Dancing with the Stars fans nearly saw a disaster on Halloween Night. The Halloween-themed edition of the ABC celebrity ballroom competition featured one of the scariest dances in the history of the show, but it’s not what you think.
During a Frankenstein-themed Argentine tango to “El Tango de Roxanne,” fan favorite contestant “Grocery Store Joe” Amabile nearly dropped pro partner Jenna Johnson. The near disaster occurred during a lift at the end of the complicated routine, but the judges surprisingly let it slide. Amabile and Johnson earned their highest score in the competition despite the scary moment.
“Actually, your tango didn’t scare me because, for once, it actually looked like an Argentine tango,” judge Bruno Tonioli told Amabile, per the Chicago Tribune. “There was just the slight incident at the end, but I suppose it was because of the lift, something went wrong, but up until that moment … you were on it.”
Even Carrie Ann Inaba, who is usually the most nitpicky judge when it comes to lifts, said, “Yeah, Jenna almost fell, but you didn’t give up, which is what you normally do. You held it to the end. Well done! Hallelujah Joe!”
As Joe and Jenna waited for their scores, the Bachelor in Paradise star nervously admitted to DWTS co-host Erin Andrews he almost broke his partner’s back. Both Johnson and Amabile seemed shaken up by the incident.
But on her blog for Us Weekly, Jenna Johnson praised Grocery Store Joe for his work on the Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein dance. Johnson also explained the slip up late in the routine that could have put a major damper on their dance.
“During the last five seconds of the dance, Joe grabbed my hips in a bit of a wrong position. It was correct, but it wasn’t all the way around my waist and I knew that if I flipped over, I was probably going to die. I just was like, it’s Halloween night and I have to take one for the team, so I just went for it. I borderline broke my back, but I feel great. Somehow, we landed it, and I think it just made it more surprising and shocking.”
Johnson also said Amabile’s reaction to the misstep shows just how far he has come in the competition.
“Sometimes, mistakes are beautiful perfections. If something goes wrong on live TV and someone’s not used to performing or isn’t a dancer, it’s really hard to come back from that. So the fact that he kept going and was still in character and then ripped my head off at the end, I was like, ‘What? Who is this guy? Not Joe week one! He’s a dancer!”
In the end, Joe and Jenna’s incredible save helped them secure an all-time high score of 22 out of 30 points and spared them the dreaded lowest score status that they have been saddled with for most of the competition.
You can see Grocery Store Joe’s Argentine tango with Jenna Johnson below.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays on ABC.