I’m affectionately writing this particular paragraph to you whilst on a plane from sunny Barbados back to LA. I’ve had an amazing week of shooting here in the Caribbean with former ‘DWTS’ favorite (and good mate) Carlos PenaVega. Lucky us!
Yes, the truly amazing folks at Royal Caribbean treated us SO well and I can’t thank them enough. But of course, you can take the girl out of the ballroom but you can’t take the ballroom out of the girl! So I’m fully updated with the progression of this week on the show, and I’m interested to see how it plays out.
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I’ve heard it from a few people now that the perfectionist Doug Flutie has a personality similar to Bill Engvall (my first partner) in that he’s the life and soul of the ballroom and has a big heart warming personality. Apparently, the backstage crew all LOVE Doug! I like hearing this, though I wish we the viewers could have seen that side of him. Unfortunately we won’t get to see that anymore as it was Doug and Karina who were eliminated this week after performing their Bollywood routine. I think that seeing his intense rehearsals last week and the fact that he was a fair bit challenged in the dance department, it was the right couple to go home. I hope he enjoys watching his journey back on YouTube! That’s usually the way, it sounds dramatic but the show is often so life changing for the celebrity that they reflect really fondly on their journey.
But going back to the elimination topic, if you ask me who might go next week I’d say I’m getting “end of the road” vibes from Antonio. The more time that passes, the more I get the impression he’s not as fully committed as the others.
Going off on a tangent alert! DWTS is such an incredible unifier for so many families on a Monday night, so entertaining and forward thinking that even 22 seasons on, it’s still a spectacular show that millions of people tune in for. A topic most people ask me about is how is it really judged, and that is best described as part dance ability, part popularity. How can it possibly be anything other than that considering half the votes are determined by you, the viewers at home. Dance in itself is “judged” based on personal opinion, aside from the key undeniable techniques (and even some of these get overlooked at times). It’s hard as a professional dancer not to be down right angry when the judges tear down what you’ve built especially when you wholeheartedly don’t agree with them. Some of their comments are so left of field you start your next week kinda furious and out for revenge. Not a great foundation for say, a Samba! But the judges have their opinion like the audience has theirs, which is why as the professional, you spend a lot of time thinking about making the dance entertaining for the general public. A dance so entertaining that the viewers jump off their seats, pick up the phone and vote for you. PLUS, Your celeb has to actually be able to handle the choreography you’ve set for them! So balancing all this can be a literal nightmare. Trying to keep everyone happy is a compromise, and sometimes it’s better to go out on a limb and risk ticking off the judges a little, if it means that you get an all explosive absolutely unforgettable dance. If you notice, a lot of the good Pros do this as they often prioritize the audience over the judges. Sorry to be brutally honest Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, and Carrie Ann Inaba, but it’s true!
Obviously on a personal level, I’m thrilled Sasha Farber and Kim Fields are through this week! Honestly, because I’m not at home in Los Angeles right this second, if Sash had gotten eliminated tonight I would have felt REALLY guilty for not being there and coming out here to the Caribbean, even though this was for work not just a vacation. There’s no pleasant part of being eliminated. I would want to be there for both of them should they be eliminated, but I hope it’s not for a few weeks yet. Their next week dance is a Samba and can’t tell you the song or artist but it’s a classic tune! Timeless.
Anyway, about time I briefly summed up each couple this week! Here it is:
This week it was ‘Famous Dances’ night where the couples recreated the best loved dances scenes across TV, Film and Stage. Kim & Sasha were up first with a jive to Hairspray. I think it’s a catchy tune and concept, but personally I have a general dislike for Hairspray overall. I know I know, I’m not human! But she performed the heck outta this dance as usual. Not only that, Kim has an ankle injury that is causing her a lot of pain at the moment. The doctors are telling her she should rehearse less but she is totally adamant that there’s no way she’s going light. She’s a fighter. With an injury like she that I think her performance tonight was brilliant, very entertaining and I love the use of the troupe in this dance. Kim’s main thing all week was that she needed to pick her knees up a little more which she still could have worked on I feel. I know both she and Sash are frustrated with 8 scores and are looking to get the 9 and maybe even 10 paddle so maybe taking Carrie Ann’s advice of producing an overwhelming “Wow Factor” is needed for next week in order to really stand out. I have a feeling it will happen. All 8 scores for these two tonight.
Second to perform wasVon Miller and he’s back with his original partner Witney Carson (who believes she’s cursed during switch up week!) Von danced a Michael Jackson tribute to “Bad” getting help from the talented Shannon Holtzapffel from the Troupe who was set to perform with MJ on his final This is it Tour. I don’t think Von is the most natural of dancers so I wasn’t expecting much but actually this was actually super entertaining! Nice choreo, Witney. I think it definitely strived to have the essence of the great MJ. Von could sit in his hips a little, I think he finds that hard. This was more evident tonight as he was easily compared to the Troupe dancers behind him. I think his ability to really hit his movements and complete them with sharpness is limited. But he did a much better job here than his other weeks and the fun and flavorful choreography helped a lot. I’m with the judges on this one although I still wouldn’t go so far as to say that Von is a gifted dancer. I’d be more inclined to say that this week he pulled it off a little better ;) All 8s for their badass Jazz.
