Sunday, July 24, 2016

DWTS S22 Week 8: A Night of Breathtaking Dances, Groundbreaking Moments

There are moments, usually once the riff-raff is gone, and before the super competitive finals arrive, when the pro choreographers are able to strut some of their most artistic, and risky, stuff. Week 8 of Dancing with the Stars was such a week. We were graced with some literally breath-taking dances.

The full cast of Week 8
The above photo is funny, cause the pro dancers are still dressed from their (amazing) opening number (choreographed by Mandy Moore), and the stars are dressed in costume for their upcoming number. Quite an array ahead.

First up, Peta Murgatroyd and Nyle's paso doble.

One of the hallmarks of Dancing with the Stars is that it occasionally plays with color in camera. This bad photo from the TV shows the black and white stuff that happens (and is just stunning to watch).

And then, this section in the middle (Peta conceived, assisted by Maks), where the male dancers around Nyle dance without sound (so America could see what it's like for Nyle to dance every week). Incredible moment.

But let me just say this here and now. Much of what was given credit to Nyle this season was Peta's handiwork. This dance among them. Bravo to her, and to the other four male dancers who danced synchronistically in silence. Wow. Certainly one of the best moments of the season.

It ended with them putting her and him in a cage. Just stunning imagery.

Man, I love to watch Sharna dance. She and Antonio perform what he kept calling a "Vietnamese waltz" (*eyeroll*). How she created this beautiful choreography, after the previously stunning Viennese waltz she had just created (on Switch Up Week) blows my mind.

But she is just beautiful.

Photo of Sharna, not from this week
After their dance (and before their scores), we had this little blip of a thing. You know the things where the dancers show how to do some dance or another, takes a minute, boom, onto the next thing? The bumpers? Well, this particular one was choreographed by James Corden. I encourage you to seek it out (online or the link below).

Cause we had this:

and, of course, this:

Thank goodness Jenna, Hayley and Shannon are such good sports. It was pretty funny. The real choreography genius Mandy Moore is even in the video. (As well as Exec. Prod. Rob Wade.)

LOL Tom Bergeron is so perfect. Funny, funny stuff.

James Corden as choreographer

And then, back to the show!

Jodie and Keo Week 8. The photo says it all.
Next up, Jodie and Keo. Jodie (whom I love, and really wanted to win this competition) says in her package: "We're bringing in set design and props and troupe dancers to really highlight the great jive that we're doing." First of all, every single frame of this show already HAS "set design and props and troupe dancers." But when they bring it in for a dancer's individual dance, by and large, it means that you suck. And they are trying to cover that up with "set design and props and troupe dancers." You don't need all that hooha to "highlight" a great jive.

SEE Mark Ballas' great jive from last week. No props, no "set design," no troupe dancers. Yet, spectacular, and blew the roof off.

PRO TIP TO ASPIRING STAR DANCERS: All you EVER need is the dance. If you are good/great/wonderful, that is all you'll ever need. And if you suck, prepare to see a lot of other dancers around you. That is, truly, truly, how this show rolls. Jodie Sweetin was really in the clouds about what was really happening on this show, vis a vis her and Keo.

And, IMHO, it wasn't that SHE sucked, it was that her partner didn't really have what is needed in a pro. So, I felt bad when they were voted off later in this show.

"Holy DWTS" They do have a great prop department.
The judges scored this a perfect score (which made both Jodie and her mom happy), but it was too little too late.

To me, that was not a perfect score dance. The troupe dancers were essentially extraneous. The dance said nothing about the surroundings, the song was terrible. Ugh.

My kind of perfection is this.

This is a dance where everything: the minimal, but perfect sets; the lighting, the camerawork, the costumes, the snow blowing in at just the right moment, work perfectly in concert with the stunning dance that is being presented before us. Some dancers in this week were just trying to get their steps right. Mark Ballas had his partner EFFECTIVELY portraying being outside in freezing cold to a Demi Lovato song.

It stunned me then, it stuns me now, how incredibly good this dance was.

Peta and Nyle's dance was incredible for its technical brilliance. To my eyes, this dance is every bit as difficult and as brilliant. To have an untrained dancer go from this (movement, warmth) to this (coldness, statues) in the course of one dance is nothing short of stunning.

