Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

Would you believe I hummed the theme music all afternoon? 

Well, I did!

Our celebrities take creative control over the routines this week to recreate an iconic dance from a past season.  And there will be a double elimination.  Lots of pressure!

Drew and Anna dance Cha Cha Cha, inspired by a Season 1 dance from Joey McIntyre and Ashly DelGrosso.  I like how smooth and confident Drew's footwork is this week.  He's leading the dance and making it his own.  I do still see some of that stop and start stiffness.  Not as much, but some.  I think this is his strongest effort so far.  I like the concept and the choreography.  It isn't over produced so that the routine is still the high light and the dancers are the focus.  I thought mostly Drew's footwork was sharp.  I thought mostly he had good technique, except for a little bit of that jerkiness in the transitions.  His style does eventually start to make sense for him.  He's never going to be as natural as some of the other male celebrities, but he gets done what he wants to do.  There were some very good pauses to emphasize detail.  Good stuff this week.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.

Gilles and Peta dance Tango, inspired by the Season 10 dance from Erin Andrews and Maks.  Well, starting off in a harness and flying through the ballroom is certainly a great entrance.  With an amazing Argentine Tango under his belt, I expected a lot more from this dance.  I thought the only thing that differentiated it from any other Tango was the opening.  Otherwise the choreography was pretty standard.  The execution of the routine was excellent.  His footwork was precise and clean.  He led the dance with strength and confidence.  I thought there were some places in hold where they drifted apart a little too far, and that caused some problems with their chemistry.  What I liked was the drama and antagonism between them, which effectively portrayed the story they created.  Not his best, but certainly very good.  Judges say 8.5s across for a total of 25.5.

Melissa and Tony dance Samba, inspired by the Season 13 dance from JR Martinez and Karina.  Samba is a great choice for her because she's such a natural dancer.  Yikes!  Those opening tricks were so difficult.  The Samba roll was a little rough, but she mostly pulled it off.  I think that there are so many tricks in this dance that it lacks fluidity and cohesiveness.  They didn't miss any of them, and that's terrific.  Extra points for all the difficulty.  I love that they pushed the boundaries.  They kept building and building, one trick harder than the next.  In between those tricks, they had more than enough standard Samba content and Melissa performed those hip shakes and quakes very well.  But in doing those crazy stunts, they didn't quite dance with enough flow for my taste.  The dance didn't feel free and happy like a Samba should, in my opinion.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.

Apolo and Karina dance Foxtrot, inspired by the Season 8 dance from Gilles and Cheryl.  Apolo has enlisted a pair of dancers from our Troupe to play living statues in the background.  The music creates a sultry atmosphere, but the sensuality in the dance comes completely from Apolo and Karina.  You don't often think sensual and sexy when you think Foxtrot, but this dance had a stalking quality to it, very like a Tango.  That was really outstanding.  It was a slow, American Smooth style Foxtrot.  I thought it was smooth and cool, more of a show dance than a standard competition Foxtrot.  This was a very mature piece, very well staged and choreographed.  It wasn't just about the steps and movement, it was about the feel and flow of the dancing.  Excellent work.  Judges say 9,8,8.5 for a total of 25.5.

Kelly and Val dance Paso Doble, inspired by the Season 4 dance by Laila Ali and Maks.  Great opening with the dance floor sized drape flowing across the length of the ballroom.  I love Kelly's look.  She's got drama and extension in her movement.  She lost her balance just a bit in the spins across the floor and that cost her a little bit of timing.  But other than that she was flamboyant and sharp.  I really liked how she combined her acting with artistry and musicality to create a dance that was distinctive and strong.  She finally found her inner dancer, and that allowed her to make wonderful shapes with her arms.  Better, she made the correct shapes with her arms.  Her posture was strong and her footwork was terrific.  The only issue I had was that little balance bobble coming out of the spins.  Well done.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.

Kirstie and Maks dance Cha Cha Cha, inspired by the Season 13 dance from Carson Kressley and Anna.  That Moves Like Jagger routine was so much fun when Carson danced it.  Maks enters in a Mini Cooper, dancing like Jagger.  Cha Cha Cha really is Kirstie's dance.  It brings out the sexy entertainer in her.  She innately understands how her body works in this style.  She has great timing and musicality for it and she shows how much she loves it.  That makes it even more enjoyable to watch.  This choreography was playful and mischievous and delightfully sassy.  They had a ball with the character and the staging and I had a ball watching it.  Outstanding work.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.

Sabrina and Louis dance Paso Doble, inspired by the Season 5 dance from Mel B and Maks.  This is a huge challenge because Mel and Maks danced one of the all time best routines of all seasons.  I suspect Sabrina is up to the challenge though.  This is actually excellent.  The choreography is technically difficult and she's making it look easy.  Wow.  The ending was spectacular too.  They absolutely attacked the stage.  Louis is giving her pro level steps and she's up to all of it.  Carrie Ann called Sabrina out for not being creative enough.  To an extent, she's right.  They didn't create any new staging or bring any different dramatic element.  But her dancing is so strong.  This dance stood on it's own.  It didn't need any extra gimmicks.  Unfortunately, the judges took .5 each away for the extra elements that were missing.  That's too bad, because the dancing in this performance was better than any other pair of the night.  The routine just didn't have the staging and story to go with it.  Judges say 8.5s across for a total of 25.5.

