Wednesday, October 16, 2013

DWTS Week Five: The Ballroom Gets Hit with a Shocker

NOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooo. I'm still gobsmacked.

Christina Milian and Mark Ballas dance their way to the first 10 of Season 17.
Mark Ballas is one of my favorite choreographers (and dancers) of Dancing with the Stars. He is one of the ones I always expect to last to the end, because he's so amazingly talented. I root for him no matter who his partner is. (I even rooted for him when he was with the obnoxious Palin daughter. *shudders*)

I was absolutely stunned when the news was read. I still am kind of in shock.

SNOOKI is stil there and Mark Ballas is going home? WTF?

However, this result proves, to anyone who had any doubt, that the public are indeed a part of this process. If you are competing on this show, you've gotta have some story that the public can latch onto. Even Bristol Palin lasted longer than this because although she had her detractors, there were also those who would defend her, and vote for her.

For myself, Christina Milian does nothing for me. I didn't know her really before this show, and she didn't strike me in any way while on this show. The ONLY reason I threw lots of votes in their team's direction each week was because I really love Mark Ballas' dancing.

But, I suppose, the fact that they had been in the Bottom Two previously should have been some kind of warning of her lack of popularity. I think the only reason Valerie Harper (whom people REALLY loved, and who has cancer) was voted out first was because she 100% could not dance.

Everyone else who's left has a story, has some popularity, has something going on. I guess I neglect the fact that that is all part of the mix here.

But Christina Milian leaving in Week Five, when she has an amazing partner like Mark Ballas, and has been dancing really amazingly, proves just that people weren't interested in her. Still, it really shocked me. The ballroom was filled with loud boos when it was announced, so others were shocked and angry too.

Let me try to push past my anger here and get on with the rest of it. :-(

The week was "My Most Memorable Year," which could be good year or bad year. Note to future DWTS contestants: it should be something which moves the audience, and gets them to like you more. Amber Riley picking the "year I was booked on Glee" is only an eye-roller. Yes, we know you're a star, and that we love you on Glee. But do you have any FEELINGS? This is the week to show those.

Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke (who just keeps getting more beautiful).
And so, the winners of this week, the ones who actually followed directions, were Jack and Cheryl (Jack who picked the year he got married, had a baby and discovered he has MS); Bill and Emma (Bill was one of the few to pick anything outside the 2000s, with the year he met his wife, 1982); and two spectacular pieces, which I shall detail in a moment.

Bill Engvall and Emma are a joy to watch every week. Courtesy of ABC and Dancing with the Stars.
Let me just say this too. Now that we have the confusion of too many old Bills around dissipated, Bill Engvall (the one who's left) is a real Dancing With the Stars contestant. One you can root for and enjoy every week because they don't have a ton of dance training, but gosh darn it, they are trying! He is really wonderful and I enjoy him more and more every week. 

But we had two dances which spectacularly fit the purpose of this week. We had Elizabeth Berkley, whom many fans were introduced to by her appearance on “Saved By the Bell” many many years ago. (I didn't watch it, so this segment did nothing for me.) But she recreated her “famous” scene of taking too many diet pills or something. It was kinda funny. Must've been very poignant for her.

And then she and Val burst into an amazing jive, dancing, of course, to “I'm So Excited.” It was a woman whom we've known before in at least one other context (two, if you count Showgirls), and it was a reaffirming of exactly where she is now. It was joyous and amazing. Plus, Val Chmerkovskiy's choreography is stunning. Week after week after week, they are the couple I really want to watch most.

Elizabeth Berkley and Val Chmerkovskiy dance to “I'm So Excited.

Did I mention that he’s smiling now? Like REGULARLY! :-0  

I loved (and hated) Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Val’s older brother, whom we got to know first on this show. But I have to say that Val really suits the show better. He works hard with whomever he’s partnered with, and brings amazing choreography always (so did Maks). But he’s smiling and cheerful, not an angry lout. This one looks and acts like he’s part of the DWTS team. And I am so grateful for him, every single week since he’s been a regular pro.
But, to my mind, the one who clearly had a great story to tell in this week of My Most Amazing Year, and had wollops of emotion packed into the dance more than anyone else was Leah Remini. Of course, her story is finally breaking free from the Church of Scientology. She started the dance as a large puppet, being controlled by Tony Dovolani, her master. And the rest of the dance, as she experienced her freedom was really moving and emotional.
Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani.
I don't know what the hell Sasha and Snooki were doing, and I really hope she gets voted out soon. Corbin and Karina just bore me to tears, although she did look very pretty in her fairy princess outfit.

The fire seems to have gone from the Brant-Peta matchup. Not sure why.

One more couple I really am rooting for, even though you can just feel the ego filling the room (hers, not his)... is Derek Hough and Amber Riley. (My scores at right reflect my personal favorites overall.)

Amber Riley and Derek Hough. Courtesy of ABC (Adam Taylor). 
Some production notes: I am so glad that not one single woman has tripped over her dress this season. And we can actually see their feet! YAY.

Also, I'm still hating the cast sitting on the side of the judges thing, but I really like that they don't have to climb a long flight of stairs after dancing their little hearts out.

Most of all, I really love the dance intros and segues they have going. Often now, they are tying them in with songs that have played or are going to play with the contestants’ dances. Really nice. Also nice way to use the troupe regularly. This is a DANCE show, after all. Wish they'd get rid of these guest singer things completely.

But, this week it was all about this:
Len gives the first 10 of Season 17 to Mark Ballas and Christina Milian.
Followed by this:
Christina Milian and Mark Ballas, voted out.
Last week, in one of the packages, someone said, “It's not about the best dancers. The best dancers often go home.” This week, they proved that. Sorry to see you go, Mark. :-(


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