DWTS shocks fans with last-minute return and unexpected elimination
On a night with all of the Backstreet Boys in attendance, DWTS fans were left guessing about what would happen with Tamar Braxton, and an unexpected competitor was sent home.
Shortly before Dancing with the Stars aired, news broke that Tamar Braxton had left rehearsal and had been admitted to hospital with pneumonia. The live show went on with the initial pairs' dances, with host Tom Bergeron admitting they had no idea how the situation would play out.
After all the DWTS couples had performed their first dances, Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough, and Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas sat at the top of the leaderboard, and the judges were forced to evaluate the rehearsal tape of Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy's contemporary dance in her absence. As it was a rehearsal, there were some issues and they wound up with a score that left them at the bottom of the leaderboard. Fans began to wonder if Braxton would make it back from the hospital in time for the Showstopper Team Up Challenge or possibly be eliminated like Kim Zolciak was earlier in the season following her mini-stroke.
Showstopper Team Up Challenge
To kick off the Dancing with the Stars team dance round, Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson, and Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold teamed for a dance from the Queen musical, We Will Rock You. Their paso doble was entertaining and they really got into the spirit of it, but the judges found weaknesses.
Next up, Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough, and Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas performed a Charleston routine based on the musical Chicago that had the judges raving that it was right on the money.
Tamar Braxton arrived back from the hospital exhausted but ready to dance along with partner Val Chmerkovskiy and Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess for her team dance, which was a rumba based on the Beatles' Love show. Had Braxton not performed, she would have been eliminated as per the rules. The routine was beautiful and the judges expressed their respect for Braxton.
Braxton's last-minute return to Dancing with the Stars had fans of two minds about her reprieve. Some were thrilled at her perseverance and were relieved that she was able to stay in the competition regardless of her illness.
However, some fans thought that because Braxton was unable to perform her first routine, she should have been eliminated.
After all the DWTS performances were complete and the scores were added together, Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough, and Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas were tied at the top of the scoreboard, each with two perfect scores for the night. Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold were on the bottom despite Tamar Braxton's lower scores for her rehearsal dance.
Despite her two perfect scores, Alexa PenaVega learned that she and Mark Ballas were in jeopardy, along with her husband, Carlos PenaVega, and his partner, Witney Carson. One half of the married couple would be going home. Ultimately, it was Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas who were eliminated, which some fans found shocking, as it was widely expected that Alek Skarlatos, arguably the weakest dancer at this point, would reach the end of his run on Dancing with the Stars.