Mark Ballas moved fans with his tribute to his parents, and one contestant was sent home.
The Hometown Glory theme continued for the second night on Dancing with the Stars, featuring some interesting and touching stories from the dance pros. Mark Ballas and his partner, Alexa PenaVega, did a rumba dedicated to his award-winning Latin dancer parents, Corky and Shirley Ballas. He got choked up talking about them, and his mother, who was in the audience, recalled how they had to be away from a young Ballas when they traveled.
Ballas had PenaVega do his mother Shirley’s signature move during their number and the result was a breathtaking performance that moved many to tears. The judges’ scores, however, were called into question by fans on Twitter.
— Brian Mann (@brianmann27) September 23, 2015
A couple of the routines featured themes tonight, with the most noteworthy being Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson’s saloon-themed cha-cha, which wowed the crowd but got mixed reviews from the judges, and Gary Busey and Anna Trebunskaya’s paso doble, for which they dressed as medieval Russians. It landed them at the bottom of the leaderboard with just 15 points, but definitely provided entertainment.
Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy took over the top slot on the Dancing with the Stars leaderboard with their high-energy Charleston featuring a shirtless Chmerkovskiy that earned them 25 points. Right behind them were Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess, who earned 24 points for a beautifully danced waltz that put the Backstreet Boy back on track.
Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough, who had topped the leaderboard previously, dropped to third place. They danced a waltz, with a hint of contemporary, in which they truly connected. The dance seemed flawless and Bruno called it close to perfection, but Carrie Ann pointed out that Irwin’s feet left the ground at one point, which is not allowed in a waltz. Also in third place with 23 points were Hayes Grier and Emma Slater, and Andy Grammer and Allison Holker.
Paula Deen and Louis Van Amstel performed a tango that went over much better than her previous attempt to bring sexy back, and Kim Zolciak and Tony Dovolani’s waltz took some criticism from the judges. Both ladies ended up just above last place on the leaderboard, each with 18 points. They weren’t, however, the ones in jeopardy when it came to elimination time. Gary Busey and Anna Trebunskaya, and Victor Espinoza and Karina Smirnoff were the pairs in jeopardy. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, it was Victor Espinoza and Karina Smirnoff who were sent home.