You guys voted…now it’s time to reveal your picks for the bests and worsts of season 13!
Other responses (keep in mind I am paraphrasing, as there were some…creatively-written responses ;-)):
JR & Karina’s freestyle – 11
JR & Karina’s waltz – 7
Nancy & Tristan’s rumba – 4
JR & Karina’s rumba – 4
JR & Karina’s 1st jive – 4
Ricki & Derek’s rumba – 3
Ricki & Derek’s quickstep – 2
JR & Karina’s instant jive – 2
Rob & Cheryl’s tango – 1
Elisabetta & Val’s quickstep - 1
Ricki & Derek’s paso doble – 1
Ricki & Derek’s portion of the team paso doble – 1
Rob & Cheryl/JR & Karina’s instant samba – 1
Kristin & Mark’s samba – 1
Kristin & Mark’s quickstep – 1
JR & Karina’s “Vietnamese” waltz – 1 (I assume you meant “Viennese”? :-))
Chynna & Tony’s rumba – 1
Derek & Mark’s dance w/Charm – 1 (one of the results show dances)
Chaz & Lacey’s rumba – 1
Carson & Anna’s Vogue – 1
GET NANCY OFF THE STAGE – 1 (I have half a mind to toss this one out completely…)
None really impressed me to say they were the best – 1
Courtney: Can’t say I’m too surprised – choreographically, I think Ricki & Derek’s tango was really the strongest dance of the season, and the execution and performance value were there as well. It’s also a great example of how a less-than-desirable song/theme isn’t necessarily a death sentence, if put in the hands of a creative pro – in fact, a challenging song can often push a pro to really rise to the occasion and crank out something incredible. JR & Karina’s samba was fun & well-executed, but maybe not quite as creative; ditto for Rob & Cheryl’s samba. Gotta say – I was kind of rooting for Carson & Anna’s cha-cha. It has yet to get old for me Nancy & Tristan’s foxtrot and Hope & Maks’ quickstep were both fun & light, but I actually think Hope & Maks’ foxtrot was a stronger dance, both performance-wise and technique-wise…but I feel like it got overlooked because it was wedged between two weeks where Hope didn’t do so great. The quickstep happened during her “breakthrough” week, so I think it comparison it may have appeared better than it really was. Hope looked to me like she was holding on for dear life in the quickstep, but seemed much more at-ease during her foxtrot. I dunno…it is what it is. Other responses: I liked JR & Karina’s freestyle a lot, but for some reason (which I can’t really put my finger on), it’s lacking a certain something for me that would really qualify it as the best dance of the season. I have to raise my eyebrows a bit at the fact that 4 people (or rather, 4 different IP addresses ;-)) really thought Nancy & Tristan’s rumba was the best dance of the season…I mean, the dirty glance Tristan tossed Carrie Ann’s way at the beginning was hot, but other than that…Nancy was kinda lifeless in that dance, at least for me. As I recall, the judges weren’t too keen on it, either.
Heidi: I think JR was up and down an awful lot for someone who won the show, actually – and their freestyle?? I know we discussed it at the time but I can’t put my finger on it either. There was nothing really technical in it beyond the one or two lifts – I always seem to prefer the freestyles that stick to a lot of ballroom moves but break all the rules in terms of lifts and hold – which explains why I am a Derek fan. He generally puts a lot of ballroom in his freestyles. Tristan and Nancy?? Just no. I liked them as a couple, and Tristan is a cutie – but the jury is still out on his choreo skills. Nothing I saw from them was “wow” – although I adored the Spamalot dance just cuz it was Spamalot. And I’ll give credit to Maks’ fans for being loyal at least. Best dance of the season? Nope. Their dances were just too awkward looking most of the time.
