Well, the buzz from week 1 has worn off – and just as Deep Throat had predicted, seems like the overall performance level tonight was not as good as what we saw last week. Just about everyone seemed to struggle, and while last week seemed to garner a lot of praise for the boys, this week seemed to earn them some tough love from the judges, while the girls seemed to get praised, on the whole. Not sure if that was deliberate or not, but I feel as though the judges are already getting a bit cockamamie – particularly Carrie Ann, who seemed to get progressively less coherent as the night wore on, and was only just barely able to conceal her disdain for young, attractive female contestants.
So next week sounds interesting – Movie Night, and you can check out Heidi’s live discussion post as well as PureDerekHough for a few early spoilers ;-)
1.) Bethany & Derek - Seems like Bethany is quickly becoming one of the most buzzed-about contestants on social media – hell, even Taylor Swift is tweeting about her! I also think that, despite her injury, they handled this foxtrot pretty well – they made it traditional enough that Len enjoyed it, but still “funky” enough to be crowd-pleasing. I still think she’s holding back a little (maybe it’s the injury, maybe it’s nerves) and we have yet to see her 100% in the dance, but I do think she’s got a lot more to show us, and ended up looking the best of any of the celebs this week.
2.) Alfonso & Witney - Ok, yes, I’m totally biased because I love Alfonso – but this guy didn’t exactly have an easy row to hoe this week: there was the pressure to deliver after his fantastic first week showing, a crummy song for a samba that was also wayyyyy too fast, and a young, new pro that is not yet used to the expectations that come with getting a very talented partner. I still say this was technically the strongest performance of the night, even though it wasn’t the highest-scoring; and I’m still astounded by Alfonso’s musicality and the way he doesn’t “waste” the music – he pays attention to every little beat and accent, and knows just how to move in order to express it. Thought the judges were a tad harsh – still think this was better than both Janel & Lea. But whatevs – they needed to level the playing field a bit after last week, and I guess saddling Alfonso with a tough song & dance was the way to do it.
3.) Sadie & Mark - A cute, very age (and Sadie)-appropriate jazz routine with a unique twist – I kinda dig that Mark was able to step out of his comfort zone and choreograph to a country song. Thought Sadie handled it well enough – maybe a bit unsure of herself at times, but overall her confidence really pleasantly surprised me. Love that she could roll her hips without fear. Seems pretty obvious to me that Carrie Ann is not a fan, but you know what? I know a lot of people that don’t particularly care for Carrie Ann, so that’s ok :-) Kinda felt bad for Sadie after she got her critiques – she seemed a bit disappointed. But I think she & Bethany are generating the most buzz amongst the female contestants, so I doubt she’s going anywhere anytime soon.
4.) Lea & Artem - Lea handled the jive much better than I thought she would, for sure – but c’mon. A 35??? The high score of the night, and only one point behind Alfonso’s showstopping jive last week? Even though Lea attacked it with zeal, I still saw some pretty major posture issues, some very limp kicks & flicks, and some definite loss of connection. I may have given it a 32, tops. Yeah, she’s got moves – but I don’t think she was as fantastic tonight as the judges made her out to be.
5.) Janel & Val - Second week in a row where I feel like these two got saddled with a song & dance that didn’t really give them the opportunity to show what they’re capable of. Mama Spence asked about 15 seconds in, “Is this a tango? It feels like a tango.” And sure enough, they were doing a foxtrot that was so staccato that it really did look much more like a tango. Janel handled it well enough, I guess, but there were a few minor bobbles where she lost a bit of balance. Again, I’m left with an overall feeling of “Ok, that was decent…but what else can you do?” Besides perpetuate fauxmances, of course. ;-)
6.) Randy & Karina - If Alfonso got a bit hosed this week, so did Randy – no way in HELL his cha-cha deserved the same score as trainwreck Tavis’! Sure, he wasn’t quite as fluid or at ease as he was last week, but hell, at least the guy remembered his choreography, and there was actual cha-cha in his cha-cha…he was a tad stiff, but so was Tavis, and Tavis managed to get off much more easily. And then twatwaffle Carrie Ann starts whining about wanting Randy to be sexier, and then I lament that, by going first, Randy has gotten a bit low-balled in his score, and overall I’m left feeling a bit indignant on behalf of these two. Randy’s still super charming and is (calmly) doing the best he can – he’s not having Tavis meltdowns, or whining like Antonio, or beating himself up like Alfonso. Give the guy a break, judges!
