Dancing With The Stars: Week 8
by Brett Love, posted Nov 12th 2007 11:55PM
(S05E15) If things weren't tense enough before, the next two weeks get really crazy. All five of the teams left in the competition have a legitimate shot to make it into the finals. With the big prize on the line, every last point counts. They can do all the promotional appearances and interviews they want, but the fan vote is a fickle thing that can't be controlled. The only thing they can control is what happens on the dance floor. So now, more than ever, it's time to step up the level of performance. Once again this week, each couple has two dances to perform. It made for a jam packed show and there is a lot of dancing to get to. We'll do just that, after the jump.
Gallery: Dancing With The Stars: Week 8
Marie Osmond and Jonathan Roberts - The backstage report went through Marie's difficult week once again. She's now dedicating her remaining time on the show to her father. Then it was back to work as there were two dances to learn. Marie was having some trouble getting the romantic chemistry that the rumba required her to have with Jonathan. To help her out, Jonathan brought in his wife, DWTS veteran Anna Trebunskaya. I totally missed that they were married. Her help did a great deal for them as they got to their first performance of the night.
Rumba - The rumba was probably one of the better dances Marie could have drawn at this point in the competition. It plays well to her strengths as a performer because the performance aspect of it is so important, and it doesn't require as much of the quick and intricate footwork we see in other numbers. Those things came together for what I thought was a very successful outing. Marie was graceful and pulled the emotion of the dance off well. Jonathan did back the choreography down somewhat to compliment Marie's abilities, but it all came together nicely. At this point, it's pretty clear that Marie isn't going to out dance everyone else in the competition, but if she can just deliver solid performances like this one, she may be able to score well enough to out fan the rest of the competition.
The judges weren't completely sold on the number. Carrie Ann once again said that what Marie does, she does so well, but at this stage in the competition she needs a little more. The fans didn't like that. Len joked about Marie's hips supporting the writers strike by taking the night off, then took a shot at her age. It was getting ugly. He softened the blow by calling it a sophisticated rumba. Bruno thought the Mrs. Robinson interpretation was just right, but that the dance needed more steps. Score 24 (8,8,8)
Jive - After getting that 24, Marie and Jonathan needed all the help they could get with the jive, and they did improve the score, although I'm still not sure how that all worked out. I thought this one was actually a step back from their rumba. Once again, Marie was a delight to watch perform. From a dancing aspect though, their jive was lacking when compared to some of the jive performances we have seen on the show at this point in the competition. This was a cute performance, but ultimately felt a little goofy, and stood out for lacking the speed and intricacy of what we expect from a top five performance.
The judges didn't all agree with that. Bruno didn't know if it was Annie Get Your Gun or a rerun of Sara Evans, which was an excellent observation. He called it cute, but didn't think there was enough jive there. Carrie Ann agreed with Bruno, saying that at this point, there has to be a lot more content. Len said that the jive is fun, and Marie came out and gave us fun. Score: 25 (8.9.8)
Jennie Garth and Derek Hough - Jennie said at the start of her segment that she feels like an actress acting like a dancer. It's a pretty good way to look at what has been her problem in the competition. She's yet to embrace the dancing fully, and it often shows in her performance. In an attempt to help, Derek brought in Richard Simmons. It was one of the oddest things I've seen on this show yet. It seemed like it was going to be a big joke, but it actually ended up being a nice moment between Jennie and Richard.
Jive - With her new Simmons fueled confidence, they took to the floor for their version of the jive. It was an ambitious number that Derek put together, but it just didn't quite come together. It had good moments, but they were separated by bits that were not quite finished, where it seemed the nerves were once again getting to Jennie. It might be too late for it all to come together for Jennie, but if it does, she still has the potential to knock one out of the park.
The judges weren't impressed, and I thought were a little bit too hard on Jennie. Len said he had a few emails that said he was over critical, then added that her jive wasn't deserving of getting into the semi finals. Bruno said that the jive has to be slick and precise, but hers was limp. Carrie Ann agreed with Bruno. She applauds the growth that Jennie has made, but didn't like her posture and the pump action of the jive was missing. Score: 24 (8,8,8)
Foxtrot - You just can't help but root for Jennie. She's such a sweetheart, and after taking a bit of a beating from the judges in round one, I really hoped she bounce back with a great performance. She did, kind of. Their foxtrot was very smooth, and hit a lot of nice points. But through it, you could kind of feel Jennie's nerves. There were little bits that just didn't seem quite there, as if she was still being affected by what had gone on earlier. Overall, a nice performance, but this was just not her best week.
The judges liked the improvement. Carrie Ann praised her for her posture, but told her to work on her chin. Len said he was impressed with the way she came back and thought she did a great job. Bruno said he was going to have a go at her. She looks like Veronica Lake and she has everything within her to unleash star power, but she still hasn't done it. Score 26 (9,9,8) The crowd did not approve of that 8.
Cameron Mathison and Edyta Sliwinska - Cameron said that he was a little disappointed that he didn't get a ten last week. A sentiment I'm sure he shares with a number of competitors that have been on the show. Knowing that there are no guarantees, he decided that the fans are more important than ever for the competition. So, he and Edyta headed off to Super Soap, proving that sci-fi shows aren't the only ones with crazy devoted fans. They got a chance to meet up with former DWTS champ, and current star of General Hospital, Kelly Monaco.
Viennese Waltz - This was another great draw. Not that Cameron has any natural gift for the Viennese waltz, but it is one of those dances that just lends itself to great performances. There is a majesty and classiness inherent in the movements which always seems to play well. For their part, Cameron and Edyta performed it very well with great sweeping turns and beautiful poses. Perhaps the most interesting thing about their performance though was Edyta's dress. We get so used to seeing her week after week in a bikini and a scarf that a proper dress looks almost odd. You could have fashioned six or seven of her normal outfits out of all the fabric.
