Jonathan Roberts on Dancing With The Stars: Week 4
Jonathan is back this week, and all of my electronics decided to behave, so we have a much more in depth interview. He touched on all of the week 4 performances, but as you might have guessed, given Jonathan's week, we spent the most time on Shannon & Derek. We even found out how close we were to seeing Jonathan perform that waltz with her.
There was just enough time left to get to all of the reader questions from last week. So, hit the link to find out how Jonathan and Anna met, his thoughts on the music of the show and what it can do for a performance, where Maks is, and when we might see the Jonathan and Anna dancing on the results show, among other things.
Brett: I guess we'll start with the obvious question. What did you think was the best performance of the night?
Jonathan: Actually, the performance I enjoyed the most was Adam Carolla. To come out on a unicycle, and with the mustache, and to do Zorro on a unicycle... I don't think it's ever been done before. I laughed, and I enjoyed that immensely. With Adam, you don't know what to expect. And I want him to keep coming back, because what he says and what he does on the dance floor, it's not the best dancing, but it's the most interesting right now.
As far as the best dancing, I thought Shannon was the best, absolutely. I know what a hard week she went through. Well, Derek I guess went through the hard part, but for the celebrity, they are so stressed out each week because they're not dancers. They don't know routines. They have so much to worry about. To not know if your teacher is going to be there to prepare you, that's just another extreme burden on you. I was lucky enough to be able to help out a little bit with the choreography and be a body there and dance with her for the first half of the week. She did an absolutely fantastic job, especially seeing how the routine started in the beginning of the week and then what she put on the floor. She was soft, she was feminine, she was lite, she was graceful. Her spins were great. It was really just a perfect routine combining great technique, great movement, and a great emotional story.
Brett: I would agree with that, and add to it something that is going into my review for the episode. The thing that I find so impressive with Shannon is that I think she is really showing the most improvement when we look back at where she was at the beginning of the season. She was almost a little bit gangly, and noticeably nervous. That's really going away now.
Jonathan: Yeah, absolutely. You can see her gaining confidence. I could see during the practice when I was teaching her that she's beginning to feel like hey I can do this. The judges have given me some high marks and people are voting for me. And tonight she just has to be off her head with getting a 10. Len's been actually pretty tough this season. Out of all the judges, Len has been the hardest, and she got the 10 from him, and that means a lot right now.
Brett: How close were we to seeing you dance that waltz with Shannon?
Jonathan: You know, at the beginning of the week, or a couple days into the training, we had no idea what was going to happen. I was completely set to be able to go in and dance that routine with her with whatever happened. We did not know what it was going to be. The thing with a neck injury is that you don't know how serious or how deep it is. If Derek had hurt his ankle or his wrist, it wouldn't have been a question. He would have been there training. But because it was a neck, you really have to make sure it's all right. But he's a young guy and he bounced back right away. Even though I tried to repeatedly injure him during the practice.
Along with that I would have to agree with the judges this week as far as Kristi & Mark and Jason & Edyta. What a way to open the show with Kristi and Mark. That number was just great. There were a lot of moves that professionals would do in their routines. It was a high quality, impressive, technical, dance and she really nailed it. I'm so impressed with Jason because of the way he moves his arms. And he's such a big guy, but he is so soft on the dance floor. He was a real gentleman today, and he took care of his partner. That was very good.
Brett: I thought it was a nice moment seeing Marissa bounce back from what was kind of an off week last week. There is something about her, she's just so likable. You have to want to root for her.
Jonathan: I think that's why Marissa is still here. The judges have been mean to her. She hasn't got the highest scores, but America just falls right behind her and says, "Wow, we believe in you. We support you. And we see that you're working hard. And we see that you love to be here." That is so important for people to see these celebrities, even though they are suffering and they're in pain, and going through all this stuff. When you see Marissa you see someone who loves to dance and loves to be in front of an audience. And that's great. That's why they vote for her.
Brett: I really enjoyed her reaction after the dance. You see it just turn on and she starts bouncing around.
Jonathan: You can see that Marissa is just so genuine. She takes to heart everything the judge's say. And I think she also takes to heart that the audience is supporting her and voting for her. Being a contestant on the show, it really means a lot when you don't get the highest score from the judges and you still come back, because you know the audience got behind you. She got three 8s, it wasn't the highest score, but you could see that she was just thrilled to be there, and thrilled that the judges didn't come down hard on her.
Brett: Moving on to Priscilla. I find that I am constantly surprised by her. I don't know if it's just that I had lowered expectations, but again this week I thought it was a really nice performance.
Jonathan: For me, I didn't think Priscilla was as good this time as last. What Priscilla is amazing at is you just don't expect to see the emotion, and the story that she plays when she's out there. Technically I thought she was just a little rough for me this week. Not rough, but just not as good as it was the week before.
Brett: What did you think of Marlee and Fabian?
Jonathan: For me, I had mixed feelings with Marlee and Fabian. The beginning of the routine just enchanted me. You can see the actress in her. She was so emotional, she drew us in, we saw the story. I never quite got taken away with the dance. It just didn't seem to have the flow and the rhythm that I saw from her in some of the other dances. Then the end brought me right back in. I could see how she, even though I know she can't hear the music, I could see the music in her just from that emotion in her face and expression.
