Well, if you’re reading this, it means enough people FINALLY stopped hitting “refresh” on the homepage that I could get logged into the dash and actually get these posted :-P And with the way things are going, things might not calm down until Tuesday morning…so if this is late, sorry, but we got hit with too much traffic and my pleas for people to scale back the traffic on Twitter went unanswered. C’est la vie.
Maybe I’m just tired and apathetic from a full day of Thanksgiving grocery shopping and house cleaning, but I’m feeling a bit blasé about tonight – a few standout performances that I enjoyed, but overall, nothing too surprising, and I think things played out the way they should have…and as we suspected, the judges finally got real and managed to call certain couples out on the crap they’ve been getting away with for the past several weeks, and couples that have been putting in the effort finally got the love they deserved. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
1.) Shawn & Derek - In quite possibly the biggest surprise of the night for me, I actually ended up enjoying their Knight Rider bhangra the most out of any dance I saw tonight! Judging from some of the frustrated tweets we were seeing from the usually-unflappable Derek this weekend, I was fully prepared for this to be a hot mess – but it actually was the most high-energy, in-synch, and entertaining routine for me tonight. I think the speed of it was what really impressed me – they were both moving so fast, and doing such intricate steps, and were still somehow staying almost perfectly in synch. And the most amusing aspect? Shawn actually seemed to dance it better than Derek! :-P I also thought they managed to put that hideous Bollywood routine that Gilles & Peta did to shame, which was another perk ;-) Overall, I think they handled the wacky dance theme challenge the best of the five couples. Moving onto their Argentine tango – another technically flawless dance. Shawn’s feet & legs were sharp and precise, which was the main complaint I had about Melissa’s dance – but I do agree a bit with Carrie Ann (and those words literally hurt my mouth) that Shawn & Derek had a little bit of a disconnect with the emotion of the dance. HOWEVER – this is something for which I really have to blame the music. “Bad” is a great song, but maybe not a great song for an Argentine tango – it’s a song about a guy asserting his authority and masculinity, and he’s doing it in a cheeky way. It’s not about passion or the thrill of the chase between a man and a woman…so I feel like if they had actually gone the smoldery route, it would have looked a little odd and out of place given the music. I also thought Derek did a slightly better job of really accenting the music with his choreography than Tony did. When it came to the two Argentine tangos we saw tonight, Melissa may have had more of an emotional connection, but I thought Shawn had the better technique. I thought they should have gotten the same score – either downgrade Melissa a point or upgrade Shawn a point, whichever. In the end, I think they may be the only couple that is a lock for the finale…at least I hope.
2.) Apolo & Karina – HALLELUJAH!!! They finally got the praise they deserve for their chemistry. Loved their rumba – I thought it was the perfect combination of good choreography and good emotion, and Apolo just NAILED the technique. And for those who poo-pooh “Man in the Mirror” as a rumba song – I think they injected far more romance into that rumba than Kelly & Val did with a song that was far more outwardly romantic. Then there was the “Big Top Jazz” – sigh. It wasn’t perfect – I agree that there were a few stumbles, and it felt a little frantic at times. But I really don’t think it was nearly as bad as the judges (Carrie Ann in particular) were making it sound – the degree of difficulty was much higher than Kelly’s flamenco or Emmitt’s Lindy hop, and possibly even Melissa’s hustle, and I still think he managed to stay far more in-synch than both Kelly & Emmitt. I also thought the lifts were amazing, and didn’t know what Carrie Ann was talking about, claiming they were clunky – I actually think Apolo could give Tony a run for his money, and I’ve always said that Tony is the best lifter we’ve ever seen on the show (and Julianne the best liftee). Was it his best dance? No. Did I enjoy it? Somewhat. But hopefully it’s just a minor, mediocre hiccup in an otherwise pretty damn strong season. I think Apolo is the strongest guy left, and deserves to be in the finale – and I feel a little bit better knowing he’s got a 3-point lead over Emmitt & Kelly, even if it doesn’t equal out to a huge margin. I do think he’s getting a decent amount of votes – both from loyal voters who’ve gotten pissed at his low-balling this season, and possibly from the voters who go for the “hot guy”…now that Gilles is gone, at least some of them must be impressionable enough to toss a few votes Apolo’s way ;-) Perhaps I’m being optimistic there, but while I wouldn’t necessarily put money on Apolo making it through to the finale next week, I would say I’m at least 76% confident he will. I think the judges do realize he’s one of the strongest dancers left, and probably want him in the finale…hopefully America agrees. Read more..