After tonight, I’m kinda left thinking that “Rock Week” should have been abandoned after the disaster that was “Rock Week” in season 11. There were a few standouts that I thoroughly enjoyed, but for the most part, the performances ranged from “meh” to just painful to watch…and I have to say, I think rock music is a bit of a punishment for these couples. Why? Because rock music seems to embody all that is raw & wild – and yet, they have to do these dances with such control & precision. Of course some of them are going to lose some performance quality – they’re going to look like they’re in slo-mo compared to the music!
One positive to come out of tonight, though: the judges seemed to finally start cracking down and scoring seriously. Still a bit of overscoring going on, but I think they’ve finally taken off the rose (or vagina) colored glasses and started seeing some of the couples’ weaknesses. Let’s hope it works to eliminate the couples in a fair fashion!
1.) Donald & Peta – And in week 4, we finally get to see the potential this couple developed in weeks 1-3 really pay off :-D I could not stop smiling during Donald’s paso, which was the best of the night for me – you could tell he was having the time of his life out there, and his energy was electric. Loved all the “rock” faces he was pulling – Jimmy Hendrix would be so proud! And in reality, his technique wasn’t too shabby either – paso really seemed to suit him, being the “hunky dunky” football player that he is ;-) And that crazy spin Donald threw Peta into at the end???!!! BRILLIANT. I think this week just may have taken Donald from “dark horse” to “force to be reckoned with”. I think this couple is doing everything right – they’re working hard, steadily improving, and maintaining a great chemistry that makes them really likeable. Plus, I think Carrie Ann has a new crush now – and we know that can’t hurt.
2.) Maria & Derek – Broken foot? Psssh…just spray some Windex on it and walk it off. That’s the Maria philosophy, and man – if that’s how she does a tango with a broken foot (and some healing ribs), then GIVE ME MORE, dammit! I definitely think Maria had the best tango of the night – clean & controlled, but still with enough impact to fit the song well and put on an entertaining performance. I just get mesmerized watching the way she moves her torso – she just gets such a nice stretch through her upper body, and those arms just look GORGEOUS. I know everyone talks about how Katherine’s posture is so awesome, but Maria’s definitely giving her a run for her money.
3.) Katherine & Mark – I think we all knew that Katherine would eventually have an off-week, and this may have been it – I had a hard time believing that our graceful, gorgeous English rose would channel the aggression necessary to really attack this paso head-on. But I had an interesting problem with her paso, that I didn’t really expect: I actually thought she was better OUT of hold this week, even though many of us have gushed over how great she is IN hold. It was strange – every time she let go of Mark, the attitude and the sassiness seemed to come out, and I really believed her aggression…loved the stalking walks and cape work with her skirt. But then she’d reach out and go back into hold with Mark, and seemed to lose a little bit of the magic…plus she seemed to fumble a bit more than usual when Mark brought her in and out of turns. But for having an “off week”, this was still a pretty damn good paso – never missed steps, and did them all with conviction. I just hope Mark gives her the chance to really shine on her own in the future, because she did seem to really enjoy her solo work.
4.) Roshon & Chelsie – Truth be told, I started to freak out a bit tonight by how much I found myself agreeing with Carrie Ann – and I agree with her wholeheartedly that Roshon is the best male dancer (in terms of technique!) this season. I don’t think he’s quite mastered the same athleticism Donald dances with, or the charisma that Jaleel dances with, but I think he’s mastered the technique better than any of the other guys. And his greatest asset may also be his greatest downfall: his flexibility. I love how he manages to extend his arms and really move his legs with ease – but I do notice that sometimes he moves a little too fast and somehow gets his feet kinda tangled up, and there’s a bit of a hiccup when he tries to straighten them out. But man, this kid is impressing me – I think he had the hardest dance to contend with, given that it was Rock week. What the heck was he supposed to do with such a graceful, flowing dance when everyone else is stomping and kicking around in pasos, tangos, and jives? Granted, the song they gave him was BARELY a rock song (I’m of the opinion that, if you came from American Idol and your name is not Chris Daughtry, you are NOT a rock artist), but I feel like he really attacked the dance head on and gave quite a valiant effort – and the result was lovely. Now here’s the problem: I have absolutely NO IDEA how he’s doing in terms of votes. All we know for sure is that he hasn’t been in the bottom 2 so far, and he’s been getting good-ish scores…but is he getting the votes, too? I’m gonna guess that the points spread will keep him safe this week, but I think he’s still gotta appeal to the middle-aged female demographic in order to stick around for awhile.
5.) William & Cheryl – Ssssh…you hear that? It’s the sound of these two crashing & burning like a skud missile. Just as we predicted, the luster effectively wore off the rose when Willy Boy did the jive. He completely bungled a trick, lost his footwork more than once during the side-by-side sections, and completely missed a turn at the end – and still somehow got a 22, the same score given to 2 other couples who did not make any mistakes??? Something smells stanky. But at least the stench isn’t as strong as it has been in previous weeks – at least the gratuitous 9 and 10 paddles stayed out of play. And Carrie Ann looked kind of horrified – like it was the morning after a hookup and she rolled over to find that the hot guy from the bar the night before wasn’t exactly as hot as he seemed when she was drunk. I enjoyed that :-) For what it’s worth, I actually thought he handled the parts that he didn’t mess up decently – he stayed on time, but I always feel like he’s never really 100% invested in the steps. Like he’s just going through the motions – and I would personally rather see a bad dancer that’s really invested & trying hard than a good dancer that’s just kinda half-assing it. Do I think he’s in any real danger of going home this week? Not as long as there’s lonely, sex-starved housewives who think Willy has been wronged by the judges. But I think this week was a bit of a wake-up call for he & Cheryl – they’re not going to be able to count on the judges to coddle them when they really foul up, and there are several other couples who could easily surpass them, given the speed at which they’re progressing. Food for thought…
6.) Sherri & Val – This was another couple that I shockingly agreed with Carrie Ann about – Sherri lost some of the magic that makes her fun to watch when she had to be serious for the tango. And that could be Sherri’s Achilles’ Heel this season – she’s not going to be able to ham it up on every single dance she does. That said, I also think everyone with the tango this week (except maybe Maria) seemed to struggle with moving with the same passion and conviction as the music they were dancing to. Sherri seemed pretty tense, like she was trying too hard to stay in control, and she also seemed to move kinda small – her steps just seemed so itty-bitty and cautious. However, she didn’t miss any steps, and she stayed on time – so I think this was more a performance problem than a memory problem. So I think the big test in the coming weeks is going to be how she fares with more “serious” dances like the paso doble, waltz, Viennese waltz, and Argentine tango. While I think there’s a SMALL chance she could end up in a shock bottom 2, I think her performances so far and her overall personality will likely keep her safe this week.
