Sunday, May 13, 2018

DTWS S025, Week 4: Most Memorable Year Brings Many Tears and Surprises

Let’s start out Most Memorable Year Week by saying that this time has the most “2017”s of any of these ever. Four 2017s, two 2016s, one 2015. Ugh. (Keeping in the same year, that is.)

But what will we have from that? More rehashing of “this is the year I got that show”? Or, will they make us cry? It’s always a toss up with these.

But, the goal is to get the celebrities connected to their emotions through dance, so that the rest of the season is emotion-filled. By all means, let's go!

MEMORABLE YEAR: 2017      WHY: Memory Loss (?)

Oh, “cause I learned to live in the present.”

Frankie and Witney kick things off with a nice quickstep. It opens with some visual pyrotechnics from the VFX crew, and jaunts into a beautiful dance. I‘ll give him this. Frankie really has more flair and style than I ever gave him credit before previously.

Len liked the “quickstep content” and likened it to his “mom's Yorkshire pudding.” (??) Bruno likes that nothing is going to stop Frankie. Carrie Ann likes the “contagious joy.”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 24 (out of 30)

MEMORABLE YEAR: 2012      WHY: Loss of his Grandmother Who Raised Him

Terrell and Cheryl dance a dreamy Viennese waltz (a favorite dance of Most Memorable Week) for his grandmother. He gets very emotional at the end.

Bruno calls it his “most accomplished performance to date.” Carrie Ann: “Tonight I saw poise, I saw a newfound eloquence. There was a reverence to the dance that I’ve never seen, and it elevated everything you did in front of us.” Len congratulates Cheryl for “a very well-crafted routine. There was an ease and an elegance about it, and the emotion of the dance came out.”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 24 (out of 30)

MEMORABLE YEAR: 2016      WHY: Her life-threatening injury and how she overcame it

It was a beautiful contemporary number, which began with the fabric/silks thing.

The production team created a whole wrestling ring for us. Beautiful stuff.

Carrie Ann marvels about tonight‘s continuing breakthroughs “when you connect the heart and the body.” She also mentions how tough it is to work with silks. Carrie Ann says it‘s “the first time we‘ve really seen you.” Len liked it, it was very creative. “It was strong, it was powerful, it was dynamic, and for me, it was great. Well done.” Bruno thought it was “very sexy, as always.”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 24 (out of 30)

Tom thanks the crew for setting up the wrestling ring. It is pretty amazing, I agree. He also calls it “the night of 8 paddles” (since every judge has given an eight for every team so far).

MEMORABLE YEAR: 2011      WHY: The year he got married

They show amazing clips of Nick’s engagement and wedding, and how totally smitten with Vanessa he was/is. The contemporary dance is to the always amazing “Falling Slowly” from “Once.”

Peta’s choreogrphy was so great. I don’t really like contemporary usually, but this was stunning. Really beautiful stuff. Nick is very moved by the end.

Len thought “it was touching, the whole thing.” Bruno “loved it.”  Carrie Ann thought “it was beautifully choreographed. That was by far, for me, your best dance ever.”

Vanessa comes out of the wings for the scores.

JUDGES’ SCORES: 22 (out of 30)

This was shown just before the commercial break...

 2017      WHY: Her dad died

As these Memorable Year moments come rolling along, usually I stay pretty stoic and don’t cry. With this one, though... ugh...

The premise is that Lindsey is dancing, one last time with her dad, who passed this year. Mark is even wearing a scarf and hat that her dad favored.

But you can see through the evolution of the dance (and Mark Ballas’ brilliant choreography), the evolution of Lindsey’s relationship with her dad. It starts out with her standing on his feet (to learn how to dance), and then, the point when she learns he has cancer. And then, he’s gone. All told through dance. So incredible.

Bruno calls it, “gorgeous and magical... one of those dreams you never want to wake up from.” Carrie Anne: “There is such a unique emotional quality to what you do. The artistry, the chemistry.” Len: “It reminded me of a Banksy painting. It was thought-provoking, it had great imagination.”

Lindsey mentions how she felt like she was dancing with her dad.

JUDGES’ SCORES: 26 (out of 30)

MEMORABLE YEAR: 2007     WHY: His daughter had eye surgery

Derek and Sharna “Move On Up” through this fun 70s jazz number.

