Cue that theme music...

Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

Welcome to week 2!  Our 11 remaining couples will either dance Jive or Quickstep.

The clip features Joanna Leunis and Michael Malitowski.

I'm sure I can find other excellent clips for Quick Step, but I like Marcus and Karen Hilton.  So I'm sticking with what I like, even though this clip is 12 years old.

Brooke Burke is stunning yet again in basic black.  Or is it navy?  I guess it doesn't matter.  Yeowza!

OK, focus now.

Rick Fox and Cheryl Burke dance Jive.   Rick's career ended on a serious ankle injury, so the quick flick kicks in a Jive could be a struggle.  He's almost at 3/4 tempo during the dance, while Cheryl picks the speed up without too obviously dancing around him.  He continues to have excellent posture.  And he's quite the showman too.  I thought that was really very good.  He had control of it and didn't really miss any steps.  I'm really impressed by what he was able to do in terms of his footwork.  Cheryl's choreography managed to hide the things he couldn't do and emphasized what he could.  His steps were basically sharp and clean.  The difference in their height was barely noticeable.  Judges say 7's across for a total of 21.  That's solid.  The dance didn't have the quick tempo that I like to see in a Jive, but that was a strategic choice to guard against injury.  Very respectable performance and score. 

Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas dance Quick Step.  This is going to be tough for her, not so much because of the tempo but because of the stamina needed.  She has to remember the steps, hold her posture, not get dragged through it, and simply manage to get through the entire 90 seconds.  And she's doing OK.  Corky is making excellent use of the quick-slow-quick movement.  Unfortunately, the footwork was just a little sloppy.  Still, they did a proper dance without a lot of cheesy silliness.  There was some of that, but it was charming rather than foolish.  And there were some good moments where she had the elegant carriage and sophistication.  Overall, I think she did well.  I'd like to see her stick around to do a Waltz.  All the elder Ladies and gentlemen should get a chance to Waltz on the show.  Judges say 7,6,6 for a total of 19.  A good score.

Brandy Norwood and Maks Chmerkovskiy dance Jive.  Dangit.  The rehearsal drama is back.  She's a favorite, but we'll withhold our votes if that doesn't stop.  I'd like to see her extend more and finish off the kicks.  The lines she had last week were missing.  This Jive is a bit flat.  The kicks weren't sharp and I didn't think her footwork was very crisp.  She's performing with her face, but I don't like the energy below her neck.  That was really disappointing.  This should have been a dance she could really have a good time with, but I didn't like it.  I don't think I have bigger expectations than she can fill, but I do think she can dance much better than this.  I will say that she connects one move to another very well, although surprisingly her musicality was lacking.  Judges say 7's across for a total of 21.  Pay attention and listen to Maks!  He won't set you wrong.

Michael Bolton and Chelsie Hightower dance Jive.  He has a throat infection and laryngitis this week.  At least he looks like he's enjoying himself this week.  He's starting to loosen up with the steps, although he's still a bit timid here and there.  He's also doing a bit of standing while Chelsie dances around him.  There were spots where the dancing was enjoyable, but more places where it was a bit painful.  The best I can say is that he smiled and performed a bit more, and he tried to do the dance.  It's a shame.  I can tell by the rehearsal footage that he wants to do well, and that he's a perfectionist.  He just doesn't have any natural dance rhythm, and that shows up in a dance like Jive.  Judges say 4,5,3 for a total of 12.  Ouch on the 3.  Bruno borrowed the cranky pants this week.  That's really harsh.  It wasn't a good dance, but there's being honest and then there's being kind.  I would have gone for kindness and made that 3 into a 4.

Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani dance Quick Step.  Now she has a great attitude about the dancing.  I had no idea who she was before the show, but I like her.  She looks fantastic in this style.  Her footwork is really crisp and clean.  She had a little form break with her posture, but it was so quick that I only saw it because I was watching at the exact moment.  She seems like she's holding back just a bit, and I'd like to see her have more confidence.  She can really do this.  She was graceful and elegant, and light on her feet.  She's listening to Tony, and that's always the right thing to do.  If she can pull the fans, she's going to be around for awhile.  Good for Tony too!  Judges say 8,8,7 for a total of 23.  That's a great score, but I think it should have been 8's across.

Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough dance Jive.  Jennifer has to deal with the weight of expectations now.  I want her to be great every week.  She's got to pace herself through this dance and not throw all the energy into the first half.  Keep in mind...she's 50 years old and recently had a bunch of neck surgery as part of her cancer treatment.  I don't know what I was worried about.  She's fantastic!  She has amazing balance and awareness.  I know she has an advantage, coming from a dance background as well as acting.  But you still have to get it done on the floor, and she's doing that.  I really enjoyed this Jive.  Those spins at the end were just WOW!  She kept the energy and the technique throughout.  And Derek's choreography took advantage of her strengths, with enough difficulty that it didn't matter that he can't do some of the more spectacular tricks with her because of her neck.  Judges say 8's across for a total of 24.  That's a terrific score, but I thought that dance deserved at least one 9. 

