Oh, I love when Sasha posts dance videos like this! Sasha, more please please!
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 :-D
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..
Overall, I think I enjoyed last night – liked that there wasn’t a particular theme, and everyone got a different dance, so as to avoid being compared against another couple. Wasn’t particularly wild about the Ray Leeper-choreographed opening number – to quote Mama Spence, “That was a whole lot of nothing!” and goes to show that choreography created for ballroom dancers by non-ballroom dancers doesn’t always work well.
I think Julianne actually ended up being a pretty fair judge – granted, I think it was decided before the show started that she was simply going to echo the same score that Carrie Ann & Bruno called out, but I still feel like she gave constructive criticism and didn’t put anyone down…which Len has a tendency to do on the regular. Not gonna lie – I’m kinda glad it was Julianne judging instead of Len during the week that Bill & Emma did their samba ;-)
As lovely and inspirational as Valerie was, I do feel like it was her time to go – she seemed to be really struggling these past few weeks, and the poor woman is probably getting really tired. But I’m SO glad we got to see her this season, and her foxtrot from week one is probably going to remain one of my favorites :-) And god love Tristan – there’s a pro that gives a whole new meaning to “being there” for your partner. I don’t think there are too many male pros on this show that could handle both the physical and emotional strain that having a partner with terminal cancer can bring – and he handled it with such poise.
1.) Corbin & Karina – For all the ado about him dancing shirtless before last night’s show, he really wasn’t shirtless for long – and it actually did fit the routine, IMO. After he and Karina stalked around each other and let the tension build, the shirt coming off was kind of a gesutre of “Ok, now I’m throwing my hat in the ring. It’s ON!” and it worked with mood. Anti-shirtless brigade, take note: this is an example of the correct way to go shirtless. :-) Really and truly, I thought this paso was fantastic – Corbin never missed a beat, he was invested in it, and contrary to what the judges said, I didn’t think “his hip-hop moves were creeping in”; I actually thought he was creatively styling some of his arm & hand gestures, which I’ll take any day over limp, apathetic, purposeless moves. Anyone else think the judges were intentionally being REEEEEALLLLY nitpicky about this one? I’d say this worthy of at least one “10” – it was that good, kids. And I know there’s been some talk from some here about “Ehhh, I kinda don’t like Corbin & Karina, they’re desperate, they’re trying too hard, etc. etc. etc.” I’ll just say this: if this routine was the result of their “desperation” and “trying too hard” – then more power to them. :-) Read more..
Well apparently I missed the memo that Hollywood night was really “Gatsby Night”, as last night’s show seemed to borrow pretty heavily from the new movie…if Baz Luhrmann was going to be a guest judge this season, last night would have been a good night for him to do it! Overall, almost everyone did well and got a rather generous score from the judges – but the unfortunate downside to that is that we may have seen our first glimpse of the puppet strings from the men upstairs, as there was some suspicious overscoring going on that may or may not have contributed to Bill Nye’s exit. Granted, I think it was his time to go, due both to his injury and the fact that he wasn’t really progressing at the same rate as his fellow contestants. But Heidi’s numbers post should be exceptionally interesting this week…
…and once again, my rankings are about as clear as mud :-P I’m seriously having a hard time determining who is the most likely to get sent packing – I’m getting some “struggling with votes” vibes from a few of the couples, but nothing that screams “This person is going home next week!”; I’ve also got the added complication of anticipating the modus operandi of TPTB, who now have the power to influence the outcome since they know exactly how many points each couple needs to stick around. A rather scary pall cast over an otherwise lovely season to watch, no? For that reason, I could see anyone in my bottom 5 potentially getting sent home – depending on how things go down next week.
1.) Corbin & Karina – I think Corbin had, by far, the highest level of difficulty in terms of choreography in his routine last night – and for what it’s worth, he actually handled it pretty well. There seemed to be a few issues with wobbly frame, and I saw a couple “deer in the headlights” looks, but he kept up with the footwork decently well and delivered a great quickstep, reminiscent of the quickstep Karina did with Apolo a year ago. But, like the quickstep she did with Apolo, this one didn’t seem to get the love it deserved – or rather, the love it did get was overshadowed by some suspicious overscoring of another couple. It also confirmed a fear of mine that has been brewing since week one: that Corbin seems to thrive more in the Latin dances, and loses a bit of his sparkle in the ballroom dances. He’s got a lot of room to improve, but last night was the first time I’ve seen him be less than confident on the floor – hopefully he can hit a groove with the next ballroom dance he gets.