Carrie Anne: “I love that it was a celebration.” Len: “It was danced with energy. There was great rhythm. It was upbeat. It was uplifting, and for me, your best dance.” Bruno: “It was an uplifting treat.”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 23 (out of 30)

MEMORABLE YEAR: 2005     WHY: He was officially adopted

Jordan and Lindsay do a contemporary dance to celebrate the year he officially got adopted.

His parents are in the audience. So beautiful. So moving.

Len: “That was fantastic.” Bruno: “That was exquisitely flawless. You dance with such open-hearted sincerity. It was a work of art.” Carrie Anne: “It was absolutely exquisite. That kind of feeling, that you just had, that‘s what we all dance for.”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 29 (out of 30) (The first 10s of the season)

MEMORABLE YEAR: 2016     WHY: Her last season of “Pretty Little Liars” and getting engaged

Ugh. Terrible music. Stupid choreography, with doors. Ugh. Just hated this foxtrot.

Bruno: "A proper foxtrot.” Carrie Anne: “Well-done.” Len: “I liked the quantity of foxtrot, and I liked the quality of the dancing.”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 24 (out of 30)

MEMORABLE YEAR: 2017     WHY:  “The year that our family was complete”  

They had difficulties with a premature baby, and “this song  (sung by her husband Nick), helped get her through it.” Maks and Vanessa dance a rumba to it. She is very teary.

Carrie Anne: “it was a beautiful expression  of  motherhood.” Len: “I loved the routine, and I loved the way you danced and performed it.” Bruno: “It was classy.”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 24 (out of 30)

MEMORABLE YEAR: 2007     WHY: When he and his brother became “The Property Brothers”

So they start out this jive... But wait, it's about The Property Brothers... something’s missing...

Yup. There's Jonathan! And here's this.

Len: “That was twice as much fun, twice the energy, and that was undoubtedly your best dance.” Bruno: “It’s a bit early in the season for a threesome, don’t you think? It was a full-on jive, with a feel good factor.” Carrie Anne: “You got your secret weapon tonight, eh? Well, it worked.”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 24 (out of 30)

MEMORABLE YEAR: 2017     WHY: Coming back from her paralyzing injury

Victoria and Val dance such a beauitiful, moving foxtrot. Such inspiring choreography. Wonderful.

Bruno: “What you have achieved, is really beyond belief. You emerged out of it like a star, and you danced like a star tonight.” Carrie Anne: “I feel honored, to first, see you dance in the wheelchair. To see you get up, and be who you are now, clean, precise. The chemistry between you two is so tender and beautiful. Well-done.” Len: “You have overcome the pain, the struggles, the disappointments. You are so inspirational. You should inspire the whole of America. Well-done.”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 27 (out of 30)

So, who’s going home?

Miche’s Most Memorable Dances of Most Memorable Year Week1. Mark and Lindsey (Viennese waltz)
2. Emma and Drew (and Jonathan) (jive)
3. Val and Victoria (foxtrot)
4. Peta and Nick (contemporary)
5. Lindsay and Jordan (contemporary)
6. Maks and Vanessa (rumba)


Saturday, March 31, 2018

DWTS S025, Week 3: How Much Did We Love Guilty Pleasures Night?

This from the wacky opening number, choreographed by the ever-amazing Mandy Moore. This show is dedicated to the family and friends of those lost in the horrific Las Vegas shooting, which just happened before this was filmed.

Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, is Guilty Pleasures night. And there will be no eliminations tonight.

Team: Emma and Drew   Guilty Pleasure: Crime dramas

Our Property Brothers contractor kicks off the evening with a wonderful Argentine tango to “Red Right Hand.” (Loved the music.) And it included this incredible overhead lift. Emma Slater’s choreography continues to be stunning.

I really thought this dude couldn't dance. I really liked this number.

I started the season thinking they would be going home early, but by this dance, they have certainly become a couple to watch.

I also loved Emma's outfit so very much.

Len says that Drew is “on a roll.” Carrie Anne: “How amazing was that Argentine tango?”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 23 (out of 30)

Team: Sharna and Derek   Guilty Pleasure: Fresh Prince reruns

 I pretty much hated the music of this. Sharna Burgess can make anything look good, but this cha cha was certainly my least favorite dance of the night.

