Karina Smirnoff’s DWTS Blog: A Love Letter to Victor Espinoza

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

DWTS Recap: Tamar Braxton and Valentin Chmerkovskiy Dance to the Top Spot, While Victor Espinoza Goes Home.

Karina Smirnoff has been chronicling her experiences as a pro partner to jockey Victor Espinoza on Dancing with the Stars’ 21st season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Triple Crown jockey winner Victor Espinoza could not dance himself into the hearts of America, and crashed out of the gate on “Dancing with the Stars.” The Mexican jockey and partner Karina Smirnoff were the second pair eliminated on this season of the hit dancing show after receiving the lowest number of votes following Monday night’s episode. Much was made before the season began of the height difference between Victor and Karina, but her reference to the Triple Crown champion’s concussions and related memory issues told the real story of his difficulties.

We may never get enough of watching slightly famous people dress up in costumes for a jaunty foxtrot, especially when that slightly famous person is—you guessed it! Moments before the elimination, he performed a rumba that delighted the judges. “Victor, you looked like you were 10 feet tall,” judge Julianne Hough told the 5-foot-2 jockey after his performance on Tuesday. “The way you handled Karina was beautiful. Tonight was special for me because I want to dance for Karina and everyone else with all my heart,” Espinoza said after his elimination, before joking. “Yesterday was a little bit off because those pants were so tight.” Judge Bruno Tonlioli declared it their “best dance” so far and told Hayes, “You are going out there like a model, like a supermodel!” He did note, however, that Hayes needed to tuck his butt in a bit, a critique that fellow scorer Julianne Hough seconded.

This has potential to grab longtime viewers because we might be able to glean more about Val Chmerkovskiy, Witney Carson and company beyond how they have to handle their partners season in and season out. (And just how many pros have roots in Utah? Julianne told him he needed to straighten his legs, but commended him for his “groove” and “swagger.” Bruno cheered that the Big Time Rush alum was “relentless and persistent like a bounty hunter” and praised him for covering up well when he’d missed a few steps. Carrie Ann Inaba, however, said she “wasn’t impressed.” How they did: Gary got really into character as a proud Russian knight and loved every moment of it.

The perils of learning two dances so early in the season suggest polish is falling by the wayside, based on Monday’s lackluster routines with missed choreography. What more can I say?” Bruno asked with a smile. “It was a classic rumba and it was beautiful,” Julianne said before noting that Alexa needs to work on the placement of her weight. He’s in sneakers and has a LOT of sparkle on a black suit, unconventional choices for ballroom but rather appropriate for this high-intensity number.

After they performed, Julianne declared it the best dance they’d done, and Carrie Ann added, “Whoever said size matters never met you because that was incredible.” Bruno said the jockey had “the commanding presence of a giant.” Too bad this 5-foot-2 tall giant is going home. Although Allison grew up in Utah, she identifies Los Angeles as the place she, her husband (tWitch, who is awesome) and her daughter made their home and their life. Carrie Ann thinks the lifts were fine; Bruno agrees with me. (Allison, afterward, tells Erin she felt “totally safe” in Andy’s arms.) The judge does see the stress in Andy’s eyes as well as the commitment to the routine.

An inevitable trumped-up rumba storyline for our married-couple contestants actually gets to be avoided because the focus is on Mark’s life – specifically, one of the last songs his parents danced to when they were married. Now that we’re three dances in, it’s safe to say Lindsay has improved dramatically as a teacher since her prior stint with Victor Ortiz in Season 16. She has the rawest of raw talent in a man who was unknown until a month ago, and she pushes her partner into routines that are better than many of the other celebrities. Her father and “nan” can’t travel to L.A. to see her on “DWTS” because they’re on dialysis; instead, we see a photo of “nan” holding a posterboard of support for her girl. Val thanks his parents, the other pros and “DWTS.” Next week, “DWTS” celebrates its own medium – TV, not dance competitions – with a very familiar guest judge: Season 19 champion Alfonso Ribeiro.

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