Monday, September 28, 2009

Jive, Quickstep, and Tango - the Ballroom is Alive!

LIVE! From Hollywood! It’s Dancing With the Stars!

As we get a glimpse of the judges’ table, we see no Len. I had heard he was having health issues, but Tom explains later that he was “otherwise engaged” in Britain and would be back next week and for the rest of the season. So who’s the new guy? Baz Luhrmann, the director of - among other things - Moulin Rouge. I hated that movie (it just lost me) so we’ll see how this guy does. His mother was a ballroom dance judge, so he may have a little idea of what he’s looking for. Baz says that the “work is done now, I want to see joy in the performances.”

Joanna & Derek get to begin the evening and will dance a Jive. It looks like Derek has really given her hard choreography (but he’s one of the best) and it looked good. Carrie Ann tells her that she had great energy but her feet were a little spastic. Bruno complimented Joanna saying “you don’t hold back” but that she lost precision on her kicks. Baz said the dance was exciting but she has to connect more with Derek. Their scores: 6-7-7=20.

Natalie & Alec are up next. They’ll be dancing the Quickstep. Alec has to keep reminding Natalie to breathe. I love the choreography but Natalie looks a bit stiff. Bruno tells her to relax a bit more. Baz offers that during the first half of the dancing she was “thinking” but the last half she looked more in tune with the music. Carrie Ann says she moves well, but she needs to think of Alec as an extension of herself. Okay scores: 7-7-7=21.

Chuck & Anna will dance a Tango, and this one should be right up Chuck’s alley. After Len wanted Chuck to “get in touch with his feminine side” Anna told him not this week - the Tango needed all of his fighting attitude. He’s got the face down pat for the dance, but I notice his posture drooping. (I’m getting pretty good at this elitist dancing stuff, huh?) At the end, Anna rips off his shirt (ooh, dramatic!) Baz tells them “if Uncle Lenny were here he might rip you to pieces” but he likes how Chuck is embracing his fears. Carrie Ann says she was a little frightened - but they were looking for impact, and that had impact! Bruno called it “savage and primeval” and that he saw the hard work Chuck put into his practice this week. Scores much better this week: 6-7-6=19.

Melissa & Mark are dancing the Jive. Mark tells us Melissa wants to learn the tricks but she’s not very coordinated. Melissa looks really joyous during the dance, but she’s not very bouncy. Carrie Ann hoots and tells Melissa “last week you were beige, this week you’re bright red!” Bruno tells her that she fell to pieces “down there” and she needs to check her feet. Baz tells her it’s a big improvement from last week but to watch her stepwork. Their scores: 7-6-6=19.

Michael & Anna come up next with a Quickstep. Anna admits that she may have let Michael down with her choreography last week. Michael says he’s doing this show to challenge himself. Bruno compliments them, saying “we wanted content, you gave us content.” Baz called him a natural performer, saying he confronted the challenge. Carrie Ann said “compared to last week, this is a touchdown!” Much better scores: 7-7-6=20.

Debi & Maks will Tango. Of course, Maks is being tough and Debi says they have a love/hate relationship. She gets upset that he’s yelling at her so much, and Maks feels bad and apologizes. The Tango looked great, full of passion, so the relationship works! Baz called it fantastic, and Carrie Ann loved the form and posture. Bruno told Debi “that’s the way to channel the feisty ball breaker!” Their scores: 7-7-7=21.

Louie & Chelsie are dancing the Jive. He’s got some energy, and she’s using it. Carrie Ann tells Louie he has joy when he dances, but sometimes it looked like he lost touch with the music. Bruno says “you can actually do it” but he didn’t do enough. Baz called it joyous but “maybe the jacket worked against you.” Okay scores: 6-7-6=19.

Aaron & Karina will be dancing the Quickstep. Aaron says “Karina is the mean one.” (Maybe that is why she and Maks broke up - they can’t both be mean ones!) The music gets ready to start and we see the Muppet, Animal, playing drums in the balcony and they dance to the Muppet Show theme. It really is a cute dance! At the end, the little purple Muppet with the hooked nose (I can’t remember his name for the life of me) blares a trumpet in Bruno’s ear at the desk. Bruno calls the dance spectacular and says Aaron is a “mini Fred Astaire.” Baz called it a great show, and Carrie Ann told them it was sharp with great holds. The best scores of the season: 9-9-9=27.

