Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

This week, our remaining 11 pairs dance either Jive or Quickstep.  I'm thinking we might see a bit of separation between the cans and the cannots this week.  Weaknesses can often be exposed in the second week, because the pairs have to come back with much less preparation and time to learn the dances than in the first show.

We shall see.

Hope and Maks dance Jive.  Hope had to play a soccer game this week, so her rehearsal time was cut even shorter.  Oh my goodness.  She does not look good in this style.  I think it's the heels.  I would have thought her soccer footwork would serve her well in Jive, but it seems to be a completely different motion with the hips that drives the quick feet.  I liked the energy she brought to the routine, but the dance itself looked very awkward to me.  She didn't show any of the musicality she had last week.  I'm disappointed.  She needs to curb the power and focus on finesse.  Judges say 6,7,6 for a total of 19.  The choreography was difficult and I think she had the steps squared away.  She just needs to really work on technique.

Kristin and Mark dance Quickstep.  I think she did well in this style, particularly in hold.  But she's still not quite emphasizing and extending through the movement the way she needs to.  When Mark dances, he really makes each movement big and full.  That will expose a partner who can't match his enthusiasm and excitement, and often brings the criticism that he is dancing beyond his partner.  Kristin had moments where she performed well through her expressions.  I enjoyed her musicality and the sophistication of the dance.  And it seemed like she enjoyed what she was doing.  At times I thought her frame was a little too rubbery in the upper body.  But overall I thought she danced very well.  I think she's on the right track.  Judges say 8,7,7 for a total of 22.  That's a solid score, but I think the 8 is a little high.

David and Kym dance Jive.  He hung onto the steps this time and didn't forget his choreography.  So that was good.  But I don't think the dance was very good.  His feet were heavy.  Although he got them in the right place, I don't think he moved them quickly and crisply enough.  Plus, the dance was missing flick kicks and twists.  Jive should be on the edge but under control.  This Jive was much too wild.  There was no musicality or technique.  However, the dance did have plenty of energy and David seemed much more comfortable with what he was doing.  So although I don't think the dance was very good, I do give him credit for getting all the way through it without a mistake.  Judges say 6s across for a total of 18.  I think that's a little generous based on what I saw.

Elisabetta and Val dance Quickstep.  Too much drama in rehearsal and I don't care for that.  She looks beautiful.  Val went back to basics with classic Quickstep choreography and I think that helped her.  Despite the drama from rehearsal, she looks like she is enjoying herself.  That was 100% better than last week.  She threw herself into it and performed very well.  Her frame was good.  She had a little footwork bobble, but she came back from it.  And they overcame the wardrobe malfunction, with Val's vest coming undone.  She came out of her shell and gave a performance, unlike last week when she looked overwhelmed by the moment and confused by the choreography.  Nicely done.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21.  I'll agree with that.

Rob and Cheryl dance Jive.  There was still a bit of stiffness at the beginning of the dance.  And then it was like he became a different guy.  Some of the early choreography seemed to thoroughly defeat him.  But then he got to the bridge.  As the dance went on, he found the music and the beat and just let it go.  It was like a light bulb went on.  Cheryl gave him excellent choreography and worked to build up his confidence.  And the lessons took.  They had great energy and chemistry between them.  And once Rob got through the opening, he didn't miss a step.  He found his confidence and turned in a fine performance.  He started to look comfortable, and that paid off in a strong ending to the dance.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21.  Excellent job.

Carson and Anna dance Quickstep.  There is no issue with personality and performance.  His issue is a basic lack of coordination and rhythm.  However, he's doing very well with this Quickstep.  I was a little worried about his balance, because some of the steps in hold were tricky.  But he managed a very credible performance both in character and in movement.  It was less frenetic than last week, with more control.  Still a bit precarious though.  He worked hard and it showed.  He's going to struggle to overcome the awkwardness, but I think he took a good step forward with this dance.  It wasn't the best, but it wasn't horrible either.  It was entertaining.  Judges say 6s across for a total of 18.  I can't argue the score. 

