Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2013 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

We're down to 6 couples left, which means we're almost done.  We've got an individual dance and then a trio dance. 

Let's have round one.

Zendaya and Val dance Foxtrot.  So much fun personality from this girl.  I love their smooth flow.  That was great.  It was clean and sharp, but also cool and light.  I thought her lines were amazing.  The chemistry between her and Val is wonderful.  I'm getting so tired of Carrie Ann picking on this girl.  I don't get what her problem is.  So what if Zendaya's technique isn't absolutely perfect.  She's a great performer and any other couple gets a pass on an odd shoulder or a chin that isn't in the exact right position.  Technique is important, but I'm not looking for the celebrities to be pro-perfect.  For me and my layman's eye, this performance was perfect.  I didn't see any kind of glaring technique issue that pulled my focus from the whole.  I say 10s across.  Judges say 9,10,9 for a total of 28.  Please someone explain to me why that performance wasn't 10s across. 

Sean and Peta dance Tango.  This is starting off well for Sean.  There was attack and aggression.  He's still very awkward with the way he sets his feet and makes his turns.  He doesn't have smooth transitions.  But in this particular performance, I thought his musicality was pretty good for the first half of the dance.  He tends to lose his timing about half way through and then his rhythm gets mixed up.  I think he was mostly on the right track.  I liked the story Peta put together with the choreography.  I would have liked to see some kind of tempo change that would have allowed them to slow down into more of the stalking that I like to see in a Tango.  That's part of the trouble I have with Sean...there just isn't any subtlety on which to hang a performance.  I thought this was a reasonable effort.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21.  Ouch.

Jacoby and Karina dance Viennese Waltz.  If he can keep his back stretched with a great top frame, I'll be willing to overlook his turned in feet for this dance.  There is some very nice rise and fall.  I was enjoying the performance until the shirt ripping part.  That's too much like Rumba and just wasn't necessary.  The dance had enough chemistry without that part.  I did like that the dance was smooth and flowing, so I'm going to focus on that.  I think Jacoby held a nice posture until the end of the dance.  I thought he needed to dial back the power in the final spin and the lift of Karina off the floor, which I thought lacked subtlety and grace.  I missed the elegance that is typically a large part of Viennese Waltz.  But other than those things, I thought it was a good performance.  For me it would have been great without the shirt ripping gimmick and with more class at the end.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.

Ingo and Kym dance Foxtrot.  Tough rehearsal this week.  I think Ingo is always right there on the edge of excellence.  There are some things he does really well.  But then he transitions into something that looks a little awkward and loses musicality.  He's got an athlete's power but not much of an athlete's graceful control.  I did like this choreography.  I thought for the most part Ingo captured the flavor of Foxtrot.  I liked his posture and frame.  I thought his footwork was basically under control and there were only a few clunky steps.  I though his lines were solid.  There was also a classy, sophisticated feel to the movement and that comes from a good connection to the style.  I thought the package - from dance style to music to choreography - suited Ingo this week.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.

Kellie and Derek dance Viennese Waltz.  Very emotional rehearsal footage for Kellie this week.  She is so elegant and graceful.  I think she makes every movement look effortless.  This is the kind of Viennese Waltz I prefer.  It's softly romantic and sophisticated.  Kellie and Derek have such a connection when they dance.  She is able to channel what Derek is teaching her and then put her own interpretation on it.  For me, the thing that sets this pair apart from the others is the way they go in the same direction without any extra motion that doesn't add to the whole.  You can see how much they enjoy dancing together.  I hope that made sense.  I thought this was an outstanding performance.  Judges say 9,9,10 for a total of 28.

Aly and Mark dance Argentine Tango.  I had to look up Aly's age to make sure I could use the word sexy.  I can...she's 19.  She brought the sultry and seductive quality to the dance that it required.  There was stalking.  There was intricate footwork.  I loved the lifts.  I think Mark put together choreography that told a strong story.  However, I think there were times in some of the lifts when her legs had an odd quality.  And there were some places in the footwork where I would have liked a little more extension.  That's just aesthetics for my own enjoyment though.  I think she did a great job.  I've really enjoyed watching her transform from champion gymnast to an excellent performer.  Judges say 9,10,10 for a total of 29. 

Here's our leader board after round one.

29 Aly and Mark
28 Zendaya and Val
28 Kellie and Derek
27 Jacoby and Karina
24 Ingo and Kym
21 Sean and Peta

Alrighty then.  Let's have the trio round.

Zendaya and Val dance Salsa with Gleb Savchenko.  It's Princess Zendaya with her security Russians.  LOL.  I know I can't use sexy for Zendaya...way too young and it's just creepy to think of her that way.  But I don't need to.  This was a high energy, modern take on Salsa.  They had a lot of side by side by side work that really showed off how terrific Zendaya is as a dancer.  They had plenty of Salsa passes and good content.  Val and Gleb framed Zendaya so well, keeping her the center of the attention and activity.  All of the movement flowed from one section to the next and never stopped or slowed.  The performance was fun and I really enjoyed it.  Well done.  Judges say 10s across for a total of 30.  Finally from Carrie Ann.

Sean and Peta dance Jazz with Sharna Burgess.  So it's a magic show.  I liked the choreography and the idea Sharna and Peta were going for.  I think Sean did OK.  But the quicker the tempo of the music, the harder time Sean had keeping up.  The choreography was a little too ambitious for what Sean can do.  He just doesn't have the musicality to dance that way.  At this point it isn't about technique for Sean.  It's about overcoming basic awkwardness, or at least overcoming awkwardness enough to not look silly.  Since Sean isn't going to overcome his innate lack of rhythm, then I think the dance has to be made so he can have a reasonable chance to succeed.  Unfortunately this was not that success and it did end up looking silly.  He knew it too.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21. 

