Sunday, November 29, 2015

DWTS Season 21 Week 9: Showstopper Week Show's Stopped

Normally, Dancing with the Stars starts with a splashy wonderful opening number. This one did not. This one started with each dance team coming out (note: Val and Tamar had been last all season, this had been the same lineup all season long). You will note that there is just Val there, at the end, shuffling uncomfortably.

That's because this episode could be subtitled: Tamar's Hospital Drama. At the beginning of the show, she wasn't there because she was actually at the hospital, having fallen ill. Her doctors warn her that she should just stay there, but since she would automatically lose/be eliminated if she misses both dances, she rallies back to get there for the last one (against her doctor's orders).

Some would call that Showbiz! But I think it was just willful and stupid. Oh, but we'll get back to all that. Let's start instead with the competitors who actually, you know, competed.

We had this from Alek and Lindsay, which was notable mostly for this:

Not just that the troupe women danced with them, but that they also waxed his chest for this number.

Carlos and Witney did an Argentine tango, that I quite liked, but the judges didn't so much. I think both Lindsay (Lindsay even moreso) and Witney this season suffer from making themselves look good, and their partner, not so much (Lindsay all season, Witney more at the end of the season).

But nonetheless, I liked this dance.

Sharna, on the other hand, does well by her partner, pushing him to new boundaries, and making both herself and him look great.

Great dance. I mean, it's the 9th week, most people are going to look pretty good by this point.

I should add that Val and Tamar had what would have been a stunning number to Wicked Game. The judges had to judge the dress rehearsal footage, so I will post no picture of it.

But let's talk about the top two individual dances of Week 9.

My second favorite was danced to music created by "Alexander Jean," which is Mark Alexander Ballas and his girlfriend, BC Jean. It's just a stunningly beautiful song, and Derek and Bindi danced an amazing Viennese waltz to it.

The costuming, as all throughout the season, was stunningly beautiful. On camera, it looked like this classic dusty rose gown, just gorgeous.

I swoon when I even think of them performing that song, it was so beautiful.

But still, my favorite individual dance from this evening was the contemporary from Alexa and Mark. Mostly because it was so brave to perform. She talked in the package about her struggle with bulemia, and this dance was essentially Mark playing bulemia and chasing her.

Don't know if you caught the vomiting parts in there, but they are in there.

Mark Ballas' artistry and stunning choreography are, to me, one of the main reasons I regularly tune in to this show. This bulemia dance was no exception. Solid 10s from all the judges. So well-deserved.

1. Mark and Alexa (contemporary)
2. Derek and Bindi (Viennese waltz)
3. Sharna and Nick (quickstep)
4. Witney and Carlos (Argentine tango)

Now, what should've happened at this point in the competition, is that Tamar stays in the hospital, and thus gets eliminated. Instead, she races back, against her doctors' orders, and decides to dance anyway.

This is where the Showstopper Week comes in. All of the remaining six couples are whisked off to see actual live shows (great idea, btw!). They will then incorporate the dance moves into their dances (three sets of two couples each).

They have the first two teams perform first, since Tamar is rushing from the hospital to make it for her (now last) set.

I was just talking with someone over Thanksgiving about how DWTS is odd, in that it never has males dancing with males or females dancing with females (other than in trios, or in a troupe thing). This, I suppose, is the closest we'll get.

And it was alright, but no great shakes.

Carlos Witney Lindsay Alek and black lights
Witney and Carlos and Alek and Lindsay choose to go on a cruise to watch "We Will Rock You," the Queen saga. Fun fact: Bruno used to work with Freddie Mercury.

Mark and Bindi and Alexa do Fosse
Bindi and Derek and Mark and Alexa go to NYC to see a version of "Chicago," to recreate some Fosse steps.

Bruno's comments on the Fosse recreation: "The Maestro himself and the divine Ann (Reinking, of course) would be pleased at this." (High praise.) They all received perfect scores. They had received perfect scores for their individual dances, so they all walked away with 60 for the night.

Now, let's recap. Here we have someone (Alexa), who shows up, who works hard, tries hard, and on this night, got perfect scores for both of her (amazing) dances. I cannot begin to even explain how angry I am about the outcome of this evening... but let's proceed.

Nick and Sharna and Val and Tamar went to Las Vegas to see the Beatles Love extravaganza.

Tamar, amazingly, is here, is performing this dance. (She goes, right from this dance back to the hospital, btw.)

Here's Tom, explaining that since she made it through that final dance (and what about the first one, which she missed?), she is still in the competition. Oh, and guess what? Though she's sick and reeling, and really should be in a hospital, SHE and VAL are safe.

Instead, we have this.

This should NOT have happened this way. Alexa goes home. Tamar is safe, but then, I'll clue you, at the beginning of next week's episode, we learn that she's too sick to compete anymore and has to quit the competition ANYWAY. Meanwhile, Alexa is robbed of her chance in the finals.

And that was just wrong, all wrong.

Here's hoping that next season the casting directors have the foresight to cast a person without ten million commitments, so Val can actually do what he does best and create great dances with someone who can actually show up. This Tamar situation this season was a travesty and they should be ashamed of themselves for letting her do this.

Meanwhile, we sadly (seriously, I was crying at the end of this) say Goodbye to a competitor who left too soon. I love everything you did this season, Alexa.


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