I apologize for this being so ungodly late, but between all of the media and other posts we had going up earlier, a sh*tastic day at work, and some of you just generally driving me to drink, I decided that these rankings could wait a bit. Side note: if you wanna talk about the team dances next week, go here; if you so desire to vote for the dance styles and songs that the couples are dancing in week 7 (I think), this post has directions. I’m pretty partial to the idea of Tommy doing a Viennese waltz to “I’d Rather Go Blind”, but to each his own
After two hours of Pitbull the peanut-butter eating, Spanglish-speaking naked mole rat judging, I still have no idea was “DALE!!!” means. Oh well – I guess when it all came down to it, he was a halfway decent judge; he saw right through the showmance front that Vajanel put up, and actually knew the names of a few salsa steps to compliment Alfonso on. Doesn’t mean I ever want to see him as a judge again, though But hey, Mr. Worldwide needed a plug for his gig hosting the American Music Awards, so I guess that’s why we got him this week…
…the judging seemed kinder this week, so I wonder if there was a huge backlash from some of the out-and-out cruelty we saw last week and the judges were told to ease up a bit. Still think Alfonso & Sadie (and now Bethany) are getting nitpicked, while Janel, Antonio, & Tommy are getting babied a bit; Lea and Mike are a toss-up each week. Will be interesting to see if the dynamic of the judging panel changes at all with Len back – wonder if we’ll start to see more complaints about “messin’ about”, and Julianne will suddenly become the “nice judge” now that Len the critic is back.
Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan – kinda stinks that he didn’t last longer, but if he had to get eliminated, at least he went out on a high note. His jazz was probably his (and Allison’s) best dance yet. Not sure Allison made a strong enough showing to warrant getting asked back as a pro again next season, but we shall see…
1.) Alfonso & Witney – Perhaps not the most “strictly salsa” salsa we’ve ever seen on the show, but I can’t blame Witney for sneaking in some hip-hop to play to Alfonso’s strengths. Thought he could have used a bit more hip action, but then I have to wonder if Witney tried to keep the steps a bit tight & boxy in order to baby his groin injury. Still a very enjoyable routine – there was some complex stuff in there, and Alfonso managed to stay on-time and in-step with Witney. He’s still the showman of this season, for sure – and with the way the crowd goes crazy after his dances, I think he’s gonna be around till the end.
2.) Bethany & Derek – For all the whining & complaining I saw about how “horrible” a tango song “Jealous” is, you would have thought we had told you that Bethany & Derek were dancing to a song by the Freecreditreport.com band. And what did I say? It would work – and it sho ’nuff did. I think this may have been Bethany’s strongest dance yet – very clean, very confident, and very focused. Like Carrie Ann, I too found myself thinking Bethany looked a little like Nicole Scherzinger out there – maybe it was the hair. Loved that she was able to conceal her one stumble so well and keep going; also loved the clever little accents in choreography that Derek put in to compliment the music. I think Bethany’s really peaking at the right time.
3.) Sadie & Mark – Another round of applause for Mark for managing to navigate successfully the seas of propriety according to the Robertson clan, while still choreographing a proper rumba that was lovely to watch Reminded me a lot of Shawn’s rumba in season 8 – very PG, and more tender rather than sultry. I just can’t get over how LOOOOOONNNGGG Sadie’s legs look – could have used a bit more hip action, but considering that even the best rumbas we’ve seen on the show often lack any sort of mastery of hip action, I think she did alright. I was ready to be mad about her wearing flats, but then I saw that she was still putting her weight on the balls of her feet and was still doing the footwork as if she had heels on, so I wasn’t too upset. Hope she can loosen up a bit more to handle dances like Argentine tango, though – not sure you can really go the “sweet ‘n’ tender” route there.
4.) Lea & Artem – I just don’t quite know what to make of Lea anymore: she has these stellar days where I think she could give even Alfonso a run for his money; then she has days where she just kinda loses steam and regresses. Tonight was more of a regression, I’m afraid – it started out strong, but about 20 seconds in she seemed to lose a little bit of steam and the posture problems came out. Also seemed like she was taking steps that were far too big and it made her rush a little bit. She seemed like she was having fun, but got a little pooped by about the :45 mark. Wish Artem would a) put his shirt back on, and b) stop trying to push Alfonso as the one she has to beat/needs to outdo. Let Lea compete against her personal best; the minute you start trying to outdo another contestant, sh*t kinda goes south. Ask Gilles
5.) Janel & Val – Here’s the problem with having both salsa & samba on a night like tonight: unless the pro REALLY takes pains to make sure a samba looks like a samba and a salsa looks like a salsa, they kinda end up looking about the same – and this was definitely more of a “samsa” or a “salba” than a true samba, so I can’t blame Pit for getting confused and thinking it was a salsa. The bounce was nearly absent – wayyyy too flat for a samba, and Janel did seem to be grabbing for Val whenever she could, as if she wasn’t 100% sure of what she should be doing. As for the shirt removal at the end – errr, what? Just seemed like kind of an afterthought, like “Oh, we’re almost done – better take my shirt off!” Just left feeling rather puzzled about the whole thing – not really a satisfying samba, and with much ado about showmancing in the package, I would have thought there would have been a whole lot more heat. I do think them landing in jeopardy was a bit of a warning, though – viewers may not be connecting to them as much as others.
6.) Tommy & Peta – If we’re being honest, this was probably the weakest dance of the night – Tommy seemed to forget at least 1/3 of his choreography, got off-time, and looked a tad lost the whole time. If Mike had done the same routine, he would have gotten 5’s for it – maybe even 4’s. But because Tommy is Tommy, and Julianne (sorta kinda) has a (small) crush on him (sometimes), they’re awfully kind and give him 7’s. Kinda want to slap Julianne – she was on his case last week about wanting more, and then he gives her this (which is NOT more), and she praises him excessively. I honestly thought he was much better last week, and this was a pretty low point. Still think he’s got a few more weeks left in him, but I’m beginning to think he’s reached his saturation point.
7.) Mike & Emma – Whether you’re a Mike fan or not, I think it’s safe to say that tonight was his best dance yet – still pretty remedial when you compare it to what everyone else (except maybe Tommy) is doing, but Mike handled it well and seemed to stay on-time and in the pocket. I really appreciate how clever Emma can get when it comes to choreographing an intricate dance for a less-skilled partner – this is the 2nd time we’ve seen her take a guy with 2 left feet and have him execute a respectable Argentine tango. Sure, she was doing the bulk of the work, still – but she made it BELIEVABLE. Everyone asks why Emma keeps getting “crappy partners”? Maybe it’s because she actually knows how to handle them. And to those asking “Who the hell is still voting for Mike???” – clearly you don’t know the demographics of this show very well.
8.) Antonio & Cheryl – Even though I think Antonio did his best dance so far this week, I still feel like he’s fading into the woodwork. He seems to be relaxing a bit (though he’s still a pretty awkward mover, and has a tendency to really rush the tempo of a song), but personality-wise, I feel like we know NOTHING about him. We’ve seen shades of all of the other couples – Mike’s racing, Sadie with her family, Alfonso with his family, Tommy wandering around in the desert – but we don’t really know anything about Antonio. And I guess that’s where I have the biggest disconnect with him, and it makes me wonder if others are having the same problem. Now with all the celebs-with-questionable-fanbases pretty much gone with Jonathan, I have to wonder if people are really picking up the phone for him. My gut says “maybe not”, but I’m definitely not confident about it. Oh well – at least Cheryl seems happy.
So week 6 is a wrap – what did you guys think?