Gymnast Laurie Hernandez is still setting fire to the Dancing With The Stars dance floor. On Monday night, the contestants competed in a super stressful head-to-head challenge. Laurie and her dance partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, faced off against actress Marilu Henner and DWTS legend Derek Hough. Both couples had to perform the tango, and the pair with the higher score earned immunity from Tuesday night’s elimination. And Laurie and Val wanted that win.
In the recap of their training week, Val explained to Laurie that the tango is a pretty intense dance. “It’s a lot more dramatic, a lot more passionate,” he said. And 16-year-old Laurie replied in the best way: “That sounds like a whole other level of woman that I don’t know about.” Laurie said she’s never had a boyfriend—”I sleep with a Teddy Bear at night!” But Val said she needed to nail the emotion of the dance. Or, in his words, “you’re going to be cute Laurie for the rest of the season.” And nail it she did. The two performed a seemingly flawless routine, and Laurie brought the fire.
The couple scored a 31, winning the head-to-head challenge and earning the immunity. When host Tom Bergeron asked Laurie her secret to channeling the tango’s passion, the gymnast had the perfect answer: “I was struggling to put in that emotion, so I was like, ‘I got to pretend like I’m smelling a really good quesadilla.'” Smart move, girl!