Cue that theme music...

Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

We've got something completely different and never seen before on Dancing with the Stars.  Our 9 remaining pairs will dance either Rumba or Argentine Tango on a smaller, more intimate, rounded and elevated stage to acoustic music.

Less room to maneuver, so technique becomes even more critical to control and emphasize the correct movement.  Audience almost right in the dance with you, so performance becomes even more critical to show that you don't need a large space to entertain.  There's no place to hide on a small, round stage.

And two scores from the for performance and one for technique.

Interesting idea, eh?  Let's see how our couples do.

Kurt and Anna dance Rumba.  He really committed to the technique required to get his hips working in the correct way for Rumba.  This is the heaviest I've seen him with his feet, but as the dance progressed he eased up and really did a decent job with it.  Once again his gentleness was his strength.  This was a solid effort.  He needs to work on some more gracefulness with his hands.  I'd like to see the movement relax from his shoulders through his elbows and then his hands.  I enjoyed the performance.  It felt intimate between the two of them, romantic rather than sensual.  Judges say 5's across for a total of 15 in technical marks.  Judges say 7,6,6 for a total of 19 in performance marks.  The technical marks might be about right, but I think the performance marks are too low.  At minimum I think they should have gotten 7's across for performance.  Happy Anniversary to Kurt and his wife.

Brandy and Maks dance Rumba.  This was sensual choreography.  I liked how graceful and smooth her movement was.  But I thought that all of the sensuality and romance was in the choreography.  I didn't feel any heat between her and Maks.  Her face was so blank in places.  I'm waiting for her to relax and let go.  She has it in her, but I'm not seeing it.  The dance actually left me a little cold.  It could be that I'm expecting too much, and perhaps I'll enjoy this performance more when I watch it back.  But at first glance, I appreciated the choreography and her technique, but the performance just didn't do anything for me.  Judge say 7,8,7 for a total of 22 in technical marks.  Judges say 9,8,9 for a total of 26 in performance marks.  For me the performance marks are too high, but it's not the first time I've disagreed with the judges and it won't be the last.

Rick and Cheryl dance Argentine Tango.  Lifts are allowed for this style.  Cheryl took class in Argentina, so I have high expectations for this performance.  I like his aggressive posture at the top of the dance.  He took control of the dance as a strong lead.  But this is the first time he has seemed to hunch his shoulders.  He was constantly looking down at Cheryl, rather than leaning into her.  Their movement in hold wasn't as close as I've come to expect from Argentine Tango.  And I was a little concerned about his footwork.  The best part about the choreography was the lifts and spins.  He didn't look comfortable in the style.  The beginning of the dance was the best part, and then it tailed off.  It was a solid performance and he didn't really make any mistakes.  But there was something missing as a whole.  To their credit, the choreography was complicated.  Cheryl really went for it.  It wasn't a failure, but it wasn't a wow either.  Judges say 6,7,6 for a total of 19 in technical marks.  Judges say 6,7,7 for a total of 20 in performance marks.  That's too bad, but sometimes when you throw down with choreography and you miss, it shows.

Kyle and Lacey dance Rumba.  It is really important to get the footwork squared away for this dance.  He did a good job to emphasize each position and pose, stretching the movement out through is arms and hands as well as through his legs and feet.  I think this was his first controlled, adult, and complete performance.  And the great thing about it was that he sacrificed none of his charm and personality to get there.  That was extremely well done.  I thought the performance was outstanding.  He had a few sharp movements that should have been more fluid, but I didn't mind that so much.  I think this was a major step forward for Kyle.  Lacey continues to make excellent dances that take advantage of his natural charm.  And he is listening, and starting to focus on the things he needs to do to get good scores to combine with what could be a solid fanbase.  I can say that I'd vote for this pair if I didn't already have favorites.  Judges say 6's across for a total of 18 in technical marks.  Judges say 8,7,7 for a total of 22 in performance marks.  I think the technical marks should have been 7's based on the improvement he demonstrated with his control and his feet.

Mike and Karina dance Argentine Tango.  Stomping, walking, and posing is not dancing.  I get what Karina has done.  She's having him do as little as she can get away with, and then dancing around him.  But even the little he does looks awkward.  The pidgeon toes are annoying.  Even with the few steps he was given, he made a lot of mistakes.  The one thing I'll give him is that he is trying.  This week there was much less misplaced brashness.  He just worked at what Karina was trying to teach him.  So props for that.  I still don't like the kid and I'd like to see him out this week.  The judges uniformly panned technique and performance.  Judges say 4's across for a total of 12 in technical marks.  Judges say 6,5,5 for a total of 16 in performance marks.  Ouch.  But I'm in agreement.

