Given that Britney Spears is one of the most important music video artists in contemporary pop music, it’s no surprise that the “Till the World Ends” singer served as the chief inspiration for Ariana Madix and Pasha Pashkov’s performance on Dancing With the Stars’ Music Video Night on Tuesday (Nov. 7).
Donning a costume fashioned after Spears’ “I’m a Slave 4 U” music video outfit — damp blonde tresses, a dark green mini skirt and a skin-baring pink top with midriff cutouts — the Vanderpump Rules star and her pro dancing partner brought the house down with their cha-cha-cha. The pair’s number even lifted pieces of choreography from Spears’ beloved dance break in the music video.
Madix and Pashkov earned a 37/40 — including a perfect 10 from guest judge Paula Abdul — the highest score of the night, which helped them escape elimination and return for week eight of the ballroom dance reality competition series. In addition to “I’m a Slave 4 U,” Madix and Pashkov also performed a freestyle routine to Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” alongside Alyson Hannigan and pro Sasha Farber, Barry Williams and pro Peta Murgatroyd, and Jason Mraz and Daniella Karagach. The four couples earned a 37/40 for their joint efforts, bringing Madix and Pashkov’s overall score to 74/80, tying them with Xochitl Gomez and pro Val Chmerkovskiy for the night’s highest total. This marks the second time Madix and Pashkov have tied for the week’s highest score this season.
Back in 2002, Spears earned three nominations at the MTV Video Music Awards for the “I’m a Slave 4 U” clip, including best female video, best dance video and best choreography. Nine years later, the pop icon would become the third woman to receive the show’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. “I’m a Slave 4 U” peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100.
While backstage in October, Madix told Billboard’s Tetris Kelly that she was hoping for a Britney Spears themed DWTS night because “I’m a Slave 4 U” is her favorite song and she already knows the choreography.
While her scores are impressive, Madix was reminded that points are only half the battle when it comes to remaining on Dancing with the Stars. On Tuesday night’s episode, Venezuelan internet personality and singer Lele Pons was eliminated from the competition despite earning a 33/40 for her individual routine, far from the night’s lowest score. (Harry Jowsey and pro partner Rylee Arnold earned a combined total of 64 for the lowest of the evening.)
Watch Ariana Madix and Pasha Pashkov deliver their best Britney Spears tribute above.
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