Tonight is one of those nights where it physically HURTS to rank. Literally, I’ve got a headache, I’m tired, kinda cranky, and overall? Kinda sad…I may have ranted and raved on Twitter, but when it comes down to it, I care about this show, and to see it become such a 3-ring circus of blatant favoritism, calculated scoring, and machinations by the judges and folks in charge? I’m just really disappointed.
And unfortunately, I think the judges may have all but sealed the fate of at least one of the couples – and if there’s a double elimination like we’ve been hearing (and I’m pretty sure there will be – they’ve gotta whittle down to an even number of couples for the team dances next week), I’m fairly certain that we’re going to lose at least one really talented couple that doesn’t deserve to get sent home yet. And if by some miracle I’m wrong – then we’re probably still going to lose two big fan favorites. It sucks whatever way you cut it, I’m afraid. :-(
ETA: Yes, I know now that I added wrong, and Maria & Derek are tied with 30 points. Doesn’t change my rankings, but I acknowledge the error…too bad I’m too tired & the site is being too moody for me to fix it :-)
1.) Katherine & Mark – Let me start off by saying this: I don’t think Katherine’s a bad dancer. Technically, she’s quite good…lacks a bit in showmanship sometimes, I’m afraid, but she’s a good dancer and I do think she deserves to stick around. But WHY oh WHYYYYY did they insist on overscoring her so blatantly??? Her samba was cute and fun, and she never got off time or misstepped…but I also never really got the impression that she was 100% in the dance, and for the first time since week 1, I actually saw the “deer in the head lights” look in her eyes again, like she was constantly teetering on the brink of messing up. It actually reminded me a lot of Chelsea’s quickstep at this time last year – technically sound, and probably 70% there in terms of showmanship, but somehow a bit…cautious. Apprehensive. Safe. Mundane. Vanilla. Take your pick…all were terms I saw being tossed around on Twitter in reference to her samba, and I have to agree. I think our reader Will actually best summed it up: “It sorta made me think of a lovely, middle class, white couple trying to ‘get down & funky’.” It wasn’t bad, and it was a valiant effort – but it was a tad awkward. I would have thought more along the lines of a 26, definitely not a 29. As for the dance marathon – sorry, but I have to call complete bull on this one. I have nothing against Katherine, but the girl was barely moving out there – every time the camera panned to her, she seemed to stuttering a bit, and looking to Mark to tell her what exactly to do. IMO, the person that wins the marathon should be someone that is constantly dancing full-throttle, giving it 100%, and always moving…like Roshon. Not someone who can only eek out chunks and spurts of good dancing. My only theory for her almost-perfect score tonight? She’s just not getting the votes…and some of you can pooh-pooh me and call me a conspiracy theorist all you want, but I cannot in good conscience say that she cumulatively danced better than everyone else tonight, and deserved the scores she got. I think both of her other 29-scoring performances (her waltz and Argentine tango), were far superior to this samba. But apparently she needed shielding from the bottom two, and based on the spread I’m seeing, I think the judges succeeded in doing just that.
2.) Jaleel & Kym – Ok, I’ve gotta hand it to Jaleel – after a few kinda “off” weeks, I think he really redeemed himself this week – that cha-cha was high-energy, on-point, and entertaining. But 29-worthy??? Ai ai ai…these judges were trying to give me a coronary, I swear. It was the strongest performance of the night for me, but I don’t think I would have given it more than a 28, tops – still a little bit of wobbling & “happy feet” going on here and there, and I feel like he still kinda looks to Kym to give him a visual cue of what to do from time to time. As for the dance marathon – he & Kym seemed to be doing the same lift every time the camera panned to them, so based on that, I guess they did pretty good…but see, that’s the thing about the marathon that I absolutely HATE: the production staff is controlling what we get to see, so for all we know, Jaleel may have been killing it out there, while Katherine was just kicking it in the proverbial shins…but because the camera footage we saw was so limited, TPTB can claim plausible deniability, and say that Katherine was really the better dancer based on the entirety of her performance in the marathon. But of course, it’s an entirety we’ll never see, and we just have to trust that the judges made the right decision. Well I, for one, do not trust the judges :-) But alas, I can’t really say for sure whether or not Jaleel did fantastic in the marathon – but he did look like he was having a good time, and I thought what he & Kym were doing was at least more inspired than what Willy Boy & Cheryl were doing. So where does that leave Jaleel this week? Likely far from the bottom 2 or 3, given the spread, and the likely boost in votes he’ll get from being in the bottom 2 last week.
