Cue that theme music...

Posted: Tuesday, May 03, 2011 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

I'm really excited for tonight, because in addition to their individual routines, our 6 remaining pairs will team up for the Team Dance competition!   And, it's a tribute to professional ballroom champions who join in the judging, the training, and the dancing.

Donnie Burns
Donnie Burns is a 16 time, undefeated, World Latin Championship...never defeated in any competition in 20 years.  He joins the judging panel tonight.  Click here to see a Cha Cha Cha demonstration featuring Mr Burns and former partner Gaynor Fairweather.

Team dances are up first.  I always have a hard time judging these group dances, but I'll do my best!

The first Team Cha Cha Cha is led by Chelsea and Mark, who were at the top of the leader board last week.  They pick Ralph & Karina and Romeo and Chelsie.  Their synchronization is pretty good to begin.  Romeo and Chelsie had a solid solo.  I was worried about Ralph, but he managed just fine in the middle.  I expected Chelsea and Mark to be great as the anchor, and they were.  Overall I thought the dance had high energy.  I expected Ralph to be the weak link, but he adapted very well to Mark's influence.  I thought their patterns and formations were good.  Well done.  Judges say 8,8,7,7 for a total of 30.  There's a lot of room for the other team.

The second Team Cha Cha Cha is led by Hines and Kym, who have accumulated the most judges' points.  They pick Kirstie & Maks and Kendra & Louis.  I thought their synchronization was a little off to begin, and the choreography was a little sloppy.  Kendra and Louis had a really strong solo section.  I thought Kirstie looked a little shaky, but she pulled it together during the patterns.  This was the first time I had an issue with Hines though.  I didn't think this dance was clean at all.  As a group, I thought their formations were very loose and the spacing between them was inconsistent.  Something was off for me in the overall dance.  Judges say 7,7,8,8 for a total of 30.  A tie does not surprise me.

Each celebrity gets 30 as the first score of the night.  The scores for the individual dances will be added.

Shirley Ballas
Ricardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko are current World Latin champions, and they perform a Jive demonstration as our celebrities get backstage for wardrobe and make up changes.

Luca Baricchi
And we have pros helping to coach our pairs this week...Luca Baricchi and Shirley Ballas.  Luca is a former World Champion with wife Loraine.  You'll recognize Shirley...not only is she a former World Champion and a world renowned teacher and judge, but she's Corky's wife and Mark's mom.  Corky and Shirley have taught many of our pros.  Click here to see an amazing Waltz from Luca and Loraine BaricchiClick here to see Shirley Jive with Corky from 1989.

Now let's see the individual routines.

Chelsea and Mark dance Paso Doble.  Shirley joins rehearsal to help Chelsea find her inner aggression and passion.  She really focuses on the details that bring out the character and intensity.  Chelsea is an outstanding student.  She has the natural talent for dance, and she has incorporated the lessons from rehearsal to bring an intensity I haven't seen yet from her.  She attacked every step and hand motion and extension and line.  The dance had drama.  I think it was artistic and very contemporary.  I really liked Mark's approach to the choreography.  It was not traditional although it had plenty of Paso content, and it doesn't surprise me that Carrie Ann and Bruno liked it but Donnie and Len were confused by it.  Judges say 8,9,8,9 for a total of 34.

Kendra and Louis dance Tango.  She has to attack this dance with confidence.  Luca joins rehearsal to help Kendra find her comfort zone.  He makes an interesting point that you don't just take Louis' hand, you have to touch.  Think about it.  There's a difference between just holding hands and really touching.  Unfortunately there were a couple of times when she got way behind in the footwork and Louis seemed to be dragging her.  I didn't care for her legs in this dance.  Her arms were floppy.  I thought she lost a lot of the progress she made over the last couple of weeks.  The choreography was difficult, technical, and very fast.  She couldn't get her posture straightened up.  I think she did the best she could.  I think she can be proud of how she coped with it, but in focusing on keeping up with the choreography, she struggled with the details.  Judges say 8,8,7,8 for a total of 31.  I think the 8's might have been too generous.

Kirstie and Maks dance Jive.  Shirley joins rehearsal to help Kirstie focus on the little details that can perfect a performance.  This worries me because it's going to be so fast in a short period of time.  Maks finally brought her to tears in rehearsal.  I love the way they eased into it.  But she stayed timid with her flick kicks and she lost her steps.  She was confused through most of the dance.  I'm not sure what happened.  It looked like she lost her place, then her musicality kind of fell apart, and then it seemed like she gave up a little bit on the dance and just went for performance.  Donnie said she filled up the spaces between the steps with who she is as a performer, but I don't think that saved this dance.  I think the style and the music was just too fast for her and she knew it from rehearsal.  Judges say 9,7,6,8 for a total of 30.  The 9 is way too high.

Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidov, current US champions, show us what a proper Tango should look like.

Ralph and Karina dance Quickstep.  I expect him to do much better back in a ballroom style.  Luca joins rehearsal and tells Ralph not to worry so much about showing the technique, but to feel the dance more and then sense that it's right.  He's definitely more comfortable in this style.  This is just like that very first Foxtrot.  It's right in his wheelhouse from the technique to the character to the performance.  He's leading the dance and providing that solid frame for Karina.  I thought his footwork was crisp and sharp.  He relaxed about the technique and followed Luca's advice.  He maintained the energy throughout the dance, and made some difficult choreography look effortless.  This was a great way to bounce back after the misfortune last week.  Judges say 10,9,8,9 for a total of 36.  Wow!  I didn't expect the 10 and I think that's too generous, but I think the 9's were well deserved.

Hines and Kym dance Tango.  Luca joins rehearsal and reminds Hines not to think but to embrace the character of each movement.  Hines has always been solid technically, but now he should start working on refining those little details.  I like the snap he's got in the turns.  But there was a spin that looked awkward and rushed.  After that he settled down and danced a little more smoothly.  I think he got it for the most part, but it wasn't quite as polished as I was expecting to see.  There were some movements where he had the passion and aggression, but then there were parts where he lost the drama and control.  This was the first time that I didn't think he was able to connect the technique with his natural charm to make a complete performance.  Judges say 9,9,8,10 for a total of 36.  I don't agree with the 10 at all.

Romeo and Chelsie dance Samba.  Shirley joins rehearsal to get the hip action out of Romeo.  That's the one thing he hasn't been able to do yet.  This dance comes at just the right time for him, because he is finally realizing that men can shake and swivel.  But then he didn't let it go during the performance.  The only time he let his hips go was when it was raunchy.  He wouldn't do the side to side swivels and roll his hips, which is what really ratchets up the party atmosphere and makes a proper Samba.  I was disappointed.  He didn't connect everything like he's been doing, and he was missing the Samba bounce.  The thing he isn't doing is understanding how the hip action comes from his feet.  The position of your feet determines how well you can relax your hips into the proper swivel and bounce instead of hip hop raunch.  Judges say 7,8,7,8 for a total of 30.  That's unfortunate, but this dance could have been so much better.

Here's our leader board:

66 Ralph and Karina
66 Hines and Kym
64 Chelsea and Mark
61 Kendra and Louis
60 Romeo and Chelsie
60 Kirstie and Maks

This is a bit of a surprising leader board.  I think Kirstie was done in by the speed of the much as she wanted to do it, it was just too fast for her.  Romeo didn't let loose of his hips.  Kendra took a step back after two excellent weeks of progress.  Chelsea confused the judges with a more contemporary Paso.  Hines remained consistent, if not spectacular.  And Ralph had a terrific bounce back after a couple of tough weeks.

And it's still so dang close.  I didn't really agree with the 10's awarded to Ralph or Hines, but it did get them both back to the top of the leader board.

Pam is now voting based on performance.  She says it's time.  Her votes went to Ralph and Chelsea.  Mine went to Ralph and Hines. 

Tune in tonight for results and don't forget to check back here tomorrow for my encore selections and recap. 

Dallas stole game 1 of the second round series from my Lakers and lead the best of 7 series 1 game to 0.   I only peeked in during commercial breaks, but every time I checked, it seemed my Lakers had things well in hand.  Clearly they did not.

Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 28 points and 14 rebounds, including the two free throws near the end of the game that gave Dallas the lead.  Jason Terry added 15 points off the bench.

Kobe Bryant had 36 points for the Lakers, but he missed a 3 at the end that could have won the game.  Pau Gasol had 15 points and 11 rebounds.  Lamar Odom had his usual strong game with 15 points and 12 rebounds. 

Game 2 is Wednesday at Staples Center in LA.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Yea, Ralph. Way to go! I'm pulling for Ralph and Hines, but . . . there's still some dancing to do. I liked the new judge. Thanks for the link to his demo. goodnightgram

  1. GGG: Ralph really did great. And there's a lot of dancing left. I think it's anybody's mirror ball at the moment.

  1. I got to see most of the dances Monday. I was impressed with Ralph, but the 10 from Donnie was not right.