DWTS 16, Week 2 – Power Rankings

Well jazz/jive/quickstep/WTF? night left me with some mixed feelings – some couples really rose to the challenge, while others really showed their weaknesses; I feel like some couples got too caught up in having a “theme”, while others seemed to have meltdowns in rehearsal.  And of course – the judges conveniently chastised some couples for things that they seemed to turn a blind eye to in other couples.  Let’s get right into it…

1.) Zendaya  & Val – As talented as this girl is, I did have my doubts about her fanbase – but after she trended worldwide on Twitter, I’m wondering if she might have the juice to really go all the way this season.  My god, those LEGS – if I had legs that gorgeous, I would wear shorts year-round, regardless of the temperature, because they are GORGEOUS.  Oddly enough, though they actually seemed to cause a few problems in this dance – like Val said, with legs that long, you have a harder time doing quick movements…and I felt like Zendaya did have a few moments where she really had to haul ass to get her legs where they needed to be, and she did seem to be taking some wide steps to accommodate those long legs.  Thankfully, they should only be an asset from here on out, since she has gotten jive out of the way :-) Loved the attitude and sass she had, too – really like this girl, and really like what Val is doing with her.  If they can keep it engaging and age-appropriate, they could go far.

2.) Kellie & Derek – As cool as this routine was and as well-executed as it may have been, I’d call it more of a contemporary/jazz fusion than pure jazz.  Nothing wrong with that – none of the 3 that did jazz tonight had a “pure” jazz routine – but I saw flexed ankles and more contemporary-type lifts, and in my head I heard my college dance instructor screaming “Point those toes! I don’t want to see any flexed feet, this is jazz 203, not modern 203!!!” Very cool, moody routine, and Kelly is made of rubber, I swear…plus she seems to be handling anything Derek throws at her.  But for whatever reason (and this is unrelated to whether it’s jazz or not), I was just left wanting a bit more – maybe it was the music and how there seemed to be this big build up in the beginning, and then it just ended, maybe it was the fierce hand section at the beginning and then the more flowy end, I don’t know…but I don’t really think it was my favorite Derek routine.  But Kellie is impressing me, because had I not known better, that could have been Allison Holker dancing that routine…she was that good.

3.)  Jacoby & Karina – Yes, I’m aware that many of you find him “cocky” and “arrogant” – I agree.  But I can’t stop smiling when this guy dances, and I can’t help but laugh as the hapless Karina tries to whip him into shape…it’s hilarious, and it entertains me every week :-P And really, it’s not like the guy is completely inept in the dance skills department – he moves big, he isn’t afraid to look goofy, and he has fun out there.  Loved the Lindy feel they went with – Jacoby would have fit in perfectly at the Savoy or Cotton Club circa 1947, swinging next to Frankie Manning :-) Loved the song, too – now let’s just hope Jacoby can still bring the fun to ballroom, since he hasn’t had to do any thus far.  That will be the big test.

4.) Andy & Sharna – Love, love LOVE this guy more and more each week! Love that he’s so excited about dancing, he’s trying hard, and he’s enjoying himself – sober :-) This routine was perfect for him – the wacky Alice in Wonderland theme really fit him well, and the dude actually has some moves…was rather impressed to see him turning in sync with Sharna, and really selling the character.  Between he, Jacoby,  & Kellie, the 3 jazz routines really owned the evening for me – so I guess the experimental foray into jazz was a worthwhile gamble…but don’t congratulate yourselves too much, powers that be.  I’m still skeptical about this prom theme…and I’m worried about how Andy is going to fare with the Latin.  He’s had two dances that have actually been fairly similar to one another, and I’m worried that he’s gonna get saddled with something totally different for prom week – like rumba or something.  Ack.  Andy, keep soldiering through – because you make me smile, sir :-)

