‘Dancing With the Stars’ finale: Bindi Irwin’s tearful tribute to dad

25 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Dancing With the Stars’ finale: Who will be competing at the end of season 21?.

Tonight’s sequined “Dancing with the Stars” finale has only one logical, inevitable, justifiable outcome: Bindi Irwin perched atop Derek Hough’s shoulders clutching the mirror ball trophy. Forget friendships that will last a lifetime, Carlos PenaVega is leaving Dancing With the Stars with two very important items: “Abs and some pelvic thrusting moves.” Carlos and his wife, Alexa PenaVega, were the first married couple to compete on Dancing With the stars. Each couple performed a variety of dances including the Cha Cha, Salsa, Rumba, and Argentine Tango vying for America’s vote. (ABC/Adam Taylor) You have to give Verizon credit for making things easy for us journalists. Her dress appears to have been influenced by the office supplies aisle, as it seems to have gone through a shredder and then been attacked by a highlighter pen.

Now that PenaVega has departed, the three remaining celebrity contestants are Bindi Irwin (dancing with Derek Hough), Alek Skarlatos (dancing with Lindsay Arnold), and Nick Carter (dancing with Sharna Burgess). The judges, notoriously and historically nitpicky of a front-runner like her, have harped on her shoulders and posture and hips (not enough swivel, said an overly critical Julianne Hough recently).

Carlos Penavega, likely to no one’s surprise, was cut despite perfect scores. (That anyone was scored the same as Bindi seems ludicrous.) I maintain that having his wife there hurt them both throughout the season. Skarlatos and Arnold were only slightly behind with scores of 27 and 30 for their performances. “Dancing” has an unusual model compared to network dramas and sitcoms in that it ends its season as the holidays approach. And tonight, I secretly really wanted to go to the rehearsal studio and stay there until 3 a.m. and come up with a sick routine and try and win this tomorrow, but that didn’t happen,” he said. Most network shows debut in September and air until May, often taking a break around December but not dividing their episodes into two separate seasons.

On the bright side, he’s still making his way to New York with his cast mates. “It’s bittersweet, but it was so fun,” he told us. “I literally had the best time ever…I have no complaints.” By contrast, programs like “Dancing,” NBC’s singing competition “The Voice,” and CBS’s long-running reality competition “Survivor” usually air a fall season and a spring season each year. They’re dancing to the Weeknd’s “The Hills,” which seems really bizarre as a foxtrot choice and is about drugs and requires much fudging of lyrics on the radio and in primetime tv. And please, they couldn’t possibly pull off the following Bindi comment, said with earnest spontaneity amid a shower of confetti last week: “It’s raining happiness!” She didn’t just sell that line, she meant it, from the very core of her sunshiny being. In terms of overall viewers, “Dancing” and “Voice” are still doing well in the ratings, ranking near the top of the list for broadcast network ratings for the 2014-2015 TV season. “Voice” is more of a novelty than “Dancing,” as “Voice” only debuted in 2011.

She has also shot two films in Atlanta: “Footloose” in 2010 and earlier this year, “Bad Grandpa,” also starring Zac Efron and Robert DeNiro, which is set to come out in 2016. And she and her brother Derek Hough have come to Atlanta for two dancing shows, including at Chastain in June, which was a sweatfest, apparently since it was an outdoor venue in the summer. The two-part finale kicked off Monday night and promised two dances from the celebrities — judges’ choice, with Carrie Ann Inaba, Julianne Hough and Bruno Tonioli helping with choreography and creative concepts, and the much-ballyhooed freestyle, with additional dancers and special effects. (Don’t look now, here comes The Fog!) Guests included pop star Meghan Trainor, hot off her on-stage makeout session on Sunday night’s American Music Awards, opening the program with her event-appropriate tune, “Better When I’m Dancin’.” Bruno said during rehearsal that Carlos can win, but he needs to stand out more in his upcoming dance. He’s got the rumba and last time he did the rumba, it was with Emma Slater, who he has a huge crush on, and it’s weird for him to do it with Lindsey, who he sees as a sister. (And who, I can also point out, is a married woman.) The rumba itself is fine, if not great, but that sizzling chemistry just isn’t there. Julianne called it the “sexiest foxtrot ever,” and a “huge improvement.” Carrie Ann said he was “so deserving” to be in the final and “commanded the stage.” Coming off that perfectly scored waltz, Carrie Ann told Alek she needed to see more hip action from him.