Len: “One of the secrets of Dancing with the Stars, if you like the music, you perform better. I could see you were right into that dance. You were into the music, it was something you enjoyed, and in turn, I enjoyed.”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 21 (out of 30)

Tom, in introducing this segment says: “Yes,  a grown man in a suit just said, ‘Chumbawumba’s Tubthumping.’” (Cracked me up.)

Team: Val and Victoria   Guilty Pleasure: um... Chumbawumba

This song (“Tubthumping”), you either love it or you hate it. Val really hates it. But Victoria’s anthem for this season is what is contained in the lyric: “You get knocked down, and you get up again.” So, Chumbawumba it is.

It is a sign of Val’s dancing/choreography genius that he can make an incredible quickstep out of a song he hates.

My guilty pleasure? “Tumthumping” makes me feel all warm and fuzzy all over.

Len: “Nice amount of content, great amount of entertainment and fun.” Bruno: “I love what you put into it.”

Tom addresses the audience, “If you see a kid who’s different, don’t be an ass.”

22 (out of 30)

Then, there was this really funny bit of “Guilty Pleasures: Host Edition,” where Tom mocks Mark Ballas for his use of hair-care products, and talks about how he has to “go full mime” to fundraise for more. (Envision Tom Bergeron aa mime here.) Damn funny. Sasha was in the video, too.

Erin, after: “Did you make much money?”

Tom: “About $4 and a half bucks.”

Team: Maks and Vanessa (with Alan standing in)  
Guilty Pleasure: Girls Night Out

Sorry, but when Maks isn’t there, the dances just aren’t as good. Alan is great, fine, but he’s no Maks.

Vanessa is a real star, though. She hogs that spotlight. And they danced to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” always a great song. Lovely Jenna (former pro) was among the troupe dancers helping out. 

Len: “In that first section, it would’ve been difficult to know which one was the celebrity. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.”
Bruno: “It had that timeless elegance of a Motown girl band, and yet it was so up-to-date. I absolutely loved it.”

Carrie Anne:  “Girls Night at your house for sure, next time.”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 23 (out of 30)

Team: Artem and Nikki   Guilty Pleasure: “Romance novels”

Romance novels like “Fifty Shades of Gray,” she says, winking.

After this steamy Viennese waltz, Tom Bergeron pulls Nikki’s SO out onto the floor to stand next to her during the judging. They try to explain to him the concept of character.

Bruno: “It really worked.” Carrie Anne: “I love that you just go for it.... I wanna see your softness come back.” Len liked some of the turns, but “I wasn’t exactly transported to old Vienna.” (audience laughs)   

 JUDGES’ SCORES: 21 (out of 30)

Then, they have “Guilty Pleasures: Judges Edition,” where Carrie Anne goes on about her love of nachos (with pumped cheese). Bruno (sitting next to Sashand being fanned, while Jenna stretches her legs over Sasha):  “I go for hot fashion models, fried food and fast cars.” Len: “My guilty pleasure is sitting in the California sun, eating bacon and eggs. Naked.” As he says this, the camera pulls back to reveal a giant... Mirror Ball over his naughty bits. With a rooster sound...  Oh my.

When they return from break, each judge is eating their Guilty Pleasure. Tom thanks Len “for dressing for dinner.” 

Team: Witney and Frankie    Guilty Pleasure: Boy Bands
Whoever you thought Frankie Muniz was before, he is sure different on this show. So, here he is, in full boy band mode (I love that Sasha is in so many of these things, here,  he's another one of the boy band members). They show him getting advised by Nick Lachey and Joey Fatone.

Finally, Witney and Frankie get their boy band on with a samba. With help from Sasha and the troupe.

Carrie Anne liked his “boy band stuff,” not his samba so much. Len just says: “Frankie, I really like you.” (After telling him he “needed more hip action.”) Bruno (on their double denim): “I never thought I was gonna see thaagain.”   

 JUDGES’ SCORES: 21 (out of 30)

We’ve really gone too long without Sasha, so they give us a Cha Cha bumper. And Jenna too! Fun!

