Sunday, May 10, 2015

DWTS Week 8: Perhaps the Best Go Forward After All

Sasha, Nastia and Derek in the Trio round of Week 8. Courtesy of ABC.
This week on Dancing with the Stars was both the big, heavily hyped "Double Elimination" night and Trio night. What was not a shocker was who got eliminated (Chris from The Bachelor and Robert). What WAS a shocker was why Mark Ballas and Willow Shields got bumped a week before them... but I'll move on.

First, we had the individual, supposedly "America's Choice" dances. Now, if you remember, Tom Bergeron mentioned very quickly and briefly that America could call in/text in/Skype in to choose everything about these dances: the dance, the costume style, the song, etc. For each of the remaining couples. These have always baffled me immensely. This time, I actually did hear the announcement, but by the time I called in, everything was already closed. So I'm not sure who this "America" is, or how they get those votes in, and/or all this discussion, but that's what they said, and you know I believe them.

Mostly, it was pretty predictable. I must say, America is, by and large, pretty predictable. They wanted Kym and Robert to do more kissing, and they wanted Noah and Sharna to do some military themed thing. Noah opted out of that because of, you know, flag and country, and rules when you wear our colors or whatever. He instead opted for America's second choice, a nice white tux.

And let me also say this. Because of the way it's been set up from the beginning, DWTS has always been about not only getting good scores from the judges, but also winning the hearts of America each week. And I do believe that ever since I've been watching it (halfway through their 10 years), the couple who wins are the ones who most captured America's hearts (not necessarily the best dancers). Sometimes those things coincide, sometimes they don't. But you ignore America at your own peril.

It has seemed that everyone, at this stage of the competition, is getting more about being vulnerable and being able to express emotions through the characters they are portraying (some doing this better than others). Riker, for example, expressing in his package: "It's weird to be vulnerable on purpose." But he was, at least, attempting to express emotion which came from his heart.

It doesn't serve anyone to have moments in your package, and mind you, this is a show in which EVERYONE talks to the camera about how they are feeling..that's part of the deal refuse to answer any questions in the confessional. Sorry, but that only makes you look like a bitch.

I have already not been liking Nastia (perhaps her name is really fitting?). I understand now, with Derek hurt, they are under different constraints and are doing the best they can, but's Nastia who is not forthcoming, and not showing emotions. Even Chris had tears in his eyes at the end of this week's show.

So, Chris and Witney do an emotional contemporary. Sharna and Noah do an emotional tango.

Riker and Allison do a Viennese waltz (wonderfully), where they are both expressing emotion (she's wonderful at it, he's trying very hard). Robert and Kym FINALLY kiss in their dance, and seem very vulnerable and laid bare. Rumer and Val go back to basics and "start with love," as Carrie Ann noted. And do my favorite dance of the individual dances of this night, a stunning rumba to "Perhaps."

And then, there's this.

Nastia and Sasha play gladiators (she kills him) and Derek is Caesar. Ugh.

I understand the paso doble is supposed to be all about anger and stuff, but still... ugh.

1. Val and Rumer (rumba)
2. Allison and Riker (Viennese waltz)
3. Sasha and Nastia (and Derek) (paso doble)

Then, we had the trios. I love the trio dances. So many interesting combinations you can play with. Nothing can really beat Mark Ballas' trio with Emma from last season, but thankfully there were no samba trios as there usually always are.

(Oh, oops. Robert and Kym did one...)

Now, having said all that (HUGE chip on my shoulder about Nastia), we go into the trio round, and Derek pulls out some of his Derek magic, and they walk away with the most amazing incredible trio (seen above). Incredible dance. Wonderful to watch.

Riker and Allison and Britney BLEW MY MIND with their trio, it was so fun and fast-moving. And note: these were flying.

All of what I suspect will be the three finalists got at least one: Val and Rumer got two. Derek/Nastia/Sasha got one and Allison and Riker got one.

Actually, since the season has been pretty predictable so far, let me call it right now. I think Val and Rumer are gonna win this. And that would be both because of technical ability and because they are touching the heartstrings of America. Val has long deserved a Mirror Ball, it would be great for him to win one this season.

I adore Allison and Riker, and personally, they are my favorites for this season (now that Mark and Willow are gone). I look forward to the freestyle dances from both of these couples (and Derek and Nastia now). But I am rooting for Val to win his first Mirror Ball. (And predicting it.)

1. Derek/Nastia/Sasha (jive)
2. Allison/Riker/Britany (jazz)
3. Val/Artem/Rumer (paso doble)

1. Val and Rumer
2. Derek/Nastia/Sasha
3. Allison and Riker
4. Sharna and Noah

We are starting again (apparently only in the final weeks) the Tuesday elimination/wrap up/miscellaneous hooha stuff. So, first, an image from last week's Tuesday 10th Anniversary show.

Truly an incredible moment. So many (not all) of the competitors had returned, some danced, some didn't. But at the end, all of them, and Tom and Erin, got into this mass of people dancing. It was quite fun.

Now THAT's a party!

At this week's Tuesday "Results Show," we did find out who the couples going home were.

Also on Monday, this happened:

It was Erin's birthday on Monday, and Tom's birthday on Wednesday, so there was a lot of birthday cake to be had. Happy Birthday to them both!

Usually during the Results Show, I just tune out to all the frou-frou hooha in between eliminations. However, on this show, they had Carly Rae Jepsen, which was fun; Josh Groban, performing a song off of his amazing new album, "Stages," and most incredible of all, quite unexpected, this DANCE! Travis Wall and Shaping Sound, with Allison and Jenna dancing as well.

Allison Holker and Travis Wall and Shaping Sound.
THIS is what I miss most from the Results Show. Not the lame repeat of a dance from the night before. But this example of what dance could be. This particular dance was this paragon of moving walls and dancers emoting, as the camera circled around them. It was really spectacular. It seemed (to me) to have an undercurrent of spousal abuse and emotional drama, and was really intense.

None of this lame (from the weeks before on the real show): "Oh, really? Do dancers do characters? I never knew that. I thought they just danced." (paraphrasing) This was in your face, characters and scenes and emotions, and people commiting suicide and being saved by others, and all this STUFF happening. It just took my breath away.

It was really really incredible. Allison Holker, man, is a dancer to watch. She just does such amazing stuff.

Anyway, that happened, and then, when our breath came back, it was back to who goes home this week.

Bring on the semi-finals!


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