Well thanks to the majority of tonight’s performances, I now have red, puffy eyes and a runny nose – and no, the show did not give me a rhinovirus Even though I tell myself I’m not going to, I still get verklempt each season when personal story week rolls around, and end up a big, blubbering blob of hormones that is willing to overlook some pretty glaring technique errors and overall mediocrity & lack of content :-P
Tonight, however, I refuse to overlook to continual over/underscoring and favoritism by the judges, and what I felt to be a rather contrived display of emotion on one individual’s part. Shall we get to it?
1.) Katherine & Mark – I always find myself without a whole lot of notes on these two. What more can I say, other than that she’s beautiful, a great dancer, and an overall likeable person? Thought Katherine danced a lovely waltz, and it’s becoming clear to me that the ballroom dances are really going to be her forte, and perhaps the rumba as well – any dance where she can really show off that posture and those gorgeous arms. Was there a lot of actual waltz steps in this one? Well, no, but on the whole, I don’t think anyone had a TON of real content and syllabus steps in their routines tonight…so I guess I really can’t fault anyone too much for that. With the points spread being relatively close tonight, I can’t say for sure that ANYONE is truly safe…but I think Katherine is probably safe this week. I think she is growing her fanbase, and seems to have kept Mark relatively calm this season. I enjoy watching these two dance
2.) Donald & Peta – I don’t think they had the best routine of the night (or even the best rumba), but man – Donald is endearing himself to pretty much EVERYONE, myself included I don’t think I’ve heard a single unkind word about the guy from any of the regulars here, and the fact that he has managed to go from dancing 3rd, to dancing 10th, to getting the pimp spot in 3 weeks tells me that he is proving to be a force to be reckoned with - he’s probably pulling in quite a few votes. And I do see him improving each week – I love that he devotes himself 100% to his performance each week, and is a joy to watch, but the guy is legitimately improving as well…his arms, legs, hips, and posture have all gotten noticeably better with each week. And I think if last season was any indicator, we shouldn’t underestimate the ones that slowly & steadily improve each week, as they’re the ones that could sneak into the finale out of nowhere…I think I’ve finally decided that he is indeed our dark horse this season Watch out, Katherine, William, Jaleel, & Maria!
3.) William & Cheryl – Grrrr….I can’t believe we’re in week 3 and the over-the-top tongue bathing is still going! This was an ok-to-moderate salsa – I wouldn’t say it was stellar and I wouldn’t say it was bad, either. But a 28??? C’mon, one point less than the top scorer, who did one of the best waltzes I’ve seen on the show to date???! I don’t get it…I just don’t get it. William doesn’t miss steps, and he stays on time; but I also feel like he never truly gets into the dance, and always dances so apprehensively, like he’s afraid he might hurt himself. Cheryl needs to take time out from her busy schedule of designing atrocious costumes from herself and actually bring him out of his shell a bit more, and work on his range of motion. Luckily for them (and not so luckily for us), I don’t think they’re going anywhere anytime soon, with all the judges blindly worshipping his every step. Ai ai ai.
4.) Maria & Derek – Who knew that the world’s most awkward almost-kiss could make my list of most memorable moments in tonight’s episode? I’m still trying to figure out what exactly happened (and some interesting screen shots have surfaced on Twitter)…but I’ll save further speculation for the cheese I thought these two generated the most heat in their rumba (which I guess is to be commended, since the rest of the rumbas tonight seemed to be of the weepy, “I see dead people” variety), and I think Maria has got the most gorgeous legs we’ve seen on a female contestant since…well I don’t know. Not too keen on the song, but I do give them props for attempting a risky arrangement of it. Overall, I think the buzz of “Did they kiss or didn’t they kiss???” could fuel them through next week…but overall, a sexy rumba to watch
5.) Roshon & Chelsie – Hmmmm. I’m not sure what to make of these 2…this was a cute samba, and as always, I loved Roshon’s energy. But like Len, I’m not sure that the samba steps really meshed well with the Jackson 5 moves they threw in, and the overall result was kinda disjointed and perhaps got lost in the shuffle. These running order positions don’t seem to be doing them a ton of favors, either – 5th, 1st, and 4th? Yikes. I’m starting to genuinely fear that Roshon could be a surprise elimination – if not this week (and it is possible, kids – he’s only got 1 point more than the 5 couples tied for last), then within the next few weeks, unless he starts playing to the judges a bit more, and gets at least one shot at dancing in the 2nd half of the show. It sucks, because I do think Roshon is one of the most talented celebs they have this season – but he just can’t seem to connect to the audience in the same way some of the other celebs do. Maybe he’ll start to stand out more as we eliminate a few more celebs – I hope. I don’t think he deserves to go home yet.
