A professional "take" on the Dancing With The Stars performances and the judges' remarks provided by Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Fellow and Examiner and Championship Judge Phillip Stephens.
A few comments about costumes: Mostly, they've been pretty tasteful so far this season. Tonight? The Chmerkovsky brothers took their shirts off as if the watching public can't survive without seeing their nakedness. And Val? Wearing no shirt with those pants made him look like a refrigerator with nipples. Then, of course, there's Brooke Burke Charvet who sure had her "puppies" pushed up for the show, didn't she?
Drew Larche & Anna Treybunskaya - Cha-Cha
Hmmmm...They used the same "drop on the steps" move as Louis and Sabrina used in their routine last week. Real originality there, what? And that "roll out of a skirt" move has been used millions of times, too. Drew appeared stick-like again and did a lot of tricks with little true Cha-Cha instead of going for actual dancing while Anna danced very rhythmically and made the tricks work. Do people like Drew because he reminds them of a miniature schnauzer or a toy poodle? He isn't dancing all that well, so
he better hope the judges and his fans like what he's doing more than I do.
Len - Thought he had a balance in the performance that included rhythm? (Len must be smokin' somethin'); Bruno - Raved about sub-standard dancing; Carrie Ann - Liked everything, thought the moves were tight and precise. (These judges are being way to kind to this man for some reason. Either that or they've got some good "hootch" under that desk of theirs! Trust us Drew: We can tell Ballroom is not your "normal" world!!!) 8+8+8 = 24
Gilles Marini & Peta Murgatroid - Tango
Unique entrance. Unusual music for Tango. Quite a nice outfit for Peta. I guess Gilles leg muscle is all better this week? I don't like his posture and head position. He's working too hard in many places and a lot of things look forced, but it is a good routine and a good performance. Definitely a crowd-pleaser, even if the dancing wasn't as good as in his Jive last week. Peta looks less than pleased, but who knows? The flying bit wasn't tied into the routine very well if at all.
Bruno - Strong, dominant, errotic? Did note mistakes; Carrie Ann - Raved about how good he is at drama, but noted that he
and Peta were out of sync; Len - Thought the footwork and hold needed help. (Judges were FAR too soft with their critique.
Is this "Be kind to Contestant" week?) 8.5+8.5+8.5 = 25.5
Melissa Ryecroft & Toni Dovoloni - Samba
Nice tricks at the beginning. I'm not all that "taken" with their "style" of Samba - looks like too much work and not enough rhythmic fun. It was energetic. It was packed with "stuff". They smiled and had a good time, but it was just too rough for my
taste. But I did like that ending and much of the material they used. I just wish it had contained more of the Samba character and rhythms and that it had been performed in a more relaxed and fun-filled manner.
Carrie Ann - Liked the Salsa drops and thought the technique was fantastic; Len - Thought it was refreshing, satisfying and
had great technique; Bruno - Liked the choreography and thought they did it like stars. (I don't quite agree with any of
these comments, but you probably guessed that from my critique) 9+9+9 = 27
Apolo Anton Ono & Karina Smirnoff - Foxtrot
I like the overall look and theme. Apolo's posture is a bit strange for Foxtrot. So - Good movement, good style and a
beautifully portrayed idea. He had a sensual intensity in the performance that was almost mesmerizing, but he still
presented good Foxtrot moves and character.
Len - Noted fluidity of movement but wanted more "in hold" material; Bruno - Thought it was classic but he got tense at
times; Carrie Ann - Thinks this was memorable and a routine we won't forget. 9+8+8.5 = 25.5
Kelly Monaco & Valentine Chmerkovsky - Paso Doble
Well, at least he put a jacket on. Kelly looks great. She's small and quick, makes good lines, has pretty legs and is
very dramatic. It was interesting that they used "classic" and "authentic" Paso music which (almost) sounded out of place.
This is in comparison to the "norm" on this show where the music seldom sounds anything like the traditional music for the
Bruno - Raved (as ususal) while he tingled with pleasure; Carrie Ann - Thinks they are the "couple to watch"; Len - Liked
the focus and the facial expressions and arm styling. 9+9+9 = 27
Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovsky - Cha Cha
Nice opening which moved right into a light-and-lively and fun-filled routine, but they were dancing on the wrong beat! I
was amazed that Maks didn't "fix" it! I got so wound up in them being on the wrong beat that I just couldn't get past it.
