Gee, funny what happens when you don’t have a specific “theme” night – you actually get some pretty good dancing, across the board! I don’t think anyone really “sucked” tonight – granted, there were no “perfect” routines, but I think all the couples stepped their game up quite a bit this week. The question is – are the judges strategically scoring in order to keep their favorites safe and get rid of the others? After tonight, I have no doubt in my mind that that’s exactly what they’re doing. Definite over and under-scoring going on. And it all makes me want to go back previous seasons, when there were definite ringers and we didn’t have mediocre dancing rammed down our throats as being 10-worthy. Hmph. On with it…
1.) Hines & Kym - I found myself laughing the hardest while watching Hines dance tonight – and unfortunately, I think I was laughing AT him, rather than WITH him. The poor guy got not one, but TWO completely silly dances tonight, and by the end of the night I’m fairly certain he felt like a complete nincompoop, especially with his teammates watching :-) What likely soothed that blow to his ego was some definite overscoring from the judges. I’m sorry, but a 28 for a foxtrot that, in my opinion, looked kinda jumpy & flaily? Negative, ghostrider. MAYBE 26-worthy. Granted, Hines did seem to be having quite a bit of fun, but it doesn’t change the fact that his feet were bad, his arms were out of control, and he seemed to be a bit rushed at times. It was fun and it made me happy, but it was overscored…sorry, Steeler Nation. As for his instant jive…*sigh*. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched Hines try to muddle through that one looking like a little lost black/Korean leprechaun :-D I give him points for effort, but when he wasn’t missing steps, he was barely moving his feet; and when he was moving his feet, he was missing steps. I guess I’m a bit spoiled, after that phenomenal instant jive Kyle did last season – seriously, go back and watch it on Youtube, then watch Hines’ and tell me with a straight face that Hines’ was as good or better than Kyle’s. I DARE you. Kyle was fearless and didn’t miss a beat. Hines…not so much. I do kinda feel for Hines, though – I worry that he may have peaked too early, and thus set the bar pretty damn high for himself…because these past few weeks, I’ve found myself going “He can do better than this.” Regardless of what I think, Hines has been Mr. Consistent this season (even if Hines’ consistent isn’t in the same ballpark as a J. Grey or Nicole “consistent”), and I doubt that’s going to change. Plus he’s got a pretty damn good cushion to keep him safe – guess your plot worked, judges. *eye roll*
2.) Chelsea & Mark – As much as I LOVED that Chelsea stood up to Mark at the beginning of the show and made it clear that his outbursts shouldn’t be reflected as her own opinions about the show, I think these two were overscored as well. Aaaand cue the “Mark hater!” accusations from the peanut gallery :-) But peanuts, beware – don’t come out swinging if you aren’t capable of having a mature, logical argument. My trigger finger is comfortably rested on the “delete” button for those who chose to fling insults or try to tell people they’re wrong. Anyway…the waltz was a definite improvement, yes; but I have to agree with Len – the emotion was a bit over-the-top, and I could have done without the kiss…a kiss that early in the dance just says to me “I have nothing truly dynamic in my bag of tricks, so this is my one ‘Look at me!’ move!” It just reads as kind of desperate, and I would have preferred some sort of dramatic sweep across the floor or some well-executed spins from Chelsea instead. What I did see from her was quite pretty – she turns well and extends her arms very nicely. As for their salsa – let me put it this way: I know of no bona fide salseros that move with such staccato as Mark. Didn’t the judges even say later on that salsa was supposed to be a relaxed, FLUID club dance? Mark was not moving fluidly at all, and it just made it hard to pay attention to Chelsea with him moving so spastically – plus it seemed to throw her off a bit. Yes, she did all her moves and threw some good attitude into it; but I kinda felt like she was just going though the motions of her routine, like in her head she was like “Ok, what’s next? Ok turn and look and arms and head and turn again and…” without any regard to the music. I guess I just kinda hoped she could connect better with the music. But hey, it doesn’t really matter what I think, because the judges have also done a quite nice job of shielding her from elimination as well.
