Dancing With The Stars: Week 7
(S06E13) This is traditionally the herd-thinning week on Dancing With The Stars. Half of the contestants have been eliminated, and the remaining contestants are tasked with two dance routines. That's a lot of work for one week. Who rose to the challenge? Who fell short of greatness? Read on to find out.
Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony Dovolani (Tango) - Even though she received some of her best scores last week, Marissa couldn't believe she was still in the competition. She and Tony drew the tango and the rumba this week. Learning two dances isn't easy, and neither is telling them apart. Marissa thought she would end up with a "rumbango." The biggest obstacle for Marissa was the rumba's sexual tone. She's fun sexy, not serious sexy. Her dress and hair looked fantastic during the couple's tango routine. The normally smiley Marissa had her game face on for this intense dance. The performance featured convincing acting and tons of drama. As with last week's waltz, she kept her natural energy under control and nailed the tone of the dance.
Len was initially worried that Marissa would plateau after improving over the last few weeks. Three words summed up his opinion: your best dance. Bruno loved the drama, passion, and hint of disdain in Marissa' performance. It was like a scene from a Garcia Lorca play. Carrie Ann told Marissa that she pushes her boundaries, which is what the competition is all about. She showed a completely new side of herself. Score: 27 (9, 9, 9)
Cristián de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke (Viennese Waltz) - Cristián said that he and Cheryl have been improving steadily each week. They hoped to keep up their progress and get a shot at the mirror ball trophy. They were tasked with the Viennese waltz and the samba. Cristián had trouble remembering the samba moves, so he named them after the judges. Cheryl told Cristián that he needed to treat her like a princess during the waltz, so they practiced with Cristián's daughter. At the end of the segment, he gave his daughter a special message. The waltz was solid, but lacking Cristián's usual personality ("I'll Make Love to You," Boyz II Men). Cheryl and Cristián always look good together, and their chemistry was definitely present. Perhaps it was the difficulty of handling two dances this week. If this had been the couple's only dance, they would have nailed it. The routine just needed an extra push of emotion.
Bruno called Cristián South America's Clark Gable, and complimented his twinkling eyes, the couple's interplay, and their use of the floor. Carrie Ann appreciated the fluidity of movement, but thought the routine needed more energy and flare. Len enjoyed the romantic tone of the routine. There wasn't enough traditional waltz content, though. Score: 25 (8, 8, 9) At this point in the competition, I thought that was a fair score.
Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas (Viennese Waltz) - Kristi was pleased to get the season's first 30, but knew that there was no letting up after that score. Mark was eliminated early last season and never had to do two dances in one week. He felt like a rookie again. The couple decided to take an ice skating break. Kristi still knows her way around the rink, that's for sure. Mark--not so much. Kristi said that she thrives on pressure and intense training, yet feels her competitors breathing down her neck. Dancing to Avril Lavigne's "I'm With You," the couple did an adorable waltz. They used an umbrella at the beginning and end of the routine, which I thought gave the dance character. Compared to Cristián's waltz, it was far more sophisticated.
Carrie Ann believed that risk of using props paid off. She felt the emotion of the dance, but thought her turns were a bit off. Len commended Kristi for attempting a fleckle. On the down side, the start was too long and he didn't enjoy the "mincing around" with the umbrella. Bruno thought the dance worked. He was glad that Kristi acted the part. The turns were off, but he acknowledged the level of difficulty. Score: 26 (9, 8, 9) I'm surprised that Kristi's first eight of the competition came at this stage.
Mario and Karina Smirnoff (Foxtrot) - Mario felt discouraged after getting high scores and landing in the bottom two anyway. He said that dancing is hard work for him, despite what his fans might think. He really had three dances to learn: two routines for the show and one set of choreography for his music video. That has to be confusing. Mario kept his shirt buttoned for the foxtrot ("I'm Your Man," Leonard Cohen). The routine was charming. It kept the tone of the dance while using some of Mario's personality and energy. He didn't suffer too much from being overworked, but it wasn't his best dance ever.
Len didn't think Mario brought all of the necessary elegance to the foxtrot. On the plus side, he liked the feather step at the beginning, and said Mario danced with a maturity beyond his years. Bruno told Mario that he brings a youthful vitality to everything he does, and was a pleasure to watch. He needed to watch his control in the future, though. Carrie Ann gave the couple credit for doing ambitious and difficult routines each week. Her only criticism was that Mario was a bit loose in the joints. Score: 24 (8, 8, 8)
Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough (Tango) - Shannon and Derek did some major damage control after last week's rant. They apologized for letting their emotions get the better of them and moved on. Derek had to put the couple's friendship aside and be a tough teacher this week. They hoped that the aggression left over from last week would pay off in the tango's love-hate character. Derek's choreography has always been extremely stylish, and this week's tango was no exception. I'm not sure if Shannon's execution lived up to the level of difficulty, though. She didn't make any glaring mistakes and she looked phenomenal in the backless dress. Compared to the others, she just wasn't as polished and smooth in her movements. To her credit, the anger from last week clearly paid off.
Bruno thought Shannon looked like a silent movie vamp. He couldn't help but point out a tiny mistake at the end. Carrie Ann called the tango Shannon's best dance so far. She had great lines and clearly worked hard. Len admired the couple's aggression and passion, but noticed some odd moments. Score: 27 (9, 9, 9).
