PureDWTS Season 20, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Let’s play a game 🙂 It’s called “Who can come up with the most ridiculous, subjective, and flimsy critique for a dance that’s nearly flawless???” I’ll start!!!  “Nastia, your pupils were FAR too dilated while you were doing that tango – it made me feel like you were undressing me with your eyes!” Or how ’bout this? “Derek, the pleats on your pants weren’t sharp enough – and it really detracted from the dance for me.” YOUR TURN!!! I think you guys get the point I’m trying to make – some of the critiques have gotten so out of control that the judges really seem like they’re grasping at straws to appear superior and relevant.  Or they’re just trying to make sure that Nastia doesn’t get too confident, even though she is every bit as good as Rumer & Riker.  Whatever, guys – I guess just keep spinning the “Wheel O’ Excuses Why We Simply Can’t Just Tell Nastia She Did Well” back in your trailers to keep things colorful…and to keep the season’s agenda on-track.

Besides Nastia, I STILL feel like Robert is getting the short end of the stick from the judges and can’t do anything right in their eyes; and then there’s Chris, who looks downright miserable all the time, barely moves, and the judges just FAWN over him.  Here’s a bit of a “behind the scenes” scoop for you guys, free of charge: CHRIS DOES NOT WANT TO BE THERE.  Sure, it’s totally written all over his face whenever the camera pans to him, but just confirming it for you – the dude was legit disappointed that he didn’t get sent home last week.  And can you really blame him? He’s struggling hardcore each week, he’s butting heads with Witney, and I’m pretty sure he just wants to get back to the farm to have some wild hayloft sex with his Whitney.  Or something like that.  While I think it was Patti’s time to go either this week or next week, I still would have rather kept her over Chris – at least she was having fun, even if she wasn’t really doing a whole lot.  She was still entertaining.

1.) Riker & Allison – Praise Jeebus, Allison redeemed herself from the disastrous “Milkshake” samba she did last season.  I still think Riker outdanced her (again), but I didn’t notice the disparity quite so much this time.  I was really pleased that this had a respectable amount of samba content – she seemed to take a lot of hip-hoppy liberties with the last one.  Aside from the fact that Riker’s thighs were so open that you could drive a boat show through them (close them thighs on each pass of the feet!!!), I thought he handled the technique pretty well – I just found myself giggling a bit at those long, skinny legs just moving so fast 😛 He’s definitely peaking at the right time – I just wonder how he’s doing with the votes.

2.) Nastia & Derek – As I watched this routine, I was stuck by how much Nastia reminded me of Katusha Demidova, the current international standard world champion.  Katusha is known for having the same long-necked, upright carriage Nastia has when she’s doing tango – and it’s bloody gorgeous.  I actually loved the speed and sharpness of this tango – reminds me more of what you would see at an actual ballroom competition in the showcase round.  Plus – the song kinda dictated speed, and it wasn’t as if Derek had a whole lotta say in the song this time around. So yeah, the judges bitching & moaning about the speed and/or the sharpness? Kinda pointless.  Ditto for the claims about “lack of connection” or “chemistry” – it’s just a bit of a cop-out at this point.  I know there was enough body contact for Derek to effectively lead those super fast pivots – as someone who sucks at doing tango fast, I can tell you this: if you don’t have just the right connection through your frame, you will get stuck every. Single. TIME. It’s like a turtle trying to run through peanut butter – you just get stuck and can’t get around each other.  So I commend them on that – it’s hard getting the right connection in order to move that fast.  I thought this was one of the most technically-perfect tangos the show has ever seen – but I think the judges had already kinda made up their minds about it before they even danced, so whatever.  It’s going to becoming increasingly obvious that they’re just nitpicking Nastia if they keep it up – so I guess they either completely risk their credibility, or suck it up and admit that Nastia’s a good dancer, period.

3.) Rumer & Val – I think now more than ever that Rumer NEEDS to have a dance that’s 100% goofy and carefree, and not the least bit sexy, serious, edgy, etc.  Give the girl a jive to some Little Richard song.  Or a fun, mod 60’s quickstep.  Last night was the first time I thought Rumer actually looked a bit uncomfortable while dancing – I don’t know that the booty-shaking sexpot that Val wanted her to be was something she could really relate to.  I actually found her far more believable as Ursula, as she really committed to that character.  On top of that, I’m not sure Val really gave her cohesive choreography – like the judges, I found the whole thing to be a bit stop-and-go (a complaint I often have about Val’s choreography, along with “too much walking around”), and it rather lacked fluidity; it also seemed like Rumer wasn’t moving as “big” as she could, and there were a few moves where she could have extended her leg further or gotten more range of motion on her hips.  But I did appreciate how gracious she was about the judges’ comments – I think she herself knew it wasn’t her best performance, and just managed to shrug it off an say “I’ll do better next time.”

