*yawn* Well, I guess that about sums up “ballroom greats” night for me. Which is unfortunate, because I was kinda excited about seeing some of my favorites, like Arunas & Katusha and Riccardo & Yulia. Not sure what it was (maybe Donnie’s bad jokes, maybe some ugly costumes, maybe some lackluster performances), but overall I’m just left feeling a little blase about tonight. And even less enthused about the scoring, which leaves the door WIDE open for a surprise elim. Yeah, those team scores? All they serve to do is make the points spread EVEN CLOSER…which means literally ANYONE could go home this week. Even those at the top of the leaderboard. Are you scared yet? You probably should be. Pick up that phone while I break it down…
My take on the team dances: Overall, a big disappointment for me, from both teams. Not too surprised that they tied – although it puts the couples in kind of a bad position, since it only serves to lessen the gap in points between them. I thought Team Chelsea had the more difficult choreography & more interesting pattern changes, but they were out of sync at several points; I thought Team Hines’ choreo was a bit elementary and not quite as exciting, but they did have the cleaner, more synced-up execution of the two teams. Neither team really “thrilled” me. Overall, I doubt the team dances are really going to make a huge impact on voters this week, other than the fact that it might spur them to vote, period. And vote they should – because this funky points spread this week is a breeding ground for a shock elimination!
1./2.) TIE: Ralph & Karina and Hines & Kym – They’re both tied for the highest score, and I bet they’re both gonna get a lot of votes this week. Ralph had a comeback week (just like I said he would ;-)) with his quickstep, which I thought was pretty damn cute – entertaining concept, the right choreography, and pretty good execution…I say “pretty good” because Ralph did seem a bit tired to me tonight, or maybe he was just dancing carefully to avoid injuring himself. Either way, I don’t think it was 10-worthy, but at this point the judges seem to be doling out 10’s so randomly these days that I can’t bring myself to care very much. Hines is Mr. Consistent, so I imagine he’s consistently getting votes – even though this tango had the same not-100%-there feeling that I got from his Viennese waltz last week. For me, he kinda alternated between moving crisply & confidently and kinda looking lost and unsure. And for the first time, his frame kinda looked a little limp to me – not usually a problem Hines seems to have. As for the team dances – valiant effort by Ralph, and he did better than I thought he would, but was still kinda awkward; Hines did about as well as he did for his first cha-cha, although he seems to have lost a bit of the sparkle that he had the first one – or maybe the novelty has just worn off for me. Who knows. I’m gonna cautiously call these two safe, because I think they’ve got the fanbase to stick around despite being in shock elim territory.
3.) Kirstie & Maks – Eh, this jive could have been worse – she could have both fouled up footwork and been just completely boring to watch (you listening, Bristol? :-)). Thankfully, she and Maks somehow managed to make what could have been an absolute disaster of a jive halfway entertaining. Sure, they futzed around without doing any jive for far too long at the beginning, Kirstie completely lost track of her footwork in the side-by-side sections, and overall, there really wasn’t a whole lot of jive here. Normally, I’d rip this routine a new one – but tonight was a wacky night, and I’m feeling forgiving, since they still managed to entertain me. I would liken this routine to Niecy & Louis’ Argentine tango in season 10 – not a lot of technique or choreography, so they relied on comedy, and it worked. Probably the weakest link on Team Hines, which isn’t saying a whole lot when Kendra wasn’t much better. And really – Kirstie is the master of PR, and seems to be making more people fall in love with her each week, whether she does great or terrible. Being that they’re tied with Romeo & Chelsie for the lowest score, I think fans are going to be spurred to vote even harder…so I’m gonna call these two safe as well.
