So against my better judgment, I decided to resurrect these awards, after skipping them for a few seasons Just figured that everyone had some pretty strong opinions about this season, and would want to discuss (or argue…) about some of the finer aspects of this season…so here’s the gist:
1.) You get one vote per award category.
2.) If you don’t see your first choice listed, you are able to write-in votes for SOME of the categories – but here’s my strong words of caution: seldom do write-in votes win these awards, so I would encourage you to only write-in if you feel really strongly about something; if your write-in vote is grossly misspelled, doesn’t make sense, or cannot be understood, I’m throwing it out – I’ve had too many seasons of weeding through pages upon pages of write-in votes that were only slightly above jibberish in terms of clarity. And if you decide to be a little jerk and answer questions like “Which was the best dance of the season?” with “All of Meryl’s dances!!!” or “tie between Meryl’s tango, Candace’s contemporary, Amy’s Argentine tango, and Charlie’s jazz”, I’m throwing out your vote. Pick ONE – like all of the people courteous enough to actually follow the rules of this poll.
3.) Polls will be up for ONE WEEK – so get your votes in NOW. Read more..
So somebody requested that I do an update to my first “What’s Left to Dance?” post, just to see what remaining dances the celebs have to do this season…or rather, which dances they might not get to at all :-( I can’t recall another season where the celebs have had so many of the dances left to do with so little of the competition remaining – and I can’t say I’m enjoying it. But before I get too far into it, here’s my handy-dandy chart, updated with everyone’s week 9 dances EXCEPT Amy & Derek (as they haven’t revealed theirs yet):
So now to address some questions that are bound to pop up…
What dances are Amy & Derek doing next week??? I don’t know. Haven’t heard anything official. But there is a conspicuous gap in one section of the chart, so I would not be shocked to see Amy doing samba, since she’s the only person left that hasn’t already done it/will be doing it next week (in Charlie’s case). Then again, maybe they think she’ll struggle with samba, and so they’ll give her paso doble instead…IDK. No clue about the other dance – I would guess that it’s a ballroom dance, since she still has four she hasn’t done yet, but then again, it could also be jazz. Who knows. I guess my official “prediction” is samba and foxtrot…but that’s all it is, a prediction. What do you think?
How many dances are they doing during finale week? And what kind? Again, I know nothing official, but obviously there will be a freestyle, and if Len griping about Charlie’s rumba in week 4 was any indicator, there will probably also be a redemption dance (a dance that the celeb didn’t do so well on the first time around, and could improve upon). There’s probably also going to be a relay dance of some sort (probably something everyone has done – I’m guessing cha-cha or samba) and maybe some sort of instant dance/24 hour challenge (for the three that advance after the first night – I’m guessing someone will get eliminated after the freestyles on night 1. Again, just educated guesses.
What about the trio dance??? AND THE PASO DOBLE???!!! I’m guessing the trio dance is kaput for this season, and I would be shocked if we saw another paso doble (unless Amy is doing it next week) since the finalists typically don’t do an unlearned dance in finale week (besides the freestyle). Yes, it sucks. I also doubt we’ll see another standard waltz or swing routine – seems like those were only brought in to fulfill specific purposes (Amy’s request to dance to a Cinderella song during Disney week, and Amy & Meryl saying they were most looking forward to doing swing in week 2). Basically, unless someone’s doing it next week – we probably won’t see it again this season. Sorry.
What do you think the couples will do as their redemption dance? I think it’s kind of a given that Charlie will get rumba, as Len made a point of saying it back in week 4. I would say that they’d saddle Amy with *cringe* waltz again, but I don’t see her being able to improve upon it that much – so I could see them letting her redo her cha-cha instead. Meryl will probably end up redoing rumba as well, which I’m sure will fit right into this Meryl vs. Charlie showdown they’ve been dancing towards all season. If Candace makes the finale – hehe, she’s got a lot of dances that she could improve upon, but I think for the sake of variety, they’ll pick quickstep for her…she’s got both potential and room to improve on that one. If James makes the finale (and I’m leaning towards it being either Candace OR James that join the other three in the finale), I could see them giving him quickstep as well. That way, they ensure they get at least one ballroom redemption dance.