Vogue: I don’t think I’ll ever forget my jaw dropping during and after Ricki and Derek’s Psycho performance. I love it when that happens. I’m a huge fan of theatre-like dance productions anyway being a huge fan to Madonna and Lady Gaga. Derek covered all of his bases not only with the dance itself, but, with the costuming and the brilliant backdropping. This performance will go down as one of the ‘most memorable’ on Dancing With The Stars. I’ll never forget it. I also loved Maks and Hope’s Quickstep. I felt they were both finally starting to find their element with this dance. It was good to see her finally relaxing. Whatever the case, their Quickstep gets best costuming.
Keep watching in the coming weeks as we reveal more of the results of your voting!
Judging from the comments of my inaugural Ask Courtney post, it looks like many of you are baffled about this one. But fear not, I am about to shed some light on the mysterious “heel lead” Len seems to prattle on about
Before I start, though, I want everyone to stand up and take 5 steps in whatever direction you have a clear path. Did you do it? Well congratulations! You just did a heel lead. Literally, all a heel lead really entails is taking a step where the first part of your foot that hits the ground is your heel, and then the ball of your foot, and then your toes. Unless you’re injured or just prefer to walk on your tiptoes all the time, this is how people normally walk. It’s a very natural motion.
Where it gets dicey is on the dance floor. In the ballroom dances (waltz, tango, foxtrot, quickstep, and Viennese waltz), you’re (almost) always supposed to step forward on your heel; in the Latin dances, you’re always supposed to step forward on the toe. You step backward on the toe in both dances (it’s nary impossible to step backward with a heel lead…I dare you to try. You will feel silly ;-)). When Len starts bitching about heel leads, it seems like it’s usually a male celeb stepping forward on the toe in one of the ballroom dances – it leads to a very stilted, awkward gait, and seems to throw both the male celeb and the female pro off balance. It also negates the possibility of them getting the proper “rise & fall” characteristic of the ballroom dances (with the exception of tango, which has no rise & fall). This is probably most noticeable in the regular waltz, which has the most exaggerated rise & fall.
As for doing a heel lead when you’re not supposed to – the only thing that springs to mind is Derek’s infamous rant after Shannon’s rumba in season 6, where he accused the judges of overlooking some other couples “doing heel leads out there!”. I haven’t the time or patience at the moment to pore through all of the other rumbas from that particular night and look for heel leads, but I imagine that they probably looked kinda bland. Part of what makes rumba (and all Latin dances, for that matter) look cool is the hip action – hip action that can really only be done well if you’re leading with your toe. So if you’re doing heel leads in Latin dances, it probably looks like you’re just walking like a normal person – hardly the exciting movement we’ve come to expect from dancing on this show.
Hope that clears things up a bit Keep the questions coming, guys!
This is a feature I’ve contemplated doing for awhile, and I think now might be the right time, with one season over and the rumor mill not quite started up on the next. For those of you that don’t know, I actually do have quite a bit of ballroom knowledge, as I’ve been dancing for about 9 years now and my boyfriend is actually a ballroom dance teacher. Because of that, I’m probably better able to answer some of the more “technical” dance questions than the average viewer, and many of you have seen me get a bit more in-depth in analyzing the dances, in terms of technique and what have you.
I’ve noticed that many of you seem to be getting more curious about the actual ballroom world, as well as how the rules of the actual ballroom world apply to DWTS (or, rather, how TPTB seem to TRY to apply them ;-)). So this is the place where you can finally get answers to those burning questions about ballroom technique, certain rules, dance steps, etc. - I will do my best to give you guys thorough, relevant responses, and if there’s something I don’t know the answer to, I will defer to my boyfriend, who is a true expert on the subject So if you are curious about a certain ballroom subject, feel free to post your questions in the comment section of this post, or tweet them to me @putuincespence, or you can email them to John and he can send ‘em my way. Try to keep them fairly objective – things like “Why do ladies have to wear heels in ballroom?” or “What makes the jive so hard?”, rather than “Why does Derek stink at choreographing samba?” or “Why does Mark always wear spats?” I’m not really equipped to handle subjective stuff like that, hehe. I’m going to try to answer a new question each week, at least until things start to pick up with the new season.
