Apparently, this episode has no theme other than "Dance real good."

After the couples come out, Tom points out that Tamar is absent. She was taken to the hospital during dress rehearsal and it's unclear if she'll be back at the studio in time and able to perform.


Alek Skarlatos & Lindsay Arnold

Alek is nervous about showing his bare torso. It's kind of weird to hear a dude say he's not comfortable with his body. You're a cutie, Alek. Own it. Anyway, they convince him to wear an open jacket with no shirt underneath. Aw, man, they waxed his chest. Some of us like a hairy dude. I thought the "All the chests must be waxed all the time" trend was over anyway?

Julianne starts by complimenting the sets, costumes and backup dancers. That doesn't seem good. She points out a couple of flubs and worries about Alek's hip action. Bruno likes that he got into character for the dance, but also criticizes his (lack of) hip action. Carrie Ann says salsa is about musicality and that Alek and the music never quite came together despite a good effort.

Erin has fun teasing Alek about his newly waxed and exposed torso. She's kind of the best big sister.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8

Alexa PenaVega & Mark Ballas

Because some jerkface producers told Alexa as a girl that she was too fat, she had an eating disorder (bulimia) for six years. While she tells the story, we see pictures of a younger Alexa and she looks like a perfectly normal kid, weight-wise. You suck sometimes, Hollywood.

The premise of the routine is Mark will personify her eating disorder and struggle with it. Apparently that means he has to look like Igor from "Young Frankenstein." Oh, Mark. You could have been just as effective in a regular shirt and pair of pants with your own face. In fact, that might have been better because then you'd look like those regular people who told a kid she was too fat. Sometimes the worst evil doesn't handily announce itself through costuming and makeup.

Standing ovation from all three judges and they love the message, blah blah. Julianne compliments Mark on his choreography, which was very good, and his costuming, which she claims made Alexa stand out. I think it did the exact opposite. Girl in plain white dress or dude in freaky makeup and tattered black clothes: Who catches your eye more?

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Julianne: 10; Bruno: 10

Carlos PenaVega & Witney Carson
Argentine tango

Oh, I know this song! I've heard it on the radio tons but didn't realize it was by Justin Bieber. The pan flutes make it feel so late '80s/early '90s, in a bad way. That being said, Witney's made this an interesting mix of Argentine tango with an almost futuristic feel. She gets in one really great move where as Carlos turns her, she does a split mid-air. It looks like there might have been a slight flub coming out of the last big lift/spin, but Witney covered it as best she could.

Carrie Ann says it was really good but it didn't touch her, and clarifies that it lacked impact. I get that; it was good but not particularly memorable. Julianne starts by complimenting the audience, saying they have the back of the contestants. She says it was a great number but lost the passion of the Argentine tango. Bruno thinks it was well done but wants Carlos to watch his feet, make them sharper.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 9


Bindi Irwin & Derek Hough
Viennese waltz

The routine starts with Bindi blindfolded and it feels a little adult somehow. Wait, is she going to dance the whole routine like this? Oh, no, Derek pulls it down. I mean, we know Derek and Bindi are good but we don't need to get to the whole "blindfolded, with one hand tied behind my back" thing just yet.

Shaking when she comes over to Tom, Bindi explains that the dance affects her so much. Julianne says Bindi has matured over the course of the season and what's made her grow is taking risks. She compliments Derek on having a traditional Viennese waltz that was amazing without being over the top (side-eye at Mark.)

Bruno says the dance was not only technically beautiful but allowed Bindi to connect with the audience. Bindi says to Bruno, "Thank you, my love" and it's just adorable. Carrie Ann calls her an "extraordinary being dancing extraordinarily well."

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Julianne: 10; Bruno: 10

Apparently the previous song is from Mark Ballas' side project with his girlfriend. They call themselves Alexander Jean.

Tamar Braxton & Valentin Chmerkovskiy

As Tom sets up their rehearsal footage, he's up in the webcam area with Joey Fatone. As Tom finishes his spiel, Joey points to him and mouths, "I love this guy." ME TOO, JOEY!

Tamar is still not back from the hospital, so the judges will score the footage we're seeing from their dress rehearsal performance. Newsflash: Val has no problem being shirtless. Weirdly, I feel like Tamar is dancing better than Val here. It might be hard for him to unlearn all of his ballroom training, which Tamar wouldn't have to do.

Tom asks Val how he feels about the footage we just saw. He says that we just saw someone who was there only to not let her partner down. Val says she was tired and busy, and came on the lot only 15 minutes before that performance.

Bruno says the concept was good but there were a lot of mistakes, including balance issues. Carrie Ann says that routine, live, would've brought the house down. Julianne says it did look like a dress rehearsal.

Tom compliments Val on being protective of his partner. Hmm. To me it sounded almost like he was complaining about her being too busy to really commit this season.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Julianne: 7; Bruno: 7

Nick Carter & Sharna Burgess

During rehearsal, Nick experiences severe pain in his hip, but he seems OK when dancing. I like that they have him dancing to a Take That song. Boy bands 4eva. Sharna's dress is amazing, kind of Jessica Rabbit in blue sequins. My only quibble might be that they didn't have enough of the routine and that with Nick's solo in the middle, it felt more like a Broadway/jazz routine than a straight-up quickstep.