Jacoby and Karina dance Paso Doble with Cheryl Burke.  Good choice.  Oh my those turned in feet.  I'll give him props for the effort.  I liked the aggression and attack.  The dance definitely had flavor and character.  The problem I had with the performance was that it wasn't controlled.  Jacoby had plenty of power, but it was much too raw for my taste.  I didn't see any Spanish lines or posture.  His backside sticks out, which would be find if he led with his chest or his hips.  But he doesn't.  I don't want to be overly picky about technique because of my earlier comments about the way Zendaya earns a pass on some small things due to the level of her performance.  But lack of the correct Spanish line and completely turned in feet and no demonstrated control over the power of Paso kind of ruined this performance for me.  Judges say 8,9,8 for a total of 25.  Call it personal preference.  I didn't like it.

Ingo and Kym dance Jive with Lindsay Arnold.  This is another really good choice for a third.  I like the feel of this right from the jump.  It's purposely silly and fluffy, which really does make all the difference because Ingo can pull faces and overact it to cover some minor technical blips.  A Jive should have lots of energy and this dance had that.  I would have liked a few more flicks and kicks and I would have liked the kicks there were to be a bit more crisp.  I didn't really see anything that I would call a mistake.  I thought the main issue was that some of the movement lacked precision.  But the performance was fun and frivolous, and you have to get points when you manage full on energy and conquer the frivolity of Jive.  Well done.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.

Kellie and Derek dance Paso Doble with Tristan.  I really like the concept of the light to dark tie in with both of their dances.  This is so intense and dramatic.  The choreography is stunningly good.  And they never missed a step.  Kellie was incredible as she channeled the power of the Paso style.  The entire performance was mesmerizing.  I don't know what Len's problem was but his reaction and harsh commentary requires an apology to the performers and to the fans.  There was more than enough Paso content in that choreography.  It had the full flavor and character of Paso and it was performed flawlessly.  Judges say 10,7,10 for a total of 27.  Len's score is beyond ridiculous and his behavior is not to be tolerated.  That's crap and it's not why I watch this program.  I have been disappointed with comments from the judges before and I will be again, just as some scores will puzzle and baffle me, but after that uncalled for tirade, I nearly turned the entire program off without watching the end.

Aly and Mark dance Jive with Henry Biyalikov.  I had a hard time getting my mind back in order to figure out anything worthwhile to say about this dance.  I liked these three together.  I would have liked the kicks to be a little bit crisper and more precise.  I think Mark and Henry hammered at Aly so much during rehearsal to be sure to count the music, that she kind of started off with that in her head.  At least, that's what it looked like.  But then she got going with the character and flavor of the choreography.  That's really all I can figure out to say about what I saw.  I'll have to watch it back tomorrow with a clear head.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.

Here's our combined leader board after both rounds.

58 Zendaya and Val
56 Aly and Mark
55 Kellie and Derek
52 Jacoby and Karina
48 Ingo and Kym
42 Sean and Peta

I can usually get beyond what any of the judges might say or how they might score a routine pretty quickly.  Not after this.  Len's meanness turned me totally off the show.


  1. Anonymous says:

    I must admit that I do't understand the drama from judges either. Ratings? I think their credibility takes a nose dive when they act so unprofessionally. I have had that sense with other judged shows, as well. GGG

  1. Cherie says:

    I knew that Len was going to be upset with that Paso. It was brilliantly executed, but to me it looked like a dance "inspired by" the Paso. When I watched it back, I thought it could just as easily been "inspired by" the Tango. Derek knows that Len wants content, but, as he repeatedly showed last season, he doesn't care. Len has made it perfectly clear that scores will be hurt when Derek choreographs that way, but Derek continues to do it. I don't think the tirade was called for, but I wasn't surprised about the low score. Well, I was surprised by the 7. I thought he'd give them an 8.

    Contrast that with what Val's did with Zendaya's Salsa. Tons of content and an absolutely phenomenal dance, also brilliantly executed. I think that might be my favorite Salsa of all the ones I've seen on DWTS. (To be fair, I haven't seen them all. Several seasons, I only saw the ones you featured here.)

    All my votes via phone and online went to Zendaya, but I reserved one online vote for Jacoby. I really enjoyed his Paso. :)

  1. Hey Cherie - Always the well respected voice of reason because you actually know whether there's enough true content in these dances. I'm often ruled more by like/dislike passion regarding these dances, with just enough knowledge to be dangerous.

    "Inspired by"...good phrase. I watched it back and I'll agree with that description. I was completely thrown off by the vehemence of Len's response, particuarly when he would have seen exactly how they were going to dance in dress rehearsal. To me, that means his advanced temper tantrum was completely staged and premeditated, and therefore completely irresponsible and certainly not the least bit entertaining.

    An 8 was called for. That was a 10-level performance. To pull 3 points off for perceived lack of content is just spiteful and mean.

    Were I Derek and the pair makes the finale, I'd pull that complete 2-dance concept out for the freestyle and take it over the top.

  1. Cherie says:

    I hate manufactured drama. There's plenty of "legitimate" drama in the world without making stuff up. I had a meeting, so I was watching a tape and fast-forwarded through Len's temper tantrum. I did like Tom's response of "I don't know you." :P

    I think that the results show has finished broadcasting in your area. But just in case, spoiler alert ... The good news is that all the right people made it through despite these things. So, there's a clean slate score-wise.

    And for some alternative good news. I'm officially a practicing dance teacher again. I taught a group class for a fundraiser a few weeks ago, which has resulted in an offer from the local university to teach a ballroom class in the Fall semester. *squeeeee* It hasn't been a part of my life that I've been able to exercise in several years, and I'm really excited. :D