Brett: And I thought Marlee had a great line at the end when asked what it would take to beat Kristi and she said, "An asteroid hit." I mean, it is very impressive what Kristi has been able to do.
Jonathan: Yeah, you just see Kristi as a trained professional performer. Obviously ice skating is different from ballroom dancing, but she's very comfortable out there, and you can see her, if it's even possible, up her game every week. She deserves to have the highest score ever on Dancing With The Stars at this point in the competition.
Brett: They don't really go into it, but they've mentioned in the past how many hours each couple is training. My guess is that the work ethic she's developed in ice skating plays into this a lot as well.
Jonathan: Sure. For me, this was my first season dancing with an athlete, with Monica. Even though she didn't have as much dance background as anyone else we would minimum train like six hours a day. Often with other people I've had it kind of goes up and down and changes. But athletes are ready. They go in and they work, and you can really see that in Kristi.
Brett: Cristian de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke, pasa doble.
Jonathan: I really liked it. Their score was 9, 8, 9, and I would have thought at least three 9s. I really liked, and I think everybody heard it, when in the middle of the dance he made that "Huu." He embraced that dance. The pasa doble is the man's dance. And if the man is not strong, the whole dance fails. For me Cristian was strong and masculine. He completely changed from the dance last week which was light and on his toes and kind of bouncy. And he came out and was solid on the floor. He stomped his heels. You could just really see he took control. I thought he did a great job.
Brett: I think the only couple left would be Mario and Karina.
Jonathan: I think Mario did a great job coming back after last week. The thing about Mario is that he's so cool and has so much style. Sometimes I think that almost overshadows his dance. He really is, out of all the celebrities, the slickest and the most cool. He's got his thing and he knows what it is and that's what he sells. I think some of the dance moves that he really did brilliantly on, because of his style I think that's where Len says it looks the same. I think what the judges are looking for is they want to see him look like a ballroom dancer. Not like Mario doing ballroom dancing.
Brett: Now we have some fan questions for you. madhotdancer21 would like to know if you have anything to say about the music. To her, some of it has been horrible, especially when they have the pasa doble. It's something that I've noticed too. Occasionally there are songs that just don't transfer to the ballroom.
Jonathan: Well, there's a lot of things that go into the music. We don't get to pick the music. We get the music handed to us, and sometimes you get an amazing song. Sometimes you don't. Or sometimes you get a song that is amazing, but doesn't translate well to a ballroom dance. All the dances have a certain beat, like say the pasa doble, but that doesn't mean it's a great pasa doble. You can do a fabulous job, but if you have that great piece of music, it helps sell your routine ten times more.
Brett: And you know, I think we saw that tonight with Cristian and Cheryl. That music was a bit of an advantage for them because it was such a traditional pasa doble song.
Jonathan: Absolutely, it was authentic, it was real, it was Spanish. You could just see his heritage, and when he talked about his grandfather, it was just in his blood. That really helped them.
Brett: Debbie writes, she'd like to know what happened to Maks this season. It's something we hear a lot of.
Jonathan: Maks is taking a season off. He's just pursuing a lot of other things he has. I know he's working a lot in Las Vegas at the project he's doing there and I'm sure we'll see him back again sometime. I'm sure he's working on his biceps and pectorals.
Brett: Yes, and I'm sure he's probably shirtless at this very moment. green_eyed_gal would like to know how you and Anna met and how long you've been married. She adds, you are just adorable together.
Jonathan: Ohh, that's nice. Thank you. We've been married for four and a half years now. We met at a ballroom dance competition. We each had different partners and we'd seen each other dancing. I thought she was pretty amazing. Then I stopped dancing with my partner and when I was looking for another partner I heard that she had stopped dancing with her partner. So I called and ended up speaking with her mother and arranged a tryout. After that she moved to California from New York and we started dancing. And there you go.
Brett: The next question kind of ties into that a little. It's from Nerissa, who runs a Jonathan and Anna fansite. She would like to know if the two of you are going to do another routine on the results show, and she adds that the Foxtrot to "Fields of Gold" and the Waltz to "Mandy" are both fan favorites.
Jonathan: Oh, that's nice. She has a beautiful fansite. It's absolutely stunning. We're definitely in some professional numbers. Most of the professional numbers actually, the pros are so busy working with the celebrities that we usually do our pro numbers at eight in the morning or twelve at night. Last minute, trying to fit them in. So, we'll definitely be back on some pro numbers, we're just not sure exactly when yet.
Brett: Nerissa also asks, since you have retired from competing professionally, what are you doing between the Dancing With The Stars seasons?
Jonathan: Mostly we do a lot of shows, and corporate events, whether charity events or competitions. We definitely do teach. Anna and I both travel quite a bit now, teaching across the country. So that keeps us pretty busy.
Brett: And finally, also from Nerissa, what do you think of Pavlo Barsuk?
Jonathan: Since I retired, Anna wanted to keep dancing, so she's dancing with a Russian guy named Pavlo. He's a really hard worker, and a great guy. And I'm very happy and supportive of their partnership and dancing.
And with that we say our goodbyes to Jonathan for this week. He will be back with us next Monday night to talk about the week 5 performances. If you have a question about the show, leave it in the comments for this post and I'll do my best to work it in next week.