Sunday, September 25, 2016

DWTS S023, Week 2: Love Saves Us from Our Own Mistakes

Terra Jole and Sasha Farber give the best performance of Week 2.
Real love is about redemption and forgiveness. No matter your sin, those who love you forgive and forget and move on. The whole Ryan Lochte mess made me realize again what is so great about Dancing with the Stars, why I keep watching over and over and over again. It is, to me, very much like America itself. You may be crazy, you may do stupid things, but keep trying, and America will love you again and let you try again.

I still agree with the protestor(s). Ryan Lochte IS a liar. Even as he goes on #DWTS, and mouths the words, "I've hit rock bottom," I know it's BS. He really still has no conception of what happened to him, and why so many are still so mad. But here's the thing.

Dancing with the Stars may be mostly about dance (and grueling dance at that), but it's really about being a team. Hanging together, watching out for each other, no matter one's difficulties or handicaps, and bringing out the love again and again. Even if, like Ryan Lochte, he doesn't yet deserve it or appreciate it. The team at #DWTS (and the America that is watching) has got you. We won't let you fall while you're on this show. And that is a blessing I hope he appreciates.

Like Derek Hough said when he shooed away the other protestors last week: "This is a good show, positive show. Get out of here." It's true.

And so we begin Week 2 of Season 23, with the team's arms around Ryan Lochte (and shirts emblazoned with big red hearts with LOCHTE in the middle, to counter those ugly ones from last week. Although you'll notice that not everyone is in this photo). Still. We've got you. Don't worry.

This week, ladies and gents, is TV Week! Which means they will be dancing to sappy, silly, ancient and fun TV themes. Woo hooo. First up, Marcia Marcia Marcia of "The Brady Bunch" fame, who actually gets to have her TV mom (Florence Henderson) onstage in her dance (fun!).

I really truly love the team of Maureen McCormick and Artem, and will be voting for them consistently. No matter what. Artem threw in some kicky 60s/70s choreography, and the trippy clothes and cool set added up to a fun number.

Now we have the case of Jana and Gleb. The first week they performed a Viennese waltz which came out steamy and sultry and hot (not how a Viennese waltz is supposed to be). I'm all about steamy, but it felt very inappropriate. This week, they danced a tango, which frankly (to my eyes) didn't look all that different from the "Viennese waltz" the week before. Both of them danced hard, even though she said in her package she was suffering from an injury.

I kinda wish that next week they would just do a rumba (not that different from the first two) and be voted off. Every dance is supposed to be distinctly different from week to week. And they are not all supposed to be so sexual. Ugh. These two just irritate me.

Speaking of irritation, this one. Ugh. First of all, they dance to "Green Acres." Loved the show in the 60s/70s, whenever it was on. But let me just remind everyone of the theme song. The husband (in the song) is a farmer, who loves farming. The wife is a socialite (grandly played by Eva Gabor) who loves shopping and penthouses. The song ends with "You are my wife. Goodbye city life," we're going! AKA, the woman doesn't have a choice in the matter. Which may've been OK in the 60s, but WOW, does it ring badly in 2016. Well, maybe not for Rick Perry.

Love you so much, Emma, but I cannot wait till this buffoon is voted off. (Really hoped it would be this week.) Emma looks so much like Eva Gabor, it's really cute.

Calvin and Lindsay are very fun to watch. He was playing Urkel from "Family Matters" in this show, and later, in the interview room, the real actor who played Urkel showed up and surprised them. That was fun. (Course, Jaleel White is part of the #DWTS family from way back.)

Maks and Amber did a Viennese waltz to the "Game of Thrones" theme. In her package, she admitted that she "blacked out" during the whole dance last week. :-0  (Oh my!) This week, she was still having issues. Whether her shoes or some curtains that she tripped over, or just maybe that she doesn't really want to be doing this... not sure.

What's wrong with this picture? Jenna is actually the pro, dancing with Jake, not part of the troupe. Ah well, old habits die hard. They were dancing to some show that he did the voiceover for. Bad song to dance to, bad music. Ugh.

Carrie Ann's comment (echoed by other judges) was that Jake was consistently ahead of the music. Kind of a problem on #DWTS. Jenna's costume was awesome, however.

Quick recap. Vanilla Ice (whom Witney calls "Rob") had NEVER SEEN #DWTS before agreeing to do the show. Witney reveals this week that she just now broke him in to the idea that the dances were being judged. :-0 That stuff alone just blows my mind. "I knew it had something to do with dancing," said he, not helping his case. And this week, they are dancing to one of the classic sitcoms of all time, "Married with Children," which Witney had never seen before. :-0 Unbelievable, these two.

However, all that being said, I really enjoyed their dance this week. Witney did an excellent Peg Bundy recreation (she caught some episodes on YouTube, she said). I thought Vanilla Ice put a lot into the characterization, although Carrie Ann was annoyed by the lip syncing. Well, the man's never seen the show! Give him a break. "We wanna see you dancing," said she.

Milennials won't remember this, but way back in the day, TV (all TV) was in black and white. "Bewitched," when it started, was originally in black and white. After awhile, it changed to color. So it was really nice to see the production crew honor that by starting the dance segment in black and white (with the old logo!), then turning to color with a twinkle of her nose.

I loved loved loved this dance. Honestly, after this show, I really want Sasha and Terra to win the Mirror Ball. I know, I know, you have your Dereks and Makses and Cheryls, the heavy hitters, not to mention Laurie Hernandez with Val, but still and all, I LOVE this pairing of Sasha and Terra. By this second week now, they are getting into a groove of dancing with each other, and it was just such a joy to watch them.

