DWTS Finale: From The Audience Seat

May 20, 2009 at 6:08 am | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

We have an amazing intern, Erin, that was lucky enough to attend Monday’s performance night finale of Dancing with the Stars, and lucky for us, she graciously agreed to recap her experience. Enjoy!

Hello BDC Socialites!

I recently won a trip a trip of a lifetime. Two weeks ago, I received a phone call from my local ABC station telling me that I was the winner of their Dancing With The Stars Sweepstakes and have won a trip for 2 to the finale (performance) taping! Over the next 20 minutes, a mix of emotions ran through my body. At first I was caught off guard and was somewhat confused by the phone call. Having entered the contest months ago and thinking “nobody really wins these contests,” I never gave my entry a second thought. However, as I learned more details and all the information started to sink in, those feelings changed. Needless to say, I was ecstatic! Though I live only a short 6 hour drive north of the LA area, I have never attended a DWTS taping, despite always desperately wanting to go. Never in my wildest dreams was I expecting anything like this to happen!

After we got the legal formalities out of the way, I received more specific details from the promotions rep in LA. I found out that ABC was going to wine & dine us! Our hotel accommodations were at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (http://www.fourseasons.com/beverlywilshire) in the heart of Beverly Hills adjacent to the infamous Rodeo Drive. We checked into our gorgeous hotel room around 3pm Sunday afternoon where we were given a welcome packet with more specific details such as dress code, what to bring to the studio, what not to bring, and Monday’s schedule including the possibility of a meet and greet with some of the dancers! Emotions started building up as reality was starting to set in. I honestly don’t know how I slept Sunday night!

Before getting ready for the show, my boyfriend (my guest) and I shopped around and explored Beverly Hills – but I know none of you care to hear about that! At 2:45pm the winners from all over the country met in the lobby in our best cocktail attire. There was a representative from ABC with us every step of the way taking pictures and videos as none of us would be allowed to bring our own cameras. After the “photo shoot,” we boarded a bus to the studio. We played trivia games along the way and were given DWTS memorabilia, including a copy of the new Ballas Hough Band CD autographed by Mark and Derek! We were a pretty enthused bunch and definitely didn’t need the help of the opening MC to get us pumped for the show!

We took our seats at the set about an hour before show time. We were seated on the floor level facing the stage. We took in the whole set, noting how much smaller it looked in person, and gawked at all the celebrities in attendance. Six chairs down from me was Genya Mazo, Alec Mazo’s brother. A few rows in front, sat Corky and Shirley Ballas, and just feet away were DWTS alumni such as Jane Seymour, Marissa Jaret-Winokur, Brooke Burke, Holly Madison, Vivica Fox, Emmett Smith, Warren Sapp, the Woz, and many more! Tom & Samantha opened the show just to the right of us, and from that moment forward, it was a non-stop thrill! As I’m sure you all saw on TV, the group Paso was amazing and the freestyles were full of energy and entertainment. But what came after the show made our trip even more memorable.

Our ABC rep met us at our seats once the taping concluded and informed us of a little surprise. Mark and Derek were going to come over and take a group picture with us to finalize our night. While we were waiting for Derek, Corky and Shirley Ballas came over to greet each of us and thank us for coming out to the show. They were both very cordial and chatted with us for a bit. Then Derek made his way over to say hi and take the group picture, but was then was kind enough to offer to take individual pictures with all of us winners. He was very nice and patient while we all took our turns to pose with him and the stage. Then it was time to play the waiting game while Mark and Shawn finished up in the Press line, but we didn’t let that bring down the mood!

While we patiently waited on Mark, we took in the chaotic Press line and watched the couples move from interview to interview (where Maks and Karina were conducting interviews for their respected shows as well). A few of us eventually built up our courage and inched our way closer and closer to the end of the press line where, after some time, we were able to meet and get autographs from Gilles & Cheryl and Tony & Melissa. I even snagged a kiss on the cheek from Tony! (Thanks again Tony! 😉 )

Forty not-so-long minutes later, Mark made his way over to take the group picture. Corky was taking pictures for Mark as well, then started to record a video. He then said, “On the count of 3, everyone yell ‘VOTE FOR MARK AND SHAWN!’” We of course chanted back, but apparently it wasn’t loud enough for Corky! He had us do it even louder, which made Gilles stop what he was doing in the Press line and turn to us exclaiming “WHAT?!!!” Gilles threw his hands up in the air in protest then ran over to jump in our group picture. He then summoned Cheryl, then Shawn followed thereafter. Tony then looked up from what he was doing and, of course, had to jump into the fun as well. Melissa was the last to join us, leaving the reporters behind to give us one complete group picture with all of the Season 8 finalists! This crazy, hilarious moment gave us a climactic ending to one of the most perfect nights for all of us.

At the beginning of this trip, I was expecting nothing more than to witness a lively dancing spectacle, but the outcome of the trip far exceed those expectations. Our experience is one I will never forget thanks to all of the people at ABC, both the cast and staff behind the scenes. I will never wash my cheek again Tony, (just kidding!) nor do I hope to come down from this cloud for a LONG while!

(Pictures from the meet & greet are still to come!)

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Dancing with the Stars 8 Performance Finale Recap by Tinkcrzy1972

May 18, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Hey Everyone,

Well, it is finally here, the finale of Dancing with the Stars, Season 8! Tomorrow night, we’ll crown a winner, but tonight, it is a group paso doble and the freestyle round that lie ahead. Let’s get started, shall we?

First up will be the group paso doble, but before that, each of the judges will be visiting with one of our 3 couples. This is a change in the format from previous seasons, it used to just be Len that went out to the couples. Carrie Ann meets with Melissa and Tony, Len meets with Gilles and Cheryl, and Bruno meets with Shawn and Mark. As usual, it is an entertaining segment, and we learn that the order the couples are dancing in for the group dance was determined by a draw.

Shawn and Mark are the first solo. Although I find Shawn’s costume distracting because there is so much of it for her tiny frame, I think they really killed it! Melissa and Tony are second, and I love their costuming. She is SO improved from when we saw them do the paso a couple of weeks ago. She had one little stumble, but recovered quickly and went on with the routine. That isn’t easy! Gilles and Cheryl are last, and to me, it seemed like Cheryl really made the choreo about what worked for her, instead of what worked for Gilles. I don’t like the combined segments for this dance because you couldn’t see all three couples at once, and had to watch whoever the cameraman decided you should watch, instead of deciding for yourself. Judges scores:

Shawn and Mark: 9,9,10
Melissa and Tony: 10,9,10
Gilles and Cheryl: 10,10,10

Now for my favorite part of the whole competition, the freestyle round. Shawn and Mark are first, starting clothed all in black, with white gloves and white sparkly masks, reminiscent of the Jabbawockeez. These are stripped away early on in the number to reveal green and black costumes that are really cute. Their freestyle is a little bit lindy, a little bit hip hop, a little tumbling, and a whole lot of fun. I will say that I think Mark was overdancing Shawn just a bit in some sections, but I enjoyed their freestyle very much. Judges’ scores: 10,10,10

Melissa and Tony are next, and I just have to say it….wow, my boss here at Ballroom Dance Channel is a hottie! Sorry if I’m embarrassing you, Tony, I know you work hard for everything you have! Okay, I know I’m biased, but this freestyle is one of the best I’ve ever seen, and it has everything a freestyle should. It is a classic mix of tricks and flash for the crowd, but with plenty of ballroom content thrown in as well, so we can see what Melissa learned. Also, it was FUN! Tony, win, lose, or draw tomorrow night, I’m so proud of you, and so happy that we have gotten to see you really come alive through your dancing with Melissa this season. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us! Judges’ scores: 9,9,9. BOOOOOOOOO!

