Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, October 02, 2012 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

Welcome to Week 2.  Our remaining 12 couples dance either Jive or Quickstep.

Ready?  You know I am!

Melissa and Tony dance Jive.  Melissa was injured before she got a chance to dance this in her season.  She had to be judged on dress rehearsal, and it didn't go well.  But that was then.  I love the music and the costumes for this dance.  They have so much energy.  Her kicks are crisp and sharp.  She has terrific extension through her arms.  Tony has put so much content in the routine that there's no chance to pause between any of the movement to catch a breath.  They definitely stepped it up this week.  The transitions were seamless and well connected.  The dance was flat out and she maintained her stamina and her technique.  I can't believe how fast that was, and how she was able to keep up the energy.  Tony really went for it with that choreography, and Melissa executed beautifully.  Great job!  Judges say 8,8,7.5 for a total of 23.5.

Bristol and Mark dance Quickstep.  I'm not sure about a country Quickstep, but it could work if staged well.  This song does have a solid Quickstep type rhythm.  I think Mark did a good job putting the dance together, but I don't think Bristol danced it very well.  I did like that she managed to stay smooth with music that invited her to bounce.  Unfortunately they broke hold in the middle, which is a no no.  Also, that break stopped the momentum and made me lose track of the style they were supposed to be dancing.  I appreciate that she wanted to do something that represented her and who she thinks she is, but I don't know that Quickstep was the dance to try that.  The performance ended up being uneven, and with the break in hold she's unlikely to score well.  I'd have to say that this performance wasn't up to the standard needed in an All Star competition.  Judges say 6s across for a total of 18.

Helio and Chelsie dance Jive.  That was funny how Chelsie screamed during her lap at the track.  Helio is so charming.  His personality takes him about half the way there.  His footwork in this Jive was clean and crisp.  He kept the pace up.  However, there was something about his musicality that didn't work for me.  He danced with his usual joy and pizzazz.  His legs were tight.  His feet were precise.  He had good arm placement.  But the dancing felt off to me.  I think the movements weren't as smoothly connected as I'd like.  It didn't look effortless.  Where Melissa danced right up to the edge, Helio seemed a little conservative to me.  The judges all found it a solid, entertaining performance.  Judges say 8,7.5,7,5 for a total of 23.

Apolo and Karina dance Quickstep.  Now there's a true gentleman who doesn't drop his partner even when she kicks him right in the head.  I like the spin sequence.  Apolo's footwork is very good and it looks like he's able to keep that frame squared away through some very difficult steps.  This is really outstanding.  Wow.  Karina gave him some of the toughest footwork I've seen and he nailed it.  Most of that work was in motion across the floor, combined with speed and spins and twirls.  His balance was tremendous and I really liked that he maintained the musicality and the energy.  And he clearly led the dance, which is always a tough challenge for the male celebrities.  That was really a first class Quickstep.  Judges say 8.5,8,8 for a total of 24.5.

Sabrina and Louis dance Quickstep.  Yikes.  They tried a very challenging trick in developing the dance, but they fell and Sabrina injured her arm.  I don't know what happened to begin...they came charging from backstage when they were introduced.  Not sure if that was part of the routine, but it kind of through me off for a second.  Plus the music isn't helping me connect with the dance.  They did keep the challenging trick at the end and pulled it off.  Plus, she did something that is so hard to do in Quickstep...she kept her upper body calm while her legs were moving through some incredibly difficult choreography.  Louis gave her a dance that he would have designed for some of the kids on SYTYCD.  She handled it well.  She kept her focus and controlled the movement, and certainly did not over dance as she was criticized for last week.  Despite the unfortunate music and the weird beginning, once I got settled with it, I liked that performance.  Judges say 9,8.5,8.5 for a total of 26.

Kirstie and Maks dance Jive.  I like this choice for a Jive.  It's very mature and more sensual than your typical high energy dance.  The choreography lets Kirstie be Kirstie...she gets to act a role but still execute the necessary elements of Jive.  I think she has more fun when she gets this kind of character.  It lets her focus and control the steps on her terms.  Within all of the theatricality, there were clean and precise kicks.  There was delicacy in her movement.  The dance was playful and very entertaining, with just enough flirting.  I enjoyed the performance.  Kirstie said that the only thing you can be in life is yourself.  So that's what she does.  She's original and nobody else is like her.  That makes her enjoyable in this setting.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21.

Emmitt and Cheryl dance Quickstep.  The most difficult part of Quickstep for Emmitt is posture and frame because of his shoulders.  That's what Quickstep is all about.  You know how he overcomes that?  His charm, his personality, and his footwork.  Plus he's a fantastic lead.  And he has excellent chemistry with Cheryl.  So he may lose points when his shoulders scrunch or when he can't place his head exactly in the right place.  But what he's always going to do is make his performance look cool, smooth, and casual.  It barely looks like he's trying, and I know he is.  So from a performance perspective, this dance was entertaining.  But this is a dance that requires the upper body technique, and he's just not physically able to do that.  He and Cheryl know it, so she designed a routine that emphasized his strengths.  They'll just take the hit for posture and frame.  Judges say 7.5s across for a total of 22.5.

