“What was really most impressive to me [was] the focus you had on Emma,” Inaba, 54, told the duo during the Monday, October 3, episode. “I could have dove, [or] rolled in between you and you wouldn’t have even noticed. I think that’s so powerful and what’s creating something so special between you guys. There’s incredible chemistry between you, obviously, but well danced.”
Donovan, 43, and Slater, 33, literally brought the heat on Monday when they tangoed to “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell in front of a flaming backdrop. While the pro donned a sparkly silver dress with a high slit, the 90210 alum kept it classic in an all-black suit.
After sharing an embrace, cohost Tyra Banks declared the dance “was working” for the partners before they made their way over to the judges to receive their final score — a 27/40 in total.
While Inaba was impressed by the pair’s chemistry, Bruno Tonioli, meanwhile, said the twosome were “firing on all cylinders” before telling the Hallmark star he was “overdressed.”
Len Goodman, for his part, was the most critical of the performance. While the Strictly Come Dancing alum, 78, corrected Donovan’s frame, judge Derek Hough — who agreed with Goodman — declared the actor this season’s “dark horse.”
During their post-show interviews, the USS Christmas actor and the choreographer discussed their recent surfing expedition together.
“How cool was it to bring her into your world?” cohost Alfonso Ribeiro asked the California native about teaching Slater to ride waves, to which Donovan replied, “She did a fantastic job. She can do anything … she’s Emma.”
The partners initially made headlines after the Monday, September 26, episode of the dance competition when they danced the rumba to “Always On My Mind” for Elvis week.
“I gotta know — are those your acting skills or was that real?” Ribeiro, 51, asked a shocked Slater and Donovan at the time.
“If you’re really doing a good job acting, it all comes from the truth so there’s something real in every performance,” the Love, Fall & Order star replied on the Disney+ show before the judges revealed the pair earned a 30/40.
During their post-show interview, the Australia native exclusively told Us Weekly that she was “so glad” the NCIS alum was the one to answer the question.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘That question! Like, wow, just out the blue.’ But I think Trevor’s right, like, and we’ve spoken about this too — and by the way, we genuinely get on really well, like, rehearsals go so quick,” she explained. “We really do get on and have great chemistry, which made this dance so much easier. But then when Alfonso asked that question, I was so glad you answered because I was like, ‘I can’t.’”
The actor added that his answer was “100 percent truthful,” noting that a lot of his films require him to be the “romantic lead” where you have to “create” intimacy.
While Donovan has been notoriously private about this personal life, Slater married fellow DWTS pro Sasha Farber in 2018. Us broke the news in August that they called it quits after four years of marriage.