So to kick off this inaugural “Ask Courtney” post, I thought I’d tackle a question I’ve seen quite a few of you ask in passing this season: Why can’t you break hold in the quickstep?
For those of you that didn’t know, quickstep is the only dance on DWTS in which the couples cannot break hold in the middle of the dance. To quote Len, they can do “a little bit at the beginning, and a little bit at the end” out of traditional dance hold, but they must remain in-hold for the majority of the dance. Notorious violators of this rule? Mark & Shawn in their Aladdin quickstep, and Nicole & Derek in their sailor quickstep. So why did they get in so much trouble???
The answer to this is a bit silly to me, because it’s one of the few ways that DWTS has attempted to adhere to actual ballroom dance rules – which I often find don’t really translate well to this show. In “real world” ballroom, there are two styles: International style, which tends to be more strict and is more difficult; and American style, which is a bit more relaxed and open to interpretation. With the ballroom dances, you can either do the International Standard style (in which the couple must remain in-hold the entire time) or the American Smooth style (where the couples are able to go in and out of hold as much as they like). The International Standard dances are waltz, tango, foxtrot, quickstep, and Viennese waltz; the American Smooth dances are waltz, tango, foxtrot, and Viennese waltz. You’ll notice there is no quickstep in the American Smooth style – it is only danced in the international style, thus the couples are forced to adhere to the international style, in which hold cannot be broken. Since there is overlap in the other 4 styles, the DWTS pros can choose to dance either the American or International styles of the waltz, tango, foxtrot, and Viennese waltz – and most choose the American style, since it’s easier and allows for more creative freedom. But even though they’re trying to adhere to “real” ballroom rules by forbidding the breaking of hold in the quickstep, they’re still not being completely true to the rule, since they’re allowing open work at the beginning & end. In a real international standard quickstep (or any other international standard-style dance), the couple would only be allowed to walk a few feet towards each other to get into hold before dancing – any sort of open work at the beginning (i.e. Ricki & Derek’s tap sequence) is a huge no-no. You have to be in-hold before you do ANY dancing in real quickstep.
So what do I suggest? Eliminate the silly “no breaking hold in quickstep” rule – it’s just a pointless vestige of the show’s often feeble attempts to mirror the real world of ballroom. If you’re going to allow open work at the beginning and end of the dance (which I think is a good idea, as it’s more audience-pleasing than just getting straight into hold), you may as well allow it in the middle, just like all the other dances, because most viewers aren’t going to understand the reasoning behind forbidding it, anyway.
So what ballroom questions do you guys have? Lay ‘em on me, and I’ll do my best to get you answers
Gotta say – going into tonight, I couldn’t recall a time I was THIS EXCITED to see a finale since maybe season 10. Nor have I ever felt this invested in the outcome of a season of the show as I am in this one…seriously guys, I might lose my faith in humanity if JR does not win. Fair warning.
Anywho – as much as I hoped this would be a good, clean, honest finale, there unfortunately seemed to be some shady business afoot. DEFINITE overscoring, and I think you all know who I’m referring to. Overall, the “last unlearned dance” round was pretty underwhelming & lackluster, and the freestyle round only slightly made up for it for me. But let’s get on with it, shall we? Gonna do things a little differently tonight – I’m gonna start with 3rd place and work my way up to the winner, and I’m going to try to guesstimate how things are going to pan out tomorrow night.
