Monday, March 31, 2014

Dancing with the Stars - Week 3

Welcome to Week Three of Dancing with the Stars!

This week the dances will be inspired by the stars' most memorable year. This is always an emotional episode, and where we really get to connect with and get to know the stars. Moreover, the stars usually step up their game because the inspiration is so meaningful to them.

Billy Dee & Emma will not be dancing this week, doctors orders. Does this mean no elimination this week? Yes, Billy Dee is withdrawing. It's too bad that he couldn't have done it last week and saved one of the other couples.

And, we also have a guest judge, Robin Roberts. Okay, I'm not sure what makes her qualified to judge a ballroom dance show. She's not subbing for anyone this week. She'll serve as a fourth judge.

Apparently, her qualification is that she's a long time viewer and TV personality. I suppose it's no worse than a thousand commentators who have no ballroom dance experience. Only they have no real effect on the outcome. My professionalism balks at this even more than Carrie Ann and Bruno who don't come from the ballroom dance world ... doing things like correcting Tony Dovolani about the technique in the jive when he's a multi-year American Rhythm champion. [/sarcasm] What is the point of having judges if they're not experts in the field or specialty?

(Pics not from this week.)
James & Peta dance first, and I don't think I'll be going into each star's sob story. They're dancing the jive. It looks pretty good. Very energetic. Great kicks and flicks. Not up to Peta's standards, but I wouldn't expect that this early in the competition. He is definitely going to be one to watch. Len says his best dance so far. Considering that last week's salsa was super that is really saying something. I would score an 8. Total judges score: 36/40. 9's across the board.

NeNe & Tony dance the rumba. I find it romantic, but its low on technique. Flattering costuming, and I see her really taking emotional risks in her dancing. It really was a beautiful dance, but I think she'll get dinged on technique. I would score a 7. Total judges score: 31/40.

Cody & Whitney dance jazz. So, I'm about as qualified to judge jazz is Robin Roberts is to judge ballroom. On the other hand I enjoyed what I saw. It looked well executed and synchronized. He really owned it. I liked it. Props to Whitney for choreography.  I won't offer a score for this one, but the total judges score: 35/40.

Danica & Val dance contemporary. Another non-ballroom dance. (Not that I have an opinion or anything. If they brought in pros that were specialists in these other areas I might feel differently.) Back to dancing. This number is incredibly beautiful, romantic, and elegant. I thought it was very well danced. Danica is obviously a talented dancer, and Val is such a brilliant choreographer and dancer. (One of my dance fantasies would be to dance with Val or even just watch him dance in person.) Added to that the song was Billy Joel's "Lullaby," one of my favorite musical artists. Total judges score: 36/40.

Drew & Cheryl dance waltz. Great lead, Drew! I'm not in love with his posture and his elbow is sticking up in dance hold, but the steps are very good. He is definitely leading Cheryl. So, visually it doesn't look fantastic, but he gets extra points from me because he's really dancing it. For a guy the lead is the hardest thing to do. Impressive this early in the comp. I'm giving him an 8 for that. The judges were less forgiving. Total judges scores: 30/40.

Meryl & Maks dance foxtrot. Maks is pulling out all the stops on the choreography. The judges may have a problem with it not being classic enough. But, this is a gorgeous dance. It is one of those where I can't tell the difference between the pro and the star. The lack of classical content made it hard to tell whether her foot work was technically perfect, but I'm going to have to give this a 10. We will see whether the judges mark her down for any reason. The judges seem totally blown away. Total judges scores: 39/40. Three 10s in week three, impressive.

Amy & Derek dance contemporary. A bit of the story has to come into this one because it is about her learning to walk again with her dad after losing her legs. Derek did such an incredibly beautiful job choreographing this. She has special feet attached to her prosthetic legs, so that she can walk on her toes. If you think walking in heels are difficult, she was walking on the tip toes of her prosthetic feet! To paraphrase Len, the artistry was phenomenal and the technical level was amazing. Total judges scores: 36/40.

Charley & Sharna dance jive to "Happy," my favorite song, so of course I'm already in a great mood. He danced it really well. It was really fun. Great kicks and flicks, which is always one of the hardest things for new to ballroom dancers to get. There was some comic aspects to it including slightly short pants with no socks, but it seemed to lack a little energy. I would give a 9. Judges agree. Total judges scores: 36/40.

Just back from commercial, and oh my gosh, Tom Bergeron is standing on top of the judges desk. What's up with that? lol The judges also seem mystified. :)

Candace & Mark finish off the week with jive. We've had a lot of good examples of jive tonight. This is the first one from a woman. She was giving it her all, for sure. High energy. Love the costume, lots of fringe, my favorite. Kicks and flicks not quite as clean as the others tonight. But, she was shaking it! Good effort. I would give her an 8. Judges agree, again! Total judges scores: 32/40.

So, next week the stars will be switching pro partners based on Twitter votes, but it will just be for a week. They have been very ambiguous about this partner switch up thing up to now, and I'm glad to see that it is just for one week. Truth be told this could really help the stars to become better dancers. When I was training, we were always encouraged to work with multiple teachers. It helps to improve faster by getting different perspectives and communication styles.

Bruno mentioned the high dance quality for this stage the competition, and I have to agree. The people with less previous experience and training are doing a darn good job keeping up with ice dancers and the like. Most impressive, indeed!

As I wrap up for this week, I would like to say how much I enjoyed Robin's commentary on the dances. She gave a prospective on the whole presentation without getting into the picky details. Yet, she sounded like she knew what she was talking about. The woman obviously did her homework. Thank you, Robin.

Until next week...

P.S. Tonight Drew Carey filled in as the host of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson as an April Fools joke. (It's on after midnight on the East & West Coast, and that's all that matters, right? lol) Drew did a fantastic job! Craig's supposed to be the host for The Price Is Right


I used to love watching DWTS…but I decided to skip it this season. Yes, each season they have had semi dancers on - ice skaters or gymnasts - but this time it's so blatant with the ice dancing team. Pleeeze!

Marla: When it comes down to it, this season I think that Meryl & Charlie will split their fan vote. It is amazing how important the viewer vote is. It has sent some really great dancers home early. Usually, that makes me mad, but this time I kind of think that it will be just desserts from a fairness perspective.

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