June 15, 2005

Dancing with the stars, pt 3

Tonight, the third installment. They got off to a shaky start; when they did their little "here is the character of the dances they'll be doing" bit (new this week), I'm not sure I agreed with their emphasis, for example, on "really fast turns" in jive. But, with bated breath, I let them get started.

I simply dreaded Evander's jive. He clunked around the floor in everything else, and I just knew he was going to do the same thing in jive, where you need to maintain a connection with the floor but you really need to be light on your feet. But in the event, he wasn't so horrible as all that. He was merely bad. His feet stayed apart and I never once saw him point his toes. I'm not sure I would have recognised it as jive if the sound were off. But it was at least understandable as dancing.... He got a 13, which I totally agreed with.

In introducing Rachel, they talked about how she was in the bottom two last time, which certainly gives the lie to their claim that the non-eliminated were called out in random order! But anyway. Her international tango was danced to surprisingly upbeat music, but she really got into it. Again, she had a good mix of technical merit and art---she did some excellent artistic flourishes. And netted a 26, a score with which I was well pleased.

Kelly, then, danced a jive, which was surprising since in the past the dances ran down gender lines. I wonder if they were assigned dances for this one or if they got to choose.... But in any case, she took the floor with some fairly basic jive that was nevertheless pretty well done. The cut lines between "basic jive" and "flashy open choreography" were perceptible, and the open stuff had a little bit of awkwardness, but all told I'd put it as a pretty good novice routine. (She really needs to find a costume with more support if she does jive again, though.) I think that the first week was just an anomaly, because I once again agreed with the judges' score of 21, and with most of their comments. (The audience, incidentally, was incredibly rude. The judges gave some excellent constructive advice, which Kelly obviously appreciated, and the audience booed so loud you could barely hear the judges. Cretins.)

John and Charlotte have an amazing chemistry, and I'm thinking that she's also the best of the instructors. When they have clips of her teaching, she is always making some comment that is right on, be it about posture or lead or anything else. When they started their tango, the first thing that struck me was their incredible synchrony---again---whether they were doing easier basic stuff or open choreography. This is hard to maintain when you're also doing the staccato move-slow-then-move-fast thing that really makes the tango work, but they pulled it off. (But why is her hair down? It does weird things when she snaps her head around.) They couldn't quite replicate their quickstep success, but they did very good and are still obviously the couple to beat, overall. Still the prettiest! They got a 24, which was pretty right, all things considered. (I continue to love Len, the Brit: "you move like a PANTHER!" Heh.)

You could've driven a mack truck between Joey's legs, but I still enjoyed their routine. He is clearly having so much fun with this, I'm going to hate to see him go. I really like that he and his partner are both contributing to their routines, although I wonder just how good she is if she claims not to know how to make it look like she really is feeling the dance. All told, a little sloppy, and 22 might've been a smidge high, but I couldn't really complain much.

At this point they explain how the scoring really works, and I was a little disappointed. The scores we see earlier do nothing other than rank the couples, who are then awarded between 1 and 5 points accordingly. (Five for the highest, etc.) The audience voting does likewise, and then the points are added up. Which means that if the scores are 30-29-28-27-10, that second-to-last place might as well have gotten an 11 for all the good it'll do them. It's like an Amber auction. Here, though: lame!

Finally, they called out the couples, again in "random" order but the last two were claimed to be actually the lowest combined scores. Thank goodness, Evander was eliminated. Anything else would be a travesty. Who next? Hard to say; I voted for Rachel (thrice) and John (twice) to stay, but the last place is a tossup between Kelly and Joey. We'll see how they do next week....

"The enemy of a critical theology is not natural literalism but conscious literalism with repression of and aggression toward autonomous thought." --Paul Tillich, Dynamics of Faith

Posted by blahedo at 9:55pm on 15 Jun 2005

(Note: Carrie contributed to this comment.)

So, first off, I will now and forever more think of John as "Panther-boy," Rachel as a "Love Goddess," and Kelly as a "Soap Queen." The audience (studio and at home) is, indeed, composed of cretins. I mean, Kelly should have gone home last week. Really. But it was obvious that the producers (puppeteers?) were setting her up for the sympathy vote, and were setting Trista up for failure. I'll grant that Kelly's performance was above bar this week (making it her best yet), but I think Trista might have done even better. At least Trista wasn't actually clumsy/awkward, she was just saddled with a partner who is an excellent dancer but a mediocre teacher (not to mention an arrogant jackass).

I think you covered Joey pretty well, but you didn't mention his terrible facial expression (Carrie: dopey grin) during his jive. The little "this is how we created our routine and learned the dance" bit gave us some foreshadowing of what to expect when they talked about the tension between his desire to "perform" and her concentration on the technical. What was wrong with his performance last week? His butt stuck out. Not a performance issue, a technical issue. So this week they sacrifice all technique to concentrate on showmanship? Bleah. I liked the choreography a lot, but the execution was godawful. They didn't spend nearly enough time together performing as a couple, he spent the entire dance looking like he'd just gotten off a horse, and his arms were distractingly bad. (There was one point where I swear he looked like he was flapping his arms like a large, dopey bird.)

On to more pleasant things: John and Rachel. I certainly hope to see the two of them as the last two (four) standing. John has more personality than everyone else combined (Joey does have some...), and succeeds in expressing it in his dancing. If only he'd stop looking at his partner!

Rachel truly loses herself in the dance and follows beautifully. She's someone I'd be delighted to dance with myself (and no, not just because she's a supermodel). It's clear she put a tremendous amount of work into it, and it's clear that it's paid off. Her partner is also excellent, in that I can remember almost nothing about him; he truly showed her, without distracting from her. Actually, I might fault John for not doing that, since his personality really overwhelms all of his performances. I'll forgive him, though, since he gives a strong performance every time.

P.S. Dude, "did very good"? Oh, and Mack is a brand name.

Posted by Greg at 12:05am on 16 Jun 2005

"John and Rachel. I certainly hope to see the two of them as the last two (four) standing."

Ooooh, I just realised what the late-round stuff is going to involve: partner switching!

Posted by blahedo at 4:50pm on 17 Jun 2005
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