Gilles and Cheryl are the last to dance the freestyle tonight. I wasn’t getting the costumes until I heard the song, they chose the theme from Flashdance. Hmmm. Interesting. I would have thought they would choose something that would showcase Gilles a little more, but again, this routine feels like it is more about Cheryl than Gilles, where the other two couples are acting as one, as a team. Also, it seemed like there was much less for Gilles to do in his routine than Shawn or Melissa did. Given it is a freestyle, I don’t think the picture/frame analogy applies. Again, that could just be me. Judges’ scores: 9,10,9.

Tomorrow night is the end of the road, win, place or show. Who do you think is taking home the coveted mirror ball trophy, and who will be the first to go? Hope we’ll find out together tomorrow night. Also, please note that Ballroom Dance Channel is proud to be covering So You Think You Can Dance again this season, and that coverage will start on Thursday with the first audition show!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

WriterMarie426’s Dancing with the Stars Finale Recap

May 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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Well, here we are everybody! Welcome to the finals of Dancing With The Stars – Season 8. Ty had a good long run this season, but went home last week just shy of the finals. Gilles, Melissa, and Shawn dance tonight for the mirror ball trophy. The first round will be a Paso Doble face-off among the three couples, then we will move to the always popular Freestyle round.

All three of our stars and their partners descend the stairs in their breathtaking Paso outfits. Kudos to Randall Christensen and his talented staff for making the dance costumes so amazing every single week. All of our dancers look pumped and ready to go.

First we see footage of all of our couples being visited in practice by one of the judges. Each judge is there to give pointers and help improve the dances. Bruno observes Shawn and Mark, telling them to surprise the audience with something they’ve never seen before. Carrie Ann goes to see Melissa and Tony, who wants them to bring out more aggression in their Paso this time, and less of Melissa’s ballet and cheerleading background. Len pops in on Gilles and Cheryl, saying that they need to up their game and dominate, and also make this Paso less hectic. Finally we see the group part of the Paso rehearsal, where the couples are trying to look good as a group but also realize that they are competing against each other in this group number.

Our Paso Doble face-off starts to the tune of Pink’s “So What”, with all three couples together on the floor. Shawn and Mark dance their solo section first, keeping their moves strong, sharp, and serious. Melissa and Tony dance next, making their Paso aggressive and powerful with tremendous kicks. Finally Gilles and Cheryl dance, keeping it sexy and giving us some great spins. The group comes out together to finish, keeping everything in sync.

Len says it’s difficult to do a classic dance to contemporary music, but our couples did a good job with that. He likes Shawn’s excitement and energy, but tells her to keep her chin up more. He tells Melissa she did a good job, but he saw a slight mistake. Len says he liked Gilles’ full on intensity, and that this time the Paso was not too hectic for him.

Bruno commends the three couples for dancing well together as a team. He says that Shawn did a beautiful job, and likes that Melissa’s confidence has grown by leaps and bounds. He calls Gilles a leading man.

Carrie Ann remarks that this is her favorite season so far, and these couples prove why. She doesn’t think Shawn was as emotional as she needed to be, but does say that Melissa nailed it this time. She tells Gilles that she expects perfection from him, and that’s what she got.

Shawn and Mark 28 (9,9,10)
Melissa and Tony 29 (10,9,10)
Gilles and Cheryl 30 (10,10,10)

Now we get to peek in on the Freestyle practices. Shawn says that she and Mark will not be using her gymnastics moves this time, because they got in trouble last time they used them. Former DWTS Champion Apolo Anton Ohno comes in to tell Shawn to use her Olympic edge. He also mentions that no Olympian that has made the DWTS finals has lost, which makes Shawn feel a little nervous.

Shawn and Mark start their Freestyle routine in black hooded track suits, with their faces covered in sparkling silver masks. After a short time they strip down to their green show outfits, and show us a Freestyle filled with acrobatic break dancing moves. They have a little difficulty with a lift, but otherwise do a solid routine.

Bruno says they are going for the gold, and he liked the explosiveness and creativity. Carrie Ann likes the youth and energy, along with the precise movements. Len tells them he enjoyed the fun, speed, and precision.

Score: 30 (10,10,10) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 58

When Bruno holds up his 10 paddle for them, he shouts “11”!

Melissa and Tony tell us that they have to put it all on the line this week. The last time Tony was in the finals was in Season 2 with Stacy Keibler, and he learned something important…no risk, no reward. Tony states that this is the most physical routine he’s ever choregraphed, and that is proven when Melissa accidentally clocks him in the eye practicing a lift.

Tony and Melissa come out in hip hop style, with great footwork and fantastic flips. Their Freestyle is fast and fun, with a lot of intricate moves.

Carrie Ann loves Melissa’s new attitude and likes the performance, but feels that that choreography was a bit disjointed. Lens says they showed versatility, but the style they danced is not his cup of tea. Bruno agrees with Carrie Ann, but also says he really enjoyed their lifts.

Score: 27 (9,9,9) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 56

Our final Freestyle comes from Gilles and Cheryl. Gilles says that all three couples are so good, it’s really anybody’s game now. Cheryl works on bringing out his personality and charisma. Gilles is nervous about all of the tricks in this routine, especially since his shoulder is hurting a lot more. The doctor wraps Gilles’ shoulder to help him with the pain during the lifts.

We hear the music of Flashdance start, and they start the performance with some chair moves. It’s a great routine, high energy yet still sexy, and the lifts go well.

Len really likes the high energy, telling Gilles that he is a real dancer. Bruno says it was a great performance, but he wanted to see more. Carrie Ann agrees with Bruno.

Score: 28 (9,10,9) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 58

Dancing with the Stars 8: The Semis!

May 11, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the semi finals! I can’t believe we’re here already, it seems like our season just started, and next week it is all over until the fall. I can’t be too sad, though, because that means we get to start covering So You Think You Can Dance. It is a wonderful time to be a dance fan, isn’t it?

To start off our evening, there is a rousing pro number to “Should I Stay or Should I Go” that featured Louis Van Amstel, Dmitry Chaplin, and Genya Mazo, partnered with Karina Smirnoff, Aliona Vilani, and Chelsie Hightower. I loved it, but am a little confused why Chelsie was dancing when she has two routines to get through with Ty tonight as well. I hope it doesn’t put them at an additional disadvantage.

After the pro number, we do a segment with Melissa and Tony, where they chose their favorite smooth and Latin dances. They chose the foxtrot and the samba as their favorites. I thought then they would dance, but we are going to go through all the couples first. I assume this is meant to lengthen the show so that Castle’s season finale airs immediately after the close of our show, as it is on the bubble for renewal and showed a 40% increase in viewers last week when aired immediately after DWTS.

