Hector Starts Us Off:
Here’s the lucky seventh week episode, Latin Night, with no one less than featured mega stars Juanes and Michael Buble! DWTS is outdoing themselves! I love the DWTS production team ideas for Season 16! Hope this creativity and no-expense-spared attitude will push ratings through the roof! Can we have eight more years of DWTS? What can I tell you, I love this show! Juanes is a genuine Latin star, very big in Hispanic America for years now, but apparently now interested in a crossover effort. Love to have him splash into American TV, thanks to DWTS. The Colombian singing idol is very authentic, full of beans, individualistic singer! His performances were short versions of his greatest hits, plus Tengo Una Camisa Negra, a big Juanes song, enhanced by a fun and festive dance feature by Troupe members. This sophisticated, elegant, carnival-like choreography was smoothly done by Louis Van Amstel.
How Latin is Michael Buble? He’s Canadian-Italian! Do I care? Not if it’s Buble! Jennifer Lopez appeared with Italian Andrea Bocelli on Week 4, so maybe Latino-Italian is the latest trend! Very high caliber featured singers! We can all be no less than delighted, be it Latino or Roman Latin!
Now to the dancing stars!
Kellie and Derek – Samba
Hector: Can’t say enough about Kellie and Derek’s Samba! Brilliant said Len, and gave it a 10! Bruno found it had everything you’d ever desire in a Samba, gave it a perfect score. As confetti festively poured on the dancers at Samba’s end, the public went wild clapping and screaming. Carrie Ann, however, rained on everyone’s parade! Kellie lacks emotional content, she proclaimed, in her best method-acting soulful expression. I don’t feel you, she said. Thankfully, both other judges discredited her, and especially the emotionally protesting audience. How gracious Kellie, when Brooke asked for her thoughts on Carrie Ann’s call. She means to help her improve, she respects it. As in the Quickstep, Derek’s approach was basic, traditional Samba choreography, brilliantly simple and rhythmic. A splashy jump-over start, stylized extensions at end. In between, bouncy in and out movements, gothic writhing of the entire body, well attuned to the music and expertly danced. I did love the part in the middle of the dance when nothing but the bongo beats are heard, lights are dimmed, and they switch their sexy undulations to slow motion. Fast-slow-fast makes it a lot more interesting! But wait, those rehearsal clips! I enjoy them as much as the dancing! What interesting piece of Americana, Kellie on the road, country singing, in places like Tiffin, Ohio! Derek tagging along, looking nonplussed and exhausted, as they rehearse in improvised dancing studios out of shabby looking rooms! How unglamorous is the reality of a country singer, touring from one plain town to another! Yet the contrast of their on the road appearance, haggard from exertion and worry, unmade-up and ill-dressed serve to accentuate how glorious they look at show time! Their great Samba seems nothing short of a miracle! Kellie’s looking like Ginger Rogers in her best 40’s Samba outfit! Derek, so coy, worrying about being shirtless with his grandpa in the audience! Don’t worry, kids, you never looked better!
Jayne: Kellie and Derek presented us with a fabulous Samba!! I’m not quite sure what else Carrie Ann is looking for from them as they bring it every week. Maybe she just really, REALLY wants to see them in the finals and decided that she needs to continue to push them. Re-watching their performance, Kellie was a bit serious, and when it comes down to the finals, a lot could be riding on the emotional content. That’s the only thing I can come up with. Derek’s approach was pure dance…lots of content and just getting out there and going for it. It was nice to see that Derek stayed true to Samba fashion in his personal costume as well. Ah hem.
Aly and Mark – Salsa
Hector: I can’t believe how much I agree with Len this week! He couldn’t find a lot of recognizable Salsa in Aly and Mark’s dance. Right on! The dance was cute, humorous, fun, rhythmic and contagious. I could see more Samba than Salsa in it, the way they rolled around their hands, and shook their booties. But the difference between Salsa and Samba is not so clear cut! It was decidedly Latin, and decidedly entertaining. There was a lot of good will in the air for them. Mark hurt his back and Henry Byalikov, well trusted by pros like Derek, Tony and Mark, came to their rescue. Henry rehearsed Aly for a few days. At the last moment, and good trooper that he is, Mark decided to dance in spite of the injury. The dance was a series of fun tableaux, funny and fun and in sync with the music. They were up and down, kneeling, swaying and shaking in abandon. At one point Aly crawled on her knees while Mark patted her behind. Strange, but they can get away with it looking fine! It was Aly’s night, though! It’s a tribute to Mark’s choreography, that he always shifts the attention to his partner so that she looks her best! She shimmied and she shimmered and she shone so bright! If it was not salsa, it was not her fault. She did what she was told, put her heart and soul in it. They deserved the scores they got!
