Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 by Travis Cody in

We're live from Hollywood!

Welcome to Week 4.  I'm still a little tired and grumpy.  I enjoyed just watching the program on DVR last week so much that I had a moment's thought of doing the same thing this week.  It's possible that this is my final season of doing recaps.

I still love watching.  But I seem to be running out of things to say about the dances. 

Anyway, let's see about Week 4 and worry about whether to recap or not another day.

We get another terrific group number from our pros and Troupe, choreographed by Ray Leeper.  And we get Julianne Hough as a guest judge, replacing Len Goodman this week who is in England judging Strictly Come Dancing.

Jack and Cheryl dance Quickstep.  I like that Jack isn't afraid to pick at Cheryl and doesn't take her criticisms personally.  He takes on the notes and works hard, then lightens the mood with his own mischievous humor.  The ballroom styles are definitely his strength.  This tempo was almost too fast, but he just held onto it through the long runs.  He stayed on the music and also kept his elbows up but his shoulders down.  I liked his frame.  There were places in that choreography where he could have hunched over and lost frame, but he didn't.  Even with the focus he put on holding frame and keeping on pace, he didn't forget the character of the piece.  It was a fun performance.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.

Elizabeth and Val dance Argentine Tango.  So evidently a staring contest is good training for Argentine Tango.  Or it is for Elizabeth.  This is very provocative choreography.  There was a significant introduction which took just a little too long to go into hold for my taste.  Then there was a long dismount out of hold.  Although I think they told a story in the movement, I didn't care for the intro or the exit.  Still, I think there was an elegance balanced by some sharp motion that emphasized the stalking and dramatic quality of the piece.  I'm not sure I liked it though.  I'm partial to more smooth upper body in Argentine Tango.  I like the slow-quick-slow footwork and emphatic pauses.  Val chose a different approach that worked for the judges but not necessarily for me.  It was an excellent performance, but I'm not sure I liked it.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.

Brant and Peta dance Salsa.  Brant has an injured foot carried over from last week and a sore hip.  Plus he's having trouble with an old shoulder injury that is impacting his ability to do over-the-head lifts that are important to Peta's choreography.  Scary stuff.  She says she took out the really hard lift, but I saw a pretty damn tough one in there that they did flawlessly.  This was a hard hitting Salsa with lots of stomps on the beat.  The lifts and tricks were good.  But part of the trouble I had with this dance was that those lifts and tricks took away from the fluidity of movement.  Salsa is all about non-stop flow from one movement to the next.  Plus his footwork was kind of sloppy and he lost balance several times.  I know he's struggling with injuries, but you still have to clean up footwork and hold your balance and dance with musicality.  I thought this performance fell short in those three areas.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21.

Valerie and Tristan dance Viennese Waltz.  You know how I feel about Waltz...I think every celebrity should get to do it.  I just love her attitude.  She could be bitter about her situation with terminal cancer, but she's not.  She's taking every moment and doing the most she can with it.  I worry about her though, because she seems so unsteady on her feet.  It just seems like she has trouble maintaining her balance.  Tristan is so wonderful to guide her through each step and turn.  I think he needs to keep her more in hold because when she is out of hold she looks so shaky.  It's emotional to watch her.  I feel like she's so fragile.  But she's a trooper.  Judges say 6s across for a total of 18.

Leah and Tony dance Cha Cha Cha.  This is not typically what I expect from Tony.  I don't like the music.  I can't understand the Cha Cha Cha in the rhythm.  The whole piece looked weird to me.  There was a lot of attitude and pulling faces and acting through the dance, which is OK as long as the rest of the dance measures up to the acting.  But I think what was missing was the finish on the movement.  I think the thing that Leah needs to do is to define and refine the extension in her arms, and relax.  She has all the tools.  Now she needs to get control of all those parts and bring them together with confidence.  She's getting there.  Judges 8s across for a total of 24.

Corbin and Karina dance Paso Doble.  What's not to love about a good classic Paso, and this was a good classic Paso.  Corbin worked to keep his shoulders down and his chest out.  He worked on shapes and emphasis.  There was some nice Flamenco step in there.  I thought he did a good job as a strong lead.  I think there were a few times when he cut off the shapes instead of extending through them.  He curled up his shoulders just a couple of times, and didn't quite get his hips drawn and tight enough.  That kept him from completely opening up with true Spanish lines.  But where he made up for those deficiencies was in attitude and intensity.  That was all Paso.  Karina kept the choreography traditional, which helped to emphasize the classic lines and shapes.  I enjoyed the performance.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.

