Well, the warm fuzzies and pleasant surprises I had from the judging last week have left the building – and now we’ve moved on to the “completely inappropriate and actually rather offensive” stage of the competition, where every other thing out of the judges’ mouths seems to be insulting, irrelevant, or just plain mean. Even after last week’s spiel about bullying, Charlotte got told she was stupid, and it was implied that Riker danced like a girl and Allison danced like a dude. Oh, and Mike got nitpicked to death for the third week in a row. “Do as I say, not as I do”, huh judges?
Bittersweet seeing Charlotte go. I was glad she got to stick around for another week, and aside from the fact that her rumba didn’t have a whole lot of rumba, I still enjoyed it and thought it was her best dance yet; but I think Charlotte may have mentally checked out a bit after the nasty critiques she got in week 1, so it was probably time for her to go, anyway. If nothing else, she looked FANTASTIC tonight – loved that color on her, and love big, tousled Brigette Bardot-inspired hair
1.) Riker & Allison – Well, I already thought Riker was a contender after week 1 – but I think this week his real debut, because that salsa screamed “Yep, I’m here, and I’m hungry – take heed, Nastia & Rumer!” And despite Len hemming and hawing and trying to claim that Riker “isn’t the best dancer this season”, I daresay he’s certainly the best male contestant, and bested at least Nastia in terms of technique this week – so he’s quickly inching his way up to the top. He never missed a beat in this salsa, which was actually the first piece of choreography I’ve seen from Allison on this show that made me sit up and go “Ok, that was cool.” And good lord, that girl can spin fast! He sold it well, he made it his, and he kept time – if I had one complaint, it might be that he seemed a bit stiff in his hips and didn’t “flow” through the movements as fluidly as he could have, but I also partially blame Allison for that, simply because her choreography was a bit more staccato. Overall, he nailed it, though. Read more..
Sooooo…anyone else have an unpleasant sense of deja vu from season 14 after last night’s show? Cause I sure am…it’s only the names that have changed: William Levy has been replaced with Meryl, and Donald Driver has been replaced with Charlie. William/Meryl can do no wrong in the eyes of the judges, is bathed in praise, and gets free passes for doing things that other couples get called out on in a heartbeat; while poor Donald/Charlie busts his ass and delivers not only some stellar dances, but manages to keep a smile on his face – yet week after week, he’s nitpicked to death by the judges and looks (along with his partner) beyond hurt as it’s happening. I hated the whole situation two years ago, and I hate it again now – the blatant pimping and obvious hosing of some couples vs. others is making me check out of this season just a little bit more with each passing week. There’s only one glimmer of hope on the horizon: William, despite all the pimping on his season, was only able to eke out 3rd place…while Donald, the weekly redheaded stepchild in the eyes of the judges, ended up winning the whole thing. Just some food for thought… Read more..
My first team dance post was getting a bit lengthy…so I decided to carry on the discussion here I thought I’d take a look at several factors that may affect the outcome of the team dances – things that may affect scores and overall success on each of the teams. Join me, won’t you? And be sure to vote in the poll at the bottom!
Just as a reminder, the teams are:
Team Loca: Meryl & Maks, Danica & Val, Amy & Derek, Candace & Mark
Team Vida: Charlie & Sharna, James & Peta, NeNe & Tony
Pro Team Dance Experience:
Derek: 10 wins, 0 ties, 0 losses; average team dance score: 27.65
Mark: 2 wins, 2 losses, 1 tie; average team dance score: 24.6
Peta: 2 wins, 2 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 27
Maks: 2 wins, 3 losses, 1 tie; average team dance score: 25.5
Sharna: 1 win, 0 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 25
Tony: 1 win, 3 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 25.38
Val: 0 wins, 3 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 25.33
The writing is kinda on the wall with this one – Derek wins team dances, so he’s a real asset if he’s on your team. Peta may not have as many wins, but the teams she’s been on have pulled in high enough scores that her average team dance score is pretty high. Mark’s average team dance score may be a bit artificially low – it was hard to account for the 4th judges’ score in season 12, so I just removed it – that ended up throwing things off a bit.
Who’s got the edge: Team Loca
Number of couples:
Team Loca: 4 couples
Team Vida: 3 couples
We only have two precedents for this one – season 9 and season 14, and there are pros and cons for both. In season 9, Team Paso had 4 couples and Team Tango had 3; Team Tango beat Team Paso by 4 points, with Louis citing that having fewer couples was easier because there were “fewer egos” and it’s easier to get a smaller number of couples in synch. In season 14, Team Tango had 4 couples while Team Paso had 3 – Team Tango beat Team Paso by 1 point, and Derek said that having more couples allowed them to “create more cool patterns on the floor”. From what I’ve heard from Deep Throat so far, both teams are looking great – but it seems like Team Vida might be having an easier time with the synchronized group sections.
Who’s got the edge: Team Vida
This gets a bit tricky, as the team dances are freestyles once more and obviously, none of the current celebs have any experience with the freestyle yet. So which pros have experience with the freestyle?
