DWTS 16, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Well, guess tonight didn’t end up too bad after all – team samba pulled out a win (despite being at a clear disadvantage from the get-go), Len got taken to task by the audience for basically being a douchebag, and perhaps best of all: I made it through the show without committing a felony, due to my asthma medication-induced ‘roid rage :-) But that’s not to say everything was hunky dory.  There was definite overscoring (duh, Zendaya; and to a lesser degree, Ingo & Sean), definite underscoring (Jacoby), and out-and-out cruelty (which left Andy in tears…inexcusable, IMO).  Let’s get right to it…

1.) Kellie & Derek – I think I was prepared for both their quickstep and the team samba to be a trainwreck, after hearing how poorly their rehearsals were going this week…but I was very pleasantly surprised at how well Kellie kept up in this quickstep, and didn’t miss a beat.  She also seemed to correct a lot of the issues I saw with her posture last week, which was an added bonus.  Maybe not the most exciting quickstep Derek has ever choreographed, but when you’re struggling, going for simplicity (and meat-and-potatoes steps to please Len) is your best bet.  I honestly don’t remember a whole lot of their solo from the team samba, but besides a few minor stutters from Kellie, I think they handled it well.  Obviously a front-runner; now let’s hope they resist the urge to low-ball next week…

2.) Zendaya & Val – First of all, if you are not mature (or literate) enough to understand the difference between being mad at TPTB for pimping someone and being mad at the person themselves, then consider this an invitation to stop reading and come back when you’ve educated yourself.  Ok, now that we’ve got that off the table – I really think Val let her down this week, because I found his choreography in both the cha-cha and the team paso to be a bit dumbed down.  The cha-cha was good, and she danced it very well, but I’m starting to notice a lot of stop-and-go in Val’s choreography – parts where they suddenly stop and Zendaya kinda stands still while Val does…I don’t know, something.  A spin, a flourish, whatever.  And it doesn’t do her justice – the girl can handle tough choreography, so she shouldn’t need all these little pauses.  Pauses are for couples who can’t dance :-) I also think that, while she’s great at doing spin after spin after spin (and Val has actually taught her how to spot her turns – something he never really got Kelly to master), he has GOT to do something about her legs. I could have driven a boat show in between them in that cha-cha – you have to close your thighs to get the right hip & leg action.  And here they were complaining about Kellie & Derek having some space in between them while in hold…psssh.  Again, I reiterate: Val, you have got to figure out what you’re going to do with those legs…because Len will cease to be dazzled by her showmanship before too long, and he will start to get nitpicky.  She did well in their team paso…but her solo choreography felt a bit blah.  Like she could have handled something more.  I think her cha-cha was overscored, and the team paso was about right-on, but there’s no doubt she’s safe this week…and that bland team paso will probably get the encore tomorrow night. 

3.) Jacoby & Karina – I think my only explanation for these two getting hosed by Len tonight is because Jacoby must be getting a TON of votes…because a lot of the criticism I was hearing from the judges seemed to come out of left field.  I actually think Jacoby improved quite a bit from his foxtrot, and the dude does seem to really be trying to fix his pigeon toes.  He stayed on time, it was cute, it was creative, and he looked like he was having fun – and his frame wasn’t THAT bad, Len. Team Paso? I think they did alright, and were probably the most memorable couple – but everything just felt so…ordinary.  But like I’ve said before: I still think he’s going to be the last one standing this season, and I think he may already be running away with a ton of votes…which may be why they’re kinda lowballing him. 

4.) Aly & Mark – I still think Aly’s a bit of a non-event, but for whatever reason…I actually found myself liking her this week.  Her foxtrot wasn’t necessarily perfect, but I feel like she finally let loose and really went for it – I get the feeling that Mark was trying to go for more of a Derek-esque, broadway foxtrot with very cute, jazzy open work, and while Aly didn’t necessarily nail it, I thought she gave it a valiant effort, and the end result was…cute :-) And oddly enough – I think she may have been the MVP of team samba for me.  Or maybe Mark’s mustache was.  Who knows! But she seemed like she had the most fun of anyone out there, and really attacked it 100%.  I still don’t know that I think she’s a contender for the MBT (and I still think there’s a chance that she could get bumped out of the finale, if she’s not careful)…but I do think she’s finally letting down her guard and starting to connect with the audience, which is good.

