I don’t know about you guys, but I’m suffering from a serious case of whiplash (or maybe it’s just hallucinations) after tonight’s scoring – seriously, WTF were the judges thinking?! Once again, the cliché 7 paddle waltzes in and makes itself comfortable in the judges’ hands, and the judges seem oh-so-cavalier about scoring gimmicky schlock (seriously, Erin & Maks, the whole stripping thing is kinda passé at this point) higher than strong technique (I actually thought Evan was on-point this week more than any other week). Oh, and while you’re at it, why don’t you praise Chad for standing there doing nothing while Cheryl dances around him, and dock Pam points despite her myriad of legwork and undeniable heat. To quote the brilliant Jonathan Roberts’ earlier tweet: “ok judges r fired again”. Here here!
On the whole, however, those with tango fared much better than those with samba, and the swing marathon wasn’t as disastrous as I thought it would be. But let’s get on with it, shall we?
1.) Nicole & Derek – This may sound funny, but I actually think Nicole was a little off her game this week, for the first time this season – the samba really seemed to get under her skin. She seemed to get a little behind and a little off-balance at a few points, but of course the performance value was there, and it was another high-energy routine from Derek (although I do agree with Len a bit – I could have done with a little less gyration if he could have thrown in a shadow roll or two – Nicole can handle it!). And Derek proves once more to be the master of stamina (Heidi, get your mind outta the gutter) as he wins yet another marathon – in all honesty, I think this one really came down to who looked less tired, rather than who was doing the flashiest choreo, which is why Nicole & Derek won over Maks & Erin. They’re the high-scorers once more, getting the highest individual score of the night and also winning the marathon, so I think they ought to be alright – even if Nicole did get a little whiney during the lead in
2.) Evan & Anna – Ok, as I tweeted to Heidi earlier – something was seriously rotten in the state of California tonight if Evan & Anna scored the same as Jake & Chelsie and Niecy & Louis. It’s like eating filet mignon with Cheetos & Twinkies – they’re just not even in the same league. I actually thought Evan finally opened up tonight and looked like he was having a good time, and his technique, while not fabulous, wasn’t really all that bad, either. He stayed on time, he didn’t trip (ahem, JAKE), and he stretched those arms as far as they could go. I’m calling total foul with this scoring – shame on you and whoever is serving you hallucinogens, judges. However, these two did kinda blend into the background for me a bit during the swing marathon – they were moving well, but not moving as big as some of the other couples, which is why they probably didn’t last long (not that I can fault Evan at all – I can imagine all the bouncing doesn’t feel too hot when you’ve clocked your noggin that hard!) But these two are a voting juggernaut, so I’m not even breaking a sweat over these two going home.
3.) Erin & Maks – Fair warning: I’m gonna TRY to be as objective as I can about these two, but no promises. Maks was an arrogant fool tonight – tossing his shirt at the judges when they were not praising them, interrupting Len, talking back like a mouthy teenage girl – oooh, boy, you really steamed my broccoli, and NOT in the good way. And Erin, honey, you’re not immune either – I’d like you so much better if you would just shut up and dance rather than constantly whining at Maks during rehearsal. This samba was overscored – Erin still has chicken arms, and is somehow still getting a few beats ahead of Maks. I’m a little miffed that these two spent just as much time shaking their tookus as Nicole & Derek, as well as some silly futzing with tear-away clothing, and yet didn’t really get called out for it. Len, I’m with you on this one, buddy; Bruno & Carrie Ann, go sober up and watch that samba again – I think you’ll find it wasn’t as good as you initially thought. That said, I will give these two props in the swing – I definitely noticed them, because it seemed like these two were lifting the highest and with the most ease; however, I think in the end Nicole & Derek won out because Erin & Maks burnt out early and ran out of energy towards the end. Erin & Maks had the better tricks, but Nicole & Derek had the endurance – and since it was a marathon, I think endurance wins out. These two are a bit of a conundrum for me this week – I think people will either love what they did or think they’re two of the biggest whiners they’ve seen on the show to date. But I’m gonna call them safe, based on their scores and the many women Maks seems to still have foaming at the mouth…don’t ask me why…
