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Posted by Deborah Nelson on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 @ 15:11 PM


This week of Quarter Finals at “Dancing with the Stars” was named ‘Showstopper Week’ as this was the theme of the second dance routine by the couples. Their inspiration was iconic showstopper dance routines from stage and screen.

But, starting out the regular competition this week, was a Salsa performed by Alek and Lindsay. If you missed some of the fun repartee…Alek asked ‘Isn’t that something you eat with chips?’ reminding us that he really, really was a non-dancer!  And then his (ouch!) chest hair waxing reinforced that Alek has been out of his element, this entire competition. His chest ‘reveal’ was really unnecessary for this Salsa, (but perhaps needed for his second dance). We saw a bejeweled shirt collar tucked under his red jacket (with black shawl collared lapels and pocket trim), and it was very odd looking. A buttoned or partially buttoned black shirt or…no shirt at all would have made more visual sense, but he DID look the part of a Latin dancer! Lindsay, wore a gold organza ‘butt-ruffled’ costume with many rhinestoned bandings, creating a unique, youthful costume for her. To me, the two costumes didn’t coordinate real well.

Alexa and Mark danced a Contemporary routine with Mark in a black hooded ‘grim reaper’ costume, which seemed appropriate, and Alexa in the cliché white stretch lace, slip-looking dress. They danced beautifully and emotionally, outshining their minimal costuming, which wasn’t very visually appealing, and my least favorite costume look this week.

But then, an absolutely beautiful costume was worn by Witney, dancing the Argentine Tango with Carlos. Carlos’ costume included a glittery black shirt with deep purple lining his collar and cuffs. His tuxedo pants included glitzy side stripes. His costume wasn’t nearly as stunning as Witney’s. With asymmetrical skirt lines and a cap sleeve and long sleeve, Witney was resplendent in a very Marilyn Monroe-esque costume. The silver beaded lace appliqués based on nude mesh was so classy and sophisticated and beautiful. It was a treat for the eyes, with ravishing, retro-glamour.

More glamour was on the dance floor, when Bindi and Derek danced their Viennese Waltz, with another retro-detailed look for Bindi’s gown. Her modestly cut bodice sported 1940’s era ruched straps which were accented (along with her ruched center front bodice) with multi-colored rhinestones. Her shiny, silky chiffon dress was made of a two-toned fabric that showed a mauve/pink with gray undertones. Derek coordinated well, with his gray vest and trousers, along with traditional white shirt and black tie. Bindi’s gown, along with Witney’s were favorites of mine, this week!

Because of an absent Tamar during most of the show (she reportedly had visited a hospital because of health issues), we only saw the recorded rehearsal of her and Val’s Contemporary routine. Thankfully, Tamar was wearing a beautiful dress with loose, long black chiffon gores, attached to silver lace appliques artfully arranged on her bodice. I was so relieved to not see another white costume, for Contemporary. Val, however went shirtless, after maintaining his ‘man-scaping’.  Despite her illness, Tamar looked lovely while Val looked – well, like Val.

Nick and Sharna then danced the Quick Step with Nick looking very dapper in his slightly retro-looking suit. Sharna was very retro-looking with her 1940’s glam sequined gown. Her utilitarian nude elastic straps were not distracting, but a necessity. Her deep blue gown, along with Nick’s dapper black suit earned this couple, my best-dressed couple of the night!

I truly enjoyed the “Showstopper Team Up Challenge” this week. Tom told us it was the ‘first ever’ and it was enjoyable, seeing our pairs of stars and pros recreating famous dance routines and especially with the added stipulation that the stars needed to dance with each other (without their pro partners) for 30 seconds of their routines. And an added plus, was fabulous costuming for all!

Alek, Lindsay, Carlos and Witney wore white ‘leather’ Motorcycle-jacket inspired costumes with zippers and studs, along with some stones. Their Paso Doble silhouette was similar to an earlier look this season, but I LOVED it. And loved it even more when the ladies ripped off their skirt/capes to continue in their ‘onsies’. All dancers looked fabulous, and white for a Paso routine is always refreshing.

Alexa, Mark, Bindi and Derek then danced the Charleston with ‘transforming’ costumes. We have created a few of these for high school dance teams in the last couple of years, so I really enjoyed that the ladies skirts were Velcroed to their shoulders (showing black briefs and a blouson-styled bodice), and then flicked down, to reveal silver fringed dresses. This was totally appropriate to their inspirational dance, and I loved it! The guys were in cliché Bob Fosse togs complete with bowler hats.

Tamar, Val, Nick and Sharna performed a Rumba with basic red for the ladies and a very load plaid for the guys. The guys seemed to take on the 1960’s Pop look, while the ladies stayed elegant in modestly-cut red sheer dresses with real red straps and decoratively bedazzled necklines. The couples didn’t seem to coordinate, with mixing the cartoonish to the elegant. The combination didn’t make sense to me.

But all in all, there was a very pleasing combination of dance routines this week. And of course there are the grumblings of ‘who REALLY should have gone home’… But, as always, we need to remember that this is a popularity contest. Yes, it is influenced by the quality of dancing, but it is NOT a dance competition, after all. No, I’m not always happy with who goes home, but that’s what makes the show interesting and more entertaining!

Tags: Past Seasons DWTS Costume Critiques


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