Truly. Over and over, it is Mark Ballas who blows my mind the most on this show. I live to see his choreography and his vision. And it's incredible to me that he can create this magic on DWTS, on ABC. Especially after last week's blistering jive that they performed. This week, Viennese waltz. Brilliant and beautiful.

Astonishingly, this dance of perfection did not get a perfect score, while Jodie and Keo's mess did. Ah well.

Next, I have a bias about Ginger Zee, which I've mentioned in previous columns this season. She is too nice. She is always nice, always smiling ear to ear, and so far, when she's had to perform a rough character, it's WAY out of her scope and ability.

She and Val are doing an Argentine tango. The women in this dance is usually always surly and angry and in command, all things that Ginger Zee is not.

However, astonishingly, we get this.

This is what you get when you have an excellent teacher, who knows what's required and makes it happen. Ginger Zee doing a hot Argentine tango? I seriously never thought that could happen. Yet, here it is.

In the moment, I was totally swept away by it. Watching it back now, I can see how camera angles and lighting conceal how much she may've burst into smiles along the way. And the one close shot, she did look rather "constipated" (her word). So, in this instance, I think it was Val's choreography and the DWTS artistry which carried her through this one. (Don't go into acting anytime soon, Ms. Ginger...)

But the choreography, as always with Val Chmerkovskiy, was stunning. Perfect score. No surprise.

Wanya and Lindsay are also a couple that I really wanted to win. This number, from the start, looked like it was going to be great. However, notice what I said earlier. Notice the sets, the props, the extra troupe dancers... hm... Add to that an errant bandana which nearly causes one of the dancers to fall out (for which I blame the costume department, not either dancer). And their scores are less than great.

Sigh. Sad.

That moves us into the Judges Dances. I think this is the second or third time they've done this. And it's kind of a useless exercise, cause all the judges always give each other 10s. This time, they've added the component of "America gets to vote," by which they mean the East Coast of America. *sigh* So that adds some variety. (Except this year, "America" voted 9 for all three dances. They might as well not even be scoring.)

But all of these judges used to be in the dance field in one way or another, so it is interesting to see what they choose to have the dancers do. Mostly, they indulge themselves.

Then again, what we did have here was pretty ground-breaking TV. For a Disney company. For ABC. For Dancing with the Stars, this was pretty landmark. In Bruno's dance, women danced with women and men danced with men. In, you know, a sexual way. And I promise you, we have never seen anything like that on this show before. And probably never would, if it weren't Bruno choreographing.

BRUNO: Peta and Nyle, Keo and Jodie

Mind you, this was all an Argentine tango to Bizet's "Carmen," so it had a very classical feel about it, but still... the ground was shifting here.

Quite something.

Len, on the other hand, chose to head in a different direction.

LEN: Valentin and Ginger, Lindsay and Wanya

Note the Len Stonehenge mask.
Something about two beautiful women on an island, and these wayward sailors discover them, and that they are surrounding King Len, and then they all samba together. It was a fun palate-cleanser, after Bruno's steamy "Carmen."

CARRIE ANN: Sharna and Antonio, Mark and Paige

This was a stunning paso doble, to the music of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." Each of these Judges' Dances had featured a segment where the two non-pros (stars) danced with each other. This one, to me, was the most effective, and truly showed how far each of these dancers had come.

VOTED OFF: Jodie and Keo :-(

1. Mark and Paige (Viennese waltz)
2. Peta and Nyle (paso doble)
3. Val and Ginger (Argentine tango)
4. Lindsay and Wanya (jive)
5. Sharna and Antonio ("Vietnamese"/Viennese waltz)


Sunday, May 22, 2016

DWTS S22 Week 7 Mark and Paige Stop the Show on Icons Week

While it's true that Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Ginger Zee scored the FIRST perfect score in this evening for their amazing Viennese waltz, it's also true that Mark Ballas and Paige Vanzant scored the SECOND perfect score for this jive. (And these were the first perfect scores of Dancing with the Stars Season 22.) So, all in all, there was some stellar dancing going on in this episode.

