Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

Welcome to week 2. Our 14 remaining pairs will dance either Jive or Quickstep or Tango. That's kind of odd that there are three dance choices. Usually it's just two, a Latin and a ballroom.

Jive is one of my favorite dance styles. It is characterized by rock steps, quick flick kicks, and swing movements, with lots of energy. Energy...check out Julianne and Derek Hough.

Quickstep is characterized by footwork that is fast but smooth and elegant. I'm going to repeat a great Quickstep clip from Christopher Hawkins & Hazel Newberry, circa 1999. They are former 3-time Professional Standard World Champions.

There are many kinds of Tango, but the dance originated in Argentina and Uruguay. Ballroom Tango is generally divided into International and European styles, characterized by staccato movements and head snaps. I'm repeating another clip because I can't think of anyone better to demonstrate the type of Tango we're likely to see than Luca and Lorraine Barrichi dancing International Standard and they are brilliant.

Now lets see how our pairs do, shall we? And remember, Baz Luhrman replaces Mr Cranky Pants on the judging panel this week.

Joanna and Derek dance Jive. OK. I'm going to say something about a model I never thought I'd say. She has terrible legses. They are rubbery and surprisingly not sexy. Dance-wise, she's not clean with her kicks at all. She's very sloppy in the whole dance. No form at all. I think she got by on playing up the hotness factor last week. But Jive takes technique and you have to be clean. The kicks have to be sharp. She looked like she was constantly trying to keep up. On the positive side, they did have great energy and it was a decent performance. Derek's choreography is always a pleasure to watch, although I prefer that he have someone who can at least keep up and dance clean. But overall that was not a good dance. Judges say 6,7,7 for a total of 20. That might be a little high.

Natalie and Alec dance Quickstep. All the oxygen from breathing makes Natalie dizzy. LOL! She's used to holding her breath when she swims. I didn't like the beginning of that dance at all. It looked like she stumbled down the steps. She's still got too much tension in her face. But this week she seems like she's enjoying the dancing a little more. There were some footwork stumbles, but Quickstep is tough. It's very interesting because she's having to unlearn habits that made her a champion as a swimmer. Who would have thought that breathing could become such an issue. But I do enjoy her and I think she's got tremendous potential. I think she's going to grow in this competition if she can hang around. Judges say 7's across for a total of 21.

Chuck and Anna T dance Tango. Anna gave Chuck permission not to get in touch with his feminine side, as Len suggested last week, because Tanto is something of an aggressive and dramatic dance. He certainly has the fierce expression. He's still not very musical, but he's projecting as a strong partner. He did pretty well. It wasn't a great dance, but he maintained the character of it and got most of his steps in the right places. He was a bit less awkward, though still not smooth. Anna's choreography played to Chuck's strengths, which are not dancing and musicality. So rather than worry so much about the dancing, they competed. Tango lends itself to that kind of forceful style. I have to give him props for taking advantage of the dance and putting his particular stamp on the performance. Judges say 6,7,6 for a total of 19.

Melissa and Mark dance Jive. Everyone I spoke with about Melissa said the same thing...we all want her to do well! There's just something about her that is endearing and sweet and charming. From the waist up she was all in that dance. I wanted to see her really kick her legs out and flick her feet, but she just wasn't quite getting there. Her face and arms were into it though. So she had about 2/3 of a full Jive. The costumes helped a lot, and having Mark's energy next to her made the dance look a little better than it was because he pulls focus. She improved over last week, but she still needs to work on connecting all the elements of the dance. Footwork is going to be key. It was an enjoyable performance and should earn her another week to keep improving. Judges say 7,6,6 for a total of 19.

Michael and Anna D dance Quickstep. There was much more content in the dance this week. And he actually did the dancing and pulled off the steps. That was much better than last week. Maybe he needed the structure of a ballroom dance instead of the more relaxed feel of a Latin style. It kept him from just wiggling and striding about. He respected the Quickstep and I appreciate that. It wasn't as quick as it should have been, but it was reasonably clean. He and Anna seemed to connect much better in this dance. I still don't like Michael Irvin, but I'm pleased for Anna to bounce back after the criticism from last week about content. Judges say 7,7,6 for a total of 20.

