All the talk about freestyles actually had me go back and watch quite a few of the winners and losers to see what the couples have to live up to on Monday. It’s a rather daunting task, to create one that is really good and, just as important, MEMORABLE. If you subscribe to the Derek Hough school of thought, you want it to be remembered more than you want the MBT. Which of the couples will manage that Monday night?? A couple of them have really good track records, for sure. :-)
Season 1 – it’s rather shocking to watch season 1’s freestyles and remember that they did ACTUAL ballroom. You’ll note that once the Hough Ballas Crowd came along, the bar on the freestyles rose considerably. This one was not bad, considering the time frame, but there were a lot of mis-steps in it. Pay particular attention to the judges and how mellow they are and non-dramatic. This was before they became invested in being the stars of the show.
Season 2 – Drew and Cheryl with one of the best freestyles of all time. The best? Nah, I don’t think it holds up, but it is remembered by nearly everyone who’s watched the show for any length of time because of nostalgia. Great dance.
Season 3 – Cheryl and Emmitt are an example of having a winning freestyle while not being necessarily the best dancer in the world. Emmitt was good, but why he was so successful was his joy and the fun that he had and made the audience have in turn. Everything about this freestyle was just FUN.
Season 4 – Apolo and Julianne do a kick ass hip hop freestyle, again with a big sense of fun. Why did Emmett and Apolo do so well in the freestyle? Because they were surprising and the guys LOVED them. In turn, the audience loved them. This is another one that is remembered fondly today.
Season 5 – Helio and Julianne. Dang, I’m making myself miss the good ole days. :-) Again…fun, fun, fun. Look at his reaction when they’re done.
Season 6 – Kristi and Mark…probably the first “best dancer” to win, and no cop out on the freestyle. VERY difficult, but also entertaining as hell. A winning combination.
I think what you’ll notice about these freestyles is that they’re not only good, entertaining fun, but that there is an element of surprise to a lot of them.