4.) Pam & Damian – I definitely think Pam was back on her game this week, although maybe not as great as she was in the rumba. I thought this was the strongest tango of the night, because it had the most believable heat – Pam really does take her time and really FEEL the dance, and it shows. I thought her legwork was quite good, but at times a little wobbly; she did alright with the lifts, despite some struggles during the lead-in. DEFINITELY thought this was miles ahead of Chad & Cheryl’s tango, so I’m definitely miffed that they scored 2 points higher. Seeing her fear of lifts, I got a little worried about the swing marathon, since it seemed like the other couples were having a much easier time – however, I was pleasantly surprised, as Pam went for the lifts without apprehension (even if she did the same ones repeatedly – hey, stick with what works, girl! ) and I thought she & Damian were cute to watch. I have a feeling (positive thinking, people!) that team Viva La Pam is gonna rally this week after last week’s scare, these two are comfortably in 3rd place with points, and they got the money spot (although I’m not sure it carries the same weight this week, due to the swing marathon afterward) – I’m calling her safe this time. Slightly worried that they may get put in a faux bottom 2 (a la Niecy & Louis a few weeks back), but even if they do – I think they’ll be around next week
5.) Chad & Cheryl – Apparently, now all the celeb guys on show have to do to get a good score is stand there and look masculine – cause that’s all Chad did this week. Complete CRAP that he scored 2 points higher than Pam – Cheryl was the one doing all the work! And before anyone rushes to say “well he was helping with the lifts, and it’s the man’s job to showcase the lady”, I beseech you to watch it again – there wasn’t really a lot of heavy-duty lifts (half the time Cheryl was really just leaning against him) and he didn’t “showcase” – he stood there, blank stare, as if he was busy thinking about his next publicity stunt rather than being in character. If this is the judges idea of “shaking things up” – it ain’t funny. As for the swing – not a whole lot of moving from Chad. He kinda looked dorky to me – if he sticks around long enough, I’m gonna laugh my ass off when he does jive. Bouncy definitely does not suit him! But if the crazy Bengals fan in the lead-in that was touting Chad as “the best dancer on the show” is any indicator – Chad’s got a legion of lunatics voting to keep him on the show. Slight feeling he could end up in the red this week, but if I actually put him there (wishful thinking), Murphy’s Law of DWTS will likely spite me and he’ll be safe. Gahhh, when are the sane people voting gonna outnumber all the Bengals fans?!
6.) Niecy & Louis – Pleasantly surprised by these two this week – I got a little scared when Niecy said they were doing a “humorous” Argentine tango, but they actually made it work! The humor worked with the choreography, rather than interrupting it - I was cracking up the whole time. And really, it wasn’t half-bad – pretty elementary compared to Pam’s or even Chad’s, but Niecy did have good feet and managed to stay in step. Swing marathon – not too surprised they were out 2nd, since stamina doesn’t seem to really be Niecy’s strong suit…but what they did worked for them, and I did enjoy watching them for the short time they were on the floor. However, I’m not sure the boon of The Insider can carry Niecy much further (it’s gotten pretty ridiculous – they will critique every couple EXCEPT Niecy & Louis on that dog & pony show). I’m calling these two in the red this week (interchangeable with Chad), but will likely squeak by to dance once more time.
7.) Jake & Chelsie – I’m still trying to figure this one out. Jake dances a sloppy, frantic samba, gets called out by the judges, but still gets the same score as Evan; he looked decent during practice for the swing marathon, and seemed to do ok (granted, I was trying to watch everyone – did he foul up early & I missed it?), yet is the first one tapped out. I can’t decide if the judges are trying to bait people to vote for Jake or are deliberately trying to force him out this week. I’m not even sure they totally dislike him – the good critiques do always seem to outweigh the bad when it comes to Jake. He’s got a lot stacked against him this week: crap spot, lowest total score, and he has been in the bottom two once before. He also doesn’t have the “boost” of a scare last week working for him like Pam, or the big fanbases of Chad & Evan, or Niecy’s Insider posse, or Nicole’s high scores, or Erin’s…whatever. While he was starting to grow on me, I think it’s time for him to go – he’s plateaued. Sorry Vienna.
So how will this week play out? We’ll have to wait and see – but in the meantime, we can certainly speculate! Will Pam dodge the red light this week? Will Jake be flying home? Who, if anyone, will get the encore (I have a sinking feeling it could be Chad & Cheryl)? HOLLER!!!