‘Dancing with the Stars 21’ review: Tamar Braxton, Carlos PenaVega, Alek Skarlatos perform iconic routines


The theme of Monday night’s new episode of “Dancing with the Stars” is one that should tap into the hearts of many people out there: Touching moments in the history of dance. We’re talking about memorable routines that have lasted through the ages … oh, and then that one from “Magic Mike” that we would like to pretend was not handed out. That’s not really the sort of dance we tend to think of on this show…

Anyhow, take a look below for some quick-takes on the performances, and we’ll be back at the end of the night with the results from the elimination portion of the night.

Hayes Grier and Emma Slater – Doing a routine inspired by “Grease” in front of Olivia Newton-John is nearly impossible to do emotionally, but he pulled it off! Hayes’ strength is mostly in the performance and the energy; the technique, meanwhile, leaves a little bit to be desired compared to some of the other people this season. 32.

Andy Grammer and Allison Holker – We’ve been saying that Andy needed a breakout routine to have a chance of moving forward. Now, he’s had it with a great routine right out of “Singin’ in the Rain.” The trouble now is wondering whether or not it is coming far too late for it to have an impact in the voting. 40.

Alexa PneaVega and Mark Ballas – We feel for Alexa, who went from getting a perfect score last time on the show to now having to dance with a snake. That’s a rough transition for anyone, especially someone who never seemed comfortable with the “I’m a Slave 4 U” routine. We feel like this time, she was almost entirely a victim of dance choice. 30.

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough – They hit the lift! Seriously, that’s probably one of the most dangerous lifts in the game, but they did it and Bindi looked only the slightest bit nervous. This is mostly a dance of nostalgia, but to her credit she still found a way to come out and nail it while capturing the spirit. 40.

Paula Deen and Louis van Amstel – Yea, the era of Paula getting 7’s on the show was short-lived. We think that she has a little bit of musicality, but her biggest challenge on this show is just that she can be easily overwhelmed. It felt like in between the costumes and the backup dancers, that happened here. 24.

Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold – The “Jailhouse Rock” routine unfortunately played up most of Alek’s weaknesses. He is athletic and a strong performer, but not very much of a showman. He doesn’t have the energy or an expression of an Elvis, and you could just see in his face how this wasn’t coming easy to him. 30. 

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson – Huge props to Carlos for even trying this sort of routine. “Magic Mike” is definitely not in everyone’s wheelhouse, and it may have been a little too racy for many viewers out there. Still, it took guts, and the choreography that was there, he hit. 37.

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess – It didn’t have the spark we saw from either Andy or Bindi, but what it did have was some pretty stellar choreography and also a focus on great technique. Doing “Saturday Night Fever” can be hokey, but it wasn’t here. 39.

Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy – In between the affection for Janet Jackson and the black-and-white setting, did anyone think that this was going to be anything other than a perfect score? This was everything a fan of Janet’s could want on “Dancing with the Stars,” and it’s a tremendous comeback.

You can view the results of tonight’s episode over at the link here! Also, be sure to sign up here to get some other TV updates on everything we cover, sent right over to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: ABC.)


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