Jayne: I Loved it!! My favorite dance of the night! Aly finally seemed to feel completely comfortable in her skin, being able to express herself, let go and have a good time! The dance was saucy and spicy, full of romp and fun. I loved the staging, the costumes, the whole enchilada! I was happy that Mark was able to dance, but I have no doubt that Henry would have succeeded in assisting Aly through a great rendition if he had not been up to the performance. The dance was so well liked, they were chosen for the encore on Tuesday night, and it was just as smashing!!
Zendaya and Val – Paso Doble
Hector: As it turned out, I agree with the judges having scored Val and Zendaya third on Week 7 for this Paso. I found Zendaya’s Paso dancing not authentic or appealing enough. If you’ve seen as many terrific Spanish dancers as I have, there’s so much to admire, especially the unique way they move their arms and hands. Zendaya has great stage presence, and her elongated look is like an El Greco painting, but her arms and hand motions are at times stiff and angular, not fluid enough, and falling short of the Spanish dance ideal. Also agreed with the judges that there was something wrong with her posture. Len blamed it on her chin, but I thought it was more like not enough round and sensual body and arm motions. Paso dancers have this look of pride and contempt fighting off an attraction for the male, at the same time, a delicate balance, Zendaya just looked like she was faking anger, not proud, sexy and intense. Of course, she’s only 16, and has no idea what Spanish Paso dancers are about! I also felt Val’s all over the ballroom choreography was not well suited to her best abilities, but to his instead! Indeed he often looked better than she did. If I forgot this dance was supposed to be a Paso Doble, I could like it a lot more. I think Paso is the dance worse performed on DWTS, quite consistently. Zendaya displayed her usual charm and grace galore, Paso content or not, the dance was fun and entertaining. Zendaya and Val looked very attractive, connected and like they were enjoying the dance and each other! Also, it was way better than that horrid Team Paso dance led by Val, which received an encore vote from the public. Go figure!
Jayne: This was the first week that I actually found Zendaya’s age to be a distraction. Maybe she has lost some weight due to the strenuous routines, but I thought she looked so young, particularly when they were in costume but not dancing. She certainly played the part though. Fierce and strong, she attacked the dance. It was good, but not my favorite of their performances.
Jacoby and Karina – Salsa
Hector: Jacoby’s Salsa, great dance! Just as we expect, we’ve grown accustomed for him to deliver!! Highly entertaining! As Salsas go, pretty good basic choreography by Karina, brass tacks! In Salsa, his pigeon toes are not as apparent. They blend in with the performance. You reckon that he is putting his personality in the dance. Not that he’s sloppy with his footwork, or timing, of course not! It’s his deliberate, individualistic Jacoby stamp! The fly-over Karina is by now trademark Jacoby (OK, Karina, we get it! Move on! Don’t overdo it.) Problem is, for Jacoby, to be a contender; the three gals are doing so much better than he! He hasn’t been able to break out and do a dance better than those excellent ladies! In performance value, he gets close, but hasn’t surpassed them, not in my judgment. In technique, OMG, he’s miles behind these dedicated ladies! All he needs to do is do one dance half as good an any of them, and he can surely win that trophy. Male, football star, not as refined, but most improved-Jacoby fits the winner profile and he can do it! So what’s wrong Mr. Jacoby! Bring in your ma to reinforce Karina’s able hand at the rehearsals. Do the technique for God’s sake, and you know how it goes; behind every winning man there’s a woman, maybe two!