Out of all the iconic dances, the Pink music video that Jodie Sweetin, and Keo Motsepe danced their contemporary routine to would have been my favorite choice. And she looked GREAT if you ask me. I just love dancing raw and connecting to my partner in a very real and striped down way. Jodie was more than capable of giving this the drama and realism it deserved. I think this was her best one yet honestly. I do agree with Len with one of his comments though, there was some uneasiness entering the over head split lift, I think there are generally some cleanliness notes that always seem to surround Jodie and Keo’s routines so they can definitely improve there but in this contemporary however I thought it looked way more professional and I enjoyed the moments of sharpness in-between the emotion. My main concern was for Keo’s health after he broke a perfectly good table (Ouch!) Miss Jodie has a depth to her that I find endearing. They escaped jeopardy this week so I’m sure they are smiling tonight. Good job Jodie! 8,8,9 were the scores for them.
YES!!! Just yes to everything about Paige VanZant‘s Jazz routine tonight with Mark Ballas. It was so stylish! The opening shot of Marks ostentatious Union Jack shoes was soooo Austin Powers. Paige pulled off some jaw dropping moments; an assisted Ariel seamlessly transitioning into the next step and a cheerleader style basket throw with toe touch. The latter had me floored quite honestly. She performed this with such grace and femininity that it’s hard to believe she could literally knock you out with one punch. #Godess. She was fresh and cheeky, graceful and commuted. The swinging 60’s costumes. The creative. The charisma. The phone booth and other iconic British references. YES to all of it!! I’m with Len on this one! They wowed the crowd and scored 28 tonight.
Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd had an awesome dynamic together during their quickstep. He looks good green! Nice sideways rose grab too. I thought her choreography was brilliant, I especially liked the end trick where Nyle aka The Mask threw Peta around his body. They captured the essence of the Mask perfectly. The judges were not so soft on him today. The fact that he went out of time during the side by side Charleston section didn’t help that, I wish that didn’t happen. He was a little flat footed during some of the footwork also. But that’s being super critical. I didn’t believe that he lost control like the judges said. I thought his characterization was superb! Nice cameo by Michael Sam in this dance too, did you notice? ;) they scored 25.
Umm, also I’m straight up confused by the scores for Ginger Zee this week. Are the judges just trying to rattle the cages? Well job done. I’m rattled. She did way better than the judges gave her credit for. Her attitude was spot on, sporting the necessary strength and sex appeal needed to depict the great Janet Jackson. This dance was sitting right in that “Nasty” niche, so it wasn’t dynamic in a ‘getting launched across the stage’ kinda way, but it was polished and complex. The unison sections were effective and she give it just the right amount of energy so not to lose the authentic JJ style. 8’s all round which was disappointing for me.
I really wanted Doug & Karina Smirnoff to go out with a bang and I don’t want to knock him on his eliminated week so I’ll say this. Doug, great effort my lovely, I’ve throughly enjoyed watching you this season and you should be proud. You have a reputation for being a sweet family man with a huge heart and sense of fun, and it speaks volumes that everyone says this. Maybe you don’t have a prosperous Bollywood career ahead of you but you do have a wave of new Flutie fans, I’m one of them. Go and celebrate your great season with your beautiful family :)
Well I’m done, Wanya Morris, and Lindsay Arnold had the dance of the night for me. It was a close one as tonight’s show was sensational but I just couldn’t take my eyes off him. Another display of expert choreography by Lindsay which by now we’ve come to expect and love her for. Wanya was killer in this NSYNC ‘Bye bye bye’ performance. I love the seamless double spin at the end, he’s great at rotation as well as owning a natural groove which goes hand in hand with rhythm for the music. Lindsay and the three amazing Troupe dancers flanked Wanya so well, making sure to keep him the focal point and highlighting brilliant synchronization as a group. In fact, I didn’t see Wanya out of time at all with the others. He kept up and delivered a truly NSYNC performance the way it should be. I’m glad that has so far been scored the highest dance of the season and it’s quite fun that it didn’t score all perfect marks because it gives them both the opportunity to smash even this dance. 29 was their score.
Now I definitely appreciate the effort that Antonio Brown put in this week. I think the shock of seeing his partner perform so well with another competitor last week was a little too much for him. I think the dance was a strong effort and really stretched his ability. Love the footloose theme for him. As always, Sharna Burgess did a great job at setting his choreography. He was highlighted more in giving him Jive choreography that wasn’t too taxing and that had ample jumping opportunity as he’s quite good a getting height when he jumps. This hoedown style was probably the best jive for him as it’s casual and relaxed. In saying that though (and please don’t hate me Antonio fans) it wasn’t a 9 for me. The ability just isn’t there, the technique is missing and if you actually look at the skeleton dance that he is performing (not the smoke and mirrors around it) this particular dance doesn’t warrant a 9 for me. This is my opinion, I know others will disagree and that’s fair enough. I say this with respect, I would never critic if it wasn’t my own opinion or out of spite. I just find it hard to be blown over when I know I’m looking at cracks that have been filled with polyfilla (excuse the analogy, just want came to mind).
This week was a flaming success if you ask me, I love the Iconic Dance theme. And yes, I do like each celebrity with their original partner, I feel at ease watching them again. Next week it’s not only Iconic Artist themed week, the team dances are back! It’s the Male celebs VS the Female celebs so who will be the stronger sex? Let me know your thoughts on this one, I’m quite intrigued! Thanks for reading guys! See you lovelies next week!