Will the freestyles be supersized? Given that they’ve been “supersizing” some of the regular dances this season, I don’t think they’ll suddenly opt for austerity and simplicity in the freestyle round…hell, I think the freestyles this time could be super-dupersized. Let’s put it this way: it would not surprise me if the couples called in the entire cast of Game of Thrones, the entire roster of the Miami Heat (blech), and/or the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir to help with their freestyles at this point…it’s that out of control, kids.
Why are they leaving so many dances unlearned this season? I don’t know, but it kind of gives me a sad. If I had to speculate, I’d say they just got too wrapped up in theme nights and trying to accommodate other random aspects of this season ( i.e. Meryl & Charlie’s travel schedule, Amy’s prostheses’, certain pros’ weaknesses as a choreographer, etc.) that they had to tinker with the dances a bit – why they decided to basically scrap the paso doble, I really don’t know, as that is one dance that it seems like almost anyone could do, regardless of their level of skill or physical abilities…it’s all about selling the performance. So yeah…it’s a head-scratcher for me, too.
So there’s my thoughts on the remaining dances headed into the semifinals and finals. What are yours? What unanswered questions do you have about this season?
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..
Bye-bye, gadawful switch week – helllloooo, Disney week! This may be the one good idea TPTB have had the entire season Sounds like a lot of you are pretty pumped about it – so why not get even more excited by compiling a song wish list and seeing if we might be able to predict what everyone might be dancing to, shall we?
Vogue & I came up with a list of the most popular Disney songs we could think of and divided them up by dance style – Deep Throat indicated that all the songs were probably going to be very well-known, so while I think it would be totes appropos to see Maks dancing to “Gaston” from Beauty & the Beast, it’s probably far more likely that he & Meryl have a song like “Beauty & the Beast” or “Be Our Guest”.
If you didn’t catch it yesterday, some of the couples revealed some clues about their dances in this media post Vogue posted yesterday. Some other clues, which I revealed on Twitter yesterday? Both Meryl & Charlie have eschewed the expected “Disney princess/prince” roles that some were hoping they’d assume this week, and are both going for “something different”. And because Peta is about as subtle as a sledgehammer (thanks, emojis) I’ll go ahead and throw out one song spoiler: James & Peta are, indeed, doing contemporary to “Let it Go” from Frozen. Happy Hump Day, kids Read more..
I’m a happy girl for two reasons – most of you can probably guess the first: Bill & Emma made the finale The second? Leah & Tony did NOT make the finale, which I find myself even more thankful for after witnessing yet another night of Leah dancing like she’s made of glass. Did she do the steps and stay on-time? Sure. But I wasn’t excited or entertained by her dancing, and the choreography she was given wasn’t exactly hard-hitting or particularly challenging…which is funny, because the way she & Tony were acting, you would think they were dancing at a Nicole Scherzinger level of difficulty. But alas, the judges finally seemed to call attention to her cautious performances, and ultimately she got sent home. Darn, guys – I know you are all as disappointed as I am that we won’t get to see J.Lo & Chelsea Handler in the audience again
As for Maks judging – I’d say he was definitely much better than Cher, but maybe not quite as constructive as Julianne. Chalk it up to nervousness or whatnot, but he seemed to ramble a bit – then again, at least the rambling was mostly praise and support for the couple he was critiquing. And much like Julianne & Cher, he tended not to rock the boat a whole lot in terms of scores – there were a couple deviations here and there, but I don’t think they’re going to matter much in the great scheme of things. I know, Amber & Derek fans, you’re pissed about the “9″ he gave them for their jazz – but really, it’s one point amongst 350 that were given out last night, and her score was near-perfect. Was it petty of him? Maybe. But is it going to affect the outcome of the competition? Likely not. I’m big into being selective about what I get upset about these days