Debi and Maks dance Tango. It only took until the second performance week for Debi to have a meltdown with Maks. I had to turn the music off to enjoy the dance. It was the version of Roxanne from Moulin Rouge and I don't like that music. Debi actually did fairly well in this dance. There was a moment right toward the end where it seemed like Maks was simply flinging her about. On the positive side she had the intensity and drama for the dance. And she got her steps organized with decent form. But there's something I don't really like about her. I can't put my finger on it. It might be that she's not connecting through the dance from beginning to middle to end yet. I do still think she has potential, but it remains to be seen whether she'll grow on me at all. Judges say 7's across for a total of 21.

Louie and Chelsie dance Jive. It's official...I gotta call the kid LLVito. That's Little Louie Vito. This should be a great dance for him. It's a perfect combination for his energy and personality. I wish the music had been better. They had all the elements for this jive, but the music just sucked the energy out of the room for me. Dang. That really should have been better than it was. LL performed it OK, but the music was so lifeless that he kept slowing down. I really like the chemistry between the two of them. And I liked the jump he did at the beginning. That's from his snowboard tricks. But overall, that dance was disappointing for me. Judges say 6,7,6 for a total of 19.

Aaron and Karina dance Quickstep. It's Muppet Animal! But why is Muppet Animal banging Muppet drums? Oh! I get it. They are dancing to The Theme to the Muppet Show. Aaron really is a natural. He understands how his body should react and move with the music. He pulled off a terrific performance to a really silly song. Karina's choreography was outstanding and made use of all the little moments in the music. The performance had the potential to be ridiculous, and probably would have been in the hands of a lesser dancer. Instead it was charming and classic. His posture and form were outstanding, and he really did control the movement around the floor. Judges say 9's across for a total of 27. That's well deserved.

Kelly and Louis dance Tango. Now I'm nervous. I want her to do as well as last week. The dance started well, but then she made a mistake and lost her focus. She tried to grin through it, but the dance definitely didn't finish as well as it started. I think she put a little too much pressure on herself this week, and when she flubbed she just couldn't pull it back together. There was no way she could have another revelatory moment like the first time. The mistakes just got into her head and then she panicked. Now she just has to slow down, go back to rehearsal, and relax. She has to remember that this is supposed to be fun. She really can do it. Maybe this is what she needed to take the pressure back off. Judges say 6,7,6 for a total of 19.

Kathy and Tony dance Quickstep. I love the music. Tony's choreography seemed purposely delicate. This was designed as an elegant Quickstep, and it came across exactly to that design. I don't know that it had enough content though. It was almost too tentative. The performance and staging was lovely, but the problem was that it just wasn't engaging. It's unfortunate because it seems as though Tony is trying to make the dance comfortable for Kathy. By doing that, he's not requiring her to burst out. However, if that's working for the two of them then who am I to say it's the wrong approach? Judges say 6's across for a total of 18.

Mark and Lacey dance Quickstep. A new entrance, from the crowd...I like it. But dangit. He had a stumble right toward the beginning. He had enough presence not to let it affect him. Actually it seemed to motivate him. He pulled it together quickly. Their side by side jumps were well timed and he maintained his posture and frame. He's much better in his upper body at this point. He has all the elements, he's just not as polished as Aaron at this point. He really has to work on cleaning up his footwork. He just has to relax and dance. Judges say 7's across for a total of 21. I think his ability to perform helped him overcome the stumble and keep his score solidly in the middle of the group on what turned out to be an average night.

Mya and Dmitry dance Jive. That dance had all the classic Jive steps with the heat turned up. Could challenge for best dance of the night. That was spot on excellent. It was a full performance with a story. It had energy and enthusiasm. And Dmitry showed that he can make a technically perfect dance and still create theatre. Her kicks were clean and the performance was sizzling. I enjoyed the sass and spice. Mr Cranky Pants may not have enjoyed the beginning of the dance, but there really wasn't anything to complain about in that choreography or in the performance. Judges say 9's across for a total of 27.

