Monday, October 14, 2013

Dancing With the Stars Week 5: Celebrity Sob-Fest

It's another week of "Dancing With the Stars!" And this week is the week when we got to hear all of the celebrity sob stories, because everybody danced a dance relating to their most memorable year. There will be lots of sweet, sweet celebrity tears.

Sorry, that's my cynical side again. I have actually historically liked this week of dances, because it humanizes the celebrities and they tend to put a lot into these dances. I'm just sad that several of my favorites from this season are already gone, because I would have loved to have seen what they would have done.

Alas. Here are what the surviving D-listers did tonight:

  • Christina Milian & Mark Ballas focused on 2010, when Christina had her child and got a divorce. She danced a cha-cha-cha to Cee-Lo Green's "Forget You." Christina was really getting into the fun of the dance, but I never quite felt like she was totally on the beat. It might have been the choreography just not quite working for me, because Christina was definitely bringing the sass to to  the dance, but I just never felt like it settled into that sweet spot where it really felt comfortable. Still, it was a fun little dance with a lot of attitude and very crisp moves. It was technically nearly flawless, but I just wasn't completely feeling it. The judges absolutely loved it, though. They thought it was crisp and hot, and it was something special. Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 10; Bruno: 9. Total: 28.
  • Jack Osbourne & Cheryl Burke had the year 2012, when Jack had a daughter and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. They danced a waltz to "Kissing You." It was an absolutely beautiful dance, and it was the first time that I really felt like Jack was mostly comfortable with his dancing. He still had a few awkward moments, but he really performed extrodinarily well and put a lot of emotion into his dance. I could really feel what he was feeling, and I was so glad to see him really bring it this week. It was truly special. The judges were very happy with his light footwork, good lines and graceful, flowing dancing, and they were also inspired by his story. Len was also glad because they were in hold and not "larking about." Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9. Total: 27.
  • Leah Remini & Tony Dovolani drew inspiration from 2012 as well, when Leah made a major change in her life. (I presume she's referring to leaving the Church of Scientology.) She danced a contemporary dance to the Katy Perry song "War." She really put her acting skills into her dance, which had the story of a puppet breaking away from the puppeteer. She did a great job telling the story, and she just looked absolutely beautiful and confident. I think this is really her kind of dancing - not so dependent on certain steps, but more like a dance-acting. The judges didn't love the dance - they thought the lifts were kind of rough, and that the dance didn't quite flow. However, they liked the concept and the action between Leah and Tony. Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Bruno: 8. Total: 22.
  • Corbin Bleu & Karina Smirnoff had the year 2011, when Corbin's sister Phoenix was diagnosed with serious scoliosis. They danced a foxtrot to "My Wish." Corbin has a lot of grace when he dances, and every week he gets so much better. It was like watching professional dancers. He really has something special, and it was, flat-out, just a beautiful, emotional, well-executed dance. The judges were very, very impressed. Len was happy that he got the character of the dance and led Karina during the dance; Bruno loved his stylish movement; and Carrie Ann was worried about them potentially doing a lift (though I don't think she did!) but otherwise loved it. Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 10. Total: 28.
  • Bill Engvall & Emma Slater focused on the year 1982, when Bill married his wife, Gail. They danced a Viennese Waltz to "She's Always A Woman To Me." It was the best I've ever seen Bill dance, and I was so impressed with how light he was on his feet! He might have shuffled his feet on a steps and had a few timing issues, but he was waltzing himself all over the ballroom like he was dancing on a cloud. There was no hint of the dorky uncle dance this week - it was pure magic and it was so impressive to see. The judges said there were a few issues with timing and his arms, but they were touched by his dancing. Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Bruno: 8. Total: 24.
  • Snooki & Sasha Farber were inspired by 2012, when Snooki gave birth to her son. They danced a jazz routine to "Work, Bitch." This dance was totally in Snooki's wheelhouse, with a little bit of a club feel and a lot of energy. She just seemed like she should be out there dancing jazz like crazy. It was a lot of fun, and Snooki put a lot into it. It was just really entertaining and really silly, just like Snooki herself. The judges really loved her dance, because it was vibrant, clean and, most importantly, fun. Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9. Total: 27.
  • Brant Daughtery & Peta Murgatroyd took their inspiration from 2009, when Brant's dad, who supported him greatly in his acting career, died of lymphoma. Soon after, Brant was cast on "Pretty Little Liars." They danced a contemporary dance to "Your Song." There was a lot of passion in the dance, but I did feel like some of Brant's movements went a little wonky, especially some of his floor work. Still, when it worked, it really, really worked. Brant has a lot of charisma and a lot of passion, and that really came out in his dance. Overall, it was a very touching and entertaining dance. The judges loved it - the passion, the chemistry, the acting, and every other part of the dancing. Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 9; Bruno: 9. Total: 27.
  • Amber Riley & Derek Hough focused on 2009, when Amber auditioned for American Idol and was denied, but then made it onto "Glee." They danced a foxtrot to "Try A Little Tenderness." It was a very classy, classic foxtrot with some great little sassy moments thrown. It was a very fun dance, and even with the fancy stuff and the acting bits that they put in, there was still some solid foxtrot in hold. It did feel a little overly Broadway at times, though. I really felt like Amber's personality shined through in the dance. The judges loved it - Bruno called it "sensational" and Carrie Ann was impressed with her flexibility. Len said Amber was a star, but he didn't think it had enough dancing in hold. Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 7; Bruno: 10. Total: 26. 
  • Elizabeth Berkley & Val Chmerkovskiy were inspired by 2012, when Elizabeth had a baby, and 1989, when she was cast on "Saved by the Bell." It was all about having her son know he could dream big. They danced a jive to "I'm So Excited," inspired by an iconic scene on "Saved by the Bell." It was wonderfully '80s-tastic and fun, and Val had his shirt open, so how could I do anything except enjoy the dance? It was really fun and a very well-executed jive. I do think that Elizabeth had a couple of little timing issues, but it was clear that she was just having a blast, and that plus a good dose of nostalgia covers over a multitude of sins. The judges enjoyed it, especially for the fun and nostalgia factor. Len and Bruno loved the dance, though Carrie Ann had a few technical quibbles. Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 9; Bruno: 9. Total: 26.

Then it was time for elmination. After declaring six couples safe, Christina & Mark, Elizabeth & Val and Leah & Tony were on the chopping block. Elizabeth & Val were declared safe - thank goodness! - and it was down to Christina & Mark and Leah & Tony. Even though Christina had the highest judges scores this week, it wasn't enough to save her, and she was eliminated. 

This is one of those times that shows how important viewer votes are. Christina had a great score, and earned the first 10 of the competition, but that great dance only affects part of the scores - the viewers didn't get to vote on that dance. It's less of a week-to-week competition and more of a long game about who has more fans who get out and vote. I'm OK with it - I feel like dancing skill should sometimes be secondary when figuring out who wins "Dancing With the Stars."

So who should go home next week? I hate to say it, but Leah is really starting to struggle. However, I love her sassy, sarcastic personality, so I hope it's not her. Actually, darn it, I like everybody this season, so I'm wishing there were a way that nobody got eliminated! Can we just have the remaining contestants dance the rest of the season and give them all mirror-ball trophies? Get on that, ABC!

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