Our second episode of Dancing with the Stars, Season 28 had its first elimination. Wonder who goes home? Hmmmm....?
Before we get to all that, let’s review tonight’s dances.
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My favorites from last week, the wondrous James and Emma (who closed that show) open this week’s show with a wonderful cha cha.
The package shows how James worked a storyline about Dancing with the Stars into his show, Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23, because he “secretly wanted to be on DWTS!” (And he had to learn a few moments of a cha cha for it, so he’s laughing at now having to actually do a cha cha.)
The dance starts with James in the audience, taking selfies. He gets onstage with Emma right on beat, though. I love this couple so so much. James really has star presence, and added with Emma’s fantastic choreography, it’s just awesome.
They get some massive applause from the audience, and as Tom kicks away some of the silver balloons that have fallen, they get judges’ scores.
Len, sadly, thinks there were “a few too many gimmicks going on.” Tom Bergeron throws a silver balloon at Len after that.
Carrie Ann looks so stunning tonight, with this bronze off-shoulder dress and poufy hair. Just so beautiful. She is very picky about a few things, but says that “it was a fantastic way to start the night.”
James and Emma exit to the new holding area, where it seems like all of the other stars are (looks very crowded). Erin also looks gorgeous in a white number.
JAMES AND EMMA: cha cha
JUDGES: 20 (out of 30)
Val and Sailor this week are dancing the rumba. Bruno helpfully pops into the package to explain that the rumba is “the lady’s dance.” OK. No pressure, Sailor.
Who decides these things? Hi, I just met you. Now, let’s rumba... Anyway, it was very sensual, with all the orange lighting.
Val, of course, is such a stunning dancer to watch, one of my favorites always. He seems to be doing his best to put Sailor at ease. It wasn’t the sexiest rumba I’ve ever seen, but it was ok.
Bruno goes on to detail Sailor’s mistakes. Tom (thankfully) jumps in: “Granted, he makes it look creepy.” (True.) It gets a laugh. I laughed.
Sailor and Val, rumba
JUDGES: 18 (out of 30)
OMG. There are SOOOOO many people back there (when they go offstage to talk to Erin), it looks so crowded.
Erin makes note of how it must be difficult to dance such a sexy rumba “when your boyfriend is in the front row.” Sailor blushes.
Ugh. Their package shows Cheryl Burke taking Ray Lewis to some kind of anti-gravity place to show him what being “light on his feet” looks like. Whatever. (It didn’t work.) He’s one of those stomping dancers.
Cheryl is working SO HARD to try to make this dance look good. Doesn’t work. Ray’s pretty awful.
Ray and Cheryl, foxtrot
JUDGES: 15 (out of 30)
Can I just say how much I LOVE seeing again how the audience was packed with former dancers and their partners, and star fans? Tom Bergeron, acknowledging them all, of course. AND the video of what it was like after the dance last week? (I love those backstage bits.)
Ally talks in her package about how she was bullied by people online who said that she was “the worst dancer of the group” (Fifth Harmony) and “create videos online and laugh at them.” Ouch.
Then she does what I truly hate about people who go on this show (a pet peeve of mine), where they have tons of other things to do, in addition to doing THIS show, which, for those who don’t know IS HARD. Damn hard. But she is touring with “her solo show.” Ugh.
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Lucky, she is with the best partner in the world, Sasha Farber.
Finally, to the dance. Let me just say: some people just breeze through the Viennese waltz. Others, some of the best pros (like Sasha) really show you what a Viennese waltz is supposed to be all about.
God, Sasha’s choreography just makes me weep. That was one of the most beautiful Viennese waltzes I’ve ever seen. Just stunning. #Adore
Ally wipes away tears at the judges’ stand. Len says it’s “a pretty looking dance. The key to Viennese waltz is to get rotation.” (And truthfully, that’s what makes it so hard, cause these celebs don’t seem to like the going around and around that is the key to this dance. But when it’s done right as it was here, it’s just breathtaking.) Carrie Ann comes up and gives her a big hug: “You are a dancer.” And, “to the haters: Boo Yah!”
Ally and Sasha, Viennese waltz
JUDGES: 20 (out of 30)
Well, once again, Mary Wilson absolutely looks like a star. I mean, white gloves? C’mon. Gorgeous. And this week, she was dancing cha cha with her partner Brandon to Aretha Franklin’s “Think.” (So her presence was really providing GREAT music.)
However.... the dancing?
Oh my, oh my. :-(
Both Len and Mary are 75. You can tell he’s fanboying out over her.