There was also some less than stellar. We had the team dances, first time I can remember without Derek, and they pretty much fell flat. The construct was men (stars) versus women (stars). It didn't work. In fact, they were probably the worst team dances I've ever seen on this show.

Also, it was a double elimination (always rough) but the right people went home.

So, an eventful evening. But let's start at the beginning, shall we?

This was the awesome opening number, choreographed by Mandy Moore.

First up, Keo and Jodie. I've expressed previously that I think Keo is holding Jodie back. That if she'd been with a different pro, she would've gone further in this competition. I still think that. It's also curious to me (since there are so many talented pros on this show) that Keo (and somewhat Sasha) are the only ones that I've heard the judges fault for their performance, or their choreography (lacking content), or missing a step.

In this dance, the judges said that their hold wasn't close enough ("lost body contact"--aka, points off), and that even though Keo missed a step, Jodie stayed on time and powered through it. :-0

I honestly hope that Keo sits out the next season, and is not in a pro slot. I do think he was put there before he was ready. And that the only reason Keo got as far as he did this season was because Jodie was so darn good. And they get decent scores on this evening, and don't go home.

Other couples were not so lucky. Sasha and Kim, for example. Sasha has also not been this far in the competition previously. And he and Kim were good partners together, I thought. I loved this Icons dance they did to the Jackson Five's "ABC." They did this whole black light thing with part of the dance which was also fun.

But Kim Fields did not take her parting very smoothly. She felt wronged by the judges' scores (last week), and said so in her package. Let's just get some perspective here, a moment.

By this point in the competition, let's say the last two weeks, the best dancers are left. But Kim Fields, try as hard as she might, was NEVER as good as say, Ginger Zee, or Paige Vanzant. Now whether that's because of sheer talent (or lack of it) or because the other two women had better partners? You decide.

It does seem to me, however, that both Keo and Sasha seem like backup dancers still, even though they are pros. They both proved this season that they don't seem to have a concept of how much content must be packed into each dance to get into the finals. They both seemed to think that if they just put forth a pretty dance, it would be fine.

And from this vantage point, it sure seems like Ginger and Paige (for example) not only have the steps down, but have the pointed toes and the facial expressions and everything else that's required for a champion. My main problem with Sasha is not that he doesn't have a lot of energy, he does, but that he doesn't seem to be that good of an actor. Dance is a big part of this, yes, but some of these dances (paso doble, for example) require a strong command of a different character than one who just constantly smiles.

These people who get to the top, into the finals, into the semifinals, KNOW what it takes to get there. Know that it's not just who dances better than anyone else. It's a LOT of factors: dance, acting, movement, precision, choreography, luck, America's votes.

Look at Val, for example. EVERY dance he does, even in Week 1, is created with beautiful (even stunning) choreography, which is packed with all the steps that Len and the other judges are looking for. As the competition moves along, he adds more steps that he knows are going to make the judges salivate. More nuance, more detail.

Sasha and Keo at this point couldn't even keep up with all the steps that were required in the dances. "Not good enough hold"? That's a rookie mistake. A pro on DWTS SHOULD NEVER get a judges' note like that. Nor a "lack of content" note. Kim Fields route to the exit started when she danced on the Switch Up with Keo and the judges said there was "no Viennese waltz content" in their dance. (And there wasn't.)

This is not a show where you just go out there and look pretty. They are looking for, and scoring, very specific things. And if you don't know what they are (pros), I suggest you go look them up. Cause if you, as the pro, don't know these things backwards and forwards, you are doing a great disservice to your partner.

Truly, at this point in the competition, not only do the people who are actually going to win the Mirror Ball have all their steps and content DOWN, they are now adding things like flips and splits and double cartwheels. But it STARTS with knowing what the judges are looking for, and perfecting that. Using it from Week 1.

Nyle and Peta dance to U2's "Beautiful Day"
Then, as if all that wasn't already going on, we also had this. When last we left this, you'll remember that in last week's package, Nyle said that he thought Val was "his greatest competition," to which the producers asked, "Val and Ginger?" and Nyle clarified to say, "No, Val." (Basically saying that he was beyond the competitors, and thought Val was his competition.)