The judges were on board with this one. Bruno said it had a majestic sweep and a gliding quality. Good job. Carrie Ann really loved it, calling it beautiful and praising Cameron's hold. Len wondered why Cameron had his shirt open and no bow tie. He didn't like the beginning, but came on board once they got into the hold. Backstage Cameron promised to button up if he makes it through another week, and thanked his fans again. Score: 27 (9,9,9).
Cha Cha Cha - With a 27 in the bank after round one, I thought this could really be a great week for Cameron. And until I heard what the judges had to say about this one, I thought he had pulled it off. It was very high energy, and Cameron really has improved greatly since week one. Edyta continues to give him more and more to do and he is more natural with the way he does it each week. Perhaps I'm guilty of giving him a pass because I'm rooting for him, but I saw this one completely different than the judges.
They were somewhat less impressed, and took Cameron to task. Len started off by saying he didn't find it terrible, hoping to dodge some boos from the fans, but it was a bit like painting by numbers. Bruno thought it was too hard and stiff for a cha cha. They need refinement between the movements. Carrie Ann said that she enjoys watching him dance, and he has great lines and stature, but he needs to work on all the in between movements. Score 24 (8,8,8)
Melanie Brown and Maksim Chmerkovskiy - Mel started off her backstage report worried that their two dances this week were so different. Then, thankfully, they didn't give us another example of Mel & Maks butting heads. Instead, this week, Mel's husband stopped by to motivate her. He was supposed to help her find anger, so he started off by calling her fat. It was a cute bit, and a nice change from what we have seen in these segments throughout the season.
Tango - If I am guilty of going a little easy on Cameron, I might also be guilty of being a little too hard on Mel. I was actually a little disappointed in their tango this week. Not because it was bad. It was actually very well done. Maks put together a solid number for the two of them, and Mel's performance was very animated and interesting. It just felt like it was missing something, as if they were playing it a little safe, or perhaps she was stretched a little thing with all of her other commitments. After seeing what they are capable of with their paso doble, I was looking for something a little more special from this one. Still, that said, it was well done.
The judges didn't have those hangups. Bruno called it a menacing tango, calling her Really Scary Spice. Carrie Ann liked the stalking opening... but... added that it didn't feel completely convincing. Len praised Mel's footwork, in a very roundabout way, and liked the performance overall. Score: 27 (9,9,9)
Mambo - This was the performance I was looking forward to all night. The mambo just seems like it should be right in Mel's wheelhouse. This one also fell short of that paso doble, but it's probably not fair to measure all of her performances against that one perfect score. It stood out as another very good performance though because of how well the two of them work together. They are probably the best matched of all of the remaining couples. The show goes to great lengths to play up the tension between the two of them, but manufactured or not, they really are great together. Maks has found just the right groove when it comes to choreographing for Mel, and she has settled in to how performing on this particular stage works.
The judges really liked this one. Len said it was so hot that they could have set the smoke alarms off. Bruno called it full on, unashamed, flirtatious fun. Carrie said it was great, and liked that the two of them are working so well together. Score 29 (9,10,10)
Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough - Helio always seems to take the judge's criticism very well. This week was no different as he was set to work on his technique. Julianne was there to help as she put together a pit crew to get Helio's performance into shape. The three pros all did what they could to help Helio polish and refine his movement, and in the end, some good came of it.
Paso Doble - Where the Viennese Waltz always lends itself to looking great, the paso is very hit and miss. When it's great, its really great, but when it's bad, it's off the rails bad. Fortunately for Helio, this was a very good one. They kicked things off so nicely with the cape work. The bit with passing the cape to Julianne and having her carry on dancing with it was really clever. As they progressed, Helio did a nice job capturing the spirit of the dance, something that has been a struggle for him in past weeks. That, and another good bit of choreography from Julianne, and this one played very well to the audience.
It played well to the judges too. Len said it wasn't exactly his cup of tea, but he found the cape work rather nice. Bruno said the polish has been applied and the mission has been accomplished. Olé. Carrie Ann liked the intensity, finding it authentic. She went on to praise Helio's attention to detail. Backstage, Helio thanked the team of trainers for helping him perform better. Score: 27 (9,9,9).
Quickstep - Helio looked to be sitting in the catbird seat with a 27 in round one and the quickstep to come in round two. The quickstep is just a great fit for him. He's such a charismatic guy, and he has shown an ability to handle fast and intricate steps that I never thought he would have when I heard he would be on the show. They really pulled out all the stops for this one. It was fast, all over the dance floor, with great energy. It has been something of an up and down ride for Helio as we've made our way through the season, but tonight was one of his high points. They finished things off with a kiss, and a standing ovation from the audience. The performance of the night.
The judges agreed with the fans on this one. Carrie Ann cheered YAY. She loved it, calling it exciting and praising the intricate choreography. Len said Helio looked like a big banana and then went on to say that the band, singers, and Helio are all fantastic. Bruno called it an explosive liftoff and said Helio has the finish line in site. Score: 30 (10,10,10)
So, the big question, who is going to go home? Your guess is as good as mine. I think as far as the dancing is concerned, Marie is now at the bottom. When you take in the fan vote though, things are not so clear. Sure, Helio got a nice mention on Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain this week. But compare that to Donny Osmond showing up on the entertainment shows stumping for his sister, the Oprah appearance, etc. Marie is still a big factor in this. It should make for a very interesting results show.