Jason Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska (Quickstep) - Jason's trip to the other end of the leaderboard scared him. He and Edyta drew the quickstep and the paso doble. Defensive football players and bullfighters need to be fearless, and Jason was excited to bring football to the ballroom. His goal was to be powerful and aggressive in the paso doble, and light on his feet for the quickstep. This routine was my favorite performance of the night. Jason began with an amazing jump at the start of the dance and did a handstand towards the end ("Dirty Boogie," Brian Setzer Orchestra). He really showcased his energy and personality this time around, and did a fun joke on Len at the end by messing up his papers.
Carrie Ann complimented Jason's energy, frame, kicks, and form. The entire performance was fantastic. Len said that performances like that would take Jason to the Finals. Bruno believed the couple's quickstep was the performance of the night; very athletic. Score: 29 (10, 9, 10) I think Jason's safe from the bottom two this week.
Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony Dovolani (Rumba) - Marissa conquered the sensual quality of the dance ("Quando, Quando, Quando"). I'm not sure that she had an intense sexual tone, though. It was mostly PG sexuality. She had a lovely, sweet smile on her face. Her first dance was better in terms of performance.
Bruno told Marissa she looked like a woman in full bloom. The routine was romantic, warm and sweet. He instructed her to push the sexiness more if she drew the dance again. Carrie Ann had goosebumps. Marissa exuded confidence, had fluid arm movements, and sustained the emotion throughout the routine. Len wanted to see more "welly" and hip action. All in all, he thought she acted the part well. Score: 25 (9, 8, 8)
Cristián de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke (Samba) - Cheryl mentioned in the rehearsal footage that Cristián had the booty-shaking down pat, and I have to agree. The couple started out well, with Cristián bringing an element of machismo to the routine. Unfortunately, he started looking shaky and stopped several times towards the end of the dance. I was terrified when he began clutching his arm. It turned out to be a muscle cramp. Tom called for an unscheduled commercial break, but things turned out relatively well for everyone involved. After the judging, Cristián was taken to the hospital.
Carrie Ann appreciated that Cristián toughed it out and made it to the end of the routine. She made it clear that they will judge the performance up to the point of the injury. Len called Cristián brave for carrying on despite a muscle cramp. Bruno liked what he saw before the injury, and acknowledged that Cristián did his best. Score: 21 (7, 7, 7) The softie in me wanted the judges to give the couple a few sympathy points.
Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas (Cha Cha Cha) - Kristi and Mark ventured into hip-hop choreography for their cha cha cha (Please Don't Stop the Music," Rihanna). She exuded tons of attitude and energy. It was a relief to watch an upbeat dance after the scary moment in the last performance. Excellent, as usual.
Len strongly disliked the hip hop moves and the back-and-forth choreography; he called it time wasted. Bruno thought the contemporary choreography was fantastic and inventive. Carrie Ann gave the couple snaps for doing hip hop moves well. Score: 28 (10, 8, 10) I guess Len really hates hip hop.
Mario and Karina Smirnoff (Mambo) - Mario looked great during the mambo; few men can pull off white pants. This style of dance was better suited to his energy level and age. His hip action was fabulous; his mambo was much better than his foxtrot. Overall, the routine was exciting and a crowd-pleaser. Latin dances showcase Mario's abilities much better than the ballroom routines.
Bruno thought the devil was in Mario's hips. He's always great with Latin dances, and the mambo was slick and fast. Carrie Ann called the mambo Mario's dance, and told him he set the place on fire. She only noticed one part where the couple was out of sync. Len used three words again: wild, wacky, and wonderful. Score: 27 (9, 9, 9)
Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough (Mambo) - Shannon really wanted the judges to see her hip action this week. She and Derek began the routine by shaking their booties at the judges' table ("Better Than Anything," Al Jarreau). Derek and Shannon had plenty of fun, infectious energy and ended the dance in the judges' faces as well. The routine seemed sort of frenzied, and not necessarily in a good way. Shannon isn't as naturally graceful as Kristi, and the differences become more apparent as the competition goes on. She needs more polish.
Carrie Ann was speechless for a moment. She praised Shannon's attack, but had a lot of criticisms. The lines were awkward, and Shannon suffered the down side of having long limbs. Len said that Shannon had a "bionic bum," but also thought she looked gawky at times. Her hips had improved since last week, though. Bruno instructed Shannon to control her gangly movements and focus on developing clean, precise lines. Score: 24 (8, 8, 8)
Jason Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska (Paso Doble) - Jason and Edyta's paso doble had a strong football theme. They wore Miami Dolphins colors and danced to the Monday Night Football music. I found the music distracting, probably due to my deep hatred of football. They incorporated the theme without losing much in the technique department. Jason had a wonderful presence in the routine, and probably enjoyed it the most out of all his performances.
Len complimented Jason's attack as well as the music. He didn't care for all of the poses. Bruno said that a man with Jason's presence can pose as much as he wants. Carrie Ann loved the shapes, attack, and presence in the routine. She caught Edyta's foot leaving the ground, though. Score: 26 (9, 8, 9)
Best dance of the night: Jason's Quickstep
Most likely to go home: Cristián
On Tuesday night's results show--the return of DanceCenter (woohoo!), and Def Leppard performs (huh?). In the meantime, check out AOL's extensive Dancing With The Stars coverage, which includes photo galleries, polls, and a live chat.
|Cristian & Cheryl||311 (33.2%)|
|Marissa & Tony||144 (15.4%)|
|Jason & Edyta||13 (1.4%)|
|Shannon & Derek||331 (35.3%)|
|Mario & Karina||117 (12.5%)|
|Kristi & Mark||21 (2.2%)|