DWTS 14 – What’s Left to Dance?

Well, we’ve reached the halfway point (sort of…) of the competition.  Only 7 of the 12 couples we started with remain, and each couple has 6 dances down and 6 more regular ones to go (not counting team dances, freestyles, etc.) in the 4 weeks left in the competition.  Now we get down to the nitty gritty and see what everyone is really made of…because starting next week, they all have to do 2 full-length dances per week.  So let’s take a look at what each of the couples has to contend with in the coming weeks, shall we?

First impressions: anyone who still has samba left to do is likely at a bit of a disadvantage, as that’s the dance that really seems to trip a lot of people up.  Those who are still waiting to do Argentine tango could have a slight edge, as it seems to be a dance that can really redeem a couple when done later in the competition. I think Donald & William are likely going to struggle a bit with their remaining ballroom dances; Jaleel, Maria, and Katherine are probably going to be a bit challenged by their remaining Latin dances; and Melissa & Roshon are probably going to struggle with just about everything, since they don’t seem to be in the judges’ favor.

Jaleel & Kym – remaining dances: paso doble, waltz, quickstep, Viennese waltz, salsa, Argentine tango

I’d say Jaleel actually has one of the better sets of remaining dances left to do – it’s a good mix of Latin & ballroom, and he still has both of his “extra” dances to burn through.  He seems stronger in the ballroom dances than in the Latin, so I don’t see waltz, quickstep, or Viennese waltz being a big problem; and I could see him really doing well in the paso doble, since he seems to have some anger issues he needs to work out :-).  He seems to have to intensity necessary for Argentine tango, but I have to say, I’m skeptical about how proficient he’s going to be at the salsa – he’s got the personality, but I’ve noticed that his footwork tends to suffer at the expense of his showmanship…especially on more energetic dances like jive & samba.

Donald & Peta – remaining dances: samba, jive, waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, salsa

I seriously love Donald, but I think he’s got his work cut out for him the next few weeks – he’s still got two of the more difficult Latin dances left to deal with, and since he still seems to be struggling a bit with ballroom posture & frame, I think the waltz, tango, and Viennese waltz are going to be a challenge.  I think he’ll have a blast with the salsa, though – I can just see the big ol’ grin on our “hunkey dunkey” football player now :-D I’m just a bit concerned with the judges – I think they’re warming to Donald, but I don’t think they’re as willing to overlook slight errors with him as they are with Katherine, William, or even Maria.  He’s gonna have to be on-point every week if he wants that “10 from Len”.

Maria & Derek – remaining dances: samba, paso doble, jive, waltz, Viennese waltz, Argentine tango

I really wish they had already gotten samba & jive out of the way earlier this season :-( Those are two dances I just don’t see Maria having an easy time with – no one really and truly nails the samba (and along with cha-cha, it’s Derek’s LEAST favorite dance to choreograph), and with the exception of Nicole, it seems like really willowy ladies seem to have trouble with the jive, as it takes more time & effort to get those long legs kicking & flicking properly.  She might struggle a bit with paso, but Derek is generally pretty good at choreographing paso doble to his partner’s strengths, so I don’t think it will be too problematic; waltz and Viennese waltz shouldn’t be a problem; and the Argentine tango could be their secret weapon – if there’s one dance that might win them the pimp spot, it’s this one, as Derek has choreographed some of the most dramatic Argentine tangos over the years.

Roshon & Chelsie – remaining dances: paso doble, jive, waltz, tango, foxtrot, Argentine tango

First things first: while I still think Roshon is technically the best dancer still left in the competition, the judges (Carrie Ann in particular) have made it pretty clear that they’re VERY eager to point out any mistakes he makes – so he’s going to have to be damn near perfect in every single one of these dances, if he wants to stick around.  He’s done pretty well with the ballroom dances he’s had so far, so I think waltz & foxtrot shouldn’t be a problem; he also has a bit of an edge in that he’s already done the jive in the dance duel (and gotten some critiques from the judges on it), so he knows what he needs to work on.  The potential problems I see? Paso doble, tango, and Argentine tango – all require a certain degree of maturity and masculinity to really pull of well, and as we saw with the rumba this week…Roshon seems to struggle a bit with being a manly-man. :-P

Katherine & Mark – remaining dances: cha-cha, rumba, tango, quickstep, Viennese waltz, salsa

Well, when you’re a pretty good dancer and the judges seem to fawn over your every move, it doesn’t seem like you’d really struggle with any remaining dances – and to some degree, I get the feeling Katherine’s gonna have it made from here on out.  However, I see cha-cha, rumba, and salsa sticking out as potentially weaker dances for her – all require a certain degree of sexiness to pull off successfully, and I still don’t think Katherine is really comfortable with being sexy & sassy.  Her samba was ok, but I never got the feeling that she was 100% committed (or comfortable) with it; and while I thought her Argentine tango was great in terms of technique, she seemed to have emotional commitment problems there as well.  Can she pull off the sexiness? We’ll see.  Given her really good track record with the ballroom dances, I think tango, quickstep, and Viennese waltz should be a cinch – provided that Mark can continue to be “good Mark” and avoid any gimmicks.

