Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 by Travis Cody in
16

It's live from Hollywood!



Welcome to week 2! This week, our 13 couples will dance either Salsa or Quickstep for scores which will be added to last Monday, then combined with vote totals to determine which two pairs will dance to remain on the show.

Salsa was added as a competitive dance last season. Salsa mixes several influences and is a fusion of African, European, and Spanish dances, designed specially for Salsa music. It is a spicy dance characterized by extensive hip rolls. The lower body changes weight back and forth between each leg while the upper body stays level. There are different styles of Salsa depending on region. This is from Strictly Come Dancing, which is the British version of DWTS, featuring Cuban Groove Dance Company and 3 times World Salsa champions Chris Marques and Jaclyn Spencer.


Quickstep is all about tricky footwork characterized by light, springy, and fast paced movement. Dancers must concentrate on synchronization while staying on the balls of the feet and covering as much of the floor as possible. We return to Marcus and Karen Hilton for our Quickstep demonstration. This is from 1998.


Right away we learn that Steve-O has been injured. He didn't come out with Lacey to start the show. Host Tom Bergeron promises details later. I didn't have a chance to cruise the internet for injury updates. Guess I'll have to make that a routine part of my post prep!

Here's a look at last week's leader board:

24 Gilles & Cheryl
23 Melissa & Tony
23 Shawn & Mark
21 Lil Kim & Derek
20 Chuck & Julianne
19 David & Kym
18 Denise & Maks
18 Holly & Dmitry
17 Steve & Lacey
17 Belinda & Jonathan
16 LT & Edyta
14 Ty & Chelsie
13 Steve & Karina

And now let's get to the dancing.

Holly and Dmitry dance Quickstep. She's doing ok this week. Her frame is better, although she's bending at the waist just a bit to keep up with the steps. That was a credible effort. She looked gorgeous. Dmitry made an easier dance for her. But what we're seeing here is the weeks of learning that she missed as a late replacement. Given time, she's got some potential and she's willing to work at it. If she gets through, we think Dmitry can bring her up to reasonable quality with her posture and footwork. That's where she's lacking at the moment. Judges say 6's across for a total of 18, combined with last week for a total of 36.

David & Kym dance Salsa. That was some complicated choreography and I'm not sure Kym should have listend to David's request to step up the difficulty level. Right now it's more important to dance well than it is to dance intricately, unless you can dance intricately well. He did ok for the most part. He was controlled and he really performed the dance. He found a character and used that to improve as a lead. He missed on some of his footwork and his musicality wasn't there. Unfortunately we think they got caught up in the choreography instead of the feel of the dance, and it wasn't quite up to standard. Judges say 6,5,6 for a total of 17, combined with last week for a total of 36.

Denise and Maks dance Quickstep. The music was a bit slow for a Quickstep, which made that seem more like a Foxtrot although Maks made use of very classic Quickstep choreography. Her upper body posture was relaxed and her footwork was pretty good. She found her elegance and a bit more grace than last week. The dance was smooth and they both seemed to glide at times through the footwork. Maks controlled the tempo and allowed her to keep up with him. Despite a bit of a stumble, that was a very good dance and much improved over last week. Judges say 7's across for a total of 21, combined with last week for a total of 39.

Belinda and Jonathan dance Salsa. She's very heavy footed and she's not graceful, which actually surprises me. She's having more fun with this dance, but it's just not very good. It was a bit manic and was missing some of the snap and sharpness that it needed. She performed very well, but she's got a long way to go with posture and technique. Actually, she dances like a rocker chick. I'm still a fan. A bit disappointed that she's not better at this, but a fan nonetheless. Judges say 6's across for a total of 18, combined with last week for a total of 35.

Ty and Chelsie dance Quickstep. Now we get to see if cowboys are more comfortable in tuxedos than they are at shaking their hips. Pam says he's really quite charming. And he did a good job with that dance. It was a bit more hoppy than it should have been, but he didn't forget any steps and he actually performed the dance. And it kept getting better as it went. He even held frame through most of it and he smiled throughout. We agree wih the judges that his upper body strength from bull riding helps him hold his posture. He had the whole 8 seconds on that ride, and he led Chelsie very well through the dance. He's definitely going to be stronger in the ballroom styles. Well done Sir! Judges say 7,6,7 for a total of 20, combined with last week for a total of 34.

