Icons Week on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ sends one star home on a high note

The Dance Off didn’t shake up the DWTS scoreboard much and the eliminated couple went out with a heartfelt performance and a smile.

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Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough challenged Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson to a Jive Dance-Off this week on DWTS. Photo: ABC
Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough challenged Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson to a Jive Dance-Off this week on DWTS. Photo: ABC

SAN DIEGO, November 3, 2015 – Icon Week wasn’t the only “I” on “Dancing With The Stars” this week. “I” also stands for “Immunity,” awarded to the top scoring couple of the night.

It took a perfect score to win immunity. There are no weak performers left among the remaining couples, so from Monday night forward every elimination will take out someone who has performed well and shown promise at some point during the season. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the strongest night for many of the competitors. Did the pressure of working for immunity hurt them? Or was it the time change back one hour?

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess won immunity with an emotional Contemporary dance in honor of Nick’s wife, Lauren, who is pregnant with their first child. In this case, the judges didn’t have to worry about separating their feelings for the performer and their assessment of the dance. It received 30 points.

Bindi Irwin channelled her inner Grace Kelly for her Icons Foxtrot. Photo: ABC
Bindi Irwin channelled her inner Grace Kelly for her Icons Foxtrot. Photo: ABC

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough challenged Nick and Sharna for immunity. Their Foxtrot tribute to Grace Kelly created old Hollywood glamour and style infused with Bindi’s trademark enthusiasm. Judge Julianne Hough noted the slightest posture issue and their 29 points left them just short, with immunity going to Nick and Sharna.


Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy danced a dramatic Paso Doble, sharp and focused. Even with a perfect score they could not win immunity, but Carrie Anne Inaba pointed out a “lift,” feet off the floor which is not permitted. They scored 27 points.

Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy stood tall after their Lady Gaga themed Paso Doble. Photo: ABC
Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy stood tall after their Lady Gaga themed Paso Doble. Photo: ABC

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson got the night started with a sizzling shirtless salsa (Carlos, not Witney). The judges enjoyed it with a few small criticisms, and it was good for 27 points.

Lindsay Arnold put together a smart Contemporary routine for Alek Skarlatos that employed his strengths, literally. The lifts were impressive despite a slight hiccup in one, and he stayed right in the middle of the pack with the same score as last week, 25 points.

Alexa PenaVega’s Argentine Tango with Mark Ballas showed intensity, but she had several slips in her footwork which stood out and threw the dance off. The judges saw the mistakes but still had praise for the effort. The pair scored 25 points.

Andy Grammer gets the “Most Improved” Award to this point. He has been improving bit by bit every week, until this week’s Viennese Waltz. Although the judges complimented his heartfelt tribute to his late mother, they couldn’t look past posture and rhythm problems. He and partner Allison Holker received 22 points, the lowest score in several weeks.

Judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Julianne Hough, and Bruno Tonioli were in high spirits during Icons Week. Photo: ABC
Judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Julianne Hough, and Bruno Tonioli were in high spirits during Icons Week. Photo: ABC

Here’s how the Dance-Off set up. Bindi and Derek chose first, and selected Carlos and Witney for their Dance-Off – so no Carlos vs. Alexa showdown. Carlos chose the Jive. Tamar and Val chose Alexa and Mark, and Alexa selected the Cha Cha. That meant Andy and Allison and Alek and Lindsay would dance against each other and drew the Samba, a very tall order for both.

Right out of the gate, Bindi and Derek and Carlos and Witney made it tough for the fans to choose. Both showed high energy throughout. Bindi’s kicks were sharper, but Carlos performed the stronger lifts. This one went to Carlos and Witney for two extra points.

Tamar and Val and Alexa and Mark were also extremely closely matched in the Cha Cha Dance Off. It came down to fan preference, and Alexa and Mark got the votes for two extra points.

Alek Skarlatos and Andy Grammer found themselves at the bottom of the scoreboard with the toughest Dance-Off challenge, the Samba. It was a challenge for both of them, but Andy showed the slightest bit of Samba bounce to give him the Dance-Off win, and threw in a handspring and worm for a good laugh.

Andy Grammer and Allison Holker performed well, but ended up going home. Photo: ABC
Andy Grammer and Allison Holker performed well and won their Dance-Off, but ended up going home. Photo: ABC

But once the scores were all tallied, the Dance-Off gimmick didn’t change the scoreboard at the very top and it didn’t change at the very bottom. It only shuffled things around in the middle, not enough to make a real difference. Left standing in jeopardy were Andy and Allison, and Carlos and Witney. It was Andy Grammer saying goodbye, but not before he gave everyone last handspring and worm to enjoy.

Week 8 Results

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess: Contemporary, 10-10-10 = 30 points plus 3 for immunity = 33 points (WIN IMMUNITY)
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Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough: Foxtrot, 10-9-10 = 29 points
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Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson: Salsa, 9-9-9 = 27 points plus two Dance Off points = 29 points
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Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy: 9-9-10 = 28 points
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Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas: Argentine Tango, 9-8-8 = 25 points plus two Dance Off points = 27 points
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Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold: Contemporary, 9-8-8 = 25 points
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Andy Grammer and Allison Holker: Viennese Waltz, 8-7-7 = 22 points plus two Dance Off points – 24 points  (ELIMINATED)

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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