Monday, November 18, 2013

Dancing With the Stars Recap: This Is It! Well, Almost.

The craziness of "Dancing With the Stars" is almost over, and tonight the dancers were competing for a spot in the finals. And they had to do it in front of Maksim Chmerkovskiy as a guest judge! 

Tonight's trick was that they had to perform a different dance to a stripped-down version of the song they performed their first dance to. Interesting concept! Let's get right down to the dancing, though.

  • Leah Remini & Tony Dovolani were up first with a paso doble to "Bad Romance." Leah and Tony had a lot of great interplay in this dance which is important in a paso doble. I like the sex appeal of the pair, but despite the good choreography, I never really felt the connection between the pair of them. I think Leah had psyched herself out just a little bit, and she just wasn't quite as on or as sexy as she should have been. Paso should be her dance, because she is a naturally sexy person, but I just didn't love it. Len thought the dance was neat and precise, but he thought it was too careful, too, and that she should have attacked the dance better. Bruno didn't think it was earthy and sexy enough. Carrie Ann liked the way she brought the drama, but thought the drama of the dance was too internalized, and that the turns weren't great. Maks thought it was a very basic dance, but thought it was a very good dance. He thought Leah should have been more emotional, though. Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Maks: 8; Bruno: 8. Total: 32.
  • Corbin Bleu & Karina Smirnoff danced next with a tango to "Light 'Em Up." It was kind of a crazypants tango, but there was a lot of strength, there, too. It was a very hip, modern tango, and I really liked it. There were definitely a few tricks, but there was also a lot of very awesome tango. I could really feel the drama and the passion between them, and the strength in both of the dancers. It was really fun to watch - super entertaining! Bruno praised the power, drive and passion of the dance. However, he did say that they lost the frame. Carrie Ann thought it was great, and said it was the fastest and most intense tango. Maks thought the content was amazing, and he also said he liked the "fairy dust" (or ashes) that they threw in the middle of the dance. Len thought the dance was too "full on," because tango is supposed to be a mixture of calmness and attack. He thought it was entertaining, but it wasn't his cup of tea. Scores: Carrie Ann: 9; Len: 8; Maks: 9; Bruno: 9. Total: 35.
  • Jack Osbourne & Cheryl Burke were up next with a jazz routine to "Roxanne." He had a tough week with this MS, but ti wasn't obvious in his dancing. Jack and Cheryl put a lot of passion into the dance, and he did a wonderful job with a lot of crazy lifts. He might have been just a little bit behind on a few of their movements that were supposed to be together, but any of his little mistakes were overshadowed by his wonderful showmanship. He's so adorable and fun to watch! Carrie Ann praised Cheryl for "killin' it," but she did say that Jack's weight placement and stance were more ballroom and not jazz enough. Maks praised him for the way he "blasts out." Len thought it lacked finesse, but thought he did well. He thought it was too "full on," though. Bruno thought the dance was very hard for someone who doesn't dance jazz, but thought it was pretty good overall. Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Maks: 9; Bruno: 8. Total: 33
  • Bill Engvall & Emma Slater danced next with a cha-cha to "Sexy & I Know It." Bill also had a tough week - he hurt his groin during rehearsal. One of the best things about Bill's dances every week, is that they understand how to delight the audience, even though Bill is frequently lost and/or behind. It was an adorable dance, and Bill was having a great time! This week it was obvious that he was off a little more than before, because of his injury (probably), but it was still fun to watch. Maks thought there were lots of issues in the cha-cha, but he said that he is "amazing." Len called him "the people's champion." Bruno praised the laughs and the enjoyment, and Carrie Ann also appreciated the joy he brought into the ballroom. Scores: Carrie Ann: 7; Len: 7; Maks: 7; Bruno: 7. Total: 28.
  • Amber Riley & Derek Hough were up last in the first round with a jazz routine to "Locked Out of Heaven." Their dance was intricate and super creative, ad they did a great job with the routine. It was just so cool. They didn't touch at all during the first part dance - they did the entire thing side by side - but there was an obvious connection and they were nearly perfect in their synchronized choreography. It was a very, very cool dance that I just loved to watch! Len just looked at them and said, "Do it again." Bruno said it was "incredible" and "fierce." Carrie Ann praised the dance as being precise like a mathematical equation. Maks compared it to a Fosse number, and thought it was great. Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Maks: 9; Bruno: 10. Total: 39.
