Here we go again! Hector and Jayne’s dialectic over that entertainment milestone in American TV Culture. What else? Dancing With The Stars! Week 3 brings us PROM NIGHT on April Fools Day!!
Hector: Does anyone have mixed feelings about their prom? Yeah, yeah! Most everyone, even if you were Prom Queen or King (which I was not) probably feels this way. Celebrating an experience like Prom Night, which often brings feelings of inadequacy, is risky. It could be funny and successful, like Grease the movie was, or it could be a turkey. I would dub Dancing with the Stars Prom Night at best a mixed bag; at worse a ship of fools. Biggest fools were the production team, who had the badly handled idea! It didn’t help much to enhance most of the couples dancing and at times made them look foolish. Of course, it’s my opinion. A dear twitter friend commonly says it’s all in the eye of the beholder. I was also nicely surprised that this time the judges avoided looking like fools. Mostly, they were pretty right on in their calls. I include Bruno, although for his shenanigans outside the judging function, Bruno takes the cake for top fool on this April Fools Day! Here I go, in order of my preference and Jayne adds her comments as well.
Kellie and Derek – Jive
Hector: First time when I’m home alone that I get up from my DWTS TV watching chair and clap my heart out for a couple! Pickler and Hough were not only best of night (by far) but the only ones who truly delivered a proper dance for Prom Night. They fit right into the celebratory, nostalgic mood the producers would have liked to create. How cool was Derek’s entrance! Sliding down the stairs on a ramp! Does everyone agree that this guy is a choreography genius! He delivers hits like one pizza one after another in a Chicago Pizza parlor! I watch, or rather existentially contemplate, my mouth open in amazement, my eyes tearful! Who can elicit that by just dancing the jive? Derek is way ahead among all pros as a choreographer. How cute did they look dancing side by side! Kellie mirrors all his right moves! She’s his perfect counterpoint! How pleasurable her curvaceous and sexy flexibility! Also outstanding about Kellie is how she picks up every single nuance in Derek’s moves, yet she makes it all her own. She knows intuitively how to give Derek’s great moves a female twist! He is at the top of his craft as a dancer. How can she possibly shine as bright as he! Perhaps because he’s a great teacher and inspires her to achieve more than imaginable for an amateur. She also proved that she can be bouncy and squeeze the jive vibe. This girl can dance and deliver winning performances!
Jayne: What can I say about Kellie and Derek’s performance? This was certainly the kicker of Prom Night for me. Looking picture perfect, the duo took us on a fast and furious Jive that tore up the dance floor. Although they received the highest score of the night, I’m still not quite sure what else the judges were looking for. Maybe something to do with her feet or maybe she had a slight moment of not keeping up? Certainly couldn’t tell it by me…but then again, I’m not a critic, judge or even a dancer. I’m just someone who knows what they like when they see it, and this couple delivered. Maybe the judges want to keep the pressure on for those perfect numbers…they are totally lurking just around the corner.
Aly and Mark – Viennese Waltz
Hector: Week after week I find this couple so adorable. I see a similar vibe as with Mark and Shawn and Derek! I’m sure Aly and Mark don’t appreciate the comparison, but I can’t help it! Truth is, that’s a very high compliment for me to offer! I would love it if they had the chance of being the Dark Horse to make the finals! The way I see it, though, there’s no chance in hell for this! Warning: My choices are generally contrary to the public vote! You already know that, don’t cha? I found their waltz so delightfully watchable! Aly has improved from gymnastic stiffness to graceful abandon. She’s feeling and moving to the music. OK, she counts, we saw it in rehearsals! It’s her gymnast’s habits! Who cares, as long as she delivers a nice waltz! She also showed expressive, sensitive ability. She moved well and acted out her dance role. It all resulted in Aly and Mark giving us a satisfying, total performance! I love the easygoing, but confident and knowledgeable way with which Mark teaches. One can see how his casual, loving way has created a sweet bond between them. One can feel their wonderful chemistry in their dancing! Aly’s improvement from stiff gymnast to graceful dancer is what this show’s supposed to be about!
Jayne: Aly seems to be coming along, showing a bit of improvement each week. She and Mark enjoyed performing probably my most favorite dance, the Viennese Waltz. I would like to continue to see a bit more smoothness from Aly, meaning she’s still just a tad bit too firm…her athletic strength benefits her in so many ways, but she needs to be able to blend her movement and flow without it seeming a conscious effort. I loved their lavender color choice and thought they looked lovely.
