Well, this blasted non-ballroom (save for the mambo, and sorta-kinda the bolero) night played out just about like I thought it would: the hapless judges (aided and abbetted by the perpetually out-to-lunch Paula) kind of copped out on giving any seriously harsh scores, likely for the simple reason that they just didn’t know enough about the dances themselves to actually score properly. The end result was some pretty general overscoring, and perhaps a tiny bit of relative underscoring. But what worries me is that even though the spread may seem pretty big this week, more total points = smaller margins between points…meaning that it’s going to require fewer votes for those at the bottom to catch up with the rest of the pack. And it makes me nervous for another “shock” elimination…but this time, I think it has the potential to be truly shocking. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
1.) Shawn & Derek – Best routine of the night, without a doubt – great, PROPER mambo choreography, and flawless execution. I think these two may have had the toughest dance to contend with, for the simple reason that mambo has been done on the show before as a regular dance – and it has been done far more than any of the other dances on the list. Add to that the constant pressure of the all-star season? If they had a bit of an off-week, I wouldn’t have blamed them. But luckily, they absolutely KILLED this mambo – great tricks, a good amount of meat & potatoes choreography, and best of all – Shawn pulled off the “sassy” and sexy without a hitch, and looked great doing it. Very impressed with how she’s matured since her original season. If I REALLY had to nitpick, I would say that it seemed like Shawn was sliding a little bit when coming out of her turns – very slight bobble, but it made me wonder if the floors tonight were a little slick – and could also be the cause of other snafus tonight. Anyway, I think if they gave that hot mess of a Bollywood number that Gilles crapped out a 39.5, then this should have been a 42. But Len, ever the fuddy-duddy, withheld that last half a point that would have put them at the top of the leaderboard. Oh well – luckily it matters even less this week
2.) Kelly & Val – Like almost all of their other dances this season, this came out far better than I would have anticipated – even if these two were kinda giving me the creeps with all of their brooding in the background all night. Was it truly “contemporary”? Meh…it had elements of contemporary, and it came far closer to contemporary than Emmitt did to bolero or Bristol did to rock ‘n’ roll. But it was a pretty dance, and I do feel like they injected some emotion into it – which is really how contemporary came to be in the first place: ballet with emotion. Kelly had some nice extensions and seemed to really connect to the dance…and really, Val did too, as much as he may have hated the style they got. And he did get a few brownie points from me for calling Cheryl the b-word on national television, for all to hear I think they may have gotten a little out-of-synch on the side-by-side sections, and I must confess that I didn’t really understand the purpose of the platform they climbed onto. But overall, a very nice effort for a dance that neither party was particularly jazzed to have…and I’m sure we’ll be hearing buzz about this one for the rest of the week.
3.) Gilles & Peta – What a f#$!ing joke. This was messy, misguided, and quite frankly, looked half-assed to me. I think Peta phoned it in with the choreography after getting frustrated with both the style itself and perhaps her whiny partner, and Gilles just looked like a fool out there, hopping around with his mouth hanging wide open. Oh, and he was off-time too – and I’m pretty sure Nakul Dev Mahajan is highly offended and yelling at his tv somewhere in LA, because the hand gestures (which are quite possibly the most important aspect of Bollywood) were a hot mess. This is the first routine this season that I have absolutely nothing good to say about – and that’s saying something, considering I was even able to slightly shine a turd like Bristol’s quickstep. And wouldn’t you know – the judges gush and gush about how great this was (because they have no clue what they’re talking about, and Paula probably shared her Percocet with them all before the show), and give it the highest score of the night…a mere half-point off from a perfect score. Apparently they need Gilles to stick around for awhile – or maybe they were trying to ensure that he will captain one of next week’s team dances, as the two cumulative highest scorers will get to pick the teams for the team dance tomorrow night. Regardless of the motive – I smell a rat.
4.) Emmitt & Cheryl – Another disgusting example of overscoring – although Emmitt at least looked cool doing this dance For those of you who were looking for bolero in this – there really wasn’t any. Even the basic bolero steps they did just looked feeble. This was really just a rumba with a lot of lifts – which I’m guessing Cheryl deliberately did, to distract from the fact that neither she nor her partner could bolero their way out of a paper bag. And let’s see, did anyone else count one, two, three, FOUR outside choreographers that Cheryl brought in to help come up with that nonsense? Perhaps I was hallucinating, since some of our readers kept insisting last night that I was confused and that the four outsiders that came in were there to rehearse for the results show performance tomorrow night. Newflash: I don’t bullsh*t, and I know what I’m talking about, asshats. But I digress – I think this MAYBE should have gotten a 24.5, maximum, just due to lack of content – and if I was really being honest, I’d dock off an extra half point for Emmitt remaining relatively stationary for most of it. But luckily for them, I think they’re probably safe this week, given the combination of easy scoring and Emmitt’s fanbase. But I hope he realizes that sooner or later, the judges aren’t going to be as mesmerized by his charm, and they’re going to start pointing out things like lack of content.
