It was an “America’s Choice Dance-Off” during Week 8 of Season 21 of Dancing with the Stars! After performances that honored influential figures in the celebrities' lives, the couple with the highest score earned immunity from the next elimination. Then, for the first time ever, each of the six couples that did not receive immunity got paired up to compete in a head-to-head dance-off to be voted on by America and the three judges. The couple with the majority of the four potential votes from each dance-off earned an extra two points, increasing their overall score. At the end of the night, one team faced elimination. Let’s see how this latest round of dancing fun played out.
Carlos PenaVega & Witney Carson did the Salsa to “Valio La Pena (Salsa Version) by Marc Anthony. Even though he’s Latin, Carlos has never done the Salsa before. All that changed during Week 8. With a little rehearsal help from Marc Anthony, Carlos turned in a sexy, shirtless Salsa. Bruno said there were moves that you wouldn’t see in the Karma Sutra. The sizzling routine earned the team a trio of 9s.
Alek Skarlatos & Lindsay Arnold teamed to do a Contemporary routine to “Holding Out for a Hero” by Ella Mae Bowen. Bruno pointed out that it’s often hard to judge Alek on his routine after feeling the power of his story. There were a few criticisms about the dance, but the general feeling was that it was a beautiful performance. Their scores: 9-8-8.
Andy Grammer & Allison Holker did their Viennese Waltz to “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. This particular dance was dedicated to Andy’s mom. He remembers trying to make her laugh and always wanting to be her Prince Charming. Andy misses his mom greatly, but he should be comforted by the fact that he did her memory proud. The judges were moved by Andy’s celebration, but had some criticisms about the execution of his Viennese Waltz. Scores for the team came in at 8-7-7.
Alexa PenaVega & Mark Ballas team up for an Argentine Tango to “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay. The theme of the dance was David & Goliath and it was a highly theatrical performance. Unfortunately, there were a couple of foot faults that caused some issues. The judges noticed them, but Carrie Ann still felt the recovery was enough to save the epic dance. The team end up with scores of 9-8-8.
Nick Carter & Sharna Burgess did a Contemporary dance to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Haley Reinhart. Nick admitted that he and his wife have been trying to get pregnant for some time. Well, that time is coming soon, as a new baby is on the way! Nick’s emotional dance touched just about everyone. It was a perfect routine that, of course, led to three perfect 10s as well as immunity from the Dance Off. Oh, and we also learned that Nick and his wife are having a boy. A Backstreet Boy!
Bindi Irwin & Derek Hough did the Foxtrot to “Grace Kelly” by MIKA. In what may have been the happiest Foxtrot ever, Bindi and Derek put on quite a show. The routine was a tribute to Bindi’s inspiration—Grace Kelly. As wonderful as the routine was, the judges found some slight faults with Bindi’s frame and her shoulders. Nevertheless, the scores were still high with 10-9-9.
Tamar Braxton & Val Chmerkovskiy did their Paso Doble to “Born this Way” by Lady Gaga. Bruno called the routine pure Paso Doble down to the core, but Carrie Ann saw a lift of the foot. The scores that followed this fine performance tallied 9-9-10.
Dance-Off #1 featured Bindi & Derek vs. Carlos & Witney doing the Jive to “Travelin’ Band” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Both teams kicked in to high-energy dances with some nice sportsmanship at the end when Bindi jumped into Carlos’s arms. At the end of the dance, Carlos & Witney got all three judges votes while Bindi & Derek got 64% of America’s vote. That means Carlos & Witney scored the two extra points.
Dance-Off #2 featured Tamar & Val vs. Alexa & Mark doing the Cha Cha Cha to “Fun” by Pitbull featuring Chris Brown. Unlike the first dance-off, the judges hinted that they definitely preferred one performance to the other. Carrie Ann preferred Alexa & Mark, while Julianne and Bruno liked Tamar & Val. As for America, 76% picked Alexa & Mark, so they get the two points.
Dance-Off #3 featured Andy & Allison vs. Alek and Lindsay doing the Samba to “Lean On” by Major Lazer featuring MO + DJ Snake. Andy ended up doing the worm in the middle of his routine which led to mixed comments from the judges with Bruno saying that he managed to put some bounce in there. Both teams were told they needed to work on their Sambas. The votes from the judges were unanimous for Andy & Allison, who also got America’s votes with 54%. They got two points as well.
At the end of the night, we had to say goodbye to Andy Grammer, who felt it was fitting that he was leaving on a night that he honored his mom. The crowd went wild when Andy gave everybody one more handstand and went into the worm once more. Well played, Andy. Well played.