Happy ‘Iconic Artist’ week on ‘DWTS!’ Each couple in the competition nodded to an artistic legend by dancing to some of the world’s best loved songs and classic hits. The double elimination was harsh, leaving only 6 couples left in the competition. It suddenly got serious!
Adding to this, last night’s Dancing with the Stars was the return of the team dances though I hate to say it, not one of them would have drawn a 10 score from me. The team dance has to display a great level of team work, clever choreography and very clean unison sections where every couple can dance side by side, seamlessly. I was left underwhelmed in this department unfortunately.
Jodie Sweetin & Keo Motsepe
Jodie Sweetin really does live up to her name! I love how she smiles so big when she receives the judges comments every week. Personally this dance for me was absolutely one of their best. She was light and elegant which is challenging as the quickstep has a tendency to look heavy and stressed, at least for a lot of celebrities. Her ease from foot to foot was apparent, there were moments during her switches and tele-spins that really impressed me because not once did she break her posture. Keo’s choreography was brilliant here, I really enjoyed it. Lots of changes and texture with the timing. It’s a good gage when you can just sit back and be entertained by a dance, forgetting even that you are looking at a celebrity dancing and not two professionals. I definitely had a moment of this from Jodie and Keo. To really push this dance over the edge though, constant body contact was needed. You have to try to eliminate the gap between the partnership when you are dancing in all ballroom dances. They finally got a 9 score from Len and Jodie was over the moon! I can’t wait for Jodie to dance an Argentine tango, I have a feeling that will be her dance.
Kim Fields & Sasha Farber
Is it me or does Kim Fields look younger every single week?!! I swear, she’s absolutely flawless in person and on screen. Like, seriously flawless. I agreed with Carrie Ann, she killed the performance in this samba routine. This was actually a routine that bloomed late in the week. The performance didn’t really come together until today, show day. Kim struggled with her identity in this dance but after the camera blocking rehearsal, something clicked in her. It was sparked by a conversation Sasha had with her about being herself because she’s a winner and to stop comparing herself to the other females on the show. And it worked. They also changed her outfit last minute which I think helped with Kim’s confidence. I was so happy to see her perform this so fiercely, she really did a complete 180 degree turn around. Sash laid so much samba content on her, I was particular proud of Kim’s spins before the promenade runs (a samba step). It was not executed with 100% ease of movement, but it was one of her best performances. They scored their highest scores yet this season with all 9’s. Sadly though, Kim & Sasha were eliminated along with Von & Witney in a double elimination. I’m so sad that their journey has come to an end but I can’t help but be proud. Kim will look back and reflect on her season with such fond memories. It might be hard to swallow now, eliminations are horrible no matter what. I know she has made a life long friend in Sasha. And even if she tried, she wouldn’t be able to escape his daily texts! He’s quite persistent. I’m very proud of them both for their incredible season. As for Sash in particular, watching him as a pro this season was incredible. It meant so much to him. He truly deserves to be there based on his skill alone but then he has something else too. He’s a cheeky charmer who has a unique fun personality. He completely dotes on his partners and gives them the earth. It’s so refreshing to see this funny banter shine through. Sometimes you don’t get to see the soft, caring side to Sasha between the jokes, pranks and selfie faces (which he’s notorious for!!). However this season I think the people at home got to see more of him. The support he’s received has truly overwhelmed him. So thank you for that. Sash, I’m so proud of you.
Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd
I completely see that Nyle’s words last week about competing with Val were taken out of context. That’s what happens when all the audience see is a little snippet of dialog with no explanation where it came from. From the performers point of view, it’s hard when you feel the audience is getting an unclear representation of who you are because of one singular thing you’ve said. On Instagram, you can delete a post. On TV, you can’t remove it, you can’t make people ‘unwatch’ it. I think it’s easy to see by now though that Nyle is a positive person with good intentions, he has achieved so much in life because of his openness to opportunity and his strength. Of course he’s going to aim for the stars! I admire his passion for life. And who wouldn’t want to compete with Val, heck you SHOULD aim high!! But enough said about that! Nyle’s foxtrot with Peta was lovely, although not my favorite dance of his. I’d love to see him pull up through his spine completely, that will finally get rid of his butt poking out once and for all!! But that’s my main critique I have for him and in saying that, there is a great deal for Nyle and Peta to be proud of here. I really enjoyed this dance. Once again his lines are so long, it’s clever to use this when choreographing for him. I’m glad they are safe this week!
Antonio Brown and Sharna Burgess
I’m woman crushing on Sharna at the moment while watching this! She looks gorgeous, shoutout to Zena, Patti and the other ladies in the DWTS make up department. Antonio did a Tango to the Rolling Stones. I loved the concept; Hooded dark silhouettes framed Antonio & Sharna at the beginning and end of their tango. It was moody and controlled, something Antonio is good at. Overall I think this was one of his better dances for sure. His frame has improved a lot. In fact, I think his generally clunkiness has eased and he’s improved the most as a non dancer. I enjoyed this tango. I don’t think it was a simple routine so hats off to Antonio for keeping up with Sharna’s choreography. He only fumbled in one place and it was only for a brief moment before catching up again. Good job!
Wanya Morris and Lindsay Arnold
What a stunningly visual routine from Wanya and Lindsay. So full of goodness, absolutely beautiful. I think Wanya excels at hip hop and sharp movements so much that sometimes the elegant posture for ballroom gets missed a little as it’s not as natural. So in that respect, I know exactly where Carrie Ann is coming from when she say remarked that it wasn’t ‘wow’ for her tonight. The whole of America expects so much from Wanya now as he has consistently showed us what an incredible contender he is. Lindsay was telling me this week how busy his schedule is. Not many people know that Wanya is still performing two nights a week in Vegas so he flies in and out of LA to rehearse in between. Now that’s commitment! I’m personally rooting for these two, I hope people vote for them. This routine was charming and unique, it would be a shame not to see them perform every week. Wanya (and Lindsay too) truly deserve to be in the final.
Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy
The most touching display of honesty and realism this week goes to Ginger & Val. I honestly did tear up listening to Val’s speech to her. Because of how beautiful the video package was, the routine was flawless to me. It was so connected emotional, of course perfectly enhanced by the great Whitney Houston. I couldn’t take my eyes off Ginger Lee. During the rehearsal footage, we felt the true connection between these two and the love that Val has for Ginger. The level of respect between both of them for what they do is palpable. We see that Val has been pushing Ginger so hard this week because he knows that that’s what she needs from him. He is of giving her the best treatment possible in the grand scheme of things. This is what we crave. That commitment to each other and the partnership. That ‘I’m never giving up on you’ feeling we got from watching this is what everyone wants to feel. The dancing was impeccable because of the set up. So meticulously rehearsed that each movement was perfectly in sync. Yet so deeply felt that every move had the earth behind it. Does that sound weird?! I’m sure you know what I mean. Ginger and Val’s foxtrot earned them the first perfect score of the season! Congrats guys. Well deserved.
Von Miller and Witney Carson
Oh Von! How fun you are! I did see hips in this dance so congrats on that my friend! Hahaha I don’t know who wouldn’t smile while watching this. Highly entertaining! The lifts made me nervous as heck though!! Wow, poor Witney nearly got dropped on her head during one of the tricks. When she watches that back she’ll laugh I know it! Well the sideburns were fab, I wonder if that was the reason Von’s attitude this week was even more infectious. I know when I danced with Hayes Grier last season, in week 7 he wore fake facial hair and he was the happiest I’ve ever seen him! No joke, these boys love the fake hair! The judges scored this dance as all 8s. Well it was a good dance to go out on. Von and Witney left the ballroom for good during the double elimination. I think this is fair, the competition gets very hard from now on and getting to week 7 is a decent achievement. I hope Von is proud, he has surely acquired a new wave of ‘Von Fans’ thanks to his moves on DWTS.
Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas
Paige and the Bandana King (aka Mark Ballas) went next dancing to my personal favorite, the incredible Tina Turner!! What an icon. Can we just talk about how many spins were in this routine!? Wow, this was jam packed full of content, I can’t believe she achieved this level of routine during just one week. It was clear Mark decided he was going to show everyone just how well Paige can keep up. The speed it took to execute this dance was ridiculous. She did channel Tina, it was electric and it certainly packed a punch. The judges absolutely loved it and I give it top marks for energy because it really did deserve that. The only thing I would critique would be her hunched shoulders. At times it made her dancing look stressed. That would have been the result of the sheer speed and control needed for that routine. This dance got perfect scores and the reaction from these two was priceless. Well done guys. Paige, you are a darling. You shouldn’t struggle with confidence when you dance like that.
Team Dances: Who Nailed It & Which ‘Didn’t Gel’
The team dance from the gentleman was very clever — the fun in this was evident. I love Wanya’s ‘funky chicken’ remark at the start of the rehearsal footage! Seeing the different personalities of the male celebs collide together was magic but I think by far the most magical part of this dance was the team work it took especially regarding Nyle. The team all seemed to cater to the fact that Nyle can’t hear the music. The care factor was so obvious, it made the team stronger and more connected. They even made a point of placing Nyle at the front of the formation in places, and everyone danced off his timing. Carrie Ann also picked up on this. It was actually quite touching how they did it. Wanya’s solo was the best for me, he’s stood out a mile even though he missed one of the rehearsals. I preferred Team James Brown over Team Beyoncé though neither blew me away completely. The teamwork and the individual solos all made this team take the lead for me.
I am going to be honest, Team Beyoncé wasn’t my favorite team dance. I love all these women and I think the team work was evident. But as a unit dancing together, it didn’t gel properly for me and looked under prepared in places. It didn’t help that two of the ladies skirts fell off halfway through the dance, revealing the dress change prematurely. Just overall it wasn’t seamless and lacked the wow factor. I wanted to love it so much more than I did! The unison sections were clean, no one missed a step, but in general it was unremarkable. Paige and Jodie both seemed to shine through for having strong floor presence. I loved the creative idea of the four platforms at the start of the routine but it wasn’t enough to really pull the dance up. I’m sorry ladies, I wanted to love it so much but I just didn’t.
Now About My ‘Biased’ Opinion
What a fun week! Glued to my seat. On top of all this fun, I bumped into my dear friend Alek Skarlatos! Oh Alek, I’ve missed your ways! It was lovely catching up with him and talking about our life on tour (we went on the last DWTS tour together over winter, we actually shared a tour bus with 6 other cast members!). The DWTS family spreads far and wide. We always stay in close contact. I love that about the show.
I read so many of your lovely comments, it’s really amazing to hear your opinions on DWTS and the season so far :) Last week, I read a comment that I’m too biased to be writing a blog so I wanted to address that. I assume it was said because Sasha is my boyfriend. That’s the thing about dancing. My POV is a professional one. Dance is an art form/sport judged by personal opinion. In a show were sisters judge brothers, fiancés judge fiancés and such, you can actually separate and be professional. Yes I have favorites, of course I do. I expect you do as well. The show is designed that way, and we as humans are also designed that way. We form opinions. Entertainment is the name of the game, it’s all a bit of fun my loves. Enjoy it for what it is. And what it is, is marvelous entertainment! Have a great week guys! See you next week!