Let’s do it again. It’s only week 2 of Dancing with the Stars season 21, yet the couples are all performing twice in one week. After the 13 pairs danced Monday night, ending with the elimination of Chaka Khan and Keo Motsepe, the show is back for a second evening of performances.
The 12 remaining couples will all perform new routines, this time to celebrate the hometowns of the pro partners. And at the end of the night, another pair will be eliminated, based on the scores and votes from Monday’s show.
LIVE…from Hollywood…this is Dancing with the Stars!
The opening is filled with adorable videos and photos of the pros as young kids. I know the show is supposed to be about the stars, but I like that we get one night for the pros to shine. It’s also done in a single tracking shot, which is sweet.
Hayes Grier and Emma Slater: Quickstep
Emma is English with a twin sister. Hayes has trouble understanding her English words and phrases. The high-energy rocking routine perfectly fits their style and he seems to be growing a bit already as a dancer. Julianne Hough still thinks his booty sticks out too much, but the judges love how hip and cool they are.
Judges’ Scores: 8+7+8=23
He’s gone from 21 to 22 to 23, a steady, slow improvement.
Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson: Cha-Cha-Cha
She’s from a small Utah town and has known fellow DWTS pros, Jenna and Lindsay, since they were 9, watching the show together as kids. The dance is set in an Old West saloon and it’s smoky and dangerous in all the right ways. He’s a great cowboy, but the judges thought he squatted too much and missed a few steps, but covered it well. He must’ve covered it because I didn’t see it. Carrie Ann Inaba was not impressed with how he shrunk down and kept it too compact. “Squatty” is the watchword from the judges.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+7=21
Ouch, his lowest score by far.
Gary Busey and Anna Trebunskaya: Paso Doble
She’s Russian, obviously, Super Russian. They’re doing a medieval Paso with Gary as a Russian knight, It’s a role he can sink his teeth into. Set to the “1812 Overture,” it’s absurd and a trainwreck in the way that only Gary can make entertaining. The dancing is atrocious, which is a shame since I love the Paso. He just stomps around and the judges like that he’s having a good time.
Judges’ Scores: 5+5+5=15
He’s back down to 5s after getting 6s last night. I knew that Foxtrot would be his best dance.
Andy Grammer and Allison Holker: Contemporary
Allison’s story is about living in L.A. with her husband Twitch and her baby. It’s a tender, emotional routine that’s fine and solid. Julianne and I still need Andy to extend his arms more. He should watch Hayes for tips, cuz that kid is great at it. Bruno Tonioli mistook Andy walking backward during the lift as a flaw, even though it was an intentional part of the choreography.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+7=23
After all 7s for his first two dances, that’s a nice jump.
Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas: Rumba
Mark grew up in England because his parents were world-class Latin ballroom dancers. This routine is dedicated to his parents and this is one of the last songs they danced to as a married couple, so they’re using some of his parents’ moves. It’s beautiful and heavenly. Alexa has done a great job of moving past the awkwardness of passionately dancing with another man in front of her husband and is just dedicated to having intense chemistry with Mark. The judges love that it was classic, but there were a few off moments at the start for Carrie and Julianne with the hips.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+8=22
Wow, harsh scores from the ladies.
Paula Deen and Louis van Amstel: Tango
He’s from Amsterdam and when he came to America, he taught a lot of the current pros on the show. There are a lot of really awkward pauses throughout the dance and she admits she messed up two steps. It looked like more to me. The judges like her sexiness and sass, but not the technique and forgetting the choreography.
Judges’ Scores: 6+6+6=18
That’s not too bad for her.
Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough: Waltz
He was born in Utah but lived in England from 12-22. It’s a beautiful little dance, but it’s very contemporary and doesn’t seem to have that much Waltz content from my untrained eye. Len Goodman would’ve called Derek out for that crap. Bindi was definitely fantastic in the routine. Carrie Ann calls them out for a lift.
Judges’ Scores: 7+8+8=23
Wow, these judges are being very nitpicky tonight. That’s their lowest score yet.
Kim Zolciak and Tony Dovolani: Foxtrot
He’s from war-torn Kosovo and dance was his escape. Kim does a decent job, but it’s a little slow for my taste. Regardless, it’s yet more proof that week 1 was a fluke with her because she’s a lot better than that first mess. The judges thought she played it safe, but Kim and Tony claim that it’s because they had to do two dances this week.
Judges’ Scores: 6+6+6=18
It wasn’t THAT bad.
Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold: Quickstep
She’s from Utah too, which we already know since she grew up with Witney. He does an adequate job, but he seems a little more stiff and awkward than usual. This was obviously a bigger challenge than the Jazz routine from last night. Carrie Ann points out a few mess-ups, but she calls them a “power couple.” The judges all still appreciate his maturity and masculinity for being 22.
Judges’ Scores: 7+7+8=22
There is no way on Earth that was better than Carlos and equal to Alexa. These judges need to stop sucking up to the train hero.
Victor Espinoza and Karina Smirnoff: Rumba
She’s from Ukraine and moved to America when she was 14 when the government changed. For some reason, Victor is the first guy of the season to go with an open shirt. The first half is surprisingly strong and it’s a more serious and dominant Victor. I like this a lot more than the absurd ridiculousness he’s given us so far, but the second half got a little weak when it comes to the dancing. The height difference didn’t even hurt them, it may have helped since it made it more interesting to look at.
Judges’ Scores: 7+6+7=20
So Victor is only 1 point worse than Carlos?
Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess: Foxtrot
She’s from Australia. Her dad and grandma are on dialysis and can’t make the trip to L.A. to see her dance. Wow is all I have to say because this is a powerful and perfectly danced routine. I loved every second of it and was positively captivated. The judges praise the magical poetry.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+8=24
The best score of the night for the best dance of the night.
Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy: Charleston
NYC is where he considers home and owes it to his parents for moving everything from Ukraine. They debate a lot about the characters they’re playing in terms of who’s picking up who and whether she’s taking him back. But if every scenario, he’s shirtless. It’s another strong effort from them. Tamar is starting to remind me a bit of Amber Riley. She has sass and great moves, but her legs and footwork isn’t the absolute best. The judges love the funk and are stunned by how quickly they developed the chemistry that was missing last night.
Judges’ Scores: 8+8+9=25
We definitely ended with the two best routines and only the second 9 of the season.
Like last night, the results are crammed into the last three minutes of the show.
The first couple IN JEOPARDY is…Gary and Anna!
The second couple IN JEOPARDY is…Victor and Karina!
Everyone else, including Kim and Paula, are safe.
Victor Espinoza and Karina Smirnoff ARE ELIMINATED!
Oh well, he was very positive, but a terrible dancer. Like with Keo, I feel bad for Karina. This is her third season in a row being eliminated in the first three weeks. I’m just hoping Gary, Paula and Kim follow him out to leave us with a fantastic Top 8.
Next week it’s TV Night, with everyone dancing to classic TV theme songs with guest judge Alfonso Ribeiro. That sounds truly awesome and I can’t wait to see it.
25: Tamar Braxton
24: Nick Carter
23: Hayes Grier, Andy Grammer, Bindi Irwin
22: Alexa PenaVega, Alek Skarlatos
21: Carlos PenaVega
18: Paula Deen, Kim Zolciak
15: Gary Busey
(Image courtesy of ABC)