Sunday, April 13, 2014

DWTS Week 4: Switch This

Meryl Davis and Valentin Chmerkovskiy dance the Argentine tango. Courtesy of ABC/Adam Taylor.
EDITOR’S NOTE: There are some really great photos for this week, but ABC (for some reason) is slacking on actually posting them to the DWTS website. I got most of these from other places. I had really wanted to show some of the other competitors (and if they ever post Week 4, I may still add them, but at this point, just wanted to get the column up before Week 5). #ABCFail

When I first heard (during the Good Morning America segment in which the new cast was announced) about this “switch” concept, I was enthused. I envisioned a path in which favorite dancers who had been voted off could reappear with new partners. Well, that’s not at all how this happened. (Sorry, Karina! *pouts*)

I also pictured partners being switched mid-season, stuck with other partners for the rest of the season (which would’ve been interesting). That is also not what happened.

No, in the final analysis, this Switch thing will go down (like the Glitter Pit before it) as a grand failure. What is very interesting about this week, though, is why.

I knew, on some level, that the “stars” would be more comfortable with partners with whom they’d already built up a rapport. What I really had no idea about was how much like a fish out of water they really were, in the arms of other partners. No one (except Val and Meryl, above) really seemed comfortable with other partners.

Consequently, and sadly for us viewers, where we had been having really dynamic amazing dances the past few weeks, almost without exception, they were less than they could’ve been. It was, pretty much, like Week 1 all over again, except with their real partners, they also have a few weeks’ of prep time. So more like Week Minus 1 or something. Blech. Please don’t do this again, ABC. It so didn’t work.

Now, that said, we did have some interesting things happening.

For example, I was wondering who would be paired up with NeNe. (I was hoping for Maks.) It ended up being Derek. Derek, who, with his regular partner Amy Purdy, holds her tightly and close, almost didn’t touch NeNe at all. It was very interesting. Not sure I really dug it. (Although it looked FANTASTIC!).

OTOH, the pairing I was most hoping for/waiting for was to see Mark Ballas (whom I just love) with Amy Purdy. It is not easy dancing with a dancer with disabilities. It requires someone with sensitivity and kindness and a different way of looking at things. In short, if it couldn’t be Derek, it had to be Mark Ballas.

And their pairing did not disappoint. It certainly seemed to both stretch and enliven Mark and Amy. It was a wonderful salsa.

Those three were my main favorites from this night. Other things of note: Drew Carey had a gold suit (and shoes!). Sharna and Cody were revelling in their Aussie-ness. Maks and Danica did a fun jive. And Charlie should never ever ever wear his hair like that again. Whew!

Also of note, Derek Hough, DWTS resident dance genius, seems to have taken on more of a creative role with the show this season. That played out most effectively when Macy’s Stars of Dance returned.

Derek choreographing and designing this amazing dance, with other troupe members and some woman from So You Think You Can Dance. It was just brilliant and beautiful. Thank you, Macy’s. Glad you’re back to give us such stunningly beautiful dances.

Very glad Derek is in this role, too. His vision about dance is just breathtaking. They did some cool things with slo-mo in camera that were visually just amazing to watch, and about as state-of-the-art as you can get.

Derek’s sister, Julianne, was guest judge on this evening (not quite as nasty as she was last time). She mentioned that she and Derek are going to be touring with a dance show later this year. Mark your calendars for that.

Erin Andrews’ outfits (black and white each week, with maybe a pop of color) are really starting to annoy. After being spoiled every week with Brooke Burke, who always had fantastic clothes, Ms. Andrews’ wardrobe does leave quite a bit to be desired. Still really glad she’s there, though.

Worth mentioning is that one of the casualties of letting go of the entire orchestra is that this week’s music (which seemed to rely more on tapes than people playing and/or singing) was consistently off, though the dancers seemed to dance through it. It’s pretty important that the music play when it’s supposed to. Here’s hoping they can work all that out sometime soon.

Meanwhile, back to the normally scheduled Dancing with the Stars next week, with regular partners in tow. And someone again eliminated (thankfully).


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