Let me just preface these rankings with this warning: I’m suffering from, quite possibly, the worst bout of hayfever I’ve had in years, and I think the judges smoked a whole lotta something strong before taking to the table tonight, because the scoring was just WHACK. Translation: I’m kinda miserable and probably going to be doing some bitching & moaning. Capeesh?
1.) Audrina & Tony – RIDICULOUSLY overscored, in my opinion, but that score will likely make them untouchable this week. It was a very nice, pretty waltz, but I don’t think it was worthy of two 9′s. Audrina is still pretty tentative in her movement and seems to get this vacant stare from time to time that really keeps her from connecting 100% to the dance. I give them props for doing a decent job of telling a story (on a night where I think a lot of the couples seem to forget the whole TELL A STORY part…), and Audrina really does seem to be a sweet girl who gets along well with her partner. But I think she’s running the risk of becoming unmemorable unless she really starts to shake things up a bit. These two got a good running order position (midpoint of the show), a great score, and are still riding the coattails of the whole leg waxing gag…they’re safe.
2.) Jennifer & Derek – Man, all that speculation over what song they were gonna use – only to have them dance to a minor hit that really didn’t have anything to do with teachers & students! But this was still totally adorable, and I gotta be honest – I actually think this samba was better than the one Nicole did. Don’t know if it was the choreography, the theme, or Jen’s damn good execution, but even with the mistake I thought it was a really strong performance. Loved that they redid it on the fly – and redid it perfectly Interested to see if they get rumba or Argentine tango next week – I’m sure they’ll knock either one out of the park, but I think I’d rather see them challenged a bit more with the tango, since they’ve already done one really romantic dance (their Viennese waltz). Good running order, good score (although I think they were STILL underscored by a point), and Jennifer’s developing quite a following on her own. Carry on, Jenougher
3.) Brandy & Maks – Oh man, I’m putting this out there now: this time tomorrow people will be talking “smack-gate”. I personally couldn’t care much less if he slaps Brandy’s butt or hands – as long as Brandy’s ok with it, more power to him. It seemed to work, as Brandy was back on her game this week and seemed comfortable and on-beat with their samba this week. I think Jennifer’s technique was stronger, but Brandy definitely gave her a run for her money – she was holding her on in this one, and I actually really liked the whole Bodyguard theme. One glaring instance of crack smokage by the judges tonight – what didn’t they get about the storyline? Maks was there, doing what bodyguards do – surveying the perimeter and being stoic. What the hell did they want him to do, walk out in front of her before every step and slap some obsessed fans’ hands out of the way? Jeebus. ANYWHO, I still think their combined popularity and decent score will keep them safe for many weeks to come – as long as they can keep up the momentum.
4.) Kurt & Anna – Ok, I think this may have been my favorite performance of the night Just made me smile and go “Awwww!” from the first step to the last – Kurt is really just the sweetest, calmest, most charming guy ever. If The Sitch is the lovable dork, then Kurt is the teddy bear of the show – the bit with his twin girls just made me melt. And dude – he improved MAJORLY this week! I was afraid that he’d revert back to his nervous awkwardness from the first week, since he had a ballroom dance this week – but he must’ve really buckled down and worked with Anna, because I thought this was just lovely. And I found myself shouting obscenities at the TV when Bruno got a smug look on his face and threw up the “7″ paddle. I’m really starting to hate that guy. Still a good score, and a vast improvement – the only thing that worries me is their running order. Why the hell do they keep getting shoved to 2nd & 3rd position? It’s bad news bears territory…but luckily for them, I think there are still couples who are weaker and not as well liked that need to go home before Kurt even touches the danger zone (no pun intended ;-))
5.) Rick & Cheryl – One of the couples I had a bit of a beef with, due to the fact that they really didn’t do much to convey their storyline (seriously? Loser in a bar just gets hit on by a hot chick out of the blue and dances a sexy dance, despite losing an NBA championship?), but at least they made up for it with some pretty good dancing. Rick still continues to wow me with his ability to tackle very fine movements despite his height, and the ass shakin’ was not too shabby, hehe. I think I preferred his jive to this samba, but I’m wondering what he’s gonna pull out next week – I think he’s gonna be better off with the tango, but I’m getting the sinking feeling he might get the rumba instead. Hmmm. Anywho, this season’s ladies’ man got the pimp spot and a pretty good score, so he ain’t goin’ anywhere this week.
