Dancing With the Stars Recap: Bindi Irwin Continues Her Reign (as a Vampire Queen), While Tamar Braxton Falls to Last Place

Dancing With The Stars
Dancing With the Stars got dramatic for Halloween Night. Adam Taylor/ABC

Trick or treat! Dancing With the Stars‘ Halloween Night was anything but scary as the remaining eight couples aimed to wow the judges by adding a dose of theatricality to their fancy footwork. For the most part, their efforts paid off — which made the few contestants who didn’t quite nail their routines really stand out.

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough
Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough earned another perfect score. Adam Taylor/ABC

Though Bindi Irwin‘s undeniable adorableness didn’t seem to be a fit for the evening’s theme, the nature conservationist channeled her tough side and soared as a vampire queen with Derek Hough by her side. “All hail the queen of darkness!” judge Carrie Ann Inaba declared. Julianne Hough praised how “deep-rooted” the performance was, while Bruno Tonioli said it was an “Argentine tango master class.” Not surprisingly, the judges bestowed yet another perfect 30 on the current Mirrorball favorites.

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Another big winner of the night was Carlos PenaVega, who probably became the first competitor in the show’s history to admit that he thought he was overscored the week before. “I did make a lot of mistakes,” the Big Time Rush alum said in his video package. “But it makes me want to prove to myself that I deserve those scores.”

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson
Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson worked hard to prove they belong on top. Adam Taylor/ABC

Partner Witney Carson got the message and choreographed a dramatic paso doble that involved Carlos wearing a mask and maneuvering a cape to slingshot her around the dance floor. Though he struggled in practice, he (almost) nailed it when it mattered most, and the judges rewarded their efforts with a 28, putting them two points behind Bindi and in second place.

Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas
Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas wowed with their Edward Scissorhands-themed routine. Adam Taylor/ABC

Yet again, Carlos’ nearest competition proved to be his wife. After a disappointing showing last week, Alexa PenaVega was more determined than ever to solidify her place at the top of the leader board, and for the most part, she succeeded. “For the first time I felt like you cut off your head and just danced!” Carrie Ann cheered in response to Alexa and pro Mark BallasEdward Scissorhands-inspired routine. (To be clear, that was a compliment.) Bruno called the performance “genius” and praised both the theatricality and the technique.

Hayes Grier and Emma Slater
Hayes Grier and Emma Slater had a great night — before they got eliminated. Adam Taylor/ABC

Hayes Grier (who was starting to get frustrated by his stagnant scores) and Emma Slater did make big strides this week, and their Teen Wolf-themed routine placed them in the middle of the pack, just above Andy Grammer and Allison Holker — who, in contrast, fell from tying for first place last week to fifth place this week. Ever the upbeat guy, however, Andy took the marks with a smile and a shrug.

Andy Grammer and Allison Holker
Andy Grammer and Allison Holker dropped a bit in the rankings. Adam Taylor/ABC

Alek Skarlatos, however, wasn’t so gracious. Clearly upset by his scores last week, the international hero spent a large portion of his video package complaining that the judges didn’t know what they were talking about, while partner Lindsay Arnold lamented, “He’s not giving me anywhere near 100 percent.” Hmm.

Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold
Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold worked hard to improve from the week before. Adam Taylor/ABC

Fortunately, Russian dance pro Artem Chigvintsev was on-hand to help give Alek some tough love about ways he could improve. For the most part, the judges had a positive response to Alek and Lindsay’s Woman in Black routine. Bruno praised Alek for being “more dynamic” and “present,” but noted he couldn’t see Alek’s feet because of the excessive use of smoke. (Hey, whatever works.)

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess
Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess struggled — but with a smile! Adam Taylor/ABC

Interestingly, two other leaders from last week also tumbled to the bottom. Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess received mixed reviews for their take on the Bride of Frankenstein, though Carrie Ann, who has been the most critical of the Backstreet Boy all season, called the performance “sexy,” which was a victory unto itself. 

Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy
Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy Adam Taylor/ABC

Meanwhile, Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy, who earned a perfect score last week, found themselves dead last this week. It was hard to feel bad for Tamar, however, since she used her video package to brag about her dancing skills and admit she considered herself to be “the best dancer in the competition.” After this showing, she may need to reconsider. Though the judges acknowledged that she alone is a strong dancer, they agreed that The Real co-host and her partner were out of sync. “There’s still a disconnect when you guys dance together,” explained Julianne to an obviously stunned Tamar.

Next up were the team dances, which pitted Team Who You Gonna Call (Bindi, Derek, Alexa, Mark, Carlos, Witney, Alek, and Lindsay) against Team Nightmare (Nick, Sharna, Tamar, Val, Andy, Allison, Hayes, and Emma). A lot was made of the fact that Derek had “never lost” a team dance-off, which made it all the more dramatic when he did (only by two lousy points, but still).

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Host Tom Bergeron then delivered the bad news that Hayes and Emma, Tamar and Val, and Alexa and Mark were all in jeopardy. Ultimately, it was Hayes and Emma who had to pack their dancing shoes.

“You go out on a night where you excelled,” Tom told the Vine star, who looked pretty crushed.

“All those guys, they’re brilliant people,” Hayes said. “This has meant so much to me; it’s been really life-changing.”

Here are the complete rankings for Halloween Night:

Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough, Argentine tango: 30 out of 30 

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson, paso doble: 28 out of 30

Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas, paso doble: 27 out of 30

Hayes Greer and Emma Slater, waltz: 26 out of 30

Andy Grammer and Allison Holker, paso doble: 26 out of 30

Alek Skarlatos and Lindsay Arnold, Viennese waltz: 25 out of 30

Nick Carter and Sharna Burgess, Argentine tango: 24 out of 30

Tamar Braxton and Val Chmerkovskiy, foxtrot: 24 out of 30

Tell Us: Did the right couple get eliminated?

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