PureDWTS Season 21, Week 10 – Power Rankings

Fun fact: you can totally dominate an entire episode of DWTS with your antics, narrowly avoid elimination, and then turn around and withdraw 24 hours later – and somehow STILL get more attention once you’ve been eliminated than some contestants got all season longย  ๐Ÿ˜Ž Yes, kids, this was the second installment of “The Tamar Show”, with Tom reminding us for nearly the entire first half of the show that we were going to get an update on Tamar – nevermind the fact that we had 4 celebs that were actually still competing on DWTS tonight, the people must know what’s been going on with Tamar!!! Yes, it sucks what happened, and despite my feelings about Tamar this season, I do wish her a speedy recovery – but the constant reminders of her last night? Just kinda did a disservice to Alek, Bindi, Carlos, & Nick.ย  If next Monday is the same way – so help me god, I just might commit seppuku with a plastic knife.

Also becoming tiresome to me? The fact that Carlos still seems like he’s trying to come up with sob stories each week to compete with Bindi, Nick, & Alek.ย  And they just sound totally disingenuous, on top of sounding a bit silly compared to the struggles of the other contestants remaining. Carlos says “I was depressed and addicted to weed!”; Nick can easily counter withย  “Yeah, I was pretty heavy into alcohol, cocaine, X, and prescription painkillers for awhile…failed at rehab…got a heart condition…did I mention my sister died of a drug overdose a few years ago? But please, tell me more about your crippling weed addiction.” Carlos pulls out “I haven’t spoken to my mom in 4 years!” Bindi can say “How awful! My dad died in a freak accident when I was 8 – I just wish he was still here.” Meanwhile, Nick is over in the corner, waving his hands and going “Hey, anyone want to talk about how my parents only want my money, and how I’ve had to cut ties with them as a result?” Oh wait…Carlos says he “found Jesus!” Wonder what Alek has to say about that…”Gosh, I only just found a terrorist on a train, and beat the tar out of him to protect the lives of the other people said train. Shucks.” I guess my point is this: Carlos may not have a super-compelling story to tell, but that doesn’t mean I want to see him grasp at straws to try and out-sob story everyone else.ย  I probably would find him more likeable if I didn’t feel like he was constantly trying to one-up everyone else and just let his dancing do the talking.

As for the possible bomb Tom dropped at the end of the show about either Nick or Bindi having the lowest combined total – call me crazy, but I actually think there could have been some truth behind it. I just don’t see them lying about it – they could have very easily just called those two “in jeopardy” and not even mentioned anything about the lowest combined total, and the effect would have been the same.ย  But they DID actually say “one of you has the lowest combined total, but you’re not going home because Tamar is out.” I don’t believe for a minute that it’s Bindi that got the lowest combined total, considering everywhere I look, people are singing her praises – but Nick? He could be in some legit trouble with votes. Now while his fans assure me that the Backstreet Boys “are HUGE around the world!” and that he is “getting tons of votes”, I feel like this is a good opportunity to remind everyone of a central tenet of being successful on DWTS: international votes aren’t likely to help much if you don’t also win over the main viewing demographic of DWTS – middle-aged, conservative-leaning American women.ย  There hasn’t been a single DWTS champ that didn’t in some way appeal to that demographic, and in order to win, you HAVE to have them on your side. Is Nick appealing to that demographic? If so, is he making himself more appealing to that demographic than Bindi, Carlos, and Alek? Keep in mind that veterans (think J.R., Noah…and Alek) typically hold a lot of appeal for that demographic, as do those who are openly Christian (Sadie, Candace…and Carlos), and really anyone that is typically just bubbly and likable across the board (Kellie, and Bindi – particularly the latter, who seems to have enchanted just about everyone). Where do boyband members fit in? Only one has managed to win (Drew Lachey), and the rest have done ok-to-well, likely owing to their previous dance experience. One slight problem I see is this: Nick’s fans might still be a tad young to fit into the “middle aged” category – I was 13 when BSB posters covered my walls at the height of their popularity, and I’m 30 now…still 10 years shy of that “middle-aged” label. Part of me thinks his more casual fans might still be a tad young to be tuning into DWTS on the regular and actually voting – I know I’m really more of the exception than the norm.ย  You also have to take into account what happened last week – Nick kinda got upstaged by Tamar’s drama, and Carlos likely got a bit of a boost (not a huge one, but enough) in votes from Alexa’s fans that kicked their votes over to him.ย  Nick also dropped back down to getting mostly 9’s last week after getting a perfect score the previous week. When you take all of this into account – is it really all that far-fetched to think that maybe Nick really was the lowest combined total of votes & scores? Did his fans maybe get a bit complacent, thinking that so many people were voting for him that he would be ok if they maybe didn’t vote so hard a certain week? I just think back to Zendaya in season 16 – her fans were so sure that she was getting oodles of votes, yet she still managed to come up short in the end and Kellie took the MBT. Regardless of whether what Tom said last night was truth or a total fabrication, they likely did both Bindi & Nick a huge favor – I can only image the panic that ran through some fans at the revelation that their favorite was in danger, and the increased vigor with which they voted. Heck, even if you think Tom was lying…is that really a bluff you care to call?ย  ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