This week, Peta (who also knows what it takes to win this competition) tried to walk all that back, by saying that Nyle's comments were "taken out of context." No, no, they weren't. They played the entire thing. They played the incredulous producers, and Nyle repeating his comments, to explain further. They weren't out of context at all.

And she tried to use the old trope that "I want you to aspire to be as good as a professional," which is the same nonsense Val used last season when Tamar got all uppity and arrogant, saying she was better than everyone else.

Whatever. He said it. It cannot be unsaid. I refuse to vote for him further, no matter what dances you come up with.

Thankfully, we then had a fabulous bumper (Jazz Funk... have they ever danced that on this show?) to Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" that Tom Bergeron noted was the first ever dance on DWTS. Thank you, Jenna, Shannon and Hayley for that. Quite wonderful. Great palate cleanser.

Sharna gives herself a 10 after pulling up her corset from her wardrobe malfunction.
And we go right from that sexy time into Sharna's first ever wardrobe malfunction. The East Coast feed may've gotten it live, but sadly, by the time it aired on the West Coast, said nipple had been airbrushed. :-(

I thought it was a great tango before that (to the Rolling Stones). Sharna, at least, knows that although Antonio has a million-dollar smile, in a tango or paso, it doesn't work. Antonio, to his credit, put forth a somber, darker mood in this dance. He calls it, "a different side of 'Business Is Boomin.' " Maybe you can't teach a football player how to act, but if you can at least get him to project a different mood, it's halfway there. Great work by Sharna.

As Tom directs them to leave, he says, "Go up to the Skybox, it's warmer up there." Heh. We love you, Tom Bergeron.

This was a beautiful, sweet dance. Nice costumes, great choreography by Lindsay. However, I take issue with the fact that it's "Icons Week," with people doing songs by their favorite "Icon," and this was introduced as from Aretha Franklin. In point of fact, this song was written for Dionne Warwick by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. So, if you're going to focus on an Icon, at least pick the person who actually wrote the song, and/or made it a hit. C'mon. So much perfection in this show, and they get sloppy with something like this? Ugh. (Also, they are dancing to NEITHER the Dionne Warwick version, nor the Aretha Franklin version. I think it's the show's singers who sang it.)

Next up? Ginger and Val.

First, she's wearing this gorgeous dress that is low cut in the back, and the opening shot is of her back. It looks like she's wearing Spanx or something, pulled up really high (like halfway up her back). Very strange. (A night of weird wardrobe problems, it seems.) Anyway, to the sublime.

They did this opening sequence with mirrors all around. Just stunning. Worked amazing for the Viennese waltz, where it's all about turning and rotating. And these Chmerkovskiy brothers sure know their way around a Viennese waltz. Valentin's choreography just continues to take my breath away. He had this move at the end, where he is swirling her by holding her back. Just amazing. Stunning. There aren't enough adjectives. They received a perfect score, and deservedly so.

I hope others are taking note of the wonderful steps that were in this dance.

Then, we had this one. I'm not sure, but in the package, both of them seemed to say they didn't know who Elvis Presley was. Witney: "He was the King of Rock, right?" *eyeroll* Seems to me like people shouldn't be doing an "Icon" unless it's an icon who means something to them. But whatever. I'll let this photo speak for what the dance was.

Von ends up getting booted on this show (one half of the double elimination), and I was glad. He wasn't even doing the level of what Antonio was doing, to say nothing of the competitors above that.

And finally, another sublime dance.

Tina Turner's "Proud Mary" is always a butt-shaker, but if you coulda seen the amazing jive that Mark Ballas choreographed to this song! Wow.

They had a triple cartwheel, where Paige does a cartwheel, then Mark does one on top of that, then Paige again, so they are like a spinning wheel for three revolutions...they had planned that for their salsa, but Mark hurt his back, so they brought it out for this one. Wowza.

Certainly one of the best versions of "Proud Mary" I've ever seen. Deserved its perfect score.

And then, too soon, the sublime is over, and we have this.