Florence and Corky dance Rumba.  I think her biggest problem now is remembering the steps.  Sometimes she can perform through the errors, but the mistakes are still there.  Well, she remembered her steps for this dance, but I thought the performance actually looked kind of silly in places.  And it was a bit too raunchy for my taste.  I don't want to be ageist, but I did expect more of an age appropriate Rumba.  I didn't like this.  It was hard to tell exactly what they were trying to convey.  I would have preferred to see something a bit more fluid, more on the soft and romantic side rather than going for the sexy and erotic.  Judges say 6,6,5 for a total of 17 in technical marks.  Judges say 6's across for a total of 18 in performance marks.  

Jennifer and Derek dance Argentine Tango.  Oh wow.  So smooth and fluid.  And clean.  This was one of Derek's better efforts at choreography.  In rehearsal, he briefly considered backing off a little in deference to some of Jennifer's physical issues.  I'm glad he pushed her through it.  Gosh!  Where do I start.  The dance had everything.  The steps were so intricate and they nailed every single one.  It was precise.  The emotion was spot on.  It was passionate and aggressive, perfectly capturing the give and take of a true Argentine Tango.  The lifts and spins were complicated.  Everything was contained and controlled, and that really helped to communicate the intensity of the story they were telling.  Judges say 9's across for a total of 27 in technical marks.  Judges say 10,9,10 for a total of 29 in performance marks.  Oh yeah!  It really was that good too.

Bristol and Mark dance Rumba.  I'm actually a little nervous for her with this dance.  Can she be a young, sexy woman?  Her face looks much more relaxed this week.  I can see how nervous she is, but she's also going for it.  There's an innocent sensuality in her movement, and that last smile was absolutely genuine.  Well done, my dear!  That was very nicely danced.  I think the judges were a little too harsh with her, because I think she did give herself to the dance and she made progress.  I believed what she was doing.  I think she is slowly coming out of her shell.  Judges say 6's across for a total of 18 in technical marks.  Judges say 4,5,5 for a total of 14 in performance marks.  That's bogus.  I thought her performance was really fine this week.  Is she among the top dancers?  No.  But she's not as bad as others I could name.  It was tough to follow what Jennifer and Derek did, but I thought Bristol did a fair job.

Audrina and Tony dance Argentine Tango.  Dangit.  I was prepared to love this dance, and then we had an unfortunate musical selection in Airplane's Somebody to Love.  It totally unsettled me.  Why couldn't the producers give them real Tango music?  The audience appeared to like the dance.  I didn't.  That's probably more about the music than the dancing.  Tony also commented during the judging that the music wasn't traditional.  I could see some technical issues with her feet.  They really had a job in front of them to match J&D, but that music immediately put them at a disadvantage.  I think this was a solid dance, but they really had to be nearly perfect to transport me beyond the music.  I think Tony will continue to help her improve.  I like her.  Judges say 8's across for a total of 24 in technical marks.  Judges say 8,7,7 for a total of 22 in performance marks.  I'll have to watch this one again without the sound so I can focus on the dancing. 

Here's our leader board for acoustic week:

56 Jennifer and Derek
48 Brandy and Maks
46 Audrina and Tony
40 Kyle and Lacey
39 Rick and Cheryl
35 Florence and Corky
34 Kurt and Anna
32 Bristol and Mark
28 Mike and Karina

I really enjoyed this format.  The round stage was wonderful for emphasizing the romance inherent in Rumba and to bring out the aggressive emotion in Argentine Tango.

We stuck with our favorites...our votes went to Rick and Jennifer.  We could vote for Audrina or Kyle if we lose a favorite.  I don't anticipate that happening this week.

You know the drill.  Tune in for results tonight, and check back here for encores and a recap tomorrow!

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I don't watch DWTS, but I love reading your commentary. You describe the performances enough to where I can imagine the couples dancing.

  1. Julie says:

    I enjoyed the show but I, like you, weren't happy with some of the judges scores. Looking forward to tonight. I hope The Situation leaves too.

  1. When I can watch the show, your recaps give me insight into I said, i did not get to watch last night, so this review ROCKED

  1. I was also shocked at Florence's dance and felt it was too inappropeate for her age.

    I felt Kurt's score was too low. I think he is a real gentleman and is so considerate of his wife's feeling. Especially when he ask her about the dance and woould it be alright.

    Thank you so much for your recap. I think the Situation will go home tonight.

  1. I was also shocked at Florence's dance and felt it was too inappropeate for her age.

    I felt Kurt's score was too low. I think he is a real gentleman and is so considerate of his wife's feeling. Especially when he ask her about the dance and woould it be alright.

    Thank you so much for your recap. I think the Situation will go home tonight.

  1. I watched it off and on so am again thankful to come here and catch up.

    Loved the elevated stage.

    Agree The Situation should be done.

    Wondering....about Florence's dance...what is the age cut off for that type of sexuality?

  1. Regardless of the marks, I was please with Kurt's progress in becoming more relaxed and playing to his strengths. Will he win? No, and I don't pretend that he will, but he's still beloved around here, and I give him full kudos for trying something new in his life. The tea party with his daughters was a winner, in my book, especially with the tiara. :)