2.) Amber & Derek – Judging from some of the comments I’m seeing on the show discussion post, seems like there’s a debate raging over who had more “Charleston content” in their routines last night – Amber or Christina. To be honest, I don’t think either was bona fide Charleston – first off, there aren’t that many Charleston steps that exist; secondly, Amber’s music dictated that she do something more than just Charleston, and Christina had Mark’s tendency toward the theatric to contend with. I would say Amber had more Charleston basics, but the overall mood, steps, and theme of Christina’s routine fit the Charleston better. And at the end of the day, I’ll be honest: I didn’t particularly care for either one. Amber unfortunately got saddled with a song that was really more hip-hop than Charleston, and with a ridiculously long intro that didn’t allow for much dancing – and the dancing she did do was just ok for me. She seemed to hit a bit of a wall with the foot action of the Charleston (which isn’t easy – they ended up using a dance double for Tobey Maguire for a few scenes in Gatsby), but I will give her this: ever the showman, she sold the performance well…even if she wasn’t really nailing the steps. Anyone else find it totally trippy that Len was the one that seemed to gush about this routine – and it was Bruno & Carrie Ann complaining about the content? :-P Read more..
I’m in a bit of a strange position this season – I find myself liking just about everyone, and I think it’s making it hard for me to predict who’s next on the chopping block :-P I probably rewrote my list of rankings 4 times before deciding on this…and I’m not even 100% confident in this list! So take it with a grain of salt…because things are just kinda murky right now :-P
I think Keyshawn going home was for the best – I just don’t think he had the necessary time to devote to the show this season, and I wonder if things would have been different if he had been on the spring season instead of the fall one. I do get the feeling now that he was really trying – but just wasn’t sure how to connect to the audience. Oh well – I wish him the best, and hope we still get to see Sharna from time to time this season. Glad I got to keep Bill E. though :-)
1.) Corbin & Karina – A very cute, clean, energetic jive, made good by the fact that Corbin just seems so enthusiastic about every dance he does. I thought the song was a little odd (an opinion shared by Chelsie, who also tweeted “weird song to jive to”), but the overall presentation & theme were cute – probably a good idea to play off of Corbin’s HSM background. My only complaint? In an odd twist, Corbin actually actually seemed a bit too sharp on some of the flicks & kicks – I’m usually complaining about the celebs being a little lazy on their kicking & flicking, so this was actually a pleasant change of pace! Will be interesting to see how Corbin handles a ballroom dance next week – I’m wondering if he might be someone that just KILLS it in the Latin, but stumbles a bit in the ballroom.
2.) Amber & Derek – A bit of a backslide for these two this week, which I still partially blame on their overscoring last week. While I wished Amber’s technique was a bit better in this jive (and that she had worn ballroom shoes, which probably would have helped her kick & flick more easily), once again she had great energy and really sold the performance – and she actually stayed pretty well on-time, which is more than I can say for some of the other couples tonight. I have a feeling she & Corbin will be taking turns at the top from week to week, so it will be interesting to see who fares better with a ballroom dance – I have a feeling she’ll be doing ballroom as well next week. Read more..
Well, this is probably going to be a pretty short ranking, because besides nursing a killer migraine…tonight just kind of sucked.