The men stars dance to James Brown.
The women dance to Beyonce.
The less said about all that, the better. Except to note that there was another wardrobe malfunction in this dance, with some of the women losing their skirts at the wrong moment.

1. Mark and Paige (jive)
2. Val and Ginger (Viennese waltz)
3. Sharna and Antonio (tango)
4. Lindsay and Wanya (foxtrot)
5. Sasha and Kim (samba)


Sunday, May 15, 2016

DWTS S022 Week 6: Memorable Dances Misfires, Ego and Magic

Back in the day, Dancing with the Stars was about people who couldn't dance being paired with those who could, and doing routines. Somewhere along the way, it became people who couldn't dance and through the magic of television being made to look like they actually can. Nowhere is this more evident than this week, Memorable Dances, where the star, now six weeks in, has to dance with a bunch of other professionals to recreate an iconic dance, and pull it off.

I don't particularly like this week. It's big, it's splashy, and this year, a bit rehashed. A thing that isn't talked about often in DWTS articles is that they have to get the rights to perform to any song they do. Sometimes it goes well. Sometimes, as this week, it does not. I can only wonder what amazing song Mark Ballas had already done choreography for that got yanked at the last minute. (Makes me very sad.) No matter though, he did amazing work with the Austin Powers number he got substituted instead.

We also had a song that they must have the rights for the length of the show (that "Patchuco" song from The Mask). I've already seen two seminal versions of that one on this show,  both much better than what was performed tonight. I think there were a couple versions before I started watching the show as well. #RetireIt

Six shows in is also when people start really showing their true colors, and for me, this was the week I started voting less for two people: Nyle and Ginger. (No, actually, I started voting less for Nyle when they did that Tarzan travesty, but this is the week I stopped voting for them no matter what they do.)

Stars often forget that while they are competing for judges' votes, yes, they are also competing for the hearts of America, who is also a percentage of the vote. Two things really irritate me from these stars and cause me to vote less for them immediately.

ONE: Don't Whine About Your Damn Schedule

Possibly my number one pet peeve about any of these "stars" who get on this show. Let's review, shall we?, this season's travesties. We have Antonio, who is a pro football player, with all kinds of things going on with that. We have Wanya, who secretly (smartly not whining about it into camera) flies to Vegas two nights a week to perform with Boyz II Men AND do all these complex dance routines. And the topper, we have Ginger Zee, who has: a regular gig with Good Morning, America, that she flies back to every week, a husband, a new baby (new, as in three months old) AND she chose to do this show right now. Realizing or not the PUNISHING choreography that is involved. It was YOUR choice to do this, babe. Don't start whining about your schedule now that you are in Week 6.

PLEASE, CASTING DIRECTORS! Can we get some people with less punishing schedules next time, and no new babies? C'mon! Sheesh.

TWO: Arrogance

Most of the voting public probably aren't as incensed by the schedule thing as I am. (I just think it's disrespectful.) But what the voting public IS really as irritated as I am about is ARROGANCE. We saw it last season with Val's partner Tamar, who thought she was better than all the other dancers, and said so. This season, our deaf boy, Nyle, has upped that bar, and not only said he was better than all the other star dancers, but he considers Val (as in pro dancer Val, one of the best dancers IN THE WORLD) to be "his competition." Um, no. Val has been dancing HIS ENTIRE LIFE. You will never in a million years be as good as Val. Never. Not in this Universe. Not to rub in the obvious, but YOU CAN'T HEAR. Val softly gently caresses the music and his partner to wring emotions from our very hearts. There is a lot you can do as a deaf person (and Nyle is showing that, thanks to his amazing partner, Peta, on this show). But you can't do what Val can do. Period.

So, I'm sure Peta will create wonderful things the rest of this season, but for me, personally, no more votes for Nyle. Done.

Now, let's compliment some folks. This episode was really a tour de force from the production team. I mean, every show is, really, but wow. To recreate all these iconic dance numbers, sets, costumes, makeup all went above and beyond for this show. Seriously, these sparkly shoes with the British flag on them? Wow.

