‘Dancing with the Stars 21’ week 4 rankings: Alexa PenaVega joins Nick Carter, Tamar Braxton in top three

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Season 21 of “Dancing with the Stars” is definitely an odd duck. We have a couple of dancers who are obviously targets to be sent home, and then from there we’ve got eight people who could all make it to the top four or five. We still have a consistent favorite, but the race for second place is insane and we cannot seriously call who will make it to the finale.

As we do every Sunday, we’re going to try our best to sort through some of the madness courtesy of the latest contestant rankings. At the moment, scores are the most important thing we’re looking at, and from there, we consider voting history, popularity, the professional partner, and also past voting trends on similar seasons.

10. Paula Deen and Louis van Amstel (last week: 10) – There is something to be said about getting out on that dance floor week in and week out and enjoying it. We don’t always get the sense that Paula has as much fun, and seems largely in her own head. We figured that she would last a little bit longer than some expected, but now feels like her time to go.

9. Gary Busey and Anna Trebunskaya (last week: 11) – Gary has to a certain extent been fairly lucky, given that Kim Zolciak withdrew last week, and he would have been an easy person to be eliminated because of his scores. We do enjoy him, but his novelty is probably set to wear off within the next few weeks. Probably time to see him go before Halloween.

8. Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson (6) – We’re now at the point where there is almost complete parity among the top eight dancers, which is completely crazy for a show that is still so early on in the season. There’s no real delineation between many of these people in terms of scores, but we feel like in particular Carlos’ following is smaller than it is for others.

7. Hayes Grier and Emma Slater (7) – Thanks to performing last and getting that super-cool “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” routine, there is no reason to believe that Grier will be sent home in the immediate future. With that said, though, he is not at the top of the leaderboard and has some questionable fame among the older crowd.

6. Andy Grammer and Alison Holker (6) – Andy remains Mr. Consistent; he’s consistently likable, consistently solid, and consistently safe. If he keeps this up, he may also receive the average placement for a contestant on this show: Right around the middle of the pack.

5. Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold (8) – We’re giving Alek a nice boost off of his best-reviewed routine yet and his first 9. It feels terrible to bring this up and relate it to the competition, but that is our job as a writer for this show: After hearing his story about the Oregon shooting this week so many hearts are going to break for him, and he could find himself receiving even more support than he had previously.

4. Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough (3) – We’re not saying that Bindi is necessarily sagging now as a favorite to make it to the finale, but some of her competitors have really nailed it the past couple of weeks and she needs to do the same to keep up.

3. Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas (4) – Yes, it does feel somewhat strange to rank someone #3 when we do have serious questions over her voting block, but how can you now given that she is one of only two people this season so far to get straight 9’s from the judges? Her routine last week merits the position.

2. Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy (3) – She’s been in the top three in terms of her scores every week this season, which is remarkable consistency for even someone who is a contender to win the show. If she ever stumbles, there is a week where we could start to worry about her more. That just has not happened yet.

1. Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess (1) – We probably would’ve had Nick #1 even if he was not at the top of the leaderboard, but his 36 cements it. We feel the same way about him as we did about Amber Riley not that long ago; we just have a hard time envisioning a situation where he doesn’t win this. He’s working hard, having fun, and he’s uber-famous. Everyone else has a mountain to climb.

Now, we want to see you vote for your own favorite! You can also head over here to check out spoilers for the upcoming routines, or sign up now to get some further TV news worth dancing about via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: ABC.)


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