Gilles and Cheryl are second for the trip down memory lane, and they chose the foxtrot and the paso doble as their favorites. I was there the night of the paso doble, and I have never felt an energy in the ballroom like I did that night, it was like a rock concert! After the commercial break, we hear from Shawn and Mark. They choose the quickstep and the paso doble, both dances from last week. Interesting that Shawn finally felt she had a breakthrough just last week, as good as she has been throughout the competition! Last for this segment are Ty and Chelsie, and they choose the quickstep from week 2 and the Lindy hop. Chelsie really gives some helpful pointers to Ty during the voiceover for their segment. She is brilliant with the analysis and in telling him what he needs in their dances for this week. I really hope they invite both Chelsie and Dmitry back for next season, as both are positive additions to professional roster.

Melissa and Tony have the quickstep in the smooth round tonight. Melissa is intimidated by the footwork, because she knows Len is going to be watching her closely, and already isn’t a fan of her feet. WOW! That was so beautiful, so elegant, and so much fun all wrapped in one. I thought the footwork was beautiful, and I agree with Len about the musicality. The other two were nitpicky, as usual. Judges scores 9,10,9.

Gilles and Cheryl have the waltz in the smooth round. This has been a busy week for Cheryl, she opened her third dance studio in Laguna Nigel over the weekend. She wisely brought in Jonathan Roberts to help Gilles learn the elegance needed for the waltz, and he did a brilliant job. This was just amazing, all the way through. The song choice, costuming, and choreography combined to make one of the most beautiful waltzes I’ve seen on the show. Judges’ scores: 10,10,10.

Shawn and Mark are dancing the Argentine Tango in the smooth round. The pressure really seemed to be getting to them about the lifts in the practice footage, but the actual routine was just stunning. Mark really knows how to choreograph for Shawn’s strengths. Actually, he’s always done an amazing job of finding the essence of each of his partners and really making him shine. If the reports from this week come true and he and Derek take next season off, I think it will be a loss to the show in both cases, as both are brilliant dancers and choreographers. Judges scores: 10,10,10. Can you imagine what that feels like for her?

Ty and Chelsie are dancing the Viennese Waltz in the smooth round. But first, Ty needs to issue some payback for that rumba solo, and makes Chelsie ride a mechanical bull. She does brilliantly, but Ty mocking her for being too fluid was too funny! Sigh. I love Ty, and I love Chelsie more than I can say, but that was not very good. The musicality wasn’t there, and it was choppy throughout. There were points he ALMOST had it, but we didn’t quite get there. Judges’ scores: 8,9,8.

We’ll be dancing in the same order for the Latin round tonight, which means we’re back to Melissa and Tony. They have the cha-cha for the Latin round, and danced to my favorite Michael Buble song! I thought they did a wonderful job, but the judges were a bit critical of the footwork. Still, you can’t be perfect in every dance, one of them has to be your weak point. Judges’ scores: 9,9,9.

Gilles and Cheryl have the salsa in the Latin round tonight. Once again, a flawless routine. Gilles and Cheryl deserve to be in the finale, but with performances like this tonight, has he peaked too early? How much will they now have to put into the 3 dances for next week in order to sustain that level of intensity? Judges’ scores: 10,10,10.

Shawn and Mark are dancing the jive tonight, and it was a really fun routine. Mark needs to be careful, though, if they make the finale as expected. He doesn’t mean to do it, but he tends to outshine Shawn at times with the precision of his movements. I love to watch Mark dance, but it can make Shawn look less than when he doesn’t dial it back just a little. Judges’ scores: 9,8,9. Seriously? An 8?

Dancing last tonight are Ty and Chelsie, with the samba. It actually is pretty good, but I thought it was lacking in musicality. Ty’s stiffness works well for him with the samba rolls, though! He’s just so cute, and I have to say I am really proud of him for making sure he wasn’t leading with his heels. Judges’ scores: 8,7,8.

Okay, that’s it for tonight. We’ll see you tomorrow where we’ll learn together who makes the finals next week!

Keep Dancing,
Ballroom Dance Channel

Dancing with the Stars 8: Semifinal Recap by WriterMarie426

May 11, 2009 at 7:35 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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Good evening everyone, and welcome to the Semi-Finals of Season 8! Tonight’s dances will determine which three of our four remaining couples dance in next week’s Finals. Each couple will perform two dances again this week, one Ballroom and one Latin.

We begin the evening with another superb pro dance choreographed by Louis Van Amstel, performed to “Should I Stay Or Should I Go”. Our four couples all come down the stairs smiling and ready for their dances.

Before any of the couples dance, we see footage of them discussing their breakthrough Ballroom and Latin Dances so far this season. Melissa and Tony look back on their Foxtrot and Samba. Gilles and Cheryl also choose their Foxtrot but then analyze their Paso Doble for best Latin dance. Tom asks Gilles if Cheryl’s “crankiness” is helpful to his learning the dances. Gilles answers that she is not cranky…she is The Boss, and he would not change a thing. Shawn and Mark talk about their Quick Step and and Paso Doble, and while Ty and Chelsie also believe the Quick Step was their best Ballroom dance, they choose the Lindy Hop for their breakthrough Latin dance.

We begin the Ballroom Round with Melissa and Tony dancing the Quick Step. At practice Tony gets Melissa to work on her feet, because he knows Len will be watching. Melissa has some trouble switching between the Quick Step and Cha Cha this week. By the end of the week, Melissa declares that Tony has gotten her feet whipped into shape. They perform a fun, classic Quick Step with beautiful footwork that is perfectly timed with the piano music.

Len calls it a delight, saying he likes the musicality and that Melissa’s feet are much improved. Bruno believes it was very good, but it wasn’t as exhilarating as it could have been. Carrie Ann agrees with Bruno, saying Melissa was not connected to her soul. She also states that she has to take a point off for the space she saw in their hold.

Score: 28 (9,10,9)

Gilles and Cheryl are next with the Waltz. Cheryl states that they took some risks last week that paid off, but they need to get back to basics this week. She does mention to Gilles that since Lil’Kim is gone, he has to be the one to shake his booty in the Latin Round. While working on the Waltz, Cheryl brings in Jonathan Roberts to help Gilles learn how the man should look – classy and sophisticated. Their Waltz is full of beautiful spins and romatic moves, and Gilles’ posture is perfect.

Bruno stands up, telling Gilles that he looked like a matinee idol and the dance was incredibly romantic. Carrie Ann states that people watch dancing so they can be swept into a world of fantasy…and that Gilles and Cheryl took the audience into a breathtaking fantasy world. She also praises Cheryl’s choreography. Len simply tells them he is giving them a sitting down standing ovation.

As they head backsatge for scores, Gilles has tears in his eyes, telling Samantha how much he loves dancing with Cheryl and he is enjoying all of the hard work they have put into it.

Score: 30 (10,10,10)

Shawn and Mark get ready for their Argentine Tango. Shawn says at rehearsal that breaking the rule last week was worth it, because their dance really entertained the fans. She feels challenged by all of the steps in the Jive, and a little bit scared of the lifts in the Argentine Tango. She really wants to be in the final. Their A-Tango is strong and sharp, with a lot of intricate leg work.

Carrie Ann says she sometimes worries that since Shawn is the youngest contestant that she will have trouble delivering the emotional content…but she delivered it! She loves the lifts, passion and precision. Len appreciates the maturity and intensity, calling it their best performance to date. Bruno calls her “Catherine Zeta-Shawn, likening her to the character in Chicago.