And while we're throwing out the compliments of the behind-the-scenes team, let's put a spotlight on two hopefully soon-to-be-pro dancers that consistently put out great work. Our super stunner, Jenna, has long been a favorite of mine, and really should be a pro soon. But a new sparkle to my eye has been this new guy, Shannon. (Remember the days when they used to actually introduce the new troupe members? *sigh*) Anyway, they DID introduce him on this show because he used to dance with Michael Jackson.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you haven't seen him already, let's welcome Shannon Holzappfel.

Shannon, Von, Artem in "Bad."
Usually troupe members (men and women) stay in the background, and do those things in between commercials (let's call it a "segue") where they highlight a dance style, but in this show, so many of these iconic dances used lotsa troupe members, so Shannon and Jenna seemed to be in just about every dance. (Which, when you get sick of watching the "stars" stumble through things is a really nice change to view.)

Shannon really belongs on that pro stage next season. He's a star. (So's Jenna.)

But let's start the show, shall we?

Alan and women of the troupe, opening number
Our maestro of ceremonies was Mr. Mark Ballas (who I'm still pulling to win this season with Paige).

The pros and troupe danced a spectacular opening number to "Puttin' on the Ritz," choreographed (say it together now) by Mandy Moore.

Opening Number

First of the couples to dance are Kim and Sasha, with a jive to a song from Hairspray.

I liked it, and I like Kim and Sasha together. She has some nasty words to say about her Switch Up partner, Keo, in her package. But the gist of it is true. Keo is untested this far in the competition, but then, that same statement is true of Sasha. And this jive was pretty fun to watch.

Kim and Sasha's Jive

Witney and Von dance to Michael Jackson's "Bad." Troupe dancer Shannon, who actually danced with Michael Jackson, dances with them. I also love how Tom gives credit to the choreographers to each dance. Especially this week, when the pro dancers mostly use the original choreography, with some modifications.

Von and Witney's to Michael Jackson's "Bad."
SHANNON: Yes (of course)

I've watched this episode a few times now. Just noticed at this point, they run a promo of the dances to come... it ends with Nyle (quoting The Mask) saying, "ooooh, somebody stop me." Indeed. A tip of my hat to the DWTS editors for that bit of brilliance.

Segue, featuring Can-Can

So. Let me just put the pieces of this out there for ya, you decide what's going on. Last week, Keo ostensibly danced a "Viennese waltz" with Kim, for which the judges said there was "no Viennese waltz content." There's a segment just aired in this show, which shows Keo, brushing aside cameras and "leaving his partner," according to a producer. He's then shown sulking outside, playing with his phone.

My bet from all of this is that Keo very well may not be a pro dancer next season. You have to be able to do the job, and being a pro is a very different job than just being a troupe member. You have to not only always hit your own marks (which he's been accused from the judges of missing lately), but you have to pack the star's dances full of content, so the judges will give them high scores. Those things are all kind of key.

So this week, and remember, bad dancing is covered up/hidden by having lots of troupe members dancing around you, Jodie and Keo are dancing alone. No troupe members around them. Also, they are inexplicably dancing to Pink's "Try" video. It seems reasonable that, since it's a very difficult thing, with lifts and whatnot, that the original choreographers would be brought in to help with it. (But no one else has other choreographers helping them with their numbers.)

All of this is really speaking to Jodie's skill, and the fact that in the right hands, she could win this. The show really does what's best for the star.

But, in the end, they had to sacrifice some of the lifts and things. It's really quite a complex dance to put on someone new to dance. I really love Jodie as a competitor, but I didn't like this dance of hers. It just wasn't working for me.

Keo and Jodie's recreation of Pink's "Try" video

Mark has some amazing number, mostly choreographed, and it's pulled out from under him, due to "legal reasons." He scrambles, is instead given "jazz" as the dance (which pretty much means you can do anything), and a song from Austin Powers as the number. This is the time when the family that is the DWTS staff kicks in: sets, costumes, makeup, hair, extra dancers (all of which Mark thanks, as he is awaiting his scores) all rally to create this amazing iconic number. And both Bruno and Carrie Ann mention in their comments the attention to detail Mark has paid to the original choreography, as well as adding a few touches of his own. Brilliant and wonderful. I loved this dance so much.