With “Dancing,” those behind the cameras seem to have found that having two seasons a year keeps viewers talking and that both seasons are still steady performers. Julianne said it takes a lot of courage to wear silver silk pajamas and ballroom dance in front of millions of viewers, and she admired his continued commitment. They show the footage from last week when Nick Carter had his paralyzing moment of forgetting his choreography and this time we can hear Sharna Burgess reassuring him that she’s got him and they’re going to be fine. She explains to the camera that Nick had the jive early in the season before he really had his dancing legs and that he did have a slip, due to his shoes, so the judges want to see what later-in-the-season much-improved Nick can do with a jive now.

Julianne says it wasn’t just executed well, but that Nick “performed the crap out of that.” Bruno kept waiting for the routine to go wrong but it never did. Personally, I’m delighted at the prospect of Derek playing by the rules because he is SUCH a good dancer and it means I get a shot at seeing an actual ballroom dance done extremely well on this show, and not by two pairs. She calls Bindi the “Energizer Bunny.” Tom ribs Bindi a little bit about her reaction during the rehearsal footage to Derek’s hacking cough. (She just backed away slowly. Carrie Ann says Bindi is in a “class of her own.” After the judges finish their comments, Bindi pogoes around in happiness and I remember she’s only 17 and one of the cutest creatures on the planet. Beard And Sequins apparently performs under the name “Who is Fancy.” As he blows glitter at the camera, I think about what interesting times we live in.

But the whole thing was dope, as the kids say. (I’ll leave Paula’s legs out of this.) Alek and Lindsay chose to simulate an Army obstacle course as the backdrop for their freestyle, complete with a steep climbing wall. Carlos and Witney are doing a hip-hop/salsa routine to Missy Elliott’s new single, “WTF.” That’s some pretty quick turnaround — it only came out, what, last week.

Julianne compared it to Tough Mudder and Spartan races, and said it was “physically and emotionally powerful.” Derek broke down in the rehearsal video talking about how much he loves Bindi and how well he wants to do for her. They’re both battered and bruised, but they tackled the most emotional subject, the loss of her father, wildlife conservationist Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin to the tear-jerker tune, “Footprints in the Sand.” That gorgeous dance ended with a massive photo of Bindi and her dad, and not a dry eye in the house.

Carrie Ann trotted out words like “artistry,” “power,” “charisma,” “poignancy.” Julianne wiped away tears and said she’s “left an imprint on all our hearts.” Unlike Derek, I was not under the influence of cold meds, and I cried anyway. Competing for the Mirrorball: Alek and and super-surprised Lindsay (check out her incredible non-poker face), Bindi and Derek (to no one’s surprise), and Nick and Sharna (he surged at just the right time). Because he’s done that literally, in basic training, and figuratively, with the train and the events that have gone on while he was on the show this season. There will be a “24-Hour Fusion Challenge,” where the competitors have to do a mashup of two dance styles that they had only one day to learn and practice. And all 13 competitors will be back, including the still-convalescing Tamar Braxton, the hip-swiveling Victor Espinoza and the serial-mooning Paula Deen. “Real Housewives of Atlanta” alum Kim Zolciak, who suffered a mini-stroke and had to leave the contest, will finally get to do that “I Dream of Jeannie” samba.

During the dance, there’s also a crowd of cheering fans right up on the runway/stage area, so maybe that’s why they went last, because it would be hard to herd that crowd back out in a timely manner.

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