Cue that theme music...

Posted: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

And then there were six pairs left! Our couples have one individual dance and then we get...wait for it...the Cha Cha Challenge!!

That's right. The team challenge returns!

I am such a geek.

Erin and Maks dance Quickstep. And the drama returns to the rehearsal footage, which means that no matter how good this dance might be, I will not vote for it. I'm putting my foot down and remaining stubborn. I'm just not going to reinforce that kind of editing with my vote. It's not Erin's or Maks' fault, but that's the way it's going to be for me. As to the dance, I didn't care for the introduction, but Erin's work in hold throughout the meat of the dance was very good. She kept her footing and held her posture. Her technique was really solid. The dance itself was elegant and clean. The choreography and music were in sync, and the character of the dance was very entertaining. I can't pick apart that performance at all, except I didn't care for the beginning or the ending, or the rehearsal footage. Judges say 9's across for a total of 27. That's a well deserved score because the dance was excellent.

Chad and Cheryl dance Viennese Waltz. Happy Birthday Cheryl! He's still got that little bend in the middle of his back, but other than that his posture is very good. I'd like to see him extend through his arms. That lack of extension prevents him from carrying off the elegance. It was a lovely dance though. He looked a bit tentative, although he controlled his natural aggression in favor of grace. I really did enjoy the performance. The rise and fall was very good. The only thing that was missing for me was the feeling of the fairy tale. I just didn't see that in the choreography, but the dance itself was quite satisfying. Judges say 8,9,8 for a total of 25. You might be surprised when I say I thought the dance was worth a couple of 9's.

Nicole and Derek dance Waltz. I'm a little disappointed. Derek usually gives us the fairy tale, and this dance started so well, but then he threw in some odd spins that broke apart the fairy tale for me. The movement through the middle felt disconnected. Nicole ended up looking awkward through some of the spins, and I think it might have been because some of the movements were so difficult. The choreography had potential, but I don't think they lived up to it. And her facial expressions were a bit incongruous with the mood of the piece. I would almost have preferred a more simple routine that was danced to near perfection. A little less difficulty with better execution, you know? Regardless of the mistakes, I definitely enjoyed the performance. She's certainly one of our favorites. Judges say 9's across for a total of 27. Hmmmm...I guess the mistakes were just worth 1 point each from the judges.

Pamela and Damian dance Waltz. Yes, finally! Pamela dancing simply as Pamela. That was romantic and elegant and sensual and extraordinary. Wow. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. She continues to struggle with her frame and posture in her upper body. But her technique in hold was very good, and her footwork was just fine. What I appreciated about the dance is that it felt honest and less like she was acting a role. I like that they focused on the connection between them, and brought the sophisticated romance to the story. The rise and fall was smooth. I thoroughly enjoyed that performance. Judges say 8's across for a total of 24. I would have been tempted to throw a 9 because of how much I enjoyed the dancing, but to be fair, she did have some problems with her posture and frame. Still, it's a good score.

Niecy and Louis dance Quickstep. She can pull off elegance very well. I thought she would struggle with Quickstep, but she actually mastered the technique. I loved it! She maintained close hold and was able to keep her posture steady through the footwork. The attention to detail was there. The choreography was classic. The performance was excellent. I'm impressed! I thought this would be the worst style for her, but it turns out to be one of the best. The friendship between the two of them is so evident. Louis seems to understand what is going to work for her, and he is able to choreograph to her strengths. Then he helps her minimize her weaknesses while emphasizing what she does well. And she does a lot more well every week. Well done my dear! Judges say 9,8,8 for a total of 25. YES!

Evan and Anna dance Argentine Tango. Rehearsal footage was all business this week. You could see the focus of an Olympic champion. Anna takes advantage of that...she doesn't have to pull any emotional punches. She can just teach and criticize constructively, and Evan takes it and works on it. His movement is much sharper this week. He's snapping off movements, which is proper for Tango. Technically speaking, I think this is excellent. And that lift spin! Wow! The speed and precision was fantastic. I don't think he could have performed better from a technical perspective. It was really very good. There was an intensity and elegance to it, combined with drama and controlled aggression. And Pam said that was what made the performance sexy. She says she's never thought of Evan that way, but this week she did. Judges say 10's across for a total of 30. WOW! Great job!