Mark and Paige's Austin Powers number

Segue, featuring Jazz

Peta, after hearing what Nyle said in interview about Val being his "competition."
I will say this. Peta, I believe, is prettier than Cameron Diaz, and hair and makeup did a great job with her. They talked in the package about how the mask they were getting made "wouldn't arrive until show day." Correct me if I'm wrong, but he does not seem to have a mask on. He has very heavy green paint/makeup. He does have prostethic teeth, but no mask.

But in any case, I much prefer the previous versions of this dance, and really wish they'd stop doing it. They received some of the lowest scores of the night for this dance.

As they step up to the judges' table, host Tom Bergeron says, "I think that's Nyle in there." (under the makeup/mask)
Nyle: "Maybe one of the other pro dancers..."  (*eyeroll*)

BEST JUDGE'S COMMENT (LEN): "Don't start saying, 'I'm as good as Val,' cause you'll just annoy people."

Count me among the annoyed. This was the other dance which had no troupe members involved.

Peta and Nyle's recreation of The Mask

Speaking of annoyed, next up, we have Ginger Zee. Don't get me wrong. Sweet, cute Ginger Zee does the weather on Good Morning, America just fine. But as an actress? Not so much. As a dancer? Hmmm...

It must be that time of the competition, cause she, too, in her package makes a bit of an arrogant statement: "(In this dance), Val's kind of like a backup dancer. I don't have him to rely on. It's all me. If I hit it, it's gonna take off."

*shakes head* These people. First, let me just say. If she didn't have Val there, backing her up, not to mention all the talented professional dancers who also make up this dance, she wouldn't be anywhere. Not to mention carefully constructed camera angles, so she doesn't look like a fool.

And then there's this. NASTY. Ginger Zee is in no Universe "nasty." Or even mean. That nasty part requires ACTING, which she seems to be incapable of. She's sweet and cute. She's got those down. But doing the nasty thing? Hell no.

Val, Ginger (trying to be Nasty) and Shannon
 Count me annoyed at this one, too. I loved the dancers around her. I just really despised her in this dance.


CARRIE ANN: "You weren't able to hit it and own it, but you were very well-rehearsed."
LEN: "It was a bit more tasty than nasty."
BRUNO: "There is nothing nasty about you. It was Janet in the best possible taste."

Val and Ginger's "Nasty" jazz

Look at this cool thing they did with effects, like Shannon and Val are behind a screen. NICE!
Segue, featuring swing

Doug Flutie, at this point of the competition, is the last of the truly bad dancers to still be here. They are dancing Bollywood to the famous dance scene from Slumdog Millionaire. I'm happy that Karina got a chance to dance Bollywood for the first time. I'm also happy that Doug is the one who gets eliminated on this episode. It was time.

Karina and Doug's Bollywood dance to "Jai Ho"

Here's the difference. In the other packages, everyone's getting all arrogant. In Wanya and Lindsay's package, she says: "I like the way you dance," to which he responds, "I like the way WE dance." That's class. That's how someone wins this competition.

They dance, of course, to N Sync's "Bye Bye Bye" from the MTV Music Awards. The judges loved this dance. The guys from N Sync (in the audience) loved this dance. I loved this dance.

Alan, Lindsay, Wanya, Shannon and some other dude.
Lindsay and Wanya, doing N Sync's "Bye Bye Bye"

Last week, Sharna (in one of those question and answer interview things the teammates did of each other), mentioned other people FTW, instead of her partner, Antonio. Then saying, "Oh, I should probably say Antonio!" He didn't like that. And I, like she, didn't really think very much of it, just attributing it to her being honest. But I didn't realize the whole sports culture thing of it, where, if you're on a team, you're on that team, you don't root for others, or even say others are better than you. So, he was pretty upset at her, and the result of that is that this week he tried much harder. All in all, a good thing. Very fun dance.

Sharna and Antonio, doing jive to "Footloose"

1. Mark and Paige (jazz, Austin Powers)
2. Sharna and Antonio (jive, Footloose)
3. Lindsay and Wanya (jazz, N Sync video)
4. Karina and Doug (Bollywood, "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire)