‘Dancing with the Stars 21’ review: Tamar Braxton, Nick Carter, Hayes Grier continue hometown theme

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On Monday night’s episode of “Dancing with the Stars,” we had a series of routines that were themed around where the stars come from. Tonight, it’s all about the pros! We’re getting a chance to learn more about some of the dancers who are a part of this show, where they come from, and why they love what they do. It’s a nice change-up since they are some of the “stars” of this show now as much as the celebrities.

Just like with the first night, we’re going to give you a live review of many of the scores throughout the episode. After that, we’re going to transition into the results, which we’ll have a separate article for a little bit later.

Hayes Grier and Emma Slater – We got a chance to learn about Emma’s backstory in England leading into this Quickstep, which we thought was for the most part really fun and energetic. Given that Hayes is the youngest person on the show, it suited him really well and we were happy to see this. 23.

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson – We have to say that Carlos could be in trouble after this one going into next week. The judges were hard on him, and that was reflected in the score. We know he’s a good dancer, but we’ve always been worried about whether or not he has a big following to back that up. 21.

Gary Busey and Anna Trebunskaya – This was a step backwards for Gary, but it was almost a predictable step when you think about Gary’s physicality and his age. Doing two routines in two days is a lot to ask him, and we feel like really, he should just be grateful to have made it three routines on this show. 15.

Andy Grammer and Allison Holker – Andy still has some stiffness here and there that he has to work out, but this as to us our first sign that he could be something more than a reasonably good dancer who makes it to the middle of the pack and then goes home. Great movement, and nice choreography. 23.

Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas – This routine was meant to be a tribute to Mark’s parents, and it was both passionate but also sweet and emotional. We’ve never doubted his ability to create good choreography. Alexa did have a few issues in the hip department in here, but as a whole, we do have to give her props. She beat her husband! 22.

Paula Deen and Louis van Amstel – If only Paula could remember dance steps like she remembers recipes, we figure that we would be in a different place with her in this season. She just has such a glaring weakness in that she struggles to remember what she’s doing, and there were times here it felt especially like she was being dragged around. 18.

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough – Bindi continues to prove that she is the competition’s biggest surprise. While this was in total her lowest score of the competition thanks to Carrie Ann Inaba continuing to be the evil judge when it comes to lifts, this has been a tougher night for scores. Plus, she’s not going anywhere. 23.

Kim Zolciak and Tony Dovolani – Kim still looks super-nervous out on the dance floor, which is a shame because we think that she has shown some improvement and if she ever let down her guard, we think that her personality would shine through better in some of her dances. 18.

Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold – Like with Carlos, we do worry a little bit when Alek makes a few mistakes here and there just because we’re not sure what his audience size really is. Still, even a weaker dance for him when it comes to footwork is better than some of what we are seeing elsewhere. 22.

Victor Espinoza and Karina Smirnoff – While Karina really did more of the heavy lifting here, it did feel like it was still his most competent routine to date. He didn’t get in his own way, and he most allowed himself to fill a role. We’re still not sure he will last long, but it’s his best score yet! 20.

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess – Nick is back! This was the best routine of the night so far, and it was about him figuring out a way to tackle some adversity. We feel like he probably did feel a little pressure of being a favorite, but that’s not here anymore. 24.

Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy – This was a totally fun way to end the show. So much energy! Val had a lot of fun telling a New York-themed dance, and this may be what helped to cement Tamar as one of the favorites. 25.

Results Head over here to see who was eliminated!

If you want to get some other news related to “Dancing with the Stars,” head over here to read our review of Monday night’s new episode. Also, sign up now to get some other news worth dancing about sent right to you, courtesy of our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: ABC.)


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