Saturday, November 7, 2015

DWTS Season 21 Week 6: Famous Dances Week a Misstep

Dancing with the Stars has certain things you look forward to every season (if you've been watching for awhile), like the Trio Dances, or the Group dances, or the My Favorite Year segments. Then sometimes, they create new things, to see how they fly. One they did this season, the Hometowns featuring the Pros (not just the Stars) was a choice of brilliance.

This thing this week, really, not so much.

Tom Bergeron, guest host Leah Remini and Karina Smirnoff, who recreated the Flashdance opening number.
See, the premise of this show (really far afield from it now) is that the "stars" have never really danced before, and somehow, stumbling and struggling, these pros would make them DANCERS by the end of the season! Well, in truth, many of the stars have had at least some form of dance training, since they are, pretty much from Week 1 now, expected to perform at a top level. So, we audience, who are kind of in on the joke now, put up with that.

But this choice this week? Ugh. They are all asked to recreate "a classic famous dance." I really hated this idea. I'm sure it's great for the dancers, who get all jazzed by this idea. But the stars? Oh my.

Let's start with the first one, shall we? And let's also mention that guest judging this week is Miss Olivia Newton-John herself (who looks like she's had more than a little work done). But no matter. She's wonderful.

First couple to dance is 15-year-old Hayes. In their package, Emma is enthusiastically telling him that the dance they are tasked with (right in front of Olivia Newton-John herself) is from Grease. To which 15-year-old Hayes says, "What?" (As in, he's never heard of this Grease thing. "Danny who?") Oh my, it's going to be a long, long night.

Another bizarre sexual thing was the choice of "The One That I Want" (for Emma and Hayes). Sure, I know that eventually all things lump into the non-sexual mainstream void, even if they started out sexual... and you can't really be SEXUAL with a 15-year-old partner, but come on...

Anyone will remember (and trust me, Hayes, EVERYONE around the world knows Grease) and will remember that in the story, Olivia Newton-John's character is beautiful and shy and normal (wearing prim dresses) until one day, she decides she really has to have John Travolta's character, and thus busts out the super tight vinyl one-piece. That clings to her every sexy curve. And they are recreating the dance. To fine effect. They just leave out that pesky sexuality piece. Ugh.

Dancers, of course, are going to hold these iconic dances dear. The stars, mostly, couldn't care about them. And the degree of difficulty to really pulling them off, even for the Pros, was pushing it.

Like this...

Derek, the maestro, the Emmy winner, said he has never done a lift like this one (from Dirty Dancing, of course). He mentions that in rehearsal, they only complete the lift "50% of the time," although they do it successfully on show night. (Of course.)

And for practice, they had Derek and Bindi cavorting around in smelly swamps to practice. Please, producers, a dance studio is JUST FINE. Enough with the craziness.

(They also had Jennifer Grey in there for a hot minute for really no reason.)

Another problem for some of the dancers is that the iconic dance in question was danced ALONE, and they then had to incorporate not only a partner, but the steps/moves from whatever dance they were dancing. (Remember that? People actually DANCE a particular dance each week? Yeah. That often gets lost in the shuffle, especially this season.)

Like this dance.

Which brings us back to some sexuality craziness. This "dance" wasn't really notable for a dance (in the same way some of these others--like the Singing in the Rain dance, which was iconic AS A DANCE). It was iconic because Britney Spears was young and hot and dancing with a snake. I mean, it was a dance on an awards show, for heaven's sake. What's next? The Madonna kiss thing?

So, for me, as much as I love Alexa and Mark and want them to win.. I think this was my least favorite of all her dances. She just seemed lost. Although she did handle the snake well.

Her husband, OTOH, who last week danced a very solumn and prayerful number to "Amazing Grace," this week was...

Um, doing this... to great effect, I might add. It was a great dance. But again, is there a woman in this iconic dance? No.

Well, now there is.

Alek and Lindsay did this.


Well, at least Alek knew who Elvis Presley was.

Just a bad concept (this Week), badly executed (in some cases).

OTOH, when it succeeded, it was pretty stunning. You know Derek and Bindi's Dirty Dancing recreation was pretty wonderful. Andy and Allison's "Good Morning" routine (which, in the original, had THREE people in it; although I'd like to think the spirit of Gene Kelly was dancing it with them) was pretty amazing and spot on. It's one of my all-time favorite dances, and they did it justice.

But it just seemed like they were screaming, HEY! Give us more Emmys! For our sets and our costumes... and makeup...

Well, any dance which has costumes like this AND Anna and Karina, you know I'm all in. Sadlly, Paula Deen (thankfully, finally kicked off on this episode) is no Madonna.

Nick and Sharna showed off a pretty good Saturday Night Fever homage. And Sharna's additional choreography made this samba really work.

But really, the showstopper, and I bow again to Valentin's amazing choreography skills (whether or not he had help with this) was the final dance.

Yeah, you might recognize it. Val gave a shout out to the original choreographer, Anthony Thomas, for changing dance for decades.

This dance was a dance that had to be perfect, and it was. And it received a perfect score to show for it.

It's interesting to me that they used to make a big deal about introducing the troupe, and other than Tom's introductions of them after some numbers, they go nameless this season. I must commend the troupe for the Busby Berkeley dance in between numbers. This effect with the overhead cameras they are using was pretty stunning.

I REALLY love whoever came up with the leaderboard showing in the middle (or so) of the show. That feels like an organic move that is really welcome, cause it's easy to lose track of.

Miche's Favorite Dances of Week 6
1. Valentin and Tamar ("Rhythm Nation")
2. Allison and Andy ("Good Morning," from Singing in the Rain)
3. Sharna and Nick (Saturday Night Fever samba)
4. Derek and Bindi (Dirty Dancing)
5. Carlos and Witney (Magic Mike)


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