“DWTS” Week 9: Mandy Moore Stops By for a Celebration of Taylor Swift

November 22, 2023

Here at Dance Spirit, we have long lived as fans of Taylor Swift. So we were sure to clear a space on the calendar when it was announced that “Dancing with the Stars” would be hosting a Celebration of Taylor Swift. And last night, we got to watch the whole place shimmer.

The night kicked off with a special Taylor tribute choreographed by none other than dance world legend, guest judge, and Eras Tour choreographer Mandy Moore. Following the performance, Taylor herself made a virtual appearance in the ballroom to give a special shout-out to her friend Mandy and wish all of the competitors luck. After all, she knows a thing or two about a mirror ball.

After that, it was time to let the games begin. For Taylor night, each star was asked to dance twice—once with their partner and once in a relay-dance competition against another couple. And with the competition now in its ninth week, every dance is like a battle. So if you missed last night’s episode, we’re here with all the tea and all the Taylor—plus the best dancing of the night.

Jason Mraz and Daniella Karagach: Tango

After a couple of weeks of uncharacteristically low scores, singer Jason Mraz entered Week 9 of the competition ready to fight his way back to the top of the leaderboard. And while we never doubted him, or partner Daniella Karagach, we knew it would be a challenge.

But Jason and Daniella rose to the challenge and then some. Performing a sultry tango to a cover of Taylor’s “Don’t Blame Me,” Jason brought all of the confidence and character to the ballroom. Don’t blame us, this dance made us crazy…

The judges went crazy for the performance too, giving the pair straight 10s, for a total 40 out of 40 possible points.

Charity Lawson and Artem Chigvintsev: Argentine Tango

I’m sorry, the old Charity can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ’cause she’s dancing…an Argentine tango, alongside partner Artem Chigvintsev.

The pair performed a stunning Argentine tango set to a cover of Taylor’s “Look What You Made Me Do,” and, luckily, there wasn’t a tilted stage in sight. Instead, the tango was full of perfectly executed content, showcasing Charity’s long, elegant lines and the pair’s acrobatic, dazzling lifts.

The judges loved the performance, though guest judge Mandy Moore said that Charity could have performed with a little more attack, like a snake’s bite. The pair received two 9s and two 10s, for a total 38 of 40 possible points.

Xochitl Gomez and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: Quickstep

Xochitl and Val might be competing for a shiny thing—the mirror-ball trophy—but this week they settled for paper rings. The pair performed a high-octane quickstep set to a cover of “Paper Rings,” and we think we waited our whole lives for this performance.

Xochitl brought her signature energy to the ballroom, and it was a perfect match for the fast-paced quickstep. Sure, the performance was full of challenging choreography and tactical technique, but, more than anything else, it was really, truly fun.

The judges were lovers of Xochitl and Val’s performance, giving the pair two 9s and two 10s, for 38 total points.

Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless.

After the individual performances, the competition moved on to the relay dances. Stars Xochitl Gomez, Alyson Hannigan, and Jason Mraz came out on top in their relays, boosting their scores and pushing themselves and their partners toward the top of the leaderboard.

With that, hosts Julianne Hough and Alfonso Ribiero pulled us all right out of our lavender haze, announcing it was time for the evening’s elimination. After all, not every couple could end the night safe and sound. After scoring at the bottom of the leaderboard, Harry Jowsey and partner Rylee Arnold were eliminated from the competition. Harry and Rylee, we had the time of our lives with you!