Drew and Anna dance Jive.  Once he got started in this routine, he loosened up and looked much more relaxed.  He's still got issues with his turned in feet.  Not only that, he was a bit flat footed through some of it.  That caused his flick kicks to be less precise and clean.  Still, I liked that they came out and attacked the choreography.  Drew was determined and focused, but he maintained control and actually led through some of it.  I'm still seeing issues with connecting the movements, particularly in the early part of the routine.  As they got more in the flow of the turns and hold work, he settled in and the transitions smoothed out.  I think what Drew lacks in grace from his turned in feet, he makes up in determination.  Judges say 7.5s across for a total of 22.5.

Joey and Kym dance Quickstep.  I love the way they have staged this routine.  The focus here was to cover the floor and they definitely did that.  Plus they made a whole silly story that fit the music and Joey's personality.  What they did was take the characters and play it for total entertainment.  However, the execution of the technical parts was poor.  The footwork wasn't crisp.  His posture was uneven.  The hold was sloppy.  And the pace of the movement across the floor was frenetic when it should have been smooth.  But the overall performance was entertaining because that's Joey's main strength.  There are other celebrities that can combine excellent technique with excellent performance.  Joey can do that in certain dances.  In Quickstep, since he falls short on technique he has to really be solid with the entertainment aspect.  He did that.  But he's not going to score well technically for this dance.  Judges say 7.5s across for a total of 22.5.

Shawn and Derek dance Jive.  Cartwheels down the stairs?  Now that's just rubbing it in.  I love this routine.  This is the kind of Jive that I always want to dance myself.  Full of energy.  Lots of spins and twirls.  Clean and fast flick kicks.  And period style.  Movement that just keeps going and going.  The word that came to mind while I was watching was colorful.  It had flash and fire.  I couldn't find anything wrong with it technically.  I like watching her dance.  I also like watching Derek dance with her, because he's treating her almost like a professional partner.  He's not concerned about dancing beyond her, so he's able to dance the way he wants and not worry as much about her keeping up, because she can.  I suspect some outstanding routines are in their future.  Judges say 8.5,8,8.5 for a total of 25.

Kelly and Val dance Quickstep.  There are times when Val's style bothers me, and this was one of those times.  I didn't like the opening into the dance.  It looked more like a Foxtrot to begin.  Then when they finally got into recognizable Quickstep, Val's movement was more jerky and the dance seemed unfocused.  I think that affects Kelly's ability to hold her shoulders back and extend her lines.  I think the partnership between them creates great chemistry.  They went for elegance and sophistication, but I felt that the choreography was a bit on the easy side compared to what the other couples were doing.  And I don't think the execution of the simpler routine was good enough.  If you're going to go for a simpler series of movements, you've got to be clean and solid technically.  I don't think this routine was.  It almost felt like they weren't dancing the same routine.  Judges say 7.5,7,7.5 for a total of 22.

Gilles and Peta dance Jive.  Gilles has a strained hamstring, and that's got to make dancing Jive quite painful.  Strains take rest and time to heal.  But he's dancing.  Correction...he's dancing incredibly well despite the injury.  That was so good.  Peta gave him a solo that he handled with no problem at all.  The entire routine was full of kicks and spins and twirls.  It had so much energy and speed, and he didn't miss a move.  His extensions were outstanding.  His movement was fast, but also contained and focused.  The transitions were completely seamless.  I'm really impressed with his dancing, but also with Peta and the way she has connected so quickly with him.  She has figured out how versatile he is and she's giving him some really difficult stuff to do.  Judges say 8.5s across for a total of 25.5.

Here's our leader board:

26.0 Sabrina and Louis
25.5 Gilles and Peta
25.0 Shawn and Derek
24.5 Apolo and Karina
23.5 Melissa and Tony
23.0 Helio and Chelsie
22.5 Emmitt and Cheryl
22.5 Joey and Kym
22.5 Drew and Anna
22.0 Kelly and Val
21.0 Kirstie and Maks
18.0 Bristol and Mark

Well gang, we saw some really good stuff.  You know, even the dances that scored lower would have been among the higher scores in a season that wasn't full of so many excellent dancers.

The question is as it always is for this show...which fan bases are strongest?  Because we all know that it isn't always the best dancers that advance. 

You know the drill by now.  Tune in tonight for the results show.  Check back here tomorrow for my encores and results recap.

Later gang!


  1. For a second week, the quality was excellent. I'm truly enjoying Apollo but haven't picked someone to back all the way.

  1. Thanks for keeping us posted on this!

  1. Cherie says:

    Some really dancing last night! :)

  1. Akelamalu says:

    If they're all good it must be hard to decide on favourites.

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    I was right about Pam. My next out is Bristol. Let's see if I can guess two in the row ;)