I’m in a bit of a strange position this season – I find myself liking just about everyone, and I think it’s making it hard for me to predict who’s next on the chopping block :-P I probably rewrote my list of rankings 4 times before deciding on this…and I’m not even 100% confident in this list! So take it with a grain of salt…because things are just kinda murky right now :-P
I think Keyshawn going home was for the best – I just don’t think he had the necessary time to devote to the show this season, and I wonder if things would have been different if he had been on the spring season instead of the fall one. I do get the feeling now that he was really trying – but just wasn’t sure how to connect to the audience. Oh well – I wish him the best, and hope we still get to see Sharna from time to time this season. Glad I got to keep Bill E. though :-)
1.) Corbin & Karina – A very cute, clean, energetic jive, made good by the fact that Corbin just seems so enthusiastic about every dance he does. I thought the song was a little odd (an opinion shared by Chelsie, who also tweeted “weird song to jive to”), but the overall presentation & theme were cute – probably a good idea to play off of Corbin’s HSM background. My only complaint? In an odd twist, Corbin actually actually seemed a bit too sharp on some of the flicks & kicks – I’m usually complaining about the celebs being a little lazy on their kicking & flicking, so this was actually a pleasant change of pace! Will be interesting to see how Corbin handles a ballroom dance next week – I’m wondering if he might be someone that just KILLS it in the Latin, but stumbles a bit in the ballroom.
2.) Amber & Derek – A bit of a backslide for these two this week, which I still partially blame on their overscoring last week. While I wished Amber’s technique was a bit better in this jive (and that she had worn ballroom shoes, which probably would have helped her kick & flick more easily), once again she had great energy and really sold the performance – and she actually stayed pretty well on-time, which is more than I can say for some of the other couples tonight. I have a feeling she & Corbin will be taking turns at the top from week to week, so it will be interesting to see who fares better with a ballroom dance – I have a feeling she’ll be doing ballroom as well next week.
3.) Valerie & Tristan – Valerie’s placement this high in the rankings has less to do with how well she actually dances, and more with how much of an inspiration she is when she dances. I think many of us may have shed a tear or two along with Tristan when watching Valerie practice her paso doble – it’s not often that you hear a woman say “I’m 74 with terminal cancer! Give me all you’ve got!” with a smile on her face :-) I actually think the beginning of their paso started out well – she really sold the mood of it, and was doing well with the flamenco steps; then it seemed like she may have forgotten a lot of her choreography and just kinda winged it through the rest. But it was a valiant effort, and I hope she sticks around for awhile…she makes me smile :-)
4.) Nicole & Sasha – Heidi & I agreed last night that we’re liking Snooki a LOT more than we initially thought we would – maybe it’s the fact that she doesn’t take herself too seriously, or the fact that she isn’t afraid to mess with Sasha a bit, but something about her just seems really…REAL. And her dancing ain’t terrible, either – which is why I was a bit puzzled by the judges kinda dropping the hammer on her. Sure, her rumba wasn’t perfect – but I actually thought her hip action was pretty good and she sold the mood pretty well, even though she was having a hard time “being romantic” with Sasha. I’m not sure if Snooks is getting a TON of votes, and TPTB are attempting to level the playing field – but something just bugs about the way the judges were critiquing her last night…ESPECIALLY Carrie Ann the twit, who of course decided Snooki’s dance would be a good time to resurrect the infamous “lift police”. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that Snooki is young, attractive, and a halfway-decent dancer, right CAI? *eye roll* I’m just glad Chelsie (who was on a ROLL last night) even called CA out on her inconsistent lift policing…to be fair, I saw an accidental lift in Jack & Cheryl’s rumba, too, but they concealed it with smoke. I applaud Sasha for resisting the temptation of the smoke monster :-P
5.) Jack & Cheryl – I’m loving Jack for a lot of the same reasons I’m loving Snooki: he doesn’t take himself too seriously and he’s able to laugh at himself :-P I actually thought his rumba was pretty impressive – he was there every step of the way for Cheryl, and seemed to really extend his arms and legs well. Hip action could use a bit of work, but I’ll cut him some slack due to the Cheryl-diagnosed stiffness in his hips that he apparently didn’t know he had :-P I think he’s only going to improve as the weeks wear on, and we’re going to see a good growth arc from him.
