Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

Welcome to twist week.  No, our 9 remaining pairs are not having a twist competition.  Rather, the twist is that our couples have selected dances for each other. 

We've got some dances that have never been performed on DWTS before...Bollywood, Contemporary, etc.  And Paula Abdul joins the panel as a guest judge. 

This should be fun.

Kirstie and Maks dance Charleston, selected for them by Sabrina and Louis.  This is another high energy style, but I think it suits her personality.  There's a lot of character in the way they have styled this dance.  She overcame her fear to do that cartwheel.  You can see how much fun she's having with the music and the choreography.  It was over the top, just like a 1920s style dance should be.  They emphasized the wackiness and sheer abandon of the Charleston and gave a really fine performance.  They had a few sloppy transitions and they lost a bit of momentum here and there.  But the performance was so much fun that I'm letting that slide.  I loved it.  Judges say 7.5s across for a total of 30.

Bristol and Mark dance Rock and Roll, which was the only style left after every other choice had been made.  The rock song they have is At The Hop, so this dance is 1950s style.  All the energy is coming from Mark.  There's really nothing wrong with her technique.  Bristol danced all the steps correctly and didn't miss anything.  But I thought she was just so flat.  I can remember dancing with my mom to that song.  There's just something in the music and those kinds of steps that gets to the innate need in a person to move it and shake it.  The judges seem to be trying to sell us on something that I'm not really seeing.  Bristol has very little energy and the performance is flat.  The choreography was very easy, and the performance needed to be cleaner and more energetic.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 32.  Nah.

Sabrina and Louis dance Disco, selected for them by Kirstie and Maks.  This dance had speed and flair and style.  It also had just about every trick from the 1970s you can think of.  Louis incorporated music from Saturday Night Fever with an edgy Studio 54 concept.  It was a routine packed with difficulty and, unlike last week, loads of style.  I thought the movement was clean and the transitions were smooth.  I loved the glitter and glitz.  I thought the musicality was excellent.  They captured the era.  It's too bad that Louis lost his balance just a bit on the final pose.  But that happens.  Judges say 9,9,8.5,9 for a total of 35.5.

Emmitt and Cheryl dance Bolero, selected for them by Kelly and Val.  Cheryl brought in some help to teach Bolero because she isn't as familiar with it.  I don't have any experience with it either, so I'm not going to even try to comment on the technical elements of it.  As a performance, I thought the chemistry between the two of them was wonderful.  I thought it was romantic and smooth.  There was a drama and intensity to it.  It was fluid.  The shapes and lines were terrific.  The movement was smooth and sophisticated.  It was sensual.  I thought the quality of the dancing was excellent.  Nicely done.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 36.

Gilles and Peta dance Bollywood, selected for them by Bristol and Mark.  The tough thing about this style is that the hands and the feet have to move quickly, but there is also finger placement that is critical.  You have to finish off the shapes before moving to the next shape, but you have to do it quickly.  This dance is about quick and constant movement.  The nice thing Peta was able to do was slow down the tempo in places, which allowed Gilles to really focus on technique and nail it.  Then she mixed in some partner work, which is one of his strengths.  Big props to Peta for her choreography.  She put together traditional elements with ballroom skills, and created a fantastic performance.  Gilles embraced and attacked the style.  Excellent work.  Judges say 10,9.5,10,10 for a total of 39.5.  Wow.

Melissa and Tony dance Jitterbug, selected for them by Apolo and Karina.  I love this style of dancing, especially when it is done this well.  Melissa is fearless.  Tony put some really difficult lifts and tricks in this routine.  They missed one, and that should keep this from being a 10 level score.  But everything else was 10 level.  They never stopped moving.  The footwork was crisp and clean.  The movement was sharp.  They made it look so easy, and believe me that just isn't easy to do.  Tony put the lifts in there so that they were seamlessly coordinated through all of the rest of the movement.  This is such a good partnership...Tony isn't afraid to throw anything at Melissa, and she's ready for anything.  It's a shame about that one little bobble, but they really went for it and it was a great performance.  Judges say 9,9,9.5,9.5 for a total of 37.