4.) Chelsea & Mark – As terrible as this sounds, a part of me ALMOST wants to see these two get sent home, just so Chelsea doesn’t have to deal with Mark’s seemingly volatile moods and in order to give Mark a chance to cool off. Mark’s behavior has definitely raised my eyebrows this season, but man, I was downright appalled at his behavior tonight. Chelsea looked mortified as he rather defiantly rattled off the list of paso steps he used in their routine, and I could have sworn he made an obscene gesture as he & Chelsea walked to the celebraquarium. But it’s Chelsea who’s getting scored, not Mark, so I’m going to try to focus on her. Like pretty much everyone else tonight, I don’t think she was 100% in the pocket of her routine – like I predicted, she seemed to have trouble with the “aggressive” feel of the paso, and like Hines, I feel like she was more in her head than in the dance, and ended up looking more like she was counting steps rather than getting into character. And choreography-wise, I don’t think the judges were so much upset with the lack of paso steps in the routine – because I actually saw plenty – but just the overall “feel” of the dance, since it was once again Mark being “edgy” and he should know by now that “edgy” and “modern” don’t usually sit well with the judges. And on top of that – the dancing was just ok. Definitely not Chelsea’s best, but she did look like she was really trying. I would say she was probably the MVP of Team Chelsea, but I felt like Mark was once again outdancing her and seemed to be powering her through the moves – which is unfortunate, since I think she’s good enough on her own that she doesn’t really NEED to be powered through them. Now when it comes down to it – I think these two are a possible “shock elim” tomorrow – possibly moreso than Romeo & Chelsie, since the latter at least has the boon of being tied for the lowest score, which may spur voters more. I think fans may falsely assume that Chelsea’s ok based on her 4-point lead – and normally they would probably be right, but because of those damn team scores, that 4 point lead is basically peanuts. These two getting eliminated would not shock me at all, based on the numbers.
5.) Romeo & Chelsie – I think Heidi & I simultaneously tweeted something along the lines of “Romeo got the pimp spot? Iiiiiinteresting.” So it makes me wonder if he’s starting to gain momentum in the votes – if so, he could be safer than we think. But based on this performance alone? Oy…he could be in trouble. This was a non-event of a samba, just like I had feared – no hip action, low energy (save for a few portions of side-by-side gyrating), and basically Chelsie dancing circles around Romeo. And it stinks, because I’ve really, really enjoyed Romeo’s performances the past few weeks. Really & truly, I think they deserved their score – hell, I would even say they were a bit OVERSCORED. The judges were being a bit kind tonight, IMO. Had this been a regular week, I don’t think it would have gotten more than a 21. As for the team dance – meh. Just not very memorable for me, really. Anywho, he’s tied for the bottom score, but I quickly did the numbers, and without giving too much away (saving it for Heidi’s post) – he doesn’t have to do much in order to catch up to Kendra. He could EASILY surpass her in order to stay – as long as he has the votes. Hell, if he’s really doing well, he could even surpass Chelsea. He’s tied with Kirstie for the lowest score, but since she’s such a favorite, I don’t think she has anything to really worry about. So the most likely scenario? It’ll come down to Romeo &…
6.) Kendra & Louis – You’ll have to forgive me – my DVR froze at the beginning of this routine, and I only caught the last 15 seconds or so of it. What I saw wasn’t necessarily terrible – but it wasn’t necessarily good, either. Just…odd. Awkward & uncomfortable, but somehow still going through the motions. I dunno…I’m not gonna really rely on my opinion of it too much, because I think this week will all come down to who’s got more fans. A 1-point difference during a regular week? Meh, doesn’t mean much. A 1-point difference during a 2-dance week? May as well be NOTHING. I think she’s at a big disadvantage this week, because she’s got 2 people below her in scores (and less of a sense of urgency for people to vote hard for her), and probably doesn’t have enough votes to surpass the next person up (in this case, Chelsea). And do I need to mention the gigantic target on her back from the past, oh, 3 weeks? :-) I’m wondering just how many Sugar & Spice, Dmitra, & Chericho fans are bitter and are giving their votes to other couples now – other couples that aren’t Kendra & Louis. In general, I think the viewers may be getting tired of her as well – she’s reigned in the verbal diarrhea, which very well may have been part of her appeal, and is getting a bit…boring. I wouldn’t say she’s for sure going home tomorrow (I’m bracing for a shock elim, myself)…but I would say she’s definitely in danger. Hopefully….lord knows I cannot handle another “Bristol”!
Ok gang, how did you guys feel about “ballroom greats” week? Did you feel as apathetic about everything as I did, or were you thrilled? :-) Is Kendra’s number FINALLY up this week???? SOUND OFF!!!