashkov
Vanderpump Rules’ Ariana Madix just missed a perfect score last week because Carrie Ann gave her a nine. “Carrie Ann is a tough nut to crack and I want her to see that I have what it takes,” Ariana said in her intro package.
The reality star said she admired Taylor because “when she performs, she commands that stage, and that’s what I’m going to channel.”
Ariana admitted she’d been experiencing some back pain lately that left her back “super swollen.” To try to alleviate it, Ariana said she slept on “a cardboard box gurney.”
“I’m just going to ignore the pain and hope I can get to the end,” Ariana said.
Ariana and Pasha danced a Rumba to “Cruel Summer,” which Derek described as “sensual and refined” and a “proper Rumba.”
“You did command that stage out there,” Mandy told Ariana, calling her a “superstar.”
Ariana confessed to Julianne that the pain made performing challenging.
“It was tough, but I feel like, at this stage, we’re all putting our bodies through so much,” the Bravo star said.
Jason Mraz and Daniella Karagach
Singer Jason Mraz lamented in his intro package that his highest placements on the leaderboard came in the first three weeks. “To see my name lower was a real wakeup call,” Jason said.
The Grammy winner told Daniela he worried last week about going home. “Last week was the first night I thought, ‘This could be it,’” he confessed.
Daniela brought her husband Pasha into practice to help Jason understand what the Argentine Tango should look like.
“I need everything to fall into place for me because I don’t want to go home,” Jason said. “This has to be a redemption week for me.”
Following his Argentine Tango to “Don’t Blame Me,” Bruno cheered, “Reputation restored! You are back with a massive hit!”
Carrie Ann agreed. “I am so proud of you!” she told Jason.
Derek chimed in, “My man Jason Mraz is back!”
Jason admitted to Julianne that he felt more pressure on Taylor Swift Night than he did for his debut performance.
“I was more nervous tonight than I was on the first night because I have that experience of forgetting moves,” he said.
But Jason regrouped and returned to the ballroom stronger. “I went home and pet my cat, I cried a little bit, I mediated, I did my yoga and I’m here,” Jason told Julianne. “I’m back.”
Harry Jowsey and Rylee Arnold
He looked forward to executing a Rumba to “August.” “I’m a massive fan of Taylor Swift,” Harry said. “I think she’s incredible.”
Rylee showed Harry a video of her doing a Rumba and worked with Harry on his hip movements. “I’m done being a big Gumby tree,” Harry said.
The judges thought Harry’s prep paid off — somewhat. Carrie Ann told Harry after his performance that his vulnerability has been “capturing the hearts of everybody,” but, “you still have work to do.”
Derek received boos from the audience when he told Harry the reality star has “blank space face.” However, “you were comfortable, you had confidence,” Derek added.
Bruno noticed the sparks flying between rumored couple Harry and Rylee.
“The chemistry was tangible — were you kissing, actually?” Bruno asked.
“Yeah, a little bit,” Harry replied.
Bruno said he “could see the romance” on the ballroom floor.
Charity Lawson and Artem Chigvintsev
Charity hoped to keep up the momentum and looked forward to doing so with an Argentine Tango to “Look What You Made Me Do.” “This woman is unbeatable right now,” Charity said of Taylor.
The reality star earned herself a big reputation with the performance.
“You have the best legs in this competition,” Derek told Charity.
Mandy raved to Charity that her Argentine Tango “ticked all the boxes” but she wanted to see “more of like the unpredictability of like a snake’s bite.”
Bruno complimented Charity for “striking every line, every shape with pinpoint accuracy.”
“No one has lines as beautiful as you,” Carrie Ann concurred.
Julianne asked Charity if she felt ready to leave the competition after landing in the middle of the leaderboard last week, but Charity didn’t even want to entertain the possibility.
“It’s just one big family and I’m so grateful and humble to be enjoying this experience,” Charity said.
Xochitl Gomez and Val Chmerkovskiy
After receiving a perfect score last week, actress Xochitl Gomez told Val in her intro package she felt “so good.”
Xochitl attended the Eras Tour with her friends and couldn’t wait to tackle a Quickstep to “Paper Rings.” “I think she’s a wonderful role model,” the Marvel star said. “She’s really paved the path for young girls.”
Like Taylor, Xochitl has a close relationship with her mom, Jennifer. “My mom is always there for me,” Xochitl said. “She comes every day to rehearsals with me. She’s sacrificed a lot for me and I couldn’t have done any of this without my mom.”
Val and Xochitl invited Jennifer into practice and she confirmed that all the sacrifices she’s made for her daughter have been “worth it to see Xochitl live out her dreams.”
Xochitl hoped to get another perfect score with this week’s Quickstep. “It would mean so much to me,” she said.
When Xochitl walked in the ballroom, she made the whole place shimmer. After her routine, Mandy gave Xochitl a friendship bracelet “because you were so good.”
“You are the most animated and enthusiastic performer we have ever had and it is such a joy to watch you,” Carrie Ann told Xochitl, adding that she did, however, feel the Disney Channel alum “lost your focus a little bit” during the performance.
Derek thought Xochitl had what it took to go all the way: “I want to see you in the finals.”
Alfonso explained that each duo would be paired with another and perform to the same song, in the same style to earn three extra points from the judges. Going into the Relay Dances, Alyson found herself at the bottom of the leaderboard with a 29, while Jason’s perfect score put him at the top.
First, Ariana and Pasha faced off against Xochitl and Val, each performing a Viennese Waltz, which they first tackled in Week 5, to “Lover.” “This is a true, even matchup,” Mandy declared afterwards. Carrie Ann announced that the judges ultimately chose Xochitl and Val to nab the extra three points.
Next, in a rematch of last week’s Dance-Off, Harry and Rylee took on Alyson and Sasha with a Jive to “Shake It Off.” “To beat Harry, I’m going to have to do some really technical choreography,” Alyson said during rehearsal. And she did. Harry and Rylee went first, but Alyson and Sasha ended up winning the three additional points.
“It would be everything,” Alyson said to Julianne of what it would mean to go the semifinals. “I am so … I love this process so much. I’m so grateful. I love that. I’m improving and I feel it.”
Jason and Danielle closed out by going against Charity and Artem on Cha Cha to “Lavender Haze.” "I'm going to make sure this routine is perfect," Jason said during practice. Mandy notice "a little extra sauce" in Jason's performance and Carrie Ann told the "I'm Yours" crooner "brought some swagger back."
Accordingly, Jason and Daniella won the Relay and the extra three points that came with it.
That kept Jason and Daniella at the top of the leaderboard with a score of 43 and moved Harry and Rylee to the bottom with a 30.
Once voting closed, Alfonso shared that Tuesday's episode received more votes than any other night this season.
He and Julianne then revealed the couples who would be moving onto the semifinals: Ariana and Pasha, Xochitl and Val, and Jason and Daniela. As a result, Charity and Artem, Harry and Rylee, and Alyson and Sasha sat in the bottom three.
Alfonso announced that, based on the combination of viewer votes and the judges' scores, Harry and Rylee would be ones heading home just shy of the semifinals.
Despite being eliminated, Harry felt honored to be part of Rylee's wildest dreams.
"It's been so special," Harry said of his DWTS experience. "I can't believe we've made it this far. And for Rylee's first season, it's so incredible to see her live out her dreams. I can't believe I was a part of her dreams coming true."
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