Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

When we last checked in with our celebrities and their professional partners, they had danced some fusion routines and a swing marathon, and no one had been eliminated.  Our leader board looked like this:

39.0 Melissa and Tony
38.0 Shawn and Derek
36.0 Kelly and Val
34.5 Emmitt and Cheryl
33.5 Gilles and Peta
33.0 Apolo and Karina
28.0 Kirstie and Maks

This week our 7 remaining pairs have two dances to learn...the ballroom round is inspired by Veterans Day while the Latin round is a trio dance.  We'll add scores for these routines to last week's scores, combine those with viewer votes, and get down to 5 couples with just a two weeks left until the finale.

Got it?  OK.

Shawn and Derek dance Viennese Waltz.  That was a gorgeous dance, but it seemed very short to me.  The emotion was front and center, with the choreography built around it.  It was very soft and very honest.  Her extensions were beautiful.  Whatever the block was for her about showing emotion has certainly been breached.  I thought the performance was layered.  The story was obvious, but there was more than just a soldier's pain in the dance.  I thought the dance seemed to go from grief to peace.  Nicely done.  Judges say 10,9.5,10 for a total of 29.5.

Apolo and Karina dance Tango.  A zip line Tango?  Yikes.  That entrance definitely makes a statement.  I like the choreography.  It's aggressive, but then there's balance with the stalking up the stairs.  And I'm right...these routines are only 60 seconds instead of the normal 90.  It makes the dances seem a bit rushed.  I liked this performance, but there were a couple of moments that felt a bit frantic again for me.  I liked Apolo's footwork and his control of the dance.  I think they took good chances this week to try and catch back up to some of the other couples.  Judges say 10,9.5,10 for a total of 29.5.

Kirstie and Maks dance Viennese Waltz.  If she wants to, she can dance this very well.  I think this is a great style for her to tell the story.  I may have said this before, in fact I'm sure I have, but I have such respect for Maks as a choreographer.  He has made some of the most beautiful dances during his run on this show.  And that was one of them.  There was a respect and reverence to the piece that was so endearing.  I don't mind that the choreography was simple.  I appreciate it because it allowed Kirstie to focus on her lines and extensions.  I thought this was her best all around performance, from technique to story telling.  Very nice.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.  The only reason she didn't get any 10 paddles on that is because the choreography isn't as difficult as the other pairs.

Kelly and Val dance Viennese Waltz.  I think the chemistry between these two is the strongest part of every performance.  This is really a wonderful dance.  It's a celebration of how well they work together and the relationship they have developed.  I agree with Len that there was some sharpness to the movement, but unlike Len I thought that it was a clever choice and interpreted the music very well.  I don't mind a little harder edge in a Waltz as long as it makes some sense, and I thought it did for this performance.  I liked the flow and the shapes, and the transition between soft and sharp.  I thought there was an interesting rhythm and unique steps.  Judges say  9.5,9,9.5 for a total of 28.

Gilles and Peta dance Quickstep.  I've never seen duct tape used to reinforce a dancing frame.  Peta tried it in rehearsal instead of the standard torture bar.  Oh yikes.  I thought Gilles had some really bad footwork in that dance.  It was almost like he forgot the steps a bit, particularly in the early part.  The music tempo was really fast.  In fact, it might have been too fast.  I give him credit for attacking the dance, but I'm not seeing anything to get excited about in the execution.  Clearly I'll have to watch it back, but I saw footwork mistakes and some bad posture.  Did not like it.  Judges say 9.5,10,10 for a total of 29.5.  I'm not seeing what the judges thought deserved those 10 paddles.

Emmitt and Cheryl dance Viennese Waltz.  I love how elegant the costumes are.  Classic tuxedo and a gorgeous silver dress.  Emmitt impresses me in a dance like this because he epitomizes the way a man dances with a woman.  It's very real and very down to earth.  There's nothing of performance in it...this is how I dance with Pam.  Just in the music and rolling from feeling to feeling.  Emmitt is in control from the moment the music begins and maintains it throughout.  I like how sophisticated the choreography was.  The dance wasn't perfect, but it was classically romantic and that's why I liked it.  Judges say 9,9.5,9.5 for a total of 28.

Melissa and Tony dance Quickstep.  Seems odd to dress in sailor suits while dancing to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, since the central character in that song is in the Army, but that's just picking nits.  Wow.  This was a fantastic Quickstep.  I didn't see a flaw.  It was so fast and so controlled.  Melissa is in such a groove at the moment.  The choreography was classic Quickstep and they never missed a beat or a step.  And what was really cool is that they had great character within the dance, despite the Navy-Army mixed message.  Tony did a great job with that one.  Loved it.  Judges say 10s across for a total of 30.  Yup. 

Here's our updated leader board after the first round:

69.0 Melissa and Tony
67.5 Shawn and Derek
64.0 Kelly and Val
63.0 Gilles and Peta
62.5 Emmitt and Cheryl
62.5 Apolo and Karina
55.0 Kirstie and Maks

Now let's have the Latin trio round.

Shawn and Derek dance Samba with Mark Ballas.  This is a pretty natural partnership.  Derek is taking a risk with choreography.  It was definitely crowd pleasing.  Very raw and powerful, solid on the beats.  There may not have been enough Samba content for the judges, but I think what there was mixed in quite well.  Len called it self indulgent.  For dance itself, I enjoyed it although I wouldn't call it my favorite.  It had impact and showcased Shawn as a dancer...just not really as a Samba dancer.  This was something I would expect to see in a free style.  Judges say 10,7,9 for a total of 26.  The 7 was predictable from Len, but he gets the stink eye on that.  It's too much of a punishment just because he didn't think it qualified as a true Samba.

