Ugh. Can I just say that, with the exception of maybe 3 performances, I felt really let down by this week? All the hype about it being acoustic & intimate & passionate – forget it. Music sounded the same to me (and most of it was positively sucktastic), the stage seemed to really throw some couples off, and I still hate the whole 2-score concept – seemed like it gave the judges an excuse to be even more cockamamie in their scoring. But anyway, here we go…
1.) Jennifer & Derek – FINALLY – for the first time this season, I feel like they were scored properly. So clean, so committed, so clever - this was some more stellar Argentine tango choreography from Derek, and some near flawless execution from Jen. I honestly got a little worried when I saw her struggling so much during the package – but for no reason. This was spot-on, and one of the few I really enjoyed tonight. I liked that they opted to forgo they super-high, impressive lifts, and just stuck with very well-executed simple ones (in which Jen was securely supported ;-)). Loved the little bit with the piano at the beginning. Safe
2.) Audrina & Tony – Ok, valiant effort by Audrina – but I’m still seeing ceiling eyes, and still a certain tentativeness in her movement. She moves well, but not with the same conviction I see from Jen; I almost get the feeling that she’s kinda looking to Tony for visual reassurance after each move, like “Am I doing this right?” Nevertheless, this was a pretty hot tango…really liked the dip at the end. I agree with Len, though – the music kinda threw me, and felt more like a paso than an Argentine tango. But they did get the pimp spot and a good score, so I’m willing to bet they’re bringing in the votes.
3.) Brandy & Maks – This one is really a head-scratcher for me. Brandy’s dress was my favorite tonight, and I think they got the music best-suited to rumba – plus it’s just a bloody GORGEOUS song. However, she kinda wavered in this dance for me – parts of it I loved (the dramatic dip, the eyes closed while embracing Maks), and parts of it left me going “WTF?” (mainly the laying down at the beginning and end, and her arms – which are still flaily & pretty damn bad). I feel like she was a bit overscored on technique, as she just seemed to be walking through her steps at times. However, she did seem to convey the dramatic, over-the-moon-in-love feeling of the rumba the best of all the couples tonight. They got the crap spot, and it seems like support for Brandy is waning (which I don’t quite understand, but oh well – it’s happening nonetheless), but I think we still have another week or two of eliminating bad dancers before we have a “shock” elimination.
4.) Kyle & Lacey – I actually have to give both Kyle and Lacey props tonight – the former did a decent job of improving his technique (although it was still a bit jerky) and conveying the mood of the rumba, and the latter managed to choreograph something very age-appropriate and well-suited to Kyle’s abilities. Thought they were a little underscored on performance. And I will repeat – Kyle’s charm is becoming less potent to the judges by the week, and they are beginning to nitpick about technique. I worry he may not be improving fast enough to keep up with some of the other couples that are making bigger strides. Decent running order (top of the 2nd hour), and decent score, so I’m calling these two safe.
5.) Rick & Cheryl – *sigh* Big letdown from these two this week. For as accomplished as Cheryl claims to be in Argentine tango, this one didn’t any different than her A. tango with Chad last season – she did most of the dancing, and he was just kinda “there” for her. Which sucks, because the few big moves he did pull out seemed pretty good – was impressed by how a guy with such long legs and big feet was still able to do some decent gaunchos. However, I felt the same disconnect from him that I felt from Audrina – he never quite got into the groove of the dance. Luckily for him, he’s pretty and the ladies love him, and there’s still crappier couples that need to go home first.
6.) Kurt & Anna – Felt bad for these two – feel like the judges really came down hard on them for what really wasn’t a terrible performance. Yes, Kurt still is struggling with his arms; and yes, this was a pretty basic routine without a whole lot of flashy moves. But I feel like he managed to stay on time, and overally it was an appropriately clean, sweet performance from a guy who felt uncomfortable dancing so “intimately” with a woman who wasn’t his wife (awwww :-)). Hopefully they’ll get a ballroom dance next week, because I think Kurt’s better able to connect with the ballroom dances. Good running order position, not the worst score of the night, and the NFL vote still in effect – safe.
7.) The Situation & Karina – Maaaan…were these two like the judges’ punching bag this week? As “chaotic” as this tango may have been – Sitch didn’t let me down, and he DOMINATED those lifts. Yes, the few simple steps he did were pretty shaky, but on the whole, I actually really enjoyed this performance – the whole steamy, sleazy feel of the tango seems to suit him well. Plus his pecs looked great – seriously, they should have a name of their own, since his abs are the Situation…maybe we call his pecs “The Seduction”? Who knows Maybe I’m being overly optimistic here, but I’m calling these two safe – maybe bottom 2 material, but I don’t think they’re going home. The points spread seems pretty close, and I think Bristol’s fanbase might be waning a bit…and people just might be getting tired of awkward moments with…
8.) Florence & Corky – Clearing God was smiling upon me tonight when he decided to make my DVR cut out nearly all of this rumba The last 20 seconds or so, which I did catch, didn’t surprise me much – awkward, icky, and inappropriately sleazy for someone like Florence. Maybe I missed some really great part of it, which is why they were scored so much better than both Sitch & Karina and Bristol & Mark, but I can’t imagine they were really that great. And if what you guys are saying is representative of most of America, then their schtick seems to wearing on everyone, and I doubt they’ll last much longer.
9.) Bristol & Mark – Not terrible, but definitely the non-event of the evening. Bristol is just so – calm. No real emotion; no real commitment to any step. This just seemed like a rumba “stroll” – no real hard-hitting steps (unless you count Mark doffing his shirt – GIMMICK ALERT! Boy must be desperate.) Now while I don’t have any personal beef with Bristol or her family (and for the love of god, guys, please don’t turn the comment section into a gripefest about her personal life – I’m tired of hearing everyone bitch about everything except her dancing), I think this may have been the final nail in the coffin for her…she really needed to own this performance this week, and it didn’t happen. And Mark’s act of desperation didn’t help, either. Bye bye, Bristol the Pistol!
Talk to me, kids – were you as let down by Acoustic Night as I was? Who’s going home? Who’s getting the encore? And who else is as pumped as I am for Goo Goo Dolls & Forever Tango tomorrow night on the results show? :-D And have you all gotten your entries in for the week 3 caption contest?