Cue that theme music...

Posted: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

Can you believe it?  Just 3 more weeks until we find out who dances away with the Fabulous Mirror Ball trophy.

How did it go by so fast????

Well, however it did, we've got 5 pairs left and they've all got to step up this week as they must perform two original dances.  They'll each have a ballroom style and then a Latin style.  The Latin dance will be from an era.  More on that later.

First, let's have the ballroom round. 

Chad and Cheryl dance Tango.  I liked his footwork this week.  But there was something I didn't like in his upper body.  I was also looking for a bit more snap and precision.  It was certainly a good effort.  He had control of the movement around the floor.  The performance was there, but he was lacking the crispness required for the entire routine.  He dances well enough for an amateur in a club situation.  But at this point in the show, I don't think he has quite mastered the small details that distinguish a performance...such as the tilt of his head, when to look at Cheryl, how to guide her but keep stiff arms, when to bend the knees and when to straighten.  The judges remind him of the same things each week.  Judges say 7's across for a total of 21.  The things that were lacking are reflected in that score.    

Niecy and Louis dance Viennese Waltz.  This is a great opportunity to follow up last week's outstanding Quickstep.  But I don't think she capitalized on it.  The opening could have been much better...that free arm looked like it was flailing and it should have been more graceful.  The footwork was just fine.  She had a wonderful glide across the floor.  But to me, the dance felt more like a cartoon performance than a sweet fairy tale waltz.  I'm a bit disappointed in it actually.  The dance didn't feel honest to me.  Giving her credit, her posture and technique were excellent.  Her upper body was controlled.  I just wanted more elegance and sophistication.  Judges say 7,8,8 for a total of 23.  I still like her, but that performance just didn't quite do it for me.

Erin and Maks dance Argentine Tango.  Rehearsal footage drama was much less this week, for which I am grateful.  Now I can just enjoy the dancing.  I love the head to head lean in the opening hold.  And that lift!  No wonder she was nervous about jumping from the top of the stairs.  This was a stunningly difficult Tango and she handled it magnificently.  There were some minor issues with toe point, a small stumble on a spin, and a bit of an issue with her legs not being straight when I think they should have been.  But this was an outstanding performance.  It was dramatic, aggressive, passionate, and well danced.  Her flexibility was amazing and she seemed fearless in the lifts despite her trepidation during rehearsal.  Judges say 9,10,9 for a total of 28.  I can't condone the 10 because of the stumble on that spin, but she definitely earned the 9's.  Excellent effort.

Evan and Anna dance Waltz.  Oh.  That was so light.  They didn't dance.  They didn't glide.  They floated.  I loved the lines and the extensions.  They connected one movement to another throughout the piece.  He mixed technical excellence with narrative performance.  He used his wonderful lyricism and artistry to make a moment.  I could feel the dance.  I thought it was a romantic fairy tale.  I'm not sure what the judges weren't seeing in the performance because for me, he was completely in the moment and his connection with Anna was beautiful.  I absolutely loved the dance.  Judges say 9's across for a total of 27.  Well that's weird.  Len and Carrie Ann seemed puzzled by the performance and Bruno liked it much the way I did.  And they all threw the same score.  Hmmmm.

Nicole and Derek dance Foxtrot.  That was fun.  The choreography was light hearted and story driven.  They had terrific characters and the dancing was fantastic.  No matter what you think of Nicole...whether you think she's a ringer or gotta love what she did there.  Derek took full advantage of what a Foxtrot can be.  It was like a scene out of a Gene Kelly film.  Just fantastic.  There were a couple of picky technique things, like a bit of loose hold.  But they didn't mean too much to the overall performance, which was classy and sharp.  It had a simple sophistication mixed with playfulness.  The whole thing made me smile.  Judges say 10,9,10 for a total of 29.  Len clearly took off the point for the close hold issue he pointed out, but that's OK.

Here's our leader board after ballroom round:

29 Nicole and Derek
28 Erin and Maks
27 Evan and Anna
23 Niecy and Louis
21 Chad and Cheryl

Gary and Rita Gekhman interpret the future in a show piece that actually got them disqualified from competition because it was too edgy.  

Well, if you're going to assign the future as something to be interpreted in ballroom dancing, this is the type of thing you're going to get.  It's not something I really enjoy, but I do appreciate the skill and creativity that went into crafting and performing it.

Now let's see how our stars interpret the Latin round while paying tribute to a specific era.

Chad and Cheryl dance a 1960's Jive. my word...the boots.  Oh just can't do that to me when I'm supposed to be watching the dance  The boots were really really good.  Len said the Jive was high energy without a lot of kicks.  I guess.  Bruno said Chad pimped the Jive.  I guess.  Carrie Ann said it was great and groovy, with wild energy.  I guess.  I know it had great boots.  Seriously though, although the dance was upbeat and fun, Chad didn't give it much of a Jive flavor.  The choreography didn't have enough twirls, spins, or quick flick kicks.  That's really what makes a Jive.  You have to snap off the kicks and twirl the spins. So it ended up being all about the boots for me.  Judges say 8's across for a total of 24.  I give the boots 10's across.  Those boots were definitely perfect.

Niecy and Louis dance a 1990's Paso Doble.  I think she can throw some attitude in this dance, which is what Paso calls for.  I didn't care for the beginning though.  It kind of threw her behind the music just a little and she looked out of sorts.  The dance felt like she was trying to catch up through the first third.  When she got to the middle, she seemed to have pulled herself together.  She had the attitude and captured the flavor of the dance.  But her technique really let her down.  Paso calls for so much precision and she just didn't have it.  Her footwork was a problem.  This was a difficult and demanding style.  I think with more time, she could have gotten it.  But Louis went for a really difficult piece to try to stay competitive, and it just didn't quite get there.  That's really a shame.  Judges say 7,6,7 for a total of 20.  Her fans are really going to have to come through this week.

