With no elimination in week one, everyone got the chance to dance again in an attempt to prove to both the judges and the audience that they are truly worth keeping in the competition. But with the first ever double elimination scheduled to remove one man and one woman from the competition, who could master both ballroom and Latin and avoid going home early?
Quickstep vs. Mambo
- Steve and Anna: As we saw last week, Steve knows how entertain and have fun out there, but like his foxtrot, his mambo was somewhat lacking in technique. Even a session with Anna’s mother Irina couldn’t really bring him up to scratch- full marks for effort, perhaps, but there were times in the dance when he looked a little lost as to what he was supposed to be doing.
- Cristián and Cheryl: I know the quickstep is meant to be fast, but this was a little frantic- to the detriment of technique. It was a nice touch to dress the Latin boy up as a gangster, but overall the technique was somewhat rough around the edges. Nonetheless, Cristián could well end up becoming this season’s Cameron Mathison.
- Monica and Jonathan: It may not have been the red hot mambo it should have been, but Monica came back fighting from last week and really gave it her all. Dancing and putting on a performance clearly don’t come easily to her, but I liked the little touches she put into her routine, even if it wasn’t the most inspiring overall.
- Penn and Kym: I’m not a fan of drawn out introductions, and even Penn’s great personality couldn’t disguise the time-wasting nature of his voodoo doll and magical tie at the beginning of the routine. Sadly, even when he got down to the quickstep, it was not a pretty sight, thanks to the weak footwork.
- Priscilla and Louis: After criticising the first batch of performers, it’s nice to have a routine that I can say more positive things about. As Len said, her mambo was a little too cold and precise and not ‘down and dirty’ enough, but it was still a strong effort, and I continue to be impressed by both Priscilla and her potential.
- Shannon and Derek: Last year I really loved the Derek and Jenny’s quickstep (despite the fall), and once again Derek has choreographed a great routine for his celebrity partner. This was truly head and shoulders above most of the other quicksteps of the evening; a strong dance that seems to indicate that Shannon and Derek will work very well together in the weeks to come.
- Jason and Edyta: After seeing his mambo, all I can say is “Go Jason!” Edyta gave him a content-filled routine, but he was certainly up to the task; if anything, he reminds me a little of UK series four winner Mark Ramprakash. I think we have the makings of someone who could go far here.
- Marissa and Tony: Compared to last week, Marissa has definitely begun to improve- even though it faltered a little and started to run out of energy, her quickstep did start well, with the part on top of the stage being especially noteworthy. At the moment, she’s the Marie Osmond of this series- not so hot on the technique, but able to capture the audience with her performance.
- Adam and Julianne: I don’t know whether to be amused or bemused by Adam’s mambo- it was a rather creative reinterpretation of the dance, in a half-drunk “dad dancing” sort of way. I’m so torn here, because there are many better dancers than Adam in the competition, but at the same time I really like Julianne and don’t want her to go out too soon.
- Marlee and Fabian: As the judges said, some mambo elements had crept in that shouldn’t be there, but overall, this was another strong quickstep- this very unique couple is still going strong and hopefully will have a chance to iron out the few things that need improving over the next few weeks.
- Kristi and Mark: For someone who was worried about being too shy and self conscious to let go, Kristi really turned up the heat a sizzling hot mambo- proof that she can excel in the Latin as much as the ballroom. To get 27/30 for both weeks is an impressive feat indeed, although at this rate the judges are going to need ‘11′ paddles!
- Mario and Karina: Whilst I have to admit that I prefer a more traditional costume for the quickstep (the lack of fabric makes it look like the show is on a budget-saving drive), the dance itself was good- as Len pointed out, the hold was a bit off but overall Mario did a good job with both the routine and leading Karina.
- The Jonas brothers performed a couple of numbers with supporting dance from the pros- I wasn’t so keen on their second song, but I quite liked the first one.
- Macy’s Stars of Dance: we had plenty of great dance demonstrations last season, and this one opened with something a little different- a Cirque du Soleil inspired piece involving aerial acrobatics with cloth, wire and what appeared to be a giant hamster ball. It was technically very good, and I was impressed by the ease and grace of the lifts, but as a traditionalist I have to admit my tastes run towards more ground-based dancing.
- Elimination: the legendary and inevitable first elimination saw one man and one woman go out- Penn Jillette and Monica Seles. Much as I loved Penn’s personality and watching Monica enjoy herself, I can’t deny that these were the right choices, with both of them being among the weakest dancers in the competition.