Dancing With The Stars: Week 6
(S04E10) With only seven couples left, it's getting tough to fill that 90 minute block. Rather than force ABC to trot out another sure to disappoint sit-com, the powers that be at DWTS added the group swing performance. Having now seen it, I have to say it was a good idea. We'll get to that in a moment though. First, the couples all had to perform for the judges.
Joey Fatone and Kym Johnson (Samba) - I'm still not sure what the feminine complaints about Joey were last week, but I don't think it's anything for him to be concerned with. He's locked in to this thing for a few more weeks, at least. Joey and Kym had another great performance, despite some questionable music. Joey is a great performer and I thought he really stood out in the few solo bits that Kym gave him to do this week. Len called Joey a big swashbuckling guy, and that was a good thing. Bruno, I think, said Joey, "went for it like a randy fighting cockerel." Bruno is just crazy. Carrie Ann thought it was one of Joey's best performances so far. The scores, (9, 9, 9). Not the 10's Joey was looking for, but there is nothing wrong with a 27.
Heather Mills and Jonathan Roberts (Paso Doble) - Coming off a trip to the bottom two, I thought Heather was setting good with the paso. It's a dance that can really impress and Jonathan has proven that he can choreograph for her. I think this might have been her best outfit yet as well. Her acting was actually pretty good. When she looked right at the camera and sang along with the music, I was impressed with her presence. Unfortunately, there were a few times when her lack of time to practice came through. She was working hard to remember the steps. Bruno praised her dramatic performance. Carrie Ann was critical of Heather's posture and hands, but liked the performance. Len thought she had great passion and fire. The scores (7, 8, 8). That's reasonable.
John Ratzenberger and Edyta Sliwinska (Mambo) - Yet again, with another celebrity complaining about time. Good grief, if I have one pet-peeve about this show, that is it. It's a job. You don't take a job and then not have the time to do it. And if you do, you don't whine about it. I don't feel sorry for John because he can't manage his schedule. Anyway, this was another very John performance. Edyta was fantastic as usual and John left a little to be desired in his dancing. But he made up for much of that with his charm and enthusiasm. It's not that he did anything wrong, just that he is competing against Joey, Ian, and Apolo, who are clearly a step above. Based on what we expect from John, this was a nice performance overall. Carrie Ann thought he had some problems with the footwork. Len said John's enjoyment came out, but the routine was awful. Bruno was not impressed either. John took what might have been a little too much ribbing in good stride. The scores (7, 6, 6). Fair enough.
Laila Ali and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Cha Cha) - I'm not sure that Laila should be giving direction to her professional choreographer, but I do appreciate how committed she is to the contest. I really liked this performance. Laila has really impressed me as the contest has moved on. I wasn't expecting a lot, but if she can get some fan support she could be a contender. Her self choreographed funk at the end was cute, although I'm not sure it was needed. Their performance was very good without it. Len called it pure gold. Bruno said Laila is turning into a magnificent obsession. Carrie Ann said it was fantastic. The scores, (9, 9, 10). I like that score, but I have to point out how ridiculous it is that Samantha gave away the score before going to the judges. She does the same thing every week. It's not rocket surgery.
Billy Ray Cyrus and Karina Smirnoff (Jive) - The interview segment with Karina was interesting. She has come around to the fact that Billy Ray has to sell these performances to the fans first, because he just isn't going to get the scores for the dance. That said, this was one of Billy Ray's better performances. He's moved past focusing on counting his steps to focusing on looking like he isn't counting his steps. He is moving more naturally now and I do give the guy a lot of credit for trying. Bruno said the crazy bear has been let loose at the cheer leading convention, because like I said, Bruno is crazy. Carrie Ann wasn't familiar with the steps, but liked his focus. Len appreciated that they used proper jive steps. The scores, (7, 7, 7). That was higher than I expected.
Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough (Rumba) - Coming off of their perfect 30 performance last week, the pressure was on these two to follow it up. While it was not another perfect score, it certainly lived up to the hype. The chair gave me a flashback to Tucker Carlson's lone appearance on the show. Fortunately, once Apolo got up things took a much different turn than they did then. This was a beautiful dance, and I think they gained a little being the only couple doing the rumba. It helped them stand out from the rest of the up tempo numbers that came before. The way they used the chair in the dance was very creative. Another outstanding performance. Carrie Ann thought it was beautiful and praised the choreography. Len enjoyed the performance, but really didn't like the chair. Bruno called it a choreographed poem that he loved. The scores, (9, 9, 10). Good score.
Ian Ziering and Cheryl Burke (Paso Doble) - Watching the behind the scenes clip, I was a little worried that Ian's bullfighter would come across more as a serial killer. He seemed to smooth it out as they got into the dance though. They managed to put together a very strong dance with some outstanding moments. The walk across the floor with the underarm spins was fantastic. It just fell flat in a couple spots where the flow of what they were doing came to a stop. I still think Ian is very good, but he's not progressing in the same way that Apolo, Joey, and Laila are. Len was a little disappointed. Bruno thought that Ian still isn't committing fully to the dance. Carrie Ann advised Ian to watch Billy Ray, for his sense of joy and truth. I didn't really get that one. The scores, (8, 8, 8). I think that's a good score.
With the performances out of the way, it was time for the group swing performance. Rather, it was time for the behind the scenes look at practice for the group swing performance. I didn't mind the delay, because there was some good stuff in practice. Laila stole the show when Christian asked who was the strongest man and she raised her hand. I was a little curious to see how they would manage the judging with everyone dancing at once. The choice to have the judges take the performance off was probably a good one. Things were just too hectic.
Hectic in the good way though. It's hard to say who was the best of the couples doing the swing because there was just so much going on at any given time. If I have to narrow it down I would give them all good marks for the big group stuff and separate them out by their solo bits. In that, I thought Joey & Kym and Apolo & Julianne stood out as the best. That's not really important though because the swing was really more about all of them having fun and putting on a show for the fans and viewers. In that regard, it was a smashing success. With the paddles put away for the night the judges left out the criticism and all agreed that everyone did a great job.
It's hard to pick a definite winner and loser this week. Overall I thought all of the couples performed well. For me, Apolo & Julianne get the top spot this week, narrowly edging Laila & Maksim. And I am going to put Heather & Jonathan in the bottom spot. You could make an argument for Billy Ray & Karina or John & Edyta to be there, but I'm docking Heather an extra point for not showing up for swing practice. That's the gig and she should have known it coming in. I suspect we'll see them in the bottom two with John & Edyta Tuesday night, and I think Heather's time might have run out.
With great performances from all of the couples, and with the addition of the group swing number, I'm giving the week six performance show a 6, out of 7.
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