Cue that theme music...

Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 by Travis Cody in

Live from Hollywood!

Here we are for week 2 gang.  I'll see if I can do a little better than last week.

My encore from last week is the Foxtrot from Paige and Mark.  I chose it because Paige caught me totally by surprise with how well she danced.  Click here if the video doesn't play.

OK ready?  Here we go!

And it's Festival of Tiny Costumes, otherwise known as Latin Night!

We've had our first injury...Mark Ballas hurt his back so we'll see what that means in a bit.

Jody and Keo dance Samba.  She really needs to get out of her head.  Sometimes you just need to learn the steps and then dance it.  It's hard to do, but you just have to put in the work and it'll come to you...especially if you have some natural talent.  She has that, plus she has the performance behind it.  So I think all she needs to do is relax and trust Keo.  I think the pressure really is on Keo, because he hasn't had partners with this kind of ability before on this stage, and he has to understand what she can do and provide her with a framework to succeed.  I think he did that tonight.  The choreography was challenging but not overly difficult.  There was content and she danced it pretty well.  The performance had energy and it seemed like she was relaxed.  Now I would like to see her focus less on perfecting everything all at once and more on finding the little things in the routines that invite us all into the story.  I think that's where she'll begin to shine and make herself unique and different.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21.  Solid score.

Marla and Tony dance Argentine Tango.  We find in rehearsal footage that Marla is an organically healthy eater.  Okey dokey then.  She's also kinda sexy with those long LEGSSES.  I'd like to see her dig into the extensions and use those lovely long LEGSSES more effectively.  She talked in rehearsal about drinking her amino acids to avoid cramping up, but then it seemed like she danced like she was afraid of cramping up.  She rarely extended through the movements with tight calf and thigh, and she seemed much too reserved.  I thought she just went through the performance motions instead of really owning it.  I do agree with the judges that there was more sophistication in this choreography and in the phrasing of each movement, but I also feel that Argentine Tango should be a more sensual dance.  This routine didn't feel sensual to me.  I thought it was danced reasonably well, but she could have taken it to another level.  Judges say 7,6,7 for a total of 20.  That's fair.

Geraldo and Edyta dance Salsa.  This could be disastrous.  I wasn't aware that he is working with a bit of a handicap.  He had back surgery which left him with no feeling in his left foot.  I'm not a fan of the opening, but Edyta has to do something to make the routine work.  There is still very little dancing from Geraldo and virtually no hip action.  Although I must say that toward the end he did start to move a little better.  And it looked as though he was enjoying the performance much more than last week.  Of course the best part of the dance was Edyta in a tiny costume.  You know I loves me some Edyta in a tiny costume.  Still, Geraldo won't fool anyone into thinking he can actually dance.  There was more rhythmic movement and better musicality, but still too much walking through the steps.  Judge say 5,4,4 for a total of 13.  Harsh but I think fair.

Paige is supposed to dance Salsa with Mark, but will dance with Alan from the Troupe instead because of Mark's injury.  He injured that back doing a very basic partner swing through is legs during camera blocking.  I remember Alan from SYTYCD and he's a terrific partner.  Paige is really good gang.  I am so impressed.  She dances with the energy of a pro.  She and Alan look like they've been dancing together for weeks, and it's really just been two hours.  That was an outstanding performance.  I can't even believe what I just saw.  Alan was able to go full throttle and she kept up with every step.  That was fantastic choreography.  Her technique is terrific.  If I have a criticism, it would be her tendency not to really listen to the music and be aware of the beats, because she often gets well ahead of where she should be.  Mark can pull that back without sacrificing her strengths, and if Alan has to keep dancing in Mark's place, he'll learn how to guide her through as well.  Nicely done!  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.  Yup yup yup!  I think she and Mark are an early favorite, and it's good to see that Alan can step in and keep it going if Mark is out for a couple of weeks with the injury.

