Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

Best wishes to folks on the east coast as Sandy the Super Storm wreaks all kinds of havoc.

When we last looked in on our 8 remaining pairs, they were dancing individual routines plus a first ever group team free style.  Scores were combined with viewer votes for the two dances, and nobody was eliminated.

Here's a reminder of our leader board after last week's performances.

58.5 Sabrina and Louis
56.5 Gilles and Peta
56.5 Shawn and Derek
56.5 Melissa and Tony
56.5 Apolo and Karina
56.0 Emmitt and Cheryl
52.5 Kirstie and Maks
51.5 Kelly and Val

Now it's Country Week and scores will be added to the current totals with this week's viewer votes.  There's also a group dance involving all 8 pairs, which will apparently also get scores.

But before we get to all that, we've got a performance by Little Big Town to kick off the show, accompanied by our Dance Troupe.  Nice.

Gilles and Peta dance Cha Cha Cha.   This is danced to a country song, but other than the first couple of moves, there's really nothing country about the dance.  It's all Cha Cha Cha and it's very good.  I like the little details of personality Gilles puts in, like the pointing at the judges.  Each celebrity has a solo within the dance, and his was solid.  There was quite a bit of difficult choreography in this piece.  As we've come to expect. Gilles is always solid with technique, although I could pick on a few places where is footwork wasn't complete clean.  But what makes the performance complete is that he attacks the movement, focuses on his extensions and lines, and keeps everything under control.  Judges say 9,9,9.5 for a total of 27.5.

Sabrina and Louis dance Rumba.  The song this week is very personal to Sabrina, so there should be extra emotion in this performance.  She was so relaxed and in the moment.  I think that disregard of steps often is missing in her dancing.  She often focuses on steps or performance, and forgets to combine the two.  She merged both this week in a stunning Rumba.  Louis' choreography was emotional and intricate.  All the movements were smooth and sensual.  The underlying story was found in every transition.  Even without knowing her personal story, I would have felt something of it in the performance.  That's when dance really makes a statement.  Outstanding work.  Judges say 10s across for a total of 30.  That was well deserved, not just because of the emotion, but because it combined that emotional vulnerability with flawless dancing.

Kelly and Val dance Tango.  Bootsses.  We likes the bootsses very much, preciouss.  This was very fast for Tango.  I missed the stalking quality and some of the subtleties found in a slower tempo.  I do think Kelly managed the dance very well.  I liked her footwork.  Val didn't give her a break on the choreography.  In quicker Latin dances, I've sometimes felt that she falls behind the music and has to rush to catch up.  I didn't see that in this dance.  She maintained her frame for the most part.  I didn't care for it, but that was because it was too fast for my liking.  I thought she danced just fine.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.

Melissa and Tony dance Viennese Waltz.  It's about time they pulled something with a slower tempo.  They've been rushing around the state with high energy stuff for the last few weeks.  Now Melissa gets to show off some technique and elegance.  She still has soreness in her neck from last week's injury.  I love the way this is staged.  Gang this is so beautiful.  The next time you go camping, consider dancing a Viennese Waltz around the campfire.  It actually works.  This dance had elegance and grace.  Len gave it a standing ovation.  Her solo at the beginning set the dance up.  She made some fantastic extensions and shapes.  Tony's choreography was sensual and romantic.  The connection between the two of them made the dance so special.  Excellent work.  Judges say 9.5,10,10 for a total of 29.5.  Carrie Ann fussed about a lift.

Shawn and Derek dance Cha Cha Cha.  She aggravated the knee injury that caused her to retire from competitive gymnastics this past summer.  But she's dancing anyway on the sprain.  I was going to say that we've probably seen the last of all of that athletic choreography.  But this performance has all of the leaps and twists and spins of the earlier dances.  She even did a couple of full splits and deep knee bends.  There's a world class athlete for you.  I loved the way Derek made that dance...he blended country with Cha Cha Cha seamlessly.  Len called them out for the tractor entrance, but he didn't call out Kelly and Val for the full carriage in their dance, and he gave Melissa and Tony a 10 when they had a full campsite with pine trees in theirs.  Judges say 9.5,8.5,10 for a total of 28.  Now I'm annoyed with Len's double standard.  That's two weeks in a row he has unfairly down-scored the performance for staging choices that had nothing to do with the way the routine was danced.