6.) Kyle & Lacey – Ok, another couple I have a beef with, but for a different reason. So apparently you can now demand a better song if you don’t like the one you’re dealt??? I thought it was a bit of a cop-out on their part – I think a good choreographer (and an open-minded partner!) can make any song work for them, given enough effort. That said – this was a pretty good waltz. Kyle continues to be the actor, really getting into the character of each dance; his technique seems to be improving a TEENSY bit, but I daresay the judges are becoming progressively less swayed by his charisma and are beginning to notice his footwork more. Luckily, they had a good score and a cute storyline, so they should be good – but Lacey, a warning: you have GOT to focus on Kyle’s technique. The energy you two generate is only going to carry you so far!
7.) The Situation & Karina – I gotta hand it to the Sitch – I feel like the poor guy is really giving it his all, and very well might turn out to be the “little engine that could” this season. He’s a terribly awkward mover, yes; but I do notice a bit of improvement each week, and at least this week he managed to stay on time. And props to them for dealing with the crappiest song assignment of the night – take heed, Kyle & Lacey! – and managing to make something oddly entertaining out of it. The one thing that worries me is that he actually seemed to let nerves get the better of him tonight – I almost like him better when he’s a bit more of a trainwreck, but at least he’s laughing and smiling. Maybe I’m being optimistic, but I think he’ll be okay again this week – he seems to be gaining more supporters with each goofy comment, and the fact that they keep putting him towards the end of the show seems like an encouraging sign.
8.) Margaret & Louis – Y’know, these two always seem to start out strong…and then abandon good dancing altogether and generally seem to shoot themselves in the foot for the other 2/3 of the dance. What a freaking disaster. How many actual samba steps were in this one? And how many of them did Margaret actually do on time? Forget a storyline – there wasn’t one. And while I admire them for standing up for their cause – I’m not sure this was the best way to do it, and I’m not sure how well-received it’s going to be. However, these two seem to be stayin’ alive so far, so they must have a pretty strong voting fanbase, so I don’t think these two will be leaving us this week, despite that trainwreck of a samba. But man, as we weed out some of the less popular dancers, they better be ready to work if they want to stick around.
9.) Bristol & Mark – I actually felt really, really bad for Bristol this week – I felt like she got raked across the coals for a dance that wasn’t really all that bad and wasn’t necessarily her fault for being mediocre. Was this a super electrifying foxtrot? No, but it wasn’t painful to watch either, and she stayed on time and did manage to convey some emotion. I’m a bit irked with Mark, though, because Len’s complaint that the dance was “too contemporary” seems to be something that’s really more his fault – wasn’t a fan of his who little dance solo at the beginning. Yes, she needs to come out of her shell, but really – I can think of 2 other acts tonight that I thought were overall worse, and I actually think she’s a better dancer than the Situation. That being said – she could be in trouble. I’m not quite sure how much of a voting fanbase she has, but I think her continued presence is the result of a combo of decent scores and decent voting…and now that the scores have slipped, I’m not sure the votes can compensate for it. Guess we’ll have to wait and see…
10.) Florence & Corky – Snooze, barf, cringe, snooze again. Repeat! When I’m not comparing watching these two move in slo-mo to watching grass grow (the latter is more entertaining, IMO), I’m upchucking my Claritin watching them do gimmicky crap like kissing. I didn’t think the dance told a story, I didn’t think there was any real technique or improvement from last week, I didn’t even think the choreo was good – and these two are dancing in the crap spot AGAIN, so I’m thinking they could be the next to go. Or maybe I’m hoping they’ll be the next to go, because they’ve really just been plain weird this season. Arrrgghhh…who knows. I have to pick someone to go home, and I think they’re the most likely candidates. Sorry Mrs. Brady.
So on the whole - did you guys love or hate storytelling week? Have any favorite/least favorite performances? Any bets on whether Boltongate has died down enough for Michael to perform this week without a heckling from Bruno? Cure me of my hayfever by hollering at me!