Then it was time for the second round, with the stripped-down versions of the songs.
  • Leah & Tony danced an Argentine tango. On this dance, it was much easier to see their connection. There was a lot of passion and fire in the dance, but it was all sizzling and simmering. Leah once again showed her wonderful ability to be sexy and to act well to tell a story. It was a huge improvement from her first dance, and I liked it! Len said he "liked it fine," but he never felt that she fully embraced the dance. Bruno liked the sensual, intimate side of their dance. Carrie Ann praised her for how well she's worked her way up, but thought that she doesn't have enough confidence, and needs to make her movements bigger. Maks liked the dance but thinks her personality needs to come out. Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Maks: 8; Bruno: 9. Total: 33.
  • Corbin & Karina were up next with a rhumba. The dance was very sensual, and although it didn't scream rhumba all the time - it was more of a contemporary dance for a lot of it - it was a very sexy, well-executed dance. Corbin really knows how to move, and I love to watch the way he brings such passion and a great storytelling ability to the dance floor. Bruno loved the quality of movement, which reminded him of moving sculptures, while also telling a great story. Carrie Ann loved the way he moved his body, and liked that he took off his shirt not only because of the fact that he looks good, but also because of the way his body moves. Maks loved it, too. Len liked the "light & shade" of the dance, as well as the technique. He thought it was a great rhumba. Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Maks: 10; Bruno: 10. Total: 40.
  • Jack & Cheryl danced an Argentine tango. (The song, by the way, sounded almost exactly like the version from "Moulin Rouge!" which made me happy.) Jack was in his element with the ballroom dancing. He was very intense, but did a great job of keeping the intensity while not being totally crazy the entire time. It was a fantastic, sexy, sensual dance, and I loved it! Carrie Ann said Jack was "in the zone," and praised his hold, intensity and passion. Maks thought the dance was great - very technical and very passionate. Len said, "Jack, you're back." He loved the way he sold the dance, even though there were a few "scruffy" moments. Bruno praised his transformation, and thought it was controlled, with great shapes and wonderful dancing. Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 9; Maks: 9; Bruno: 10. Total: 38.
  • Bill & Emma were next with an Argentine tango. It doesn't seem like Bill Engvall dancing an Argentine tango to "I'm Sexy & I Know It" should work, but it totally did. He was wonderful - controlled, sexy, intense and just plain fantastic. It was the first dance in several weeks that really, really worked for Bill, and I was very impressed. He definitely still deserves to be in the competition. Maks thought it was great, both in musical interpretation and dance interpretation, with great passion. Len praised his heart and will. Bruno thought he did a great job, with a lot of content. He said it was everything an Argentine tango should be. Carrie Ann said he "never missed a beat," which is a big deal for Bill! Scores: Carrie Ann: 8; Len: 8; Maks: 8; Bruno: 8. Total: 32.
  • Amber & Derek danced last, with a Viennese waltz. As crazy as Amber & Derek have gotten in their past dances, with wild choreography and gimmicks, I think when they do a flat-out ballroom dance, they're at their best. They connected, and were just beautiful together. It was a beautiful, entertaining dance that really showcased their strengths. Len thought the performance had fire, and really loved the content of the dance as well as the performance. Bruno thought Amber danced like an angel. Carrie Ann loved her interpretation of the music. Maks said that she is "amazing," and has what she needs to win. Scores: Carrie Ann: 10; Len: 10; Maks: 10; Bruno: 10. Total: 40. 

So, who goes home this week and misses on the finals? 

Well, not Corbin & Karina, Amber & Derek and Jack & Cheryl! They were all declared safe, which means that Leah & Tony and Bill & Emma were in the bottom two. And going home is ... Leah & Tony. I'm not surprised, because Bill's fan base is obviously incredibly strong. I will miss Leah, who has become a favorite despite my initial apathy toward her, but I'm so glad that Bill gets to dance in the finals. He may not be close to the best dancer on the show, but he is wonderful to watch!

So, who should win next week? Honestly, Amber & Derek are probably the best dancers, but I am really rooting for Jack & Cheryl. His transformation has been wonderful, and he is completely adorable and totally inspiring without being over-the-top. At this point, though, there's nobody who I think doesn't deserve to win. I will be happy no matter who wins, but I will be especially happy if Jack wins! 

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