7.) Gladys & Tristan – Oh maaaan…Tristan gets hosed again by another horrible song. “Bohemian Rhapsody” was like “Devil Went Down to Georgia” redux – so many ridiculous tempo changes and wacky accents that it’s nary impossible to find a steady beat to dance to in it. So with that said, I feel kind of bad actually critiquing this tango – but I will say this: I think Gladys is making a VALIANT effort. I do think she’s genuinely trying. But once again this week (and possible more now than in previous weeks), I think her age showed – she just couldn’t keep up very well with all of the fast turns and snaps, and seemed to get a bit wobbly in between the faster sections. I wish I could say she stayed on time, but I actually can’t say for sure, considering that I had a hard time keeping up with the beat. And here’s the weird thing: why the hell do they keep giving her ballroom dances??? This is her third in a row, and we have yet to see the same magic from her that we saw in her cha-cha in week 1 – give the woman a samba or something, just let her have a fun week. Now she does have the lowest score of the night, but she’s also got several people near her that I could easily see her overcoming…so with that said, I’m tentatively calling her safe tomorrow night. I hope I didn’t just jinx myself :-)
8.) Jaleel & Kym – I’m probably already going to get harassed for “hating” on William, so I may as well make it a two-fer and catch hell from the Jaleel fans, too :-) I honestly think the dust cloud of controversy he’s kicked up in the past week could come back to haunt him this week, even though his tango wasn’t all that bad – it was kinda tentative, like Sherri’s, but he did make it semi-entertaining with Mick Jagger/George Jefferson swag. But when I’ve got coworkers who are NOT big fans of the show coming up and asking me “Dude…WTF is up with Urkel?”, I have to think that the news has gotten out and possibly affected the voting tendencies of the general viewing audience now, and is not just confined to us diehard internet fans. A score of 22 likely won’t help much either, when he’s tied with one couple and only has 2 arguably more popular couples below him – and truth be told, I probably would have given him at least a 23. Yes, he seemed to calm down a bit this week and kinda let Kym take the lead – but I’m afraid the damage has already been done, and it’s going to take several weeks of great dancing and very good behavior to potentially change some viewers’ opinions. Will he last that long? We’ll see. I could see him in the bottom 2 this week, but I think it’s more likely going to be 2 other couples…
9.) Melissa & Maks – I gotta give it to Half Pint for coming out and giving each dance 100% each week, even if she kinda misses the mark. I do think her paso may have been her best dance, but I still see her moving very timidly, and holding onto Maks for dear life. I see glimmers of good technique, and I see glimmers of a real entertainer showing through – but I still think she’s just terribly nervous out there on the floor, and I wish she could shake it. I like Melissa – she may be timid, but she’s one of the few partners that Maks has had that doesn’t seem emotionally fragile or unable to take criticism, and I do get the feeling they genuinely get along. There are obviously other more talented couples I would rather see go home first, rather than giving up Melissa, who I do think is trying and having fun – but I’m honestly not sure how much longer she’s going to be able to stick around. I think she’s got Maks’ fans (and Martina’s lack of dance skills and Jack’s lack of fanbase) to credit for keeping her afloat so far. I’m afraid she’s going to fall into the dreaded bottom 2 tomorrow. One possible glimmer of hope? Her injury – the fact that they announced at the end of the show that she had hurt herself and was at the hospital could help her eek out some sympathy votes.
10.) Gavin & Karina - I’m guessing that these 2 got the pimp spot this week based on some pretty awesome choreography from Karina and a very moody, edgy, show-stopping song…because I don’t really think it was for Gavin’s dance skills. Poor guy just had some atrocious posture in his tango – hunched over shoulders, butt sticking out, awkwardly positioned with Karina. He gave it a good try, he really did, and I do feel like he’s starting to really embrace his experience here on DWTS – but in all honesty, I don’t think he’s improving enough week-to-week, and he’s already been in the bottom 2 twice before…and the last time he was there, 3 other people who tied him in score (Gladys, Melissa, & Sherri) all got more votes than he did, and those are the same 3 people I think he’s up against this week for the dreaded bottom 2. Will he get bolstered by his appearance in the bottom 2 last week? Obviously his appearance there in week 2 wasn’t enough to save him from the red light, but it at least saved him from elimination. I just think his luck is probably going to run out – with each week that goes by, we’re trimming the fat…and even the fat this season is pretty good. I will say this, though – he has grown on me. I’ve enjoyed watching him really let go and embrace the experience :-)
So who do you think is headed home tomorrow? Who is destined for the bottom 2? And what were your highlights and lowlights for Rock Week? 8-)