6.) Bill N. & Tyne – Oh boy. Ok, I will say this: I have to applaud Bill for really giving his all in each dance…even if his “all” is bit of a hot mess. Seems like Tyne has learned rather quickly that the less time she can have Bill actually dancing in his routines, the better – so this seemed to have a rather long, strange intro, but I guess it kinda suited this “mad scientist” persona that he’s created for himself on the floor. Can’t say I saw a ton of paso in this, but I do think he handled the little bit he was given much better than he handled the cha-cha last week. Now here’s the problem: Bill is no doubt the weakest dancer left, but I think he’s also one of the most popular – so he’s likely to stick around and outlast some of the better dancers. As for Tyne – as I was saying to someone on Twitter last night, she’s just a non-event for me: I know nothing about her, and because we’ve seen so little personality from her, I don’t even really CARE to know anything about her. She’s just “that girl that dances with Bill Nye that isn’t a ballroom dancer”. I just get the feeling this couple is going to end up a lightening rod for controversy as the season wears on.
7.) Leah & Tony – I’m still not quite sure what to make of Leah – she’s adorable when she’s out on the floor, but I find her to be odd and sometimes off-putting when she’s off the floor. This week she actually had a bit of a breakthrough, as she seemed a lot less inhibited on the floor than she was last week and really sold her performance; but then the weird Scientology paranoia started peeking through in the rehearsal package, and I’m just left feeling a bit ambivalent towards her. I think she has the potential to be a pretty good dancer (and we’ve seen shades of that), but I’m wondering if others are like me, and are having a hard time reconciling the two sides we’re seeing from her. I thought the judges were gushing just a little too hard over her samba – it was GOOD, but it wasn’t GREAT. And no way was it only a point behind Elizabeth & Val in terms of quality. Not sure how all of this bodes for her in terms of longevity, but I think she’s got at least another 2 weeks in her.
8.) Christina & Mark – I think Mama Spence kinda hit the nail on the head with Christina last night: “She’s not as comfortable out there as I would have expected her to be.” And it’s true – for having such a performance background, Christina is just not as at ease on the floor as I would have thought she’d be. She still seems kind of timid with some of her movements, and I do agree with Bruno, who thought she missed a step or two – something was definitely a bit off with their performance. And I still think there’s something a bit off about her & Mark, too – I just get a total absence of chemistry from them. Like they were sent on an poorly-matched blind date by their friends: they’re cordial and polite to one another, but there’s no heat or connection there. I’m not sure how they’re doing in votes, but they’re fading into the background a bit for me – but the judges seem to be scoring her pretty generously, so maybe they want her to stick around? I’m not sure…but I’m just not feeling this couple so far.
9.) Brant & Peta – I like Brant. I think Brant is actually a pretty good dancer. I think Brant has the potential to do well in this competition. But Peta could singlehandedly destroy all of that for me if she keeps trying to push this silly showmance on us! All the talk of the clothing getting removed and being all sensual was making me uncomfortable, and I think it actually detracted from the dancing – and Brant actually has some nice hip action and arm extension. I know that OTT sexiness has kind of become Peta’s M.O. the past few seasons…but Brant can actually dance, Peta. He doesn’t need all that nonsense. Focus on the dancing and don’t worry about the showmance, and you might just stick around for awhile.
10.) Elizabeth & Val – I actually really liked their samba last night – but the fact that they ended up one of the last 3 standing before the elimination? NOT GOOD. Like Heidi, I think that was a bit of a warning for the viewers that Nomi Malone is not getting the votes that they think she should be. Which sucks, because I do really like her dancing – she’s one of the few really tall ladies we’ve had on the show that actually knows how to move her body and handle her height, and does have the attack necessary to really sell these dances. If she can handle a samba (which has become a bit of a “dance of death” on this show) that well in week 2, I can only imagine what she’s going to be capable of with a few more weeks of practice under her belt. Plus, I like her as a person – she seems to have calmed down quite a bit from the initial interviews she did, and is taking the competition one day at a time now. But can she get the votes to stick around?
11.) Bill E. & Emma – I gave every last one of my votes to these cuties last night, because they are quickly becoming the pleasant surprise of the season for me. Bill is not the most naturally gifted dancer out there, but I’ll be damned if he isn’t trying like hell – and doing a fabulous job of entertaining us while he’s at it :-P Like Jack & Snooki, I love him because he doesn’t take himself too seriously – he knows he’s one of the older celebs this season, and one of the less experienced; but that doesn’t stop him from giving it his all and having a ball at the same time. And I’m actually finding myself liking Emma a lot more, too – “blonde Finola Hughes” had me cracking up at her plan to “nick all of Derek’s moves” from the jive. On top of that – I love that Bill kind of called out Brooke for asking one of her stupid questions :-P So they’re getting all kinds of brownie points with me – I just hope other people feel the same way and are voting accordingly. I tend to think that last night’s final two were a real bottom 2 – and that Bill needs all the votes he can get. God I hope he gets them…I’d love to be wrong again :-)
So what did you guys think about last night’s performances? Who do you see staying…and who’s headed home?