3.) William & Cheryl – I’ve gotten to the point with these two where I don’t even want to say anything about them anymore, because I feel like I’m just repeating the same stuff over and over again, and there are still some Kool-Aid drinking wackos that refuse to believe any of it…but I do think I saw a glimmer of hope this week, because at least 2 of the judges seemed to be a bit more critical of these two this week. Yes, I will say that William had some pretty good hip action in his rumba – but once again, he barely moved out of place, and once again, Cheryl danced around him. Let me be clear: a dance where the man barely moves out of a 2-foot radius for the bulk of the dance is not something I can truly label as “good”. Yes, he was “there” for her, but beyond that, I don’t feel like he really did much. And I agree with Len – it got a little too raunchy. Hell, it’s been too raunchy for awhile now – I’m tired of the flash and trash and I want to see William truly DANCE. Want me to believe that he’s a legitmately good dancer who deserves such ridiculously high scores week after week? Then challenge Cheryl to not get all breathy in William’s face or rub herself all over him like a cat on a scratching post, and make her really TEACH him. As for the marathon? Pffft. Since when is sliding around on the floor with your shirt open “Motown”? Or even particularly creative? Once again…flash & trash. But he’s sufficiently shielded from the bottom 2 once again, so he lives to dance another week. But I daresay it won’t be a cakewalk to the finale for him…more on that later this week ;-)
4.) Donald & Peta – I doubt these two are in any big danger of going home this week (Donald’s just too damn lovable, and a good dancer!), but amidst all the “ado” surrounding Katherine, William, & Jaleel, I feel like Donald actually got a bit lost in the shuffle. His foxtrot was fun, clean, and entertaining, but maybe lacked a bit of the panache that made Katherine & Jaleel such standouts (and the fakey-fake hype that keeps William in the forefront). As for the marathon, I kinda had the same problem with Donald that I did with Jaleel – I just didn’t see much of him to judge on, and the parts I did see looked like the same sequence of steps repeated from his cha-cha. And I can’t really blame any of the pros for recycling choreo from their stars’ previous cha-chas…there was just too much going on this week, and there shouldn’t have been a marathon dance to begin with. So consequently, I think I was left just kinda content with Donald this week, rather than blown out of the water. Hope he gets a good dance next week, so he can slide back into the top spot…
5.) Melissa & Maks – I gotta say – Melissa actually really impressed me this week. This was the most relaxed I’ve ever seen her out on the floor, and as a result, I think her performance value & technique really improved. Very pretty, pleasant Viennese waltz. Did it blow me away? No, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. In the marathon? Once again, I’m limited by what they decided to show us, and while Melissa looked like she was having a lot of fun and really trying, I did catch a few moments where she & Maks looked like they were stalling for a second before busting their next move. As I said before, I like marathon dancers who are constantly moving, so based on that, I think these two should have gone out at least before Roshon, who I never saw stop moving. So where does that leave Melissa for tomorrow? Well she has yet to be in the bottom 2, while there are folks left who have been there before; and this week, she has a bit more of a points cushion than she’s had in previous weeks. While I do think she’ll be in the bottom 2 sooner rather than later (unless she suddenly starts getting 10’s), I think she’s safe this week, based on those below her.