Erin and Maks dance a 1980's Rumba.  It was very daring to have her dance solo at the beginning, but she pulled it off.  This was a Rumba danced with more joy than romance.  I would have preferred a little more hip action and a little more dancing than posing.  I'm just not a fan of the posing style of Rumba.  She really needs to believe in herself, and she needs to make us believe she does.  And she needs to dance smoothly and connect one movement to the next.  I thought she had trouble with musicality in this dance.  The dance really didn't feel like it had a flow to it.  Judges say 8,8,9 for a total of 25.  I really think she can do better than this.  She's beautiful.  She has rhythm.  She can move.  And she has one of the better teachers working with her.  

Evan and Anna dance a futuristic Cha Cha Cha.  I'm not sure why everyone interprets the future as robotic.  Why can't we have a fun, flirty, and cheeky Cha Cha Cha between the last two surviving humans on the Mars colony?  Or something like that.  The future doesn't have to be robots, does it?  Still, the choreography was inventive and I appreciated the characters.  I miss the fluid and sassy flavor of the dance though.  I'm not certain if I liked it, but I did think they danced it well.  Anna committed to the style of future she wanted, and Evan embraced the flavor and character.  I thought the performance was consistent, just not spectacular.  Judges say 9,8,9 for a total of 26.  I think he's going to make the finale, but I think one of the keys is going to be which Latin dances he draws in the last two weeks.  He seems much stronger in the ballroom styles.

Nicole and Derek dance a 1950's Paso Doble.  This was really well done.  Derek held to classic Paso steps and movement.  It was the little details in costuming and gesture that brought the 50's to mind.  This was a dance where Nicole's previous dance training and experience was evident.  She was able to collaborate with Derek, and he didn't have to worry that she couldn't handle something he thought of for the dance.  Derek's choreography was incredible.  This dance hit all the happy points in a had drama, aggression, snap, flair, mixed in with sass.  I'm completely stunned by that dance.  The creativity to pull that  What a terrific interpretation to find the edgy quality in a decade generally considered to be more frolicsome.  Judges say 10's across for a total of 30.  Yup.  That was perfection.  And this pair had quite a night.

Here's our final leader board after both dances:

59 Nicole and Derek
53 Erin and Maks
53 Evan and Anna
45 Chad and Cheryl 
43 Niecy and Louis

I stuck with my man Evan.  Pam's one week defection to Niecy ended as she three her votes to Nicole based on the excellent Foxtrot and Paso.  We both agree that either Chad or Niecy should go this week, and the other next week to leave us with a finale of Nicole, Evan, and Erin.

But, if you follow this program, you know that one can never predict how the voters are going to go.  So you'll just have to tune in tonight for results!

I can report that my Lakers finished off a 4 game sweep of the Jazz last night in Utah.  LA will host Phoenix in the Western Conference final.

I can also report that Orlando beat Atlanta 4-0 in their series.  The Magic now wait for the winner between Boston and Cleveland.  That series is tied at 2-2, with game 5 tonight from Cleveland.



  1. Oh my! I've been away for only three days and suddenly I see a whole new template. Looks good!

  1. Local weather kept preempting the show. We were under tornado watch and thunderstorm warnings most of the evening so I was treated to a lot of radar images from our local weather men and very little dancing. Thanks for the recap.

  1. Driller, hope everything your way is finally safe and sound.

    Oh no... Does this mean that Niecy might go home? I like her... She is so funny! She reminds me of a lady I used to work with.

  1. First of all - Wow! New layout looks really strong.

    Believe it or not, I didn't watch even one second of DWTS. I couldn't possibly - Sidney Crosby was playing in a nail-biter against Montreal. You see what an important service you provide, Travis?

  1. Dianne says:

    OK! I just realized my comment for this post was put into the wrong thought bubble and I ended up commenting on the previous post

    story of my life Trav, story of my life
    always mixing up the thought bubbles!!

  1. Oh heck!!! I just left a comment about Dancing under your previous post. I forgot that the comment section isn't under the post like it used to be. I clicked in the wrong place. Sorry - but thanks for the Dancing info.

  1. Dude, sometimes I feel like I should watch this just so I'll have comments to make on your blog.

  1. I missed the boots! I was dealing with some last minute show issues and then I realized the TiVo was not set because someone turned off the cable box!

    I want video of the BOOTS tomorrow!

  1. Akelamalu says:

    I can't believe it's almost coming to an end, it doesn't seem five minutes since it started! :0

  1. Terra: I expected it to take a little longer, but it was easier than I anticipated!

    Driller: Hopefully all is well now with the weather.

    Lois: She might...depends on how the viewers went.

    Julia: I know about team dedication. I recorded the Lakers last night, but I had to peak just a little bit.

    Dianne: But I see the positive...thought bubble mix up leads to TWO comments for me!!

    GGG: And TWO MORE comments for me!! LOL!

    V: The BOOTS were amazing!

    Akelamalu: I know! But there is good news. Just when DWTS ends, SYTYCD will begin!

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    I'm liking your new stuff, Trav! :)
    I watched last night and me thinks next out is Niecy or Chad.
    BTW I thought Erin did great Argentinean Tango and should have gotten three tens...

  1. Jamie says:

    I actually enjoyed the Robot demonstration dance. Other than that, your descriptions were perfect and I think Chad should go first and then Niecy