Phew! Ok, I’m very happy to admit that the 200th episode extravaganza was not nearly as big of a trainwreck as I was worried it would be (then again, anything is an improvement after rock week *shudder*) Overall I enjoyed tonight’s show, and didn’t think anyone really did terribly – although I think it will come down to who was memorable and who wasn’t. If Audrina’s elimination was any sort of reminder, it’s that you can really blow it and still have a decent chance of coming back the following week…but if you’re boring, you’re in trouble. As predicted, the guest judges were incredibly lovey-dovey with their scoring, and I was surprised to see the judges throw out every paddle lower than 7. But anyway…on with the rankings!
1.) Jennifer & Derek – Was glad to see these two knock this tango out of the park after such a rough week last week, and I think this was one of the routines that was actually an improvement on the original – I actually thought to myself while watching the snippet of Drew’s routine “Wow, that would not get a 30 these days!” The scoring has definitely gotten tougher, but luckily these two rose to the occasion and managed to pound out a strong, clean, dramatic tango. And for as run-down as Jennifer was looking in the rehearsals, I was also quite impressed with how well she was keeping up with Derek’s fast footwork in the Team Apolo cha-cha – she may have looked a little winded at a few moments, but she stayed in step! Speaking of Team Apolo – I’ve gotta say, they definitely were the team that was closer choreography-wise to true formation dancing, and they had the more interesting floor patterns and timing (loved the spins in sequential timing – was also a move they did in the Team Gaga cha-cha last season, which leads me to believe that Derek had a big role in choreographing this one). Anywho, I think Jen fans will rally after her slipup last week, and these two are memorable enough to remain this week.
2.) Brandy & Maks – These two were a very close 2nd to Jennifer & Derek, but I think the latter had the slight edge in having a comeback week. This foxtrot was RIDICULOUSLY HOT…I haven’t felt that kind of heat between those two since their Viennese waltz the first week (which I also found RIDICULOUSLY hot ;-)) Brandy finally seems to be figuring out what to do with her arms, and seemed to really nail the rhythm and the sensuality of the foxtrot. I actually didn’t see the mistake they allegedly made – I’ll have to go rewatch it and see what happened – but since I didn’t see it, it didn’t detract from the dance for me at all. Good job in the team cha-cha, aside from a few moments of wonky arms. I have only one complaint about Brandy this week (and it’s a real nitpickity one): when Brandy goes for the sexy/sensual face, she has a tendency to squint – and it makes me giggle a little, because it reminds me of the look I get on my face after about 3 glasses of champagne when I think I’m the hottest thing on the planet that no man can resist, when really, I’m just that tipsy girl at the bar who looks like she’s farsighted. Anywho, squinting aside, these two will be back for another round.
3.) Rick & Cheryl – Here’s my take on Rick these days: he does the very best he can with what he’s got, and what he’s got is a whole lot of height and a whole lot of heart I think his biggest problem is that he compensates for his height by moving smaller, which seems to slow him down a bit – and that’s exactly what I think happened in this quickstep. Watching Helio & Julianne’s version, the thing that stands out most to me is the speed of it…I didn’t get that sort of speed from Rick & Cheryl’s version. Granted, Rick looked like he was having the most fun of anyone out there tonight – biggest smile, all sorts of goofy faces, and just a really good energy – but I felt like he was reigning himself in a bit just due to his height difference with Cheryl. And that may be something that he’s just going to have to deal with for the duration of his time on the show. *sigh* it’s times like these I wish they had brought back Anna D., who could have easily partnered Rick with her height. But anyway – he did pretty well in the Team Kristi cha-cha for not having done cha-cha yet, although I still felt that same feeling of him “holding back” a bit due to his size. All that aside, though, I think these two had one of the more memorable dances tonight (and definitely one of the most high-energy!), and Rick is starting to show a lot more personality, which is an issue I’ve had with him so far. Nice to see him coming out of his shell – and I’m sure the female voting population agrees
4.) Kurt & Anna – Felt a little bit bad for these two, because I feel like they got stuck with the crappiest “iconic dance” to recreate – Emmitt’s iconically BAD tango. But hey, there’s nowhere to go but up, right? And up they did go – this tango was leaps & bounds better than his paso last week (as well as Emmitt’s original version), and he was the proverbial “lovable drunk uncle at a wedding” in the Team Apolo cha-cha – he stayed on-time and they seemed to give him choreography that hid his weaknesses while capitalizing on his goofiness. One more note on the tango (and this is another nitpickity thing I noticed tonight) – Kurt seems to struggle on simple moves like walks, where he has a tendency to kinda “mow over” Anna a bit; but he does great on dynamic moves like pivots and Viennese crosses, which come out really smooth. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher for me. Moving on…if there’s anything we learned about Kurt’s fanbase last week, it’s that it’s MASSIVE – they may not come out in huge numbers like they did last week to save him, but they’re there nonetheless, keeping him around. I think they’ll do it again this week.
5.) Kyle & Lacey – Definitely the strongest pair in Team Kristi (wise move putting this charismatic kid towards the end of it), and I feel like this was actually a bit of an improvement in terms of energy-level upon Mel B.’s original. However, this is the one routine of the night that felt for me more like pieces of the original glued together with some new steps. Gave me a bit of a disjointed feeling. Now while I think Kyle is actually improving week after week, I’m beginning to wonder if his impish charm is gonna help him beat out voting juggernauts like Kurt. I worry that these two may be running out of juice, and they could possibly be going home this week. I guess we’ll see…
6.) Bristol & Mark - Just you watch…I put them in the bottom, they’ll last another week just to spite me. Now while I don’t think these two necessarily did terribly this week, I do think they became a non-event – not great, not bad, no real breakthroughs…they just faded into the woodwork this week with a lethargic take on Kelly’s Viennese waltz. It definitely lacked the joy & whimsy of the original, and I did find it a bit telling that this was the only dance of the night that didn’t get a ten, either from a regular judge or a guest judge. As for the Team Kristi cha-cha – no big surprises. Bristol seemed to get a bit lost, and moved when Mark made her move. Not terrible – just a non-event. The more I think about it, the more I think these two may just be forgotten this week. And I don’t think there’s any arguing that she’s the weakest all-around dancer (in terms of both technique and performance quality) still left in the competition. And if America is as annoyed with Mark’s “Bristallion!” moniker for her as I am- they may just say screw it and wave bye-bye to her this week.
Alright masses – who had fun at the viewing party? And what did you guys conclude about this week? HOLLER!