Carrie Ann says he didn't lose his mojo but he was a little out of sync in the last solo with backup dancers. She also mentions that they were supposed to stay in hold throughout the dance. THANK YOU, Carrie Ann, for actually mentioning the rules. Bruno says it was Nathan Detroit dancing with Jessica Rabbit. See? It wasn't just me.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 10

Showstopper Team-Up Challenge


Alek & Lindsay and Carlos & Witney go to New York and see a cruise performance of the Queen musical "We Will Rock You." They also get to hang out on the cruise ship for a couple of days. Too bad Emma's out of the competition -- she and Alek could've had a shipboard romance if they'd been paired up.

In addition to the two competing couples, the routine features at first two other backup couples. They eventually leave so it's just the two competing couples. Then Witney & Lindsay go offstage so that Alek & Carlos have a solo together. It only looks a little awkward, but unfortunately it shows that Carlos is a better dancer than Alek. The routine ends with Alek and Carlos banging on drums that splash paint that shows up under black lights everywhere.

Julianne says the big lift was amazing. She wanted to see more energy from the two guys dancing together. Bruno says the Paso Doble is all about balls and facing each other. They needed to be more aggressive like bulls. At least, I think that's what he says. "Bulls" and "balls" sound alike in his accent. Carrie Ann thinks they didn't dance as big as the song and that it's a shame they went out of sync right in front of the judges table.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Julianne: 8; Bruno: 8

Bindi & Derek and Alexa & Mark head to New York to meet with performers from Broadway's "Chicago." Rehearsal seems fairly uneventful, although we do know that Mark calls Derek "Kill the Vibe Derek." Pfft.

I understand why they're using "All that Jazz" but it seems trite rather than classic here. Alexa is apparently the Velma part in a short black wig. This is supposed to be a Charleston and they're definitely getting that. I'm impressed with how well Bindi's getting this. She looks like a natural and boy, does she bring the bubbly to the performance. When talking in her blond wig, Bindi looks a lot like Michelle Williams.

The judges all love it, and with the show nearing its end, don't say much specifically to save time.

Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Julianne: 10; Bruno: 10

Tamar arrives at the show during the commercial break. I'm noticing they've not said why she went to the hospital. According to various other sources, it was pneumonia. Dang, girl.

Nick & Sharna and Tamar & Val go to Las Vegas to work with the cast from the Cirque de Soleil "Beatles Love" show. Their routine is a rumba and they have certain elements they have to incorporate from the Las Vegas show, like a confetti-shooting umbrella. OK.

The number starts and Tamar is costumed, made up and on the stage. The miracle of the "DWTS" crew never ceases to amaze me. The boys are in plaid suits with red sneakers and the girls are in red evening gowns and there are umbrellas and confetti all to the tune of "Hey Jude." This is one of my least favorite Beatles songs, I'm not a huge Cirque du Soleil fan and none of this routine makes any sense to me. I'll have to rely on the judges to know if it was good or not.

Tom uses the bench from the routine to have all of the contestants take a seat since Tamar is visibly winded. The first thing he says to Tamar is, "What the hell were you thinking?" The show must go on, Tom.

Carrie Ann says she has nothing but respect for Tamar because that was a fantastic performance. Then she jokes, "What drugs did they give you?" She compliments both Tamar and Nick on their joint solo. Julianne says Nick stepped up as a leading man. Bruno calls it a "psychedelic dream."

Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Julianne: 9; Bruno: 9


The couples are on stage for results. The first couple announced safe is Bindi & Derek. Nick & Sharna are announced safe next. Third safe couple is Alek & Lindsay. Tamar & Val are safe. Val looks genuinely shocked! Tamar is too worn out to do much more than smile wanly. They were told earlier that if Tamar hadn't arrived in time to do her routine, she would have been eliminated, per the same rules that ousted Kim earlier this season.

This means one half of the married couple is going home tonight. They hugged and cried during the break. And it's the wife, Alexa PenaVega, going home! Her perfect score came a week too late. This is the problem with not having a results show each week. They cut the audio a couple of times during the footage we saw from commercial break and cut it again here. Surely they're not saying words you can't say on television. These two are crying as if this means they can never see each other again. Calm down, kids. This isn't a divorce or exile.


Bindi & Derek: 30 + 30 = 60¿

Nick & Sharna: 28 + 27 = 55¿

Carlos & Witney: 27 + 24 = 51¿

Tamar & Val: 22 + 27 = 49

Alek & Lindsay: 24 + 24 = 48

Well, Tamar certainly got a boost from her Showstopper round, and Alek wasn't helped by his. I'm going out on a limb, though, and thinking it's either Tamar or Carlos out next week. Alek is a cutie pie and a hero, so I think he squeaks through at least one more week.