Competition heats up to make the DWTS finals on Monday

The competition is so close on DWTS among the remaining four couples, one bad night could send someone home.

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Carlos PenaVega danced his Charleston Trio with Witney Carson and Karina Smirnoff. Photo: ABC
Carlos PenaVega danced his Charleston Trio with Witney Carson and Karina Smirnoff. Photo: ABC
Carlos PenaVega showed off his strength in his Contemporary routine. Photo: ABC
Carlos PenaVega showed off his strength in his Contemporary routine. Photo: ABC

SAN DIEGO, November 16, 2015 – With the road to the finals nearly at its end for Season 21 on “Dancing With The Stars,” the four remaining couples in the competition cannot afford to have an off-night, or they will be passed by and find themselves off the show.

Fortunately for all of them, each found a moment to shine in their own way during Trios Week, with a stumble here and there.

There should still be five couples on the show battling to make the semifinals next week. But due to the withdrawal of Tamar Braxton due to illness, it was down to four. Would one leave tonight? It wasn’t clear before airtime.

In addition to the individual routine and the Trios routine, producers added a head-to-head “Dance Off’ between couples, with the winner adding three additional points to his or her score. Bindi faced off against Nick, and Carlos against Alek.


In the individual routines, Alek Skarlatos danced with a heavy heart after recent attacks in Paris, but it might have provided the extra magic in his patriotic themed Waltz with Lindsay Arnold. The pair are in so many ways an All-American couple, and it had the beauty of perfectly executed simplicity. The judges praised Alek for the progress he’d made over the season, calling it his best dance. He picked a good week to hit his stride, and was rewarded with his first perfect score of 30 points.

When the couples hit the Contemporary routines, the tendency is to draw on deep emotions from their lives. Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson went for a more aggressive, up tempo, Cirque du Soleil style dance loaded with plenty of wow moments. But were the “wow” moments dancing, or tricks? The judges had a mixed reaction. Carrie Ann Inaba wasn’t thrilled, but Bruno Tonioli wanted more. They scored 28 points, with Bruno giving them a defiant 10.

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough danced a sassy and fun Salsa full of tricky moves and high spirits. The judges weren’t as sold as the fans on the fun, and gave them 27 points.

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough worked the hot pink in their hot Salsa routine. Photo: ABC
Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough worked the hot pink in their hot Salsa routine. Photo: ABC

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess danced their Tango with snap and attitude, but it was marred by footwork mishaps. If Alek’s timing was fortunate, Nick’s was terrible. The judges had to call it like they saw it, and gave Nick and Sharna 24 points.

The Dance Off paired up the couples head to head, dancing for a bonus of three judges points. First up were Carlos and Witney versus Alek and Lindsay, dancing the Cha Cha Cha. Giving Alek a hip-centric number against Carlos wasn’t really fair… but Alek got Carrie Ann Inaba’s vote. The others went to Carlos and Witney, so they get the three points.

DWTS saved the best for last, the Trio Dances. Working with an additional pro, two heads are always better than one when it comes to choreography and creativity.

Mark Ballas joined Bindi and Derek for a martial arts flavored Jazz routine full of daring and fierce moves. It was spellbinding to watch, and don’t be surprised if it gets nominated for an Emmy, it was that good. The judges raved before rewarding it with a perfect score of 30 points.

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough danced a martial arts flavored Trio routine with Mark Ballas. Photo: ABC
Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough danced a martial arts flavored Trio routine with Mark Ballas. Photo: ABC

This was the first Trio and a very hard act to follow. But all three couples showed why they’ve made it to the final four. Alek Skarlatos performed a strong Argentine Tango with two powerhouse women, partner Lindsay Arnold and rumored crush Emma Slater. It scored 27 points.

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson danced a lively Charleston with Karina Smirnoff full of style and energy. It scored just one point shy of perfect with 29 points.

Peta Murgatroyd returned from her season off due to injury to dance a hot Salsa routine with Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess. The routine redeemed Nick’s earlier mistake with a perfect score of 30 points.

With the four couples standing on stage wondering the same thing all the viewers were wondering, the good news came: none would be eliminated this week. All four will dance in the “official” semifinals next week. Scores are so close, it will all come down to the fan votes to determine the finals.

Week 10 Results

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson: Contemporary, 9-9-10 = 28 points
Dance Off Winner = 3 points
Charleston Trio: 9-10-10 = 29 points
TOTAL: 60 points
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Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough: Salsa, 9-9-9 = 27 points
Dance-Off: 3 points
Jazz Trio with Mark Ballas: 10-10-10 = 30 points
TOTAL: 60 points
1-855-234-5604

Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold: Waltz, 10-10-10 = 30 points
Argentine Tango Trio with Emma Slater: 9-9-9 = 27 points
TOTAL: 57 points
1-855-234-5601

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess: Tango, 8-8-8 = 24 points
Salsa Trio with Peta Murgatroyd: 10-10-10 = 30 points
TOTAL: 54 points
1-855-234-5610

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 www.ABC.com and on Facebook at https://apps.facebook.com/votedwts/ 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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