It's live from Hollywood!
Cher is in the ballroom this week as a guest judge. Rumor has it she'll also perform. Rumor is true! She leads off the show.
Yes, I'm a fan.
Our remaining seven pairs have an individual round danced to Cher's music, plus a dance off for scores. The couple with the highest score won't need to dance in the dance off. We'll get back to that.
First the individual round.
Corbin and Karina dance Argentine Tango. Crazy week for Corbin. He wasn't able to completely focus because of lots of outside issues. I like the stalking quality to begin. That lift in the middle was really nice. I thought their timing together was off just a bit this week. Corbin wasn't nearly as smooth and in control as I've seen him in past performances. I thought there were balance issues, and he didn't dance as precisely as I've come to expect. I thought the choreography was difficult and very true to the style. So while I didn't think the quality was up to his normal standard, I did enjoy the performance. Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.
Leah and Tony dance Viennese Waltz. I love the whole idea of this dance. I grew up with the Sonny & Cher show, before things turned sour for them. I remember enjoying how they were together, and understanding even as a kid that there was real love behind it all. I think nerves might have gotten the better of Leah. I thought she got a little lost in her footwork and fell behind the tempo. The piece had so much potential, but it looked kind of disjointed to me. I think the side by side work was very nice, but the work in hold was a struggle. I wanted to see a bit more extension from Lean. She's still shorting her legs. I wanted to see some more rise and fall. I think Leah lost timing and that messed with the fairy tale just a little bit. Even so, I think the emotion behind the way they interpreted the story made the performance enjoyable. Judges say 8,9,8 for a total of 25.
Brant and Peta dance Foxtrot. More stress and pressure. It's week 8. There are styles were the way Brant moves is perfectly suited. I don't think this is one of them. His legs aren't smooth and that makes everything look awkward to me in a Foxtrot. I'm looking for a glide, and I just didn't see it. I think his posture was very good and he had an excellent frame. But his lower body looks like it's doing something completely different. One thing I can always count on from Brant is that he finds a connection with Peta and then with the audience, and that can transcend some of the issues with his lower body. Carrie Ann put her finger on it...his knees turn in and that ruins his line. He needs to refine. Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.
Elizabeth and Val dance Jazz. This is a style that should be very comfortable for Elizabeth. Oh...they had a song change after Val had choreography and costuming for the original song they got. I respect her for making the choice to switch to a song that has such a personal meaning for her, but I didn't care for what they did with it. It's not a song that lends itself to dance so much as it does a scene in a show. There's no real melody to it, particularly with the arrangement they used. With that kind of piece, you need to find nuance and dance to lyric as much as rhythm. I like the song and this arrangement, as well as the original song. But I hated this choreography. There was really nothing about it that interested me. And I didn't think Elizabeth looked good in the piece. I'm going to have to watch this one back. Judges say 8,9,8 for a total of 25.
Bill and Emma dance Disco. Disco is more technical than a lot of people might think, but it's also about fun. I think that makes it a good style for Bill, as long as he doesn't get silly with it. There was some good disco bounce. Bill did a great job with the lift. Most of the rest of the dance was just a bit awkward for me. His musicality was way off. He was either behind the music or ahead of it. Still, I love his enthusiasm. He had a good time performing the dance. I didn't think it was one of his best, but I so respect his effort. He knows he's not the best dancers, but he just goes for it and has fun and that makes the performance entertaining. Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.
Jack and Cheryl dance Tango. Everybody is nervous about performing dances not just in front of Cher, but to her music. Tango suits Jack. He always hits his steps, but he will struggle at times with tempo and speed. When he can control and measure his steps, like in a Tango, he looks fantastic. This dance had precision. It was clean and sharp. Jack appeared to lead Cheryl through it. There was intensity and drama. He danced with confidence and sophistication. I loved Cheryl's choreography. I'd go 10, although Carrie Ann did point out that Jack missed a head snap at the beginning of the routine. I didn't see that mistake. I thought the performance was perfect. Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.
Amber and Derek dance Rumba. Amber has a tendon tear in her knee. Whitney pitched in to go through the choreography so Amber didn't have to spend the extra time on her leg. Turn Back Time isn't the tempo I normally associate with Rumba. It's a good thing Len isn't here this week. He just might hate this. I like it because it's a dancing Rumba and not a posing one. I don't like all the stops for posing. I like the motion and the hip movement and the interaction between the pair of them. I like that Derek gave the female part more power. Amber had control of the piece. I don't think it was Amber's best, but I did enjoy it. Judges say 9,9,10 for a total of 28.
Here's our leader board after the individual round.
28 Amber and Derek
27 Jack and Cheryl
27 Corbin and Karina
27 Brant and Peta
25 Leah and Tony
24 Elizabeth and Val
24 Bill and Emma
That extra point from Bruno means that Amber and Derek win the individual round and don't have to participate in the dance off. They are safe from elimination and will return next week.
Everybody else is in the dance off. But first, it's another performance from Cher accompanied by Tyne and Tony.
Now for the rules - higher place chooses the pair to dance against with the challenger choosing the style of dance. The winner gets three points.
Since we have a three way tie at 27, we go to cumulative season scores and that means Corbin and Karina choose Elizabeth and Val, who then select Cha Cha Cha. That one is too close for me to call. Judges give it to Corbin and Karina by 3-0.
By cumulative season score, Brant and Peta get the next choice and they pick Leah and Tony, who then select Rumba. Brant had no hips whatsoever. Leah was sexy and hot. I'd give it to Leah and Tony. Judges give it to Leah and Tony by 2 to 1.
So by default it's Jack and Cheryl dancing Disco against Bill and Emma. Jack and Cheryl did great, with just a couple of places where they lost synchronization. Bill lost his grip on the floor spin and Emma hit the floor hard. Neither perfect. I'd give it to Jack and Cheryl. Judges give it to Jack and Cheryl by 3-0.
Here's our updated leader board after the dance off points are added.
28 Amber and Derek (safe)
30 Jack and Cheryl
30 Corbin and Karina
28 Leah and Tony
27 Brant and Peta
24 Elizabeth and Val
24 Bill and Emma
Results...Amber and Derek are safe. Bill and Emma are safe. Elizabeth and Val are safe. Corbin and Karina are safe. Leah and Tony are safe. Jack and Cheryl are safe.
That means Brant and Peta are eliminated.
If you look just at dancing, it probably should have been Bill to go. But it's not just about the dancing. It's about who gets the fans to pick up the phones.
Tune in next week gang. It's the return of the Trio round. Although it's not the finale, it will be my final recap of Season 17.