Margaret Cho and Louis van Amstel dance Jive.  Unlike the Waltz last week, she can afford to be a bit more loose in Jive.  But I want to see a proper dance this week.  She can put a bit of comedic performance in it if it's within the character of the dance.  I don't want her not to be herself, but I also don't want her to be a parody of herself either.  There you go!  She can do it.  That made me smile.  It wasn't perfect.  It had some sloppy moments.  But it also had terrific energy and a fine performance quality to it.  She took it seriously and proved herself on the dance floor.  As long as she continues to take it seriously, she'll improve her technique and the crispness of her movement.  I liked what she did in this Jive, and I appreciate that she did it.  Well done my dear.  And well done Louis for making a proper dance.  Judges say 6's across for a total of 18.  I think maybe that was worth a couple of extra points. 

Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer dance Quick Step.  Last week he surprised me with his rhythm, his performance, and his overall musicality.  This week, let's see if he can be light on his feet and elegant.  He is just so full of personality, it's impossible not to like him.  And he is much lighter on his feet this week.  I like the choreography.  Lacey tried to make a younger dance that he could connect with, and I think she was mostly successful.  He's just a charming young man.  What he'll have to do is learn to control his energy so that his movements become smooth and not quite so sloppy.  In the early part of the competition, he's going to be able to overwhelm with personality and performance.  But at some point, he'll have to tighten up the technique.  He's going to get votes because he's just so enjoyable to watch.  But as we move deeper into the show, he'll have to compete technically otherwise the judges' scores will drop him too far behind for the fan vote to keep saving him.  But for now, I like what he's doing.  Judges say 8,7,7 for a total of 22.  A good score.

Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya dance Jive.  I'm worried about awkwardness.  I also should have been worried about silliness.  Or perhaps goofiness.  But he owned the story and the character, so what looked in rehearsal like it was going to be silly or goofy actually became charming and endearing.  Kurt kept his energy up and he had fun with style and choreography.  He impresses me with his gentleness.  And also with his willingness to do this.  He has an innate musicality.  As with his Waltz last week, he managed to keep his shoulders back.  I'd like to see him be more precise with his footwork, but I suspect he'll develop that.  I did not expect him to be able to do this, and I'm pleased to be wrong.  Judges say 7's across for a total of 21.

Mike Sorrentino and Karina Smirnoff dance Quick Step.  I don't like this kid.  I know it's early and he's got a lot to learn, but the turned in toes really turn me off.  His shoulders are too hunched.  Both of those things make the movement look really heavy and plodding.  Quick Step is a really tough dance, and he showed how difficult it was.  He doesn't have any musicality at all.  I'm looking for something positive to say...he did try to hold to the integrity of the style.  He did work at it, and he does seem to listen to Karina.  But he's not as charming or as interesting as he thinks he is.  At least I don't think so.  I'd like to see him tone down the personality.  Instead of his "Situation" character, find the character in each dance style and portray that.  Judges say 6's across for a total of 18.  There's no way that dance should have had the same score as Margaret and Louis.  At least I don't think so.

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas dance Quick Step.  She really needs to relax.  You can see how nervous she is.  But she doesn't need to be because she can do this.  She's a young woman really learning how to be who she is, separate and distinct from her last 2 years in the public eye.  As soon as she understands that she doesn't need to worry about the dancing, she can start to work on the performance side.  I like the precision of her footwork.  She looks elegant, but still a bit too wooden in her facial expressions.  When she learns to ease the tension in her shoulders, she could be onto something special.  This is why I try to set aside all the media hype that goes into constructing celebrity.  Bristol seems like a charming and earnest young woman.  Well done young Lady.  Judges say 7,8,7 for a total of 22.  That's well deserved. 

Here's the leader board:

24 Jennifer and Derek
23 Audrina and Tony
22 Kyle and Lacey
22 Bristol and Mark
21 Rick and Cheryl
21 Kurt and Anna
21 Brandy and Maks 
19 Florence and Corky
18 Margaret and Louis
18 Mike and Karina
12 Michael and Chelsie

With few exceptions, I like this cast.  Pam and I split votes three ways again.  This week our 11 votes per four phones went to Jennifer, Rick, and Kyle.

You know the drill...results show tonight, encores and results post tomorrow.

Later gang!


  1. Anonymous says:

    Trav: Great review. It's an interesting group this time. My crush won't last long, but it's been fun to watch. There are some amazingly sweet suprises as far as the dancers go. This will be fun to watch - on the nights I don't pull overtime . . . Too early for a fav????

  1. Haven't seen it yet (I wait to watch on the ABC website), but I appreciate review. One thing I've notice about Kurt (we're getting a lot of local coverage about this, naturally, and he's beloved around here anyway) is that he does have a gentle quality about him. He treats each and every one of his seven kids as if they are truly treasures, and he adores his wife. He truly reveres people, and I think he takes the same approach to this opportunity. It's a gift to be treasured, and he's going to enjoy it for as long as it's around.

  1. I so appreciate your recaps attention span isn't conclusive to watching the entire show...but I want to know what's going on,

  1. I thought Jennifer deserved 9's myself...I am not sure why she did not get them

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don't watch this show, but it's all over the news. I'm fascinated by the breadth of the cast this go-around. Quite diverse!