PureDWTS Season 21, Week 4 – Power Rankings

*looks around* Wow, Alfonso hosted DWTS and the world didn’t end. Right on! Seriously, though, I though the guy did a pretty damn good job – his pacing was good, he didn’t talk too much, and he kept things moving. I’m sure there are some that would disagree, but as for me? I’m just thankful that he stepped in for Tom and seemed to minimize any potential disruption that Tom’s absence caused. But the joke about joining the band? Played out, dude. Pun intended 😛

One rather strange observation about last night’s show? The running order – it struck me as kinda odd, and I wasn’t the only one. Seemed like they actually front-loaded the show with good dances, and relegated some head-scratchers to the end of the show. Seemed…backwards. I would have moved Andy, Paula, and Carlos to the first hour; and probably moved Hayes, Tamar, and Alek to the back. Not much else to add, just that it all seemed kinda out-of-order to me, given the quality of the dances.

Other noteworthy moments? Allison announcing her pregnancy – my god, that child is going to be gorgeous and talented. And it leaves the door open for Lindsay to remain a pro next season, which makes me happy 😀 And who doesn’t love Sasha channeling Bruno circa 1983, in one of his “I’m Still Standing” getups? Guess I’m just thankful that it wasn’t the bizarre black man-leotard thingie… 😎

Did @DancingABC accidentally tip their hand with regards to the switch-up? They tweeted out this eyebrow-raiser right before Alek performed – and it has since been deleted. Someone told me that the phone votes were saying “Thanks for voting for Alek & Sharna!” as well, but it didn’t do it for me. Just a senior moment, or someone inadvertently tweeting about next week’s pairings? You be the judge.


1.) Bindi & Derek – Not going to say a whole lot on this one – feel like it’s all pretty much been said.  Gorgeous routine, very heartfelt, lovely execution.  Loved the ease with which they did some of those lifts and tricks, and loved a lot of the little “moments”, such as Bindi holding onto Derek’s fingers like a little girl. Thought it was maybe a tad underscored, but with the leaders all bunched up around the 27 point mark? I can’t say I’m terribly surprised. Hope that Bindi gets a partner during switch that’s every bit as nurturing as Derek has been – because she seems to really thrive with him.

2.) Nick & Sharna – I think I may have really built this up in my head too much, as the most awesome dance to ever dance on DWTS, because I found myself a skosh disappointed by what we actually got.  I guess one caveat of using a song with a very iconic dance tied to it is that you have to pay homage to it – and I just wasn’t as thrilled at seeing Nick and Sharna doing the dance routine from the chorus of “Everybody” as I was seeing all five Backstreet Boys doing it back in 1998. Speaking of which – why have they only been able to scrounge up one other Backstreet Boy (A.J.) to come watch Nick dance? Last night, of all nights, would have been a perfect one to see all four other Boys coming to support Nick…but instead, we got 1 other Backstreet Boy, 1 member of 98 Degrees (and not even the one that actually did DWTS), Joey Fat One (ugh), and 3 members of O-Town??? That’s like going to restaurant and ordering a Coke, and the waitress saying “Well, we’re actually almost out of Coke – but we do have Dr. Pepper, Orange Crush, and that knockoff root beer they sell at Walmart, and I could just mix that all together with what’s left of the Coke and you won’t even be able to tell a difference!” In other words – kinda weak sauce.  And yes, rabid Nick fans, I know they’re part of this movie he’s filming, but still – a tad gauche seeing that hodgepodge boyband instead  of the Real McCoy. But I digress – I liked Sharna’s choreography, and the dance was a showstopper (although the camera work, once again, left a lot to be desired), but I was just left wanting a bit more.

3.) Tamar & Val – I think Tamar may be my favorite of all of Val’s partners, and I think she’s just what he needed this season.  I think he’s going back to basics with his choreography, and aside from the occasional shirt-doffing or a bit too much time spent walking around, his routines are chock full of content this season. Thought Tamar had some really impressive hip action, and seems to be working on controlling those long arms. Her costume was also my favorite of the evening – she looked stunning in that ice blue color.  Her hubby playing piano was a nice touch, and you could tell from her package that she really and truly adores the man.  It humanized her for me 🙂 Hope whoever gets her in the switch can handle her, though – I think Val is only just now hitting a groove with her personality. 🙂

4.) Hayes & Emma – Talk about a dramatic recovery from last week – after that rather underwhelming Ninja Turtle jive, the bar was set pretty low for me for this dance – but man, Hayes really delivered! He seems to really be maturing in his dancing, and is staying in step with Emma – he actually impressed the heck out of me with those lifts, given that he’s kind of a wiry guy 😛 The one thing I think he still needs to work on – hands and feet, and really extending them.  Loved the choreography, too – not sure if it was Emma’s, but I enjoyed it, and I think it worked well for both of them. Still think Hayes some juice to go far this season.