Antonio and Sharna dance Rumba.  I've heard Rumba called the vertical expression of a horizontal desire.  Now Sharna explains it as inviting someone to invade your personal space.  Works for me!  Rumba is super sensual.  Some celebrities pick it up very well, and some are very awkward and visibly uncomfortable.  I actually like the way he frames Sharna.  He's very smooth and he's clearly enjoying himself.  I'd say he's in the "picks it up very well" category.  That smile is so genuine.  I thought his technique was solid.  I think he mostly kept his shoulders back and his core tucked up, which allowed him to keep good balance and that strong frame, although I did see that his feet tended to slide just a little bit.  For me, that didn't affect the overall feel.  They have excellent chemistry together.  Now all Antonio needs to do is work on performance and connecting one movement to the next.  I enjoyed this dance and I'm looking forward to seeing how he improves each week.  I think he'll be around awhile.  Judges say 6,6,7 for a total of 19.  I think I might agree with that.

Kim and Sasha dance Rumba.  Kim had a bit of a meltdown in rehearsal.  She took some criticism seriously and it hurt her feelings.  Sasha made it all better by connecting with Gloria Estefan.  I think sometimes the pros have as much of an adjustment as the celebrities.  They have to figure out how their celebrity learns best, and possibly change the way they teach more than a little so they develop a bond rather than an adversarial situation.  Anyway, the dancing was pretty good.  I'm not worried about performance.  I think Kim has musicality and she's not afraid of the steps or the stage.  Unfortunately she got her foot in the wrong spot, stepped on Sasha's foot, and messed up the timing toward the end of the routine.  She let the flub pull her out of the performance, so the dance kind of limped to the finish.  I thought it was a pretty strong routine up to that point.  Judges say 7,6,6 for a total of 19.  I want her to stick around for awhile, so I'll be looking for her to have a good rehearsal week and a break through performance next Monday.

Nyle and Peta dance Rumba.  His family came to rehearsal this week.  His entire family is deaf, by the way.  Doesn't matter.  He's just a performer.  I don't think I need to mention anymore that he is totally deaf and has been since birth.  This was a sweet performance.  Again Nyle demonstrates a natural rhythm.  There are two issues I have with the his work this week.  The choreography was a little too fast and a bit jerky for my taste in a Rumba.  I missed the smooth sensuality typical of this style.  And, although I find the constant picking on lifts to be annoying, Rumba shouldn't have any and Sharna's choreography flagrantly broke the rules.  Even with those issues, I still enjoyed the performance.  I think Nyle has a potential that is going to be realized as he and Sharna continue to develop the physical cues that get him through the dances.  He's already far surpassed my expectations and I think he's just going to get better each week.  Judges say 7,6,7 for a total of 20.

Mischa and Artem dance Cha Cha Cha.  Artem is trying to take the drama out of learning and performing this week, but Mischa doesn't seem to be cooperating.  Here's another gal who just needs to relax and trust her partner.  I actually know people who work really hard to not have any fun or enjoy anything.  Mischa seems like she's working hard at not enjoying this experience.  Maybe it's just because she's a bit shy and still uncomfortable with what she's doing.  She says the music has been different throughout the day, which threw her off.  She thinks she's not having good rehearsals and music is different and yada yada yada.  You know what gang, sometimes life just doesn't go right on the first try.  So you try again, and try again, and then try again.  Nobody is going to make it better for you, so make it better for yourself.  It's a shame that she and Artem just don't seem to be connecting.  They don't have any chemistry.  I'd like to see her calm down, give over to Artem, relax, and just dance.  Artem is a great partner if she'll let him help her.  It's what he's there for.  Judges say 5s across for a total of 15.  The attitude is off putting and isn't going to get her votes.

