Cue that theme music...

Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!!

I'm giddy, I tell you.  Absolutely giddy.  It's that theme music.  Get's me every time.

So now we've had our bread and cheese.  We've got our nice Merlot.  We've had our CAKE.  We're in our fru fru finery.  Let's have some celebrity dancing!!

And we've got an all new ballroom set this season with a raised floor and tiered seating with balconies.  Cool.  Now let's go!

Ron Artest and Peta Murgatroyd dance Cha Cha Cha.  He’s got enough personality for this style, but he doesn’t actually have much rhythm.   The hip action isn’t there and the dancing was a bit sloppy.  He definitely had fun with it, but there was no focus on technique at all.  I liked Peta’s choreography because she showcased Ron’s personality and made it entertaining.  But what she missed was actual Cha Cha Cha content.  He’s so very tall at 6’9” that he’ll have to really work on controlling his eccentricity in favor of focusing on footwork and posture.  Judges say 5,4,5 for a total of 14.  Ouch.  I didn’t actually see much in the performance that tells me he’s going to dial back the “Ron Ron” and focus on dancing well.  We’ll see.  And I refuse to call him Metta World Peace.  Sorry.

Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke dance Viennese Waltz.  I didn't like his attitude during rehearsal.  His dancing is quite plodding and clunky.  I can say that when he doesn't move, he extends through his fingers and makes some nice lines.  But the moment he takes a step, there's no rhythm at all.  There might be some potential, but he's got to work on smoothing out the movement.  Viennese Waltz needs to be elegant and it must glide across the floor.  And all dances need to have the movements connected one to the next.  This dance did not do that.  He needs to relax and find his musicality, and learn the art of performance.  There may be potential in some of those stand still lines he managed, but he's got a long way to go to put that Mirror Ball back in Chery's hands.  Judges say 6,5,5 for a total of 16.  I'll agree with that.

Kristin Cavallari and Mark Ballas dance Cha Cha Cha.  She is one beautiful lady.  She's a bit timid in her movement.  I'll chalk that up to the first time out.  But I can see the possibilities.  She's just got to relax and believe she can do it.  She had her hips moving in the right way for Cha Cha Cha.  She had musicality, even if she was a bit shy.  I expected her to really attack the dance, but she let her jitters get the best of her.  Once she believes in herself and starts dancing with confidence, she'll have it.  Mark will continue to challenge her with difficult choreography, and I think she can handle it.  She's a contender, if the fans get on board.  Judges say 7,6,6 for a total of 19.  Hmmm...I would have thought 7s across for that dance.

Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani dance Viennese Waltz.  She looks like she should be sophisticated and elegant.  And she was.  She was radiant and glowing.  Her movement was controlled and refined.  That was really quite lovely.  Her musicality was outstanding and she floated across the stage.  I really enjoyed watching that.  She had a couple of slips when she went a little flat footed, but as they move forward she'll clean that up.  She's got all the tools to excel in the ballroom styles.  Her nerves got to her a little bit and caused her to lose her center and balance a couple of times, but she covered well.  Tony's choreography was challenging and Chynna was up to it.  The performance was complete.  I really enjoyed the dance.  Well done my dear.  Judges say 8,7,7 for a total of 22.  Nice!

Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus dance Cha Cha Cha.  I love that she threw herself into it.  She really looked like she enjoyed herself.  She had sass.  There were a few times when she lost her place, but she made up for it by attacking the choreography.  Pam said that she ought to have fun dancing with such a young hottie with a charming accent.  She showed a fun side of herself that I'll bet a lot of people wouldn't have expected.  And she's got some talent.  She danced light.  She had her hips working.  She has musicality.  She brought joy to the floor.  I think Tristan did a great job with the choreography, making it playful and taking the pressure off.  Now Nancy just needs to work on remembering her steps and putting a complete performance together.  Judges say 5,5,6 for a total of 16.  I would have thrown 6s across.

David Arquette and Kym Johnson dance Viennese Waltz.  Congratulations to David on 8 months of sobriety.  He took control of that dance from the first steps.  What a strong lead.  You don't often see that early from the male pros, because learning to lead is difficult.  He had a little bobble, and he lost a bit of concentration part way through.  That little mistake cost him the smoothness that he established at the start of the dance.  It felt like he was rushing a little at the end.  But that was really a very good first dance.  He's got all the skills.  Once he relaxes and just gets the dance out of his head, he'll be fine.  This is going to be a strong partnership.  Judges say 6s across for a total of 18.  It's a shame he had that mistake in the middle because that dance was on it's way to 8s across.

Elisabetta Canalis and Val Chmerkovskiy dance Cha Cha Cha.  I didn't like the beginning with the bed as a prop.  It distracted me.  That didn't actually feel much like a Cha Cha Cha.  She looked very good in her costume and in hold, but she seemed very timid and shy.  She's very beautiful, but she needs to find some musicality so she can sustain the movement all the way through the dance, even when she's not in hold.  As for Val, I worry about him biting off a little too much.  I'd like to see him focus on building Elisabetta's confidence with some basic content that she can learn and do well.  Then they can work on a complete performance.  Then they can increase the difficulty.  Judges say 5s across for a total of 15.  Tough score, but they just have to keep feeling their way. 