5.) Aly & Mark – I find myself without a whole lot to say about these two, for the simple reason that Aly is just not wowing me yet.  She executed this quickstep well, didn’t lose time, and had pretty good technique – but I find myself just not really caring.  Maybe Mark is right, and she’s still putting on the “podium smile”…because I’m just getting nothing from her, emotion-wise.  And oddly enough, I feel like Mark has gotten a little “safe” in his choreography – on a night where everyone is pulling out these wacky themes, you’d think he’d at least pull something out of that ever-scheming head of his…but no.  Just went for a very standard, run-of-the-mill quickstep with pretty basic choreography.  Oh, except for the lift and the break in hold RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAMN DANCE, which conveniently, none of the judges seemed to see.  Makes me wonder if Aly is not the voting juggernaut they thought she would be, and are attempting to give her a bit of a boost.  Hmmm…

6.) Ingo & Kym – Probably the most happy, well-adjusted couple this season, and one of the few that seemed to avoid shedding any tears this week in rehearsal…and I do think that Ingo is willing to work hard and really improve.  But he doesn’t seem to be a very natural mover, and I worry that they’re beginning to get a bit bland, although not to the extent that Aly or Victor has.  His quickstep wasn’t bad, per se – parts of it were actually quite nice, usually the straight sections where he wasn’t having to do much bouncing or spinning.  But he does seem to get a bit squatty at times, and I think it’s because he feels like he has to get down to Kym’s height (he doesn’t – ladies job to stretch up, not the man’s to hunch down…ballroom law), and consequently, things seemed to get a bit off-kilter on the really bouncy sections of this quickstep.  But thankfully, he’s got it out of the way, and hopefully he can do some more stationary dance next week – lord knows what this prom week has in store, but I’m predicting a lot of rumbas…let’s hope he’s got the hips!

7.) Dorothy & Tristan – *sigh* Poor Dorothy – she’s trying, she really is.  But this jive was just hard to watch, because the poor thing just looked petrified.  Very tentative, cautious jive, and I’m not sure if it was due to her injury or not, but she never really extended her legs or arms fully, as if she were afraid she might break.  A few timing issues as well, and the flat shoes didn’t seem to help with the flicks & kicks – did I read that they had to change out of heels because it was hurting her back? IDK.  But I think this week was just kind of a wash for them, due to her injury, and partly due to nerves as well – kind of surprised that Dorothy seems as scared as she is, since she’s been up against much harder, but maybe she really is completely out of her comfort zone.  I just hope she can get a dance next week that she can really do well at and ENJOY – because I really like these two, and want them to stick around:-)

8.) Wynonna & Tony – Really, Tony? MALL COPS??? Ai ai ai – give the guy a MBT, and suddenly he thinks he’s got free reign to create wacky themes and have them work :-P Was it a cute theme? Sure – but it got a little weird, and also seemed like it didn’t fit in well with her quickstep…or quicksteppish stroll, rather.  Felt like I was having a flashback to two years ago, watching Wendy gingerly quickstepping at a snail’s pace down the ballroom, and Tony doing some sort of boob-related choreography (somebody refresh my memory – he motorboated Wendy too, didn’t he?)…and I can’t say it was a good flashback, hehe.  Wy seems to really enjoy herself out on the floor, and she ain’t afraid to be cheeky and fun…but she just moves so SMALL.  I think if she could just let loose a bit more and really move big, she could actually be up there with Andy, Jacoby, and Kellie as a contender.  But Tony’s really gotta drill that with her, because I feel like his choreography this week & last has just coddled her a bit too much.  Move BIG, Wy!

