The following is a guest blog post by Sophie who had a chance to attend the show live.
As an avid dance lover/doer(Former Juvenile National Ballroom Champion, I’ll have you know😉😂), I’ve always loved watching dance. This is why when I got the email saying I had tickets(one of my friends works for the show), I was game. After (two) weeks of eager anticipation, it came on Tuesday and my god, it was worth the wait. So, now I’m going to review the dances and ramble for ever.
Normani & Val- I’m sure she’s a really nice girl but for some reason, I just struggle to connect with her. This was before the show, but the pimpage of her annoys me slightly. Was a whole sixteen minutes of Fifth Harmony really necessary? Save that time for Rashad or someone who deserves it. Additionally, If it was a Freestyle, I would have rated it slightly higher but as a rumba, it was lacking. Firstly, I wasn’t keen on the singing(whilst it’s a nice touch, either dance the whole time to your song or save it for the Showdance). As my former singing teacher would say, her voice is divine. Easily the most technically gifted singer of her group, but it was too long. Additionally, there was a lift and since Carrie Ann didn’t dock her, yet she made a big deal about it, it felt unfair. She needs to work on finishing lines, and doing the assigned dances. I’m all for incorporating mini bits of other styles into dances(like the Flamenco section in Amber’s paso, the acrobatics section in Shawn’s Quickstep, the VW in Kellie’s quickstep, the Samba in Nastia’s quickstep, the hip hop in Amber’s Charleston, the hints of Broadway in Amber’s foxtrot, the little section of lyrical dance in Paige’s VW, the bits of Afro Jazz in Shawn’s divine samba) but between last week’s fun but over marked Jazz/Broadway hybrid last week and this week’s contemporary lyrical/rumba fusion, it feels a bit unfair. She clearly has potential but do the assigned dance. Part of me wishes loads of people voted for Nick & Erika & David, so she would be eliminated. Val pain makes me happy.
Score: 7 compared to everyone else, 3 for someone of her talents
Nick & Peta- Firstly, Nick is a really nice guy. Because I sat a few seats away from his family, I really got to see his interactions with them(I know I sound weird now) and he really has a good rapport with them. And for all of the things about him and his wife being fake, they seemed to be really loved up. Anyway, to the dance. I thought Peta choreographed a far superior rumba for her partner than Val did. Call me crazy but I think Nick’s execution was pretty near to being as good as Normani’s. I thought his dance was really nice and he had some really nice turns. His hip action was lacking at some points, which I understand as getting that Cuban hip movement is really hard for a non-dancer. I mean, even as a dancer, I find ballroom easier to grasp than the Latin, due to the hip action. I think if he drove through his foot more, he would be able to achieve that hip action more easily.
Nancy & Artem- Let me just say she is a class act. She is extremely lovely and she is just one of the most smiley, gorgeous people ever. Additionally, Artem just looks enamoured with her(not in a flirty way, they just get on really well). As for her foxtrot, if their samba impressed me, this made my jaw drop. She is just majestic in hold and her flexibility is extremely impressive. A massive improvement from her Viennese Waltz, which was already nice. I would only say she needs to work on conveying the dance, as at times her showmanship is lacking but she always dances in a really genuine way and that’s what makes her dances appealing to me. Oh, and never let your feet during the floor, but it was an accident, so I wouldn’t dock her too much. It’s hard, as well she is technically great, she needs to work on showmanship, as a couple of expressions seem a bit lacking.
Heather: Even backstage, she seems robotic. When it was her package, instead of showing an emotion whilst watching it,, she just seemed vacant. All I am going to say is this: you can tell the delineation between the choreography for last week’s tango and this week’s Cha Cha. To say she is a professional dancer, you’d think she was Charo based on how easy that choreography was. From a choreographic perspective, this and Normani’s dances were the worst dance of the night. But she danced the heck out of it. She really knows how to execute the choreography, which is nice. But she should be given harder choreography to execute. Imagine if she was paired with Mark or Derek. She’d be standing out a lot more. I loathed the choreography but she did a good job. I would have liked to see some really hard steps: some “follow the leaders”, some “Turkish towels”, some “hip twist spirals” and some foot changes. She can dance impeccably, push her harder.Shes a professional dancer, dance like one.
Score: 7 compared to everyone else, 1 for a professional dancer who danced for Beyonce. I will throw a party when she leaves. I won’t, but I loathe her inclusion on the show.
David & Lindsay- Firstly, they are both so nice. After the show, I went to get a photo with them and they were really positive. As for the dance, David really seems to shine in Ballroom. Someone should teach him to tuck his bum in, as it spoils his lines. He needs to have more of a sweeping feel during the VW and at times, I could tell he was struggling to maintain that posture, but a really nice dance, aided by Lindsay’s choreography. His bounciness annoys me sometimes but a really good dance. Don’t write him off.
Rashad & Emma- Can I just say how lovely this guy is? Anyway, onto the dance. Impeccable in pretty much every single way- choreography, execution, artistry performance, chemistry. Easily the dance of the night. I would be surprised if he wasn’t in the finals as that was one of the best contemporary dances I’ve ever seen. There was one throwaway line at one stage, but very close to that perfect 40. Best dance yet. Yay for Emma finally getting a contender
Simone & Sasha- A step in the right direction for this little girl. More emotion, more motion. I really noticed her moving bigger and with more ease than previously. In ballroom, the lady is supposed to dance up to the man’s frame, which is hard for the lady. I understand this, but it’s something to work on, as I can see her doing a really nice foxtrot. Shes a lot better than Laurie. Her VW was already better than Laurie’s. actually wanna see her do this dance or her Quickstep in the final, once she has learnt more about ballroom technique. Still not bad and she has lovely floor patterns. One of the best dances of the night. Additionally, I feel she needs to work on making her turns more Flowy. I hope Sasha works with her on this. I would love her to win, if only so people stop thinking Laurie’s the better out of the two of them. I think you may detect my Hinch bias here.
Erika & Gleb- What is it with the Cha Chas this week. Either not enough content or not enough technique. This was both. Her technique was very sloppy during the lock steps but she is starting to execute the moves with more confidence. But, it was all Erika Jayne performing like she would in a music video. Low energy and lacking content. I think if Gleb worked less on playing up this sexy schtick, she’d be getting 8s and 9s.
Bonner & Sharna- This metaphor is one for the Strictly fans among this website(I’m British, but still use this site as Improve seeing Ballroom dancing) This reminded me of Greg & Natalie’s week 7 Viennese Waltz. Everyone built both of these dances up, they both had evocative music, they both had redemption storylines after iffy weeks and everything was set up for them to get to the top- and then, it all didn’t come together. When he’s doing pivots, he even looks dizzy like Greg does. He’s got the same pros and cons- great chemistry with partner but gets stompy at times. Enough about comparisons. His promenade pivots need a lot of work. I understand that he has the injury and I empathise with him over this, but I just want him to knuckle down, as he has potential.
Other ramblings: It is entertaining, seeing the difference in packages. Weird as it sounds(shoot me Heidi), I actually prefer the Strictly packages, as they feel slightly less overproduced and dramatic than the DWTS ones. Call me crazy, but I prefer watching Tweedledee & Tweedledumb going to a market than watching the life stories of contestants- for me it blurs the line even more between dance & reality TV. Another thing that intrigues me- the sets. Seeing the people take down and put up sets looks exhausting- definitely not for me. Seeing them bobbing up every five minutes makes for entertaining viewing😉.
8. The dancer who should be banned from this show