Shawn and Mark dance Salsa. This is so completely opposite to the power and control that she needed for gymnastics. But she loosened up as the dance progressed. And the flexibility was amazing on those back kicks. She started the dance just a bit tentative, but she relaxed into it and really performed well. The dance was fun, and it was age appropriate rather than the naughty that Bruno was after. She could stand to be a bit more flirty, but she makes us smile and she's fun to watch. Judges say 8's across for a total of 24, combined with last week for a total of 47.

Steve and Karina dance Quickstep. Well dang. All the work on the balls of his feet gave him a stress fracture in one foot. But the doctor said he could go ahead and dance if he could stand it. And we're doing Quickstep to Buddy Holly now. They played it for a bit of silly, but he hung in there with the steps and actually did pretty well. The dance was too fast for him, but he enjoyed himself and we enjoyed watching him. How can you not enjoy watching someone who's having that much fun? Judges say 6,5,6 for a total of 17, combined with last week for a total of 30.

Chuck and Julianne dance Salsa. Now this is much better than last week. He got the hips moving and was much more comfortable. They actually had a connection and looked like a couple who danced together. The choreography was fun and snappy. Unfortunately, I agree with the judges that it didn't have much Salsa in it. It was kind of a combination of lots of different Latin styles. Still, they seemed like they enjoyed dancing together this week. Judges say 6,7,7 for a total of 20, combined with last week for a total of 40.

LT and Edyta dance Quickstep. He's got plenty of personality and he let that show. This week he's dancing a bit larger, using his broad shoulders to emphasize his frame. The dance was smooth for the most part. They had a couple of choppy moments, but he was a strong lead. The dance had grace and elegance, with a bit of an edge. The choreography was complicated and he coped with it very well. That was a solid effort and it showed plenty of potential. Well done Sir! Judges say 7,6,7 for a total of 20, combined with last week for a total of 36. I don't get the 6 from Len, because all of the judges comments were overwhelmingly positive.

Steve-O had some back trouble during training, and was injured during dress rehearsal when he fell onto his mic pack. He and Lacey were scheduled to dance Salsa, although he was unable to dance live so they showed the dress rehearsal performance. The music was awful, and the choreography was a bit too out there. Last year we defended Lacey's attempts to be current with her choreography, but this time it just wasn't good. And she allowed her partner to try something that he shouldn't have done, especially with a wonky back. We couldn't really recognize the Salsa elements in the dance. At the end of it, he came down hard on his back right on the mic pack. We felt bad for Lacey because she was clearly upset by what happened just a couple of hours before the start of the show. Still, the voters will get to vote on the dress rehearsal performance, and the judges will score it. Judges say 5,4,5 for a total of 14, combined with last week for a total of 31.

Lil Kim and Derek dance Quickstep. This needs to be classy, elegant, and refined. And she's got it, with a tough of sass. She needed a bit more extension in her legs, but she was right there with the footwork. It was smooth and graceful. Her posture was very good. Derek's choreography was difficult and fun. Len was correct in his criticism of the hold...they didn't maintain contact when they should have. But overall we thought that was a terrific performance. We didn't expect her to be that good at a ballroom style. Very well done my dear! Judges say 8,7,8 for a total of 23, combined with last week for a total of 44.

Melissa and Tony dance Salsa. We like her. We like her a lot. She is a contender in this show. Tony made a very difficult dance for her, and she was all over it. It was so full of content and she performed the hell out of it! It was spicy and so incredibly well danced. The only criticism we could find was that there just wasn't enough of it! Outstanding and well done my dear! And congratulations to Tony, who finally has a chance at the finals. We can't wait to see the dances he's going to make for her. Judges say 9,8,9 for a total of 26, combined with last week for a total of 49.

Gilles and Cheryl dance Quickstep. Now let's see if Mr Sexy...that's Pam's nickname for Gilles...can ballroom as well as he Latins. Again, we're talking about classy and sophisticated. Odd music, which made it difficult to appreciate how good that Quickstep was, but he really has it all. That was refined and elegant. His footwork was excellent. His posture was terrific and he held his frame throughout. And even more impressive was how they maintained the correct body contact in hold. That was an outstanding performance. Well done Sir! Judges say 9's across for a total of 27, combined with last week for a total of 51.

Here's the leader board, combined with last week's scores:

51 Gilles & Cheryl
49 Melissa & Tony
47 Shawn & Mark
44 Lil Kim & Derek
40 Chuck & Julianne
39 Denise & Maks
36 Holly & Dmitry
36 David & Kym
35 Belinda & Jonathan
34 Ty & Chelsie
31 Steve & Lacey
30 Steve & Karina

We've got some separation at the top. Based on the dancing we've seen, the ones to beat are Gilles & Cheryl, Melissa & Tony, and Shawn & Mark. Lil Kim & Derek could be there too. It all depends on how the fans go now.

