Cue that theme music...

Posted: Tuesday, October 05, 2010 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

It's story night!  Our remaining 10 pairs must tell a story in dance and the use of props is encouraged.  The three dances are Samba, Foxtrot, and Waltz.

Oh!  We get a pro demonstration.  I always enjoy it when our pros dance!

Now let's see how our couples do.

Jennifer and Derek tell the story of a student with a crush on his teacher, dancing Samba.  She has a performer's ability to release her frustration into usable energy.  The tightness in her back is exposed in this dance.  Samba wants control, but also a bit more looseness and bend through the walks.  Still, all the classic Samba stuff is there and performed well.  And they even put a little bit of Samba roll in it too.  The dance was fun and they definitely captured the story between them.  Derek is very good at keeping the story throughout the choreography.  There were a couple of minor stumbles, but I think that was because the choreography was pretty difficult, particularly in the spin section when their feet and arms got somewhat out of sync.  Still, she's got it in performance.  And Derek can step the choreography up because of her experience.  Judges say 8's across for a total of 24.  Now that's odd, because this dance wasn't nearly as clean as last week's Jive which also got a 24.  But the story was told throughout the entire piece, and perhaps that earned the 8's.

Florence and Corky tell a love story, dancing Waltz to Eidelweiss from Sound of Music.  Yes!  I got my wish for her to dance a Waltz.  Florence played the character of Maria on stage when she was young.  I wish she had danced with more confidence.  It seemed like she had trouble remembering the steps.  But even so, it was wonderful to watch her joy in the story.  The choreography was very sweet and emotional.  The underlying story she had with her late husband was there, reflected in the dance she and Corky made.  The dancing was not as smooth as I want and it didn't flow as well as it should have, but the emotion of the story carried her through it.  I enjoyed the performance and I'm glad she got a chance to do this dance.  Judges say 7,6,7 for a total of 20.  I think the scores were generous based on the issues she had with technique, but I'm not going to fuss too much about that.  She had a wonderful moment to take with her when she's done on the show.

Kurt and Anna tell the story of someone having a bad day, dancing Foxtrot.  This is Breast Cancer Awareness month in the NFL, and it looks like Kurt is showing solidarity by wearing a pink tie and pocket square.  He called himself a big tree running around on the dance floor.  HA!  And then they show him having a tea party with his daughters.  Gotta love a bit tall football player enjoying his little girls.  Kurt's character pulls Anna's out of the bad day and into a brighter one.  Once again I'm surprised by how light he is on his feet.  That's just not my experience watching him play football.  He cheated through some of the steps though.  Overall I didn't think the dancing was as smooth as it could have been.  It was a bit choppy and his musicality wasn't quite as good as it has been.  But he was incredibly charming.  They definitely score high for me on telling the story.  I enjoyed the story, but I do wish the dancing had been a little better.  I don't think he's in any danger of going home.  I like him better every week.  Judges say 8,8,7 for a total of 23.  I agree with the 7 just because there really were some issues with footwork.  But I probably would have thrown an 8 because of the wonderful way they told the story.

Margaret and Louis tell the story of having pride in spite of criticism, dancing Samba.  Here's kind of a back handed compliment.  If she was going for over-the-top lounge lizard cheese, she absolutely nailed it.  I could tell she was enjoying herself with the movement and the story, and I really appreciated that.  She missed a lot of footwork, which tripped her up and got in her head, and then she went out of control and the dance got too sloppy.  I appreciate the theme, particularly in this current political climate and in light of the many suicides of gay teenagers recently.  The idea was to celebrate pride in who you are, and I think they accomplished that with the choreography and oddly with the way her performance played out.  It was the execution of the dancing that fell short in terms of technique and musicality for her.  Judges say 6's across for a total of 18.

Audrina and Tony tell the story of a dead Marine coming home in a dream to dance with his Lady for the last time, dancing Waltz.  Damn that was absolutely beautiful.  This girl is a sponge.  She takes what she's told and understands how to adapt and learn.  And Tony is the perfect teacher for her.  They had everything going for them in this dance, and they brought it all together with the connection between them.  The dancing was smooth, elegant, and classy.  One of the judges said something about pointing toes, but I was caught up in the performance and didn't really notice any technique issues.  For someone who isn't an actor or a performer, Audrina really is developing into a fine entertainer.  Judges say 8,9,9 for a total of 26.  That's well deserved.  Who would have thought that she would get the first 9's of the season?  Now if she has a consistent fanbase, she can certainly be a real threat in the competition.

Bristol and Mark tell the story of a homeless person transformed by the attention of a passer by, dancing Foxtrot.  She begins each dance so reserved, which is always surprising to me for someone her age.  She'll turn 20 on 18 Oct, but she doesn't have that kind of youthful exuberance.  Maybe that's due to going through such a public pregnancy the way she did.  I think she danced well and that she has all kinds of potential.  But I don't think they succeeded in telling the story.  She is very precise with her movement and she dances clean.  But she is still so staid and stoic.  I understand that comes from really not being comfortable as a performer.  She has an edge because of how incredible clean and precise she is with her dancing, so I wonder if Mark should maybe focus not so much on getting her to act and perform, but rather to having her relax and just be natural.  Judges say 6,6,7 for a total of 19.

