DWTS Andy Grammer

Dancing With the Stars Switch-Up Recap: Who Should Be Eliminated?

Full disclosure: I went into Monday’s episode of Dancing With the Stars fully dreading the one-week-only Switch-Up twist.

After spending the last month fostering deep connections with their partners, each celebrity would be matched up with a different pro this week, all but ensuring mediocre performances of the Week 1 variety, right?


In fact, on the heels of Monday’s remarkable showing — including the first perfect score of Season 21 — I wouldn’t be surprised if the DWTS producers somehow found a loophole that kept all of the contestants with their new partners instead of their old ones. (Even Paula Deen managed her best performance of the season with Mark Ballas instead of Louis van Amstel — but if you’ve already blocked that jive from your memory because of Paula’s inexplicable need to flash her rear end to the judges, I completely understand.)

Without further ado, let’s break down the most memorable performances of the evening, in which no one was eliminated. Rather, the combined scores from last Monday and this Monday will dictate who goes home on Oct. 19.

Alexa PenaVega and pro Derek Hough (Tango) — Though I didn’t quite understand Derek’s choice of music (Bastille’s “Pompeii”) combined with those military-esque costumes, his tango with Alexa was innovative and intricate enough to earn her the perfect score that has eluded her the last few weeks. The only low point of Alexa and Derek’s match-up? The insane amount of shade Ms. PenaVega threw her former partner, Mark Ballas. (He was just being realistic!) Judges’ Score: 40/40

Carlos PenaVega and Lindsay Arnold (Quickstep) — At long last, Carlos finally had the breakout moment he so desperately needed to avoid landing in jeopardy again — even though I thought his near-elimination last week was a bunch of bull… well, you know. Even as he kept pace with Lindsay’s insanely quick choreography, Carlos still managed to look like he was having a ball on the dance floor. Judges’ Score: 39/40

Tamar Braxton and Louis van Amstel (Samba) — I don’t blame Louis for capitalizing on his lone week with a strong partner, but I do think his massively complex movements may have been a bit too much for the daytime TV personality. What the routine really seemed to lack was consistency: When Tamar was nailing the choreography, her facial expression went completely blank… but to act like she was enjoying the routine meant missing a few steps along the way. Combined with the dreaded first-of-the-night performance slot, Tamar and Louis’ samba was enthusiastic but ultimately forgettable. Judges’ Score: 29/40

Andy Grammer and pro Sharna Burgess (Argentine Tango) — As much as I enjoyed watching Alek Skarlatos and Emma Slater giggle and blush through their obvious attraction to each other, their paint-by-number rumba couldn’t hold a candle to Andy and Sharna’s sssssteamy Argentine tango. Not only did Andy finally look comfortable with tricky choreography, but his commitment to the passionate will-they-won’t-they narrative led to the night’s most enthralling performance. Judges’ Score: 36/40

Nick Carter and pro Witney Carson (Paso Doble) — The dance was average, but those Matrix-inspired costumes were magnificent, no? Judges’ Score: 35/40

OK, your turn. Which Dancing contestant deserves to get the boot next Monday? Cast your vote in our poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. No question, Paula is the weakest dancer. She should go.

    • AngelWasHere says:

      I agree. Plus she’s annoying. Good grief.

    • Angela says:

      I will be very surprised if she doesn’t go home next week. I do agree with the recap here, though, that tonight’s dance was probably her best one thus far.
      But yeah, everyone else really stepped it up this week in a lot of ways, so it’d be weird to see any of them go home. I actually quite liked Nick and Witney’s dance-yeah, the judges had some legit critiques about Nick’s movements being a little too dramatic and whatnot, but I still thought it was a good dance overall, particularly at the end with their synchronized movements.
      (Also, regarding her comment about her mom listening to the Backstreet Boys, and her not having much familiarity with them because they were before her time? Yeah. Feeling old now after that, Witney, thanks :p.)
      Carlos’ dance was flat out FUN, and Alexa and Bindi did fantastic tonight as well. Very close competition between those three. Maybe who will wind up in the finals won’t be quite as predictable as I’d initially assumed…
      I wouldn’t call Alek and Emma’s dance “paint by numbers”, personally, but I do agree that both couples’ interaction was very…yeow either way :D.
      So yeah. Pretty good night overall-I too am glad this went better than one might expect. Woo!