Ballroom round? Too short, and pretty ho-hum. Trio round? Only one real standout, a couple that were so-so, and the rest were fails. And of course, Len continues to be a horrible human being. I miss Andy more than I thought :-( Let’s get this over with…
1.) Zendaya & Val – First off, I probably would have picked a different song for their foxtrot – the fact that it’s a capella made it feel a bit thin & boring. On top of that, it seemed like it took a little too long to get into the dance, and what I saw, while pleasant to watch, didn’t really excite me. As for their salsa trio – where was the salsa? I saw a lot of vaguely hip-hoppy stuff and a lot of side-by-side actions, but very little interaction between Zendaya herself and the two guys she was supposed to be dancing with. And I generally just found some of the choreography to be a bit odd – once again, rather stop-and-go. It wasn’t a bad dance, per se, but I would dispute the fact that it was a salsa and call attention to the fact that the bulk of it was done individually, as opposed to in couples. Hell, salsa’s even one of the easier dances to do with 3 people…would it really have been that hard to do a bit more work in-hold? Oh well…they’ve got a 58, so they don’t even have to worry about it…
2.) Kellie & Derek – I feel like they were the only couple tonight that really put a ton of thought into both of their performances, and even figured out a clever way to link the two together. The Viennese waltz was very pretty, though I would have liked a little bit more of it to be in-hold, because Kellie can handle it; the paso trio was the only dance that really stuck out in my mind tonight, because it was so exciting to watch and it was the only one that actually seemed to work WITH the props they chose, as opposed to just having them there (like several other couples). Len’s score AND his comment to Bruno about having “something up his ass”? Uncalled for, inappropriate, and I’m just done with that SOB. If Fox can issue an apology for Steve Tyler’s behavior on Idol, then they can certainly issue one for Len’s behavior on DWTS. Dude is seriously crossing the line.
3.) Aly & Mark – Man, they’re REALLY trying to make Aly “happen”, aren’t they? Yes, she has grown – somewhat – in her time on DWTS, but I still find her a bit underwhelming to watch. I actually agreed with (ack) Carrie Ann about her Argentine tango – for as acrobatic & flexible as Aly is, her leg lines seemed a little…weak. I don’t think it was 29-worthy – maybe 27-worthy. As for the jive trio – it wasn’t bad, but it was just so BLAND. Part of it was Aly, but I really just found the choreography to be a bit blah as well – Mark seemed to be erring on the side of safe again. I have to wonder if she’s not getting the votes – because they seem to be scoring her awfully kindly these days.
4.) Jacoby & Karina – The Viennese waltz was better than I expected, though not his best dance. Liked the drama of it, but I thought it could be a bit neater. Actually enjoyed their paso trio with Cheryl, but I feel like the only real problem seemed to be that there was just so much choreography jam-packed into that routine that Jacoby got a little distracted…which could explain why he just kind of flung Cheryl off to the side. I think they just got so caught up trying to show everything that Jacoby was capable of doing that they may have overwhelmed him. But overall, I thought he did pretty well with both of his dances tonight…let’s hope that translates into safety. Not sure what to think after he ended up in jeopardy last week…
5.) Ingo & Kym – Eee gad…this partnership really kind of imploded this week, didn’t it? Kym seems like she’s at her wits end, and Ingo got really, really whiny this time around – that package did not do them any favors. For all the fussing that they were doing, I think their foxtrot turned out halfway-ok…it was definitely better than Sean’s tango, despite a few little stutters. The jive trio was basically a dud – you could tell the ladies did everything they could to ensure that Ingo was moving as minimally as possible during that dance, as they did most of the heavy-duty dancing; there was also a rather prolonged entry & exit, perhaps to cut back on the time that Ingo was actually dancing. I think they’re definitely bottom 2 fodder tomorrow night, and might even end up going home. They’re just getting hard to watch…
6.) Sean & Peta – Well, I think Sean is probably the weakest dancer left, and I think the judges made clear that it’s Sean they want gone tomorrow night. The tango felt stompy & awkward, and I could tell that Peta was doing a good deal of backleading in that one. Jazz trio? Despite having Sharna there to at least offer up some good advice, I think Sean’s trio was probably the biggest fail of the evening. Like Ingo’s trio, it seemed like they tried to put the ladies front & center whenever they could, and had them doing most of the real moving…although I feel like there was even less actual dancing in this dance than Ingo’s, and Sean was even more awkward attempting some of the jazz steps than Ingo was with the jive steps. I was pretty much done with Shawn a few weeks ago, and I’m definitely ready to see him go now…the question is: will it be him, or Ingo?
So was anyone else let down by this week’s dances? Go ahead and sound off, I need to lie down…
Well that was a craptastic (and trippy, and nonsensical) evening.