3rd place: Rob & Cheryl
As much as Rob may have endeared himself to me this season, methinks he wasn’t as good as his scores would lead us to believe this evening. The waltz was pleasant – if not a bit goofy. That whole “run towards one another and I’ll run around Cheryl as she spins” move made me chuckle a bit…my mom busted out laughing, and said “It looks like he’s going around the Maypole!” And I had to laugh too – because that’s exactly what it looked like. Some footwork & timing issues as well, but overall I wouldn’t say it was painful to watch…just…goofy. Now the freestyle. *sigh* I liked the idea of it, I really did. And I thought it was smart of Cheryl to go with something that seemed to play on Rob’s strengths. But that was by no means a 30-worthy routine. Seemed like Cheryl did most of the tough stuff (it was like Gilles’ freestyle all over again), and it just took too long to really go anywhere. Rob did the best he could with what he was given – little imp. Got a bit scared when he was spinning around with Cheryl on his shoulders, though – thought I was gonna have to use my physics minor to calculate tangential velocity as she flew across the room. I think Rob really likes going around in circles, hehe. Cute idea & choreography – but it was just lacking in content for me, and I don’t think I’m completely alone. So why, then, did the judges give it a 30? *shrugs* Who knows. Part of me thinks they might be trying to shake up the top 2 by displacing Ricki or JR; part of me thinks this could have been a strange strategy for spurring Ricki & JR fans to vote even harder. I honestly can’t give you a theory that’s 100% sound or reasonable. But I am gonna put my faith in humanity (god help me) and say that Rob will probably get 3rd in the favorite dance round tomorrow, and won’t get the points to overcome JR or Ricki. But it’s been nice seeing Rob evolve from kind of a douchebaggy guy to a goofy but kinda lovable guy that managed to emerge from the shadow of his harpies-er, sisters. Read more..
Let me just get it off my chest first: the judges are on crack. Plain & simple. And sometimes, I like the kind of crack they’re smoking…other times, I don’t. Tonight was a bit of both.
I don’t think the instant jive really benefited anyone except JR, and even though everyone else really struggled, I don’t think it really & truly screwed anyone except Nancy - but then again, the judges seemed hellbent on screwing her over after scoring her first dance, so I can’t really say I was surprised. Oh well…on with it…
1.) JR & Karina – I’m sure many of you saw me gushing about these two on Twitter, and I have to say – both of their routines were my favorites of the night, as they were both good dances with great entertainment value. In fact, JR’s jive may have overtaken Kyle’s as my favorite instant dance ever. But I’m actually in agreement with a lot of you that they were not exactly worthy of not one, but TWO perfect 30′s. I think I saw a few timing issues in his waltz where his footwork got a bit wonky, and his jive felt a bit disjointed in a few spots - for which I’m actually going to blame Karina’s choreographic strategy, since the whole “choreograph in pieces and then put them together” method runs the risk of there not being enough transitions between sections. However, I will say this: with all of the overscoring going on tonight, is it really all that surprising that someone got a perfect score? I mean, if they’re suddenly giving Hope (who has gotten in the neighborhood of 24′s for most of the season) a 27, it kinda sets the bar high – not to say that it’s right or fair, but it does put them in the sticky situation of having to then go even higher on dances that are better…and I would daresay that JR & Karina were head & shoulders above Hope & Maks in both dances, so I guess 60 just doesn’t feel totally outrageous to me. Aaaaaanywho…since they really seem to have given another couple their walking papers, I think JR & Karina oughta be safe…for now. I’m fulling expecting backlash next week, so I’m warming up my voting finger!
2.) Hope & Maks – This is the portion of my post where I remind everyone that the power rankings are not my opinion of who did the best or who I like the most , but who I think has the most staying power. And this week, Hope & Maks seem to have quite a bit of staying power, with the scores they got. While her quickstep was a vast improvement from previous weeks (I still say her foxtrot was her best dance, though), I firmly believe that Hope deserved at least 2 points less than Rob, for the simple reason that Rob had the more difficult choreo and I thought he handled it more fluidly and with more skill than Hope did with her routine. I think 25 was probably about right for her jive, and it was a pleasant surprise to see her staying on-time and actually having fun – but man, she still looks like she just muscling her way through it. The catch-22 of jive is that it IS difficult & high-energy, but a well-done jive is supposed to look effortless & kinda “springy”. Hope looked like she was about to go all Bruce Lee on someone, with the force with which she was doing those flicks! Take it with a grain of salt, but compared to a very similar side-by-side section in JR & Karina’s routine, Hope looks amateurish, with the way she’s kicking her legs out with such force. But enough technique for now. I know there’s still quite a bit of buzz about these 2 after last week, so I daresay they’ll live to dance another week. Read more..
