‘Dancing with the Stars 23’ review: Laurie Hernandez, Terra Jole, Jana Kramer take on Cirque du Soleil

After last week’s odd “Dancing with the Stars” performance show, which was reduced to an hour thanks in part to the Presidential Debate, we’re going in a little bit of a different direction tonight: We’ve got much more of a typical performance show, one that runs over the course of two hours. The one thing that does make this a little bit different is the presence of Cirque du Soleil. The troupe is a part of the theme for the episode, and will be performing in their own way alongside the Stars and their pros.

As with every other “Dancing with the Stars” episode, we’re going to be reviewing this one live! Therefore, be sure to refresh the page for some additional updates.

Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold – Their dance had a little bit of the amazing energy that you would want from the famed Cirque, and plenty of lifts — which are apparently okay given the theme this week. It wasn’t technically perfect, but Megatron doesn’t have anything to worry about. Score: 23.

Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvintsev – This was really lovely. Despite plenty of distractions and a particularly difficult week in rehearsals, they really pulled something out! Cheers to Maureen for her work ethic, but also Artem for proving himself yet again to be an amazing, patient, and thoughtful teacher. Score: 24.

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko – This is turning out to be a rather consistent night so far! In a way, we do get it given that everyone so far has been rather good, but we’re not sure anyone has really brought the fire and intensity to match what is going on in the background. “Nice” is the best way we can describe this. Score: 23.

Marilu Henner and Derek Hough – This was a performance all about getting these two on the same pag,e and we’re not going to say that it was perfect. There was just something off in the rhythm here; while it wasn’t bad, clearly the stakes at this point are raised. Score: 21.

Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Seeing them perform together tonight after all of their highs and lows this season was a breath of fresh air. For the first time, it felt like Amber finally let go and was able to relax and get into the performance. That paid off in the scores. Score: 24.

Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke – While far from perfect technically (Ryan has to learn to emote), kudos to him for getting the technique better than he has to date. This at least was his strongest routine of the season, and he was able to ignore the heckling. Score: 22.

Babyface and Allison Holker – Yeah, this wasn’t good. The score was generous. We don’t know what it is, but for whatever reason, Babyface has just fallen apart on the show the past couple of weeks and is going the wrong way. Score: 18.

Terra Jole and Sasha Farber – Pushing it to the limit! This samba got the first nine of the night, and deservedly so thanks to the energy, the timing, and the fun of it. Terra’s just one of those people who may be scared on the inside while she dances, but she never shows it. Score: 25.

Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy – This Michael Jackson inspired routine certainly felt like it captured the character of the routine. The moves were on point, and this made it perfectly clear that in faster-paced routines, nobody can come close to her. Score: 30!

Vanilla Ice and Witney Carson – Despite a crazy schedule, Ice still delivered one of his better dances, one that actually allowed him to separate himself from his rap persona. He was entertaining, but it’s clear that following up Laurie is not admirable. Score: 23.

James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess – Finally, we turn to the IndyCar driver, who completely rocked the stage in closing the show. Great technique, great personality, and the closest thing to a rival that Laurie has. Score: 28.

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