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: 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!

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