So at this time last season, I did a run-down of what we can expect in the final 4 weeks of the season. You guys seemed to like it, so I did it again And this time I’m spilling who’s on what team for the team dances! Read on…
A good mix of Latin and ballroom left for JR, and he’s fortunately gotten some of the harder dances (samba, Viennese waltz, jive) out of the way early. Not that I think it would really matter, give his popularity and skill ;-), but it just reduces the likelihood of a potential “Ralphing” from the judges…that is, giving a celeb a cruelly low score on a dance that they struggled with but weren’t necessarily terrible at, in an effort to oust them. I guess my only concern for JR going into these last few weeks is the more aggressive dances – tango & paso doble, and moreso the latter. So far, he’s only had to be silly & energetic (jive, quickstep, foxtrot), sexy (samba), or romantic & vulnerable (Viennese waltz & rumba). We’ve yet to see a very aggressive JR – can he muster it? I think so, but at the same time, he just seems like such a nice guy. I could see the judges pulling a “well, the steps were there, but I didn’t feel the power and anger behind them” or some nonsense like that. Those frakkin’ asshats.
The one potential problem that jumps out at me immediately here is the samba – it’s problematic for just about everyone, but for whatever reason, it’s the one dance for which Derek’s choreo doesn’t always “wow!” me (although there have been very few sambas on this show that have actually wowed me), and that the judges seem to get particularly nitpicky about. “There wasn’t enough content”, “You guys weren’t in sync”, “Your footwork was messy”, yadda yadda yadda. I can just hear them bitching now If they’re going to attempt to set Ricki up for an “off” week again, I would almost bet they’re going to do it with the samba. I’m mildly concerned for her paso, for the simple reason that I just don’t see her being terribly aggressive; but thankfully, that’s a dance that Derek seems to thrive on, so it could work in her favor. Waltz & cha-cha? Easy dances – no biggie
Ummm, yikes. Samba is the obvious troublemaker here, and the jive is probably not going to do Nancy too many favors, either. One requires a fairly significant amount of technique (which I’m not sure she can muster); the other requires stamina, which I also have yet to see from Nancy. So far, she’s kinda lucked into getting much slower, easygoing dances; she hasn’t really had to haul ass in a dance, which is why I could also see the Viennese waltz being problematic. She just seems to move soooo slooooow sometimes…I’m having nightmarish visions of her losing time in both her Viennese waltz and jive in several places. And then there’s the tango. *sigh* We saw how well she did the first time she had an aggressive dance – her paso looked more like a leisurely stroll in the park than a bullfight. But who knows – maybe she can summon her inner tart for the tango, now that she’s shaken her stuff in the group dance But MacGrace fans, I’d buckle in for a rough few weeks ahead – because I think Nancy may have the toughest group of dances to deal with, out of the remaining couples
David & Kym – remaining dances: waltz, foxtrot, cha-cha, samba
The dreaded samba strikes again! I could see poor David stumbling through that one with a bit of a “deer in the headlights” look on his face – no doubt, he’d give it his best shot, but I’m not sure he’d succeed. He probably will be fine with the waltz & foxtrot, since he seems to be doing better with the ballroom dances; he could falter a bit with the cha-cha, since Latin hip action seems to evade him – but I daresay it wouldn’t be as hard on him as the samba. Honestly, if he can soldier through the samba, I think he could have a decent shot at the finale…if he keeps up the improvement we’ve seen from him in the past few weeks, and can avoid being…well, creepy.