Von and Witney dance Cha Cha Cha.  Uh-oh.  Von is late to rehearsal and gets fined.  And then it becomes a game in rehearsal.  Everything costs $100.  Looks to me like Von is giving us a nice club performance vibe with this Cha Cha Cha.  There's some classic content, but a lot of it was straight off the club dance floor.  I don't mind all that much, as long as posture and technique are really good.  I can't say those things were really good.  I think I'd say this performance was sort of like playing a pre-season game instead of a Super Bowl.  It was adequate, but my expectations are higher than just adequate.  So choreography and technique were a bit lacking, whereas performance and style and swag got high marks.  I guess I liked the performance, but I think he can do much better if he applies himself to cleaning up technique, expressing the flavor of each dance style, and then using his full size to make a great frame for Witney.  Club is fine, but respect the medium here and give us good competition level effort!  Then we'd have something to talk about, I think.  Judges say 7,6,7 for a total of 20.

Wanya and Lindsay dance Salsa.  Wanya is on the road in concert with the Boys this week, so rehearsal time is hard to find.  This routine is really good y'all.  The movements are all well connected.  The pair is in constant motion,, which is how a Salsa should be done.  Wanya is so light on his feet, and it felt like he was leading Lindsay through the whole routine.  That was really impressive.  Lots of energy.  Excellent footwork.  Tremendous choreography.  Style and swag.  There was a club feel to it without losing the flavor and presentation of competition Salsa.  I loved how fluid the dance was.  I admit to a bit of surprise at how good Wanya is, because I don't really recall dance being part of Boys II Men.  They are an excellent vocal group, but not really in that old "boy band" category with the hip hop dancing as a large part of the act.  So the fact that he has caught on so well so early is nice to see.  Wanya and Lindsay look to be a strong front runner at this stage, not only because of the dancing but also because he should have a solid voting block.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.

Doug and Karina dance Paso Doble.  He actually might be able to do this dance well.  One thing he's got is the attitude.  It's nice to hear the Paso style music.  I think that always helps.  I like the aggression and the stomp in the footwork.  You know, that really worked for me.  He attacked it and controlled it.  He hit all his marks.  The phrasing was really good.  Karina's choreography suited him because it was basic Paso.  She didn't add anything that was too difficult.  The simple choreography allowed Doug to focus on his steps and improve his footwork, and give us a performance.  Yes, he should have led more with his hips and chest.  Yes, he should tuck in his backside.  Yes, he needs to be more fluid as he connects movement to movement.  But this performance was an improvement over last week.  Also I think the chemistry with Karina was improved.  He's going to keep working as long as he's around.  I'm hoping he gets a chance to Waltz.  Everyone should get a chance to Waltz.  Judges say 7,6,7 for a total of 20.  Very nice.

Ginger and Val dance Samba.  They are looking for the sexy and the flirty this week.  I like this routine.  Samba is the party dance, and this piece had that flavor.  Lots of bounce and energy.  There was a cute intro with a bench and a flower, then a nice story to tie the intro to the dance content to the ending.   It did take just a little long to get to the actual Samba content, but once they got there they sure did pack a bunch of those recognizable Samba steps Len wants to see.  Now apparently she missed a couple of steps, but I actually missed her missing them because she covered so well.  I did enjoy the performance, and I liked that Val made a whole story out of the routine.  I think the light and fluffy choreography allowed Ginger to find herself in the music and to relax so that she could easily cover the little foot faults.  Overall, a very nice job.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21.

Here's our leader board after these dances:

24 Paige and Alan subbing for Mark
24 Wanya and Lindsay
21 Jody and Keo
21 Ginger and Val
20 Marla and Tony
20 Nyle and Peta
20 Von and Witney
20 Doug and Karina
19 Antonio and Sharna
19 Kim and Sasha
15 Mischa and Artem
13 Geraldo and Edyta

And now results based on the scores from last week plus votes!

Mischa and Artem are in the bottom.  Geraldo and Edyta are in the bottom.  Doug and Karina are in the bottom.

Everyone else is safe.

Geraldo and Edyta are the first elimination, which should surprise no one.

Tune in next week!


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