Seriously, powers that be, trash the Latin night theme, because it just feels clichéd and ridiculous now. And dammit, if tonight were a poker game, TPTB would have been the poker rookie that was giggling and smirking like the cat that ate the canary, betting too high, too soon, and then falling out of your chair and inadvertently showing me your royal flush as you flailed – yeah, it was pretty obvious who you wanted to stay and who you wanted to backdoor. And the immunity dance? We already knew that was a turd wrapped in tinfoil, but thank you for actually confirming it. Let’s get down to it so I can take an Ambien and forget today ever happened…
1.) Kellie & Derek – A bit of a gimme, considering they won immunity and can’t be sent home tomorrow – and to be honest, that samba was not Kellie’s best dance, nor do I think it was 10-worthy (but then again, I don’t think any of the 10’s we saw tonight were truly deserved). The technique was there – she handled the samba runs, stationary walks, and rolls without any issues, and she stayed on-time. But I’m guessing that Derek was maybe feeling the weight of having to practice 4 dances with Kellie this week, because it probably wasn’t his most inspired piece of choreography – aside from the clever little slo-mo section in the middle, it got a bit repetitive…Derek sure does love those counter-clockwise torso gyrations, side-by-side :-P Tonight may as well have been “Pssst…your tic is showing” night for some of the pros…but we’ll get to that later. As for Kellie – she kept up, but I do agree that she wasn’t quite “there” for the whole dance…maybe it was nerves, or just trying too hard to remember her steps. But if this was her “off” week and she still got the high score AND immunity, I doubt she or Derek is losing sleep over it ;-)
2.) Zendaya & Val – Get ready, because pigs may start flying: I actually think Zendaya was underscored, especially given that Jacoby got the same score for a dance that was, by comparison, rather messy. HOWEVER, that’s not to say it was 10-worthy, either – I guess if they were gonna give Zendaya a 27, then Jacoby should have gotten a 25. And tonight, I think Val’s “tic” was also on display: as I mentioned last week, he has a real affinity for what I call “dead space” – pauses in the dance that are meant to add dramatic effect, but inadvertently end up looking like the dancers just standing there doing nothing, and it kind of slows down the momentum of a dance and gets a bit…boring. There also seemed to be quite a lot of separate flamenco-style moves, as opposed to them moving as a couple, which was odd – I think he had the right music & the right set-up, and the right partner for a really dynamic, dramatic dance…but he may have blown it a bit on the choreography. Not sure what judge said it, but the only real problem Zendaya had was kind of over-tucking (?) her chin in an effort to look dramatic – it’s kind of a rookie paso mistake, just like freakishly looking at the ceiling in tango is a rookie mistake. Val was probably wise to obscure her legs, which continue to be a problem, as evidenced by her jive tonight…and what was with the sneakers??? She didn’t wear sneakers for her first jive…why wear them now? As for them picking Jacoby & Karina for the immunity challenge – I have two theories: one, they were out to prove something; or two, they were told who to pick by someone higher up, which actually wouldn’t surprise me, given how much funny business there was tonight. I daresay their jive matchup with Jacoby & Karina was the only exciting one tonight. I don’t see them going home this week, but I’m curious to see what the next few weeks leading up to the finale bring – especially since Zen has already burned through every Latin dance except the one most obviously awkward for her: the rumba.