Rob & Cheryl – remaining dances: waltz, tango, quickstep, samba
Again, the big red flag here is the samba – somehow I don’t see Rob getting his hips moving like JR’s, or with as much energy. The samba, to me, is the dance that truly separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls – it’s hard, and as I said before, the judges seem uneccessarily nitpicky about it. However, I’ve also noticed that they might tear a samba apart in their critiques, but still give it a halfway-decent score. Maybe someday I’ll look at the scoring closer and see if they maybe cut breaks on the samba, points-wise. Anywho! I could see Rob really doing well at his remaining ballroom dances – from what I saw in his foxtrot, he seems to have a flare for the ballroom as opposed to the Latin. Quickstep could be a potential problem if he can’t come out of his shell a bit more, and he may need to intensify his blank stare in order to succeed in the tango…but I could see him having a shot at the finale, too. Interesting indeed.
Yet another couple who still has the pesky samba to contend with. Hell, at this rate, the samba could be the deciding factor in who gets that coveted 3rd spot in the finale – whoever manages to muddle through it alive could be a possible candidate! Haha. I know a lot of Hope fans have been saying “Just wait till she has the paso, she’s gonna be awesome!”, but I’m still skeptical – especially after watching her muscle her way through that tango. Yes, paso requires strength and aggression; but it’s still a dance, and it still requires some degree of finesse and restraint. Can she muster it? I’m not sure. Waltz could also be problematic, since it requires a grace I have yet to see from Hope – and because it’s so slow, any potential snafus are going to stick out like a sore thumb. Quickstep? Could go either way – if she’s able to let loose and have fun like she did in the foxtrot, I think she’ll do well; but if she goes stiff and tight like she did in the jive, it could be disasterous.
So what’s going on with the team dance? It’s this coming week (Week 7) and the teams are Ricki & Derek, Rob & Cheryl, and Hope & Maks vs. JR & Karina, David & Kym, and Nancy & Tristan. Ricki’s team is doing a paso doble; JR’s team is doing a tango. Heidi will reveal the songs in her “Who’s Dancing What?” post on Sunday. Now while I’m somewhat relieved that they’ve taken a break from the team cha-cha, I’m a bit concerned that this won’t necessarily be an evenly-matched face-off – the same two dances were the team dances in season 9, and team tango basically annihilated team paso. Then again, team tango also had Derek, who thus far is undefeated in the team dance, and choreographed a dynamite team paso in season 7. I’d say Kym is probably the 2nd most successful (2 team dance wins, and 1 tie), followed by Cheryl (2 wins, 1 loss). Quite possibly my biggest concern: the dynamic between the pros on team paso. Derek & Maks worked great together on the team Apolo cha-cha in season 11; but in light of some of the conflict this week, is it going to create any friction? I would hope not, but you never know. Will be interesting to see how Tristan fares in his first team dance, and on a team with his main squeeze, no less I’m tentatively saying team paso will take this one, just based on the pros on that team having previous experience.
What about the marathon dance? Sorry, not gonna be one this season. The group dance basically replaced it, which I’m actually kind of thankful for – the marathon dance seems to favor those with particularly high endurance, so I’m not sure Nancy, Chaz, or even Rob would have fared well in it. At least the group dance was just a fun little ditty that let us see the couples in a new light.
When are they gonna do the Argentine tango/salsa? Not 100% when, but they are coming. If I had to guess, I’d say they’re probably going to follow the pattern of last season, and they had these dances in weeks 8 & 9. And if my spidey sense is correct, some of the couples with only 1 Latin dance remaining (like Rob & Cheryl) COULD end up with salsa as their instant dance. Also in the vein of last season: for the couples who still have the standard tango remaining, they may end up doing the Argentine tango instead, and skipping the standard one altogether – that’s what happened with both Chelsea & Kirstie last season. However, if a couple has already done the standard tango, I’m thinking they’ll probably do Argentine tango as well – that’s how it played out with Hines. And then he ended up never doing the regular waltz. *shrug* Go fig.
Are they going to do the “Instant Dance” again? Yes, in week 8. And as always, it will be a Latin dance – so that week, the remaining couples will likely all do one regular ballroom dance, and then an instant Latin dance.
