Cue that theme music...

Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 by Travis Cody in
6

Edit:  Sorry about that!  I had a feeling this might not post.  Internet connection was a little wobbly last night.  

It's live from Hollywood!


Our remaining 5 pairs have two dances this week, one of which will be an Instant Dance.  We saw this for the first time last season.  Back then I was dubious, but I have since learned that the Instant Dance closely simulates what the pros face during competitions.  More on that later.

First up, the individual round.

Chelsea and Mark dance Waltz.  The choreography was so delicate and ethereal.  I've really been impressed with Mark's artistry this season, despite the judges sometimes being confused or disappointed.  This was such a beautiful dance, full of traditional Waltz movement, but stepping away from the standard pattern of rise and fall and spin around the floor.  There was a story and a flow.  It was lyrical and musical.  And it was technically lovely.  Chelsea's lines were so good.  She extended through the movements and connected everything smoothly.  I loved the soft, romantic quality to the dance.  I'm perfectly fine with making a traditional dance into a contemporary show piece.  Beautiful.  Judges say 10,9,10 for a total of 29.  That was well deserved. 

Hines and Kym dance Foxtrot.  Working with that little ring box seemed to throw off his timing right at the beginning of the dance.  Once he got it in his picket, he settled into the dance.  In hold, I thought he was as strong as he's been throughout the season.  But I also thought there were parts in the side by side dancing that were a little sloppy.  I kept feeling like he wanted to go faster, but he kept control of the impulse.  I liked how much fun the choreography was.  It suited his charm and personality.  Even though I thought that he had trouble with his footwork, and I didn't think it was his best performance, I enjoyed it anyway.  It was wonderfully cheesy and cheeky.  Judges say 9,9,10.  He's so consistent, but I think Bruno stretched it to throw the 10.

Romeo and Chelsie dance Tango.  The problem for Romeo is never in his characterization or his personality or his charm.  His strength is his confidence.  He brought all of that to this dance.  But what he also brought was more focus on technique.  He held his frame much better.  And I thought his legs were tighter.  It helped to have the lights dimmed.  But from what I saw, this might have been his most complete performance.  He brought the intensity and the drama to the choreography.  I thought he danced clean, and his footwork was precise and crisp.  He took control of the partnership and led the dance, and I did not expect that he could do that.  I'm impressed.  Well done young man.  And well done Chelsie.  The choreography was vibrant and dramatic, and played to Romeo's strengths.  Judges say 9's across for a total of 27.

Ralph and Karina dance Viennese Waltz.  If you have to dance with a leg injury, I guess this is the style to try it.  He ruptured a cyst behind his knee, but did not tear any ligaments.  But anything in a knee is incredibly painful.  The choreography is not your typical romantic fairy tale.  It's much more dark.  But, knowing how it feels to try and walk on a crunchy knee joint, I recognize how carefully Ralph is dancing.  The focus becomes not to take a wrong step, and that impacts the overall feel of the dance.  He did a great job, but his footwork definitely suffered, and so did the flow of the movement.  It wasn't smooth.  I thought he was technically good in hold, and the character of the dance was well performed.  Unfortunately the lack of rehearsal time hurt them because they couldn't spend the time to polish and clean up the choreography and movement.  I was afraid he would make a bad step.  Judges say 8,8,9 for a total of 25.  That's pretty good for the struggle that they had, with so few hours to rehearse two dances.

Kirstie and Maks dance Argentine Tango.  She needs to focus on the dancing this week, and not get caught up in the character and performance.  Yikes, she took some serious falls in rehearsal.  She begins the chance very determined...it's in her face and in her posture.  She is attacking this choreography, and Maks is making her look fantastic.  That dance had it all.  YES!  That was fantastic!  It was sensual and seductive, passionate and dramatic.  The chemistry between the two of them added to the atmosphere of the dance.  An outstanding mix of choreography, style, music, and performers.  Judges say 9,9,10.  There better have been at least one 10 there.  That was too good not to get one.

Here's our leader board after the ballroom round:

29 Chelsea and Mark
28 Kirstie and Maks
28 Hines and Kym
27 Romeo and Chelsie
25 Ralph and Karina

Next up, the Instant Dance!

Here's how it works.  Each couple prepares choreography for a Latin style.  Then on performance night, they get their music about 20-30 minutes prior to dancing.  So this means that each celebrity has to learn the dance by counts instead of fixing on musical cues like specific lyrics, rhythms, or beats.  Then they take 20 minutes to polish up and perform.

Last season, our Top 5 all did very well.  Let's see how this season's group take the challenge.