3.) Aly & Mark – Did Aly go for it in her salsa? Yes. Was it fun? Sure. Was it 10-worthy? Hell no. If we’re going to call Jacoby out for a salsa that was basically fluff, and just a bunch of gyrating, then we’ve got to call Aly & Mark (or mainly just Mark) out for it, too. Hell, for the first 20 seconds or so, I thought I had just heard wrong, because it felt more like a merengue or a samba than a salsa – awful lot of bouncing going on. A lot of shimmying, too – and the crawling on the floor? Errr…I guess it was…cute? I’m not even sure how to describe it. Lots of fun, yes, but it was a salsa only in name, really. Then here they come, picking the obvious “gimme” in the immunity dance – Andy. In Mark’s defense, though, I think anyone picking Andy probably would have looked like a bit of an asshole – I love the guy, but I have no disillusions about him being the weakest dancer left. That said – I still think they could have picked either Sean or Ingo and still won their matchup, and left the remainder to go up against Andy. But here’s the strange thing about their immunity cha-cha: was it just me, or was Mark obscuring our view of Aly for quite a bit of it? Yes, we’ve long said there are Muppets running the show, but this even looked like a pretty rookie mistake for the cameramen to make. I still doubt Andy would have won even if our view of her was unobscured, but it just bugs. Anyway, I doubt they’re going anywhere, since they topped the leaderboard in a week where the bottom is pretty damn far away…
4.) Jacoby & Karina – Yes, I acknowledge that a 27 was probably a point or two too high for this salsa – while it was very fun and Jacoby actually handles some of the more intricate steps pretty well, the overall feel was a bit chaotic. Side effect of losing a full day of practice? Who knows – but Jacoby does best all of the other guys still left when it comes to doing lifts. As for the immunity dance – Heidi tweeted and asked “Why the hell did Jacoby chose jive??? He could have won with rumba!!!” and the only good answer I have is that Jacoby just really, really loves his jive…and loves the audience response he gets from it :-P I’m starting to get the feeling that he is not as hungry for the MBT, so much as he is hungry for just a lot of fun (and there’s nothing wrong with that!)…and while I would love to see him walk away with that trophy on finale night, I’m beginning to wonder if he’s determined enough to really put in the effort to get up to Kellie & Zendaya’s level, technically. Time will tell :-)
5.) Sean & Peta – All I really remember from both of the rumbas he did tonight was Peta’s choreography tic: slow, slow, FLAIL!, slow, kick your leg up, FLAIL! FLAIL! FLAIL! Aaaaand slow, dramatic arm extension. Seriously, watch her rumbas (and Sean’s Viennese waltz) – she will do 3-4 sections of slow moves, punctuated by 2-3 really fast, choppy, overdramatic moves. I guess you can call it “guerrilla rumba” – just when you least expect it, BLAM! Dramatic arm in your face :-P I will say this, though – I think Sean did a better job of actually moving around than Ingo did, and while Peta did do a lot of dancing around him, it wasn’t quite as obvious as it was with Ingo & Kym. But calm down there, killer – Sean about flung Peta into the audience on that spin-turned-lift. I would say his immunity rumba with Ingo was probably the most evenly-matched of the night, but it wasn’t particularly exciting – wasn’t terribly invested in either guy. But I was a bit surprised that they gave that one to Ingo – was sure they would fall for the drama & faux-passion of Sean’s rumba AGAIN. Which kind of begs the question for me: did they deliberately leave things pretty even between the two ABC guys? I think it could be almost a toss-up between the two of them in the bottom 2, but my gut is telling me Sean might be safe this week (blech). I’d love to be wrong, and I’d love for him to go home – because as someone here put it, he’s like Willard from Footloose – except he’s not really that charming.
6.) Ingo & Kym – Well, I give props to Kym for looking hotter tonight than she has all season – I think she was probably wise to pull out the blood red fabric and show some leg…and abs…and awesome boobage tonight, on a night where Ingo’s rumba just kind of fell flat. I feel like I say this every week: Ingo seems to try really, really hard, but it just never seems to translate into significant results on the dance floor…especially in the Latin dances, where he just has super-stiff hips. But in contrast to Sean, who seems to benefit from a lot of smoke & mirrors and flash & trash from Peta’s choreography, I do feel like Ingo actually TRIES to get the right technique…so I have to applaud that. His rumba, while awkward, thankfully didn’t feel as contrived and phony as Sean & Peta’s. But again – why switch gears and give the immunity dance to Ingo & Kym, when both guys basically did the same routine again, and Sean scored higher the first time around??? I’m not particularly invested in either guy, but it’s just yet another thing that happened tonight that seemed…off. But anyway – I’m thinking Ingo might take a spill into the bottom 2 tomorrow night, although I’d love for it to be Sean instead. He hasn’t been there – yet – but I have to wonder if his jeopardy appearance a few weeks back was a warning.
