Right now I’m writing this blog while I sit here in New Jersey, waiting to board a Royal Caribbean cruise with friend (and season 21 finalist) Carlos PenaVega! Quite random I know, Carlos called me a few days ago about this project of his and I’m not one to turn down adventure, or Barbados for that matter.
So I’m sitting in the checking area, about to board the mammoth Anthem of the Seas, chatting with my sister Kelly. We were talking about this season of Dancing with the Stars and how compatible some of the new pairings are. The couple Kel is most excited about is Mark Ballas and Ginger Zee. I’m actually intrigued to see Von Miller and Lindsay Arnold. Sasha Farber has Paige VanZant this week; they had the rumba. He came home one day and showed me a clip of what I thought was going to be their rumba — but instead it was of her throwing a tennis ball right at his head!
Before I get going, get asked a lot of questions about DWTS, one of them if how is the music chosen for each couple? At the start of the season, you and your partner sit down in the green room with a producer and discuss music you both like and what dance each track would be. You can get a good feel for what your celebrity likes (Michael Waltrip for instance liked every country song ever whereas my latest partner Hayes Grier was into Underground Rap!) The producers have the final say on what track you dance to each week.
Another question I get asked regularly (Actually I got asked about it just a few days ago) is about “showmances.” I have to laugh! Yes I guess this show could definitely be a recipe for romance. I have seen it happen! Imagine you step out of your normal life, commit yourself to one person and create an exclusive team with them where you then compete against other teams. And beyond that, the normal rate of getting to know someone doesn’t apply to DWTS because a second after you first meet, you’re nose to nose and all up in each other’s business, grabbing body parts and getting sweaty! I mean, it’s gunna happen! I really do think that the sense of competition and partnership is so intense, it just heightens the importance of everything you feel and can alter your emotions dramatically.
Plus you literally spend the entire 14 weeks with them! The best success story proving this has to be the sweetest lovebirds ever, Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson. I totally called it! Before the cast announcements that season, we were all on the little shuttle bus going to the CBS studios. Val Chmerkovskiy and I sat behind these two and we totally called it straightaway. Blooming obvious! So Kym will be another beautiful bride of DWTS. I’m so pleased for them.
The lovely people at Royal Caribbean have very kindly given me a code connecting me to amazing internet so I have been able to watch the entire DWTS episode still! Hooray! So here’s my thoughts…
The Switch Up Craziness
Maksim Chmerkovskiy was in the ballroom this week, guest judging, and one could affectionately dub him the new Len. Indeed his comments were very ‘Len-like’ and I do like this streamlined, no BS attitude in order to be an effective judge. Yes, I’m all about that.
#TeamYayZee AKA Wanya Morris and Witney Carson danced to my personal favorite James Bay. I thought the the tango was sharp but it was energy flying out in different directions and not really being controlled. I didn’t see the stillness through the top line, But I did see a big gap between them and it was kind of bumpy. They needed to tighten this up and crank up the core strength. It was a good structure but not solid or polished enough for me which was basically what the judges said. It is difficult when the celebrity has good chemistry with their existing partner, and America is used to seeing that original connection. The switch up week is one big bulldozing session, it’s designed to ruffle feathers and pin the Pros’ abilities against each other. So I expected turbulence! Going back to Wanya and Witney, I’m sure the scores were lower than they wanted but it wasn’t devastating by any stretch: 8,7,7,8.
Kim Fields and Keo Motsepe had a Viennese Waltz for switch up week. I know Kim has trouble with getting stuck in her head, it’s something we’ve talked about. She really does put a lot into this competition, and battles with nerves more than she lets on. I saw a different side of Kim brought out by Keo tonight. Sexier for sure! I thought this was a fair effort, but I have to agree entirely with Maks and Len. The routine was lovely in places I thought, beautiful lines and pictures, though disappointingly it lacked content. I see both sides of the judges split opinions but at the end of the day what are we judging here? Are we supposed to implement rules for some and not others? We just can’t. For me, the story was the best feature, I liked that this routine had that. Kim danced it well but the lack of hold let this partnership down. I wish it wasn’t so. I’ll be voting for Kim tonight! Scores for them were 8,6,6,8.
Mr. Doug Flutie is dancing with Peta Murgatroyd. Peta says his number one challenge is his memory and this reminded me of when she partnered Tommy Chong. So if anyone has experience in this area it’s Peta! Well this was the most movement Doug has done by far. I can’t say he was dancing more than walking at times but he didn’t miss any of his steps and there was a lot of them in my opinion. I respect that he worked on his arms and some of his figures showed finesse. You could clearly see they had aimed for cleanliness as their strategy but it didn’t escape the occasional inward knee thing he does. So this is a big thumbs up from me. Worlds away from last week anyway! They scored an admirable 7,7,7,7. Good job Doug and of course Peta, for teaching him a good solid structure he can grasp.