7.) Tommy & Peta – Y’know, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think Tommy might be my favorite partner of Peta’s – and that’s saying something, considering I loved Donald Driver! But on the real, I kinda dig that he’s bringing out a more fun, light-hearted side of Peta – she doesn’t have to be the sex kitten when she’s around him, and she doesn’t have to push, push, push him to do great because he might be a contender (I doubt anyone thinks he’s gonna win the whole damn thing at this point :-) ) She seems to be genuinely enjoying this season, and she & Tommy just have a great rapport. And really, the Chonger does have rhythm – seems to have some musicality, and isn’t afraid to shake what he’s got (manboobs, apparently). Love that they’re still giving us dances that are fairly technically sound, while still hilarious to watch. Definitely hope they stick around for awhile.
8.) Mike & Emma - There’s really not much point in critiquing Mike’s dancing – he’s bad. Like, REALLY bad – and his samba this week was no exception. Very little content, and he barely handled the little that he had with any sort of proficiency. But as I said last week, his appeal doesn’t lie in his dancing – it lies in his ability to say “f*ck it” and give it his best shot, and still maintain a sense of humor about things. THAT’S his not-so-secret weapon in this competition: charm. And y’know what? I’m ok with that – we have Alfonso, Janel, Lea, Bethany, & Sadie to give us the great dancing this season. There’s room for celebs like Mike & Tommy, who provide the comic relief :-) And that’s why I think he’s still got a few weeks left in him…
9.) Antonio & Cheryl - Antonio does SLIGHTLY better this week than he did last week, but something about him still just BUGS. I don’t know if it was the whining at Cheryl during the rehearsal, or the generally pained expression he gets when he’s dancing sometimes, but I just get the feeling that he’s not really having fun with the overall experience of DWTS, unlike Mike & Tommy. I guess it was a decent rumba – seemed like Cheryl was doing most of the work, though, and the chemistry between them seemed almost non-existent. Loved the song – that was about the only thing about this routine that I could stand up and shout about. Otherwise – just meh. Definitely fading into the woodwork for me.
10.) Jonathan & Allison - And Allison makes a rookie mistake: veering too far off the beaten path in choreography of very basic dances. Sorry, but this routine was all about Allison – and poor Jonathan was just there every now and then to offer her something to lean on, whilst literally fading into the background while wearing a black costume on a very dimly lit stage. Was it cool to see Allison dancing full-out? Sure. She’s a great dancer – but we already know that. I want to see her turn a non-dancer into a good dancer…and she really didn’t accomplish that in this case. Hopefully people continue to vote for them, so they have a second chance to impress…because if not, I think the former Mr. Aaron Samuels could be in some trouble in the coming weeks.
11.) Betsey & Tony - Awwww, could Betsey be any more stinkin’ adorable? Loved how excited she was about her hair, her makeup, and her costume. And thankfully, they opted not to do anything with props this week, and their foxtrot went off without a hitch. Sure, Betsey didn’t really knock it out of the park (and the choreography wasn’t very hard), but she kept up with it respectably, and seemed to be enjoying herself…which is more than I can say for some of the other couples this week. 8-O Don’t think she’s out of the danger zone, though, yet, and I would not be surprised to see her in the bottom 2 tomorrow night. But at least this week’s routine was an improvement on last week’s, and I think some people might throw her a few sympathy votes.
12.) Tavis & Sharna – Deep Throat had mentioned that Tavis had little to no rehearsal time, and that it showed – and boy, did it. He was mechanically stomping around, clearly looking at Sharna in order to remember the choreography, and it didn’t look like he was having fun at all – plus he didn’t exactly get a flattering edit in his package, where he was throwing a bit of a tantrum about “complicated steps” and “having a meltdown” instead of just listening to his partner. Like Lolo last week, I think Tavis’ mouth may be the thing that ultimately does him in – he just does not know when to SHUT UP. He just keeps prattling on, harping on the same thing over and over again, and it ultimately screws him. I think the judges were very, very kind with his score, but I don’t know that it’s enough to keep him around another week. Seemed to get a bit lost in the shuffle, and didn’t exactly come across as Mr. Charming this week. If not him, then Betsey – but my gut is saying Tavis is leaving us tomorrow night.
So what are your thoughts on tonight’s show? Favorite? Least favorite? Who’s going home? And what are your predictions for next week? :-)