1.) Bindi & Derek – Once again, not left with a whole lot to say other than “She did great!” Thought her salsa was nice, although the song (like many others last night) was not ideal, and probably didn’t lend itself to the “down & dirtyness” that Julianne made up to bitch about.ย  I said this last night on Twitter, but sorry – Julianne’s gotta go. She may have eclipsed Carrie Ann at this point as the one judge who just cannot see past a certain agenda they have in their heads…and Julianne is so dead set on NOT showing favoritism towards Derek that she’s gone too far in the other direction, where she just nitpicks his partners’ routines to death. At least one of them has gotta go – and I daresay Derek brings more to the show than she does. Thought Bindi actually slayed the dance-off – for not having done samba, I think she nailed the technique more than Nick did, and didn’t look like she was struggling to keep up or maintain the bounce. As for her trio – I know a lot of folks were gushing, and while I agree that she handled it well…I wasn’t wild about how long it seemed to take to get going, and how much time was spent having Bindi just gaze at the lightbulb. The rest of it was interesting to watch, and I liked how they incorporated the box, but it just wasn’t my favorite routine from her.ย  But she handled the dance well, and I think she can count on at least 2nd place next week, if not 1st.

2.) Nick & Sharna – I think nerves may have gotten the better of Nick in his first two dances this week – not sure what exactly happened in his tango, but while the first 10ish seconds were strong, it seemed to fall apart pretty quickly.ย  Did he maybe watch the rehearsal package and let it get to him? I think his own feet may have been his undoing – tango is one dance where you have to be able to place your feet very cleanly, and I think the fact that Nick’s are kinda big ended up making him look a bit bouncy & shuffle-y, as he struggled to keep them out of the way.ย  And I think he was maybe getting a bit worked up, which is why Sharna just stopped him mid-dance to calm him down. The rest of the dance was ok, although I think the damage had kinda already been done – although I will say he looked great during the pivots. As for the dance-off – he looked really, really good, but unfortunately, Bindi looked GREAT.ย  Thought Sharna’s choreography was more interesting and fun to watch, but Derek’s was cleaner and more of a true samba. As for his trio – he redeemed himself, for sure, as he looked confident and in control.ย  But like some of the other trios tonight, my big complaint is that he really didn’t do a whole lot in-hold – I felt like he, Sharna, & Peta were dancing in sync, by themselves more than they were actually doing in-hold stuff. I think back to Noah’s salsa trio last season, and even though he was short one arm, Sharna still managed to throw in a bunch of arm wrapping and in-hold stuff.ย  So I guess I felt a little let down by that – but overall, it was a fun dance to watch. Not sure the song was ideal for a salsa, but whatever. I think the scare of possibly being in the bottom 2 could give him enough of a boost to lock him into the top 2 next week.