6.) Gladys & Tristan – Sorry Gladys fans, but this week seemed like yet another reminder that Gladys is 67, and not 27. Like her quickstep, this just seemed sooooo sloowwww…and like many of the other contestants, I don’t think Gladys ever lost timing or missed a step, but none of what she did had a ton of impact, either. Everything just felt like a leisurely stroll, and I’m afraid that’s what the majority of her ballroom dances are going to look like – I hope they give her a Latin dance next week, because I have yet to see the same fire from her that we saw in her cha-cha in week 1. I can’t really blame Tristan – the guy is probably limited in his choreo by what Gladys can feasibly handle. I think Gladys just needs another sassy Latin dance – and fast – if she wants to stick around past the next couple of weeks. I really hope she does, because I do really enjoy watching her dance and really enjoy herself.
7.) Jaleel & Kym – Yeah, those high hopes I had for Jaleel & Kym at the beginning of the season? Not so high anymore Rumors of their alleged blow-up during their rehearsal on Friday notwithstanding, I just seemed to a very strange vibe from Jaleel this week – I don’t think he was 100% committed to his rumba (which was ok, but not great), and the crocodile tears in the celebraquarium while getting his scores were simultaneously off-putting and confusing to me…just seemed like a desperate ploy for sympathy on a night where everyone else’s routines were kinda emotional and his…really wasn’t. I’m still not quite sure what the message was behind his rumba, other than “Yeah, I’m a cool dude!”, but I do think Jaleel is seriously starting to run the risk of putting off viewers if he keeps up with this erratic behavior I’m seeing from him. I think he ought to be ok for this week, as some of the “forgotten” cast members get the boot, but he has got to find his groove, and his connection with his partner & the audience…and FAST.
8.) Sherri & Val – If William’s overscoring frustrates me the most, then Sherri’s overscoring is a close 2nd. By far the weakest rumba of the evening for me – she seemed to get too caught up in the emotion of it, and consequently didn’t move a whole lot and seemed to miss a few steps. Yet she still ties with 4 other routines that I found to be much more energetic & entertaining than hers. *shrug* I give up. Sherri seems nice enough, and she does tend to make me laugh – but her performance value (and technique) have both deteriorated since week 1 for me – she needs to really crack down and learn to dance. And the judges need to stop coddling her – it’s going to be a rude awakening when they finally start scoring her like they should have from day 1.
9/10.) TIE: Melissa & Maks and Jack & Anna - The former still seems really nervous, and like she’s not improving; the latter just doesn’t seem to get much love from the judges, and seems to get a bit too excited at times. Who’s in more danger of heading home? Idk. My gut says Jack, but Melissa is one big question mark for me – and I’m not sure she’s a question mark that Maks’ fans can overcome with power voting. I actually welcomed Melissa’s jive with open arms - it was a nice reprieve from all the slow, heavy dances we saw tonight; but while I enjoyed the opening sequence, I have to point out that there wasn’t a ton of real jive steps in her routine – and those that she did have? Not a whole lot of bounce there, I’m afraid And then there’s Jack – a guy I see improving each week, and that can actually handle real ballroom technique really well, and still play to the audience and enjoy himself, all at the same time. He seems to get a little over-excited, and his technique suffers a bit as a consequence; but the judges don’t seem to be cutting him the same breaks they do Sherri or Gavin, and I do worry that he’s getting lost in the shuffle. Which sucks, because I really like Jack :-) I’m giving him all of my votes this week, just because I don’t think he deserves to leave just yet, and I know I can’t rely on the judges to actually score him fairly. Let’s hope I’m just being paranoid about him heading home!
11.) Gavin & Karina – Yes, this rumba was indeed an improvement from last week; but compared to other routines we saw tonight, I just don’t feel like he moved much, and seemed more preoccupied with staring intently at Karina while awkwardly stroking her face. I do think he is starting to (finally!) really open up to the audience, but I’m wondering if it’s too little, too late. He’s in a 5-way tie for the lowest score, and he’s the only one there this week that we know for a fact has been in the bottom 2 before. He also danced in one of the “doom” positions tonight. Then again, next week is rock week – will his fans rally & keep him around for one more week, so he can dance to something more in his wheelhouse? I’m gonna guess no – even though I’m not at all confident in that guess, because if he doesn’t go home – then someone I really like might go instead (I’d be fine with Sherri or William getting the boot at this point – but we know that ain’t happenin’!). Thus, I tentatively lock in my vote for elimination as Gavin – with a slight possibility of Jack or Roshon as the “surprise” elimination. Sorry, Karina…no MBT repeat for you, I’m afraid
So what did you guys think of tonight’s show? Did you cry as much as I did? Who do you think will head home? Who’s ready for some more cheesecake?