    • sanchopanza says:

      I’m still wondering how you do a jive flat-footed.

  2. BJ McTavish says:

    Please free Paula Dean… Nice lady, enough of her sappy acting . Time to step into her Grandma role ….. Nothing shameful about being a fantastic grandmother ! Leave with grace please!

  3. Laura baker says:

    I do not think it is fair to have 60+ contestants with 17 year olds. The producers need to keep the ages closer together for a better competition. Either have all seniors or all young adults.

  4. lauri5567 says:

    Paula’s the weakest dancer, but I predict Hayes or Tamar will go home next week.
    I was surprised that the story was Alek and Emma rather than Alek’s reaction to Spencer’s stabbing.
    Carlos needs to talk about something other than his wife. He’s overselling how much he loves her.

    • Miel Mani says:

      Actually, I think Alexa has also gone on and on about Carlos as well. Alfonso was right two weeks ago: They both can’t win. Unless there is a double elimination and both exit the same night, one will come out ahead of the other. There has never been a tie for the winners (I think the closest was season 8, in which there was less than 1% between first and secon place), and I think that’s not likely to happen this year. They just have to accept that they will not finish on an equal footing. And by the way, Rebecca Iannucci (author of this article), with rare exceptions, it is the producers who make the final selection on the music, not the pros or the contestants.

      • lauri5567 says:

        I read an article not to long ago with Meryl and Charlie. Meryl thinks Charlie was eliminated because she had a bad week. All their fans voted for her to save her, and Charlie got lost. I could see the same thing happening to Alexa and Carlos.

  5. Ali says:

    Paula is not the caliber of everyone else. Her comments & actions are embarrassing & rather crude. She needs to go.
    Bindi Irwin is consistently awesome. What an amazing young woman & terrific dancer. I hope she takes the mirror ball. Go Bindi!!

  6. You guys do not like to hear the truth and I feel sorry for Tamar.

  7. Ruth says:

    The talent and bar are set very high this season. Paula is probably next unless votes keep her alive. It’s going to be hard from here on…

  8. This will be one person not look at your show. I am keeping it real and yes Tamar should be given another chance.

  9. Doris says:

    Great dance Alexa!

  10. Selma says:

    I don’t know why more people have commented on the fact that Witney Carson is not good teacher or choreographer. She is a decent one and to be honest, she hit the jack-pot with Alfonso, an already trained dancer. Chris, Cody and Carlos have basically danced with their own already-there abilities. I was questioning it because I don’t like to be that mean in my thoughts but Lindsay really proved it for me tonight. She is, like her mother Mindy Arnold, an amazing teacher and a great choreographer to boot and she finally showed us Carlos’ real potential. He would be an amazing dancer if he had someone to really commit and teach him and bring him intricate choreo. I just feel like Witney uses her own choreo and tweaks it a little and brings it on the floor. It really bums me out because Carlos could be a really good contender if he had a better partner. And she did show me tonight, that she can’t be happy for others as Tom hilariously said. Oh well.

    I didn’t know how to feel about Bindi in the begininng, she isn’t really a celeb like Nick Carter for example. I am a huge BSB fan and Nick was my favorite growing up. But I have to say, I hope Bindi wins. She has won me over. She is really a ray of sunshine and again, like Tom said, she can stay every season. She is so good. Her footwork is AMAZING for someone who has never set a step in a ballroom before. Quite extraordinary that girl.

    Alek and Emma. Cute. Some technical elements not there, obviously. 7s were too low. Maybe throw in more 8s? I don’t know. I didn’t LOVE it but I didn’t feel like it deserved that low of a score.

    Tamar and Louis. Tamar is obviously a good dancer on her own. I feel like she is too stiff in her connection to other men/dancers. I just don’t feel it from her, ya know?

    Sharna and Andy. This shows just how much time matters. Allison is a great teacher, I’ve seen it before so this was all time and Sharna pushing him for the performance. It was great. Hot, I might add.