Zendaya and Val – Viennese Waltz
Hector: Que sera sera! Oh, come on! Channeled Doris Day on Prom Night? Gimme a break, please, from the Disney schmaltz! Add to that sweet little Zendaya and bells! How saccharine can it get? Isn’t cool guy Val too cast against type for the Princess consort? Technically, Zendaya’s very proficient! She has a lot of rhythm and musicality. I must admit this very Disney type dance is very suited to her. Graceful, inspiring, delightful! She’s so tall, svelte, slender and swift! Should be perfect, but I find something’s wrong! What’s the flaw? What’s off? I can’t point exactly why the whole’s not working smoothly. Is it Val who doesn’t look too comfortable? Maybe Val’s too sexy for this dance or perhaps Zendaya’s not sexy enough. Yes, pizazz is lacking, the kind of hot and sensual pizazz Jennifer and Derek put into their sizzling Viennese! Zendaya is a bit stiff and aloof, disconnected to the dance and to Val’s sensual charisma. Like Val’s hot quality are kind of wasted with this girlie girl. He looks a bit repressed trying to be delicate. They did deliver, though, a joyful, entertaining, fun dance, full of glitter, dash and flair. Yeah, but…we may be missing the post-pubescent sophistication and maturity of the flower in full blossom. Is it fair to ask a 16 year old to show the maturity of full growth in dance? No less fair than to ask the older ladies to dance with the energy, and vitality of the young!
Jayne: I thoroughly enjoyed Zen and Val’s Waltz. As I mentioned, one of my most favorite dances, I felt like we were whisked off to dreamland as they swept the dance floor with their moves. Zendaya is coming along nicely in her progression, even if this night’s dance might have been a little less impressionable than previous weeks. The girl has flat out talent and was a joy to watch. Beautiful lines with emotion that flows. Only thing I notice that is distracting to me is her fingernails! They are as long as her lines! I’m not quite sure how Val manages! Being the youngest, maybe she just seems the prom part, I don’t know, but I think this just might have been my favorite of the night!
Jacoby and Karina – Rumba
Hector: Luscious goodies in this performance!! For one, it’s thoroughly enjoyable! Would I enjoy dancing with these two (my kind of rule of thumb)? Sure I would! Earthy, rustic fun! Although the public is difficult to predict, I bet viewers will like it! This man has great projection and a certain kind of sassy charisma. Another good thing is Karina’s bouncy choreography! Lively, fast, sensitive and fitted to Jacoby’s capabilities. Third, Karina and Jacoby have great chemistry. They look like they’re enjoying themselves, and they dance very much in sync together! Karina is a better trainer and choreographer than people grant her. She’s a very smart Pro. She can create dance magic and design lovely dances. Maybe not much of a rumba, but lovely still. Can you blame if they don’t adhere closely to the rumba rules, when the judges are so inconsistent? The new genres introduced, contemporary and jazz, are so loosely defined, it opened the door for relaxed rules. Add that the judges are very inconsistent in applying the rules for the other dances, and you have a free for all! How can Len insist on the purity of the samba, salsa or waltz, when he and the others are so lax in applying the hold or not hold, the lift or lift not and other so called rules that supposedly apply. If they are going to do that they should publish the applicable rules for the cast and public to read ahead of time! Back to Jacoby, his rumba was full of beans, with great vitality and showmanship. He’s not as technically correct as my top three, still lacking polish and refinement, though much has been said about Jacoby showing refinement. He missed steps at times and he may be too aggressive, but when such a large strapping athlete shows a modicum of sensitivity and tenderness, both pundits and public go wild and anxious to give him the trophy! It also gives ABC hunger and hopes of raising the ratings!
Jayne: Ok, Jacoby and Karina truly have what it takes to get to the finals. Jacoby’s ability to reach within himself and bring the emotion needed for this dance was a big plus in the score column. That along with transforming himself into a smooth operator with rhythmic moves and flow, the couple pulled off a smoldering Rumba. For some reason, I’m personally still having trouble connecting with them, but that’s on me. They tied with Zendaya and Val for second place on the evening.
Victor and Lindsay – Contemporary
Hector: Hey, hey! Victor’s my most improved in my view! Who knew! I was about to dismiss him, and so it seemed was the public last week, when he was saved more or less by Dorothy Hamill. Or at least given a one week reprieve! No finalist dreams for Victor, but this one contemporary dance landed him in my middle! His big winning smile is certainly a performance asset, plus the couple has youth, energy, vitality and dash! Victor managed to look dapper and capable. It seems Lindsay realized he looks good doing lifts! This put him in manly control of the delicate princess. Are lifts permitted in Contemporary? Kosher or not, he slid through on the dance’s lack of definition, and his panache in attacking a difficult dance. For a boxer, he showed a lot of sweetness and sensibility and gave us an endearing performance. I wonder what he’ll do next week if he can’t do the saving lifts and has to somehow do footwork and sway his arms lift free! Even he agreed he was over scored! Were the judges spicing up the competition by over scoring him?