Kirstie and Maks dance Rumba.  Lots and lots of drama in rehearsal.  You know I don't like that.  But I do like when Kirstie dances Rumba.  Rumba gives her time to act the part and to pull all of the technical elements together.  I thought that dance was outstanding.  There were no wardrobe malfunctions.  Nobody slipped.  Everything was perfect.  The dancing was sexy and sensual.  It was passionate and romantic.  The choreography was excellent.  I don't know what Len is talking about asking for more hip action.  I thought the quality of her movement and her musicality was mesmerizing.  Judges say 9.5,8.5,9.5 for a total of 27.5.  Len...pppppffffffffftttttttttttt.

Apolo and Karina dance Viennese Waltz.  This was a very pretty piece of choreography.  They overcame whatever issues they were having between them last week and danced a beautiful routine.  The story was evident, but they could have danced that choreography to music with no lyrics and carried the same depth of emotion.  Apolo's lines and extensions were lovely to watch.  There was restrained elegance in the quality of the movement.  But what made the piece was the vulnerability Apolo accepted and displayed.  Judges say 10s across for a total of 30. 

Emmitt and Cheryl dance Foxtrot.  Emmitt's charm is all over just about every dance style, but it particularly helps him in Foxtrot because there can't be any relaxing away from specific technique.  I don't think this is one of his better performances.  I don't see the honesty I normally feel when he dances.  He saved it a little with the solo by cutting loose with some hip shaking and country line steps.  But I don't think the rest of the dance was up to his normal standard.  Performance quality was OK.  I thought musicality was off.  And they didn't seem to have the connection they usually have.  Judges say 8.5,8.5,9.5 for a total of 26.5.  The 9.5 doesn't make any sense to me.

Now we have Big and Rich with Cowboy Troy performing for the group dance.  Two bonus points are awarded to the couple that is judged to be most entertaining.  The piece is choreographed by Kevin Maher.  That was a terrific performance!  I thought everyone did well.  If I were judging, I'd give the 2 bonus points to either Shawn and Derek or Sabrina and Louis.  Judges award the points to Kirstie and Maks.

So here's our final leader board after two individual and two group performances:

88.5 Sabrina and Louis
86.5 Apolo and Karina
86.0 Melissa and Tony
84.5 Shawn and Derek
84.0 Gilles and Peta
82.5 Emmitt and Cheryl
82.0 Kirstie and Maks
78.5 Kelly and Val

We have not been voting.  But we did this week.  All of our votes went to Shawn and Derek because of what we thought was Len's unfair scoring.  This is for you, Mr Cranky Pants.

Yeah.  It's only TV.  But still.  Kelly and Val, Melissa and Tony, and Shawn and Derek all used stylized props to open their routines.  But Len only squawked about it when S&D did it.  So I say that the scores Len threw were biased in favor of what he liked over what he didn't, rather than based on the quality of the dancing.  That's when I get annoyed and throw the stink eye.

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

Later gang!


  1. Jean(ie) says:

    I'm cracking up over the stink eye shot... you tell them!!

    Happy rainy day... stay dry, my friend.

  1. Cherie says:

    Sorry I'm late. Things were crazy today. I thought that Len scored Shawn and Derek lower because there wasn't enough Cha-Cha content. To tell you the truth I couldn't even tell that it was a Cha-Cha until it was mentioned later. Great dance though. Last week I complained about Melissa's high scores, but I saw it this week. Beautiful. My favorites were Sabrina and Louis & Kirstie and Maks. Great Rumba content and full of emotion.

    But Mr. Cranky-pants was certainly in the house on Monday night. The stink-eye was definitely well deserved. ;)