Team: Mark and Lindsey   Guilty Pleasure: Staying in Her PJs

Lindsey and her significant other just broke up, so she is sad. Despite that, she does a kickass jive with Mark to “Wake Me Up (Before You Go Go).”

Easily my favorite dance of the night. 

Len: “If I'm dreaming, don’t wake me up, because I thought that was great. Lots of jive content, lots of fun, lots of WHAM and energy. That, so far, the dance of the season.” Bruno: “Apart from the incredibly smart creativity of Mark, this guy can jive. He threw everything at her that he had, she was never outdanced. She was just brilliant.” Carrie Anne: “Every number is always so incredibly creative, but tonight—that’s gonna go down as one of my favorite numbers. Of all time. That was brilliant, Mark. Brilliant choreography.”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 27 (out of 30)(the highest score of the season so far)

Team: Gleb and Sasha   Guilty Pleasure: Baking

Sasha and Gleb start out with a great Motown song (“Can’t Help Myself”) and dance jazz (which I think some use as a catchall when they don’t want to get dinged for not enough content).

You know when they use a lot of props, the dance is in trouble.

Bruno: “Great fun.” Carrie Anne: “It was not exactly what you would call jazz.... It was very clean, very well-rehearsed.” Len: “As fun as this was, it didn’t really showcase your ability to dance.”

(SIDE NOTE here: Gleb consistently over seasons gets the note, “You’re not showcasing your partner.” Once again makes me wish they had chosen Sasha instead.)

JUDGES’ SCORES: 19 (out of 30)

We come back from the break, and the judges and Tom and Erin are singing along to the Motown song.

Team: Peta and Nick   Guilty Pleasure: Watching Rom-Coms

Now THAT’s how you choreograph a jazz dance! Peta did a fantastic number to the song “Jump” (from “Love, Actually”). Bonus points for both Sasha and Jenna being in the dance. (Well, bonus points from ME, not from the judges.)

Carrie Anne starts out commenting about Nick’s unitard, “that takes balls.” (Not remembering that he famously had surgery to remove one of his balls.) So Nick says, “Well, what I have left.” OUCH.

Carrie Anne: “It looked great to watch.” Len: “I loved the Concept, the Commitment and the Confidence that you brought out on the dance floor.” Bruno: “Finally, you got your juices flowing.”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 21 (out of 30)

Jenna and Keo show us how to do the jive.

Team: Cheryl and Terrell   Guilty Pleasure: Break dancing

Poor Cheryl. She tries so hard. She puts those steps in there, she creates interesting choreography, but her dances never seem to catch fire like others do. I admit, I didn’t like this song at all. (Think it was “The Breaks” by Curtis Blow.)  Doing a salsa to that, ugh.

Len: “It’s not a touchdown, but you’re in the Red Zone.” Bruno: “It wasn’t a traditional salsa.” Carrie Anne has “a meltdown” cause it was “so good.”

JUDGES’ SCORES: 21 (out of 30)

Team: Lindsay and Jordan  Guilty Pleasure: Comic books

So they did what Tom calls “a Super Hero Charleston,” but to my eyes, it succeeded the least of their dances. The whole thing just didn’t work. It seemed loud and garish, and didn’t seem to have much Charleston in it (to me, and Charleston is one of my favorite dances here).

Tom whispers to them, “Somewhere Adam West is smiling.”

Bruno likes the “pop art visual flair.” Carrie Anne is dumbfounded, trying to wrap her head around “what I just saw. You’re so amazing. There’s so much going on in that number. You could’ve gotten lost at any point... The fastest Charleston I’ve ever seen in the middle.” Len, however, was dismayed that “it’s a Charleston, and there was virtually no Charleston.” 

JUDGES’ SCORES: 25 (out of 30)

No one was eliminated tonight.

Favorite Guilty Pleasures of the Night

1. Mark and Lindsey (jive)
2. Drew and Emma (Argentine tango)
3. Val and Victoria (quickstep)
4. Alan and Vanessa (jazz)
5. Peta and Nick (jazz) 

Please Go Home
1. Sasha and Gleb
2. Vanessa and Alan/Maks
3. Nick and Peta
4. Derek and Sharna