On the whole, I think we got the best group of finalists we could ask for – we’ve got a high level of skill (Corbin), a high level of entertainment (Amber), a guy who’s really improved (Jack), and a funny guy that just seems to appeal to the masses (Bill). There’s a little something for everybody, and I feel like all the couples left genuinely like each other and there’s not an ounce of bad blood between any of them, celeb or pro. I’m calling this the “feel-good finale”, because it’s the first time in a long time (possibly EVER) that I don’t really care who wins – I’d be fine with any of the four walking away with the trophy. Sure, I’d love to see Bill hoist that trophy, but I know that it’s not likely to happen, and I’m just thankful that he’s gotten this far
1.) Amber & Derek – I’m giving Amber a slight edge over Corbin this week, simply due to cleanliness – both of her routines were near flawlessly executed, with a lot of synchronization in her jazz in particular. I really enjoyed it, although I knew right off the bat that at least one of the judges (likely Len) was going to bitch about “too much sitting down” – to be fair, the opening section, as cool as it was, was really more of a hip-hop/tutting section than it was jazz, and I think that’s why Len just couldn’t really process it…even if he did think it was as cool and visually stimulating as I found it to be. But it was a clever way for Derek to keep Amber off those injured knees, so I appreciated it, and once they finished it they did move into some more traditional jazz choreography. I thought their Viennese waltz was very pretty, if not a tad repetitive – but then again, I’d rather take well-executed & repetitive over the “barely moving, dancing on eggshells” vibe I got from Leah & Tony. I still think these two will be one of the last two standing with Corbin, but I’m not really sure which direction the odds are going to tip in – I think it could hinge upon the freestyle.
2.) Corbin & Karina – Two potentially perfect routines from these two last night – but the first one seemed to suffer from “excited puppy syndrome” and I think they may have tried to jam-pack a little too much into their tango, as it seemed to get a little hectic & sloppy at times. Loved the theme and mood – but the execution wasn’t quite there. Several frame issues, a couple bobbles on some dips and and trick moves – I’m just hoping that they can resist the urge to pack too much into their freestyle, because I could see them having similar problems…and I think it really could come down to the freestyle this season. Their rumba was much better, and I’m thinking the slower pace allowed Corbin to really focus more on the technique and overall performance, which was beautiful & haunting. I love Karina’s rumbas As I said before, I still think it’s going to come down to these two and Amber & Derek in the final two, and it may come down to who has the better freestyle – Amber may have the edge there by virtue of having Derek, but I think Corbin may have the edge in that he isn’t injured and can do a bit more than Amber. Will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
3.) Jack & Cheryl – As I was watching Jack dance last night, I found myself saying “I’m gonna be really, really disappointed if this guy does not make the finale.” And this is coming from someone that has rooted for Bill all season long – after Jack had danced his 2nd dance, I had resigned myself to the fact that I probably was not going to get both Jack & Bill in the finale, and was ready to forego having Bill if it meant Jack could stay, because he really has had a lovely journey this season. And the best part: Cheryl’s been there with him every step of the way. I seriously think Jack was what the doctor ordered for Cheryl – seeing her in tears last night after dancing with him showed me that she’s got a newfound investment in the show, but also that she does have feelings…feelings that had been hard to see underneath a perceived indifference I saw from her the past few seasons. But all that aside – I think Jack had a pretty good night last night. While his jazz wasn’t my favorite (likely because Jack is just downright MAJESTIC in-hold, and this was predominantly open work), he still looked really invested in it, and I did enjoy some of the lifts. His Argentine tango was the dance of the night for me – once again, Jack comes alive in-hold, and really seems to lead Cheryl; and those lifts were both creative and well-executed. Even his footwork was looking sharp and on-point…and I loved every moment of it I think Corbin & Amber probably have 1st and 2nd place on lock this time, but I’m hoping that Jack really gets the chance to wow us with a freestyle to pull out 3rd place.