Score: 30 (10,10,10)

Our last Ballroom dance is a Viennese Waltz from Ty and Chelsie. Ty decides to payback Chelsie for his Rumba solo, so he takes her to learn how to ride a mechanical bull. They have Samba also this week, which Ty says is supposed to be a party but is more like a “pain in the ass”. Chelsie gets Ty to look smooth and graceful for the V-Waltz, and Ty wants to dance well so the fans can justify voting for him last week over a better dancer. They perform a very pretty V-Waltz, but there is some stiffness along with some rough movements near the end of the dance.

Len says no one has worked or tried harder than Ty, and even though there were a couple of issues during the dance it was fabulous overall. Bruno states that he can see why America loves Ty, but their Waltz was not smooth enough. Carrie Ann says she loves Ty, but she has to take off points for the wobbles in the dance.

Score: 25 (8,9,8)

As the judges continue to argue with each other, Tom says that the post show dinner reservations have been made…three tables for one.

As each couple gets ready for their Latin dance, we see hometown clips about their lives. Melissa and Tony get in position for their Cha-Cha, and we go to Dallas to learn more about Melissa. She loves her city and the family feel of it, and her family tells us how she is Texas tough and resilient. We also learn that when she became a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, she was shy at first but really opened up. Melissa says that what doesn’t kill her makes her stronger. Melissa and Tony’s Cha-Cha is crisp and fun, with extraordinary splits.

Bruno believes the dance was sensational at moments, but that feeling was not sustained throughout. Carrie Ann agrees with Bruno. Len says he liked it, but it was not to their usual standard.

Score: 27 (9,9,9) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 55

Gilles and Cheryl get ready for the Salsa as we see clips of Gilles’ life growing up in Cannes, France. Gilles says that even though Cannes is known for high society, he was raised in a tough part of town. He likes that French men are allowed to be romantic and emotional. His father was a baker who worked day and night, and Gilles learned his strong work ethic by working along side of him. Gilles and Cheryl perform a hot, sexy Salsa, with great footwork and hip action.

Carrie Ann stands up and dances, saying Gilles is at his best. Len is almost speechless, but does say he wishes he had an 11 paddle to hold up. Bruno states that Lil’Kim is alive and well and living in Gilles’ pants, and that Gilles deserves to be in the final.

As they head backstage, Tom announces that there will be a performance on the results show by Raphael Saadiq.

Score: 30 (10,10,10) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 60

Shawn and Mark perpare for the Jive as we travel to Shawn’s hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. She says it is a small town with a big heart. Her family tells us she is a daredevil who learns things quickly. Her gymnastics coach tells how Shawn never gives up, and we learn that she had the flu while performing at the Olympics but still won the gold medal. Shawn and Mark’s Jive is fun and bouncy, with awesome spins and footwork.

Len likes that it was fast and fun, but there was not enough traditional Jive in it for him. Bruno calls it a strong performance, and that they gave 110%. Carrie Ann says it was a wonderful performance, but they lost steam toward the end.

Score: 26 (9,8,9) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 56

Last up are Ty and Chelsie with the Samba. We see Ty’s friends and family in Stephenville, Texas, telling us that all Ty ever wanted since he was little was to be a cowboy. Jewel says that Ty is always focused and determined, and she’s glad we all get to see both sides of Ty…the strong side and the sensitive side. Ty and Chelsie’s Samba is good with their spins and rolls, but Ty does look a little stiff on some of the other moves.

Bruno says they put everything but the kitchen sink in their routine, and that Ty looked like he was dancing on a tightrope. Carrie Ann calls him the MVP of Season 8. Len says that Ty is smooth in Ballroom, but too quick in Latin.

Score: 23 (8,7,8) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 48

Our evening finishes with the recap and reminder to vote. Also remember that tomorrow night is the final round of competition for the new pro dancer for next season. Good night everybody!

Dancing with the Stars 8: WriterMarie426’s Recap

May 4, 2009 at 7:56 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

Tink here! I’m more than a bit under the weather, so Marie has been kind enough to write us another awesome recap. Don’t forget to vote!

Good evening ballroom dance lovers, and welcome to Week 9 of Dancing With The Stars. We are at the point in the competition where our five remaining couples each have two individual dances to perform – one Ballroom Style and one Latin Style. In addition, during the Latin round each of our celebrities will need to perform a 15 second solo in their routines.

We open tonight’s show with a group pro dance choreographed by Louis Van Amstel, which showcases three of the Ballroom dances. Tom announces that the group will be back later to show us the Latin dances.

All of our couples descend the staircase with smiles on their faces, especially Melissa and Tony, who are back after last week’s injury. After everyone makes it safely down the stairs, we see a segment featuring our three judges breaking down what they need to see from each couple in the Ballroom round.

Our first couple to dance are Shawn and Mark with the Quick Step. Shawn states that at this point 8’s are no longer enough, they need to go for 10’s. Mark concentrates on teaching her the quirky movements, while also getting her to make it graceful. Shawn stresses about this week, knowing it is make or break. Their Quick Step is done in a fun, quirky style, with great footwork and big movements.

Len likes that it was fun, joyful, and carefree, but says they broke a rule…the couple can be apart at the beginning or end of the dance, but they broke their hold in the middle of it. Bruno says Shawn came across like Sporty Spice, and agrees with Len but also calls it great fun. Carrie Ann believes it was their best dance ever, but has to take a point off for breaking the rule.

As they wait for their scores backstage, Mark says he takes the blame for the rule violation, he just wanted to put on a great show for the audience.

Score: 27 (9,9,9)

Ty and Chelsie are up next with the Argentine Tango. Ty says during rehearsal how much he loves a good challenge, and he likes that in the A-Tango he can be strong and serious…and do lifts. Chelsie tells him to think about the hard work and dedication he has put into this competition and incorporate it into the dance. Ty has some solo footwork at the beginning of the dance, which he performs well, and they stay in serious character throughout the performance. They show off their excellent footwork and strong lifts.

Bruno says Ty shows strength and determination like a Power Ranger and likes the dance but would like more subtlety. Carrie Ann commends Ty for coming so far in the competition, but says she saw a stumble and that he lacked breath in motion. Len believes they captured the flavor and essence of the dance, calling it their best dance ever.

Score: 25 (8,9,8)

Our next performance is a Waltz by Lil’Kim and Derek. Kim feels the pressure to stay on top, especially when everyone’s scores are so close together. Derek realizes that Kim struggles on the slow dances, because she’d rather be wild and just break out. He works on making her the complete ballroom package. Their waltz is full of beautiful spins and really nice extensions.

Carrie Ann thinks Kim needs to extend her hands more and saw some missteps. Len says he knows that the Waltz is hard for her to learn since it is such a pure ballroom dance. He also saw the missteps, but is shocked at the quality of their dance. Bruno says Kim is trying to be a lady, but she is more comfortable being a tramp. After boos and groans from the audience, he says of course he means that in the nicest way. He also believes Kim didn’t look as comfortable as she usually does.

Score: 25 (8,9,8)

Gilles and Cheryl are out next with the Foxtrot. Gilles knows that his scores have gone down a little in the last couple of weeks, and he wants to finish strong. Cheryl works on creating memorable dances to keep the audience happy. Gilles has some trouble keeping his head up the right way…he needs to come across as elegant, not arrogant. Cheryl takes him to the Emerald Ball so he can see what a perfect Foxtrot looks like. They perform a Foxtrot that is sexy yet remains elegant, complete with Gilles blowing a kiss to Carrie Ann.