Kelly & Louis are up next, and they’re dancing the Tango. Kelly is getting herself all worked up with only 4 days to practice after having 4 weeks at the beginning. I notice her smiling in the beginning of the dance but she catches it and gets her Tango face back on. It seemed she lost it at one turn - I really liked the choreography, though. Baz tells her that her story was greater than the dance - “you had mistakes but you didn’t give up.” Carrie Ann told Kelly she was the opposite of everyone else, she’s building a base of technique. Bruno called her “Eva Peron” when she got it right, and that she can be amazing without the mistakes. Their scores: 6-7-6=19. Kelly was happy, saying “I wouldn’t have given me that.”

Kathy & Tony will dance a Quickstep. In rehearsal, Tony says being in the bottom last week made him so nervous, he was “sweating up.” Kathy says she needs to get over herself and not be so tentative. Song too slow for QS! Love her dress! Not great. Carrie Ann told them that as a full presentation, it was better than the Salsa, but that Kathy is so reserved, still carefully placed. Need to stand out. Bruno says you’re elegant but you have to be engaging. You can’t dance Quickstep 2 miles apart. Baz tells her she’s beautiful and elegant but the Quickstep is an exciting dance. They get 6-6-6=18 for their score.

Mark & Lacey are up to dance the Quickstep. Mark says “you have to do the steps quick but there’s no way to learn the steps quick.” Mark slips on the floor right at the beginning of his dance but recovers pretty easily. Bruno says he’s a great performer but he needs to get his dancing under control. Baz tells him it was an incredible comeback after the first slip. He didn’t fall apart. Carrie Ann says he’s clean when he dances, but the slip will take points off - but he did recover well. He needs to breathe too! 7-7-7=21.

Mya & Dmitry’s turn! He asks her if she’s mad at him for getting them a 5 from Len, and she “kicks” him in the nads and says “heck yeah, I’m mad!” (It was all in good fun). Mya is having problems with the Jive because she’s done tap and “it keeps getting in the way.” Dmitry is going to do a technically perfect Jive this week. Don’t know what the song is, but at the beginning, Mya mouths “will you go to bed with me?” Funny! Great Jive, looks good! Baz says “that is the real deal!” He likes how they made it their own and “claimed the dance.” Carrie Ann tells Dmitry that Len would not have liked the beginning - “but Len’s not here!” Bruno said it looked like Josephine Baker and Clark Kent, he loved it. They matched the night’s killer score: 9-9-9=27.

Tom & Cheryl will dance the Tango. She’s trying to teach Tom to snap his neck and he’s having problems. Plus, he’s getting a pre-stress fracture in his toes. Watching the dance, I realize Cheryl is a good teacher but even she isn’t going to be able to help this one for very long. He loses his balance at the end and almost drops Cheryl and looks mortified. Carrie Ann says they’re an oddly well-matched couple. She really liked the Tango till the end, and tells Tom “you gotta squeeze them together.” Bruno said “you nearly pulled it out of the bag.” Baz says if “Uncle Lenny” was here he would have liked the hold. Backstage, Tom says he’s gotten emails from Congress, and they all think he’s crazy. Their scores: 6-6-6=18.

Donny & Kym round off the evening with a Jive. He’s having trouble with the faster footwork. Kym’s got some cool looking knee-high boots on! He really looks pretty darn good, actually! Bruno says “mission accomplished.” Called it well-executed, and a very good Jive. Baz says the dance was accurate, but he likes that Donny is full of life. Carrie Ann called it an amazing performance. She wants to do “girl talk” for a moment and tells Kym she loves the outfit. The judges give them 8-9-8=25. Donny’s eyes pop out at the 9.

So here’s how it all adds up after the judges’ scores:

Aaron & Karina 27
Mya & Dmitry 27
Donny & Kym 25
Natalie & Alec 21
Mark & Lacey 21
Debi & Maks 21
Joanna & Derek 20
Michael & Anna 20
Chuck & Anna 19
Melissa & Mark 19
Louie & Chelsie 19
Kelly & Louis 19
Kathy & Tony 18
Tom & Cheryl 18


So is this the week Tom goes home? Or will Kathy be the one to leave? Did you vote? Tune in for the results tomorrow!

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