    Hayes and Allison: I don’t know how to feel about it. Sweet, I like the kid.

    Nick and Witney: Once again. Not my cup of tea. Not great choreo, Witney basically using her old choreo and tweaking it. Not a fan. And I love Nick! A paso usually brings the FIRE to me and just stands out.

    Alexa and Derek: I love Derek. Man, is he the greatest. I haven’t always been a fan of his but you cannot deny what an amazing choreographer he is and he seems real sweet too. Alexa brought it. The only thing bugging me, was the music. That does a lot for me. But still, great, great dancing. And intricate choreo.

    Mark and Paula: Poor Mark. Needless to say, yep, Paula needs to go.

    • Miel Mani says:

      I agree about Tamar. She needs an attitude adjustment, and she should listen to the many people who are telling her that she needs to improve her chemistry with her partner, no matter who it is. As for Bindi, well, maybe I’m the only viewer who feels that I could get diabetes from watching and listening to her–way to cloying for my taste. And the overdone sentimentality last week made me wonder if it was calculated to swing votes her way.

      • Meg says:

        Overdone sentimentality? Do you have ice in your veins? She was dancing in rememberance of the father she lost as a young child.

  11. Shabnaj says:

    I’m not sure why you thought switch up week would automatically mean subpar performances. This is the third time they’ve done it, and we’ve had some great performances in the past. Val/Meryl’s tango, and James/Cheryl tango just to name a couple examples. A lot of stars thrived in the past during this particular week.

  12. Veronica says:

    Stand out of the night definately Alexa and Andy (I missed Carlos, so I cant judge that). So sad the turn it took Nick’s package. Sorry, but I think they sabotage him, hope he dontlose votes

  13. Lisa says:

    Am I the only one who finds it annoying when the song is soooo wrong for the dance? Why a rock song with the Argentine Tango or the Paso Doable ? They would be far more enjoyable if they used more appropriate music. It doesn’t have to be old fashion but using current rock/pop songs just to appeal to younger people really takes away from some of the dances.

    • LAwoman says:

      Paso Doable? That is an awesome typo. I love it. I like the juxtaposition of modern music and traditional dance. And not just because Bastille is one of my favorite bands. It creates so many more possibilities in costume, setting and adapting the choreography.

  14. Mary-Jane says:

    Paula really can’t dance! Bringing her grandchildren on stage, lifting her dress to show her backend,
    strutting around and tossing her head. All shameful attempts to stay on the show. It’s time for her to go!

  15. James Doak says:

    The woman (Paula) makes every Southerner look like a hillbilly. The only way she could be worse is if she was missing some or all of her teeth.

  16. catherine challis says:

    Don’t get me wrong but Paula, despite her spark plug personality and can do attitude, it would be hard to eliminate any of the other remarkable contestants before her.

  17. Tam says:

    This show is obviously set up to give Bindi the win. Tamar is always very good but the judges never give her fair scores.

  18. Bobby says:

    I think Paula is a lot of fun to watch but basing it solely on dancing ability, she should be the next to go.

  19. JBC says:

    I didn’t think I would even like DWTS this season, but it is proving to have some talented people.Think this was the best switch up ever for the show. Also want to say prayers go out to Tom Bergeron in the loss of his dad.

  20. I wanted to see Derek dance with Paula Deen, I know he’s a great choreographer but I wanted to see if he’s really the golden boy and miracle worker he’s hyped-up to be.

  21. Kay says:

    I don’t think anyone could be more classless obnoxious repulsive and phony. Sorry, honey, you need to goooooo!!!!!

  22. Dick Rainford says:

    Maybe a good cook, but she really wasn’t turning on all the burners

  23. Deena says:

    Bindi Bindi Bindi!!!! She is fantastic and bright and cheerful. I can only hope she gets the mirror ball at the end of the season. She is the ONLY reason I watch. We love her spirit!! She makes us sob and makes us smile! 👏

  24. Charlena says:

    I think Tamar is the best overall.and she should get the mirror ball!!!

  25. P Lloyd says:

    Tamar is a great dancer…why don’t the judges want her to win?