'Dancing with the Stars' sends a second celebrity home; dance-by-dance recap

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
'Dancing with the Stars' sends a second celebrity home; dance-by-dance recap
Round 2 of the 'Hometown Heroes' theme on 'Dancing with the Stars' celebrates the pro dancers histories before sending a second celebrity home.

By Cari Skillman -- "Hometown heroes" round two! "Dancing with the Stars" takes us back in time for a second night, this time allowing the professional dancers to pay tribute to the hometowns, family, and friends that made them what they are today. It made for a rough week for the brand new dancers because they had to learn two routines this week. Plus, they performed in the shadow of a double elimination!

Here's a rundown of the night's scores, from highest to lowest:

Tamar Braxton - 25 out of 30

It's entertaining and informative learning the pro dancers back stories. It's kind of amazing that after 21 seasons we haven't learned all that much about our favorite pros. Val Chmerkovskiy left the Ukraine with his family when he was very young. His family simply wanted their kids to have a chance, and their sacrifice means the world to last season's mirror ball champ. He's found a fun, playful, brother-sister bond with Tamar and they bicker their way through figuring out a fast and funky Charleston. Carrie Ann Inaba thought they "killed it"; and Julianne Hough praised the seamless connection they found on the dance floor.

Nick Carter - 24 out of 30

Nick had to quickly overcome his hatred of ballroom shoes after last night's literal slip up. He poured himself into Sharna Burgess's capable hands for a smooth and passionate foxtrot. Sharna talked about being away from her home in Australia for most of her adult life. Her dad and grandmother are on dialysis and can't travel so she rarely gets to see them. Nick felt her pain and channeled it into the dance. Carrie Ann felt there was poetry in their movements; and Julianne patted him on the back for getting out of his own head and just being there for his partner.

Bindi Irwin - 23 out of 30

Derek Hough was raised in Utah but left at 11 to pursue dance in England. He felt he might have left a bit of that young boy behind and that's what he wanted to revisit by choreographing a waltz with Bindi. Bruno called it moving and emotionally involving; Carrie Ann said it was stunning and magical, BUT... the dreaded lift! Points off for the lift! Julianne felt they were two dancers moving as one and told Bindi she's loved being able to see all these different sides to her personality.

Hayes Grier - 23 out of 30

The biggest thing Hayes had to overcome in joining this show was the fact that a lot of people over a certain age had no idea who he was. But in these first three rounds of competition, the social media star has done three memorable routines with Emma Slater and is making a name for himself with DWTS fans. The focus on Emma's history tonight had them racing around the floor with a quickstep to the alternative rock song "Are you gonna be my girl?" It was a favorite of Emma and her twin sister, Kelly, while they were growing up. The judges all thought the couple was youthful and energetic, with Carrie Ann calling the dance fresh, but classic.

Andy Grammer - 23 out of 30

Andy was very disturbed at being called out for not being musical last night. That's a dagger to the heart of a singer/songwriter! It was very top of mind for this second round of dancing. Allison Holker seemed thrilled to get to choreograph a contemporary routine; those who have followed her since 'So You Think You Can Dance' know she's great at that style. And while she grew up in Utah, Allison chose to focus on her own family, her husband and daughter, and what living with them in Los Angeles has meant to her life. When it came time to judge Julianne had some fun with Andy and reiterated his quote from last night: 'dancing is hard!' She praised him for focusing on the work and being present in the ballroom. Carrie Ann thanked him for listening to their critiques and tuning into the music.

Alek Skarlatos - 22 out of 30

Lindsay Arnold is an all-American girl from Utah and grew up where everything was all about family, and dance. Now she's infusing her energy, and love of dance, on Alek. The double dance week drove him a little crazy, and his dance was a little weaker tonight, but overall it's pretty amazing that this guy came out of nowhere and is doing so well in the ballroom. Carrie Ann called them a power couple; Bruno dubbed him Alek the great.

Alexa PenaVega - 22 out of 30

Alexa had the daunting task of mirroring a dance move developed by Mark Ballas' ballroom champ of a mom, Shirley. Both Mark's parents were pros (remember dad Corky danced a couple of seasons on DWTS!) He seemed a bit melancholy when remembering how much of his childhood they missed because they were traveling and competing. Their rumba was a tribute to dear mom and pop. Bruno called it a proper, classic routine; Carrie Ann offered kudos but also pointed out some hip issues; Julianne concurred but still felt the dance was beautiful.

Carlos PenaVega - 21 out of 30

Carlos's partner Witney Carson made a lot of us longtime DWTS fans feel pretty darn old! She's been watching the show since she was eleven! I have coffee cups on my desk older than that! But it was pretty darn adorable to see little Witney, alongside fellow pro dancers Lindsay and Jenna, has tiny things learning to dance in American Fork, Utah. Elvis's 'Hound Dog' was one of the young trio's first routines so that's the song she chose for this week's cha with Carlos. The judges gave them 7's across the board, and like the energy and commitment, but Carrie Ann admitted she wasn't overly impressed and wants more.

Victor Espinoza - 20 out of 30

Karina Smirnoff is another of DWTS's many 'only in America' stories. Her family emigrated from the Ukraine when she was 14 and while it was quite a culture shock, it was the best thing they could have done for the family. For this round her challenge was to teach Victor the romantic rumba. And she did! Bruno called the jockey a 'commanding presence'; Carrie Ann's word was dominating; and Julianne said it was the best dance he's done.

Kim Zolciak Biermann - 18 out of 30

Tony Dovolani's family left war torn Kosovo for New York and he used dance as his escape. Kim seems to have discovered the fun in dancing and looks like she's committing a bit more to the process. This week they have a foxtrot and she really likes the dance style. Bruno welcomed the 'new Kim' and then I think was trying to compliment her by saying she was like a reupholstered sofa... much more comfortable.

Paula Deen - 18 out of 30

Savannah's own Paula learned about Louis van Amstel's upbringing in Amsterdam. Broadway called and Louis made his way to the Big Apple. He helped pay his way by teaching ballroom dancing; his students included young Karina Smirnoff and Tony Dovolani, to name a few. They glide through a tango but immediately start talking about their mistakes afterward... Tom Bergeron dubs them 'the Bickersons.' Julianne said she wants more sass and attitude out of Paula; Carrie Ann liked the sex appeal; and Bruno made some bizarre cooking analogy about her needing to simmer without boiling over.

Gary Busey - 15 out of 30

Gary. Oh Gary. Do we dub him 'Good TV Gary'? He sure is fun to watch, just for the 'what's he going to do next' factor. Anna Trebunskya tells us about growing up in Russia and works up a paso doble routine to the 1812 Overture. Gary likes being able to get into a big character and he's quite good at stomping. As Carrie Ann said, he mastered a lot of things but none of them were the paso doble. Still, the judges love his heart.

The last two minutes of the show finds everyone on pins and needles. Tom and Erin Andrews quickly announce that the two couples are in jeopardy: Gary and Anna, and Victor and Karina.


The second couple eliminated from season 21 is: Victor and Karina.

Eleven couples return Monday, September 28 for another round of dancing and another elimination. They'll also be joined by guest judge, and former champ, Alfonso Ribeiro.