‘Dancing with the Stars 21’ review: Hayes Grier, Nick Carter, Bindi Irwin take on TV routines

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Tonight, “Dancing with the Stars” is once again doing something completely different, and giving you a variety of different routines to be inspired by with a simple theme in mind: Television. They are using other TV shows as inspiration for some of their routines, and with Alfonso Ribeiro there for some “America’s Funniest Home Videos” cross-promotion, there is that extra effort to ensure the entertainment factor is there.

As we’ve done all season, we’re going to give you our take live on each one of the performances along with the score. At the end of the night, we’ll be back with our results. (Updated: Or, a little bit earlier than we first thought.)

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson – Was the “Golden Girls” dance really golden? It was if nothing else entertaining. Carrie Inn Inaba made it clear that she has not seen a whole lot of growth over the course of the past week or so, and we’d agree with that … but still add that he is one of the better dancers this season. 31.

Paula Deen and Louis van Amstel – Was there treasure in their “Gilligan’s Island” routine? We’re not sure about that. The truth here is that Paula still feels like she is watching Louis much more than doing a routine herself, and that makes it hard to really analyze what she is doing as a performer. At this point, she needs to figure out how to allow herself to get into the dance. 20.

Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy – Did the “Mad Men” routine make the judges mad? The content of the routines seem to be at least making Tamar mad, but she has to be thrilled with the results on the dance floor. This may be the best routine that the two have performed on the show yet. It had that elegance that you would want for something based on the show, but also the intensity. 33.

Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas – Is this dance going to break bad? The truth is that this is the first breakout one of the season! Killer choreography and a fun routine articulated by some stellar dancing from Alexa. We never imagined a “Breaking Bad” routine before now, but we are awful glad there is one. 36.

Andy Grammer and Alison Holker – Did the “American Bandstand” dance provide some old-school charm? It was certainly pleasant. The issue for Andy is that he probably needed to do more with this quickstep to establish himself as someone to beat, and we’re not sure that this did that. 29.

Gary Busey and Anna Trebunskaya – Was the “Addams Family” dance the right kind of creepy? Well, it was better than anything that we’ve seen him do! Yes, Gary is constant entertainment, but there were some actual dance moves in here. Shocking, no? 25.

Kim Zolciak and Tony Dovolani – Did they dream of some high scores? Well, probably not, given that they are not performing tonight due to Kim’s illness. You can read more about her elimination over at this link, where we talk about it in-depth.

Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold – Will the “True Blood” routine have some bite? It did! This may be our first moment of seeing Alek become a genuine contender for this. It’s weird given the subject matter, but there was something almost enchanting about seeing him start to come into his own on this show.

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough – Did the two move on up the leaderboard? We wouldn’t say that thanks to heavy competition, but they did really well given that they had to change from “The Jetsons” to “The Jeffersons” late in the game thanks to song choice. 32.

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess – Did they bring elegance to the world of “Downton Abbey”? You can say that and then some. Really elegant and beautiful; Nick may be dealing with a lot of pressure as the prohibited favorite, but he is handling it well for the most part. 36.

Hayes Grier and Emma Slater – Did they have turtle power? At least some. This was sloppy but also a whole lot of fun, marked mostly by a number of silly costumes and energy. We have to give them an A for effort, and it feels assured they are sticking around. 30.

Thanks for checking this article out, and go get the high score in whatever you do! We’ll have another performance review next week; head over here if you want to get some further TV news on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: ABC.)


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