Mary and Brandon, cha cha
JUDGES: 15 (out of 30)
Gleb and Lauren Alaina are dancing a paso doble to Demi Lovato’s “Confident.” In the package, Lauren brings out a picture of herself at 10, which she says hangs in her studio, because it reminds her “of a time when I didn’t care what anybody thought of me.” She points to the picture now. “That’s the most confident person I know. Look at her!” She says, “My 10-year-old self dreamed up every bit of this for me. She is the reason I am on Dancing with the Stars. I wish I could just give her a big hug and thank her for that.”
For some reason, there is a massive tiger along the back wall. I guess tigers are confident?
She is truly fierce in that song. About mid-song, Gleb whips off the skirt she is wearing, and she’s wearing a black sparkly bodysuit underneath. Just beautiful. Really enjoyed this dance.
The shapes were really wonderful.
Carrie Ann: “How did that feel? I love seeing you come out of your shell like that. You seem so conservative, but not today.” She talks about her lack of focus for a moment. Lauren says, “I never really expected a man to rip my skirt off on national TV. My dad is in Alabama, very surprised right now. I love you, Dad.” Carrie Ann: “Welcome to Dancing with the Stars!” Len: “Occasionally, it lacked a bit of shaping.” And then Len beats up Gleb for his lack of content. Whew. Len is in a MOOD! Yikes.
Bruno: “She’s gone all nasty. Nasty is good! Nasty suits you.” Lauren: “Nasty suits me?” Bruno: “It was very very convincing.”
Lauren and Gleb, paso doble
JUDGES: 19 (out of 30)
Lindsay and Sean Spicer are up next. Well, at least his outfit is a little toned down from last week. In the package, they have him going around with buttons and stickers and a megaphone, “going back to my roots to try to get votes.” Ugh. OK.
He’s got hats, T-shirts. Course, they say: “SPICER-Arnold” on them. *shudders*
He’s running around, posting signs, putting things on people’s windshield in Hollywood. Now, they dance to “Shut Up and Dance (with Me).” Kinda fitting. Also, they do have a lot of the good music.
But this was one of those walking dances. (Not good.) And the backdrop morphed into mega versions of Sean. (Kinda scary.) Ugh.
As they walk to the judges’ desk, Tom wishes Sean a Happy Birthday. Sean: “It’s the first time I’ve spent my birthday on a dance floor.” Tom, starting to face the judges: “Now we go for the birthday gifts.”
Len: “Good news, Sean. Better than last week.” (Considering they got 4s last week, that’s good? I guess.) Bruno: “I actually have to admit, it looked like a tango.” Carrie Ann: “That was the most sure-footed tango I have ever seen. I love that you started with great body contact. You were working as a pair. That was super much improved.”
Sean and Lindsay, tango
JUDGES: 16 (out of 30)
Karamo decides to bring his fiancé’s mother (who used to ballroom dance) to rehearsal for some support (I don’t know how I’d feel about that, if I were Jenna...). Mother-in-law has some choice words to say about Len’s scores last week. Yikes. They end with her shaking her fist at the camera. :-0
Oh, what was I saying about Lindsay having all the great music? Oh no! When was the last time we saw a dance to PRINCE music? (“Let’s Go Crazy”) It sure has been awhile.
I loved that quite a bit. Lots of fun. And that sparkly purple cape he wore at the beginning? Wow.
Bruno: “Everyone’s going crazy for Karamo, look at the reaction.” (To wild cheers) “I have to say, you had such panache, such flair. That was a really good quickstep.” Carrie Ann: “That is what I was hoping for! You can still improve on the body contact, but that is the pizzazz I wanted to see from you.”
Karamo goes and hides behind Jenna for Len’s comments. (I wouldn’t expect Len to be a huge Prince fan, I gotta say.) Len: “I don’t know what these two are talking about, really. I wasn’t overstruck on it, I’ve gotta be honest. You were flying around (audience is massively booing now), absolute lack of body contact. It was a little bit on the hectic side. I know it’s a quickstep, but it mustn’t be fast.”
Erin thanks Jenna for putting the part in the beginning (with the cape). Although it is in the song...
Erin: “And can I add? Both of them are under the weather, and no one knew.”
Karamo and Jenna, quickstep
JUDGES: 19 (out of 30) (Two 7s. Len coughed up a 5.) Honestly.
Erin suggests that Carol go talk to Len on the break, “cause he needs some shaking up. Right, Tom?” Tom: “Len, you might wanna have someone else go start your car.” Len laughs.
It’s been awhile since we had a new pro on Dancing with the Stars. So, of course, we wonder: who is this guy? How does he dance? How’s his choreography? This week, all those questions are answered.
Kate and Pasha are foxtrotting to “Fly Me (to the Moon)” (see moon rock above) by Frank Sinatra. Len pops into their package to describe (courtesy of a video with Keo and Pasha’s wife Daniella, who was added as a pro also this season, yet didn’t get a partner to go with it; so I guess she’s in the non-existent troupe?) how a foxtrot should be performed. (BTW, upon a second viewing, I would bet money that those two moonmen up there are actually Daniella and Keo...)
