‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 21 Finale Recap: Night 1 Is Larger Than Life!

24 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bindi Irwin set to compete in Dancing With The Stars finals, but is she any good?.

It’s the final countdown! Carlos PenaVega outlasted his wife, but he couldn’t outlast three other celebrities on “Dancing With the Stars.” Therefore, Carlos and partner Witney Carson were sent packing after Monday’s first round of the finals.When dancer Val Chmerkovskiy entered the studio in Week 5 of America’s hit television show, Dancing with the Stars, he found that week’s dance partner Bindi Irwin cuddling an enormous snake.

When it comes to sudden bursts of sobbing, I tend to cry mostly where I’m meant to: a sad commercial about a lonely pensioner; anything to do with baby animals in crisis; the entire back catalogue of Joni Mitchell. It is an image we have seen many times: members of the Irwin family finding beauty in nature’s most frightening creatures and encouraging us to see the beauty there too.

What was I, a grown woman without the slightest interest in the Irwin dynasty or celebrity dance contests (I’m more of a So You Think You Can Dance type), with a well-developed distaste for anything Society of the Spectacle-esque, doing frantically scouring the net each week for the news of Bindi’s latest Dancing triumph? Remaining celebrity dancers Alek Skarlatos, Nick Carter, Bindi Irwin, and Carlos PenaVega busted some serious moves in the race for the Mirrorball Trophy, but ultimately just three of them moved on.

With one week left, Season 21 seems to be Irwin’s to lose – she is a fan and judge favourite, winning praise for her dancing ability as much as for her charm. It is, in fact, the same response I’ve had to Irwin’s routines throughout this season, and will likely experience again today and tomorrow as she faces the Dancing finale, the favourite out of four remaining celebs: a curious mix of pride, affection and, in some way, relief. And although we know that the quality of the actual dancing on DWTS may well be a secondary concern behind elements of good television viewing such as sequin count, pyrotechnics, and tears– the question remains: can she actually dance? Relief because Irwin seems on target to escape the jaws of “former child stardom” more or less unscathed, which is not a privilege afforded to many who’ve grown up in the spotlight. In this routine, Irwin demonstrated her musicality, as well as a willingness to lunge into her partner’s arms with the energy and confidence that comes from trusting those arms will catch her.

The couple’s chemistry floored the judges, with Carrie Ann Inaba saying it was their “most dynamic and exciting performance.” Is it any wonder they got a perfect score? We saw a different kind of fearlessness from Irwin in Week 2, when the couple danced a Tango routine to an AC/DC anthem, and Irwin brought serious (and unexpected) rock-star attitude the stage. I recall going to see Cameron Crowe’s middling We Bought A Zoo and feeling quite overcome with emotion at the sight of Patrick Fugit – formerly the bright-eyed teen reporter William Miller in Almost Famous – all grown up. Irwin’s dancing journey this season started with a Jive set to a rather painful rendition of ‘Crocodile Rock.’ Despite the judge’s encouraging praise, it was a rough start for anyone with a sense of taste. Hough’s choreography saw Irwin prance through a mid-routine costume change, swapping a khaki overcoat (conservationist!) for a fringed dress (glamour girl!)—a fine metaphor for her personal transformation.

That’s a deep hole to climb out of.” To climb out of that hole in the shadow of the enduring tragedy of your famous father’s death would be a whole different reckoning. Seeing Bindi pay tribute to Steve in her Dancing contemporary routine – initially discussing his legacy in the confident and affectionate way we’ve come to expect from her, before crumbling into shaking sobs at the dance’s conclusion – was sobering. Dancing on TV has the dimension of the additional choreographic element of the camera – namely, transitions between close-ups and wide shots that add interest to every routine. Writing in Salon after Bynes’s well publicised meltdown last year, Prachi Gupta reflected on the uphill battle former child stars face as they age. “There’s a reason that successful child stars are seen as the exception, not the norm.

But it hardly matters, because shows like this one aim to humanise celebrities, exploiting all the fabulous dramatic potential of a dance competition from the sweaty humiliation of rehearsal to the high of live performance. Who could reasonably expect Britney Spears to be a functional adult when at 16 she was the world’s No 1 sex symbol?” Until recently, you might have counted Irwin among those names (after all, who can forget her 2006 rap single, Trouble In The Jungle?).

Carlos and Witney: Not only did these two dance a mixture of hip-hop and salsa, they invited former contestants (hi, Paula Deen) to get in on the action. Total and utter flawlessness. (Oh, and a score of 30.) Alek and Lindsay: This hot couple was ranked last in the Judges’ Pick, but they climbed back in the most literal way possible with an army-themed obstacle course. Witney: “Nothing worth having comes easy, OK.” Pause. “Will Smith said that.” It’s jarring to go from that funny comment to this intense, sexually charged foxtrot, complete with smoke and the red accents and the music. Bindi honored her late father, Steve Irwin, in a stripped-down performance, causing everyone to sob hysterically. “Sometimes during rehearsals it feels like there’s three people in the room,” she said. “Derek put that feeling into this freestyle.” It goes without saying that they got top marks from the judges. It does represent a good use of Alek’s partnering skills with Lindsay, and they have a connection, if not a sexual one. “You presented your partner with great care,” Bruno says.

The audience screams and shrieks. “Cowabunga!” Carrie Ann hollers. “Can we take one second to celebrate Sharna for the goddess that she is?” (Yes! Derek remembers his season 15 quickstep with Shawn Johnson, which often broke hold, and that may have cost them the Mirror Ball. (Side note: That dance divides your recappers more than any other. Although the “dancing security detail” wave looks awesome – thanks, host Tom Bergeron – I personally would have preferred the Troupe stay out of the dances in the first round. Bindi and Derek have their arms linked, but does this count as “in hold?” It would seem so: Julianne says Derek says was very creative in keeping linked with his partner.

At this point, with everything from foxtrots to paso dobles featuring the Troupe and prerecorded music, it’s hard to make the freestyles distinctive and special. The pretaped voiceover packages from the pros give hints to what we might see. “Inspiration.” “Free spirit.” “Freakin’ Backstreet Boy.” After 21 seasons, Carlos and Witney find a unique angle for a “DWTS” dance: This is the first freestyle to feature contestants from the current season. Carlos is worried about having so many other pro bodies in the dance, and Witney comes to realize that not focusing on them could be something of a detriment. Will there be any other paddles used in this freestyle round?) Derek takes a soft, sweet approach here, inspired by Bindi’s father and where she’s from.

This strategy has brought Derek great success before, arguably winning season 16 for him with Kellie Pickler, and it’s going to separate this routine from the other freestyles. As with the week 3 contemporary, Derek has choreographed moves that fit the music and Bindi’s life, such as when she points to the sky as he sits on the steps.

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