Oh wow. Week 3 of "DWTS" Season 21 did not skimp on #drama. Let me just get y'all up to speed before I even talk about the dancing.
First of all, there wasn't an elimination. At least, not in the usual sense. Former Real Housewife Kim Zolciak Biermann suffered a small stroke last week and didn't receive medical clearance to fly from Atlanta, GA, to L.A. in time for the show. And so, in accordance with the show's rules—which state that participants with medical issues affecting their ability to compete must withdraw—Zolciak Biermann was effectively eliminated.
In a classic reality show moment, celebrity chef Paula Deen had a total meltdown on camera. Her routine, with pro partner Louis Van Amstel, earned only 20 points out of a possible 40. Yikes. But if anyone can pull a celeb in crisis out of her funk, it's a professional ballroom dancer. So we're all looking forward to seeing a recommitted Deen light up the stage next week.
OK, on to the good stuff. Former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, his pro partner Sharna Burgess and their "Downton Abbey"-themed routine tied for first place with actress Alexa PenaVega, her pro partner Mark Ballas and their "Breaking Bad"-themed routine. TV does TV. So meta. So good.
Exhibit A: Alexa PenaVega and pro partner Mark Ballas who (thanks to the magic of Hollywood makeup artists) bares an uncanny resemblance to Walter White (photo via ABC)
I especially love when "DWTS" makes a sensible match between the theme and the dance style. A Viennese Waltz to the "Downton Abbey" theme song and a jazz routine for "Breaking Bad" just work.
Even though Paula Deen and Andy Grammer had the lowest two scores of the night, nobody went home because of Zolciak's illness. Second chances for everyone!
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "