DWTS 21 – Week 4 Thoughts

Welcome back to Casey’s DWTS Obsession!!

Week 4 already, and let me tell you – this competition is FIERCE. In the time I’ve been watching (all 4 seasons, psh), I’m not sure I’ve seen this close a competition. Or maybe I’m just forgetting. Either way, there are a lot of strong dancers this season, and I have a feeling it’s only going to get harder to choose a front-runner as we go along.

Who am I kidding. Second-runner, since I’ll be #TeamSharNick until the end.

This week’s theme was Most Memorable Year, a theme I sort of have a love/hate relationship with. In the past, I’ve felt that some of the stars didn’t really know the meaning of “memorable.” I’m pleased that this year all of them did, and all of them were revealing and emotional and helped us get to see them a little bit more. Except for maybe one, which I’ll get to below. Anyway, I think this theme is always a good way to introduce the stars, and it’s at this point in the season that I think people are starting to either fall behind or fall away from their favorites. It’s a more personal glimpse, and as well all know, the best TV is the TV that touches people. Or something.

Tom Bergeron was off this week as his dad is ill. Alfonso stepped in to help, and while I love Alfonso, I missed Tom. And ABC, please don’t have Erin wear heels if she’s going to be standing next to Alfonso again. (Speaking of Erin, I loved her dress!!)

Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy: Finally, some emotion from Tamar! I was beginning to think she was a robot. I was pleased to see Val comment on their lack of connection – he’s right. It’s been missing, and while I don’t think it’s quite there yet, this week was 10,000 times better. The dance was simple, fluid, emotional, and powerful. I also actually really liked Tamar’s song, so now I’m going to go check out the album. Voted.

Carlos PenaVega and Whitney Carson: I wasn’t super moved by Carlos’ story, but that’s my own religious reluctance so keep that in mind. I think he sort of sold himself short a little by saying he had a pot-smoking problem, only because of the fact that a growing number of Americans don’t really think pot is a problem, and therefore probably won’t put much stock in what was obviously a difficult time for him. His point about coming down off the tour high got a little lost. Anyway, as for the dance, I was torn. It was better than last week, but I still don’t see improvement. No vote.

Alexa PeneVega and Mark Ballas: Alexa’s most memorable year was the one that I kinda felt so-so about. It didn’t seem very memorable – it seemed more like an excuse for her to say that she was upset with Alfonso’s Week 3 comment because family is important. I’m interested to see what happens when Carlos gets eliminated, because I think he’ll go first, and I half expect Alexa to fall apart. She danced well, and the theme was really cute. I didn’t realize this was her first ballroom dance – that explains some of the stiffness. Voted.

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough: Bindi had me in tears before she even got on the dance floor. Her dance, believe it or not, dried my tears. In a good way. The dance was a tribute, a celebration, and a beautiful one at that. The raw emotion and power, and even bits of joy that came through, were a perfect way to end the night. Voted.

Gary Busey and Anna Trebunskaya: I was so glad that Gary had a chance to show his most memorable year, because I think it offered a chance to show America just who he is. Yeah, he’s a little off, but between last week and this week, I feel like we now see that Gary is a lovable, hardworking, dedicated guy despite that “offness.” He’s been up and down in the dancing, and this week was a little bit of a down week, but like the judges said…he’s an entertainer. No vote.

Paula Dean and Louis Van Amstel: First of all, does anyone else think Paula’s lost weight? She looks good! I knew nothing about her, so the package softened my attitude toward her a little. No doubt she’s a strong lady. However, her “I don’t think I can” attitude is DRIVING ME INSANE. It’s starting to feel like a cry for attention and not a genuine lack of confidence. The first half of her dance was so boring, I wanted it to be over. Then she suddenly found some energy, and the last half was bearable. Is she improving? Eh? There wasn’t as much standing around this time…..so there’s that. No vote.

Andy Grammer and Allison Holker: Last week I wanted Andy to bring the special. This week, he brought the special. It was also painfully clear that his issue in Week 2 was the band, and not his timing, since he was absolutely fine to his own song. There wasn’t much cha-cha, and he needs to pick his feet up a bit, but it was a fun dance with lots of energy. And he nailed the choreography. And that new song? LOVE. Hope this means another album is on the way. Voted.

Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold: Argh. At the risk of sounding insensitive…this dance actually did nothing for me. He looked mad the entire time – which he probably was. Or hurting, because I did get the sense that he’s one of those people who tries to mask everything they’re feeling. Alek has had a lot to process in a really short time, and the shooting in his college town seems to have been the icing on the cake. All of that, and dancing on top of it? The kid gets a vote just for keeping it together. Voted.

Hayes Grier and Emma Slater: I’m officially smitten with this kid. Look at how adorable he is!! Can we set him up with Bindi? I think they’d be a cute couple, don’t you? Anyway, the dance. I agree with the judges’ reaction of what the heck was that? Where did this 15 year old kid find that much emotion and power and grace? I’m gradually rethinking my opinion of him – I’m still not convinced he’s Mirrorball material, but I’m starting to see him in the final 4 or so. He reminds me a bit of Sadie Robertson – quiet, unassuming, and just consistently getting better. One to watch, for sure. Voted.

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess: Can I just say…..Sharna is the luckiest girl in the world these days. SHE DANCED WITH BACKSTREET BOYS???!!! And while I love Sharna, Nick completely stole the show for this dance. Like no joke, I didn’t even see her. It was one of those rare moments when the star outshines the pro. Voted.

Who went home? Gary and Anna.

Who should go next? Paula and Louis or Carlos and Whitney.

My Week 4 Votes and Rankings: (10 votes available)
Nick and Sharna – 2
Bindi and Derek – 2
Hayes and Emma – 2
Tamar and Val – 1
Andy and Allison – 1
Alexa and Mark – 1
Alek and Lindsay – 1
Carlos and Whitney – 0
Paula and Louis – 0
Gary and Anna
Kim and Tony
Victor and Karina
Chaka and Keo

So next week is the switch-up, where the pros and stars get new partners for a week. They didn’t do the switch-up last season, and it made me so sad. I love the switch-up because it’s always interesting to see how different pros get different things out of the stars. America gets to pick the pairs using Twitter. I didn’t participate, because Twitter is too much work, but here’s who I’d like to see anyway.

My Switch-Up Pairs
Nick and Emma – Mostly this is because of Emma…I’d like to see what she can do with a partner of Nick’s caliber.
Bindi and Mark – When I heard about Bindi being on the show, I immediately hoped she was with Mark. Now’s the time.
Hayes and Sharna – I think Sharna is a good complement to Emma, and can continue Hayes on the upward trend he’s been on.
Tamar and Derek – I think Tamar needs to stop playing it so safe, and I think Derek might be able to tease that out of her.
Andy and Whitney – Whitney is creative, but in a different way than Allison. I think she might be able to help Andy with some of the finer things he’s struggling with.
Alexa and Louis – Since she hasn’t been in hold much, let’s give Alexa a world-renown ballroom teacher and see what happens.
Alek and Allison – Alek also needs to do something a little funky, and nobody is better at funky than Allison.
Carlos and Lindsay – Lindsay is working wonders with Alek, and I think she might be able to work some of that magic with Carlos…who’s been lacking magic lately.
Paula and Val – Val is steady, solid, and sexy as hell. He’ll make Paula feel all of that.

Unfortunately, they revealed at the end of the show that Tamar is paired with Louis, so there go two of my pairs. Boo. It would have been epic.

Who were your favorites? Who do you think should go home next? Who would you like to see paired together for the switch-up?