5.) Apolo & Karina – I don’t wish it upon ANYONE to fall down or injure themselves while dancing on this show – including Maks, who I felt terrible for back in season 12 when he fell down during he & Kirstie’s rumba. So yeah, I do feel bad for Karina – that fall actually looked painful, and I got the feeling that she felt even more pressure to do well for Apolo since this style wasn’t one she was really good at. I think this routine may have suffered in comparison because so many people were expecting Apolo to just KILL it – myself included. But alas, Apolo was right in pointing out that he really was just good at breakdancing, and wasn’t so experienced in real hip-hop. I think they both made a valiant effort, though – I thought they both looked believable at the beginning, and after the fall, while Apolo may have gotten a little lost in the choreography, he just turned the swag up higher and it helped sell it. I have to wonder if Karina might have actually hurt herself, because she did seem to move kinda small after that fall…as if she was nursing an injury. Overall, I think the scoring was actually pretty generous, but I look at this routine and still think Apolo did more than Bristol, Kirstie, Emmitt, or Gilles. And he did it better! I’m just hoping the combination of the sympathy vote and the Olympic vote can keep these two safe this week – I think they ought to be ok, but stranger things have happened…
6.) Melissa & Tony – I actually thought this was a really good routine, and do agree with Carrie Ann (ack, that tastes bad saying that!) that Tony has really stepped up his choreography this season. It was a cute, lively routine, with a lot of content – and aside from the one bobble that got pointed out, I actually really liked all of the lifts they did. Melissa also had really clean, error-free footwork. But I actually have one rather odd complaint about this routine, and it’s one that I don’t typically have with Tony’s choreography: I wish they had done a bit more in-hold! I felt like the bulk of this routine was open work, with a lift here and there, and only a little bit of stuff in-hold. I wish they had done more of the fun, in-hold footwork we saw in jitterbugs like Cody & Julianne’s. A pretty minor complaint, but I just hope that Tony’s not trying to compensate for playing it so safe all of these years by throwing in far more open work than he’s ever done before. They got a decent score tonight, but with the margins so small (and with people around them with fanbases that are likely much larger), I have to wonder if she might be in danger if Kirstie & Bristol can get the votes (and I think they can), and Sabrina rallies from being in the bottom 3 – I don’t know that Melissa could overtake anyone else in order to stick around. She’s kind of a big question mark for me right now, because her fanbase hasn’t really been tested so far this season, and she’s stuck around longer than I initially thought. I do think she deserves to stay, but I’m curious to see how things shake out this week…
7.) Kirstie & Maks – Was this routine fun? Absolutely – and I probably would have gone with the same strategy that Maks appeared to, if I had Kirstie: throw in as much comedy as possible to conceal the fact that Kirstie is a pretty weak dancer compared to (almost) everyone else this season. But as much fun as I think these two are, I’m getting to the point where the schtick is wearing thin and I want to see more dancing. This Charleston was cute, and Kirstie actually fared better than I thought she would – but there seemed to be a lot of shenanigans going on, and not as much dancing. I was left wanting to see more bouncing, shimmying moves. So she may have the low score this week (and it may appear scary to some), but having that extra score actually makes it easier for her to climb over someone else in order to stay. I think she can definitely overtake Bristol, and possibly Apolo – maybe even Melissa, if she’s not getting the votes. For that reason, I’m tentatively calling her safe this week – but I wouldn’t be super surprised if she ended up in jeopardy, or even the bottom 2.
8.) Bristol & Mark – Zzzzzz. I just can’t even bring myself to really remember a whole lot about this routine…probably because there wasn’t a whole lot of anything in it. This was the prime example of “playing it safe” this week, and there was nothing exciting, innovative, or particularly daring about this routine – just Bristol half-heartedly bobbing around while Mark flailed wildly, perhaps hoping that just a little bit would rub off on Bristol. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good – it was just boring. And while I would hope that would cause her to plummet and ultimately get eliminated – I’m not sure that this is the week that it’s going to happen, as much as I would love for it to be. I think Bristol should have been gone two weeks ago, and instead we lost 3 much better dancers in the meantime – and I think losing another will turn this whole all-stars season into a legitimate farce. I would be happy to eat crow if Bristol does go home tomorrow night…but I’m getting the sinking feeling that we’re going to be stuck with her for at least 2 more weeks. I do think she could end up in the bottom 2, though.
9.) Sabrina & Louis – Y’know, two weeks ago, I would have said that Sabrina was one of the “chosen ones” – and now I’m convinced that the judges have decided she’s as expendable as Drew was last week and the week before. I don’t think her disco was horrible – in fact, I think she had far more content than some of the other couples and it was actually fun to watch. Love the lift that she did forward and then back. But the judges did seem unusually nitpicky about this routine – I don’t know that I would necessarily agree that she got “off-time”, but there were a few instances where she just got out-of-synch with Louis – and I think they actually lowballed her a bit, considering that the non-bolero Emmitt did got a 1/2 point more. Sabrina was in the bottom 2 last week – and there’s no one else around that has also been there, and I think we’ve seen so far this season that if you land in the bottom 2 one week, you’ll probably be back there again the following week. I actually feel kinda bad for Sabrina – I think she could have fared a lot better with a different pro, and is maybe being scored more harshly by the judges now for peaking so early. But I think both Bristol & Kirstie have proven that they are getting the votes to overcome her – and I think they’ll do it again. And thus we say goodbye to yet another good dancer that has left us too soon…
I’m feeling really uneasy about tomorrow night, and I’m hoping it ends up being Bristol & Kirstie in the bottom 2 with Bristol going home. But I have a bad feeling that it will be Bristol & Sabrina, with Sabrina going home…with an outside chance of it being Melissa & Bristol, and Bristol going home. What do you guys think? And what is your take on this week?