4.) Bill & Emma – What can I say about Bill & Emma that I haven’t already been saying all season? He just makes me smile when he dances It’s not about technique or rhythm when I watch him dance – it’s all about how invested in the dance he is, despite any difficulties he’s having with the technical aspects of the dance. Was his cha-cha off-time? Sure. But it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of it. I actually thought his Argentine tango was kinda impressive, though – he had some nice leg lines and handled the lifts and the character of the dance well, and I have to commend Emma for some Derek-esque cleverness in choreographing a good portion of the dance around a chair, since Bill was fighting with a groin injury. I’m both shocked and thankful that they made the finale (even though I know the Rioters are a force to be reckoned with ;-)), and I’m actually really looking forward to what Emma pulls out for a freestyle. I think I read somewhere on Twitter last night that this is the first time since Lacey in season 7 that a first-time pro has made the finale – cool to see some new blood showing off their freestyle skills. I doubt Bill & Emma can hope for much more than 4th place, but at least we get to see them dance one last time and they get to say they’re finalists
So what did you guys think of last night’s show? Did the right people make it into the finale?
Kind of a strange, low-energy night for me – I feel like everyone, across the board, had kind of a so-so night, and I think it’s due in part to the fact that two dances a week are really starting to wear on some of the couples. I think I notice it more this season than any other season – some are dealing with injuries, some are dealing with strained partnerships, some are dealing with illnesses, and everyone seems to be feeling the pressure.
I think most of us can agree that it was not Nicole’s time to go home – however, I’m appalled at some of the sources of blame I’m seeing from those who are upset about it, and I place a lot of blame on the shoulders of TPTB for some really sh*tty scoring decisions. Nicole got a very kind score for her samba – while it wasn’t bad, I certainly don’t think it was 27-worthy, as she seemed to struggle with timing and there was very little hip action. So you can’t blame scores for her exit…although the judges likely screwed her over by overscoring just about everyone except Bill – it only served to make the margins smaller, which meant that someone below her needed even fewer votes to surpass her. And this was ON TOP of the big points dump from last week, so the margins were itty bitty. And sorry, but those of you upset about her going home – you were actually voting for her, right? Cause I’m finding that the biggest complainers about Nicole’s exit were people that didn’t bother to throw a single vote her way all season. If you didn’t vote, you don’t get to bitch & moan, and you are part of the problem. Snookole needed VOTES…and she didn’t get them. Kinda how this show works…this isn’t really a revelation, kids.
And fair warning: I’m going to be prone to bouts of rantining this week, after some of the wanton idiocy and deductive reasoning leaps I witnessed after last night’s elimination. I’m allergic to stupid, y’know
1/2.) TIE: Corbin & Karina and Amber & Derek – Just kind of an odd night from both of these couples – I don’t feel like either one was operating at peak performance levels. I think Corbin & Karina coped as well as they could with a rather odd cha-cha song – seemed like there was a lot of what Len would call “frippery”, though…lotta side-by-side hip-hop sections, but I kinda blame the rhythm changes in the song for that. Someone on Twitter remarked that Karina seemed stressed – and yes, I have to agree, and wonder if the constant pressure to make their routines better and better is beginning to wear on she & Corbin’s partnership. Then there was Amber & Derek, who both had injuries to contend with – while I think they handled their paso doble well, I think Derek did kinda take the safe route on it; seemed like it wasn’t as daring or impactful as some of the other paso dobles we’ve seen from him. Pleasant to watch, yes; super-innovative and exciting? Not really. Let’s hope they can get back into good physical form so they can tackle more daring stuff. Read more..
Tonight’s episode of Sesame Street was brought to you by the words “bullsh*t” and “inconsistency”. By the time they lined the couples up for elimination with a mere 5 minutes remaining in the show, my blood was boiling – Len was an absolute terror tonight, the other two stooges were more or less his accomplices when it came to completely contradicting things that they have said in previous weeks (or even earlier in the evening). Seems kinda obvious that they’ve been told they need to shield certain couples from excessive criticism, while piling it on others like it’s going out of style. Len in particular has lost all credibility for me this season – he’s not the “strictly ballroom” judge he once was; now he seems to have a personal agenda, and that dictates his scores & critiques far more than any actual ballroom knowledge. Can we ship him back overseas next week and bring in a guest judge? Pretty please?