7.) Andy & Sharna – First of all, can I just say how much it gave me warm fuzzies to see some of the Kellie fans throwing their votes to Andy after it was announced that Kellie got immunity? :-D Restores my faith in humanity a bit, which I really needed after a sh*t day at work, and an even sh*ttier time watching tonight’s show – I’m not a particularly vengeful person, but I’m getting to the point where I’m hoping karma bites the judges in the ass. Carrie Ann’s weave gets horribly knotted & the paps get a pic of it looking nasty, Bruno’s Maserati gets a BIIIIG ol’ scratch right down the side of it, Len gets a bad batch of Marmite and ends up with food poisoning – because these three stooges have reached a whole new level of LOW with some of the comments they threw at Andy. We get it, judges, Andy’s the weakest dancer left and he gots ta go – but jeez, way to rub both lemon juice & salt in the poor guy’s wounds. As non-technical as this rumba may have been, it was clever, and it played to Andy’s strengths as a performer – and you can’t deny that it was kinda cute and fun to watch. So there was no need for comments like Bruno’s, where he wished he “could forget that dance”. Pssssh…I wish I could forget your leathery-ass face, Bruno, but I don’t say it out loud…until now. ;-) And I have to wonder if Andy may have been better off picking the jive as their immunity dance, because while his rumba wasn’t good – his first cha-cha wasn’t, either. But anyway – I think they got pretty hosed with their score, and didn’t manage to scoop up any points in the immunity round, so barring a miracle (and I like to believe in miracles!), I think Andy is toast tomorrow – but once again, I’d love to be wrong. Andy just makes me smile so much :-D
So were you guys as disenchanted with Latin night as I was? And what did you think of the immunity dances?
Well, guess tonight didn’t end up too bad after all – team samba pulled out a win (despite being at a clear disadvantage from the get-go), Len got taken to task by the audience for basically being a douchebag, and perhaps best of all: I made it through the show without committing a felony, due to my asthma medication-induced ‘roid rage :-) But that’s not to say everything was hunky dory. There was definite overscoring (duh, Zendaya; and to a lesser degree, Ingo & Sean), definite underscoring (Jacoby), and out-and-out cruelty (which left Andy in tears…inexcusable, IMO). Let’s get right to it…
1.) Kellie & Derek – I think I was prepared for both their quickstep and the team samba to be a trainwreck, after hearing how poorly their rehearsals were going this week…but I was very pleasantly surprised at how well Kellie kept up in this quickstep, and didn’t miss a beat. She also seemed to correct a lot of the issues I saw with her posture last week, which was an added bonus. Maybe not the most exciting quickstep Derek has ever choreographed, but when you’re struggling, going for simplicity (and meat-and-potatoes steps to please Len) is your best bet. I honestly don’t remember a whole lot of their solo from the team samba, but besides a few minor stutters from Kellie, I think they handled it well. Obviously a front-runner; now let’s hope they resist the urge to low-ball next week…
2.) Zendaya & Val – First of all, if you are not mature (or literate) enough to understand the difference between being mad at TPTB for pimping someone and being mad at the person themselves, then consider this an invitation to stop reading and come back when you’ve educated yourself. Ok, now that we’ve got that off the table – I really think Val let her down this week, because I found his choreography in both the cha-cha and the team paso to be a bit dumbed down. The cha-cha was good, and she danced it very well, but I’m starting to notice a lot of stop-and-go in Val’s choreography – parts where they suddenly stop and Zendaya kinda stands still while Val does…I don’t know, something. A spin, a flourish, whatever. And it doesn’t do her justice – the girl can handle tough choreography, so she shouldn’t need all these little pauses. Pauses are for couples who can’t dance :-) I also think that, while she’s great at doing spin after spin after spin (and Val has actually taught her how to spot her turns – something he never really got Kelly to master), he has GOT to do something about her legs. I could have driven a boat show in between them in that cha-cha – you have to close your thighs to get the right hip & leg action. And here they were complaining about Kellie & Derek having some space in between them while in hold…psssh. Again, I reiterate: Val, you have got to figure out what you’re going to do with those legs…because Len will cease to be dazzled by her showmanship before too long, and he will start to get nitpicky. She did well in their team paso…but her solo choreography felt a bit blah. Like she could have handled something more. I think her cha-cha was overscored, and the team paso was about right-on, but there’s no doubt she’s safe this week…and that bland team paso will probably get the encore tomorrow night. Read more..