Chelsea and Mark dance Salsa to Get Busy.  Salsa is all about feeling the music and moving to the rhythms.  So it must have been so difficult to block out the basics without knowing what the music was going to be.  They had a rough beginning because the music cue jumped and kicked in when they didn't expect it.  One thing I learned from SYTYCD about Salsa...you have to get down and dance into the floor on the constant 1-2-3, and make each transition smooth without breaking the 1-2-3.  Sort of like Cha Cha Cha, but not choppy.  Chelsea's posture is too high and tight to feel that rhythm.  I'd like to see her get a bit more relaxed in her lower body.  Still, she had the hippy hippy shake going on just fine.  The choreography was very difficult and full of energy.  Other than an issue with her posture, I thought it was a good performance.  Judges say 8,9,9 for a total of 26.

Hines and Kym dance Jive to Chantilly Lace.  Now that's a great song for a Jive.  I have very high expectations for this routine, even though Hines seemed to struggle during rehearsal.  Oh yeah!  I knew he could figure it out.  This style just suits his personality so much.  There were a few rough connections between movements, but I attribute that to the fact that he just put everything to the music in 20 minutes before performing it.  But other than that, it was great!  I thought his kicks were quick and precise, even though he did them from flat feet.  But what he managed to do was find the beat and stay with it.  The dance was full of energy and bounce.  Hines just let loose and relaxed, and then danced it.  I enjoyed it.  Judges say 9,9,8 for a total of 26.

Romeo and Chelsie dance Salsa to Tequila.  Talk about two great dance styles for the kid.  Salsa fits his swagger and attitude.  He is actually working the Salsa hips.  He's loose, relaxed, and in control.  There were a couple of sloppy moments, but overall that was really fun to watch.  And it looked like he was having fun dancing.  Plus, it seemed like he was leading the dance, which always makes a Salsa look better.  Toward the end of the dance, they lost the musicality and some of the fluidity of movement that the style needs to be perfect.  Salsa is a club dance, and the choreography had a club-like casual feel to it.  But check it out...for all the technical flaws, Romeo's swagger held the performance together.  I enjoyed it.  Judges say 8,9,8 for a total of 25.

Ralph and Karina dance Cha Cha Cha to Stuck in the Middle.  Ralph's injury took away the rehearsal time.  They focused on the first dance, but didn't have time to put together a solid routine for this Instant Dance.  So they relied on what they learned in the Team Dance last week.  I love it!  Karina did magic Mr Miyagi hands on Ralph's knee.  And they danced a credible Cha Cha Cha based on the choreography they had last week in the team dance.  There were a couple of spots where they lost the thread of where they were going, but that dance was put together live in 20 minutes because he couldn't rehearse all week.  He couldn't do hips and he was unsteady on his feet, but he got through it.  Points for effort!  Judges say 7's across for a total for 21.  I get it.  Nobody gets a free pass.  You have to perform, and if you don't you can't get the scores. 

Kirstie and Maks dance Salsa to Cobrastyle.  I'm really impressed by this Salsa.  There were so many places in that dance where I thought she was about to go off the rails.  But then she made eye contact with Maks, and he brought her right back to it.  They did make a mistake, but it was well covered and then they moved right past it and got reorganized.  The dance was slow and controlled, which emphasized the 1-2-3 smoothness of a traditional Salsa.  I thought that was a good move, because it allowed us to see Kirstie's strengths...her emphasis on little performance details and her personality.  I liked their musicality, and the playfulness Maks put in the choreography.  I thoroughly enjoyed the performance.  Judges say 8,9,8 for a total of 25.

Here's our combined leader board after both rounds:

55 Chelsea and Mark
54 Hines and Kym
53 Kirstie and Maks
52 Romeo and Chelsie
46 Ralph and Karina

Can I just take a minute and congratulate Kirstie Alley on how fantastic she looks?  I don't know how much weight she's lost, but it's got to be significant.  Good on ya, my dear!

What a good show!  I'm sad for Ralph and the injury.  I'm pleased to see Romeo's solid night with both dances.  Chelsea was terrific.  Hines was excellent.  And Kirstie was sensuous and then charmingly feisty.

Too bad we can't just call it a 5-way tie and go home, eh?  But someone is going to dance off with the Glittering Globe of Glory.
 

So guess what we did?  We split our votes 5 ways!  HA!  We just can't choose anymore.  We enjoy every pair!


Tune in tonight when we find out who makes the Final Four.  And check back tomorrow for encores and my results recap.

Later gang!

6 comments:

  1. I agree with you that it is going to be difficult to decide who goes home. They are all so talented.

    I am so impressed with Kirsty. I can't believe she is 60 and moves so great.

    Sad for Ralph. I hope he doesn't go home tonight.

  1. And . . . Michael Bolton will be back to sing!

  1. Anonymous says:

    And . . . I heard Michael Bolton will be back to sing.
    goodnightgram

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well darn, I must be so excited to hear/see MB, that I commented twice. The first one didn't appear fast enough, so I went with anonymous, too. Sheesh! G.G.G.

  1. Jamie says:

    This was the first time when I simply couldn't focus on one couple that I wanted to leave. I finally split votes four ways leaving out Hines and Kym and then felt bad about it.

  1. BeckEye says:

    I fell asleep right around the time Romeo and Chelsie came on. I have it on DVR though.