Jayne: I felt last week that Victor and Lindsay’s bottom two position was partially due to a potential fan base issue. I’ve had Victor in my top running since the beginning and this week he proved that he is capable of delivering the goods. Contemporary offered the duo the ability to entertain lifts in their performance. With Victor’s strength, this would seem an obvious plus, but lifts aren’t all just about strength. Smooth transitions with flow and grace are what really provide the wow value. With expression and feeling, the couple provided beauty and romance…maybe a bit much for prom, but hey, I enjoyed it!
Ingo and Kym – Paso Doble
Hector: I so hated the awful contemporary Ingo did on his first dance! I found him grossly inept in transmitting any kind of tenderness or vulnerability! On his second dance he improved greatly, but the impact of that first dance had spoiled me for Ingo appreciation! I still found him stiff, attacking his dances like athletic matches! Third time around? Ingo scores! Maybe Kym finally got to him, maybe I was too put off by that first dance. For those who feel the show should be about who shows most improvement, Ingo qualifies! He finally did the steps, adding some grace to his brawn. Dancing with greater ease and smoothness has given him a dignified and manly dance presence. Kym’s grace and sensitivity helps them look better. No doubt he’s worked hard to learn to dance! Actors may have a performance ethic that helps them project more feeling into their dancing.
Jayne: Was I the only one who found it strange that there was only one Paso Doble performed this week? I know you can’t really compare them straight across, but I always kind of like to have at least one or two other couples performing the same dance, just to see the artistic differences presented and to give a baseline. That being said, I liked Kym’s concept of the rowdier side of the night, although it certainly wasn’t like any prom I’ve ever seen. Of course, with the music selection of Another One Bites the Dust, what would one expect?! For a Paso, I felt it could have been sharper, but overall they did a good job. He attacked the dance with gusto and heat. Ingo can play the part, now he needs to fine-tune the technical aspects. He appears to be trying very hard, being eager and willing to work to improve. That being said, he and Kym are still middle of the pack for me, and not sure what it’s going to take to break them out.
Andy and Sharna – Cha Cha
Hector: Andy’s sweet projection of feeling have endeared him to a certain audience, people like me for example. Will it run into a wider fan base? His two first dances were such authentic sensitive performances that he probably earned a cult following, even if his footwork, technique and other DWTS dance parameters were not strictly adhered to. We could see him crying in Cha Cha rehearsals. It appears Cha Cha poses a difficult challenge for him, or maybe his self-confidence is waning. He’s had a rough time trying to win over addictions. His tortured great efforts are palpable. He so wants to make a comeback! Many of us root for him. Will he make it? This Cha Cha was his worse dance! Still, he always manages to put in a performance of sorts. He reminds me of a French mime, or Carusos’s Paggliacci. Heartwarming. But where’s the Cha Cha? We can’t find the steps, we can’t see the hip sway! One, two, cha, cha, cha! Andy must get his act together and believe that he can put his great performance prowess and ability to empathize with us into d-a-n-c-e! Go, Andy! We so want you to succeed!
Jayne: I am still stuck on this couple. Maybe it’s the transparency Andy has shown that pulls at my heartstrings, maybe its Sharna’s way of making the dance a production that provides complete entertainment…I’m really not sure. I just know that I like what I see. Andy’s not in the more proficient group of dancers, but I hope that he stays around to continue to show us what this program really is and should be about…the progression of someone with average (or little) dance aptitude and their journey as they progress each week. Many pieces have to be there for this to happen, for them to be successful, but I think Andy has the promise. Of course, the judges and the fans of the show have to agree. I will once again give kudos to Sharna, as she has proven to me she is aesthetically and technically versed as a Pro.
Sean and Peta – Cha Cha
Hector: I wish DWTS would stop experimenting on how to do the genres like this Cha Cha to the wrong music! Granted Sean and Peta’s YMCA dance (forcing the Cha Cha on the Village People oldie) was a lot of fun. But what kind of Cha Cha was that? If you want stars to do the ballroom dances properly, give them the right music! First dancing principle for beginners, I should think! Let the pro’s do the weird adaptations of a genre into the wrong music. Poor Mr. Lowe is going to think he learned to do the Cha Cha but he hasn’t! What Peta did was distract the judges from noticing Sean’s missed steps by adding the Troupe Dancers as back up! Fun, but Sean ended up with another valiant effort entertaining us with a lively performance, but no Cha Cha. Funny but the Cha Cha seems to have disappeared into comedic dance parody, especially when Bruno was added as back up in the encore. Poor Sean got shortchanged in his dance experience!