As I had kinda guessed, the switch-up dance challenge was a complete turd of an idea – and I think it was quite possibly the most ridiculous-looking thing we’ve seen them make these poor celebs do in 17 seasons. My best guess is that, immediately following the aftermath of last week’s production Muppet voting snafu, they knew they were gonna have to forego this week’s elimination, but needed something trivial to fill time…enter this nonsense. God I hope this one gets permanently scrapped, cause I felt seriously embarassed for some of the couples out there…except for Bill & Emma, who seemed hip to the fact that this challenge was complete bullsh*t and just decided to have fun with it Thrilled that nobody got eliminated – I was seriously scared for Bill by the end of the show. But likely thanks to the Muppets, we get him for another week
1.) Amber & Derek – I’m convinced now that there is nothing Derek can do this season to please Len – “there’s not enough content”. “There’s too much content & it’s repetitive.” The guy is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t – and he seems to be the only one that Len picks apart for these reasons, and the only one that gets legitimately punished as opposed to just getting a warning (looking at YOU, Tony). And the worst part: Amber just seems to be collateral damage to Len. I actually thought this routine was a good example of samba – had a lot of textbook steps, it traveled around the room, and Derek took out a lot of the “frippery” that Len has been complaining about this season…and Amber handled it well! But Len has the nerve to whine about it being “repetitive”. Ok Len, I’ll take the bait: maybe it was repetitive because THERE’S A FUCKING SYLLABUS OF STEPS THAT YOU CONSTANTLY HARP ON, and samba in particular is rather limited in the sequence of steps you can use to get around the room. And dammit, every single routine is going to be repetitive to some degree – if you want a dance to look like it should, you’ve gotta use a lot of basic, characeristic steps. Bill & Emma’s tango? Yep, repetition. Brant & Peta’s tango? Repetitive. Jack & Cheryl’s paso? Repetitive. Nicole & Sasha’s foxtrot? Repetitive, repetitive, repetitive. And yet none of those other couples got scolded for it…hmmmm. I guess my only explanation is that Amber is getting the votes she needs to stick around, so TPTB don’t feel the need to “shield” her from elimination like they do other couples – and maybe, to give the impression of this being a close race, Len feels the need to knock this couple down a few notches.
2.) Elizabeth & Val – Lizzy, Lizzy, Lizzy…I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually starting to feel a bit sorry for her. This woman just seems like she’s DESPERATE to do well, and might emotionally shatter at any given moment. By extension, I think I might actually be feeling a bit bad for Val, too, just because I’m not sure that he really knows how to handle it when Liz has a meltdown like she did during her rehearsal footage. But anyway – I thought her cha-cha was actually pretty good, but I don’t think it was 30-worthy – as I said to someone on Twitter, I MIGHT have given it one “10″ as a courtesy, and then maybe two 9′s. I will commend Val on the fact that he must really drill proper turn technique into his partners, because Elizabeth, like Zendaya & Kelly, seems to know how to properly spot her turns, and the result is pretty nice to look at. Can’t say I was wild about Liz’ solo at the beginning, but I guess I understand why Val put it there – it utilizes her ballet & jazz training. My only other complaint: like a lot of other routines we’ve seen from Val, it just seemed a little bit “stop-and-go”, which interrupted the overall flow of it. But overall, I enjoyed it, and Liz seemed to handle it well. The fact that it was given a perfect score, however, makes me wonder if the judges are attempting to shield Lizzy from a Christina Milian-esque ouster – and I wonder if they’ve decided that she MUST be in the finale. I get that they want to have a strong finale of good dancers, but I think anymore, it’s not just about the dancing anymore…you’ve gotta connect with the audience and really entertain them, and that’s one area where I think Liz & Val could take a page out of Bill & Emma’s book. Liz & Val seem to be more inwardly-focused and taking the competition more seriously; I think Bill & Emma, while still wanting to do well, seem more focused on putting on a good show and really making things enjoyable for viewers. If Liz could do both, I could see her being more of a contender. Read more..