Anyone else feel like this was “redux” week? As I was mentioning to Heidi on Twitter, there were several costumes, songs, and even routines that felt a bit recycled to me from previous seasons – I’m sure some of you noticed them as well. But I won’t go into detail, because we’ll save it for the Cheesecake Awards & perhaps an edition of “Who Wore it Better?”
All dittoing aside, another great night of dancing, and I’m still astonished at how no one really & truly sucks this season…well, except for Bolton ON WITH THE RANKINGS!!!
1.) Jennifer & Derek - My god, I am still in awe of how great a body this woman has at her age. And at how well she moves! This jive was sharp, sassy, and totally adorable – Jen definitely kept up with Derek’s choreography well, and it was of course choreography that was very well-suited to each beat of the music. She did seem to run out of steam a bit in the middle, but I can’t blame her in the slightest…poor woman must’ve been feeling faint, because it looked like someone had given her something to eat off-camera that she was still swallowing when they got their scores. It looks like Jen is quickly becoming the sentimental favorite this season, but one really nice thing about Jen is that she also CAN ACTUALLY DANCE These two seem totally safe this week – if the booing after they got their scores (which were still the highest of the week, but I agree – they should’ve been a point or two higher) is any indicator, there are a lot of fans in Jen’s camp, and they’re bound and determined to keep their girl in!
2.) Audrina & Tony – 2nd highest score of the week, and a hilarious bit about Tony having to wax his legs – plus a really well-choreographed quickstep that Audrina actually pulled off well. I gotta give Tony props – this was some great quickstep choreography. Very nice balance of basic steps and flashier tricks. Audrina definitely improved this week, and seemed to be a bit more comfortable moving her body this time. Still seems a bit tentative with her movements (and still not a lot of facial expressions), which I’m hoping continues to improve week after week. And DAMN – Audrina has got some wicked abs. I noticed them last week, but something about her dress this week just really drew my eyes to them. Great performance, great score, and great comedy. People will remember them, and memorability (is that a word? Call me Mama Palin ) equals votes. These two should be safe.
3.) Kyle & Lacey – There were two male contestants that had the hens in my office all a-twitter (and not actually on Twitter – half of them don’t even know what it is) last week – and Kyle was one of them. Can’t blame them – this kid is an absolute RIOT out on that floor. I always find myself so amused by him, his facial expressions, and the gusto with which he attacks each step. Is his technique impeccable? Hell no, but then again I don’t think any of Lacey’s partners have been praised heavily for their technique – if there’s one pro that can help their partner get by solely on showmanship, it’s Lacey. Luckily, though, Kyle does have some degree of skill…some skills I hope he continues to develop as the show progresses, because I have a feeling the judges may grow a bit weary of his sometime-sloppy (but very enthusiastic!) approach. Pretty sure their presence in the bottom 2 last week was a complete ruse, and these two will be one of the first announced as safe this week – especially with some very weak scores by other contestants lurking out there…
4.) Rick & Cheryl – This man continues to astound me, not only with that GORGEOUS megawatt smile of his (mmmm :-D) but also by his busting of every single stereotype there is on the show about very tall men. That jive was good, PERIOD. Not just “good for someone that’s 6-foot-7″ – he was light, he was crisp, he was on-time, and he was having a great time. It was a delight to watch – both he and Kurt are the two guys who give me warm fuzzies everytime they dance, because they seem like the two that are just so daggone happy to be there that they could get the lowest score of the week and still thank the judges for the opportunity to dance. I actually Rick & Cheryl were underscored a bit (Heidi concurs), but 21 is still a solid score, especially with the points spread so wide this week (I’ll leave it to my cohort to elaborate). They also have the boon of going first, which always helps.
5.) Bristol & Mark – If you had told me in the preseason that I’d be ranking these two this high, I would have laughed quite heartily before offering you a great deal on some swampland in Florida But something about Bristol seems very endearing and likeable, and a part of me is really wanting to see her do well on the show. This quickstep was pretty damn simple, yes, and probably overscored a bit; but Bristol seemed to roll with the punches (from Mark’s nose, hehe) quite well this week, and came across as very classy in this dance. She held her own and stayed on time. Loved her dress – thought she looked really pretty this week, in a very age-appropriate, understated way. Also seemed to love the way that she seemed to quietly laugh and shake her head like “Oh, mom” whenever Mama Palin talked. The simple fact that they got the coveted pimp spot this week tells me that they may be pulling in far more votes than we initially thought they were – I’m calling these two as safe for at least the next 2 weeks, especially if Bristol continues to improve.