5.) Alek & Lindsay – First off, I have to commend Alek for actually pulling it together enough to get out there on the floor and knock this paso doble out – he seemed visibly shaken and pretty quiet all night long, particularly after the package (wonder if Lindsay forgot to give him the “Don’t listen to the package!” warning). Given that he likely didn’t get a ton of rehearsal time due to his unplanned trip home to Roseburg, I thought he did a pretty good job – saw a few moments of hesitation, but he seemed to get back on track quickly, and I thought he had some nice shaping with his arms and torso.  And one thing I really love about Alek’s dancing: he stays connected to Lindsay the whole way through – there’s never a moment where I don’t feel like he’s completely locked in with her energy.  And that’s saying something, considering that I still feel a disconnect among 2-3 partnerships this season. I’m not ready to write him off as being bad at Latin (yet, given the circumstances), so I’m gonna give him a bit of a pass this week.  Not his best, but certainly not terrible.

6.) Andy & Allison – To quote one of my Twitter followers, “Allison has one speed, and one speed only – WARP!” And once again, we’re subjected to a jam-packed, hyper-speed routine from Allison, where her partner can barely keep up and she outdances him by a factor of 10.  I would agree with the judges that Andy was maybe SLIGHTLY better this week than we’ve seen him in previous weeks – but man, he’s still just struggling to keep up, and I feel like this was a cha-cha only in name. I think Andy might have gotten a slight boost from having a touching memorable year story, and maybe another slight boost from Allison announcing her pregnancy…but I still think that he (along with everyone below him) is a legitimate risk for elimination in the coming weeks.

7.) Carlos & Witney – Hmmmm.  Just a lot of hmmmmm, with this one. Thought his most memorable year package turned out very odd…the whole depressed pothead thing just kinda rang false to me. Thought the dance was lovely, but was blinded by those white costumes and the really direct lighting.  Not really a waltz, but not really a contemporary – and the judges seemed ambivalent on it.  I’m honestly just not sure what to make of Carlos these days…he’s by no means a bad dancer (and he’s definitely better than Andy), but he’s also not impressing me like he did in weeks 1 & 2. Him being in jeopardy likely doesn’t bode incredibly well for him, especially since the next elim will be the scores from two weeks combined – which can often foment a “shocking elim”.  I feel like he might actually be safer than Alexa, though, who really seemed to hit a flat note this week.

8.) Alexa & Mark – Whoever told these two that Alexa’s hair and the glasses would be “cute” needs to be slapped. HARD. Both really detracted from her performance for me – the hair seemed to really shorten her neck, so I didn’t see the lengthening that is desirable for the lady in the ballroom dances; and the glasses seemed to enhance the “I’m lost, what are we doing?” look Alexa got in her eyes when she flubbed in the middle of their dance. I also have to mention that her frame was a nightmare – felt like she was just kinda hanging off of Mark’s right arm for most of the dance.  Didn’t really connect with the song either (“Marmoset, marmoset!”)…felt like it didn’t reflect her most memorable year story as well as other couples’ did. Wish I had more positive to say about this, but my reactions throughout the dance ranged from “meh” to “ooh, honey, that was not good!” Alexa seemed extra awkward tonight, both in the dance itself and just how she reacted afterward – just a lot of nervous chatter and laughter.  And Alexa, I think you missed the point of Alfonso’s comment last week – he didn’t tell you NOT to support Carlos. He told you that you needed to focus more on your own partnership, and I still agree with that. She seems more interested in what Carlos and Witney are up to, than what is going on with Mark. And until that changes – I think she’s going to be in the danger zone. A score of 21 and a dubious fanbase? Yikes.

9.) Paula & Louis – I think this is the best we’ve seen Paula since her week 2 rumba – and it probably could have been identical to her rumba, with as simple and slow as it was.  But you know what? Simple and slow is what works for Paula – and she really didn’t look terrible last night.  Thought she stayed on-time decently well, had a few impressive hip action moments, and seemed to be having fun.  Will it be enough to save her from week 6’s elimination? I doubt it, but stranger things have happened.  Will be interested to see what a switch partner could pull out of her – although I think Louis has finally hit a groove with her, and a new partner is likely going to struggle with making her feel comfortable and at ease enough to enjoy herself.

So what are your thoughts on last night’s show? Stay tuned for a switch-up prediction post later today…