Kate: “There’s a lot of technical crap... there’s technique.”
The other thing about Pasha that is different from other people who’ve been added as pros along the way is that he’s a bona fide ballroom pro. And you can tell.
His technique, his form, his choreography? Just stellar. Really, truly something. Plus, my God, Kate Flannery. We are used to her as this annoying (but funny) schlub on The Office. Here, she is a goddess, a movie star. So stunning. Look at her amazing costume! (Both of their amazing costumes!)
Kel’s dad had brain surgery. Tough week for him.
All kinds of bright colors on the set. Witney in some kind of torn black thing. Interesting street look. Kel in like red leather.
OK dance. Not as artful (to me) as some of the other dances.
Guess I was wrong. Len says there were “plenty of recognizable steps.... samba walks...” Tom whispers to Kel, “It’s the happiest he’s been all night.” Bruno thought it was “very, very musical.” Although he did think that Kel “could push a little bit more the bounce.” (samba bounce, that is...) Carrie Ann: “You were so smooth, the way you hear that music, the way it flows through your body when you dance. But watch, because some of the bounces became thrusts. Slightly different. There was more sophistication this week. Well done.”
Kel and Witney, samba
JUDGES: 20 (out of 30)
Can I just say how much I love Peta? She is such a great dancer and choreographer. However, with this matchup, she is handicapped with several things. One is that Lamar Odom is so much taller than she is. she does the best she can with that in her choreography. But also, he’s had a rough go of it in recent days, and I’m really not that sure he’s really into doing all this dancing training.
In their package, he talks about how he was in Las Vegas, “went to hang out in a place I had no business, I overdosed and wound up in a coma. I had 12 strokes and six heart attacks. The only problem is that I still have memory loss.”
Despite his memory loss, they are doing the salsa, which Peta is reworking for him.
Oh, I so love the choreography on this. Really nice. He still seems to be struggling, though.
Bruno: “I thought you were more relaxed. You had more freedom of movement. You seemed to enjoy yourself more.” Carrie Ann: “You look like you were having a lot of fun, but there were a lot of mistakes.” Len: “Peta, you’re doing a fantastic job. You’ve got to work out choreography that suits the pair of you. What’s not to like? You’ve got a ways to go.”
So Lamar gets down on himself (“I feel like I lost,”), and the wondrous Erin pulls him out of it. “What are you talking about? You’re an athlete. This thing isn’t over. You’re still in it. Everybody else behind you is learning this too. Did you have fun out there?” Lamar: “I just hope I get some votes.” Erin: “All right, let’s get your scores.”
Lamar and Peta, salsa
JUDGES: 12 (out of 30)
Tom: “Erin gives good pep talks, you gotta give it to her.”
Hannah talks about how she studied dance when she was little. And that when she competed in pageants, “dance was my talent.” But then, “it wasn’t fun anymore, and I decided to stop.”
Compared to the perfect Viennese waltz we had earlier from Ally and Sasha, this one felt rushed to me. Also Sasha’s (to me) had just perfect choreography. This one was the kind of lazy Viennese waltz that others on this show do sometimes.
Danced to Taylor Swift’s “Lover,” Alan kisses her hand at the end. Nice touch.
They cut to Chris Harrison (in the audience) applauding like mad for our Bachelorette. And Colton also sitting in the audience.
Carrie Ann: “You whisked me away into another world, only with the movement, which is amazing, because it tells me that you are telling the story only with your body. It was just ridiculously good. Were you holding out on us last week?” Len: “I liked the rotation, but you could put in a nice lot of Viennese waltz there, Alan. I woulda liked some more natural turns, or reverse turns, going to the left.” (I will note at this point that my favorite Viennese waltz tonight, Sasha’s, didn’t get any of these kind of lack of content comments.) Despite all that, he calls it “best dance of the night.” Bruno: “Now we are in business. Thank you for finishing the lines correctly. I was transported into a romantic dream.”
Tom: “That must feel pretty good.” Hannah: “It feels really good, but I’ve worked really hard.” (Have I mentioned how over Hannah Brown I am? Ugh.)
Hannah and Alan, Viennese waltz
JUDGES: 24 (out of 30) (first 8s of the season)
There are two things that they instituted this season which I believe are really detrimental to this show. Both have to do with voting.
In the past, HALF of the voting was left to the judges. They certainly have their favorites. And the other half was left to the people. To me, that was really the beauty of DWTS. It was half judges and half THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA.
One factor which did creep into this, which is different than in previous years, is that social media has really become a force. Those pros who know how to work their social media were able to stay in the competition longer. So, too, “stars” who just have massive followings in social.