Nicole and Sasha dance Jive.  They are traveling back and forth from New York to LA, and she got the crud this week.  That's tough for any week, but Jive is so upbeat and fast.  You have to get your stamina.  She has certainly found the performer in herself.  It helps that the dance is basically a cheerleading routine, and she was a cheerleader in high school.  But she did struggle to keep her energy up throughout, and that's only natural since she's been so sick.  I thought it was a good performance, although there were some sloppy parts.  She needed to be a bit sharper and cleaner with her flicks and kicks.  I would have liked to see a little more traditional Jive moves in hold.  It was a fun performance, but technically speaking it could have been better.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.

Christina and Mark dance Foxtrot.  She let the possible lack of votes get into her head this week.  She's got to understand that although she was one of the two last pairs standing, that didn't necessarily mean she was in the bottom two.  She has to keep dancing with confidence.  I like Mark's concept for this Foxtrot.  He is taking advantage of her performance ability and building the dance around that.  It's working for me.  This choreography has a bit of an edge to it, with a Fosse-like style.  One thing I would like to see is a little more connection between the two of them.  She's a good dancer and a star as a performer.  With a partner like that, Mark has a tendency to take too many chances in choreography that sometimes find him dancing beyond his celebrity.  Julianne even called him on it in her notes.  She should know since they trained together under Mark's parents.  I think Christina can keep pace, but they need to find more chemistry together.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.

Amber and Derek dance Tango.  Amber has sore knees this week.  Lindsay stepped in so she could see the choreography, but she couldn't start training until Friday.  That's such a short time to get the piece right.  Wow.  For not having hardly any time, she got into the pocket quickly.  That was a hot number.  They had tremendous hold.  They rarely pulled apart and that's so hard to do.  I love that Derek did a classic piece, because it gave Amber a real chance to focus on the footwork.  Her upper body posture and frame are terrific.  I think it helped her this week to watch Lindsay.  And the rest gave her a chance to get her feet underneath her.  I thought she captured the character of Tango really well.  There were pauses for emphasis, there was drama, and there was passion.  I enjoyed the performance very much.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.

Bill and Emma dance Samba.  Emma did a very classic Samba choreography.  And Bill gave it his best.  But that was really some hard stuff and this just isn't his style.  His feet are a little too heavy and his hips are a little too rigid.  He lost timing and rhythm.  He didn't have the musicality.  But you know what?  He wasn't inhibited at all.  He went out and danced and had a good time.  He entertained the crowd.  There was even a little Samba bounce in there.  In an odd way, the performance was entertaining.  What I find endearing about Bill is that he's genuine.  He's having a good time learning something new and making new friends.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21.

Here's our leader board:

27 Amber and Derek
27 Elizabeth and Val
27 Corbin and Karina
24 Christina and Mark
24 Jack and Cheryl
24 Nicole and Sasha
24 Lea and Tony
21 Brant and Peta
21 Bill and Emma
18 Valerie and Tristan

Here's our results...Bill and Emma are safe.  Elizabeth and Val are safe.  Leah and Tony are safe.  Corbin and Karina are safe.  Amber and Derek are safe.  Jack and Cheryl are safe.  Christina and Mark are safe.  Nicole and Sasha are safe.  Brant and Peta are safe.

That means Valerie and Tristan are eliminated.

That's probably for the best.  I love her spirit, but her shakiness on her feet was making me so nervous. 

Tune in next week when our couples relive in dance a memorable year in the life of the celebrity. 

Can I get a woo and a hoo?  My Dodgers advanced to the National League Championship Series last night with a 4-3 come from behind win over Atlanta.  Next up, either Pittsburgh or St Louis.

In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.  Dalai Lama

Reason 26: Because I think that the best answer to a negative attitude is a positive one.

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. Anonymous says:

    My best wishes go to Valerie for continued courage and strength as she goes forward in life. About being grumpy . . . would some cake help? GGG

  1. Cherie says:

    Some really marvelous dancing. It was kind of funny when Julianne called Mark out, but I thought the look on his smiling face was even funnier. I saw, "You're gonna pay for this!" LOL