PureDWTS Season 18, Week 3 – Power Rankings

I apologize that this is so late – I got caught up figuring out the results of the hashtag tracking yesterday (which was pointless, it turns out) and just got burnt out and didn’t want to bombard everyone with these right after posting them.  So here they are now :-)

“Most Memorable Year” week has never been my favorite, and I think Monday night was the weakest show they’ve had so far this season – just some very odd song choices (which makes me wonder if they were ASSIGNED certain songs, as opposed to actually picking them), some lackluster choreography, and some elimination fishiness.  Sad to see Billy Dee go, but if he really did have to withdraw due to injury (more on that in a post coming later tonight…), at least he got to leave on his own terms.  Then again, after some murmurings I’ve heard, I’m not so sure he left voluntarily…

 

1.) Amy & Derek – The bf came over after work to watch the Walking Dead season finale (since he doesn’t have cable), and he ended up rewatching DWTS with me afterward.  The only dance he asked to see a second time? This one.  :-)  He was fascinated by Amy’s “swimming legs” and how she was able to stay balanced on them so well, and how realistically they seemed to move.  We both loved the move where Derek pulled her through his legs and she did a sort of somersalt, and landed perfectly on her pointed toes – she looked like a ballerina on pointe.  Just a gorgeous routine that beautifully highlighted what Amy is capable of – I think she really won the night with this dance.  Thought it was underscored, though, and I’m wondering if they deliberately clustered the rest of the scores in order to allow Meryl & Maks to sit at the top, uncontested…makes for a better storyline next week, I guess.

2.) Meryl & Maks – It was a very pretty routine, sure – but it was NOT A FOXTROT.  The first problem? That song.  I specifically mentioned in the comments of one of the posts last week that “All of Me” is a pain in the ass to choreograph to, just because the tempo really doesn’t perfectly fit any of the dance styles – I know some of you were throwing out suggestions like Viennese waltz, rumba, even bolero, but trust me when I say that there isn’t a dance that fits perfectly with that song.  So from the start, it wasn’t very foxtrotty.  Second problem? Maks’ choreography.  I get that he didn’t have the best song to work with and just did the best he could, but this felt more like a contemporary routine with a few in-hold steps – and then there was the 10 count of just standing in the middle of the floor pretending to almost kiss (gross). Pointless, non-dancing time-wasters have always been my problem with some of Maks’ choreography.  And in the end – I’m still not feeling connected to either Meryl or Maks, or them as a partnership.  Thought 39 was WAYYYY too high of a score for a dance that could not even be classified as foxtrot – I would have given it a 36, maybe, but I’m guessing they wanted to “shake things up” by having Meryl take the lead this week.

3.) Charlie & Sharna – I don’t know if anyone else noticed this, but this is the first time we’ve seen Sharna choreograph a jive on DWTS – and while it was cute and creative, I think it maybe strayed a bit too far away from the jive syllabus at times and had just a little too much extraneous choreography in there.  It was very cute and very fun, but I feel like Charlie could have handled something with a bit more challenge to it.  As for his actual technique, it was pretty damn good – only saw one or two counts where he lost time.  I guess this is just one more situation where I felt like he could have handled a bit more choreography – hopefully Sharna will continue to adjust her choreography accordingly, because I don’t even think we’ve seen a fraction of what Charlie is really capable of.  I preferred this routine to Meryl’s, but obviously the judges decided that this week was Meryl’s week to be the leader.  Whatevs – still think he’s gonna win the whole damn thing.  :-)

4.) James & Peta – I think we have our first contender for the title of “dark horse” this season – because I seriously didn’t expect to like this pair as much as I have been the past two weeks.  James nailed his salsa last week, and he nailed his jive even more this week – aside from one section of being slightly off-time, I thought this was about as good as it could get.  It’s kind of funny when I think about it – Peta was trying to force a showmance with Brant, and it always came across as awkward and tepid; she’s trying NOT to be showmance-y with James, and it’s coming across a lot more genuine and…chemistry-y.  :-P I also think Peta is starting to step up her choreography a bit more, although I still think she needs to avoid the same pitfall she fell into last week: throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the routine.  Less is often more :-) Overall, though, I think these two are hitting a nice stride and have left themselves some room to grow…and possibly knock one of the better dancers *cough*DANICAWHOISNOTADANCERATALL* out of the finale.