Len says it was very musical and he enjoyed the interpretation, but Gilles needs to straighten his legs more often for the proper rise and fall of the dance. Bruno likes the great sense of theater, saying the dance is in a class of its own. Carrie Ann thinks Len is crazy, and that performances like this get you into the semifinals.

Score: 29 (10,9,10)

After Gilles and Cheryl receive their scores, we are shown a preview of tomorrow night’s results show…the latest installment of DanceCenter with Kenny Mayne.

Our final dance of the Ballroom round is a Viennese Waltz from Melissa and Tony. Melissa was very disappointed that she couldn’t dance last week because of her rib injury. The new treatment is working well; she still feels pain but it is manageable. Tony takes it slow with her to start so she doesn’t make the injury worse, then works with her on footwork because he knows Len is watching that closely. Their Viennese Waltz is sweet and elegant, complete with wonderful leg extensions and smooth turns.

Bruno calls Melissa an ethereal vision, saying that her balletic moves are great for a waltz. Carrie Ann praises Melissa’s fluidity and natural grace, but says she needs to work on her upper body. Len likes the romance and musicality, but is still not crazy about her feet.

Score: 27 (9,9,9)

Backstage, Melissa says pain management is the key. Tony states that he knows how important it is to Melissa to dance well so she doesn’t let down the fans who are supporting her.

Before we get to the Latin round, Tom announces that the three remaining pros in the pro dancer competition for next season will dance tomorrow night with celebrity partners who are former DWTS contestants. We watch clips of their rehearsals with the celebrities: Cody Linley, Maurice Greene, and Lisa Rinna.

Our pro dance group led by Louis Van Amstel comes back out to perform a Latin dance medley before our couples start their Latin round. We also see another segment with the judges telling us what the couples need to do to score well in their Latin dances.

Shawn and Mark come back out for their Paso Doble. Shawn is worried about her solo, and Mark gets her to focus on being intense and aggressive by telling her to put on her Olympic face. Shawn does a great solo at the beginning of the routine, and keeps the character and intensity throughout the dance. Their Paso is filled with strong movements.

Carrie Ann says they had a difficult song to dance to, but they delivered the drama and nailed it. Len likes Shawn’s solo and the twist turns, but says the dance is not overly exciting. Bruno tells Shawn she had the killer instinct. Shawn comes over and kisses Bruno, then kisses Len and Carrie Ann as well.

Score: 29 (10,9,10) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 56

Ty and Chelsie are up next with the Rumba. Chelsie tells Ty to let his pride and hard work show through the dance. Ty says he has his work cut out for him, but they will prove that they belong in the semifinals. They do a pretty good job with the quick turns in their Rumba, but the song is kind of fast for this particular type of dance. Ty looks a little nervous this time. The dance finishes with his solo, which he performs in right in front of his wife Jewel.

Len says they are charming and sweet, but in the first dance Ty was like a peacock and now he’s more like a feather duster. Bruno states that Ty is one of the most likable celebrities that have ever been on the show, but he just doesn’t have enough ability to go further. Carrie Ann wishes she could score them on the amount of improvement since the first week, but to her their dance was a little wooden.

Score: 21 (7,7,7) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 46

Our third Latin dance comes from Lil’Kim and Derek with the Salsa. Derek says that normally he doesn’t go for putting too many tricks into a routine, but he feels that they really have to bring it with this dance. Kim says she will bring the heat and shake her bionic booty for Bruno. They perform a strong, sassy Salsa with a lot of passion. The tricks Derek put in the dance are great, and Kim does an amazing solo.

Bruno says that Kim is in her element and her booty can do no wrong, but he did see a little mistake. Carrie Ann states that she has never seen a booty shake like that before. She likes their energy, but thinks it got a little out of control. Len calls the dance delicious, but agrees with Bruno about the mistake.

Score: 27 (9,9,9) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 52

Gilles and Cheryl bring us our second Rumba of the evening. Gilles says that his ultimate goal when he entered this competition was to be able to do the Rumba. Cheryl tells him the Latin lover in him needs to come out. He has a little trouble working on his solo, but Cheryl has him use his acting experience to get it right. Their dance starts with Gilles’ solo, which is very sexy. The entire dance is as well, with beautiful extensions and romantic moves.

Carrie Ann says that it was very hot, but the solo was a little odd for her and it looked like Gilles was trying too hard. Len calls the dance fantastic but agrees with Carrie Ann about the solo. Bruno likes the dance, saying it was very good but a bit uneven.

Score: 27 (9,9,9) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 56

Our last dance of the night is Melissa and Tony’s Samba. Melissa likes that it’s a fun, crazy party dance. Tony notices her struggling when switching from the V-Waltz to the Samba, and Melissa gets nervous about her solo. Their dance begins with Melissa’s solo, which she performs well with a lot of great hip action. There is a fun energy to their Samba, with a good bounce and beautiful Samba rolls. At the end of the dance, Melissa has to cover up her top with her hands because her costume begins to give way, but she handles it well.

Len states that Tony and Melissa should 100% be here next week. Bruno says their Samba is everything anyone would want and more, and he was happy to watch it. Carrie Ann says she is there to point out flaws…then states that it was flawless!

As they wait for their scores, Melissa gives a big shout out to their fans, thanking them for keeping her on. She was glad they danced well so they could prove how much they want to be there.

Score: 30 (10,10,10) TOTAL FOR THE NIGHT: 57

Tony is excited, telling Samantha that he hasn’t seen scores like that since Season 2!

Our evening ends with a recap of all of the dances and a reminder to vote. No matter the scores, no one is safe…so please go vote for your favorites! Good night everybody!

Dancing with the Stars 8 Week 8: Tink’s Take

April 27, 2009 at 8:35 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

Let me confess right off the bat that my heart isn’t in this tonight after learning Melissa would not be dancing. I’m preoccupied with how to help Tony and Melissa stay in the competition for another week, because she doesn’t deserve to go out like this. I’m hoping you will help me by voting via phone at 1-800-868-3413, and via internet at http://www.abc.com. Phones are open until 30 minutes after the end of the show in your time zone, and internet voting is until noon EST tomorrow.

First tonight is Gilles and Cheryl, dancing the lindy hop. Gilles needs to get a cortisone shot in his injured shoulder to be able to handle those difficult lifts and kicks. Even after that, he looks like he is struggling with some of the moves in practice. They have some WILD costumes tonight. I thought it was a great routine, but they were out of sync at times. Judges scores: 9,9,9.

Second is Lil Kim and Derek, dancing the tango. Hmm. Since they are also on Team Tango, they will dance the same dance twice, but with different choreography. That almost seems like an advantage to me, since Kim will have more practice with this dance. They did a great tango, and you can see how much Kim has improved since the first week. Judges scores: 9,9,9.

Next is Chuck and Julianne, dancing a cha cha. As much as I hate to admit it, Chuck is improving. Julianne isn’t outdancing him as obviously as she was just 2 weeks ago. I’m not sure how or when he started to get it, but he’s getting there. Do we have to send anyone home? Yeah yeah, I know, that’s how it works. I just don’t WANT to. Judges scores: 9,9,8.