Jayne: What is a Prom, or any dance party really, without a rendition of YMCA? This was probably the feel-good dance of the night. As for the technical aspects, Sean and Peta seemed to pull off their Cha Cha to this interesting music choice. Sean still seemed a bit stiff/wooden to me, but the entertainment value was there, and I believe that is what helped garner them their middle of the pack score. This may have been his best dance so far, as Len chirped, but for me it seemed to still be more of the same.
Lisa and Gleb – Viennese Waltz
Hector: In appearance, these two look like they should be the most elegant couple. Glamour and dash galore! Truth is they can’t get their act together! This Waltz was better suited for them. They did look more in sync. Still, it looks like he wants to fly with her, but she has no wings! I wonder what’s wrong! Her poise and posture appear to be well adapted for dance. Yet he looks so frustrated trying to make her move! Their chemistry’s just good for still poses and very limited slow movement. Maybe she’s locked herself out of being able to learn a new physical routine. Or maybe looks are deceiving and she has no capability for dance. Too bad! They do look smashing!
Jayne: Lisa and Gleb took to the dance floor as a flowing, swirling romantic couple. I anticipated that a Waltz would be right up Lisa’s alley, and I do believe this was probably the best style for her personality and presentation. The dance did have its moments where things weren’t completely together and I had to wonder if she didn’t end up with a small case of nerves. Sometimes just that one out of place thing can cause you to throw your concentration and be a bit off the rest of the performance. Overall, the couple delivered an enjoyable turn around the dance floor and their middle of the pack score as well as viewers votes keep them alive to dance again.
Wynonna and Tony – Samba
Hector: So much good will radiates from this couple! Wynonna is so endearing, we love her music, big heart and personality! Tony is the nicest pro ever, so talented, such a gentleman. We wanted Wynonna to finally emerge from her cocoon and dance! We felt there was a rocking dancing mama in her and Tony was sooner or later was going to do the magic and bring her out! It was not to be! She did not open up! Lack of confidence? Timidity? Not enough chutzpa, or motivation? Did she put the hours in? Maybe Tony can tell us! The audience may have felt others were trying harder-who knows! So sad to see her go! I still love Wynonna!
Jayne: Oh Wy! Wynonna and Tony set the mood for a wild dance (again, not sure what Prom they are actually attending!), all decked out in Biker regalia. If only Wynonna could have brought the goods. She tried, it was evident to me through her facial expression, but for some reason, cutting loose and just allowing her body to be free and manifest some rhythm and clear movements was not to be. It was as if I wanted to grab hold of her, shake her and say MOVE!! As things would have it, apparently a majority of viewers felt the same way and decided it was her time to leave. Shout out to Tony, for coming up with interesting ways to try and showcase Wy’s bigger than life persona all the while working to feature what pluses he could.
D.L. Hughley and Cheryl – Salsa
Hector: He must have some kind of a fan following that finds him cool and votes for him! First time around it was obvious he didn’t try at all. I wondered why he wanted to be in the show. I can have no love for someone who’s not even trying. Second dance, he put in a bit more effort, not enough. Again, he appears not to respect dancing too much. He emits a kind of flip attitude. Third dance, is this the Salsa? He tries some more. Still missed steps, no musicality. A little bit of showmanship in the way of comedy but not enough charm or appeal for my taste. Again, where’s the salsa? Season 16 seems to be the Season of the Lost Genres. Don’t know why anyone votes for his sorry act, or that missing salsa.
Jayne: His Salsa was neither spicy nor rhythmic, but D.L. lives to dance another week! Scoring one point above Wynonna and Tony, it was actually a toss-up to me which couple might get the boot. There has been much discussion in the fandom about the judges’ treatment of D.L. and Cheryl, and whether they are being too hard on them. No matter the judges’ verdict, D.L. is a good example to show the power of the voting viewing audience. For whatever reason there is tearing down without any building up from the judges. D.L. soldiers on and grows in small technique victories and in pure stamina to stay in there and “take it” each week, then come back for more. Personally, I’d love to see him succeed in gaining the aptitude he needs to present a score-worthy dance. Unfortunately, I believe he is running out of time. We shall see what this next week brings.
So, there you have it! Prom Night on Dancing with the Stars. Wonder if Brooke Burke managed to get her hair un-ratted…Check back next week for another round of dances and discussion!