Well, as high as my hopes were for “Guilty Pleasures” night, I’m left with mixed feelings this evening – definite highs and lows, some wonky scoring, and yet another unfortunate mishap. But hey, at least I’m not left with complete negativity like I was last week! 6 out of the 7 songs I predicted before the show were correct…but I didn’t get a Ralph & Karina paso to “Sunglasses at Night” A girl can dream…
1.) Hines & Kym – For the first time since week 1, I feel like I actually saw Hines a little bit off his game – this Viennese waltz seemed to lack the finesse that usually sets his performances apart from the other contestants. He seemed to get a little bit “ahead” of the beat at times, and looked kinda flat-footed to me. My best explanation? He couldn’t reconcile the fast tempo of the V. waltz with the romantic feel of it, and thus ended up somewhere in between the extremes – just kind of “blah” and more in his head than in the dance. Was it a bad dance? No. Did it leave an impression on me? No. Certainly wasn’t his best dance, and I thought it was overscored by a point or two. However, he does have the 2nd highest score of the night, and has been a fan favorite since day 1 – I get the feeling his support only grows week to week. With the points spread the way it is, his chances of going home are slim to none.
2.) Ralph & Karina – Though I’m still mourning the fact that “Sunglasses at Night” was not used as his music (*sniff*), I think this paso started off strong and had a lot of promise – Ralph attacked it with a fierceness I haven’t seen from him since week 1. Then came the 2nd “fall heard round the world” – aye dios mio. I really don’t want to see any other contestants – celebs or pros – falling down anymore this season. I feel horrible for them, even if they aren’t necessarily my favorite people. Karina looked like she was near tears, but I was impressed with how Ralph managed to keep going despite the mishap. Really & truly, as warped as this may sound – I think the fall may have helped them more than if they had done the whole routine without a hitch. High scores often bring complacency with voters – low scores and mishaps are what spur people to vote hard. And that’s exactly what I think will happen this week: Ralph’s fans are just going to vote that much harder to protect him from danger. Daniel-san has a few more weeks left in him, at least 😉
3.) Romeo & Chelsie – After the last beat of this waltz, I thought to myself “Wow…Romeo could be the wild card for the finale!” Seriously – if he continues to improve the way he has the past few weeks, I could see him possibly bumping one of the favorites (perhaps Ralph or Kirstie) out of the finale. He’s finally let go of the “cool guy” exterior, and seems to be throwing himself headlong into every dance – I gotta give the kid props, he really seems to get into the “character” of each dance. And his technique is improving too – this waltz was the smoothest and most controlled I’ve seen him so far. And nobody can accuse the kid of not being romantic – he laid a smooch on a very unsuspecting Chelsie at the end! He’s tied for the high score this week, and seems to be gaining support on Twitter – more and more people seem to be taking notice of him each week. My only concern is that he may be sharing a voting demographic with Chelsea – people voting for “young & charming” may be dividing their votes between the two of them, which could result in one or both of them getting sent home earlier than expected. I think he ought to be ok this week, but he could be a possible “shock elim” in the coming weeks…
4.) Kirstie & Maks – Wow. Kirstie did a lot better than I thought she would with this samba – especially since the music was not great. Was it perfect, or her best performance? No. But it was good to see a little bit of the attitude back from her cha-cha the first week, and overall, it was entertaining – even if she mess up a few times. Was really impressed that she handled the samba rolls so well – gotta give credit to both Maks & Karina for not holding back this season & dishing out one of the most difficult samba moves. Thankfully, I think these two are in a good place this week – not so high as to make their voters complacent, and not so low as to be in legitimate danger. But let’s just hope they can carry this momentum for the next few weeks, because we are definitely in “shock elim” territory.
5.) Chelsea & Mark – Something about this quickstep left me very uneasy – well, a few things actually. This was the first time I’ve seen Chelsea actually look uncomfortable out on the floor. Even when doing her “rule-breaking” jive and “risk-taking” Viennese waltz, she looked perfectly at ease. At times tonight during this quickstep, she looked completely lost to me – a strained smile, a tense frame, and a look in her eye that seemed to say “I’m holding on for dear life.” Mark was Mark-squared this week – exaggerating every bounce & flick, which just seemed to draw even more attention to the fact that Chelsea wasn’t moving with her usual energy. I would even go so far as to say that I saw this same “trying to keep my head above water” cry for help on Shannen’s face a year ago, when doing Mark’s exceptionally difficult Viennese waltz. I just wish he could scale things back in order to suit his partner’s abilities – that’s all. Here’s what I think their big problem is – despite their high score, I don’t know if they’re going to be memorable enough this week – Hines is Mr. Consistent, and is likely getting loyal voters each week; Kirstie had a comeback week; Romeo had a breakthrough week; and Ralph had a live television accident week. Is anyone going to really remember this dance amongst all that excitement? Plus, they’re tied for the high score – a dangerous place to be if your fanbase is iffy, since it also breeds complacence…ask Audrina. If there was going to be a shock elimination this week, I’d say it would be these two – there’s just several factors at work that, if combined, could result in disaster. Do I think they deserve to go home? Hell no. But I wouldn’t rule it out completely, either.
6.) Kendra & Louis – Kendra’s best performance, but it’s not really saying much considering she has been a rather big letdown for me this season. Yes, Kendra had a lot of fun tonight and it showed – but this was 80% gyrating and only 20% actual samba, and the little samba I saw was pretty atrocious. I just don’t think she really knows what to do with her arms & legs sometimes – I guess the word “flaily” describes it best. At least she seemed to try to keep the attitude to a minimum this week (aside from an eye roll or two). Do I think she deserves to stick around, based on her performances so far? No. I’d say she’s probably the least improved of the remaining dancers, and will likely get eaten alive if she manages to eek out another week on the show. But I think this week we’re finally gonna get to see if her fanbase is as “huge” as it claims itself to be – she isn’t at the bottom of the leaderboard for once (she’s got a 3 point cushion), and she’s not up against someone like Petra with a small fanbase. Will her fans rally, since the urgency is not there?
7.) Chris & Cheryl – Ugh. I really wanted these two to do better tonight – but unfortunately, I think they kinda got the score they deserved However, I’m going to partially blame the music – I don’t think either of them were thrilled that they got “Don’t Stop Believing”, as it seemed like they both never really connected with the dance. Honestly, this song & the tango are a complete disconnect – a fierce, aggressive dance paired with a song about hope and perseverence? No wonder these two looked lost! Chris seemed terrified with every step – as if he might shatter the floor if he moved too quickly – and I’m a bit disappointed with Cheryl for reverting to her “I’m just gonna dance around my partner and hope no one notices” ways that she used with Chad & Rick. This week was not good, but if I’m looking at all Chris’ performances so far – I’d say he just had an off-week and deserves to stay more than Kendra, since I do think he’s improving. And I do think he has at least a mediocre chance of overtaking Kendra to stick around – especially since he’s been around longer and probably has a more popular pro to bolster his vote totals. Can he do it? We shall see.
Ok folks, weigh in: was “guilty pleasures” night better or worse than you expected? Do you think Kendra can survive another week, or is her time up? Will ABC continue to pimp the Pia/Mark (with minor supporting cast Karina) performance? (Ok, we can pretty much guarantee that last one ;-)) What say you?