Shawn and Derek dance Mambo, selected for them by Helio and Chelsie.  It's good to see Mambo back on the show.  Lifts are allowed this week, so they can push the boundaries again but within the rules this time.  The rehearsal studio this week was the gymnastics mat.  LOL.  Oh my.  This is good gang.  Really good.  And it's got so many traditional Mambo elements.  Whoa.  That pause into the pose!  And that jump Derek made.  And the lifts!  Hokey smokes Bulwinkle!  Who else can do that stuff?  Every movement was connected.  The lifts were so unique, and based on Shawn's athletic ability.  And her dancing is so good.  She had the hips.  She's bringing the sexy.  She's got the musicality, the rhythm, the timing.  She had the flavor of the Mambo.  And Derek's choreography was amazing.  Each week he is challenged not just by the dances, but by the need to make a dance that takes full advantage of Shawn's ability.  This one built on the momentum from last week.  Outstanding work.  Judges say 10,9.5,10,10 for a total of 39.5.  Yup.

Apolo and Karina dance Hip Hop, selected for them by Melissa and Tony.  It's out of Karina's element, but it's right in Apolo's wheelhouse to dance.  In his championship season, his freestyle was based on hip hop.  So Karina got some help.  They were hitting it pretty well.  There was a smoothness to the routine.  It's not super hard hitting choreography and I think that's a good choice when you're not experienced with hip hop.  But then they got to a trick in the middle and Karina lost her balance and fell.  I'll have to watch that back, but the fall could have been caused by Apolo's microphone pack.  It took them about 8 beats to pull the timing back, and then they finished strong.  Despite the technical issue and the slip, I thought it was a solid performance.  Judges say 8.5,9,8.5,8.5 for a total of 34.5.

Kelly and Val dance Contemporary, selected for them by Emmitt and Cheryl.  I couldn't figure out why they both looked so subdued every time they were featured on camera.  Well, Kelly broke a toe in rehearsal.  Yikes.  I'd be subdued as well if I had a broken toe and had to dance a barefoot contemporary routine.  And maybe she was getting into character also.  I'm impressed by Val's choreography.  Put this routine in the hands of any of the kids from SYTYCD, and you'd have something truly stunning.  The only issue I had with Kelly was a bit of synchronicity failure in the side by side work.  But I'll mark that down to the injured toe.  I thought the dance was powerful and beautiful, made possible by the trust between them.  The star of this piece was the movement Val created, and the story they told in that movement.  Excellent.  Judges say 9,9.5,9.5,9.5 for a total of 37.5.

Here's our leader board:

39.5 Shawn and Derek
39.5 Gilles and Peta
37.5 Kelly and Val
37.0 Melissa and Tony
36.0 Emmitt and Cheryl
35.5 Sabrina and Louis
34.5 Apolo and Karina
32.0 Bristol and Mark
30.0 Kirstie and Maks

Another great show.  I like what Kelly said in her post dance interview...that this show is not really about the dancing.  It's about the journey and the relationships.  It's about what you learn about yourself.  It's about trusting your partner. 

Yeah.  It's also about the dancing, which was great again.  We saw the 9.5 and 10 paddles, and I think they were well earned.

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

Later gang.


  1. Uh-oh... doesn't look good for Kirstie. bugger.

  1. Cherie says:

    See, I liked Bristol's, but I didn't care for Melissa's. I thought it was wise for Bristol to resist the "flash and trash" on a week where she realized she was having trouble. And, it was Melissa's routine that looked flat to me. But all my votes went to Kirstie this week. I really enjoyed it. First, time voting this season.

  1. Bristol has to go. It is getting to the point where the lack of flash and flair is crowding out people who bring everything to the dance.

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    I watched! Missed only two couples due to getting sucked up into football on another chanel. Hahaha!
    Absolutely loved Sabrina, Emmit and Shawn!