Well, this blasted non-ballroom (save for the mambo, and sorta-kinda the bolero) night played out just about like I thought it would: the hapless judges (aided and abbetted by the perpetually out-to-lunch Paula) kind of copped out on giving any seriously harsh scores, likely for the simple reason that they just didn’t know enough about the dances themselves to actually score properly. The end result was some pretty general overscoring, and perhaps a tiny bit of relative underscoring. But what worries me is that even though the spread may seem pretty big this week, more total points = smaller margins between points…meaning that it’s going to require fewer votes for those at the bottom to catch up with the rest of the pack. And it makes me nervous for another “shock” elimination…but this time, I think it has the potential to be truly shocking. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
1.) Shawn & Derek – Best routine of the night, without a doubt – great, PROPER mambo choreography, and flawless execution. I think these two may have had the toughest dance to contend with, for the simple reason that mambo has been done on the show before as a regular dance – and it has been done far more than any of the other dances on the list. Add to that the constant pressure of the all-star season? If they had a bit of an off-week, I wouldn’t have blamed them. But luckily, they absolutely KILLED this mambo – great tricks, a good amount of meat & potatoes choreography, and best of all – Shawn pulled off the “sassy” and sexy without a hitch, and looked great doing it. Very impressed with how she’s matured since her original season. If I REALLY had to nitpick, I would say that it seemed like Shawn was sliding a little bit when coming out of her turns – very slight bobble, but it made me wonder if the floors tonight were a little slick – and could also be the cause of other snafus tonight. Anyway, I think if they gave that hot mess of a Bollywood number that Gilles crapped out a 39.5, then this should have been a 42. But Len, ever the fuddy-duddy, withheld that last half a point that would have put them at the top of the leaderboard. Oh well – luckily it matters even less this week
2.) Kelly & Val – Like almost all of their other dances this season, this came out far better than I would have anticipated – even if these two were kinda giving me the creeps with all of their brooding in the background all night. Was it truly “contemporary”? Meh…it had elements of contemporary, and it came far closer to contemporary than Emmitt did to bolero or Bristol did to rock ‘n’ roll. But it was a pretty dance, and I do feel like they injected some emotion into it – which is really how contemporary came to be in the first place: ballet with emotion. Kelly had some nice extensions and seemed to really connect to the dance…and really, Val did too, as much as he may have hated the style they got. And he did get a few brownie points from me for calling Cheryl the b-word on national television, for all to hear I think they may have gotten a little out-of-synch on the side-by-side sections, and I must confess that I didn’t really understand the purpose of the platform they climbed onto. But overall, a very nice effort for a dance that neither party was particularly jazzed to have…and I’m sure we’ll be hearing buzz about this one for the rest of the week. Read more..