Emmitt and Cheryl dance Paso Doble, inspired by the Season 3 dance from Mario Lopez and Karina.  Members of our Dance Troupe are engaged to enhance the atmosphere.  Emmitt has the ability in a Paso to look very good because he presents such a strong male presence.  I love how he has pulled his frame up and danced tall and strong.  A couple of times his shoulders got a little high, but for the most part he kept them down.  He led the dance throughout.  That last running slide was fantastic.  This was another performance that attacked the floor.  I thought the staging created a special flavor for the piece.  Whereas Sabrina and Louis were dancing a Paso in the ballroom and dancing it flawlessly, Emmitt and Cheryl created an atmosphere that put their Paso into context that forgave a few technical bobbles.  One was a dance while the other was a performance.  Judges say 8.5,8,8.5 for a total of 25.

Helio and Chelsie dance Quickstep, inspired by the Season 4 dance from Apolo and Julianne.  Quickstep is Helio's best dance, so I can understand why he would choose it.  The dance was going so well, right up until his foot slid on her dress.  Fortunately he didn't fall.  But it was a mistake and you can't afford those when the quality of dancing has been so good.  It took them right out of the moment too and they didn't finish strong.  This Quickstep was fast and clean, right up until that mistake.  The footwork was so good and precise.  The staging wasn't elaborate; rather it was subtle and just enough to create an atmosphere that high lighted the routine itself.  They did convey the feeling of a big band hall.  The quality of the dancing right up to the mistake is reflected in the scores.  The dance was really going to be special.  Judges say 8.5s for a total of 25.5.

Bristol and Mark dance Paso Doble, inspired by a Season 9 dance from Joanna Krupa and Derek.  Too much drama in rehearsal.  You know I don't care for any of that.  I like the way this dance is staged with the chessboard.  The costumes look great.  This is a strong style for Bristol.  She is able to hold her frame and her attitude.  Her footwork is precise and her posture very good.  But I'm not feeling anything between her and Mark.  There isn't anything special in the choreography or in the way it is danced.  I thought she just went through the steps.  There was no passion or fire.  The best I can say about it is that there was plenty of difficulty and she handled it quite well.  She had great lines.  But the dance just felt flat to me.  Judges say 7.5s across for a total of 22.5.

Shawn and Derek dance Quickstep, inspired by a Season 4 from Helio and Julianne.  They have decided to push the boundaries of the rules and go for something spectacular.  The opening is a double jump off mini tramps.  And then they did a little Quickstep, then some Lindy Hop, then back to Quickstep.  Now they are all over the place with styles.  I loved it!  It was fast and furious.  It had so much energy and flair.  This had Shawn's style plastered all over it.  I think that was a risk that paid off.  Regardless whether they get marked down, the point was to show something we'd never seen before, and they did that.  Plus, they danced it to near perfection.  They definitely broke the rules, but for me it didn't matter.  The judges will mark them down for the infractions.  We know they appreciated how good the routine was, but they need to apply consistency in the interpretation of rules.  It was not a straight Quickstep, although it did have Quickstep elements in it.  Judges say 9,8,9.5 for a total of 26.5.  

Here's our leader board:

27.0 Melissa and Tony
27.0 Kelly and Val
26.5 Shawn and Derek
25.5 Helio and Chelsie
25.5 Apolo and Karina
25.5 Sabrina and Louis
25.5 Gilles and Peta
25.0 Emmitt and Cheryl
24.0 Kirstie and Maks
24.0 Drew and Anna
22.5 Bristol and Mark

Outstanding stuff yet again.  A wonderful night of entertainment.  If you're not watching this season, I'm sure you've got a real good reason.  But you might want to give it another think.  You're missing a great season of dancing and fun.

Hey!  Paula Abdul is coming to the ballroom next week to be a guest judge.  And here's a twist...the couples get to choose from a set list of dances what their competitors will dance next week.

So you know the drill.  Tune in tonight for results.  Then check back here tomorrow for my encores and results recap.

Later gang!

Dance like no one is watching, love like you'll never be hurt, sing like no one is listening, and live like it's heaven on earth.  William Purkey

Reason 25:  Because before one can succeed or fail, one must first step forward and try.

On 4 November 2012, the 9th Blog Blast for Peace kicks off with bloggers from all around the world posting messages of peace and harmony under the phrase Dona Nobis Pacem.

We speak on one subject with one voice on one day. Won't you join us? You have a voice; how will you use it? Check in at Mimi Writes or at the Peace Globe Gallery for all the details you need to make your Peace Globe and join your voice to the movement.

Join us. You know you want to.

I believe that words have power, so this matters.


  1. I'm pulling for Kirstie, partly because I loved her in Friends and partly because I know what it is to struggle with your body image.

    Have a wonderful day, Trav!

  1. My favorite movie with Kirstie is Runaway, an old SF movie that actually started Gene Simmons as a villain. I think that was the title anyway.

  1. Cherie says:

    One thing that I can say is that the female celebs really know how to dress themselves. Talk about accentuating the positive! Kelly & Val had to be my dance of the night. Powerful, dramatic, and I loved how Kelly's idea of the staging with the giant matador cape worked. Absolutely loved, loved, loved Kirstie and Maks' routine, proving that you can have a routine that more focused on entertainment without breaking the rules. (And I think that's a good look for Maks. lol) Could not support Shawn and Derek's routine at all due to their flagrant disregard for the rules. However over all, I was very impressed with the creativity of all of the dancers.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I might get to see some of this! GN's basketball practice is earlier in the evening that it was last year.

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    I watched, I watched! If it was by performance only (not popularity votes) I'd say Bristol or Kirsty are out. I have a feeling it will be Drew though (not watching results, just got home from work).
    Go Shawn! ;)

  1. I thought the night was filled with excellent routines, but Derek and Shawn really pushed the envelope. I loved this episode.
    Hmm...I need to get busy and find an appropriate graphic for my peace globe this year. Have a great week.