DWTS 14 Week 5 Power Rankings

*yawn* Yeah, all in all, that’s kinda how I felt about Latin night – even with all of the hoopla surrounding some of the couples.  We were on tacky prop overload tonight, and it seemed like a lot of the couples resorted to gimmicks and fluff that, quite frankly, I don’t think they needed.  Seemed like there was an obvious attempt by the judges to shield some dancers from the duel, and to throw some dancers headlong into it.  Should be interesting to see if things shake out like they intend them to…

1.) William & Cheryl – These two are not in the #1 spot because they’re “that good” – they’re here because the level of blatant favoritism they’ve achieved has hit an all-time high level of absurdity.  Ankle injury? I’m beginning to think it was a complete fabrication, as they seemed to only quickly gloss over the legitimate details of it, and I didn’t see La Levy wincing in pain (a la JR during HIS Argentine tango last season) or moving any more limply than he usually does.  And speaking of a flaccid tango – guess they really gave those 29 points to Cheryl, who didn’t fail to deliver a tango that was 90% her dancing dramatically around her partner like a damn maypole (or stripper pole…) and 10% her partner actually…well, moving at all.  Seriously, I dare you all – go back and watch that tango in slow mo, and count how many steps Cheryl takes, and how many William takes.  I’m willing to bet the ratio is AT LEAST 2:1.  To give a 29 to a tango where the man barely moves, and the stunts are pretty bland? That’s a damn insult to people who actually deserved their score more, like Katherine.  Was William bad? No, but I can’t really say he was good, either, considering he barely moved. So I guess my congrats go to the judges, who have backslid into blind worship of “the hottest piece of ass the show has ever had”.  Makes me sick just typing it…

2.) Maria & Derek – Gotta give these two a bit of a “tsk, tsk” tonight.  Let it be know that I HATE WHEN PEOPLE KISS IN A ROUTINE…even if the mood of the routine so dictates it.  Just ask Chelsea & Mark, who I ripped apart a year ago for kissing in their waltz.  It just reads to me as desperate and gimmicky, even if it was meant to be a bit of a “Haha, remember our rumba?” move.  Ditto for the removal of the shirt, which to me was a nod to his lambada in season 9 with Joanna.  Even with Maria’s injuries, I don’t think they needed to go the gimmicky route.  As for the real choreo they did…meh.  I’ve never been a huge fan of salsa on the show, but what they did in this routine felt fluffy – I would have liked to have seen more turns, a bigger variety of tricks, more side-by-side individual work, and fewer cross-body leads, lambada gyrations, arm wraps, and drop tricks.  It just seemed like a neverending repetition of those last three things I mentioned…and Maria actually looked like she did to me in week one: tentative & nervous.  Yes, I’m aware the woman is broken all over – but she was also broken last week, and I saw much more determination out of her then.  I think they were lucky to have gotten a 27 – I probably wouldn’t have given this more than a 25, even though the energy was high and it was overall a “fun” routine.  I’m just hoping I get more content from them next week, because I think Maria can handle it.

3.) Donald & Peta – Donald may have done quite a bit of “supermodel walking” this week, but at the end of the day, I thought he had a lot more content and did a lot more moving than William did – just look at how much of the stage Donald used, compared to William.  I also found Donald’s lifts and tricks to be more impressive, and thought he was more invested in the dance, overall.  I also just happen to love the chemistry he has with his partner – it doesn’t feel forced, uncomfortable, or over-the-top; it’s just natural and easy.  I literally told my GM today (the one I have a friendly food wager with over the outcome of this season) that if Donald wins, I will gladly make him Oreo balls, no hard feelings, because I just LOVE Donald.  The guy just seems to be embracing the entire experience and having a ball.  And here’s the big shocker: he hasn’t had to talk up an injury or act inappropriately showmancy with Peta in order to get votes.  He’s just himself – which is why he’s my new favorite to win :-)

4.) Katherine & Mark – I thought Katherine had the strongest performance of the night, technique-wise – but something was missing for me performance-wise, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.  I think the storyline of their A. tango kinda threw me – so, Mark was supposed to be the village drunk, and Katherine was the virginal teetotaler? Maybe it was supposed to be really artsy & “out there” – but I just didn’t really “get” it.  But I thought Katherine’s technique was spot-on – clean, crisp, and completely on-balance.  I guess I just kinda wish that she had gotten a little more emotionally invested in the dance – I could tell she was trying to be sexy, but it wasn’t coming easily and the end result looked a bit more “pained” than “sexy”.  For her to really & truly deserve that 29, she really needed to smolder…and I thought she just kinda lightly smoked.  But I am seeing progress! :-) I still think she’s technically the best female dancer this season, and deserves a spot in the finale.

