Dancing with the Stars is three weeks away from crowning the winner of season 21, but getting there won’t be easy. After a Halloween Night that saw the seven remaining couples all within five points of each other, anyone can be eliminated, which is why immunity is crucial.
This week the seven couples will perform individual routines, with the highest score getting immunity and an extra three points on their scores. The other six couples will go head-to-head in Dance-Offs for two extra points, all leading to another elimination.
LIVE…from Hollywood…this is Dancing with the Stars!
Now that the World Series is over, Erin Andrews is back. Carlos is rocking the world’s deepest V, revealing more and better cleavage than his partner. The theme is Icons Night, with the stars dedicating routines to their heroes.
Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson: Salsa
Despite being Latin, he’s not comfortable doing the Salsa. His Icon is the singer Marc Anthony (who is also Carlos’ friend), who helped him reconnect with his Latin roots. It starts off OK, but a little apprehensive, and he takes his shirt off in the middle, but the second of three lifts seems to go wrong and it flusters him a bit. The judges loved the freeform nature and the arm movements, with Carrie Ann Inaba as the only one to point out the problem with the lift.
Judges’ Scores: 9+9+9=27
There’s also video of a shirtless Carlos rehearsing with a shirtless Val.
Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold: Contemporary
His Icon is Chris Kyle, the American Sniper. He has trouble being called a hero since he sees himself as a normal guy, but the show is doing everything to pump him up as a hero anyway. It’s one of those lyrical routines filled with powerful moves. Tom Bergeron even points out how hard it is to judge dancing without factoring in the personal backstory. The judges point out a missed catch after a big lift and they found the choreography a little too simplistic.
Judges’ Scores: 9+8+8=25
The two other guys from the train are also backstage. OK, I get it, but DWTS is pushing this “hero” thing a little too hard for my taste.
Andy Grammer and Allison Holker: Viennese Waltz
His Icon is Stevie Wonder, who he loves because his music is filled with happiness. “Isn’t She Lovely” is for his late mom, which is quite touching. It’s a very sweet and tender routine, though I did notice a bit of a trip or a stumble near the end and some overall awkwardness. The judges liked the emotion, but point out a lot of technical problems stemming from his posture.
Judges’ Scores: 8+7+7=22
Ouch. He’s a goner next week if he survives tonight.
Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas: Argentine Tango
Her Icon is David from The Bible, so she’s playing the 17-year-old boy who slew Goliath, played by Mark. To make him look big, they’re using a screen and technical magic. It’s a very cool concept that is executed beautifully, especially the beginning and the end (when she slits his throat). But in the middle, Alexa seems lost and gets dragged around for a bit. She knows it, apologizing after it’s done for slipping. The judges loved the epic scope but were frustrated with her screw-ups.
Judges’ Scores: 9+8+8=25
I’m so disappointed that she can never quite nail it. She has all of the elements but seems to have these slip-ups more frequently than others.
Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess: Contemporary
His Icon is his wife, the woman he dreamed of, and his savior. She’s now 16 weeks pregnant following a year of trying and a miscarriage, which was a roller coaster of emotion in his video package. Nick is mesmerizing and perfect with a routine that makes me feel all of the feels. Every single one of them. BRAVO! And after it’s done he runs over to kiss his wife, who joins them for the judgment. The judges love it, with Carrie Ann crying and Julianne Hough calling him a true dancer.
Judges’ Scores: 10+10+10=30
Well deserved since it’s his first perfect score, and unless Bindi is also perfect, he’ll be winning immunity. To top it all off, they reveal the sex of the baby and it’s a little Backstreet boy!
Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough: Foxtrot
Her Icon is Grace Kelly, so naturally, they’re dancing to Mika’s “Grace Kelly,” an amazing song. What teenage girl even knows who Grace Kelly is? I assume it’s because she just watched that Nicole Kidman movie Grace of Monaco. Her toenails are falling off and her knees are bruised, but she doesn’t complain and keeps going. It’s a very cool and classy routine jam-packed with entertainment. Adding in the troupe members seems a little gimmicky, but it’s still fun to watch. Julianne is actively trying to find something wrong with her and points out a tiny bit about her chin and her frame. Bruno Tonioli also picks on her shoulders a bit.
Judges’ Scores: 10+9+9=28
Huzzah, this means Nick officially wins Immunity, which is crucial since he had low scores last week. Bindi also lost her fourth toenail during rehearsal today, but she just superglues them back on. I’m starting to think she’s less of a real girl and more like some mythical forest sprite.
Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy: Paso Doble
Val is upset that Tamar is being portrayed as the stuck-up beeyotch of the season, which is like the pot complaining about the kettle being too cocky. Her Icon is her sister, Toni Braxton (who was eliminated in eighth place, so Tamar has already beaten her). As always, her dancing is actually very good. It’s fierce and she has this “I don’t give an eff” look on her face. I almost appreciate that this dance seemed to be Tamar and Val embracing their roles as the a-holes of the show. Carrie Ann is the lift police, but the other judges liked it.
Judges’ Scores: 9+9+10=28
That’s about right.
Nick and Sharna win Immunity! The other six couples will compete in head-to-head Dance-Offs, with America also voting live during the dances. Here are the match-ups:
Bindi and Derek vs. Carlos and Witney: Jive
Tamar and Val vs. Alexa and Mark: Cha-Cha-Cha
Andy and Allison vs. Alek and Lindsay: Samba
Somehow Derek managed to pick both his opponent AND the style, even though technically Carlos got to pick it. Pretty sneaky.
Bindi vs. Carlos: Jive
I really hate this new format of dancing at the same time instead of one at a time. It’s too confusing and I can’t really judge them separately. They both have high energy and it could go either way.
Carrie Ann votes for…Carlos and Witney!
Julianne votes for…Carlos and Witney!
Bruno votes for…Carlos and Witney!
America votes for…Bindi and Derek (with 64 percent)!
Carlos and Witney win!
Sorry America (and Derek).
Tamar vs. Alexa: Cha-Cha-Cha
Honestly, I just can’t focus at all, but for me, Alexa is the clear winner in this round.
Carrie Ann votes for…Alexa and Mark!
Julianne votes for…Tamar and Val!
Bruno votes for…Tamar and Val!
America votes for…Alexa and Mark (with 76 percent)!
Alexa and Mark win!
Wait, so America is the tie-breaker? I don’t think that was made clear. But this is quite revealing about how viewers are voting.
Andy vs. Alek: Samba
Neither of them has done the Samba yet, so this is new. Alek is stiff and dull while Andy adds a handspring and seems to have more fun. Carrie Ann wasn’t wild about the Samba content.
Carrie Ann votes for…Andy and Allison!
Julianne votes for…Andy and Allison!
Bruno votes for…Andy and Allison!
America votes for…Andy and Allison (with 54 percent)!
Andy and Allison win!
A unanimous victory.
Nick and Sharna’s Immunity means they have nothing to worry about.
The first couple that’s SAFE is…Bindi and Derek!
The second couple that’s SAFE is…Tamar and Val!
The third couple that’s SAFE is…Alek and Lindsay!
The fourth couple that’s SAFE is…Alexa and Mark!
Wow, so it’s down to Carlos and Andy, who were tied for second place on last week’s leaderboard.
Andy Grammer and Allison Holker ARE ELIMINATED!
That’s a shame, but they would’ve been gone next week anyway. He went out paying tribute to his mom and by doing an awesome handspring followed by the worm, so he’s a winner in my book.
33: Nick Carter
29: Carlos PenaVega
28: Bindi Irwin, Tamar Braxton
27: Alexa PenaVega
25: Alek Skarlatos
(Image courtesy of ABC)