And now I write a short sentence dedicated to the ‘urine on the face’ statement made by Wanya… New. Level.
I think Ginger Zee is the best kind of spice. See what I did there? ;) I’m LAUGHING so loud right now at the banter between Ginger’s hubby, Ben and Mark. Those feminine hip bumps during rehearsals really got me!!! I loved this routine and the way Ginger and Mark performed it together. So much flavor, it was old school and I was entertained from start to finish. It was just different, and refreshing. I loved the authentic salsa steps, she absolutely nailed them. Like Mark mentioned, I don’t think Ginger does consciously find the whole sexiness thing very easy, but she oozes it anyway without realizing. It’s a fresh sexiness she has. They seemed like a pairing that had been matched up longer than a week to me. Top notch and 8’s all round. And her husband cracks me up!!
I think Antonio Brown can be taught steps and he can execute them and support a girl. I think his creative expression might end there. It’s a stretch to say that he has refinement. I’m definitely in the same court as Len and Maks here. It was a flashy Cha Cha with Karina Smirnoff, but not so much that you can forgive the fact he isn’t improving much. It’s just the same old lettuce as every other week, but dressed with a different salad dressing each time (if I was to put it in a lunch themed metaphor!) I just want him to deliver something I’m not expecting, maybe he needs to commit a little more to rehearsals, I don’t know. So really, I saw the same kind of performance from Antonio whether dancing with Sharna Burgess or Karina. I’m not massively moved, sorry to say. They scored 26 overall which ended up being the lowest of the night.
Out of all the videos Sasha Farber had showed me of Paige VanZant doing this rumba, she danced it the best during the live show tonight. Her quality of movement improved a lot from the start of the week and I disagreed a lot with Len about the lack of emotion from her. I think her and Sash had a god connection. To be honest, I think Len loved the danced and was just struggling to find negative things to say about it. I honestly do think that! He sounded tongue tied. Paige was stunning tonight and danced more like a lady which I think was needed in order to make this rumba work. Her extension and arms stood out to me. Anyway. Len still scored an 8 along with Carrie Ann and Bruno. Maks scored a 7.
I love how cheeky Witney is these days! Worried that Von will develop a secret handshake with Lindsay! Hahaha I was most excited for this dance. Honestly though it didn’t go the way I envisioned it. It was his pigeon toed walks that got me. There was just something too awkward about his moves and it was too clunky. Too many flexed feet and heaviness. He gave it a lot of energy, and Lindsay’s choreography was clever and ‘Footballer friendly’. I just thought he was going to be better at the jive but unfortunately he wasn’t! Sorry Carrie Ann but I think to score him an 8 was quite a reach! They scored 29 overall.
Before Nyle DiMarco got scored I hoped he would get a 10. This Viennese Waltz was amazing, his posture improved a noticeable amount but beyond that the emotion was so touching it was spellbinding. Performances like that make you soul search. This was a beautiful art piece with Sharna and Nyle seamlessly floating around each other in such a tender way. Everything I believe a Viennese Waltz should be. I was in love with it. There was no doubt in my mind that Nyle was dancing to the music. He was dancing to the music that He and Sharna were creating together on the floor between them. That’s what happened tonight. He created the music himself. And he made us all hear it. It was palpable. The connection: undeniable. Stunning. Yes Nyle, Yes!!! First 10 of the season from Len. 9’s from the other judges after much debate. Shop DWTS cardio workouts here on Amazon!
It’s interesting to hear Jodie Sweetin compare her partners. She described Val as laser focused, and I think everyone watching tonight expected to hear that. This fierce dance (the Paso) suited her very well. She naturally has a lot of attack. It’s clear to see that she trained like a work horse this week and she seemed to streamline her focus which gained her a new confidence. I think arm choreography in particular is most effective on her, the places I most enjoyed in this dance happened to be sharp arm movements. She has a flare for them. Fluidity of body movement and general easiness is something she could work on, just to get that natural smoothness. She’s talented. I enjoyed watching cleanliness on her. Cause here’s the thing guys, cleanliness is key with celebrities. Val and Jodie scored 9,8,9,9 and to add to that I also give them best dressed award (Cobalt Blue = good choice!)
No eliminations this week, though I think we all expected that. Does that mean a double elimination next week? It’s possible. Who do you think is in danger? I think it could be any of the footballers, but also I’m a tad worried that Kim is a little too close to the bottom of the leader board. All in all a big thumbs up for switch-up week this season, it was less attacky and over competitive than other seasons and I enjoyed it a lot more because of it. Back to the original partners next week so I’ll be writing my blog on the go again after finishing a nice long week of filming in the Caribbean (sorry to rub it in folks, I’ll send my love from Barbados!!!) I’m sorry, I had to!
Big massive super duper love! Have a great week,
Love Emma xoxox