Speaking of music, the audience was treated to the musical stylings of some of the pros, including Ballas on guitar with Dylan Chambers and Chmerkovskiy on violin. Carson had her own cute musical moment involving an instrument nearly the size of her entire body.
Ribeiro and Carson said audience participation would be a component of the tour, and Sunday didn’t disappoint. Chmerkovskiy made the life of the preteen girl behind us by dancing with her in the aisle, and Johnson coached some husbands and sons in the art of dance. On stage. With props. (At the other Red Bank show, Chmerkovskiy danced with the father of Season 19 runner-up Sadie Robertson. What will NYC bring?)
With the elimination of Tuesday’s results show, we lose the opportunity to see the pros dance together except in giant group numbers or 15-second bumpers around commercial breaks. The tour gives audience members the chance to see the pros in different pairings, with the most-common ones being Ballas/Carson, Chmerkovskiy/Slater and Motsepe/Johnson. (This would seem to be for height reasons.)
After several seasons with conservative partners such as Robertson and Candace Cameron Bure, Ballas let loose in a funky, steamy love triangle with Carson and Chmerkovskiy set to Ed Sheeran’s “Don’t” just after intermission. And producers, can we PLEASE get Slater a young, decent dancer as a partner for Season 20? She had chemistry aplenty with Chmerkovskiy in a samba, Farber in a jive and Motsepe in a contemporary-like rumba (the latter accompanied by Ballas and Chambers with an acoustic version of the Cure’s “Love Song”).
Some things you can’t appreciate as well on TV include the muscle definition, especially in the ladies’ legs; the circular fans pointed up on stage to make the women’s hair blow around sexily when they’re performing (Ribeiro had an entertaining moment or two in front of one of them); and famous people in the audience — we were across the aisle from former Chmerkovskiy partner Sherri Shepherd.
Chmerkovskiy, who is Ukrainian-born but grew up in Brooklyn and currently lives in New Jersey, said this segment of the tour was like coming home. He told the audience that while people in Los Angeles can’t ever place his accent because they know he’s from another country, they can’t figure out the Jersey piece. “I’m Russian, but we all sound Italian – how you doin’?”
After Sunday’s entertainment, we’re doin’ just fine.