How did we go? Well, I split between Shawn and Melissa. All of Pam's votes went to Gilles.

So here's the deal. Votes from last week and this week get added to the scores, and the two couples with the lowest totals will choose either their first or second dance for a dance off. The judges will score the performance, and that will be added to the vote totals. Then one couple will be eliminated.

Every season they come up with something new for the first cut.

I'll have encores and results tomorrow!

16 comments:

  1. DrillerAA says:

    I am not sure who picks the music for these dances, but they should have been shot at sunrise this morning! Three of the Quickstep arrangements were just awful.
    Note to Lacey, there is a difference between pushing the envelope, and shredding it. That was not good. someone named Steve is headed home tonight.

  1. Marsha says:

    Nice recap! I'm with you, glad to see that Tony finally has a partner that can get him in the finals, and we like Melissa too. But Cheryl's been our favorite from the beginning....glad to see her back up there too. Should be a good go this season for both Cheryl and Tony.

  1. I don't watch this, but it seems that Steve-O and the other "Steve" are the worst right now. Getting rid of either of them (preferably both) surely can't hurt.

  1. Hope says:

    It is impressive how you are able to review these couples so well. I have to say my money is on Melissa.

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    Oooh a dance off? That should be fun :o)
    I think I must side with Pam and say that Giles is my fave guy ;o) Hawt!

  1. Linda says:

    Steve danced with a stress fracture in his foot? Wow - these folks are dedicated to this show!

    Great review as always, Travis! Have a great St. Patty's Day!

  1. "characterized by extensive hip rolls"
    no kidding!

    Holly is playing catch up....imagine if she started with the others.

    I lack the same stuff Belinda lacks...did her costume seem off to you?

    Ty is pretty cute...he has some steps...and you gotta admire how far he has emerged from his comfort zone.

    despite what Bruno said she is naughty enough for a 17 year old...what a great dancer!

    Woz...what can I say? He does pretty well for his age and girth. Also not many people remember the injuries he suffered from the plane wreck...so I applaud his effort!

    Lil Kim cracks me up...she handled the after dance comments about her endowment very well...I would have slapped Tom. Actually I frequently want to slap Tom and that would have been a really great excuse...smile.

    Melissa...she could be my fave. Love her gutsiness...love her style...love her dancing. Even the costume caught my eye.

    Gilles = DILF.
    (j/k...sorta)

  1. I hear there's a lot of injuries happening this year.

  1. Bond says:

    You forgot LT in your lineup of scores...

    What is it with all the injuries??? Melissa and Gilles are at the top of my list now...with LT close behind

  1. Dianne says:

    another great recap!!

    I split my votes between gilles - because he is that good
    and LT - because I wanted to LOL

    My guess is that the computer genius will be eliminated

  1. Akelamalu says:

    Thanks for the update Trav. I'm surprised Belinda is heavy footed, I hope she improves. :)

  1. Jamie says:

    The injury list is getting darn crowded this year. I'm with Driller that they really need to pay more attention to the music and whether it is appropriate for the dance.

  1. TopChamp says:

    I always wonder about the music too.

    Does Holly have a really big head? Weird photo I thought.

  1. Travis says:

    Drilleraa: You're sure right about Lacey. I'm hoping she gets one more week to redeem herself.

    Marsha: I'm definitely pleased for both of them. The yungun's have been dominating recently and it's good to see Tony get a solid shot.

    NNG: I am!

    Southern: Steve-O actually didn't do badly with his Waltz last week. And Woz is just charming enough to possibly garner some votes and sneak by. You just never can tell with this show.

    Hope: It's fun for me! And Pam helps a lot as she remembers things about each pair that I might have missed.

    Ivanhoe: It could be interesting.

    Linda: He did. They are certainly dedicated, but I hope these injuries stop. This should be fun.

    Katherine: Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. It's cool to see folks as excited about the show as I am.

    Charles: There are and it's continuing an unwelcome trend from the last couple of seasons.

    V: Yikes! That was a bonehead mistake. Or maybe it was a subliminal protest to what I thought was a bit of a low score.

    Dianne: I think you might be right, although the fans may fall for his charm. I know we did.

    Akelamalu: I was pretty disappointed that she wasn't better at this.

    Jamie: I've been hoping since the first season that they would choose better music.

    TC: I think that picture was photoshopped because she was a late replacement.

  1. Julie says:

    I'm so excited you're voting for Melissa! She is a natural isn't she?