Jayne: Very enjoyable dance by Jacoby and Karina. Jacoby sure brings the attitude and connects with the audience/viewers and this dance seems right up his alley. Receiving their highest score of the season, it seems they are on a roll. I would just like to say that Karina is such a firecracker…some of her moves actually scare me! She is fearless when it comes to lifts and spins! I liked their costumes with the lighter cream and tan colors…gave off a bit of casual feel, even with all of the energy!
Sean and Peta – Rumba
Hector: This was Sean’s great recovery; I was happy and proud for him! That last Samba he did was his lowest point; he looked so disconnected from emotion, so worried about doing his steps! His dance fell apart, it didn’t move or entertain us and I felt he had maybe lost it, like Victor did, never to recover! But he’s back! I was pretty angry at Len, for only focusing on a few not so great arm extensions. I agreed with Bruno to disagree with Len. His arm extensions (legs too) were so improved and effective, they were in tune to his feelings and the music. One or two not so good extensions out of many, why be so not constructive? Accentuate the positive! Especially after recovering from that bad Samba! Sean did well, he should be encouraged! From the beginning I found his efforts attractive! He showed such innocent delight in dancing; it’s very charming to see. Peta’s effort to bring in his girlfriend Catherine to rehearsals to try to get him to project feeling in his Rumba was very effective! He did it, I saw it, he put all his love in that Rumba dance! Carrrie Ann and Bruno could see it too; the pulsating to the music, his wonderful, seductive look she said. Bruno was also impressed with his musicality and extensions. So was I Sean, good work, I loved it!
Jayne: I thought Sean and Peta looked absolutely beautiful in their Rumba. Sean did amazing with his emotion, carrying it through his entire body. He seemed light on his feet, as if floating along with Peta at times. There was no awkwardness or shapes that seemed out of place. It was romantic and sexy. This style of dance works very well for him. Sexy version of Cinderella and Prince Charming.
Ingo and Kym – Rumba
Hector: Ingo’s routine, technically, and Kym’s choreography were OK, I thought. I took away the sound and re-watched, it seemed pretty adequate. Put the music to it, and….it was out of whack, little musicality. Bruno said too staccato, incorrect hip movement, bad timing. Carrie Ann, who so missed it in Kellie’s case sometime hits it, I wonder why? Carrie’s so hot and cold, so poignant & sensitive at times, so out of it at others. I guess maybe she’s just human! Isn’t Len the same way, going from one extreme to another? Or maybe they have a soft spot for some, while others leave them cold. He said Ingo’s Rumba had content!! I felt it had no meaning because it lacked content, and had little feeling. Opposite of Sean’s Rumba, which has his love for Catherine in it, expressed with feeling and which Len missed altogether. There was no story in Ingo’s Rumba, Kym provided nice Rumba steps, but no particular theme. Just male-woman attraction but pretty wimpy at that, little sensuality. No longing in this Rumba, unlike in Sean’s-one could feel Sean’s love. Len likes Ingo’s lines, misses his wooden, stiff lack of fluidity, for which he however attacks Sean in general. I thought Ingo had improved his technique a lot, but can’t project much feeling.
Jayne: I liked Ingo’s Rumba, but in a different way than Sean’s. Ingo’s was meant to be seductive and hot, as opposed to Sean’s where the focus was more romantic and smoldering. I thought Ingo played the role well, it just wasn’t quite enough. Most of the pieces were there, they just needed to be turned up a notch. Honestly, I thought he looked like he had improved some technically, even his hips, which apparently were not good according to the judges. Overall it was enjoyable, but enjoyable alone may not be enough to carry them through the rest of the competition.
