Saturday, November 15, 2014

DWTS Week 9:Trios and Tangos and Flight Attendants, Oh My!

Sadie and Mark Ballas and Emma perform a trio foxtrot. Stunning. Courtesy of ABC.
If you've never seen Dancing with the Stars before and wonder what all the fuss is about, or if you want to see an episode where all the dances are great, Season 19's Week 9 (last week) is one for you.

Wow. Wow. Wow, was it an amazing week!

First, sadly, Lea Thompson ended up being the one sent home. And it was sad, because FINALLY, in this week, the promise of the Lea/Artem pairing finally showed itself. They have never danced better together (both in the individual dance and the trio), and Artem's choreography really shone, and showcased Lea. It was phenomenal. If they had danced like this all along, they could've won this thing. It's always sad when that happens in Week 9.

Artem and Lea and Henry do their trio. Courtesy of ABC.
They finally break through, it finally clicks, and they get sent home. *sigh*

But really, at this point, other than Tommy Chong, everyone left is an amazing dancer, and it's going to be some mighty fine dancing from here on out. And on the subject of Tommy Chong, let me just say this...

Peta and Tommy and Sharna do a devilish trio. Courtesy of ABC.
This was arguably the hottest number in all of Season 19 so far. So salacious, so amazing, so wonderful. It's really no surprise that Tommy Chong is still here. America loves him. I love him and want him to still be there. Cause we get wondrous creations like Chong Air.  Oh my! *fans self*

(He also did a Viennese waltz with Peta which was pretty amazing.)

So, let me backtrack a bit. Week 9, everyone did a dance with their partner (all of which were great in their own right). Then, everyone did a trio dance "with a pro who had been voted out, or a member of the troupe." The trio dances this time were phenomenal. Across the board. One more stunning than the next. None MORE stunning than the one that I led this story with. But we'll get to that. Kind of shocking that we had no Cheryl or Karina or Allison chosen for the trios. But we do have four women left, and two men. Usually men are chosen to dance with the women stars, and women are chosen to go with the male stars. We had a little upset with that predictable pattern this time, leading to some incredible results.

But first, let's look at the individual dances.

My favorite among them was this one.

Bethany and Derek did a stirring, emotional Viennese waltz.
Derek's choreography, as usual, was stunning. Bethany was never more vulnerable. Just such a beautiful dance.

Mark Ballas and Sadie had a jive which rocked the house. (My 2nd favorite dance.)

Mark Ballas and Sadie jive. Courtesy of ABC.
Mark's choreography (always, but especially this season) just blows my mind. They did this jive "competition style," even incorporating their voting number on his back. Nice.

It is at this point that I must commend the amazing artistes who created the costumes for this episode. Without exception, they were stunning. Some were even more stunning than others. This one, for example.

Janel and Val do a quickstep. Courtesy of ABC.
Man. Just beautiful work. (The costumes and the dance.) This quickstep was my third favorite. And seriously, already at this point in the show, I am just marveling at how amazing the choreographers are. Such incredible, beautiful work (consistently from Val). Detailed, intricate, stunning.

Witney and Alfonso do a foxtrot. Courtesy of ABC/Dancing with the Stars.
Alfonso and Witney kicked off the quarterfinals with their foxtrot. The theme of these individual dances was supposed to be "what America wants." More or less, whoever responded to questions on DWTS' Facebook page about it. (A lame theme, perhaps the lamest of all season.) The dances, however, were anything but lame.

We are getting down to number five out of six on my list, and they are all still amazing dances. This samba that Lea did had her in this sex kitten outfit doing things over Artem's face that poor Sadie will only be able to dream about. For like a couple decades. Rawwwwrrrrr... Unbelievable and incredibly sexy.

The personification of cougar. Artem and Lea do a samba.
Even Tommy and Peta's Viennese waltz was watchable and fun.

1. Derek and Bethany (Viennese waltz)
2. Mark and Sadie (jive)
3. Val and Janel (quickstep)
4. Witney and Alfonso (foxtrot)
5. Artem and Lea (samba)
6. Peta and Tommy (Viennese waltz)


The roof blew off the joint. Everyone did trio dances. Maybe it's just cause I like threesomes... I dunno, but I have always really loved the trio dances. It's my favorite part of the season. This time did not disappoint, either.

Lea and Artem's paso with Henry continued on the wild sexuality she expressed in her individual dance, and really made me want this team to stick around longer.

Tommy and Peta's samba with fellow Aussie Sharna ("Chong Air") was just jaw-droppingly brilliant. And funny, and sexy. Way sexy. Like an Austin Powers fever dream, in dance.

Alfonso and Witney and Lindsey's paso came out of the gate with a bang. You just didn't want it to end. Powerful and passionate. Turn down for what? Indeed.