Tom and Cheryl dance Tango. Tom has a foot injury this week, so we'll see how that affects his dancing. He's quite light on his feet and he is in control of the dance. I have to give him props because he can really do this. He has more appropriate music this week and that allows him to really perform the character of the dance. And except for the slight stumble at the end, he danced that very well. But that foot gave out on the final pose and I hope he didn't injure himself. The choreography was classic, elegant, and dignified, and he had it right until the end when he stumbled. As a fan of dance, I'm disappointed for him. Judges say 6's across for a total of 18. That's unfortunate because I think he was headed for an 8 or two.

Donny and Kym dance Jive. Donny is wearing purple and Pam let out another sqeee. I happened to mention to Pam that Donny was 51 years old. She said "NO! He's not 51! He's 13! He'll always be 13!" Hehehehehehe! I love this choreography to Secret Agent Man. That was a great dance! It still had quite a bit of theatricality to it, but it was also a very classic Jive. That rivals Mya for dance of the night. That was fantastic! It walked the right side of the cheesy line. And may I just add...BOOTSSES!!! Kym's outfit was drool-inducing. So this dance had a little something for Pam and a little something for me. Let's have a wooooooooooo!! Judges say 8,9,8 for a total of 25. Pam had a bit of a hissy because she thought it was perfect. Well of course she did. I thought it was worth at least two 9s.

Here's our leader board:

27 Mya and Dmitry
27 Aaron and Karina
25 Donny and Kym
21 Mark and Lacey
21 Natalie and Alec
21 Debi and Maks
20 Michael and Anna D
20 Joanna and Derek
19 Kelly and Louis
19 Louie and Chelsie
19 Melissa and Mark
19 Chuck and Anna T
18 Tom and Cheryl
18 Kathy and Tony

I don't really have to say that all of Pam's votes went to Donny, do I? That's pretty much a given every week. As for me, I split between Kelly, Mya, and Mark.

Tune in tonight at 23:00 for another jam-packed results show.

We get a double-shot of SYTYCD this week, with another audition show tonight opposite DWTS results and a second audition shot tomorrow night.

It's a dance-palooza!


  1. Jaye says:

    please please post the Donny video - they don't want to play for me from the DWTS website! We're gonna be all danced out by Xmas! Not!

  1. Dianne says:

    a dance-palooza indeed!!

    I continue to be charmed by skate boarding kid
    and I was so disappointed for (not in) Kelly and hope she bounces back

  1. Bond says:

    Travis - Nancy asked last night how do they decide the order. Is it producer choice or do they pull numbers?

    I have to tell you, I was disappointed in some of the judging last night. Carrie Ann seemed to be judging based upon her likes or didlikes of the contestants.

    Melissa hardly used her feet at all in the jive and got a 7 from Carrie Ann?!?!?

    I guess I am not learning as much as I thought because I missed Kelly's mistake and though - if Melissa deserved a 7 from C.A. then so did Kelly.

    I don't know...the scores all seemed so similar except for Aaron and Mya...

    And if they are going to have a guest judge, should they not actually state honestly how they feel? Baz continually said things like "It was fun...but you know..." You know what?

    If you are going to accept the position, you have to be more open.

    I don't know...maybe I was Mr. Cranky-pants last night, but I was not happy with the judges at all...IMHO.

    All that said, I do not see Kathy staying around past tonight.

  1. Jamie says:

    Looking forward to tonight. I can always catch NCIS on demand. You've got me interested.

  1. Dance-palooza! Love that.

    I have to say your three clips definitely show three incredibly accomplished couples. The jivers were 200% committed to every move and in real sync with each other, but so were the quicksteppers and the tango dancers. Ooo, especially the tango dancers...

  1. Anndi says:

    Let's see...

    Joanna, last week I TOTALLY called the using sexy as a diversion for the lack of anything spectacular in the legs and feet. HA! The 7s were a CROCK!

    Natalie did ok, but she just doesn't connect with me.