Andy and Sharna – Rumba
Hector: Great classic Perez Prado 50’s hit for Andy’s farewell dance, Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White, a Cha Cha turned Rumba for the show. DWTS is so creative switching melody genres! Something more tableaux-romantic may have been better for Andy. This music is so classic danceable percussion, I hunger for what Kellie and Derek could have, would have done with this sensual, rich music! Sharna does give us a sense of the music’s dance possibilities, but alas, Andy so not brings it home with Rumba passion! Sharna feasts us with this beautiful, sensual body motions! We root for Andy to follow in passion, his moves are so timid and so small, it’s sad! He managed to create a cult following, the DWTS anti-dancing Star! We kept hoping that he could finally learn some big, appropriate dance steps, like Sean and Ingo have. We failed to see it, and it was time for the judges to ring the bell for him to leave. They did it by saying nice things, yet giving him miserable, low scores! For seven weeks Andy was a welcome, wistful, heart-warming presence in the show. He danced to a different tune, so to speak, a unique and different contestant. He touched us, he entertained us, there were hints of greatness in his funny little dance stories! He got away for seven weeks without doing hardly any dancing! An amazing feat for a dancing show! Andy Dick was a breath of fresh air everyone liked him and his Pierrot Act! Don’t cry for me though, DWTS fans! Andy Dick’s appearance in this show did a lot for Andy Dick! It brought Andy to positive national awareness, gained a lot of admiration for his comedic ability and personality..big opportunity for Sharna Burgess as well! Perfect partner Pro for Andy. They developed a close, loving relationship and drew us into it. Didn’t hurt that Sharna proved to be a dazzling choreographer-dancer-teacher Pro! Sensitive and real, she looks so human in rehearsals; looks drop dead gorgeous with or without glitter and make-up! She dances so in character, can project sensuality or angelic spirituality. To me, she’s a total WOW! A star Pro was just launched in Season 16!
Jayne: My favorite couple, Andy and Sharna, unfortunately danced their last dance. The dance itself was cute. I can almost imagine it being a musical feature on a comedy sketch show. All in all, it was fun to watch. Was it worthy of moving them further in the competition? No, but it was still good entertainment. Andy’s time had come, but I will miss him. He was an audience/viewer pleaser and a heartfelt person that we all wanted to cheer for. He is not who I thought I would be voting for but that’s what I love about this show, sometimes there are little gems that you discover that make the viewing even more worthwhile! Gotta give it to Sharna. She presented the best packages, providing us with a full story each week, she really set a scene! She has quickly become my favorite female Pro!
About the Dance-Off Challenges
Although Kellie and Aly (and partners Derek and Mark) tied at 29/30 in their featured first dance, Samba and Salsa respectively, Kellie and Derek got the immunity call (safe for week 7) due to their combined overall scores. Mark and Aly were then first to pick who they wanted to duel, and they chose Andy and Sharna. It appeared that they might have selected them to take advantage of the low scoring Andy and Sharna. After the show, Mark shared that the two couples had spoken prior and was aware that Andy and Sharna wanted the Cha Cha. Mark wanted them to have the opportunity to be able to choose the dance that would benefit them the most, so by selecting them first, Andy and Sharna had their choice of all the dances…either way though, it of course, was also an advantage to Mark and Aly. Andy did choose the Cha Cha but not hard to guess who won. It quickened Andy’s sad parting. Zendaya and Val followed, and chose a more challenging couple to duel, Jacoby and Karina. Jacoby chose the Jive. Most probably because he liked it, more attuned to his personality and abilities. Best of the three duels! Both couples were fun to watch! Yet we could understand and agree why the judges chose Zendaya and Val unanimously. A lot more polished, graceful and attractive dancing couple. More pizazz? Jacoby and Karina! Last dance-off pitted Ingo and Kym against Sean and Peta, This dance-off was pretty even relative to ability, but Ingo and Kym were behind Sean and Peta with regards to their featured Rumba by three points. The judges evened it out by favoring Ingo, 2 to 1 (Bruno favoring Sean). My call was also for Sean, as you could probably guess. Ingo edges Sean a little in technique, but Sean has a lot more performing charm, and somewhat more grace.
Loved the guest artist, Michael Buble, but how stingy were they! I wanted more Buble singing. I’m addicted to the Buble Pop! What I would love is an entire Michael Buble Night, like the Wonder-ful Stevie Wonder Night. Did enjoy DWTS sponsoring the Camden Sophisticated Sisters! Dance should make one’s heart feel warm. These dancing girls did! So glad that DWTS is helping Boston bombing victim dance instructor Adrian Haslet! Kudos to the production for getting involved! Nice feature, Alison Holker and Lindsay Sterling as Macy’s Stars of Dance highlight. Finally, DWTS Troupe! Keep creating great fun and enhancing this great show with big and short dance numbers, like that grand opening!
That wraps up Week 7! Things are really starting to heat up as we head into Week 8!!