Apolo and Karina dance Jive with Sasha Farber from our Troupe.  It's a calculated risk to bring a male pro into the team, because Apolo's flaws become very evident.  He didn't look confident with his kicks or his footwork in general.  I didn't see enough energy from him.  Maybe I'm expecting too much from Apolo, but I'm just not seeing anything to get excited about the way the judges did for his dancing tonight.  The whole thing just felt awkward to me, like Karina and Sasha were slowing down and pulling back so Apolo could keep up.  I don't know.  There was so much potential in that routine, but for me it just fell a bit flat.  Judges say 9.5,9.5,10 for a total of 29.

Kirstie and Maks dance Paso Doble with Tristan MacManus.  I was a bit curious about how they were going to dance with the wings, but then they took them off and the piece became a dynamic Paso.  I liked the concept and the way it was staged.  I thought Kirstie performed well, although she didn't have the sharp and well defined crispness in her actual dancing that I expect for a Paso Doble.  There was a definite artistry in the theme, and I thought the three of them performed theatrically to great effect.  But Kirstie struggled in the part that counts for scores, and that's putting the artistry and performance together with clean footwork and solid posture.  I enjoyed what they did, but I wouldn't give it marks high enough to make it easy for her fans to keep her in the competition.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.

Kelly and Val dance Jive with Louis van Amstel.  This is a terrific trio because I think Louis and Val have very similar styles and posture.  They both seem to work very well with Kelly, and she responds to both of them.  This is a great Jive.  It tells a story and the joy they all have really comes through the steps and the movement.  That dance had so much energy.  I thought the footwork was clean and crisp.  There was very difficult choreography in that routine and Kelly handled it so smoothly.  I liked the way they transitioned from step to step and move to move.  Outstanding performance.  I'd throw a 10 paddle just for how much fun it was to watch.  Judges say 9.5s across for a total of 28.5.

Gilles and Peta dance Salsa with Chelsie Hightower.  This is much better than earlier, although it still seems sometimes like he's cheating on his footwork.  I feel like he should be extending and defining his steps more.  The shorter steps seem sloppy.  I like that he attacked the dance and he did manage to lead both ladies through the movement, and the male celebrities always get credit for being solid leads because it's so hard.  Overall the performance had good energy.  Maybe Gilles was behind the tempo here and there, but that didn't dull my enjoyment of the performance.  I don't think he's dancing as crisply as he did earlier in the competition though.  Judges say 9.5,10,9.5 for a total of 29.  I'm just not on the same page as the judges.

Emmitt and Cheryl dance Salsa with Kym Johnson.  Smooth and cool with some pretty complicated partnering.  This was like something you'd see in a club.  I thought the overall presentation was spicy and full of Emmitt's personality.  The choreography played to Emmitt's strength.  Salsa should be a constant flow, and this mostly was.  There were a couple of moments when it stalled out, but they happened during some complicated tricks so I'll let it pass.  I enjoyed the concept and the way the dance was staged.  Plus it was colorful and rhythmic.  Nice job.  Judges say 10s across for a total of 30.  I don't think it was perfect technically, but it was pretty close to a perfect performance.

Melissa and Tony dance Paso Doble with Henry Byalikov from our Dance Troupe.  Melissa is really starting to take control on the floor.  Technically she is outstanding in almost every style.  In this Paso, she took charge.  She was aggressive and passionate.  The choreography was powerful.  The transitions were fantastic between her dancing with Tony and then with Henry.  She focused in rehearsal and worked on the things that she has struggled with, and perfected those things.  She let everything go, combining excellent technique with flamboyance and drama.  And you could tell how much the three of them enjoyed the routine and the performance together.  Judges say 10s across for a total of 30.  Now that's a score I can agree with.  That's 1 point off perfection for 4 dances.

Here's our final leader board after four dances:

99.0 Melissa and Tony
94.5 Shawn and Derek
92.5 Kelly and Val
92.5 Emmitt and Cheryl
92.0 Gilles and Peta
91.5 Apolo and Karina
79.0 Kirstie and Maks

I thought the judges were a little free with those 10 paddles.  And there was a 7 in there that deserves one of these...

But scores are subjective.  I know what I liked, and it was different from what the judges liked.  Pam and I both voted for Shawn and Derek.  We hope that 7 doesn't keep them out of a chance for the finale.  I'm concerned that the trio choreography was too much of a risk.  There just wasn't enough Samba content and Len really docked them for it, no matter how well they performed what they did.  I guess we'll see. 

Let's get back to the normal drill.  Tune in tonight for results.  And check back here tomorrow for encores from last week and last night, and for my results recap.

Later gang.


  1. Akelamalu says:

    It gets more exciting as it gets nearer the end doesn't it?

  1. Jean(ie) says:

    Uh-oh... it's the stink-eye again...LOL!

    Stay warm, my friend.

  1. Cherie says:

    The last couple of weeks, the stand outs for me are Kelly & Val and Melissa & Tony. The Melissa & Tony thing surprises me because as she was receiving high praise in weeks past, I just wasn't seeing it. As far as Shawn and Derek (and Mark), I've got to stick up for Len a little bit. All season long, Len has been very consistent. He has repeatedly told Derek that he wants to see more content of the dance that the couples are assigned (except freestyles). Derek has made it clear that he doesn't care what Len says about it. Repeated infractions deserve a higher penalty, and when even Bruno is agreeing that a Samba lacked Samba content, that's saying something. Good news, Shawn & Derek are still 2nd on the leader board even with the penalty. We'll have to see. Double elimination tonight. Gonna be sad no matter what.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I loved Shawn's primal dance. Must be my mood. Will catch the results online in the morning. Can't wait!


  1. Anonymous says:

    I actually was able to see some of this last night. Loved seeing some of our service personnel in the studio to watch! GGG