Ricki and Derek dance Jive.  I like that the choreography began on the 1 to start the dance, so no time wasted.  The tempo of the music was a bit slower than I like for a Jive.  Derek made use of the tempo to add lots of the kind of Jive content I enjoy, with a lot of West Coast Swing influence.  So I guess that's my good and bad for this dance.  I think Ricki had great energy and enthusiasm.  She played the character of the dance and really embraced the flirty nature of the style.  She worked hard at it and overcame some inhibitions to relax and have fun with the dance.  I'm not sure what Len didn't like, but he apparently had issues with the choreography while praising her enthusiasm and energy.  I thought the choreography was the strength of the routine.  Judges say 8,7,8 for a total of 23. 

Chaz and Lacey dance Quickstep.  I feel for Chaz.  My knees crunch too.  I'd be afraid of Quickstep.  Unfortunately that meant that they couldn't do a lot of the things that make a Quickstep special.  I admire that he worked at it and did what he could do.  It really was too slow.  I could see as the dance went on that his knees were shaky.  He was too careful with his foot placement, and I definitely know what that is like.  I guess the most positive thing I can say about it is that he got through it without dropping Lacey or falling.  When you've got knees that won't support you, sometimes that's all you can ask.  Judges say 6,5,6 for a total of 17.  I think that's generous.

Chynna and Tony dance Jive.  I really like her.  She makes me smile.  She has a classy, refined quality about her movement, and that doesn't quite translate to Jive.  She does need to clean up her flick kicks and let her legsses extend through her feet and out her toes.  She's got great legsses.  This Jive had a contained and controlled energy.  It was almost safe.  I think she had a few issues with technique.  Len called the dance polite.  I felt that she held back some.  I saw that in the kicks, which weren't quite crisp enough.  Those are the hallmarks of a great Jive.  This was a good Jive, and an entertaining one.  At least it was for me.  I like Chynna.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21.  I liked it and would have thrown an 8, but that's the fan in me.  Did I mention that Chynna has great legsses?

Nancy and Tristan dance Quickstep.  More drama, and I don't like drama.  But they turned the drama into something positive, and that I like.  She had a little bit of trouble with her posture.  I could really see how much Tristan was guiding her through the steps.  He did a very good job of trying to hide her insecurity, and actually made the dance look credible.  Well done young man.  What I liked about the whole dance was that they stayed in hold, which is proper competition Quickstep.  And Nancy really needed the hold to keep up.  She and Tristan have developed a strong partnership and I think that is very attractive about this pair.  She's not the best dancer, but she wants to do well and works hard at it.  I suspect this will give her some confidence.  Judges say 6,8,7 for a total of 21.  I think the 6 is too low, but that's a solid score and a very positive return for the work she put in this week.

JR and Karina dance Jive.  I have high expectations for this dance.  Wow.  The guy is a ringer!  They looked like they were putting on a pro demonstration.  That choreography was so difficult.  That's not what you'd normally see in week 2.  Wow!  I say it again.  Wow!  That was full on and so good.  Crisp.  Athletic.  High energy.  Musical.  Entertaining.  Carrie Ann brought out her lift police badge.  She's right, there was a lift at the beginning of the routine.  And Len is complaining that the choreography was more Lindy Hop than Jive.  Ppppppfffffttttt.  Maybe they are both right.  OK, they are both right.  But I say ppppppffffffttttt anyway.  There's your front runner, right there.  You can nit pick all you want about it not being a proper Jive and about there being a lift, which is against the rules for safety reasons.  The routine was incredibly well danced.  JR is a natural with a great personality and musicality.  Judges say 7,7,8 for a total of 22.  That's a crap score, but the judges were consistent.  Len marked Ricki and Derek down for doing more West Coast Swing than Jive, and Carrie Ann will always mark down for lifts.

So fine.  The best performance of the night doesn't get the top score.  But it's going to get votes. 

Here's our leader board:

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

I won't call this a great show, but it ended with a great performance.  We liked JR, Ricki, and Chynna.  Our votes were split for those three.

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

Later gang!

Reason 38:  Because blogging for peace is a community thing, and I like being part of this community.

I believe that words have power, so this matters.


  1. Anonymous says:

    I finally had a chance to catch most of the show. Too bad about Chaz' knees.

  1. Julie says:

    You're right Travis...the show wasn't one of the better ones. For some reason I'm pulling for David Arquette still. I would love to see him dump that extremely tense face of his!

  1. I am totally hooked on XFactor now. But still interested in what goes on with the dancing. Your reviews keep me informed and I love the video options. Thank you.

    Reason: We appreciate your contribution to this community, Dancing Bee.