Previously on Dancing with the Stars: Despite two perfect scores, Alexa PenaVega was eliminated. And the day after, Tamar Braxton had to withdraw because of pulmonary embolisms in her lungs That’s two people who had to quit this year due to medical issues that were not necessarily related to the show. So that knocks us down to the final four already, unless they make some sort of change on the fly. Let’s find out!
Sure enough, we only have four couples this week and I’m willing to bet there’s no elimination tonight because it’s too late in the season to screw up the schedule. Everybody dances three times tonight!
Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough (27/30; +3; 30/30 — 60) – The opening video talks about her father’s death and I really can’t handle recapping videos about real life sad things, so I’m probably going to blow past these with no disrespect intended. Their dance is a Salsa and their outfits are not pleasant to look at. There’s been a lot of Pepto-Bismol pink this year. It’s a great dance with some really nice lifts, and it ends with Bindi crowdsurfing. It’s not especially innovative, but it’s good and really fun to watch.
Julianne wishes it was more “down and dirty” Bruno calls her “vibrant and vivacious”. Carrie Ann also wants her to be edgier. That’s… kinda not her style. Have you guys not been paying attention? They get a 27 for their first dance.
Later in the show, it’s the Dance-Off. It’s going to be tough to keep track since we don’t use a strict chronological format for these recaps. It’s late in the season, I have four recaps this week, and I can’t juggle all of this in my head! They dance versus Nick and Sharna in a Samba battle. It’s a very nice Samba, but the camera people clearly thought they were shooting an episode of Batman ’66, because the angles and cuts are really weird. Of course they win the points. We knew that was coming.
Finally, it’s the Trio Round where they get to bring in an extra pro. I have to assume everybody wanted to bring in Anna so she decided to sit it out so as not to cause any conflict. Instead, they get Mark Ballas, who is insisting on a dopey bun in rehearsals. I hope he gives Matt his money back for screwing him over on that storm drain plan. (Crossover audience for DWTS and The Leftovers represent!) It’s a Jazz Dance, which is not my favorite at all. It’s very theatrical, and I think there’s some neat stuff happening but it’s really prop heavy. It’s probably really good, but it’s all the things that I don’t particularly enjoy. The judges love it and they get a 30.
Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold (30/30; 27/30 — 57) – They’re dancing a Waltz to “America the Beautiful” and it’s fine. It’s a good Waltz, but it look like a demo and this is the semifinals. It seems like Alek is really good at learning dances but it never feels like he’s bringing anything extra to it. It’s a fine Waltz, but at this point I want to see something new and cool.
Bruno loved it. Carrie Ann likes that he’s steadfast and noble. Julianne liked that it wasn’t a big production and everything was there. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe Waltzes are kind of boring because they always look like a wedding dance no matter how good they are. That might be it, actually. They get a 30.
Next, it’s a Cha Cha versus Carlos and Witney. I’m mad right away because the song mentions Chris Brown. It might be a Chris Brown song; I have no way of knowing. Also, Alek makes a smug face that bugs me. That aside, it’s decent. They lose the Dance-Off for zero points.
Emma Slater joins them for their Trio. Well, of course. You may remember her from the Switch-Up episode where Alek could barely conceal his boner. They’re going to forget about Lindsay, aren’t they? It’s an Argentine Tango, which is one of my favorites. They play the dance as two women fighting over him. I don’t love the concept, which is pretty obvious, but they do some really neat things with it. Other than a big lift, Emma and Lindsay are driving all of the memorable moments, though. The judges like it but pick on some small bits here and there and think he lost steam at the end. It’s a 27.
Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson (28/30; +3; 29/30 — 60) – Shirtless Carlos is doing a Contemporary Dance and this includes a lot of rope work. Yeah, there’s a rope hanging from the ceiling that they push around and swing from. I don’t usually like Contemporary since it’s not very structured, but I really enjoyed this one. It feels the most like a semifinals performance so far. It’s weird, but I liked it.
Carrie Ann has mixed feelings and thought their faces overdid it. She has a hard time getting words out. Julianne says it was great but they lost their connection. Bruno loved it and apparently he’s going to be the judge who agrees with me tonight. I’m terrified. It’s a 28 with a 10 from Bruno.
Their half of the Cha Cha dance off is quite good – they break hold early on to let Carlos showboat, and I feel like it had more personality. The judges agree and they win their dance-off two to one for an extra 3.
Karina Smirnoff joins them for the Samba. Nobody involved has ever done a Charleston on the show before, which has Carlos freaking out a little. There’s no way to dance the Charleston and not look at least a little bit dopey. I feel like Carlos is getting out of step with his partners, but I like the Mecha-Shiva move they do near the end. I don’t know – it’s hard to get excited about such a goofy style. The judges like it because they don’t have the same bias against dopey dance types as I do. It’s a 29.
Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess (24/30; 30/30 — 54) – They’re dancing a Tango to a song that doesn’t sound like a Tango. That aside, I really liked it. It’s mostly a solid well-executed Tango, but the finale is really great with Nick running at Sharna and sort of pulling her forward by the neck, but not really. It’s hard to explain and it sounds horrible, but it’s very cool to actually see.
Julianne picks on some footwork issues and wasn’t all that into it. Bruno likes their chemistry and is all “Eh. Mistakes happen.” Carrie Ann thinks he’s found his strength and rebounded from some lost timing. They get a 24, which I think is a shame.
Their part in the Samba Dance-Off is nice, but definitely feels less finished than Bindi and Derek’s. The judges don’t give them any love, so no points for them.
After the first round, they update us on Tamar’s condition and replay the events from last week where she basically walked into the building just in time for the side-by-side dance. She went back to the hospital right after the show, which is not terribly surprising if you watched it and saw how she was barely sitting upright after the dance.
They’re bringing in the much-missed Peta Murgatroyd for a Salsa. I like the dance a lot, actually. The came up with some cool ways for him to dance with two people simultaneously. It’s a little boy band-y when they break hold, but I enjoyed it. The judges are on board, bless their weird hearts. It’s a perfect 30.
They try to make it look like there’s going to be an elimination, but nobody is fooled. So we’ve got all four couples headed into next week’s finals. I feel like Bindi’s probably got it in the bag, but it could take some weird bounces. Next week, Myndi will be here for you on Monday and I’ll take over for the Tuesday finale. Probably. We haven’t discussed it. Point is, somebody will be here when they award that Mirrorball.