Here's our leader board after the individual dances:

30 Evan and Anna
27 Nicole and Derek
27 Erin and Maks
25 Niecy and Louis
25 Chad and Cheryl
24 Pamela and Damian

And now for the Cha Cha Challenge! Our six pairs are split into two teams. The score for each team will be added to the totals for the individual dance. The leader board could change drastically depending on how the teams are built, and how well everyone dances together.

First up is Team GaGa with Nicole & Derek, Chad & Cheryl, and Pamela & Damian. The synchronicity is pretty good at the beginning. Pamela had trouble remembering her steps in her solo with Damian. Chad was ok with Cheryl, but not really great. Nicole and Derek were the strongest pair, but even she had some issues with her hips. It was a good effort. I thought the team sections were much better than the individual routines. Judges say 9's across for a total of 27. The second group is going to have a tough time matching that score.

Next up is Team Madonna with Evan & Anna, Erin & Maks, and Niecy & Louis. At first glance, you'd think this team would be at a disadvantage because the other pairs are more naturally sexy. But Cha Cha Cha is also a cheeky, fun dance. And that's what this choreography was about. It was fun and I was more into it than with the other group. Evan and Anna were solid. Niecy and Louis were not as good technically, but still fun. Erin and Maks brought a bit of the sexy but maintained the playful attitude. I actually enjoyed this group more, because I thought they captured the real flavor of Cha Cha Cha even though there were synchronicity and technique issues, and the judges thought it had more of a Samba feel to it. Judges say 8's across for a total of 24.

Comparing the two teams, it seemed like Team GaGa had the synchronicity over Team Madonna whereas I thought TM had more of the cheeky Cha Cha Cha flavor in their performance and choreography than TG had in theirs.

Here's our leader board with the team scores added in:

54 Evan and Anna
54 Nicole and Derek
51 Erin and Maks
52 Chad and Cheryl
51 Pamela and Damian
49 Niecy and Louis

I'm locked in with Evan and that's where my votes went. But you'll never guess what happened with Pam. She flipped! Rather than voting for Nicole, she went for Niecy. Yup! That Quickstep convinced her.

Tune in tonight for results!


  1. Jan says:

    It's good to be back visiting your blog again. I've missed it. You were right on cue with your opinions as far as I'm concerned too. Great post, Travis!

  1. Akelamalu says:

    I see Pamela's still doing well!

  1. After watching the dance, the rehearsal drama seemed completely contrived for the camera and to set up the beginning of the performance.
    I think one of Chad's problems with extension his the length of his limbs vs Cheryl. He's a little to tall and too long for his partner. Anna and Evan have a similar issue, but seem to deal with it a little better.
    All in all, it was a very good show.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Trav: I watched last night, but am working tonight - so your blog will be my first stop tomorrow - to check the results.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I hope Niecy doesn't go... I've never seen her dance, but she sure is funny!

  1. Linda says:

    I totally forgot to watch last night as I was home instead of at work - I'm so glad you do such a good wrap-up! Glad to hear that Niecy did as well as she did - I like that gal!

  1. YAY for Pam!...Smart lady you have there Travis.

    You know my feelings about Nicole..sorry I could not vote for her if it was the final two and she was dancing against Adam Corrolla!

    I also commented to Nancy how nice it was to see Pamela dance as Pamela..

  1. Travis says:

    Jan: Welcome back!

    Akelamalu: She was!

    Driller: I agree that the drama in rehearsal can be contrived sometimes. I just wish they would realize that they don't need it. Good point about Chad.

    GGG: You know you can count on me!

    Lois: Hope rewarded!

    Linda: You forgot??? Oh dear.

    V: I enjoyed the dance from Pamela because it seemed so much more honest that some of her earlier efforts.

    NNG: Indeed.