'Dancing With the Stars' Kicks Off 'Hometown Glory' Week With Impressive Performances by Bindi Irwin and the P
By Meredith B. Kile
It’s "Hometown Glory" week on Dancing With the Stars, and Monday night kicked off with the celebrities paying tribute (and sometimes a visit) to their respective hometowns with their first of two dances.
Here’s a look at Monday's night performances from the start of "Hometown Glory" week, ranked by the judges’ scores.
Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough
"Team Crikey" tied for the highest score last week and continued to wow the judges and audience in week two, paying tribute to Irwin’s home at the Australia Zoo, in the heart of the continent’s Sunshine Coast.
It’s a serene place to grow up, but Bindi surprised pro partner Derek Hough with one surprising fact about her and late father, "Crocodile Hunter"Steve Irwin: their love of heavy metal music.
Irwin and Hough performed an impressive tango to AC/DC’s "You Shook Me All Night Long," one of the family’s favorites.
"I remember, when I was really little, dancing to that song with Dad," Irwin told the judges as they once again marveled at her performance, the high-scoring of the night. "It means everything to me."
One half of the married PenaVega pair competing against each other in this season of DWTS, Alexa was concerned that husband Carlos scored one point higher than she did last week. But partner Mark Ballas was more worried about Alexa's focus and their connection as a dancing pair with her husband in the competition.
Done up like a leopard for the couple’s salsa dance, Alexa paid tribute to her Colombian roots with the sultry number, and it paid off, impressing the judges as well as host Erin Andrews, who gushed, "It’s only week two! You’re not supposed to be that good yet!"
The self-described "Latin boy from the Midwest" was ready to continue competing after an impressive week one performance, paying tribute to his hometown of Columbia, Missouri. Carlos and pro partner Witney Carson slowed it down with their week two foxtrot, set to a country version of Michael Buble’s ballad “Home."
"You’re a contender," judge Carrie Ann Inaba told him after his dance, earning agreements from the other judges who were impressed by Carlos’ elegance and delicacy in his week two dance.
"Carlos and Witney are gonna win," the actor’s father, Carlos Pena Sr., agreed with a nod to his daughter-in-law, "then Alexa’s gonna be in second place."
Family is extra important to Tamar Braxton, who stars with her sisters in the WE tv reality series Braxton Family Values.
The reality star and singer grew emotional while talking about her family and dancing her cha cha to "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge, but she was determined to knock out her first week two dance, asking partner Val Chmerkovskiy to add in more hip thrusts.
Braxton’s sisters were there to support her in the audience, and the singer felt their love as well as the support from the judges, who gushed that she was "in her element."
National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos followed off his impressive week one performance with a jazz dance set to "Don’t Stop Believing" by Journey. In his second week, the Legion of Honour recipient hoped to pay tribute to his hometown of Sacramento, California, where he met friends Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler, who helped him thwart the gunman on the Paris-bound train back in August, the heroic action that thrust Skarlatos into the international spotlight.
"Everyone back home is definitely supporting him," Stone said of his friend before the couple’s dance.
And Skarlatos is a favorite with the judges too, who gushed once again over the couple’s performance and impressive lift moves.
"I definitely believe in you," judge Bruno Tonioli told them after their dance. "Last week was not a fluke."
"Team Slayes" took their foxtrot to the race track on Monday night, paying tribute to 15-year-old Vine star Hayes Grier's hometown of Mooresville, North Carolina.
The pair danced to feel-good country song, "This is How We Roll," but the performance was unexpectedly emotional, due to the presence of Hayes’ mother Elizabeth in the audience.
Grier rushed off-stage to hug his mom immediately after his dance, even before receiving his praise from the judges, which included Bruno Tonioli comparing the young star to "a young Tom Cruise in Risky Business."
The Backstreet Boy and his partner kicked things off in week two, with a complicated jive set to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." Carter dedicated his performance to his hometown of Tampa, Florida, but more specifically, to his hometown dance teacher, Sandy Karl.
"Without her, I probably never would have been Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys," he smiled, following his mediocre routine.
"Where can you go from here but up?" said Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kim Zolciak-Biermann of her disappointing week 1 performance. But her partner, Tony Dovolani, was more concerned about week two’s double-elimination.
The reality star originally hails from Connecticut, but paid tribute to her hometown of nearly 20 years, with her quick step set to "Queen Bee" by Rochelle Diamante.
"Atlanta is where all my dreams came true," she said before an impressive week 2 performance that Bruno called the "most unexpected comeback since Lazarus."
The Oscar winner threw it back to his high-school football days in Tulsa, Oklahoma with his week two foxtrot, set to "Wouldn’t It Be Nice," by The Beach Boys, a song that Busey said brought back his "joy of high school."
And that enthusiasm carried over to the pair’s performance, even though it was on the lower end of the evening’s scores.
"I love this place!" Busey screamed to the crowd after his dance, which wowed the judges with it’s precision. "Don’t you all love it? I’m not going anywhere!"
Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza stumbled a bit in his week one dance, but he’s not dwelling on the past. The jockey paid tribute to his rural beginnings in Hidalgo, Mexico with a dance set to "La Bamba."
'Victor is absolutely incredible," the jockey’s partner Karina Smirnoff gushed. "He came from one of the most humble beginnings, and now he is the greatest jockey in the world."
The judges also loved Espinoza’s enthusiasm for the dance, calling him "fun and festive" but admitted that the couple’s timing wasn’t perfect.
"Listen, I’m not gonna let one bad night get me down," Chaka Khan said of her less-than-stellar performance last week. "I’m from Chicago, okay?"
The singer chose a fitting song as a tribute to her hometown, selecting "Chicago" by Frank Sinatra to accompany her foxtrot. Khan said the song reminds her of her dad, who was also a singer and dancer.
"The moment I step out to do the foxtrot, I will think about my dad," she said before the performance, "like we’re doing it together."