Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 by Travis Cody in

It's the Final Four, live from Hollywood!

Our 4 remaining pairs take on three dances this week in the quest to make next week's finale.  The pressure is on baby!

First up is Latin.

Hope and Maks dance Paso Doble.  I don't like the beginning.  Too much fooling around.  Hope was terrific last week, but I think this dance is awful.  Her posture and frame are slouched and sloppy.  Her footwork is poor.  I think she had the attitude of Paso, but none of the skill or technique.  It's fine to attack the dance, but there also has to be control and performance.  I didn't care for her musicality.  She lacked the fluidity that she found last week, and the whole performance suffered.  Intensity is one thing, but over-intense just ruins the mood.  Too bad.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21. 

JR and Karina dance Paso Doble.  JR badly turned is ankle in rehearsal.  Karina took a bit of a pounding too.  They are pushing themselves hard and increasing the level of difficulty.  Admirable, but you don't want to go too far with that.  I'm sure the injury is causing him some pain...that leap at the beginning wasn't as crisp as I would normally expect from JR, and his balance is off a bit.  His posture suffered as well.  He's also having a lot of trouble connecting the movement.  Not sure if the grimaces are part of the character of the dance, or if they are for the pain.  There was a lot of potential in the choreography.  It's a shame he's injured.  He tried to go for it and just couldn't get there.  And then he twisted the ankle again.  Props for the effort.  Judges say 8,7,8 for a total of 23. 

Rob and Cheryl dance Samba.  The problem I always see with Rob in Latin styles is stiffness.  He is usually precise with his footwork, but it takes him awhile to get relaxed in the dance.  Not this time!  He comes out with confidence and terrific musicality.  So often the male celebrities get rushed in Samba, but Rob has got everything under control in this performance.  I was a little concerned about that float they started with, but they made it work.  Rob had exactly the right hip action.  Cheryl's choreography was outstanding.  The performance was wonderful.  It definitely had that party flavor.  Rob is peaking at just the perfect time.  What a great journey.  Excellent work young man!  Judges say 10,9,9 for a total of 28.  Wow on the 10.  The 9s were definitely deserved.

Ricki and Derek dance Samba.  I'd like to see her stop worrying so much about being great and just dance.  Then she'll be great because she just is.  Perfect music!  I love this performance.  It's fun and happy.  I would have liked to see her shake her shoulders a little more toward the end of the dance.  I thought she hung onto it just a little too much and let it be just a touch too proper.  However, she was focused on keeping her shoulders down, so that probably was why she didn't let loose and shake them harder.  In retrospect, probably a good decision.  The overall performance was outstanding.  Derek's choreography was excellent.  To my untrained eye, I thought she had her footwork squared away.  Not much to pick at this time around.  Judges say 10s across for a total of 30.  Yup!  Len says she got her feet right, so she got her feet right!

Here is our leader board after the first round.

30 Ricki and Derek
28 Rob and Cheryl
23 JR and Karina
21 Hope and Maks

Sandor and Parissa, extraordinary dancers and choreographers, join our pros and Troupe for a demonstration of Argentine Tango.  That was amazing.

And now our pairs each dance Argentine Tango.

Hope and Maks...Her flat feet are really a turn off.  Her legs and lower body have always been her weakness.  That was completely exposed in this Tango.  And Maks didn't do her any favors with some of the ugliest lifts I've ever seen.  There was nothing graceful in the movement with her feet flexed and knees bent awkwardly.  However, I do think Hope's upper body was very well controlled.  I liked her posture and connection to Maks.  I think the choreography was good and quite ambitious.  I think she had the attitude, and there were moments that were sensuous.  But overall, I didn't care for the performance.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.

JR and Karina...I hope JR is able to overcome the ankle injury and perform well.  Sometimes you can do it, and JR did.  I loved their footwork.  Everything was precise and clean.  All of the movement was fluid and connected.  He managed the lifts very well.  In fact, the way he kept a strong base in and out of the lifts was really terrific.  I only knew he was in pain because we knew that he had the injury.  Otherwise he put it aside and just danced.  JR channeled all of the frustration of being injured into that 90 seconds and threw down a great performance.  Well done.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.

Rob and Cheryl...The confidence is clear in Rob's posture and his control of the movement.  I think that was one of his strongest performances yet.  The footwork was very difficult and there were some tempo changes that he managed really well.  He had solid technique.  His lines were wonderful.  I didn't see any of that old stiffness.  He was immediately relaxed in the style and the movement was fluid and smooth.  I liked the chemistry he and Cheryl had.  I really enjoyed that performance.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.  Outstanding.

Ricki and Derek...I've got a high bar for these two in this dance.  I like that they all got legitimate Tango music for this round of dances.  The lifts Derek chose looked so effortless.  There was a floating quality to them.  The tempo changes in the movement felt seamless.  The movement from dance into lift and then from lift to dance was fluid.  Derek's choreography made maximum use of Ricki's strengths.  Their shapes and lines were terrific.  I loved that performance.  It was controlled and contained, but also passionate and dramatic.  Judges say 9,10,10 for a total of 29.  Excellent!

Here is our updated leader board after two dances.

59 Ricki and Derek
55 Rob and Cheryl
50 JR and Karina
45 Hope and Maks

Our third dance is the Cha Cha Cha relay.  Everyone dances to the same song in sequence.  The winner gets 10 points, 2nd place gets 8, 3rd place gets 6, and 4th place gets 4.  This is hard for me to judge because it goes by pretty fast.

Ricki and Derek go first.  I would have liked to see a little more hip action, but I thought she did well.  Hope and Maks are next.  Her frame wasn't very good, but she did have good hips.  JR and Karina are next.  He struggled through it.  It was probably one dance too many on that bad ankle.  Rob and Cheryl go last and they made the most of that spot.  They finished strong and I wouldn't be surprised if they take the 10 points for first place.

I thought they all did pretty well.  Judges say...4 points go to Hope and Maks, 6 points go to JR and Karina, 8 points go to Ricki and Derek, and 10 points go to Rob and Cheryl.

I thought so!  They were great!

Here is our final leader board after all three dances.

67 Ricki and Derek
65 Rob and Cheryl
56 JR and Karina
49 Hope and Maks

It was really a good show.  I enjoyed almost every performance.  I did feel badly for JR with the ankle injury.  He had the strong dance for Argentine Tango, but the other two weren't as good as they would have been had he been healthy.

We thought Hope and Maks struggled in dances that weren't really suited to her strengths.  Sometimes that happens.  Her best week was last week.

We thought Rob and Cheryl had a great night.  If they have the fans, they could pull off an upset. 

We're locked in though.  It's Ricki and Derek for us all the way to the end.

You know the drill...tune in tonight for results.  And check back here tomorrow for my encores and results recap.

Later gang!


  1. Anonymous says:

    I missed it. GN's b-ball has started. Thanks for the wrap-up.

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    I watched the 1st hour. I sure hope that Rob or Hope go. See you tonight! :)

  1. Cherie says:

    It sounds very exciting. I can hardly wait to see your results post tomorrow!