DWTS 15 – What’s Left to Dance?

So obviously, this season is beyond wacky – double eliminations, no eliminations, new dance styles, guest judges, the whole shebang.  And there have been quite a few questions about what dances are being done each week…while I don’t pretend to have a super-clear picture of how the rest of the season is going to unfold, I do have a little bit of info, and I think the bulk of our readers are smart enough to deduce a lot of things :-) So here’s my best (educated) guess at how the rest of the season will unfold – and keep in mind that, like other things this season, some of the stuff in this post has the potential to change.  The double elim’s were scheduled for weeks 4 & 6, and then were moved to weeks 3 & 8 without explanation.  It’s kind of a crap shoot, kids.

First things first: the question I’ve been seeing the most is “Will the couples be able to get through all of the 10 regular ballroom & Latin dances by the finale?” While I can’t say for sure, in all likelihood I doubt they will, given how many other extraneous dances they seem to be trying to fit into the schedule – unless they try and double or even triple up dances in some weeks, which I think is just asking for trouble.   So it’s entirely possible that you may not see Gilles doing a quickstep, or Shawn doing a samba, or Apolo doing a tango, etc. Sorry kids – don’t shoot the messenger.  So every couple has 5 regular dances still remaining – here they are, in no particular order.

ETA1: That’ll teach me not to look more carefully before hitting “post” ;-) I see now that Shawn & Derek ALSO have a fusion dance comprised of 2 dances they have yet to do, just like Gilles & Peta…while everyone else has done one of the dances in their fusion this season.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say there was a bit of pre-planning in who picked what…but I can’t imagine any way they could do that, judging from how sloppy & disorganized the selection process seemed to be.  Guess it’s all just a coincidence. 

ETA2: Since this seems to be just too difficult for some to process on their own, let me spell this out loud and clear: THERE ARE TWO DANCES NEXT WEEK.  TWOOOOO.  NOT THREE.  I know you saw Apolo’s tweet about 3 dances – the dude is referring to the fusion dance (which is ONE DANCE) as two dances, since it is two dances mashed together into one routine.  Then there is the swing marathon.  1 fusion dance + 1 marathon dance = 2 dances.  I can assure you, there is not some 3rd “secret dance” that the powers that be are going to spring on us at the last minute. Got it? Good, cause I’m done spoon feeding information to anyone that can’t be bothered to read this post.

ETA3: Small update – there will be one more dance this season (in week 9) that is a “new” style that the couples will pick for one another.  No, I don’t have the list.  Still not a peep about the Argentine tango – so at this point, I’m assuming we aren’t going to see it. 

ETA4: Looks like they scrapped the idea of having celebs as the 3rd member of the trio dances, and we’re back to using pros (and troupe members) – phew! Also looks like salsa has been thrown into the mix as a possible trio dance, and it’s been confirmed: back-to-back double elims in weeks 8 AND 9 8-O Start making those extra verified accounts, kids…

Gilles & Peta – remaining dances: samba, paso doble, waltz, quickstep, Viennese waltz

Ruh-roh! Gilles only has 2 “sexy” dances left for him to get overscored on, based solely on his sex appeal.  Then he’s got three of the pretty staunch ballroom dances to contend with – any bets on which of the 3 (or more) that he miraculously won’t get to this season? I could see him somehow dodging the waltz, since that seems to be a dance that has to be amazing in order for a couples to get votes. If there’s any dance I’d say Peta might struggle with choreographing, it’s the quickstep – for the simple reason that she’s only choreographed one so far on the show (for Donald) and I recall thinking it was a tad weak.

Shawn & Derek – remaining dances: samba, paso doble, waltz, tango, Viennese waltz

I think the fact that these two still have paso doble left bodes well for them – it’s a dance for which Derek almost always comes up with stellar choreography.  Viennese waltz will probably be a good one as well.  I do worry about the samba a bit, though, because it’s a dance that Derek has said is one of his least favorite to choreograph, and if I recall, it was one that Shawn got mixed reviews for on her original season.  I wonder if it would benefit them to use it as their trio dance.

