Sunday, May 3, 2015

DWTS Season 20 Week 7: NOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!

Willow Shields and Mark Ballas
Excuse me for a moment while I sob into my keyboard... Ugh.

Seriously, I am devastated by this week's Dancing with the Stars results. (Mark Ballas and Willow Shields went home.) Baffled by it, completely don't understand it.

Cause here's what I saw.

Always one of the best competitors, Mark Ballas this season presented week after week after week of stunning dances. He was almost in a universe of his own making. A champion from Day One.

Every single dance they performed was artful, thoughtful, a production spectacle. I sincerely loved them all. It was his dances that I really looked forward to, not only to enjoy, but to feed my soul.

Even this week... I'll go through all the hooha in a moment, but essentially, it was a dance walk through decades (kinda fun idea). Even then, Mark Ballas was set apart. He didn't fall clearly into any of the decades delineated. He stood on his own as a timeless ninja, which, I suppose is really his spirit animal and metaphor for this show.

They did this amazing ninja dance, amid the backdrop of Japan, to the strains of MGMT ("Electric Feel"). It was stunningly beautiful. (I'm tearing up again, dammit...) Another thing we are really going to miss from Mark Ballas is that he always picked the best music of anyone on this show. Dancing to MGMT. I mean, really? How poetic and beautiful and cool it was.

My favorites from this season were the Hunger Games contemporary, this incredible ninja dance and the stunning Argentine tango (below).

I enjoyed and looked at this dance many times before I finally glanced at it on my phone and realized that the silver frame surrounding it was supposed to BE a phone. So much depth in Mark Ballas' dances, nuances that you only get later (if at all).

It really is like this for me, there are certain great things on TV that when they are silenced, it is a loss for humanity: Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, Aaron Sorkin's writings everywhere, and Mark Ballas on DWTS. It's humanity's loss that he is not creating this incredible art for us every week. I am just gobsmacked with sadness. Just can't shake it.

Willow and Mark do a paso doble in Week 3.
My last note on this episode was: "How can this happen?" When "dancers" like Chris and Robert are still there? When Mark has been getting consistent great scores from the judges? Even on this episode, he was one measly point away from winning immunity. I can't comprehend it.

I know there are those who feel the exact opposite that I do, and can't wait for Mark Ballas to be gone. Guess they were the ones voting for other people. Me, I'm sad.

But onward with the rest of the show. Whew... sorry, I need a minute...


So the theme of this week was Eras. They thoughtfully posed them in the order of decade. That meant that Allison and Riker, who did a 20s quickstep went first. Also loved the baseball theme and the tap inclusion.

Love love love love everything Allison and Riker do. Gosh, I hope they stay around!

So, next up... ugh...

As a writer myself, I really appreciated, for example, when Mark Ballas took in every aspect of the music. The lyrics became part of the entire dance. A certain line would punctuate where a step was taken, for example. Mark Ballas does this exceedingly well. Val, too, listens to the words and builds his dance choreography around both the music and the lyrics.

So Witney (who, in my estimation is not anywhere near the choreography master of really anyone left on the show), spends this whole time talking to Chris about how this dance is about "a sailor having one last dance with someone before he goes off to war," the subtext being someone he just met in a train station.

HOWEVER...THE ACTUAL LYRICS describe a guy who's DATING SOMEONE, who's DREAMED ALL WEEK LONG about their Saturday date (not a guy just stumbling over someone in a train station), and there's a joke about "Sunday morning, you can sleep late."

Sorry, for me, that's a dance fail. Mark Ballas would NEVER do that. (*sob*)

Anyway, the dance itself was serviceable, and Chris is getting better as a dancer, but in no way deserves to still be here when Willow was sent home.

Luckily, next up we had 60s jive with Rumer and Val. To see the contrast of what great choreographers do, watch what Val does with the lyrics of this song, specifically around the words "kiss" and "buy me a ring." Does he brush it off, act like he doesn't hear it? No, it's part of the dance. The music AND the lyrics.

How has Val not won a Mirror Ball yet? His choreography is just sublime. This dance was wonderful.

Sometimes Noah and Sharna don't do it for me, but man, when they do... WOW! This week, where they performed 70s jazz was incredible.

Don't know who all was responsible for this dance (from picking the music to choosing the clothes, to doing the whole setup with all the people), but thank you to all of them, cause WOW. Most of the time, I feel like lots of people onstage is to cover up someone really sucking at dance, but man! Noah was a bad-ass pimp here.

All that nonsense about "digging deep," blech. They must have the same script writers as on The Bachelor, cause really? does anyone "dig deep" anymore? Anyway, whatever put those pelvis thrusts into Noah's vocabulary, God bless 'em. Cause this dance was stunning.

They did this thing with slo-mo, with just dancers that was just incredible. Derek did a slo-mo thing later, but it was camera tricks, not as impressive (IMHO).

The thing about Robert and Kym is that I don't really dig their dancing (especially compared to the others), but I really do just want them to go get a room. They may or may not be actually dating, but in the dances when they flirt with sexuality, it's more fun.

This week, they had an 80s Argentine tango. Some moments were pretty steamy.

I just have to put this out there. I'm building up a bit of a resentment against Derek. One in which now I am distinctly rooting against him and his partner this season. First of all, he's won the Mirror Ball five times. Second, he always gets good to great scores (and ok, he is arguably their best dancer). Third, he always wins the Team Dance (his team does). And even with this season's lackluster Team dance, he scores as high as the other team. They have one week where the best couple wins immunity. (This week.) Has Derek ever NOT won that?

This week, he hurt his foot. Literally, had to go to the hospital. Had to drop out of his NY commitment. Does that stop him from dancing on Dancing with the Stars? Well, yes and no. And despite his kinda/sorta not dancing, HE STILL wins the immunity this week. :-(

And, btw, I'm with Len on the "getting sick of the crowd dancing" concept. I just wanna see the two dancers.

And what was this one? "A modern Charleston"? So, it's supposed to be today? And the Charleston? OK.

As Tom Bergeron said at the end of the dance, "And that's how you make lemonade out of lemons." Indeed so.

I'm going to skip the whole Immunity dance off nonsense, because it's a stupid waste of time and energy. Derek won. Yawn.

And Mark Ballas is gone from the competition, and it's a sad sad day indeed.

I am really gonna miss your genius on this show.

Oh, and regarding the 10th Anniversary celebration show, a few thoughts.

Cool to see Tom and Erin standing in the huge 10. Interesting to only see blips of Samantha Harris and Brooke Burke-Charvet, though.

My very favorite moment was when Maks pinched Tom's butt (boy, I miss that!). The second favorite moment was when Maks flung his shirt open. Boy, my heart skipped a beat. Even when his brother Val had been shirtless (and nearly pantless) in his dance in water with Kelly Monaco... Somehow Maks doing it, he just owned his sexuality and his effect on women. Very very hot. Miss Maks too.

Loved seeing the pros and judges talking about how DWTS has changed in 10 years. Also interesting to see which pros weren't there.

Great to see Patti LaBelle singing her signature song, and Amber Riley certainly held her own against her. But Lil Kim? Wow. Um... wow. She looked very different. Quite unrecognizable, in fact.

Next week: Trio dances and "America's Choice."


1. Mark and Willow (futuristic jazz)

2. Allison and Riker (20s quickstep)

3. Sasha and Nastia (and Derek) ("modern Charleston")

4. Sharna and Noah (70s jazz)

5. Val and Rumer (50s jive)

6. Witney and Chris (40s foxtrot)

7. Kym and Robert (80s Argentine tango)


1. Robert

2. Chris


3. Derek/Sasha/Nastia


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