5.) Danica & Val – I’m sorry, I am just having the hardest time getting myself to really like Danica – she can dance fabulously (and she did tonight), and then she can completely ruin it for me by being all fussy and overdramatic in her rehearsal package and while she’s getting critiqued.  She just seems like she’s wound SO TIGHT to me – like she might have a meltdown if her foot is one inch out of place on her pique turns or something.  I think I’d appreciate her obvious dance skill so much more if she just RELAXED.  But anywho – yes, this was a good contemporary routine.  She handled the lifts well, she extended her limbs well, it looked good; but it didn’t get me as invested as Amy & Derek’s routine, despite the subject matter.  Felt a bit too overwrought with emotion and lost a bit of the honesty that made Amy’s routine so appealing.

6.) Cody & Witney – Cody handled this well, but I expected him to – it was basically a hip-hop routine labeled as jazz, so it was right in his wheelhouse, just as the cha-cha catered well to his hip-hop prowess.  Here’s the issue I’m beginning to notice with Cody, and I think it’ll become more obvious as the season wears on: if he can’t make it hip-hoppish, he’s terrible at it.  Sorry, but upon watching his tango last week a second time, it really kinda sucked, guys.  I’m just waiting until he gets saddled with something like the waltz or quickstep that he can’t make hip-hop at all, and I’m interested to see how he fares then.  I’m beginning to think James may end up outlasting him this season, simply because James is more versatile.

7.) Candace & Mark – As I said on Twitter, I’m a little puzzled as to why they saved this routine for last – cause honestly, kids, it wasn’t that good.  I was actually a bit surprised that Candace didn’t handle the jive a bit better – seems like a dance that would suit her wholesome, fun-loving attitude well; but she seemed to have trouble picking up her feet and really getting a bounce through her body.  She also seemed to fumble a bit on some of the faster footwork sections – then again, I wasn’t terribly fond of the jive choreography Mark gave her, either.  I know they were trying to go with the Elvis homage, but I feel like they maybe got a little too caught up in doing Elvis moves and, like Charlie & Sharna, didn’t quite do enough basic jive.  Maybe this was just one off-week for them, but I think we’re starting to see the limitations in Candace’s skills.  At least she stopped harping on being a “wholesome, not sexy, Christian wife & mother”, though.

8.) Drew & Cheryl – Another couple that had a bit of an off-week – Drew seemed like he was really trying with his waltz, but the whole thing seemed a bit…off.  The song was a bit bizarre – seemed better suited to a dance about a romantic relationship than one about his son; he also seemed to really fumble some of the more simple footwork, while handling the difficult stuff with ease.  It was pleasant to watch overall, but not his best dance – I have to wonder if he was just assigned that song, because it didn’t seem like it was one he would have picked himself.  Lord knows TPTB have got their mits in just about everything these days…

9.) NeNe & Tony – So…NeNe can wear flats for her jive and go barefoot for her rumba, and that’s fine; but Candace MUST wear ballroom shoes for HER rumba? Makes perfect sense.  *eye roll* Guess I’m just really getting tired of double standards on this show – I don’t care that NeNe is tall; that doesn’t mean she’s going to be hindered by wearing heels, so allowing her to eschew them while forcing others to wear them is a big ol’ load of POPPYCOCK.  Kinda like this rumba, which, like Meryl’s foxtrot, was a rumba only in name – way too much contemporary influence, and Tony flitting around with his shirt off and having NeNe run to him dramatically.  I was actually enjoying this couple, until this week – and I have to blame Tony, because I feel like he didn’t really give NeNe as much as she could handle.  NeNe does what she’s given with conviction – the problem this week is that she was given a whole lot of nothing.  And I’m starting to wonder if the Real Housewife novelty is beginning to wear off – she’s already outlasted the only other Housewife to do the show (Lisa Vanderpump, who lasted till week 3).  Then again, who knows how this god-forsaken partner switch is going to work, so maybe she’s got another week or two left in her…

 

The “Rivalry Scorecard” for the week:

Charlie vs. Meryl – I’ve gotta call this one a tie: Charlie doing an okayish jive is still better than Meryl dancing a really good (but chilly) non-foxtrot, but she seems to be gaining traction with the judges while he’s getting scolded a bit. Running total: Charlie 3, Meryl 1.

James vs. Cody –I’ve got to go with James again, but only by a hair – Cody handled his jazz routine well, but I expected him to; I was not expecting James to own the jive like he did.  Running total: James 2, Cody 1.

Danica vs. Candace – Both are starting to get on my nerves for different reasons, but I think Danica wins this one by a hair for masterfully handling her contemporary…but remember, she’s not a dancer, guys. :-)   Running total: Danica 2, Candace 1.

 

So what did you guys think of Monday night’s show? Who do you think is in danger heading into switch-up week?