As we reach the final five, the judges relaxed the rules a little for this week- for each dance, one legal lift in the character of the dance is allowed. And as if that wasn’t enough, the results show also marked the 100th
episode of DWTS, which meant that we got a whole host of returning stars, and a countdown of the judges’ top ten perfect scoring dances from the first five seasons. Read on for the usual more detailed recap.
- Kristi and Mark (quickstep): Kristi and Mark were back on form with this energetic quickstep, a dance which I always love watching when performed well. I know that some have complained about Mark’s facial expressions over the course of the series, but to be honest they make me laugh- especially when Dancecenter picked up on them last week.
- Mario and Karina (Viennese waltz): The thing about this routine was that yes, it was a nice routine and yes, Mario finally found the elegance he needs for the ballroom, but I can’t help feeling it’s a bit of stretch to call it a Viennese waltz when there was so little actual turning in hold (and I want fleckerls, damn it!). I know the smooth style is like that, but it occurs to me that the show should just go back to doing the regular waltz and maybe save the Viennese for a group number.
- Marissa and Tony (foxtrot): Her outfit was hardly flattering, but as a Broadway star Marissa had no problem capturing the big band spirit of the dance. A good effort overall, but now that we’re down to the last five we can see that for all she’s progressed, Marissa isn’t quite up there with the others.
- Jason and Edyta (tango): The use of traditional music really helped to set the mood for this tango, which was sharp, dramatic and admittedly perhaps a little too much like the Argentine version despite being meant to be a ballroom tango. It was good, no doubt, but I was left with the nagging feeling that Edyta was perhaps doing too much compared to Jason, whilst there were a couple of ‘assisted jumps’ that would have counted as extra lifts in the UK version of the show.
- Cristián and Cheryl (tango): Similarly, this tango suffered a little for the lack of traditional music, but somehow having to dance ‘one-armed’ seems to have helped Cristián- perhaps because he’s concentrating more on the placement of his limbs. This was another solid tango, with strong expression and plenty of stalking walks.
I’ve noticed that at this stage in the competition in both SCD and DWTS the Latin round tends to suffer, and it seemed to be no different here, with the usual top scorers struggling somewhat.
- Kristi and Mark (samba): Having watched this twice, I can say that I liked (or perhaps appreciated) the choreography and its complexity, and I love to fangirl over Mark, but something about the dance didn’t come alive- it just lacked the carnival flavour and party spirit. A triumph of technical complexity over expression- and that’s not a good thing at this stage.
- Mario and Karina (jive): Sadly, I was already biased against this jive because I don’t like the song used (for one thing, it reminds me too much of the Matilda film, which I’ve become fed up with for various reasons). With that in mind, it just didn’t feel like a jive, and even though there was an impressive lift and a lot of effort from Mario, it just didn’t quite come off.
- Marissa and Tony (mambo): What with the spins and the red outfits, I can’t help wondering if Mark and Tony conferred a little this week, but anyway, whilst it was “decent”, this mambo also failed to wow me. In the past few weeks we’ve seen only progress from Marissa, but tonight seemed to be all about how she’s lagging a bit behind the others.
- Jason and Edyta (samba): The white shirt with tracksuit bottoms certainly didn’t help, but even by this week’s Latin standards, this didn’t feel anything like a samba- as Bruno said, in parts it seemed more like a rumba. Yes, there were samba steps in there, but the flavour of the dance was as washed out as the white costumes, and even the lift looked a little laboured.
- Cristián and Cheryl (mambo): The dance started with another unnecessary prop in the form of a wooden block, but luckily once he got up Cristián seemed to finally be in touch with his Latin blood. It wasn’t a perfect dance, but it was probably the best Latin number of the night, and I absolutely love Cheryl’s skirt.
Judges’ all-time top ten
Since I didn’t blog any earlier seasons, I thought I might as well recap this part of the show too- although bear in mind that I only started watching DWTS from season four so I hadn’t seen any of the season 1-3 dances before. The dances are listed from tenth to the judge’s all-time favourite.
- Kelly Monaco and Alec Mazo (freestyle): Not sure about the pause-transitions between sections, but a nice Latin medley overall. Not much more I can say on that one.
- Sabrina Bryan and Mark Ballas (paso doble): I enjoyed this the first time, and somehow it seemed even better seeing it here (although this time I picked up a lot more on those facial expressions). A strong paso doble, what a shame that Sabrina went out so early last season- and yes, I want to dance with Mark now.
- Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke (cha cha): Although technically not the greatest (and that’s not to say he didn’t have some good lines), I can see that Emmitt has a quality about him that makes everyone want to get up and dance- because if you see such a big muscular guy having so much fun, there’s got to be something good going on. I can’t say I cared for Cheryl’s red-trimmed leopard print dress, though.
- Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough (quickstep): A big ‘yay’ for seeing Apolo and Julianne again, after all, they’re always good to watch. This was a fast, energetic number that Apolo handled amazingly well, although I do slightly prefer Julianne’s quickstep with Helio (coming up later in this list).
- Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson (jive): The perfect example to showcase not only the fact that Joey could dance, but that he knew exactly how to work the audience- effortlessly entertaining them throughout his routine without ever missing a beat. Oh, how I miss the days of season four sometimes.
- Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough (quickstep): another great quickstep, this time with ‘Banana Man’ Helio in his yellow suit. An incredibly fast and energetic number with excellent musicality and the flavour of super spy meets Bond girl, this quickstep was definitely one of the memorable moments of season five.
- Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke (freestyle): Another routine that may not have been as good technically, but still had some fast and complex choreography. Cowboys are a bit hit and miss for me, but ‘Save a Horse’ was a good number to use, and overall this was an energetic freestyle- a real crowd-pleaser.
- Stacy Keibler and Tony Dovolani (samba): I wasn’t a particular fan of the choreography for this piece, but despite her height Stacy can dance well without looking gawky. Not my thing overall, but well performed nonetheless.
- Mel B and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (paso doble): I must admit I didn’t care for this much when I first saw it, but over time this paso has grown on me- and of course I have to admit the sheer level of attack Mel brought to the floor. I would definitely pick this one over Mel and Maks’ second paso with the whip and the red velour.
- Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff (tango): Yes, this dance was the judges’ all-time favourite, and indeed, it certainly was a very good tango- sharp, bursting with passion and aggression, with some Argentine elements at the end (but not dominated by them). A worthy choice from a largely worthy line-up.
The show kicked off with an energetic dance from both past and present pros, an explosive opening to a packed episode.
- Macy’s Stars of Dance: this time around it was the turn of former competitor Mario Lopez and the cast of A Chorus Line to put on a number- not the best thing I’ve seen but solid enough.
- Rascal Flatts performed twice; I don’t care for them much (pretty much like every other guest artist this season), but the accompanying dances were handled by two returning couples. First up were Apolo and Julianne with what was probably meant to be a waltz, but was more about poses and chemistry (it was still good to see them, though), whilst the second routine was handled by Mel and Maks doing what they do best in a sassy Latin number.
- Elimination: No bottom two was announced this week (although I suspect Marissa and Tony would have been in the red light), but this time around it was the turn of Mario and Karina to leave the competition. Although Marissa was certainly the weakest, she seems to have that “Marie Osmond” quality that keeps her in, whilst Mario’s snake hips couldn’t disguise the fact that he often lacked elegance in the ballroom, and perhaps lost fans who either found him arrogant or were jealous of his youthful good looks. Either way, the next show is the semi-final, where this season the dances to be performed have to be picked out of a hat.