Melissa & Tony – remaining dances: cha-cha, rumba, paso doble, waltz, quickstep

I don’t see Melissa getting tripped up by any of these dances, but I’m also not sure if any will be stand-out performances, with the exception of the waltz.  I remember her struggling a bit with paso doble during season 8, but if I recall, I think the bulk of the issues she had with it were due to a wardrobe malfunction; I’m kinda blanking on her cha-cha and quickstep.  Rumba should make nice use of her flexibility.  I think her cha-cha will most likely be her trio dance, since I’m having a hard time imagining a paso doble that focuses on a female celeb, since it’s really the “man’s dance”.

Emmitt & Cheryl – remaining dances: rumba, jive, waltz, tango, Viennese waltz

I’m just not sure quite what to make of Emmitt anymore – I do think he’s wildly entertaining, but I also think he’s probably one of the weaker dancers remaining in the competition…and the judges still seem pretty taken by his “charm”.  So for that reason, it’s hard for me to say that I think he’ll struggle/do really well at any of these dances.  Seems like he has more problems with the ballroom dances, though, so waltz, tango, and Viennese waltz could be problematic for him.  He can be goofy in the jive, but I wonder about his technique; and I’m sure he’ll turn on the charm in his rumba…but will the judges call him out for lackluster technique?

Apolo & Karina – remaining dances: rumba, paso doble, jive, waltz, tango

As someone rooting for Apolo, I’m kind of hoping he can conveniently dodge the jive – that was the one dance in season 4 that I feel like he never really nailed.  Then again, I do love the jives that Karina choreographs, and Apolo has improved since his original season…so maybe jive wouldn’t be so bad. If emotion is still a problem, rumba & waltz could be a bit of a struggle – but I think after seeing his Viennese waltz, I think he’s found the emotion he needs to bring to his dances. I don’t foresee him having any problems with tango or paso doble – “poker face” seems to be his specialty, so he’ll probably nail the mood of those dances.

Kelly & Val – remaining dances: rumba, jive, waltz, foxtrot, Viennese waltz

Aside from the rumba (which I’m sure they can’t wait to do, so they can show us all how much chemistry they have), it looks like these two have burned through most of their smoldery dances – and Kelly definitely seems weaker with the ballroom dances, so she may hit a bit of a wall with waltz, foxtrot, and Viennese waltz.  Not sure how well I see her doing with jive – if the high speed of her tango was any indicator this week, jive may be another dance where Val really has to lead her hard in order to get her to keep up.

Kirstie & Maks – remaining dances: samba, paso doble, waltz, tango, Viennese waltz

I could see Viennese waltz being a problem, since it’s just so FAST – and I’m having a hard time remembering her Viennese waltz from season 12.  She did ok in samba her original season, but I’m sure the judges have higher standards this time around.  Paso? I think I remember it being awkward during her original season.  Waltz shouldn’t be too big of a problem (if she can keep her shoe on), but I don’t think she did standard tango in her original season.  I think the big problem with Kirstie is just that she’s the weakest dancer left – and while she may rely heavily on the “entertainment” factor, I’m not sure the dances she has left lend themselves easily to being entertaining.

Now I guess I’ll address various questions I’ve gotten on Twitter/here at Pure about the coming weeks:

Whats’s going on with this “dance fusion”? Well, as they explained last night, it’s a combination of two different dance styles, both danced to the same song.  Now here’s the interesting part I noticed: with the exception of Gilles & Peta and Shawn & Derek (who have two unlearned dances), each of the couples’ fusions includes one dance they have already done, and one dance they have yet to do. Will they get to cross the unlearned dance(s) in their fusions off the list of dances they have yet to do, or will there still be the possibility of having to do one of those dances again later? For example, Kelly has the cha-cha/foxtrot fusion – will she be done with foxtrot after this week, or might she have to do another, regular foxtrot before the season ends? And someone asked on Twitter if I knew whether lifts & tricks would be allowed in these dances.  To be honest, I don’t know, but I would think that only dances where lifts are normally allowed would be allowed to do them in the fusion dance…so in this case, I think Gilles is the only one that MIGHT be allowed to do them, since he’s the only one with Argentine tango as part of his fusion.  Who knows, though – they seem to lift & trick crazy this season, so maybe they’ll let everyone do them.