    Chuck, sorry... here comes Ms Crankyskirt: this is a dancing show and he isn't dancing, he's not improving, and brute force does NOT belong on the ballroom floor. He's getting off easy, a female competitor would be raked over the coals for that. At least Kathy Ireland attempts the technique.

    Melissa, I'm giving her kudos for improving a bit since last week. While I like her, Natalie does better than she does... if I could fuse the two, I might have a dancer I like. Girl needs to loosen up.

    Michael, it was a decent effort, content was added and he seemed to take it seriously but it should have been faster.

    Debi, HUZZAH! That was the kind of PASSION a tango needs! I admire her spunk, took guts to address her partner and tell him what wasn't working. I think Maks paid attention and I want more of this couple.

    Louie the cutie-patootie, I'm not holding music against the dancers... besides, I liked it. The in-hold footwork should have been tighter, but the side by side was delightful. He and Chelsie make a wonderful couple, he's a young kid from a very different culture than ballroom but he respects it and that rocks.

    Aaron.. OMG ANIMAL!!!!!!!!! *grin* I LOVED it! He killed that! Karina knows how to work him to his full potential. I adored it!

    On a side note... why bother giving Bruno a chair.. seriously.

    Kathy, I think I know what's wrong. I suspect she's had to build up a prim bubble in an effort to move from swimsuit goddess to business woman and mom. I just hope she lets Tony in. She respects the technique, has spectacular posture... needs to shake it out. I much prefer her classy to Chuck's bull in a china closet.

    Mya, I saw some Fosse!!!Did you see the Fosse? *grin*
    Um, nothing can make Dmitry look nerdy. Not mmm tight pants, even if they are too short, not a shirt that covers everything, not the glasses.
    9s were well deserved. The energy level was excellent and maintained throughout and the footwork was delightful. Sassy indeed!

    Tom, see, here's the thing: I can't think of giving an 8 to a passionless tango. I yawned. For me, this was tango lite.

    Donny, YAY! How cute is Pam LOL!!
    If those had been real BOOTSSES I may have been more excited. KUDOS to Kym for that routine... I saw Fosse again!
    Donny puts a lot of younger men to shame. That was a 9 for me as well.

    Um... the results show is at 21:00 tonight, right?

  1. Akelamalu says:

    Oh yes I agree with Pam - Donny is forever young and gorgeous!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow, a double shot? I know you're in heaven! LOL!

  1. I didn't see all of last nights show...combination of Ken Burns' special and Big Bang Theory...kept switching back and forth. I should have recorded something.

    what I did see seemed to be scored pretty high for this early in the game. And Bruno still is having a hard time stayin' in his chair.

    I loved the dance choices this week. No relay....I was disappointed. Who does choose the music? Ya think we'll see Keely dancing to Dad's music?

    I think Chuck will go...but I haven't really got a handle on the fanbase this season.

  1. Travis says:

    Apologies for the error on the should have been 21:00. My only excuse is that I was tired last night and didn't proof as well as I should have.

    Jaye: That Jive will definitely be on encores.

    Dianne: LLVito is certainly charming. I think Kelly is going to relax after tonight.

    V: I think the order is decided by lot. I think it was a pretty average night, with just a few outstanding performances. I do agree that Baz could have been a little more helpful with criticism.

    Jamie: I'm recording both NCIS shows tonight. And I have to record SYTYCD auditions too!

    Julia: I really enjoy watching the pros.

    Ann: I like that we disagree on a few this week. I don't hold the music against the dancers, but I do think that Chelsie didn't utilize the music well enough in the Jive for LLVito. And I did see the Fosse, but the BOOTSSES weren't real???

    Akelamalu: That's exactly what Pam a loud voice followed by much squee-like noises.

    Lois: I luvs me some dancing!

    Katherine: Bruno and his popping out of his chair is getting a bit annoying. They make it seem like the pros select the music, but they have said in the past that the dancers are given the music and dance style right after the results show.

  1. Anndi says:

    Sadly not real BOOTSSES... shoes with a boot-like cover... but the LEGSES were hawt!