Brandy and Maks tell the story of a singer and her bodyguard, dancing Samba.  I appreciate her commitment this week to be quiet and listen.  I appreciate that because it takes all that nutty drama out of the rehearsal footage.  I like this dance better than her Jive from last week.  But to me, her dancing has a quality that makes it seem like a routine for one of her concert performances rather than as a dance in a ballroom competition.  I didn't really see the story.  I did think the dance had good energy.  I like her a lot, and she seems so sincere in wanting to do well.  But there was something missing in that dance for me.  I wanted to like it, but I didn't really.  Judges say 8's across for a total of 24.  

Kyle and Lacey tell a simple love story, dancing Waltz.  She did not just say Who are the Eagles???  She said they are like the Beatles???  Oh jeez I'm old.  This dance was smooth, sweet, and very innocent with a little sly charm thrown in.  That really was lovely.  Lacey's choreography reminded us that they are both young people.  They can make a beautiful moment, pay tribute to a proper Waltz, and still be youthful.  I absolutely loved that dance.  He committed to the technique this week.  Although it wasn't perfect, and he still really needs to square away his footwork, the dance was controlled and relaxed at the same time.  Kyle managed his energy, and brought a gentle passion to his performance that I really appreciated.  He got the idea of Waltz, and invested it with his personality without overwhelming it.  There was a fairy tale there, and that's what I expect from Waltz.  Well done young man.  Judges say 8,7,8 for a total of 23.  I'm sure Len is taking a point off for those feet.

Mike and Karina tell some kind of time travel story that I don't actually understand, dancing Foxtrot.  Not only does Karina have to deal with a questionable partner, but she's got a weird musical selection to go with Foxtrot.  I hated it.  The problem for me started with the music.  Then it continued with Mike and his wooden approach to the movement.  I can't imagine that's what Karina wanted based on the way she was moving.  I think he was trying, but unfortunately I also think he was failing miserably.  I have no idea what Carrie Ann liked or why Bruno thought it was entertaining.  Well, I guess it's each person to his own.  I don't like the kid, and I didn't like the dancing.  He has no rhythm from what I can see and those pidgeon toes are just off-putting.  Judges say 7,6,7 for a total of 20.  I think the 7's are too high.

Rick and Cheryl tell the story of an athlete who has lost a game for his team and has retreated to a bar, dancing Samba.  HA!  Cheryl told him not to be curious and just to trust.  Good advice!  The beginning was interesting with Cheryl dancing on the bar, which actually de-emphasized his height for a few bars.  I thought the dance had all the classic Samba elements and he performed them well.  He was controlled, but at the same time he relaxed into the sexiness of the dance.  I really enjoyed the performance.  He's really competitive and I think that combines with an innate rhythm and musicality, making him very enjoyable to watch.  He and Cheryl also have terrific chemistry.  And she is really doing a great job with choreography, teaching him how to dance into his height instead of being afraid of it.  He comes across as strong and masculine, but also gentle and sophisticated.  Judges say 8's across for a total of 24.  Nice!

Here's our story night leader board:

26 Audrina and Tony
24 Jennifer and Derek
24 Rick and Cheryl
24 Brandy and Maks 
23 Kyle and Lacey
23 Kurt and Anna
20 Florence and Corky
20 Mike and Karina
19 Bristol and Mark
18 Margaret and Louis

Our two favorites bookended the show.  Jennifer led off and Rick closed the dancing.  We thought they both did well, if not spectacularly so.  Now we can see ourselves voting for Kyle or Kurt or Audrina or Brandy, but right now we're holding steady with our favorites.

You know what I think?  The contenders are really pretty even this season.  It seems like each one is going to have a dance style or two that they'll be strong in, and then maybe one that they struggle with.  There's some clear chaff, but the top dancers are quite competitive.

Michael Bolton returns to the ballroom tonight to sing.  And of course another dancer will be eliminated.

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  1. Marsha says:

    ok, so here's my question...since when is it the judge's job to criticize how someone teaches?? They are there to judge the dances, not the method of teaching. Zip it Lynn!!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the wrap-up, Trav. I was watching, but the vicodin took over and I dozed on and off. I saw some and missed others. I like Rick, but was sound asleep when he went on. Drat! But hey, my 'crush' I heard that my 'crush' is coming back to sing tonight. Yea!!! So far, no narcotics for the pain today, so I hope I can stay awake for his performance.

  1. I agree that this seems to be the most competitive season with 5-6 dancers all at the same level...just time to remove the deadwood.

  1. Marsha: Yeah, I thought that was a bit out of line too.

    GGG: I hope you got to see Michael Bolton sing last night!

    V: Cho turned me off with the first dance, but I thought she actually had some potential and deserved another week or two. There are others I would have cut before her.

  1. I missed Michael Bolton singing??!

    Your wrap-ups are wonderful though. I didn't see the dancing at all and I was intrigued by the story you told about the stories they told.
    Excellent storytelling!