3.) Kirstie & Maks – As much as I love Kirstie, I would be lying if I said I didn’t think her A. tango was a bit overscored. I was definitely impressed that Maks threw in a couple of lifts and it didn’t seem to phase Kirstie; they were smooth & well-executed. I thought she kept up pretty well with the footwork – but there were a few moments of uncertainty, and overall I think the routine was a bit elementary. Ditto for her salsa – I think she kept up semi-well for most of it, but it was also choreographically the least complicated of the 3 salsas we saw tonight. She did do a pretty damn good job of getting into character, though – she smoldered in the tango and was sassy in the salsa. But here’s my biggest problem: she’s starting to get a bit lost in the shuffle to me. She’s neither failing miserably nor truly excelling, so I find myself with a bit of writer’s block with her – I just don’t have a whole lot to say. What I can say, though, is that the judges clearly seem to want keep her around at least through this week (and possibly to the finale), with the way they’re scoring her. The question is: do they love her as much as they seem to love Hines & Chelsea, or could she become a sacrificial lamb should Romeo or Ralph bust some serious moves next week? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see next week, since she too has a pretty good cushion from the judges, on top of her huge fanbase.
4.) Romeo & Chelsie – Poor Romeo certainly seemed like one of the judges’ favorite punching bags tonight. He just couldn’t seem to catch a break – he does a tango that, in my opinion, was cleaner than Hines’ foxtrot and every bit as good as Chelsea’s waltz – and he gets scored lower than both, and Carrie Ann just can’t help but nitpick about some “iffy” footwork. EVERYONE tonight had some moments of iffy footwork – it was just a matter of whether the judges chose to call them out on it or conveniently look the other way. I thought his lead in the tango was great, and his head snaps were incredibly crisp and on-time. He looked great during the pivots. When it came to the instant dance, I have to say – I feel like Romeo was really the only one tonight that actually seemed to connect to the music, rather than just bulldozing through it. Did he miss steps in his salsa? Of course. But did it feel like he was actually trying to dance to the beat? YES. Plus the kid just seems to be having a blast out there – if I were in a salsa club and saw him grooving, I would definitely ask him to dance. But alas, the judges just don’t seem to be feeling the Romeo love – by the way they scored this week, it looks to me like they’re definitely setting us up for a Ralph & Romeo bottom 2 tomorrow night. Which sucks, because I feel like Romeo has probably improved the most of all the contestants left this season. I think due to scoring, he’s at least cleared to make it to the semi-finals; but just watch, next week – he will be at the bottom of the scoreboard, regardless of how well he dances. God I hate storyboarding.
5.) Ralph & Karina – I knew Ralph was going to have a rough night if he did indeed chose to dance – and I have to give him mad, mad props for doing so despite his injury. However, what I didn’t expect was a near-complete lack of sympathy from the judges – both in scores and in critiques. Aside from a few tiny moments of what had to be intense pain, I really didn’t notice any huge missteps in his Viennese waltz – he was still moving fluidly & extending those gorgeous arms of his. And that smoldering pose at the end?! MAGIC. I thought 25 was a decent score, but it wouldn’t have killed the judges to toss in an extra point for dancing injured or something. Ralph was a SOLDIER out there tonight. As for his instant cha-cha – cute, valiant effort by both Ralph & Karina, and like Romeo, Ralph actually seemed to let go and really have fun out there. It was as if he just said “Y’know what? F*ck it. I’m just gonna enjoy myself…except for the pain in this leg.” :-) But man, the judges just seemed to love rubbing salt in Ralph’s wound after that dance – a fleeting moment of “nice try” followed by a barrage of “The technique wasn’t there, you got off time, yadda yadda yadda yadda…” It was all just too much for me, especially since they were soooo understanding of Kirstie’s fall & shoe malfunction…and that mess of a jive. But hey, I guess that’s what happens when you aren’t one of the judges’ “chosen ones”. Now I did a quick calculation of the numbers…and either I’ve done it completely wrong, or the judges really and truly screwed Ralph this time. I mean, REALLY screwed the poor guy – I’m not sure his huge fanbase, which has saved him from the bottom several times now, could come close to overcoming it. And then there’s my looming suspicion that Ralph may decide to withdraw tomorrow night – I know he said it’s an injury that is supposedly going to heal in a few days, but when you only have about 5 days to crank out 2 more dances, is it going to be enough? And will it be fully healed in time to deal with the demanding 4-dance schedule of the finale? I just don’t know…part of me is praying for a miracle, that Ralph’s fans manage to pull off the impossible; and part of me is kinda wishing he’d bow out gracefully and not risk injuring himself further. It all just makes me very, very sad :-(
Well, kids, I guess that’s all I have left to say for tonight. What did you guys think of tonight’s scoring?