4.) Willow & Mark – Unfortunately, Willow kinda faded into the woodwork for me last night – while this salsa wasn’t bad, I also don’t think it was her best dance.  Loved the Whiplash theme, but the rest of the dance was just kinda lukewarm to me – I think Mark may have overdone the shimmying a bit, and there were a couple spots where Willow just looked kinda lost…she was still moving, but there wasn’t as much conviction behind her steps.  Not a whole lot else to add – didn’t love it, didn’t hate it…hope she can improve next week.

5/6.) TIE: Robert & Kym and Noah & Sharna – When I think about next week’s double elim, I get the sinking feeling that we’re going to be saying goodbye to one of these two couples – and I love them BOTH.  And the thing that really stinks is that I think both of them got a bit of a raw deal this week – Robert got nitpicked once more by the judges, and Noah seemed really bothered by the editing in he & Sharna’s package (and consequently, didn’t perform as well).  I actually really enjoyed Robert’s jive – once again, he was having a ball, and actually kept up quite well (even if he was just slightly off-time).  The dude just works SO HARD – and its this work ethic that has probably made him a very wealthy man.  I thought the judges could have been a tad more complimentary of him – telling him it was “better than last week” was just kinda stupid; I would have also said “And it was better than Patti’s jivestep!” But of course, nobody ever really gave Patti a tough critique.  As for Noah – I actually thought he had some really impressive hip action, and thought Sharna did a great job of translating a lot of the leads to right-hand leads, which is really tricky. And I agree with whatever judge said their rumba had a “conversational quality” – that’s ideally what rumba should be: a sort of “conversation” between the man and the woman.  I do get the feeling, however, that Noah was kinda gut-checked by their package – he seems to be a pretty straight-shooter, so I’m guessing he probably found it to be a bit deceptive of the editors to hone in on one 5-minute moment of weakness he had last week and act as if that was the climate of their rehearsals the whole time.  Consequently, he seemed like he wasn’t as present in the dance as he probably could have been.  While I love both of these guys – I just don’t see how they can both survive next week’s double-ouster.

7.) Chris & Witney – I just find myself increasingly irked by Chris, simply because he can do a completely craptastic dance one week, and then he improves just a teeny, tiny bit the next week and the judges go crazy over “how much of a breakthrough” he’s had.  As for his Viennese waltz this week – it was “better…ish” than last week, but it still wasn’t a great dance.  Witney is still doing all the heavy lifting (and is keeping Chris as stationary as possible), and Chris’ footwork is still pretty sloppy & shuffle-y.  I also notice she tends to keep him in the same small area of the dance floor, as if to draw attention away from the fact that he’s really not moving a whole lot.  Overall – Chris has gotta go, and it’s blowing my mind that he’s now been able to outlast both Suzanne AND Patti.  Then again, the judges going so easy on him likely doesn’t help matters. Let’s just say I will be one salty lady if he manages to survive the double elim next week, and I lose both Robert AND Noah…

Thoughts on the Team Dances:

Guess I’ll start off my usual compare/contrast of the two teams: I thought Team YOLO had the more complicated choreography and made better use of both the song and the space around the stage; I thought Team Trouble was more simple and had a cute concept, but likely suffered a bit from having Patti on their team, since she didn’t seem very able to participate in the group synchronization parts.  Was SUPER impressed by Team YOLO’s synchronization – I think I let out an audible “Yikes!” when Deep Throat told me about the prop beach balls and towels, but man – THAT is how you utilize a prop.  They had some really fast, really precise stuff going on, and I don’t think I saw anyone out of synch.  I’m picking Robert as my MVP of Team YOLO, just because he looked like he was having the most fun and played off his partner the best 🙂 And as always – he was 100% invested.  He was all about those fosse fists! I was pleasantly surprised by the creativity of Team Trouble – I think the high school theme was probably a good bet for them, since they had kind of a diverse group of personalities.  Would have liked them to up the difficulty of their choreography a tad, as some of the stuff at the tables seemed a tad elementary; would also preferred to see a bit more of the group all dancing together (including Patti), although I actually loved the stepping section.  If I had to pick an MVP, I would probably go with Riker, as the overall energy of the routine really seemed to pick up significantly (and it had been really languishing after Chris’ solo) once he & Allison jumped up on the table.  I think when you take everything into account, a tie isn’t unrealistic – each dance had its pros and cons – I think YOLO came out a bit more ahead for me, simply based on their level of difficulty.

So who did well last night, and who bombed? And which team dance was your favorite?