Shawn and Mark are dancing the samba. Mark’s mom, Shirley Ballas, helps Shawn get into the character of this party dance in the practice footage. Wow, they won the crappy song lottery tonight. I mean, “Get Down On It” isn’t a bad song, but it doesn’t say samba to me. Mark choreographed quite well for it though, I thought. Judges scores: 10,8,9. Way to be consistent, you three!

Melissa and Tony’s footage is next. Tom says Melissa is unable to dance tonight, and we will score her from their last practice, which was this morning, just like with Steve O. They earn 7s for their practice from this morning, when they were marking their dance, not dancing full out. This is enough to break my heart. Please, America, don’t let them go out this way. Take the time to vote! Phone number is 1-800-868-3413. You can vote via internet at abc.com until noon EST tomorrow, please help them make it to next week!

Ty and Chelsie are the last ones to dance individually tonight, and have the salsa. Chelsie brings Dmitry in to help coach Ty. HAHA! They finally got Ty in the spray tan booth this week. Too funny! Wow, Ty is doing really well tonight. I think he is channeling his inner Latino. Good job! Judges scores: 9,7,8.

Its time for the team dances! I really liked the addition of these dances last season, and hope they are enjoyable again this year. First is team Mambo, consisting of Tony and Melissa, with Lacey stepping in for Melissa, Shawn and Mark, and Chuck and Julianne. They are dancing to Beyonce’s Single Ladies. I love it! I can’t even begin to explain the ending of this dance, so I found it for you to watch:

Dancing in the final slot of the night is team Tango, consisting of Gilles and Cheryl, Ty and Chelsie, and Lil Kim and Derek. I enjoyed team tango, but preferred team mambo. I tried to find team Tango’s dance on YouTube, but had no success. Team Mambo had scores of 8,8,8. Team Tango had scores of 9,9,10.

Okay, that’s it this week for me. Please, guys, don’t make me watch my boss go home tomorrow night, vote for Tony and Melissa!

Dancing with the Stars 8 Week 8 Recap by WriterMarie426

April 27, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Hey Everyone,

Marie has written another great recap for us tonight! Before we get there, though, I’m going to break with the usual and plead for you to call and log in to vote for Tony and Melissa tonight. Their voting number is 1-800-868-3413. Read Marie’s recap, and I think you will understand why I’m asking for your help.

Thanks,
Tink

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Dancing With The Stars – Week 8. We are down to only six couples, who will perform team group dances in addition to their regular individual couple dances tonight. Three couples will tango together, and the other three will mambo as a team.

The couples all descend the stairs, except for Tony, who comes down the staircase without Melissa and looking very upset. Tom announces that Melissa will not be dancing tonight due to an injury, and later in the show it will be explained as to what that means for the competition.

The individual dances are first, and our first couple on the floor are Gilles and Cheryl with the Lindy Hop. Gilles says he is feeling the pressure more than ever, and still having trouble with his shoulder. He goes to the doctor, who believes there is a softening at the end of his collarbone. Gilles gets a cortisone shot to help with the pain. Once the cortisone kicks in, Gilles is feeling better but still struggling with the lifts. They come out and perform a great Lindy Hop, with Gilles’ hair formed into an Elvis pompadour. They have high energy and great kicks, ending their number with Gilles jumping over Cheryl.

Len mentions that the French are famous for a lot of things, like French Toast and French Fries…but now they are also famous for the Lindy Hop. Bruno thinks they did a good Lindy Hop and likes Gilles’ comedy and versatility, but says he saw a slight mistake. Carrie Ann agrees with Bruno, but says it was fantastic.

Score: 27 (9,9,9)

Tom thinks that Gilles’ hair gel should receive an unofficial 10.

Next up are Lil’Kim and Derek dancing the Paso Doble. In practice Derek tells Kim to just be herself and be sassy. Kim has some trouble controlling her hips this week, since there is little to no hip action in the Paso and her hips always want to move! Derek reminds her to bring out the passion and aggression that she’s known for. The couple perform a strong and fiery Paso, complete with very aggressive movements.

Bruno states that Kim is back and means business, also mentioning that it was a classic and classy Paso. Carrie Ann also likes the passion and aggression, telling Kim she loves seeing how far she’s come since the beginning of the competition. Len says he was sure it was going to be a disaster…he was thinking “oh, no” but then got an “Ole”!

Score: 28 (9,9,10)

Samantha makes mention backstage that this is the first time Len has given them a 9. Tom says that it must be a rule that if Bruno is standing through the entire critique, it’s a 10.

Chuck and Julianne are our next couple with the Cha-Cha. Chuck says at rehearsal that he is finally feeling like a true competitor. Julianne works on bringing out their naturally goofiness and flirtiness in the Cha-Cha. They perform a good, solid Cha-Cha, keeping it flirty and sexy.

Carrie Ann says they are definitely in the game, but Chuck needs to work on his chin. Len thinks this is shaping up to be a fantastic competition. He likes that Chuck is getting stronger, but he should work on his arms. Bruno agrees with Len about the arms, but appreciates Chuck’s great bum action.

Score: 26 (9,9,8)

Our fourth couple to dance is Shawn and Mark with the Samba. Mark stresses during practice that they have to work on the rhythm and bounce. He wants Shawn to bring out her personality like she did the week before. Shawn has some trouble seeing how her moves are supposed to look feminine with Mark showing them to her, so he brings in his mom Shirley to help Shawn bring that out. Their Samba is fun and bouncy with great movement, especially the arms.

Len says Shawn could never do a bad dance, but she lacked hip action and there were too many running promenades in the dance. Bruno believes it was a good Samba and Shawn always looks beautiful. Carrie Ann compliments Shawn on having “the sexy thing going on” and says they nailed the performance.

Score: 27 (10,8,9)

Melissa and Tony are supposed to do their Jive next. Their rehearsal footage is shown, and Melissa was able to keep going until earlier today. Tony is really pushing the choreography to the next level, and Melissa is a little nervous about the non-stop kicking and moving. She re-injures her ribs and goes to the doctor, who says she most likely has a hairline fracture. He does say she can keep dancing, as long as Tony does not throw her in the air. The judges have to score them on their last rehearsal, which was this morning. It was all on camera, but of course they were not in costume yet. It was a good Jive, but because it was morning rehearsal they did not go all out, which is normal. It was obvious that Melissa was in a lot of pain, and toward the end there were a couple of problems.

Bruno states that this is very unfortunate, because when you judge a rehearsal it lacks performance power. Carrie Ann feels terrible, and knows that they were “marking” during the rehearsal, which means not going all out like in an actual performance. Len says it’s so hard to judge on just a practice, but since he must go by the rules he has to say that the Jive was too soft.

Score: 21 (7,7,7)

Backstage, Tony states that no matter what, Melissa’s health comes first, but please continue to vote for them. He believes the judging was fair based on what the judges had to go on, but also reminds everyone that he knows they had been doing it 10 times better than that, and Melissa will be feeling better for next week.

Our last individual dance for tonight is Ty and Chelsie performing the Salsa. Chelsie tells Ty that they have to concentrate on their hip and body movement. She tries teaching Ty how to shimmy, but just like Shawn, he has trouble imagining how he’s supposed to do it when someone of the opposite sex is showing him. Chelsie invites Dmitri to rehearsal to help Ty make the moves look more masculine. Chelsie mentions that Ty really needs a tan for this, but he’s not a fan of the sun ever since he had a third-degree sunburn. She takes him to get a spray tan, where Ty remarks that he’s going WAY outside of his comfort zone for this dance. Their Salsa is very good, and Ty’s Latin movements have gotten much better. They were right on the music, drawing loud cheers from the audience throughout the dance. Ty also looked like he was really enjoying himself.