3.) Alek & Lindsay – I’ll admit that I got a tad worried after he got his critiques and scores from the judges after his waltz – felt a bit like the Twilight Zone, as they did a complete 180 from their usual incessant nitpicking and reluctance to praise him, to suddenly gushing about how great he did and setting aside the usual 8 & 9 paddles and giving him a perfect 30. But in all seriousness, it was probably his best dance so far – he seems to have shed the last bit of stiffness he started out with, and seems to be much more at ease on the floor now, so his natural skill at the ballroom dances is really shining through. The dance-off went about like we expected – Carlos was fated to win it before they even danced.ย  But I do give Alek a ton of credit for just letting go and really hamming it up out there – I found him far more fun to watch than Carlos, who seemed like he was trying to hard to be slick and sexy.ย  Alek’s was more a goof, I’m-totally-kidding sexy, and I found it hilarious. And really – I felt like he moved more than Carlos, but whatever.ย  I appreciate Carrie Ann throwing him a bone, even if he didn’t end up winning. As for his trio – I feel the need to point out that he was the only one who got a trio dance that required he do most of the dance in-hold, and didn’t allow for much of the side-by-side action we saw from the 3 other trios.ย  So again, right off the bat – props for dealing with that, and for handling two ladies well ๐Ÿ™‚ I found him totally believable as a leading man, and the lifts and tricks were on-point, as usual. Didn’t see the “getting winded” bullsh*t that the judges glommed onto – it was as if Julianne grabbed an excuse out of a hat, and the rest of them just parroted it at the expense of actually praising him.ย  Yep – the praise and high score was short-lived ๐Ÿ™‚ Also wasn’t wild about the song, and thought it was too uptempto to really be effective as an Argentine tango.ย  But overall, I think Alek had one of his strongest nights yet, and has some good momentum going into the finale – his @ mentions on Twitter last night were blowing UP, and in a good way.

4.) Carlos & Witney – Yeeeahhh…really convinced now that Witney is not using an outside choreographer this season, and she is REALLY struggling with choreography.ย  Sorry, but their contemporary routine was just…bizarre. I will cut them a very slight break because the song was awful, but some of the steps were just odd, and I don’t know where she got the idea that having Carlos doing tricks on a rope was a) cool, and b) unique. Not only have we already seen that before (Amy did it, and did it better, in her freestyle in season 18), but I don’t think it really fit well choreographically within the routine. I did I find it interesting that the judges touched on Carlos & Witney’s lack of connection – I feel like Witney checked out weeks ago, and Carlos is just kinda self-absorbed and not terribly aware of what’s going on around him. So I’m glad they said something to them, and hope that Carlos & Witney realize that they need to forge a quick connection before the finale. Not much more to add about the dance-off – thought Carlos was trying far too hard to be sexy and slick, and it all just looked forced. Also thought he wasted too much time walking around trying to amp up the crowd, but whatever – he got his 3 points to get past Alek. Now as for their trio samba – I mean Charleston – I’ll just repeat what I said in another post: very interesting to me that he definitely started out having a trio samba (and he even named the song & the style in an interview, so there wasn’t any confusion), and suddenly it became a different, much easier dance somewhere in the middle of last week. So far, he’s been the only celeb that’s managed to avoid samba completely…wonder if that will last through the finale.ย  The trio was good, but I found the choreography to be very simplistic, and the three of them may as well have just danced separately the whole time – found that they didn’t interact a whole lot, and when they did a trick, it came across rather clunky.ย  So that perfect score? Eh…I might have given it three 9’s, just for being kinda simplistic and low in difficulty, even though the execution was decent. I just think Carlos is really floundering at this point, though – the judges aren’t as taken with his dancing as they once were, and personality-wise, he’s becoming even less tolerable for me…at this point, I think the best he can hope for in the finale is 4th.