6.) Maria & Derek – Like Donald & Peta, I think these two may have gotten a little lost in the shuffle this week, too, but unlike Donald & Peta, I’m a little nervous for these two. First off, I have to say – I think they got dealt a bit of a crap hand when they were the only couple that got Martha as their music. Now while I love Martha, I can’t lie – it was downright PAINFUL listening to her sing this week. Her voice is just not what it used to be, and she seemed to be really struggling tonight. Consequently, I actually think Maria & Derek could have been legitimately distracted when trying to dance to “Jimmy Mack” – hell, I know I was! At one point, when they were doing their choreography on the stairs and got a bit out of synch, it actually looked like Martha caught them off-guard…like they weren’t planning on her being that close, and consequently had to adjust their spacing to accomodate it. Aside from the minor synchronization snafu and just the overall poor quality of their music, I actually really liked their foxtrot – just a fun, pleasant walk in the park :-) Now as for the marathon…hmmmm. I actually have to agree with them being tapped out 2nd – Maria looked like she was dancing pretty cautiously, and they seemed to be doing the same sequence of cha-cha steps in hold over and over again. I haven’t done a very good job of keeping up with Twitter or any of the interviews Vogue has posted in the past few days (*guilty face*) due to my ongoing internet issues, but I guess Maria is still injured/sick? Which I guess could explain why she was so tentative in the marathon dance. Can’t say I blame her, if that was the case. But here’s the pickle they’re in: they’re currently wedged between the lowest scorer (Gladys) and the only previous appearance in the bottom 2 that is likely to show up there again this week (Roshon), and there’s a possible double elim this week – so if they eliminate the lowest combined scorer and make the next two couples duel, I think there’s a decent chance they could end up in the duel…unless they manage to overtake Melissa & Maks, the next couple up from Roshon. And I think it’s possible they could overtake Melissa & Maks…but it will depend on whose fanbase is more passionate. Both Derek & Maks have power voters, and as a tv host, Maria might appeal to the same demographic as Melissa – it could be a pretty even match. But my gut tells me that Melissa is likely gonna edge Maria out this week, and Maria will (dramatically, of course!) fall into the duel…after one kinda off-week. But I think she’ll ultimately be safe…
7.) Roshon & Chelsie – Ok, I give up: what exactly do the judges have against Roshon??? This poor kid got raked across the coals tonight for a rumba that I didn’t think was all that bad – on the contrary, I actually was really impressed with both his hip action and the gorgeous way he extended his arms. By far the strongest rumba of the night, even if there were “too many syncopations” (sorry, but I can’t blame Chelsie for throwing a lot of them in – that song was sooooo slow and boring). Underscored by at least 2 points, IMO…he should have gotten an 8 from Carrie Ann and a 9 from Bruno, based on their comments. Now the marathon – ugh. This guy was movin’ & shakin’ and busting all sorts of Motown moves while other couples seemed to just kinda muddle through – yet he still is the 3rd person tapped out. What gives??? Were they docking him because they weren’t doing lifts? Psssh…the fact that the got tapped out so quickly just further illustrates for me that the judges want him gone. And lord knows why, because I do think this kid can legitimately dance. But alas, I think the scoring probably did Team Rochee in this week – while he did manage to get a greater margin of votes last week to stay out of the bottom 2, I think he was bolstered by his appearance in the bottom 2 in the previous week (and Jaleel’s missteps the previous few weeks…), and likely won’t have that same boost this week to keep him safe. However, he’s still got an okayish margin over Gladys, but I think she’s got a decent amount of voters behind her, so I can’t really state with confidence which one will go straight home and which will end up in the duel – and once again, that is only if there is a double elim tomorrow night, and it plays out similarly to the double elim in season 9. I’ve waffled back & forth since the show ended about 2 hours ago, but I ultimately think Roshon will end up in the duel – and if it’s against Maria, it could be pretty close on who gets saved…as in 2 judges for one couple and one dissenting judge. But I just get the feeling that the judges are kinda done with Roshon, so it will ultimately be the other couple (probably Maria) that gets the stay of execution while Roshon is sent packing. Sad face :-(
8.) Gladys & Tristan – Gladys was just so stinkin’ cute tonight :-) She may not have had the strongest dance, and she may have forgotten a good chunk of her choreography…but she just looked like she was having so much fun, and was giving it an honest try. It was a very cute, very “Motown-appropriate” rumba – loved the little nods and “Pip skills” Tristan threw in. Marathon? Meh…I guess I can’t say I was too surprised she got tapped out first, as I think she’s the weakest dancer left in terms of physical limitations. Poor Gladys just can’t move at 67 the same way most of the other contestants move in their 20’s, 30’s, & 40’s – but man, she’s impressed the hell out of me, the way she’s come out every week and given each dancer her all, and done it with a smile. I think she’ll definitely be leaving on a high note, and will be a contestant I won’t soon forget :-)
*sigh* So waffling back & forth and some internet issues nothwithstanding, I think I’m going to lock my predicitions in as Gladys going straight home, and Roshon getting beat by Maria in the dance duel. But if it happens to be Melissa in the duel with Roshon? He may get a stay of execution. And if Roshon (and/or Gladys) manages to avoid the bottom 2 altogether? All bets are off :-P So what do you guys think?