Where this all broke down, finally (well two things) was last year when Bobby Bones and Sharna won. One thing that changed the show was longtime directors and upper staff left, so the vision of the show changed. That detriment is found with themeless nights like this one. But apparently, they are missing some of what makes this show so great. Let’s remind them.
The short answer is, if you want a popular much-watched show, YOU WANT AMERICA TO WIN. You want America to have the final say.
For me, personally, I LOVED Bobby Bones and Sharna. Bobby really represented exactly what DWTS purports to be about: having a star who doesn’t dance, and having them WIN, finally. Bobby LOVED being on this show. Sure, maybe he missed some steps along the way, but dammit, he had FUN. From the first dance to the last, he was ebullient, he was joyous. He worked in the floss, for gosh sakes. (LOVED THAT.)
Conversely, when the pros leave out tons of content, and say “It’s just about entertainment,” I’ll fight you on that too. It’s not. Strictly speaking, this show was created around ballroom, and that’s what we love about it. When they execute proper ballroom content. And after watching for many years, we know when the pro is shirking on the content. (So I’m with Len on all that.)
But, after they add in all the content, and do their best, it’s really up to America. Or, it was. Now, the judges may think that it’s just turned into a popularity game, and that’s why they balked, but I truly don’t think that’s what it is.
I vote for people for different reasons. Every season (including this one, with Sean Spicer, whom I may say nasty things about on my political Twitter), I give every contestant a fair shot from day one. But each step of the way is a journey FOR THE AUDIENCE in growth and understanding, just like it is with the star who’s being trained.
Len can say what he wants about Bobby Bones missing steps or whatever, but Bobby and Sharna WON OUR HEARTS. That’s why he (they) won. It is truly wrongheaded (and unrealistic) to think that the person who wins at the end is some kind of fantastic dancer (when they never danced before). The endings people want on this show are people who TOOK US SOMEPLACE winning. Someone who showed their heart and their spirit, and tried to do this darn thing, even though it’s way outside their comfort zone.
So. That’s what we had in the previous, beloved DWTS.
This season, as I said, because of Bobby’s win, the powers that be (new ones) decided to institute a couple of (LAME) changes. First, they got all into the time thing. OOH! We can have live voting, that we show right in the show. They just creamed their jeans over that concept. One little problem, though, in actual practice having live voting means that the East Coast and Central states can vote, and the West Coast is completely left out of this magical “let’s vote in the moment” concept.
Now, I don’t know how anyone else approached it, but, in trying to be fair, I would view the dance of the night, and vote on it. Presentation, content, etc. Sometimes my favorites would go up, sometimes they would go down. (Just look at my votes in this blog. I would vote Sasha Farber number one every single week, or Mark Ballas when he was on, if I was just voting my favorites every time.) That’s not fair to anyone.
It depends on the dance presented. Every single week. (As it should be.)
But now, since I’m on the West Coast, I essentially can’t vote in the moment. If I want to vote for my favorites on the show, I can only base it (either) on last week’s dance or just how I’m feeling about them at the moment (not fair). But that is the choice I’m left with. And thousands of other West Coast fans are left with. We are cut out. Sorry, guys.
(I also have to remind myself to get online and vote from 5 pm PST, since if I wait until the actual show, voting will already have closed.) I hate, loathe and despise this new voting process. HATE IT.
Second, they made it even worse than that. Just to ensure that a beloved dancer like Bobby Bones doesn’t get in over some practiced dancer, the judges have the final say. So, when it comes down to the mostly East Coast-selected final two, the judges get to pick which of those two stay and which go. I also HATE THAT process.
Trust America, judges. Trust America. The right winner should win, not the judges’ approved winner.
The judges-approved winner in the Bobby Bones season would have been Cheryl Burke and Juan Pablo di Pace. They were perfect. The judges loved them. I loved them. The night they got eliminated, they performed the most perfect Argentine tango I have ever seen on this show. I cried and threw things when they got voted out.
But had they captured America’s heart? No. Certainly not in the way I-made-a-shirt-with-Len’s-face-on-it Bobby Bones had.
Bobby Bones had us in the palm of his hand. He deserved to win by America’s reckoning, and I am forever grateful he (and Sharna!) did.
Who will win with this new, warped, defective system, I wonder? (It makes me sad.) Certainly the more perfect person, not necessarily the best. :-(
So, who goes home this week, after the judges pick? Len breaks the tie and chooses to keep Ray and Cheryl, judging with his brain, not his heart.
Miche’s Favorites of (Themeless) First Elimination Night
1. Ally and Sasha, Viennese waltz
2. Kate and Pasha, foxtrot
3. James and Emma, cha cha
4. Karamo and Jenna, quickstep
5. Lauren and Gleb, paso doble
6. Sailor and Val, rumba
7. Hannah and Alan, Viennese waltz
8. Kel and Witney, samba
|Courtesy of ABC.|