William & Cheryl – remaining dances: samba, paso doble, waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz

The first thing that jumps out at me here: William has already burned through most of the overtly “sexy” dances. Aside from the tango (and maybe the samba, if he can muddle through the technique), William doesn’t really have much to work with when it comes to wowing the audience with his sex appeal.  He’s going to need to be vulnerable and romantic for the waltz & Viennese waltz, classy for the the foxtrot, and aggressive for the paso doble – and I don’t think Cheryl is going to have an easy time choreographing stuff to showcase William as a hot piece of ass in those dances.  He’s going to have to legitimately learn technique – and judging from the 2 dances so far that he’s had to do without relying on sex appeal (quickstep & jive), he hasn’t been 100% successful with that.  Upon watching his quickstep again, I’m especially wondering about the remainder of the ballroom dances he’s got to contend with – he seems to really struggle when in ballroom hold, and his posture’s iffy.  Another thing I’ve noticed: he’s only got true Latin & ballroom dances left to do – no extraneous salsa or A. tango.  Why is it significant? Well, I’ve kinda noticed that the judges tend to critique the real ballroom dances more harshly than those extra dances. William’s the only one that has burned through both of his two extra dances so far – it’s gonna be hardcore technique from here on out.  I think he might be able to get through the samba with the whole “sex object” act and not much else, but the rest of these dances? Highly doubt it.  I think we’re finally going to see what he’s REALLY made of.

Melissa & Maks – remaining dances: samba, rumba, waltz, tango, foxtrot, Argentine tango

The ugly samba strikes again…and I think the rumba could be problematic as well, especially since the only other couple that hasn’t done rumba yet either is Katherine & Mark – and I would not put it past TPTB to give both Katherine & Melissa the rumba in the same week, especially if they’re trying to oust the latter.  I feel like it might end up being both ladies’ instant dances.  I don’t think waltz, tango, or foxtrot will be a huge problem, but Argentine tango could be problematic due to the lifts – I’m a bit foggy today, so I’m having a hard time remembering, but was Melissa & Maks’ salsa really lifty or no? I just remember the tricks being a bit awkard.  I think Melissa’s going to have to work hard in the coming weeks, though, because she does seem to be the weakest dancer still left in the competition – she’s managed to avoid the bottom 2 so far, but with fewer and fewer couples remaining, the odds are good that she will end up there next week or the week after, unless she can really improve her scores.

So what about the team dances? It’s definitely next week, but there’s been no official word yet on who’s on what team or what the dances are – but we do have tweets and pictures that the celebs started sharing on Twitter last night.  Judging from a picture Maria tweeted, it looks like she, Katherine, and Roshon are all on a team together, and their dance is tango; Jaleel also tweeted something that Roshon said about his knees and hashtagged it with #teamdancepractice, so we’re guessing that Jaleel’s on their team as well.  So that leaves William, Donald, and Melissa on the other team – and we don’t know what their dance is yet.  Since it looks like Katherine & William are on different teams, I’m guessing they picked them as team captains based on them having the highest cumulative scores this season, and Katherine got first pick – which explains why she has the team with 4 couples.  I’ve got a more in-depth post about the team dances comin’ atcha later-ish, when I have more details ;-)

UPDATE: William’s team does indeed have the paso doble, per Cheryl’s Twitter:

Thank u to all who have been supporting us. Week 7 here we come! Team Paso and the Viennese Waltz!!!
@CherylBurke
Cheryl Burke
@ just told me I'm not old, my knees just get sleepy fast #Dwts #TeamDancePractice
@jaleelwhite
Jaleel White

When is the instant dance? Week 8, as always.  And it’s always a Latin dance…we just don’t know which one.  It could end up being one of each of the couples’ remaining Latin dances (so we end up with a mixed bag), or they might end up doing what they did last season and make everyone do the same dance for their instant dance.  Keep in mind, too, that salsa may actually count as an instant Latin dance – especially for couples that only have one Latin dance remaining, like Jaleel & Kym.

Is there going to be a double elimination? Unless TPTB have decided that there’s going to be a 4-couple finale this time, there’s going to have to be a double elimination within the next 3 weeks, as the show is only scheduled for 10 weeks.  We had a false alarm this week, but Tom did suggestively tweet that there could be one in the coming weeks: 

@ Nope. Dance Duels tonight and next Tuesday but after that (ominous music cue)...#DWTS
@Tom_Bergeron
Tom Bergeron
So that leads me to believe that we’ve got one more week of dance dueling and a single elim, and then the double elim will occur in week 8 or week 9.
UPDATE: Apparently Carrie Ann has confirmed that the double elim will occur in week 8:

@ Next next week. : ) Sorry.
@carrieanninaba
Carrie Ann Inaba

So hopefully that leaves you guys with a bit of a snapshot of what’s to come in the next few weeks.  How do you guys think everything will pan out?