Let me just get it off my chest first: the judges are on crack. Plain & simple. And sometimes, I like the kind of crack they’re smoking…other times, I don’t. Tonight was a bit of both.
I don’t think the instant jive really benefited anyone except JR, and even though everyone else really struggled, I don’t think it really & truly screwed anyone except Nancy – but then again, the judges seemed hellbent on screwing her over after scoring her first dance, so I can’t really say I was surprised. Oh well…on with it…
1.) JR & Karina – I’m sure many of you saw me gushing about these two on Twitter, and I have to say – both of their routines were my favorites of the night, as they were both good dances with great entertainment value. In fact, JR’s jive may have overtaken Kyle’s as my favorite instant dance ever. But I’m actually in agreement with a lot of you that they were not exactly worthy of not one, but TWO perfect 30’s. I think I saw a few timing issues in his waltz where his footwork got a bit wonky, and his jive felt a bit disjointed in a few spots – for which I’m actually going to blame Karina’s choreographic strategy, since the whole “choreograph in pieces and then put them together” method runs the risk of there not being enough transitions between sections. However, I will say this: with all of the overscoring going on tonight, is it really all that surprising that someone got a perfect score? I mean, if they’re suddenly giving Hope (who has gotten in the neighborhood of 24’s for most of the season) a 27, it kinda sets the bar high – not to say that it’s right or fair, but it does put them in the sticky situation of having to then go even higher on dances that are better…and I would daresay that JR & Karina were head & shoulders above Hope & Maks in both dances, so I guess 60 just doesn’t feel totally outrageous to me. Aaaaaanywho…since they really seem to have given another couple their walking papers, I think JR & Karina oughta be safe…for now. I’m fulling expecting backlash next week, so I’m warming up my voting finger!
2.) Hope & Maks – This is the portion of my post where I remind everyone that the power rankings are not my opinion of who did the best or who I like the most , but who I think has the most staying power. And this week, Hope & Maks seem to have quite a bit of staying power, with the scores they got. While her quickstep was a vast improvement from previous weeks (I still say her foxtrot was her best dance, though), I firmly believe that Hope deserved at least 2 points less than Rob, for the simple reason that Rob had the more difficult choreo and I thought he handled it more fluidly and with more skill than Hope did with her routine. I think 25 was probably about right for her jive, and it was a pleasant surprise to see her staying on-time and actually having fun – but man, she still looks like she just muscling her way through it. The catch-22 of jive is that it IS difficult & high-energy, but a well-done jive is supposed to look effortless & kinda “springy”. Hope looked like she was about to go all Bruce Lee on someone, with the force with which she was doing those flicks! Take it with a grain of salt, but compared to a very similar side-by-side section in JR & Karina’s routine, Hope looks amateurish, with the way she’s kicking her legs out with such force. But enough technique for now. I know there’s still quite a bit of buzz about these 2 after last week, so I daresay they’ll live to dance another week.
3.) Ricki & Derek – Ricki did seem to have a little bit of an off-week, and her Achilles’ heel this time around seemed to me like it was continuity – I found sections of both her waltz & her jive where she seemed to just stop for a second before starting back up again. Continuity is especially important in the waltz, so I guess I noticed it a bit more in that dance; it didn’t bother me so much in her jive, because it seemed like a problem that EVERYONE had this week. But with that said – I still think she was a bit underscored in the waltz. I would have given her a point or 2 more. I may have given her a point more in her jive to at least tie her with Hope – I don’t think Hope’s jive was cumulatively any better than Ricki’s, although they both had different strengths & weaknesses. I do think these two deserve to advance, and I do think they belong in the final – so I’m hoping their fans are power-voting right now, since it wasn’t really Ricki’s best week. Again, with the points spread – I think they’re PROBABLY safe, but I wouldn’t chance it. Vote, vote, vote, kids.
4.) Rob & Cheryl – I don’t care what anyone says – I like Rob and I want him in the final. Loved his quickstep – great energy and a surprisingly good frame and footwork. And Rob looked like he was having FUN!!! That’s always the best part for me – when a couple finally looks like they’re having a blast, even if they aren’t necessarily dancing perfectly. His jive lacked a bit in the energy and technique department, and there were a few minor timing issues- but I still dug it, and it’s not a bad first outing for Cheryl in the instant dance. I really like that Rob is starting to embrace his sillier side – the shaking the ass on the judges’ table, the face-pulling, the wacky pants that make his butt look even more Kardashian-y But I’m a bit concerned that Rob may be suffering from the same problem this week that David did last week: getting lost in the shuffle. You’ve got a couple who did great (JR & Karina), a couple that had a bit of an off-week (Ricki & Derek), a couple that did pretty poorly (Nancy & Tristan), and a couple that had a “comeback” week (Hope & Maks). Where does Rob fit into the equation? He’s been pretty consistent since week 2, and his progress may not be as marked as Hope’s or Nancy’s; plus he’s not dancing terribly or rocking the boat with controversy anymore, so as to really rally his fans to vote. Can he stick around this week? I’m going to tentatively say yes, just because the points spread has really screwed Nancy over…but I did toss a few votes his way for good measure, and I might be compelled to do it again next week. I want that goofball in the finale
5.) Nancy & Tristan – Oyyyy veeeey. I’m afraid Nancy’s death certificate may have already been signed before she even danced tonight – she got stuck with two very obscure songs to dance to (while everyone else got either recognizable songs or artists), and two dances that she didn’t exactly excel at the first go-round. I could practically see the “7” paddles in the judges’ eyes as they watched her. Her tango was actually a bit better than I expected – she managed to stay on-time and at least attempt some fancy footwork, but she just seemed so slow and had some alignment issues (anyone else catch Tristan trying & failing to very subtly “adjust” Nancy’s body position? :-P). Her jive was an improvement over last week’s, although not a vast one – she probably stayed on time about 65% of the dance, and moved a little bit more. But the biggest improvement I saw? Nancy looked like she was HAVING A BLAST. I seriously believed her when she said her instant jive was “kinda fun” – she was out there grinning & giving it the ol’ college try, as if she was like “Oh f*ck it, I ain’t gonna win, so I may as well have fun!” Based on how she performed this week and how she was scored, I’d say it’s probably Nancy’s time to go – I doubt she’d be able to handle the fast-pace of next week, which I’ve just been told is going to be 3 dances (yikes). But man, what a ride it’s been with these two bickering spouses – I never would have guessed that Nancy would have been able to make it this far, but I’m so happy she did Bon voyage, MacGrace!
So did you guys find the scoring as wonky as I did? Or do you think the judges were spot-on? Who do you think will have the encore, if anyone? And do you think we’re in for a shock elimination tomorrow night? Sound off, troops!