Carrie says she loved it, and she never knows quite what to expect from them. She says, “THAT was a Salsa!” Len thinks Ty is great and had a wild ride, but unless he nails the team dance it will be time for him to hit the trail. Bruno says it was not perfect, but he really enjoyed watching it.

Score: 24 (9,7,8)

It is now time for the two teams of three couples each to compete against each other. Everyone on the team will get the same score, and those scores will be added to the individual scores.

First up is Team Mambo, consisting of Chuck and Julianne, Shawn and Mark…and Melissa and Tony. Since Melissa is not able to dance tonight, Lacey is her last minute fill-in. Lacey only found out she was doing this dance a couple of hours before the show, and had very little time to get the routine down. Tom states that because Lacey is a pro, the judges are only scoring based on Chuck and Julianne, and Shawn and Mark. They all did a great job, with crisp, strong movements. Since they were dancing to “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”, there were some Beyonce-like moves choreographed into this routine. The men pulled the skirts off of the women, who danced in their bodysuits. The women then yanked the pants off of the men, revealing the white tights they all had on underneath.

Len thinks it was fun, entertaining, and tight. Bruno makes the guys step forward so everyone can get another look at them in their tights. Carrie Ann believes the ending was distracting, and the music overpowered the dancing.

Score: 25 (8,8,9)

Team Tango dances next, consisting of Gilles and Cheryl, Lil’Kim and Derek, and Ty and Chelsie. Derek believes they are the underdogs in this team competition, but that all six of them are full of personality. They decide they need to have big, powerful moves. Everything was coming together well, except Kim and Derek were still working out their solo at the final group rehearsal. Their Tango begins with Gilles and Ty both shirtless, dancing with Kim. They move right into the solos, then all six of them tango together in total sync with each other. By the way, if you would like to learn the Tango, or maybe even Swing, Ballroom Dance Channel has lessons available. Go to http://budurl.com/6y5t or http://budurl.com/wfe8 to find out more.

Bruno says it was powerful, hypnotic, and beautiful. Carrie Ann likes their unison, and thinks that Team Tango takes it. Len thinks he saw a small mistake by Kim and doesn’t like Gilles’ footwork, but tells Ty that he told him he’d have to nail it in the team dance, and he did!

Score: 28 (9,9,10)

As Samantha announces the recap and reminds everyone to vote, Chelsie and Kim hug…then wind up with their hair and earrings tangled together until the guys help them get separated.

Tom reminds the audience that the pro dancer competition continues on the results show tomorrow night, and there will also be a performance by Robin Thicke. It was a wild night…wonder who will go home tomorrow? Good night everybody!

Dancing with the Stars 8: Double Trouble?

April 20, 2009 at 8:38 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hey Everyone,

Welcome to Tink’s recap! We’ve got a lot of ground to cover with 7 individual dances and the group dance in just an hour and a half, so let’s get right to it!

First up are Melissa and Tony with an Argentine Tango. During their practice session, they visit Wisteria Lane to help Melissa get in touch with her inner maneater. It sure looks like it worked, because that was one HOT Argentine Tango. Tony choreographed a brilliant, intricate routine, full of lifts (which are legal in this dance style) and fancy footwork. Both halves of the couple have to really trust each other with those close quarters kicks and steps. Len points out a minor flub, one so minor that I didn’t catch it, but both Carrie Ann and Bruno heap praise on the duo. Judges scores: 10,9,10.

Next tonight are Lawrence and Edyta, dancing the waltz. In their practice footage, he takes her to a golf tournament for his charity and tries to teach her how to hit a golf ball. He says it is much like how he feels every week when she is trying to teach him a new dance. Their routine wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the best. He seemed heavy on his feet, and there were a lot of mistakes and missed connections. Judges scores: 7,7,7. It should be noted that while Lawrence did design a very pretty dress for Edyta, it was obvious that it was difficult for her to move in, as she got tangled up in the float at one point, and caught in the hem of the dress at another.

Dancing third are Lil Kim and Derek, and they will perform a rumba. During their rehearsal footage, Derek is stressed about the choreography, trying to create a balance that will work for them. He doesn’t want to be too raunchy, but the rumba is a romantic dance. Sounds like he was VERY aware of the ripple in the fan community over Julianne and Chuck’s dance last week. I really enjoyed their performance, and found they had some beautiful tricks. Kim has really nice lines, and follows through with her extensions quite well. Judges scores: 9,8,9.

Julianne and Chuck are next dancing the samba. I’m still trying to wipe last week’s rumba from my brain, and not in a good way. Chuck has a concert this week and talks to his fans and asks them to vote for him. Julianne is hard on him in terms of what his footwork should look like during the rehearsals. They did a credible samba, but I still think Julianne is choreographing around Chuck instead of for him. I must have missed something, because the judges scored them 9,9,9.

Ty and Chelsie are dancing the waltz tonight. During the practice footage, Jewel comes in and helps them find their connection, and encourages them to keep it real, and not try and turn it into something it isn’t. It worked, and this was a beautiful, lyrical waltz. Chelsie really seems to have a way about her of doing choreography that shows Ty off, and compliments his natural gifts without seeming showy. Judges scores: 8,8,8.

Shawn and Mark will dance the cha cha for us tonight. Shawn is under a lot of pressure this week, she has two awards she has to travel to accept, and misses the group dance practice entirely. They learn most of their cha cha on the road, and Mark expresses worry that she is overtired and isn’t picking the steps up as quickly. Well, from their dance quality tonight, I’d say that their footage was edited for maximum drama, because that was an awesome dance! Shawn has such clear, precise steps, and great quality to her movement. I think this is where her training as a gymnast helps her most, because she is so aware of her own body and how to allow it to move in the way it needs to. Judges scores: 9,9,10.

Last to dance individually tonight are Gilles and Cheryl, with a Viennese Waltz. Whoo hoo! Gilles in swim trunks during the practice footage, without it even feeling contrived! Seriously, Cheryl got him in the pool to feel the fluidity of the movements, because he was having a hard time with the constant flow of the dance in the studio. It really seems to have helped, because that was a very graceful, lyrical Viennese Waltz. Judges scores: 9,9,9.

To round out the night, we have a 60s themed group dance, choreographed by Christian Perry. The practice footage was really fun, and I think we are in for a treat. Has anyone else noticed the big grin that Tony Dovolani can’t seem to wipe off his face this season? It is a beautiful thing to see! He and Melissa and Lil Kim and Derek look like they are having the most fun. Only Lawrence Taylor looks like he’d rather not be doing this. What a shame, because this group dance is all about letting loose and having some time to play! What a routine! I can’t begin to describe it, so I hunted it down on YouTube so you don’t have to!

Dancing with the Stars 8: WriterMarie 426’s Recap

April 20, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Posted in ballroom dance, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Hello dance fans, and welcome to Dancing With The Stars – Week 7. Tonight our seven remaining couples will perform one of the dances they have not performed yet. It’s also the week for the group dance…60’s style.

The costumes look beautiful as the couples descend the stairs. These costumes the celebrities designed for this week are very impressive. Interestingly, Edyta is covered from her neck to her feet in fabric and fake fur.

