The high-paced dance drama continues with more off-center criticism and blind-eyed praise as "the best of the best" vie for that coveted mirror ball. ISTD Exmainer and Championship Adjudicator Phillip Stephens provides an "eyes open" perspective.
Season 15, Week 2
Each couple will dance either Jive or Quickstep tonight
Brooke Burke Charvet is lookiing a bit more "poshly" put together so far this season.
Kirstie Alley was so different looking in that wig and outfit that I nearly didn't recognize her.
Melissa Ryecroft & Toni Dovoloni - Jive
Definitely energetic, but it seemed like a very long entrance raither than a dance. Melissa was very "spot on" with her
lines, kicks, flicks and tricks. She performed with tons of energy, looked relaxed and confident, and presented a radiant
smile. Very well done.
Len - Set the bar high. Great tech, great energy; Bruno - Excellent routine, but a couple of wrong steps; (The argument
between Len & Bruno was ridiculous); Carrie Ann - happy to see their Jive - great job. 8+8+7.5 = 23.5
Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas - Quickstep
Did NOT like those outfits for Quickstep. What happened to elegance? Not a good song for Quickstep, but they did a nice
mix of Quickstep and Country. Overall, though the routine was entertaining and they performed well, I didn't enjoy it as a
Quickstep because it was so lacking in content for that dance. It would have been better if sold as a Two-step that had
some Quickstep in it.
Bruno - Definitely different. Not in hold enough and when in hold, didn't have a good frame; Carrie Ann - Liked the
performance but they didn't follow the rules; Len - Enjoyed the routine, but didn't like the content. (Just so you know,
this is MARK'S fault - he knows the rules and should have put together a routine that followed them. Mark said that his
goal was to make sure Bristol has fun? What is wrong with having fun while following the rules?) 6+6+6 = 18
Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower - Jive
Helio is quite a performer. His technique was sound, he had good flicks and kicks, he hit the breaks, he got all the
expressions right and had great feeling in the dance. Well done!
Carriie Ann - Thought the kicks and flicks were great and he was right on it; Len - liked the joy, fun and entertainment
value; Bruno - A treat of a Jive, though, as Len said, he got a little TOO enthusiastic at times. 8+7.5+7.7 = 23
Apolo Anton Ono & Karina Smirnoff - Quickstep
I liked hat they came out and got started with the dance without a long and protracted entrance. He did kkeep a good
frame, though his head could be up higher. The moves were very intricate and he did them with precision and lots of
energy. He looked relaxed and in control. I didn't see any mistakes in footwork.
Len - Speed with control. Well done; Bruno - thought the footwork was incredible; Carrie Ann - Thought his was driving
(in charge of) the dance. 8.5+8+8 = 24.5
Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel - Quickstep
I hate to see them practice or dance in tennis shoes because it is so easy to have ankle and knee injuries. I don't like this music. Interesting choreography and Sabrina has some good shapes and looks, though she's got a weak left arm position and her head got rather odd looking at times. Movement was good, though her feet sometimes got too fast. Energy level was high and it was, overall, a good routine that was well performed
Bruno - Liked the lines and variations; Carrie Ann - thought she had a super top line and everything was awesome; Len -
Kept the upper body calm and under control while the lower body worked like a demon. 9+8.5+8.5 = 26
Week 2 and Maks is already being ugly with Kirstie? Week 2 and Gilles already has a pulled leg muscle?
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerikovsky - Jive
I love her "look" tonight, but she seems a bit concerned over her "speed". (Ya think Maks might have had something to do with that?) She's a bit heavy on her feet. This was good, but not her best. I don't think Maks fit the choreography to her. To men, Maks was so wrapped up in speed and making her dance like a young girl that he forgot to do things at which Kirstie could excel.
Carrie Ann - Thought she overcame her age quite well, but would like to see them match their movement and style; Len - it
was a great improvement on last week; Bruno - Thought she played the parft beautifully. 7+7+7 = 21
Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke - Quickstep
That sure was a LOT of red tuxedo. Emmitt is a large fellow and this is a tough dance for a large fellow, but he did a reasonably good job with it. He deosn't look nice and "light" on his feet in this one. Reasonably good movement, fairly weak frame, but just flat, flat, flat. As Michael Schedler note, this was NOT one of Emmitt's better dances.
Len - Likes the cool cat attitude. Need wide elbows, flat back, sway, and swing of shoulders, all of which wsere lacking;
Bruno - Chemistry works, but frame was not right. Carrie Ann - Feels that everyone else upped their game and that he
stayed the same. 7.5+7.5+7.5 = 22.5
Drew Larche & Anna Treybunskaya - Jive
He didn't look "improved" in rehearsals. The trick with the stop sign was nice. The outfits were not very good, though Anna
can look cute in just about anything. After that, he looked to me like a fleshed-out but unrhythmic and rather uncoordinated
stick-man. He doesn't look like a former winner of this show, and he's certainly not on par with many of the other contestants.
Luno, er Bruno - went bonkers over a rather poor performance; Carrie Ann - Thought it was edgy (well it put me on edge);
Len - gave a bit of criticism about footwork, which was lousy, but was otherwise too free with his praise. (As Michael
Schedler noted, neither of saw what the judges saw.) 7.5+7.5+7.5 = 22.5
Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson - Quickstep
A nice Jazzy-schnazzy entrance and then they got busy with the dancing. They did a great job and I liked the incorporation
of the divan into the routine. A lively dance that lacked a bit of technique but that was full of nice variations and had a super ending.
Carrie Ann - Nailed the performance, but he made some mistakes; Len - Lacking in body contact, had bad footwork, etc, but
he did like it; Bruno - All the character detail was there, but there were also quite a few mistakes. 7.5+7.5+7.5 = 22.5
Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough - Jive
Liked the cartwheel. A spot-on, high energy routine. They were very well synchronized with each other. The choreoghraphy
was high-impact and they put all the pizzazz and energy into it that was needed to pull it off
Len - just enough Jive, just enough technique, a good jive, but just enough isn't good enough; Bruno - Vibrant and very in
sync; Carrie Ann - Agreed with Bruno and dubbed then the All Stars Sweethearts. 8.5+8+8.5 = 25
Kelly Monaco & Valentine Chmerkovsky - Quickstep
Well, I enjoyed the water balloon episode. When they started, I thought they were doing a Waltzy-Rumba of some sort, but
then they settled down and did a nice Quickstep. Could have been in better body contact, but Kelly made nice lines,
presented good footwork and moved nicely around the floor.
Bruno - Pretty in pink and very elegant, but must work on her frame (Of course, we need to note that Valentine's frame was way too high for Kelly); Carrie Ann - Watch "out of hold" lines by extending arms more; Len - liked the "out of hold" dancing more than in hold. 7.5+7+7.5 = 22
Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroid - Jive
You'd never know he had an injury. He played to the audience, he worked the legs full out, hit all the breaks and
thoroughly acted his part. He did a very good job with a difficult routine and my kudos to Peta for both her choreography
and for getting that level of performance from an injured dancer.
Carrie Ann - His kicks and flicks were the best of the night; Len - He is consistent, and that's great; Bruno - Raved a
bit too much, but I think he liked the performance. 8.5+8.5+8.5 = 25.5
Another good show. Bristol, Drew or Kirstie could be eliminated without hurting my feelings.
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