Tony and Bethany and Derek do an Argentine tango trio. Courtesy of ABC/Dancing with the Stars.
Bethany and Derek and Tony did a stunning Argentine tango, so incredible after how soft and vulnerable her previous dance was.

Val and Janel, dancing salsa with pro Keo, did a tribal power dance (with great salsa content).

But it was (again) Mark Ballas who took my prize for best trio dance. Again, he created a compact, easy to understand story. Mark and Emma, the couple, set out to dance. Mark is taken with the beauty of Sadie, and can't stop dancing with her. Emma was an unusual choice, perhaps, since the stars don't usually dance with pros of their same sex, but "all the other men were taken," so Mark had to work around it, ended up creating (to my eyes) the most wonderful dance of the night. Stunningly beautiful.

And, in as much as there was acting involved (and there was some), Emma was just perfect. Mark, perfectly balancing the fact that the spotlight should be on Sadie, and not the skilled pro Emma (which is very tough to do when you have a pro dancing). If you watch one dance from this evening, seek out this one.

1. Sadie and Mark and Emma (foxtrot, "Can't Take My Eyes Off You")
2. Alfonso and Witney and Lindsey (paso doble, "Turn Down for What")
3. Bethany and Derek and Tony (Argentine tango, "Into the Jungle")
4. Tommy and Peta and Sharna (samba, "Talk Dirty to Me")
5. Lea and Artem and Henry (paso doble, "Black Betty")
6. Val and Janel and Keo (salsa)

Honestly and truly, at this moment, I do not know who I want to win. But there are some factors at play.

So, let's take a look at the upcoming battles.

PROS: Mark Ballas, even more than Derek Hough, has this season been knocking it out of the park, dance after dance. He has not been scored high enough (IMHO). His genius of creativity has been on full display, as he has created dance after stunning memorable dance. He deserves to win another Mirror Ball, and it's been awhile since his last one.
CONS: Sadie. To my eyes, her conservatism and unwillingness to wear appropriate dancer costumes has really held her back, and could very well keep her from the big win. Also, I don't think America is as in love with her as they are with some others.

PROS: Derek is one of the geniuses of this show. His choreography is breathtaking, and he always takes stunning chances. Bethany is a beautiful partner.
CONS: Derek just won. And just won before that. He needs to sit down this time. I'd really rather have Singin' in the Rain be Derek's moment from this season.

PROS: Alfonso knocked it out of the park on his first dance this season, giving us the impression there were no other competitors. There are moments when he and Witney just take my breath away.
CONS: The rest of the season has really been up and down and all over the place (bad music choices, less than perfect dancing). Also, does Witney really have the choreography chops to compete against Mark and Val and Derek, who are doing some of their best work this season?

PROS: I could seriously see this man winning the Mirror Ball. Don't laugh. America loves him, and refuses to let go. Peta is an incredible choreographer, and her beauty and sassiness do often cover Tommy's lack of dancing ability. His trio dance with Peta and Sharna proved he is a showman and an entertainer, and that could take him all the way to the end.
CONS: The man truly cannot dance. He's always forgetting his steps and bumbling all over himself. But then, he's 78 years old.

PROS: Val has never won a Mirror Ball before. His choreography is top-notch stunning. His choreography can knock it out of the park. Janel is a willing and beautiful partner. Sentimental Chmerkovskiy double-header.
CONS: He doesn't seem as laser-focused on the win (as, say, Mark Ballas is this season). Janel isn't America's sweetheart, the way Bethany is.

Val and Janel and Keo do a salsa.
Any of these people, and I'm not kidding, ANY of these people could win. If I had to give the edge to anyone, I'd say Mark Ballas and Sadie for the win, because his choreography has never been better, and that's pretty amazing to watch. However, the judges have not been good to him this season, for whatever reason, and young Sadie may not be up to the challenge.

My second favorite to win would be Val, cause it would be so nice to see a Chmerkovskiy double-feature (Val winning for the first time right after Maks (Maksim C, Val's brother) won his first one).

But I'm not kidding that I think Tommy Chong could also win. Those same people who voted Jesse Ventura (or Arnold Schwartzenegger) governor are sitting by their phones. Heh, heh, heh. Yeah. Tommy Chong. 76-year-old Tommy Chong to win Dancing with the Stars. That'd be good. *snicker, snicker* I could totally see it. Whatever happens, it's sure going to be fun to watch the next few episodes.

Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd do a Viennese waltz. Courtesy of ABC.
I also want to shout out to the other talented craftspeople on this show: the hairstylists (especially Sadie's hair in the trio dance), the camera people (really nice shot of Sadie crying on Mark's shoulder). Also the three camera shot of people getting ready is a really nice touch. All in all, the craftspeople were at the top of their game on this episode in particular. Stunning dresses on Emma and Sadie, and Janel earlier. So so much good stuff in this episode, you really should check it out. This is a great example of why we watch.


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