9.) Sean & Peta – If couples like Zendaya & Val and Kellie & Derek are “the real McCoy” this season…then Sean & Peta are like the knockoff designer bag you buy at the street bazaar in Hong Kong: from far away, it looks convincing, and you get excited…and then you realize that it’s vinyl, not real leather, and it says “Prado” instead of “Prada”, and the fabric smells suspiciously like lead paint. :-) You get where I’m going with this? I just think these two are the cheap knockoff of the really good couples this season: they’re trying to convince us they’re contenders, but everything they do is just…cheap & tacky.  Hated the lifeguard theme of the jive – especially the “I’m drowning and need CPR!” schlock at the beginning, and Peta’s off-the-wall 50’s ‘do and matching swimsuit, and Sean as the strapping lifeguard on duty, and just some overall mediocre jiving…not the worst of the night, but not the best either, and Peta’s choreography is just kind of paling in comparison to some of the other pros.  I don’t think these two are headed home this week, but  I wouldn’t be surprised if they found themselves in the bottom 2 next week or the following week…because I daresay I’m not the only one just feeling marginal about them.

10.) Lisa & Gleb – I really wanted Lisa to redeem herself this week…like bad.  And I really wanted Gleb to prove that he was worth his salt as a pro and could help whip her into shape.  Now while I think they improved SLIGHTLY over last week – it just wasn’t enough, and now I’m worried that Lisa could be destined for the red lights of doom sometime soon.  Poor Lisa is just so tentative and shy when she dances – she doesn’t really get off-time or do anything wrong, per se, but she, like Wynonna, just moves so small & careful.  Now I’m not usually a fan of smut in jives, but let’s just say Gleb’s filthy grin while unbuttoning his shirt got this girl’s mind working ;-) Sssh, don’t tell my boyfriends – the real one, and Norman Reedus.  But for real, I just don’t want Gleb to get written off as “that pretty boy pro that just takes his shirt off instead of actually dancing” – so I’m hoping that he & Lisa get some dance next week that really suits her strengths…whatever those happen to be. Maybe it’s time to bring Giggy back out again…

11.) Victor & Lindsay – Can we please retire “Runaway Baby” from the jive song library? Because we’ve now seen TWO disastrous jives to this song (the first was David & Kym’s in season 13), and I’m not really interested in seeing a third.  I’m afraid that a large chunk of the fault for this one seems to lie squarely on Lindsay’s shoulders – sure, Victor had a bit of a meltdown, but I think Lindsay showed her youth & inexperience in how she reacted to it…and this choreography just was not good.  Sorry Lindsay fans, but I’m seriously beginning to wonder if it would have been better to see her for a season or two in the troupe, just so she could play around a bit with some choreography and hone her chops.  Poor Victor gave it a valiant try, but it seemed like it was just a little too hectic, and the transitions were a bit jerky – saw some off-time feet and some missed hand grabs during turns.  Worst of all – I think this couple is about thisclose to becoming very forgettable…they’ve gotten stuck with two crummy running order positions, and don’t really seem to be making a big splash yet.  As much as I really like Victor and think Lindsay is a sweet girl, I just don’t see people picking up the phone for these two…not while you have very unexpected, very likeable couples making a great impression around, like Andy & Sharna.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Victor & Lindsay in a real bottom 2 with D.L. & Cheryl tomorrow night…

12.)  D.L. & Cheryl  – Well, I guess after last week, there was nowhere to go but up – and I do think D.L. improved somewhat, although this quickstep was still pretty damn bad: slouchy posture, butt sticking out, moving tiny, getting a little off time, I could go on.  I will give him credit for at least trying a bit harder this time (despite a nasty-looking fight in rehearsal with Cheryl – doubt that footage will do them any favors), but I think these two are as good as done.  While Cheryl may have a decent # of fans voting for her, D.L. just seems to be rubbing people the wrong way, left & right…the Bobby & Whitney joke really made me cringe.  I don’t think it’s been so obvious who is going home since season 12, when we all knew Mike was gonna get the boot…but at least we kind of liked Mike.  Oh well…D.L. can get back to doing whatever it is he does, and Cheryl can go promote stuff, go clubbing, etc.  Hopefully this abbreviated season gives her some time to reflect and recharge her batteries…

So how did you guys feel about tonight? And who do you think will end up with the encore? SPEAK!