Our first couple of the night is Melissa and Tony dancing the Argentine Tango. In practice, Tony focuses on Melissa being more aggressive. She gets nervous and wonders aloud why she questions everything so much, instead of just doing it. Tony takes Melissa to see where Desperate Housewives is filmed, and Teri Hatcher shows them around the set. Seeing where the sexy scenes of Desperate Housewives take place helps Melissa bring out her “inner man-eater”. Their tango is intense and sexy, with intricate leg movements and great lifts. They do a wonderful job of keeping in character throughout the dance.

Len says the dance is fantastic, and although he thought he saw a little blunder, he enjoyed the intricate steps and lifts, which are allowed in the Argentine Tango. Bruno disagrees about there being a mistake, saying that Melissa’s legs are like magic tools in the hands of a master. It was so hot for him that he thinks he needs a drink. Carrie Ann believes this is the best Argentine Tango she’s seen so far this season. She calls them the King and Queen of legal lifts.

Score: 29 (10,9,10)

After they receive their scores, Tony marvels at what a trouper Melissa has been this week while dealing with her badly bruised ribs.

Next up are Lawrence and Edyta with their Waltz. LT is nervous about needing to learn two dances this week, especially since he also is holding a golf tournament for his charity. He starts to teach Edyta some golf techniques, which makes her realize how hard it must be for him to learn dancing. She tries to get LT to look graceful and elegant, and she knows he will do his best because he is such a competitor. Their waltz is full of smooth movements, and Edyta casts off her long fur-trimmed coat to reveal a gorgeous blue evening gown. Some of the material from the gown gets caught around her face, causing the couple to make some mistakes.

Bruno says they got the romance right, comparing them to Dr. Zhivago. He thinks the dance was good but not brilliant. Carrie Ann notices more freedom in LT’s moves and likes that he was really enjoying himself. She also compliments him on his dress design for Edyta. Len says the dress might not have been that great, since it got wrapped around Edyta’s head. He appreciates the grace, elegance, and tenderness of their waltz, and is shocked at how well they danced.

As LT and Edyta go backstage, Tom announces that on tomorrow night’s results show the contest will begin to pick a new pro dancer to be on the next season of DWTS.

Score: 21 (7,7,7)

After Edyta is teased backstage about being so covered in fabric tonight, Tom states that the skimpier costumes Edyta’s been wearing all along are really for her own safety.

Our third couple tonight, Lil’Kim and Derek, are performing the Rumba. Derek works hard during rehearsal to tone down Kim’s natural sexiness, so it won’t be too over the top for the Rumba. He wants to balance sexiness with sweetness, which leaves him questioning his choreography while trying to please everyone. They perform a sexy, smooth, and romantic Rumba, ending with a breathtaking fan extension.

Carrie Ann says it was understated but also underwhelming, and believes that Kim should just let it rip on the dance floor. Len likes parts of the dance, but warns Kim and Derek not to worry about pleasing one particular person (meaning himself) and to do what they do best. Bruno says it was a good Rumba, but that Kim trying to be not as sexy is like a margarita without tequila.

Score: 26 (9,8,9)

Our next couple to dance is Chuck and Julianne, who are performing the Samba. During this week’s rehearsal, Chuck has a concert in Alabama, where he thanks his fans for voting for him and keeping him on the show. In the studio, Julianne decides to focus on technique, while Chuck says he will not let his fans down. They dance a fast-paced Samba, which is beautiful overall but a little stiff on the Samba rolls.

Len likes it a lot, saying it is their best dance to date. Bruno comments that Chuck was really working his butt and hips, and it was well done. Carrie Ann stands up and dances at her seat, and says they did a great job.

Score: 27 (9,9,9)

Ty and Chelsie are up next with their Waltz. Ty says at practice that no matter what he will always keep trying. It’s hard for him to get into the romance of the Waltz, since Chelsie is more like his adopted daughter. Chelsie brings Ty’s wife Jewel into the studio to help him with his romantic side. Jewel says that Ty is sincere and genuine, which equals romantic and sexy to her. Ty dedicates this Waltz to Jewel. They perform a very sweet and smooth waltz, which is more than can be said for the camera filming them. The camera becomes extremely unsteady during the dance, while Ty begins to look a little nervous toward the end.

Bruno believes they’ve made a big comeback…they are back in the game. Carrie Ann compliments Ty on his beautiful frame, good hold and posture. Len also likes the hold and posture, along with the rise and fall of the dance.

Score: 24 (8,8,8)

Shawn and Mark come out to dance their Cha-Cha. Shawn feels that she grew as as person last week performing the Rumba. She has a very busy week as well, flying to New York to accept the prestigious Sullivan Award, then on to Des Moines to accept another award. She feels the pressure, trying to fit in practice and getting overtired. Due to her schedule, she is not able to attend the group dance rehearsal. Mark and Shawn’s Cha-Cha is sexy with some great Michael Jackson moves thrown in, as they dance to PYT (Pretty Young Thing). It’s obvious that Shawn has become more comfortable with her flirty side.

Carrie Ann loves it, saying their flawless technique just came to life. Len says the Cha-Cha is a difficult dance, but they did it exactly as it should be done. Bruno calls Shawn a cheeky little devil, also complimenting their perfect technique and vibrant quality.

Score: 28 (9,9,10)

Our last couple on the floor tonight are Gilles and Cheryl, performing the Viennese Waltz. After last week, Gilles is determined to get back to the top of the leaderboard. Cheryl tries to bring out the calm side of Gilles, getting him to be “less Latin” and focus on the softness. She takes him to see a synchronized swimming coach, in order to get more fluid movement out of him. Gilles dances with the swim coach under water, then takes the lesson back to the studio for the Viennese Waltz. Their V-waltz is very smooth and romantic, with an intense middle segment to match the music. There is plenty of drama in their dance.

Len likes the way they worked the changes in their music, praising the rotation while advising them to work on the footwork. Bruno compares them to the movie Gigi, calling them glamorous yet still sexy. Carrie Ann calls Gilles the most graceful male dancer she’s ever seen, but tells him to still work a little bit on his posture.

Gilles and Cheryl head backstage to await their scores while Tom announces that there will be performances by Natasha Bedingfield and Celtic Woman on tomorrow night’s results show.

Score: 27 (9,9,9)

It is finally time for the group dance. First we are taken through rehearsal footage, where Mark uses a cardboard cutout of Shawn since she cannot be there. This group dance is choreographed by Christian Perry, who makes it a fun, mod 60’s experience. We even see Ty mess around with some hippie attire. Lil’Kim loves dancing on the go-go boxes, and everyone has a great time putting this dance together.

For this live performance, the judges will comment but they will not give scores. This dance will only be voted on by the audience at home. All of the ladies start out dancing on the stairs and go-go boxes, followed by the guys coming out and dancing in a geeky, silly way. There are great go-go moves and hand jives, and the couples all have their own signature moves which are performed well. Shawn does very well, especially considering that she wasn’t able to be at the rehearsal.

Bruno calls it fantastic fun. Carrie Ann says the boys were silly but the girls nailed it. Len likes the fun and energy, saying it reminds him of when he was twenty years old and went clubbing in London.

The evening ends with the dance recap and reminder to vote, and also a reminder of tomorrow night’s results show and pro dancer competition, where the home audience gets to decide which new pro will dance next season. Good night everybody!

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