Hope Solo and Maks Chmerkovskiy dance Viennese Waltz.  This is the partner Maks wanted.  I think she did OK with her arms, but now she'll have to work on her legsses, which are incredible powerful.  She took chunks out of the floor as they moved, powering through the steps.  If she can soften her legs and pull her feet a little closer together, she'll gain more elegance.  I don't mind seeing a powerful and muscular female athlete perform these dances, but to pull together a full performance, I'd like to see that power balanced by femininity.  I think that shows real strength.  She does have musicality, but she'll need to dial down some of the intensity and fold that into smoother movement.  When I focused on her upper body, I saw hints of sophistication.  She held her frame and posture, and made some really nice lines.  I think she's got tons of potential, and I think she and Maks have a great future this season.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21.  Excellent job.

Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya dance Cha Cha Cha.  He doesn't have a lot of rhythm, but he's also fearless and certainly not afraid of glitter.  He managed all the steps, although some of it was stomping rather than dancing.  He brought tremendous energy and fun to the choreography.  He's not going to be the best dancer, but he's going to entertain every time.  There were some moments when he showed he could actually pick up the technique.  If he wants to focus on that I think he can be credible.  One way or another, he's going to have a good time and put on a show for the crowd.  And there's nothing wrong with that at all.  Judges say 6,5,6 for a total of 17.  That'll work.

JR Martinez and Karina Smirnoff dance Viennese Waltz.  Beautiful opening.  He's so relaxed and smooth.  He has complete control over the dance.  That's the way to maintain a strong lead throughout.  I can't begin to tell you how outstanding that dance was.  It was sophisticated and romantic, elegant and refined.  He's a natural performer.  He has the ability to pull people into the moment with him, and that's rare.  The great thing about this baseline for him is that the rest is all about polishing technique.  He has the musicality and the personality, and he's only going to get better.  I suspect he'll also have a strong fan base, so I'd say he and Karina are contenders.  Well done.  Judges say 8,7,7 for a total of 22.  I would have gone 8s across.

Ricki Lake and Derek Hough dance Viennese Waltz.  I love how she is so at ease in the movement.  Derek's choreography was very poignant, and she performed it to the fullest.  I really enjoyed how beautiful that dance was.  They had wonderful chemistry between them.  They were so connected and fluid in the movement.  Yes, there were some footwork issues and a little bobble in the steps...I think she might have forgotten her steps for a moment.  But overall, the performance had the romantic elegance I want from a Viennese Waltz.  Judges say 7,6,7 for a total of 20.  I think the 6 was too low, but it's Len so there you go.  I was mesmerized watching them.  Welcome back Derek!

Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer dance Cha Cha Cha.  I worry about Chaz and his weight, but if he can do this one, he can do any of them.  He's getting the steps.  Not so much with the hips, but I didn't expect him to be able to do that.  The performance was fun and he enjoyed himself.  I was surprised that he was really able to hit on the footwork.  He didn't miss many steps.  He also had the musicality and timing with a dance that is terrifically challenging for someone carrying extra weight.  And he brought the cheeky quality that I like to see in Cha Cha Cha.  What I enjoyed was seeing him so relaxed and comfortable with who and where he is in his life.  He had a buoyancy to his movement that was fun to see.  Judges say 6,5,6 for a total of 17.  I would have gone 6s across on that.

Here's our leader board:

22 JR and Karina
22 Chynna and Tony
21 Hope and Maks
20 Ricki and Derek
19 Kristin and Mark
18 David and Kym
17 Chaz and Lacey
17 Carson and Anna
16 Nancy and Tristan
16 Rob and Cheryl
15 Elisabetta and Val
14 Ron and Peta

There you go.  It's a tight group this season.  None of the pairs looks like they'll run away with it yet.  There's a lot to like in this cast.

No favorites for us yet.  We spread votes around between JR, Chynna, Hope, Ricki, and Chaz.  

There's no reprieve tonight...somebody goes home.  You know the drill.  Tune in tonight for results, and check back here for encores and a recap.

Later gang!

Reason 45:  Because sometimes you have to stop and take a breath to control that first angry impulse to lash out in violence against a party that has hurt someone you care about, otherwise you'll be no different than the bully.

I believe that words have power, so this matters.


  1. cake, cheese, and merlot? I'm there!

  1. Akelamalu says:

    I only recognise Rikki Lake.

  1. Lois: CAKE, cheese, merlot, and dancing!

    Akelamalu: I knew of several.

  1. Julie says:

    I loved watching it back today...and rewinding a couple favorite spots. I loved the part when David told Kym it was "like having an amusement park in your heart."

    Mine melted.

  1. I can't believe I missed this.

    Thanks for the recap.

  1. Reason #45: Standing. Applauding.