Is there a trio dance this season? Yes, the trio dance is back – look for it in week 8.  Originally, the “twist” that Heidi & I have been speaking of was supposed to be that the couples would be picking a former celeb contestant to participate in the trio with them, in lieu of a 2nd pro; but now, it seems like they may revert back to just including a 2nd pro…not really sure yet.  If it is a former celeb, we don’t know if it’s a previously-eliminated celeb from this season (i.e. Drew, Helio, Sabrina, etc.) or if it could be ANY former celeb that’s done the show in the 14 previous seasons.  If it’s the latter, I would assume that they probably already have a list of celebs from previous seasons that have agreed to participate in a trio dance if asked, and the couples would just pick from that list. Perhaps this is what the press releases from the beginning of the season meant when they said we might see former contestants coming back to perform again.  If the third trio member is a pro, I’d assume it’s the same choices as last season – any eliminated pro from the current season, or any member of the troupe.  We do know that the trio dance will be a Latin dance.

Are they bringing back the instant dance? Yes, and it’s in either week 9 or the finale week…or both.  Allegedly, it will be one of 10 different styles…and no, and I don’t know what those styles are.  If I had to guess, I’d say probably the 5 Latin dances (cha-cha, samba, rumba, paso doble, & jive) and maybe salsa, mambo, jitterbug, bolero, & rock ‘n’ roll – since the couples will know their dance ahead of time (but not the music), that’s going to limit the list of dances to ones that don’t rely so heavily on musical cues…so that kind of rules out dances like contemporary, hip-hop, and Bollywood.

Is there a marathon dance? Yep, next week, according to Tom – and it’s a swing dance marathon.  I could see Kirstie being at a disadvantage, just due to stamina (or lack thereof), and I think the athletes (Shawn, Apolo, possibly Emmitt) have an edge, just due to their level of physical fitness.

How many dances will the couples have to do each week from here on out? Two in week 7, two in week 8, allegedly three in week 9…and I’m hearing rumors of FOUR during finale week.  Yes, I know that sounds absolutely insane for the finale (especially given the tidbit below), but if you think about it, they did four during the finale weeks of seasons 11 & 13…so it’s kind of become regular fall-season finale fare.  Plus, I’m assuming one dance will just be a repeat of a dance they’ve already done this season, and maybe a re-tooled version of a dance they whiffed the first time around…so I wouldn’t necessarily consider it 4 completely new dances.

Is there anything special going on for the finale? We’ve been told that the freestyle will be “supersized” – whatever that means.  I’m guessing it means they will be longer than usual…which I’m not so sure is a good idea.

What about the Argentine tango? As of this moment, I haven’t heard a peep about the Argentine tango – no word whether they are or aren’t going to do it, aside from Gilles lucking into getting it as part of his fusion dance this week.  But I’m beginning to worry that it may have gotten scrapped in favor of one of these stupid “new styles” they seem hellbent on ramming down our throats.  If they do find time to work it in, I would say it would almost have to been in week 9…or MAYBE finale week.  The dances have already been determined for week 7 (fusion dance & swing marathon), and week 8 (one unlearned ballroom dance in honor of Veteran’s Day, one Latin trio dance), so they’re kinda running out of time…I’d brace yourself to not see it, kids.

So hopefully this addresses some of the many questions I’ve been trying to field individually…feel free to ask more, but be aware that I’ve pretty much already told you what I know as of this moment.  I can offer opinions, but I’ve given you just about all the facts I have.  Stay tuned later this week for a post that delves deeper into the dance fusion ;-)