Ballroom drama during TV Week on “Dancing With The Stars”

An unexpected plot development sent one couple home from DWTS this week.

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess received the highest scores of the season so far on Monday for their Viennese Waltz. Photo: ABC
Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess received the highest scores of the season so far on Monday for their Viennese Waltz. Photo: ABC

SAN DIEGO, September 28, 2015 – We’ve all enjoyed a bit of drama from our favorite TV shows over the years, including “Dancing With The Stars.” But it was some unexpected real life circumstances that created the drama during “TV Themes Week.”

This week all the couples performed to well known TV show themes. Some of the performers took the themes to the extreme includes makeup and costumes to look like the characters on the show. A few played it a little more pure. In some cases, it was not at all successful. There were a few standout performances that earned the highest scores so far this season.

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess danced an elegant Viennese Waltz to the theme from “Downton Abbey.” It was exquisite and earned all nines for 36 points. Earning the same high score for a very different dance style was the Jazz routine by Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas set to the theme from “Breaking Bad.” It was dark, athletic, and even a little gender bending.

Alek Skarlatos took a bite out of his "True Blood" theme Tango with Lindsay Arnold. Photo: ABC
Alek Skarlatos took a bite out of his “True Blood” theme Tango with Lindsay Arnold. Photo: ABC

Tied for second were two atmospheric Tangos that channeled the worlds of the two shows depicted. Alek Skarlatos set every vampire lover’s heart fluttering with the “True Blood” routine. As judge Julianne Hough pointed out, he has the best pure technique in the competition. But for a small stumble, he and Lindsay Arnold would have also received all nines. They scored 33 points. Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy’s Tango was set in the world of “Mad Men,” and it also scored 33 points.

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough’s Quickstep got only two days rehearsal time due to song clearance problems. It was an outstanding performance considering how little time they had to prepare, but it was a bit rough around the edges. Bindi’s skills still showed through, and it scored 32 points.

The Teenage Mutual Ninja Turtles didn't save Hayes and Emma this week. Photo: ABC
The Teenage Mutual Ninja Turtles didn’t save Hayes and Emma this week. Photo: ABC

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson were one of the couples whose literal translation of their theme hampered their dance. Their Jazz routine to the “Golden Girls” seemed so out of place dressed up as gray wigged seniors. It still scored 31 points. Hayes Riley and Emma Slater’s Jive also seemed hampered by their “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” costumes. It scored 30 points.

Andy Grammer and Allison Holker’s Quickstep to the “American Bandstand” theme was well staged and all the elements fit. The judges were a little tough on Andy, asking him to start sweating the finishing details. Perhaps the tough love will help him improve from the 29 points he received.

Miss Peggy made a guest appearance on the show, enjoying the routine by Artem Chigvintsev, Derek Hough, Alan Bentsen, and Keo Motsepe. Photo: ABC
Miss Peggy made a guest appearance on the show, enjoying the routine by Artem Chigvintsev, Derek Hough, Alan Bentsen, and Keo Motsepe. Photo: ABC

Gary Busey does best when he can play a character and he played Gomez Addams to the hilt against Anna Trebunskaya’s spot on Morticia. It was campy and fun to watch. Their Tango scored 25 points.

Still struggling with choreography and style is Paula Deen, who was shown in the preview video having some meltdown moments. Their Samba lacked any bounce, to say nothing of no Samba rolls. They made maximum use of set and characters. It didn’t help. Even Dawn Wells (the original “Maryann”) in the ballroom didn’t help. It scored 20 points.

Kim Zolciak Biermann suffered a TIA mini stroke due to a blood clot this week while at home in Atlanta. She wisely sought medical attention when she wasn’t feeling right, and ended up hospitalized for three days. She was able to perform but not able to fly due to the pressurized airplane cabin posing a risk to her health. Instead, her pro partner did a demonstration of their Samba set to “I Dream of Jeanie” with Jenna Johnson.

Tom Bergeron delivered the bad news to Kim and Tony they would be eliminated due to the show’s rules, which state that a competitor unable to perform due to injury or illness must withdraw. While Kim and Tony’s scores from last week were low enough to perhaps put them at risk of leaving, this isn’t the way anyone wants to leave the show.

On the British version of the show, which is called “Strictly Come Dancing,” couples out due to illness or injury can return to the competition if they are out only one week. Fans on social media suggested the U.S. show adopt this rule.

You might assume this would mean no other couples would be put in jeopardy under the red lights at the end of the show – but no, Gary and Anna and Andy and Allison were told they were “in danger.” However, they were let off the hook and told they would stay another week due to Kim’s withdrawal. This seems unnecessary, even as a time filler.

Next week, the couples get to perform routines to one of the show’s longest running themes, “The Most Memorable Year of My Life.”

Alfonso Ribeiro joined Carrie Ann Inaba, Julianne Hough and Bruno Tonioli at the judges' table this week. Photo: Carrie Ann Inaba/Twitter
Alfonso Ribeiro joined Carrie Ann Inaba, Julianne Hough and Bruno Tonioli at the judges’ table this week. Photo: Carrie Ann Inaba/Twitter

Week 3 Scores (the second score is Alfonso Ribeiro)

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess: Viennese Waltz, “Downton Abbey” – 9-9-9-9 = 36 points

Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas: Jazz, “Breaking Bad” – 9-9-9-9 = 36 points

Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy: Tango, “Mad Men” – 8-9-8-8 = 33 points

Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold: Tango, “True Blood” – 8-8-9-8 = 33 points

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough: Quickstep, “The Jeffersons” – 8-8-8-8 = 32 points

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson: Jazz, “The Golden Girls” – 7-8-8-8 = 31 points

Hayes Riley and Emma Slater: Jive, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” – 7-8-7-8 = 30 points

Andy Grammer and Allison Holker: Quickstep, “American Bandstand” – 7-7-8-7 = 29 points

Gary Busey and Anna Trebunskaya: Tango, “The Addams Family” – 6-7-6-6 = 25 points

Paula Deen and Louis Van Amstel: Samba, “Gilligan’s Island” – 5-5-5-5 = 20 points

Kim Zolciak Biermann and Tony Dovoloni: Samba,“I Dream of Jeanie”

Voting information: Viewers may cast their votes for their favorite couples via phone on Monday night during the show and up to one hour after the end of the DWTS broadcast in each time zone. Online voting at and on Facebook at is open for 24 hours, beginning from the start of each episode on the East Coast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and closing at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Wednesday.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

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