Do you know if the “Winner Take All” dance is coming back? Praise 8 lb 10 oz baby Jesus, it is NOT COMING BACK! Apparently it was wildy unpopular…can’t imagine why. *snicker* But I do like to think Heidi & I had something to do with its demise, since Heidi was the one that first noticed what a crock of crap it was, and I just basically shouted it to the heavens. But just because there isn’t a WTA dance, don’t assume that everything is going to be business as usual – I could see them rehashing the smackdown or medley dance, just to fill time and have something “different”.
Vogue here adding some video footage of the Teams practicing 4 hours after the Results show last night:
Lot’s to still cover! First up, below is a recap and a review on the night with Louis Van Amstel on Good Morning America. See if you don’t agree with him? I thought he did a super job and I pretty much agree.
Louis also reviews the couples in his new ABC Dancing With The Stars blog >>>>HERE if you are interested in checking it out. He nailed it for how I feel on Kristin and Marks’ dance…
I’m watching the package and I wonder what the personal story is? Kristin looks hot, hot, hot, and is very feminine, but I wish she would actually believe it and express it more internally.
Let’s get right to all the new interviews after the dances last night and who better to do it with than George Pennacchio of KTLA and On The Red Carpet!
First up, Maks and Hope!! Maks is so happy and proud of Hope. He doesn’t plan to buy into the “I’m not sexy” stuff that Hope is always saying. Hope says the sexiness is deep inside and it’s taking a ‘special someone’ to pull it out of her (she points to Maks!)
Next up, Carson and Anna! They are totally excited with the results of their dance. The Tango is “who he is”. They talk of collaborating on their costume designs. They are so glad to be here and that he is getting more confident and more relaxed. They show off George’s CIA notes!
Chynna and Tony talk of all the cool support they are getting. She talks of her personal story and is thankful for a standing ovation. George talks of how much Billy Baldwin is helping them.
Ok, so “best year of my life” night wasn’t quite the emotional trainwreck I was thinking it would be – I was actually pleasantly surprised at the honesty and vulnerability of many of the dances. However, I was also just downright confused by some of the dances. Let’s just get right to it, shall we?
1.) JR & Karina – Say what you will about JR “playing to people’s emotions” (ummm…didn’t everyone kinda do that tonight, to a certain degree?), but he was the only one tonight that I though even came close to having the proper hip technique, and he made me feel the emotions behind his dance more than anyone else. Was Karina dancing around him? Maybe a bit, but I did see him actually attempting to “be there” for her at every turn – reminded me a lot of Chris’ rumba last season. I wish Karina would have given him a bit more to do, but I think the way he let his face “talk” in the dance was captivating. The guy has had a heartbreaking backstory – let him tell it without writing it off as “playing the sob story card” (actual tweet I read – some people really do have garlic in their soul like the Grinch!). Emotion aside – it was still a pretty damn good rumba. I grow to love JR more and more each week, and based on what I’ve seen from him so far – I can only assume the best is yet to come Thankfully, he tied for the 2nd highest score, and had probably the most memorable dance of the night, so I’m sure we’ll get to see what he has in store for us!
2.) Ricki & Derek – Admittedly, I thought this one was overscored at first – but then I watched it again and realized that they were the ones who best combined choreography, technique, storytelling, and connection to the dance tonight. I felt like they actually managed to tell a story through their movements, and the choreo wasn’t overly dramatic – it was simple & stripped-down. Technique? Eh…I thought JR & Chynna both had better technique than Ricki, but hers wasn’t bad. The rumba’s a tricky dance, so I’m not really expecting any of the couples to really nail it at this point. Was a little thrown by their song at first – all I could think of was Mia’s drug addiction piece from SYTYCD – but by the time they got through it and told their story, I kinda got it. High score of the night, and a pretty good rumba in a sea of less impressive ones…I’d say they’re pretty safe, especially with such a drop-off in points further down the scoreboard. Read more..
So the addition of the troupe this past season did have one unexpected positive effect: even more costume dittos! Which makes my job a bit easier And I’m noticing the costume department has a special affinity for red – lots & lots of sparkly, red, fringy, feathery stuff… Read more..