5.) Roshon & Chelsie – I think this may have actually be my favorite routine of the night – I just get such a kick out of how excited Roshon gets when he gyrates  :-P And boy, does this boy gyrate – I saw more hip action (and chest action, and foot action, and arm action, and butt action…) out of him tonight than any of the other contestants combined.  I think the salsa really played well to his strengths – his flexibility, his showmanship, and his swag.  He does tend to get a tad bit too excited from time to time (I think I saw him almost drop Chelsie at one point), but in season where Katherine, Melissa, & Maria strike me as a bit timid at times, and William and Gladys still seem to barely move – I can deal with someone who is “too exciteable”.  :-) Now here’s the thing: I think Roshon may be able to dodge the dance duel this week, due to the wake-up call his fans got last week; but I’m not sure how well that sense of urgency is going to carry over in subsequent weeks.  Kid needs to be getting 10’s, FAST, if he wants to stick around.

6.) Gladys & Tristan – Glad to see Gladys back in a dance where she can really have fun & let loose :-) And I was actually kind of impressed by how much she actually did do, given her limited rehearsal time & range of motion – she actually did samba rolls!!! Holy cow.  Who cares if they didn’t so much “roll” as they did “stroll”? :-) It was just good to see her having fun out on the floor again.  Given the decent volume of votes she needed to stick around last week, I’d say she’s probably safe from the duel this week – but with the team dances fast approaching, I can definitely see the judges trying to weed out the weaker dancers.  I don’t think they’re going to be cutting Gladys any breaks anytime soon – and I think once she does fall into the duel, she only has a prayer of beating Gavin and maybe Melissa – if they’re still around at that point.  Kinda sucks, but in a season where pretty much EVERYONE is good…they’ve gotta decide who’s less good.

7.) Jaleel & Kym – Jaleel isn’t a bad dancer – but I do think he’s trying a bit too hard, and it seems to be throwing him off his game a bit these days.  He actually seemed a bit off-time to me this week, as his samba bounces seemed like they were frequently one-off from Kym’s…like he was going up while she was going down. I could tell he was putting in the effort, but I don’t know if it was necessarily focused in the right areas. This week is one week where I think he is legitimately in danger of fading into the woodwork – his samba wasn’t bad,  but it wasn’t great, and he got stuck dancing after Santana, so basically in one of the crap spots…for the second week in a row.  He could be in trouble, and depending on how Melissa & Gavin’s fans vote, I could see him possibly replacing one of them in the dance duel.  Even if he ends up there, I think he will likely end up beating the other person – so he’s probably not going home this week.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if he got bumped out by a weaker dancer with a bigger fanbase at some point…

8.) Gavin & Karina – I definitely went back and forth a few times with regards to who I think will end up in the duel and who will emerge victorious – but I have to pick someone, so I’m going with this.  Gavin’s samba was a hot mess – but it was a hilarious hot mess, so I kinda dug it for the same reasons I liked Chuck & Anna’s samba…it was totally campy & ridiculous. :-) Do I really need to comment on the technique or lack thereof? His shoulders were up by his ears, his head and arms were be-boppin’ around awkwardly…it was kind of adorable. But anywho! I do think he’s gained quite a few fans since the first week or two of the show, and they did save him from the bottom 2 last week – but is his fanbase growing fast enough to save him from the duel this week? I’m not so sure.  And as strange as it sounds – I could actually see the judges picking him to stay, based on his “growth” so far and his overall entertainment factor.  It will all depend on who he falls into the duel with, but if it’s who I think it is, I think he could last another week…

9.) Melissa & Maks – I like Melissa, I really do – but I’m sorry, she is just not a natural dancer.  Like so many other people this season, I feel like she was really & truly giving it her all during her salsa – but I think the end result was a little frantic and confused.  She seemed to be holding her head and neck kinda funny as she danced this week, which makes me wonder if she’s still in a bit of pain – it also seemed to throw her a bit off-balance, so I wonder if the effects of her concussion are still in play.  She seemed like she was having fun and loosening up a bit, but I think she was more affected by her physicial limitations this week than in previous weeks.  If she does fall into the duel with Gavin (and I think it is a possibility), I’m thinking the judges might actually tell her she has the better technique, but that Gavin is the better entertainer…and then they’d keep Gavin (even though it’s basicall a stay of execution, as I don’t see him living through next week, too). I kinda wish Melissa hadn’t whacked her head last week, because I think she might have performed a bit better this week (either due to lack of injury or lack of fear of further injury) and gotten a few more points to save her from the duel.  But I must applaud Half Pint – she lasted longer and put up more of a fight this season than I initially thought :-)

So what did you guys think of Latin week? And who do you think is doomed to duel tomorrow night?