But Michael Schedler noted how she's danced Cha Cha before and done a heck of a lot better than in this performance (and
did so on the right beat!) and that she just wasn't grounded in this one. I didn't care for this all that much and will be
interested in whether or not the judges comment on her/their timing. It was fun, and Maks certainly played HIS part, but
it just wasn't on the correct timing and wasn't all that good for me.
Carrie Ann - Kirstie's best dance of this season. (That's nicely vague, isn't it?); Len - Thought it was fantastic with
good timing???? (How can he say that? They were on the WRONG BEAT!!!); Bruno - Most fun he'd had all night (and what sort of commentary on the dancing is that???) 8+8+8 = 24
Sabrina Bryan & Louis Van Amstel - Paso Doble
Nice outfits, good characterization. The singing overpowered the music, so they had to dance to that more than to the
beat, but this was stil a good and strong performance that had a lot of the classic Paso Doble "feel" to it. I really
liked the ending, which was a nice surprise.
Len - Thought it was full of risks and yet contained good technique; Bruno - Maximum firepower in a strong performance;
Carrie Ann - Liked the performance and technique, but felt it was lacking in originality. 8.5+8.5+8.5 = 25.5 (Carrie Ann
gave critical comments about the originality and wow factor while the other two judges raved about everything, yet their
scores were all identical? What's up with that?)
Emmitt Smith & Cheryl Burke - Paso Doble
A fast-paced routine that is high impact and filled with drama. Emmitt's foot placement was weak and many of his movements looked incomplete, and I didn't see this as one of his best performances. But the ending went extremely well
Bruno - Thought he was a raging bull and that it had the flavor of the dance; Carrie Ann - Thought his posture was
fantastic??; Len - Emmit has presence, but needs more finesse. 8.5+8+8.5 = 25
Helio Castroneves & Chelsie Hightower - Quickstep
A high-impact entrance and a lot of energy in the routine. For me, the topline was not so good and the hold was a bit weak
with arms bouncing around far too much. The technique was a bit lacking and they nearly lost it when he stepped on her
dress during one trick, but it was a good routine. Except for the dress incident, I think all their faults derived from "trying" too hard.
Carrie Ann - Thinks he brings joy to the dance floor, but this performance went downhill; Len - Thought this routine was soo good and Helio deserves to be back next week; Bruno - Noted that Helio "lost it" after stepping on the dress. (While I agree that stepping on the dress and the resultant loss of composure was a factor in the overall quality of the performance, there really was a lot going wrong before that point.) 8.5+8.5+8.5 = 25.5
Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas - Paso Doble
What a cry-baby she was this week. How much drama can she create? We saw nothing of their practice, just "wa, wa, wa".
As Michael Schedler noted, it would be nice to know why Mark missed rehearsal. Interesting concept for the routine. I wonder if that "Ice Queen" look was related to her being from Alaska? She had a strongly serious look, but, with no changes to her expression, it looked as if she was still sulking. Lots of turns and what-not, but not much wow factor. Although there was a lot of good choreography in the routine, it was not performed with passion and ended up being a rather dull performance and it is probably the weakest of the evening.
Len - Thought it had a lot of content and was her best dance; Bruno - Ice Queen with good lines, her best dance to date;
Carrie Ann - Noted her unchanging (one-dimensional) expressions. 7.5+7.5+7.5 = 22.5
Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough - Quickstep
Great entrance, nice lines on the breaks. Super gymnastics mixed in with a good variety of authentic and novel movements
and styles and a super ending. Lots of "goodies" in that routine that were all performed with a high level of synchronization and more energy than I could gather up in a whole week! Undobtedly the best routine of the evening and I'd venture to say the best performance of the season so far.
Bruno - One of the best dances he's seen in 15 seasons. They broke the rules, but he will never forget this routine; Carrie Ann - By far the best routine, but they broke the rules; Len - Although it was fantastic and he liked it, he has to drop it a point because they broke the rules. 9+8+9.5 = 26.5 (If the pros know they will get penalized for breaking the rules, don't you wonder why they keep doing it??? After all, it's really their PARTNER who suffers from the penalty.)
Another good show. But, as with last week, Bristol, Drew or Kirstie could be eliminated without hurting my feelings. Two
will go home tomorrow and I'm hoping I've picked them both in my 3-person list.
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