5.) Andy & Sharna – This man makes me want to throw out my technique rulebook and just smile, each and every week :-) Do I care that his samba didn’t have a lot of samba in it? No.  Do I care that the little samba that was in it, maybe wasn’t executed all that well?  No.  But he made me smile, he entertained me, and I thoroughly enjoyed that cute little mailman samba :-D Loved the little funk moves Sharna threw in to fit the Stevie theme.  And dear god, Len – do you have a soul? Like, fer reals – is there a heart in that chest? Or a sense of propriety and compassion? Because you (and the two other knuckleheads on either side of you) were downright cruel to Andy tonight.  Do you feel threatened by his popularity or something? Because this is starting to feel…personal.  I get it – you’re the “tough” judge.  But there was no reason for you to be that harsh, and there was absolutely no good professional reason for you to even bring Andy’s name up when critiquing another couple.  Sit & spin, asshole.  But anyway – thought he & Sharna had fun in the team dance, and were probably wise to focus more on the character of the dance than the steps themselves.  I’m hoping the 3 point cushion Andy got over Victor was enough to keep him out of the bottom 2 – and think he might just have the juice to stay safe again this week.  Remember, kids: #ifanyleavesweriot ;-)

6.) Sean & Peta – Ooh wee – samba just really isn’t Sean’s dance, is it? His individual one was pretty painful to watch – mainly because he was awkwardly bouncing & stomping around like…something that awkwardly bounces & stomps around.  :-P And then to add insult to injury – he doffs his shirt and proceeds to wiggle about furiously, I’m guessing to distract from the fact that he can’t samba for sh*t! Shame on both of you for thinking that was a good distraction – and yet they still managed to pull out a 21, while Andy does something adorable and gets an 18.  Psssh.  Gotta protect the family, I guess.  I don’t really remember their solo in the team samba, but then again, I don’t really remember even seeing them in the team samba, so they must not have been very good or very bad.  I think there’s a good chance that Sean could wind up in the bottom 2 tomorrow, especially if Andy is getting as many sympathy votes as I think he is – but my gut is telling me that Ingo is probably in more danger.  Man, and I was even starting to like him after his bromance with Tristan…

7.)  Ingo & Kym – I’ve been saying he’s awkward for the past few weeks…and he’s still awkward.  While his tango was an improvement, it still felt stilted and stompy to me – and god bless Kym, because she was very craftily trying to conceal how out-of-control Ingo’s frame was.  The judges may have gushed and given him a 24 for his birthday – but I think that tango might very well fade into the woodwork in viewer’s minds, because I can’t really remember much more about it other than it being stompy & awkward.  And then there was the team paso – yes, Ingo really went for it, but it was just kinda weird…the slide on the floor, the awkward faces getting pulled, etc.  I just don’t think paso is his dance, bless his heart :-P Now Ingo did end up in jeopardy last week – which we think might be a bit of an implicit warning to fans “Ok, he’s safe FOR NOW, but he’s slipping.  Send some more votes his way!” Now while that can spur fans to vote and keep someone out of the bottom 2 for another week, I’m not sure Ingo’s got the juice – I’ve heard a lot of complaints about his Negative Nancy attitude, and I personally just find him…forgettable.  So I’m fully expecting to see him in the bottom 2 tomorrow night.

8.) Victor & Lindsay – Ohhhhh boy – I daresay Victor is probably toast tomorrow night.  Just too many appearances in the bottom 2 already, a very lackluster dance, and a complete lack of chemistry with his partner.  Maybe my opinion of him has been colored a bit by that interview Vogue posted earlier today, but Victor just seemed all-around apathetic tonight…as if he had already resigned himself to the fact that he was going to get sent home this week, and figured he may as well just wing it.  That rumba was pretty kindergarten – step left, step right, walk, point with you left arm, dip, point with your right arm, repeat.  Did I mention that you have to do those steps with a complete lack of attraction to your partner? :-P And like his individual paso we saw a few weeks back – his solo in the team paso was a non-event.  Sorry to say it, but Victor needs to go – I just don’t think his heart is in it anymore.  And it’s starting to get hard to watch Lindsay stare blankly and just sort of groan whenever Victor doesn’t do what she wants… 

Thoughts on the team dances:

I pretty much agree with a lot of what the judges said, and thought the scores were appropriate.  I don’t think either team dance was as astoundingly-executed or had the impressive choreography of some of the past team dances we’ve seen, but I don’t think either one was the worst we’ve seen either.  Felt kind of let down by team paso – they had the easier dance from the get-go, and I felt like the ease of the dance itself should have given them the freedom to really do a fun theme or come up with some really cool formations or flashy steps to really up the ante.  Instead…they seemed to go for something rather ordinary.  None of it was really bad, per se; it just felt so…bland.  As if instead of grabbing the bull by the horns, they just…patted it on the head. That’s one caveat of getting an “easy” dance – you have to do more with it or else it ends up looking boring. There also seemed to be some synchronization issues, which I’m finding seems to be the big problem whenever a paso team opts to do cape work.  I think team samba, while not the best technically, probably had the better strategy: if you can’t wow them with technique, wow them with showmanship :-P And actually, I think they did a really good job of taking samba steps and doing creative things with them – the voltas in a circle around the disco ball at the beginning was genius, as were the samba walks in formation.  I think they were wise to pick really simple steps that everyone could do easily in sync – and then they threw in enough disco steps to fill everything out, and they ended up with a pretty fun dance overall :-) Definitely not the best technically, but very fun to watch…and when the other team is about as much fun as watching paint dry, fun can trump technique :-P

So what did you guys think of tonight? And how do you think the team dances turned out?