6.) Brandy & Maks – Erm. Little bit of a stutter from these two this week – I don’t think the jive was really Brandy’s dance, as she definitely seemed to struggle to keep up and they did get off-time in a few spots. The parts where she was in control (like her solo, which I’m not sure was a very good choice choreographically – judges didn’t seem to like it), this girl looked great, and seemed like she was having the time of her life; unfortunately, those seemed outnumbered by the parts where she looked bewildered and out of breath. Had to chuckle a bit when Brandy pointed the finger at Maks for some iffy choreo, but also have to respect him for owning it – as opposed to throwing a shirt I think Brandy may one of the rare ladies that actually does better in the ballroom dances than the Latin ones, so hopefully she can recuperate with a foxtrot next week. I’m thinking Maks’ fanbase (which, if my office is any indicator, seems to have grown exponentially since last week!) will keep these two safe for awhile, but hopefully Brandy will improve - because with a competition this tight, it will turn out to be the battle of the fanbases.
7.) Kurt & Anna – Ahhh, my little ray of redheaded sunshine and her equally as lovable partner J Seriously – could this guy be any more adorable, and just an all-around class act? I actually really liked this jive too – Kurt kept up, his moves were clean, and he seemed to have a lot of fun with it. LOVED Anna’s costume! Wasn’t quite as tacky as I had hoped, but oh well – I’ll take good dancing over tacky themes if I can get it This was a vast improvement over last week. Kurt will likely have the NFL vote behind him for at least a few more weeks, and possibly more – if he improves from week-to-week like he did this time, he could actually make it to the semifinals. Team Evanna from last season seems to also be heavily throwing their support behind Team Kurtanna (poor Anna, there just aren’t a whole lot of creative team names to be made with a name like hers!), so these two will likely be safe as we weed out some of the less-skilled, less popular celebs.
8.) The Situation & Karina - I’ve got him this high solely because everyone seems to think he’s a riot, and look forward to hearing the crazy stuff he says each week. I really have to shake my head & chuckle a bit about the Sitch – for as much machismo and swagger as this guy throws around, he is completely INEPT when it comes to dancing – and he knows it, which is actually kind of endearing. Gotta give him props for effort – even if that effort doesn’t translate to a whole lot of success on the floor. This was pretty damn shuffly and out of step, but I did enjoy some of the more athletic parts – the little catch at the end was pretty cool. One thing that was very interesting to me – the Sitch seems to almost have the opposite problem of many of the guys on the show, in that he holds his frame too high as opposed to letting it crumble. Anywho, these two got a decent spot in the running order, and I think he’s still got the novelty factor on his side – but he will need to improve FAST in order to keep up with the Joneses in this competition. Interested to see his paso doble – I feel like it could be a turning point for him.
9.) Florence & Corky – Sorry, but I am just not feeling these two AT ALL. Blah. They do nothing for me – this routine was pretty damn boring, and it seemed like they were moving painfully slow for a quickstep. Ill-received comedy – blech. Uncomfortable shuffling and hauling Flo around the floor – blech. Corky is kinda disappointing me this season with his choreo - can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually preferred some of the stuff he gave Cloris to some of the stuff he’s giving Flo. At least she seems to have reigned in some of the awkward behavior this week. These two could possibly be in trouble, due to a bad running order position (the dreaded #2) and a relatively low score. But I think they’ll barely make it in under the wire, due to some REEEALLLY low scoring from certain others…
10.) Margaret & Louis – Props to Louis for not going for the slapstick comedy this week, but unfortunately this seemed rather unmemorable to me. I actually have to disagree with both Louis & Carrie Ann – Marge’s facial expressions would’ve improved this dance, which otherwise seemed just…blah. Yes, Marge did keep up pretty well, but she was pretty heavy on her feet and the choreo wasn’t super hard. Overall, kinda low energy. I think they could be in more danger this week than last week, due to sheer boredom on the part of the voters, but if their near-miss last week was any indicator, they may have more fans than we think. Likely in the bottom two; but could get ousted if there’s a miracle pulled off by…
11.) Michael & Chelsie - To quote my good friend Brian, who was texting me during the show: “It’s rare when I actually feel embarassed for someone, but that did it.” Ooh wee – this was painful to watch. I could tell Chelsie had thrown in the towel when she proposed that Michael come out of a doghouse at the beginning of their routine. Self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps? I’m not sure he’s even TRYING at this point…the odd semi-fight with Chelsie just made him seem kinda uptight to me, and I don’t even feel like he’s moving during his performances. My mom is convinced he’s deliberately trying to get sent home. I don’t think it was the WORST jive I’ve ever seen on the show (Master P’s will forever be the worst in my eyes), but it’s damn near close. Without doing the detailed math (I’ll leave that to Heidi), these two are gonna have to pull off a voting miracle in order to overcome the ridiculous point spread – and while I think Michael still may make women want to doff their undergarmets, I’m not sure its enough to counteract such a terrible score. I’m actually kinda hoping these two go home – it’s hard for me to watch Michael looked pained out on the floor, and it’s hard for me to see Chelsie have to put up with it. Sayonara, Bolton.
Ok folks, what say you? Will Michael make it out of the doghouse to foxtrot next week? Will Marge & Louis’ cautious routine be their undoing? Will Jenougher get the encore – can they even make it through a repeat performance? Will the Cheesecake Awards be epic? Let me answer that last one: YES.