Derek: 7 individual freestyles; 2 team freestyles
Mark: 5 individual freestyles; 0 team freestyles
Maks: 4 individual freestyles; 1 team freestyle
Tony: 3 individual freestyles; 2 team freestyles
Val: 2 individual freestyles; 2 team freestyles
Peta: 1 individual freestyle; 2 team freestyles
Sharna: 0 individual freestyles; 0 team freestyles
Even if they haven’t necessarily WON with every single freestyle they’ve done, I think it’s good for every pro to at least have some experience with the freestyle – and Team Loca has Team Vida beat in that respect.
Who’s got the edge: Team Loca
Team Loca: “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin
Team Vida: “The Cup of Life (La Copa de la Vida)” by Ricky Martin
This one is rather subjective, as it’s just a matter of opinion who got the “better” song. “Livin’ La Vida Loca” has been used once before, as Kendra & Louis’ samba in season 12; “The Cup of Life” has been used twice before – once as Melissa & Tony’s salsa in season 8, once as Maria & Derek’s salsa in season 14. Both songs are conducive to both a samba and a salsa beat; there are also certain sections of each that might work with paso doble & cha-cha. Personally, I think all of Ricky Martin’s stuff kinda starts to sound the same after awhile – so I don’t really think either one is better than the other.
Who’s got the edge: TIE
Average individual score:
Team Loca: 25.63
Team Vida: 25.11
This is kinda reaching, but since everyone on the same team gets the same score, it might be worthwhile to look at what their average individual score is as a team. Not a vast difference between them – I would not be surprised if whoever won this team dance won it by only 1 point.
Who’s got the edge: Slight edge to Team Loca…but not by much
COURT’S OVERALL THOUGHTS: On paper, everything seems to be stacked in Team Loca’s favor: they’ve got great choreographers, great dancers, and are getting along well. Apparently Val is even refreshed at how good it feels to work as a team But I just can’t shake the feeling that Team Loca is being set up to lose – seems like a lot of emphasis is being placed on the fact that Derek has NEVER lost, and according to our sources, Team Vida is looking really good. We’re also at the point in the season where any potential dark horses (namely James, and to a lesser degree, Charlie) could have a bit of a growth arc and surge into the lead. Gotta love storyboarding. If they aren’t deliberately setting Team Loca up to lose, I would imagine the teams are going to be very, very close in score.
So what are your thoughts? Who do you think has the edge…and who do you think will actually end up winning?
So we’re at the halfway point in the competition – 5 more weeks to go, and there’s still 8 couples left…seems like a lot, but I guess numerically it makes sense. We’ve got party anthem night this coming Monday, Latin night the following Monday, and then who knows. Will the guest judges cease once we hit week 8? Will the themes cease? When’s the team dance? What other funky sh*t are they gonna throw our way between now and the finale?
I don’t have ALL of the answers, but I’ll try and paint the clearest picture I can of the remainder of the season. Here’s the list of what the remaining couples have left to dance in the coming weeks – I’ve already removed their party anthem week dances, so consider this the remaining dances for Latin week onward. I’ve added a bit of my own commentary as well. And because I’m nice, I did it both a list format AND a handy-dandy chart. I have a question mark by the Viennese waltz (see why below) and I honestly doubt we’ll see anyone else doing the swing this season, but I went ahead and included it since we did see it from two couples already. Read more..
*yawn* Yeah, all in all, that’s kinda how I felt about Latin night – even with all of the hoopla surrounding some of the couples. We were on tacky prop overload tonight, and it seemed like a lot of the couples resorted to gimmicks and fluff that, quite frankly, I don’t think they needed. Seemed like there was an obvious attempt by the judges to shield some dancers from the duel, and to throw some dancers headlong into it. Should be interesting to see if things shake out like they intend them to…
1.) William & Cheryl – These two are not in the #1 spot because they’re “that good” – they’re here because the level of blatant favoritism they’ve achieved has hit an all-time high level of absurdity. Ankle injury? I’m beginning to think it was a complete fabrication, as they seemed to only quickly gloss over the legitimate details of it, and I didn’t see La Levy wincing in pain (a la JR during HIS Argentine tango last season) or moving any more limply than he usually does. And speaking of a flaccid tango – guess they really gave those 29 points to Cheryl, who didn’t fail to deliver a tango that was 90% her dancing dramatically around her partner like a damn maypole (or stripper pole…) and 10% her partner actually…well, moving at all. Seriously, I dare you all – go back and watch that tango in slow mo, and count how many steps Cheryl takes, and how many William takes. I’m willing to bet the ratio is AT LEAST 2:1. To give a 29 to a tango where the man barely moves, and the stunts are pretty bland? That’s a damn insult to people who actually deserved their score more, like Katherine. Was William bad? No, but I can’t really say he was good, either, considering he barely moved. So I guess my congrats go to the judges, who have backslid into blind worship of “the hottest piece of ass the show has ever had”. Makes me sick just typing it… Read more..