Tom Bergeron asked Sasha after whether he was "Dick York or Dick Sargeant"... Sasha answered with "I like to think I'm a Universal Dick." ROFLMAO. Please, keep them around all season. They rock.

Most of the other performers are like amateur hour, compared to what Allison Holker and Babyface are presenting. They did an Argentine tango (a recognizable Argentine tango) to "The X-Files" theme. We find out later that Babyface did a bit of finessing of the music, since it wasn't matching up to the tango the way it should have. Well, use what you've got! It was amazing, and my favorite dance of the night. The lights, the set, the costumes, the choreography: just stunning.

Tom Bergeron called Laurie Hernarndez "the human emoji," and she is, isn't she? Val comments in their package about how there's no one better to be a cartoon character than Laurie. She says the reason why she always grabs her cheeks is that, "the happiness goes to my cheeks, and I have to grab it to keep it from falling out."

She also says in her package that her two dreams were to "compete in the Olympics and be on Dancing with the Stars." OK, sure. Val mentions how sad it was that Lochte stole her DWTS debut moment, but Ms. Hernandez did just fine last week. She's a professional by now.

They dance a jive to "Ducktales" (which I've never seen). Pretty fun.

Another of my favorite couples of this season is Sharna Burgess and James Hinchcliffe. Here, they dance a paso doble to "The Walking Dead" theme. Quite nice. I love their chemistry, and so far, their song choice. Sharna's choreography is pretty awesome: it keeps zombies away!

This could be their worst dance of the season. The music from "Taxi" isn't all that great to dance to, but Derek Hough could probably choreograph amazing things to the opening of an envelope, which is about how airy this music was. So they do a foxtrot, most notable for these cool denim clothes you see Derek wearing. (Although Len loved it!) They have a massive taxi onstage, really only so they could get in it at the end, which was lame.

And, speaking of lame: Ryan Lochte. He's clearly flustered by last week's crazy events. They danced to "The Muppets" song. He said simply that he would be "the green one." (Really? The word "Kermit" doesn't come to mind? *shakes head*)

Course, Cheryl takes his lead and doesn't mention that she's actually supposed to be Miss Piggy in this combo. I disliked everything about this dance. It is notable that they saved these two for last.

"I'm an Olympian," says he. "I didn't win six gold medals by quitting."

Judges note how "I saw so many mistakes," said Julianne; bad posture (both Julianne and Bruno); Carrie Ann: "there was a lot going wrong."

1. Allison and Babyface (Argentine tango/The X-Files)
2. Sasha and Terra (quickstep/Bewitched)
3. Val and Laurie (jive/Ducktales)
4. Sharna and James (paso doble/The Walking Dead)
5. Artem and Maureen (quickstep/The Brady Bunch)
6. Maks and Amber (Viennese waltz/Game of Thrones)
7. Derek and Marilu (foxtrot/Taxi)

1. Rick Perry
2. Ryan Lochte
3. Jana and Gleb

That was all from night one of Week 2. Night two, "the Results Show," was interesting in its presentation. In seasons past, they would have some eliminations (or telling people who's "in jeopardy") early on, then sprinkled throughout the show. This was different.

The packages basically went through each contestant (both Week 1 and Week 2 dances), adding in judges' comments (never done before) and also using a pretty common trick on other reality shows (cameras that are everywhere which catch the dancers' softest whispers). It really shaded in the depth of what was going on. Also, it really made Night 2 very interesting, when normally it's filler and fluff.

They got through EVERYONE's packages before they even got to telling anyone they were in jeopardy. Which was a much nicer way to do it.

Gleb's package was kind of interesting... they showed a few photos of him as an underwear model, which apparently they DID show in studio (giving a whole new meaning to "package"), but all we got to see... damn you, ABC censors! was a GIANT mirror ball on the nasty bits.

Then, all the pros (and troupe members) danced in these colorful costumes. Very fun dance.

Nice song by Charlie Puth, with a fabulous dance by Val and Sharna. "We Don't Talk Anymore."

Some results, blah blah.

Then, a whole big feature on Maks, Cheryl and Derek, that they call "Game Changers." They insist that these three were "game changers" previously, and them being back this season, as Derek says, "is kind of a game changer." Well, no. Not really. I mean, it is true that these three all won Mirror Balls, and some dances they did were very memorable. Derek Hough won Emmys for his choreography on this show, so I suppose he (and having won 6 Mirror Balls) is the most "game changer." But really, truly, from the beginning, from THIS beginning, everyone is at square one. No one's changing any game.

In fact, the only one who's changed any game so far is Ryan Lochte, and not in a good way.

I would even go out on a limb right now and say that I fully believe at this moment that none (out of Maks, Cheryl and Derek) of them is going to win this season's Mirror Ball. Cause it takes something other than being the best dancer around (or the worst). There is this enigmatic piece called winning the hearts of America. We know how they feel about some of them...

And right now, to my eyes, of the 12 remaining couples, those three couples don't have that winning edge.

It must have been uncomfortable also (although I understand that Maks and Cheryl and Derek HAVE won Mirror Balls, and have contributed greatly to the show) to have this big hooha, when Allison "came back" also. I don't know about anyone else, but I sure missed her, and missed her choreography and what she brings to the show.

Tom tried to pass it off as (Maks and Derek and Cheryl) all had touring shows... but Allison is right there onstage with those three (having just danced with them). Awkward. Whoever came up with this didn't think it through. So, welcome back, ALLISON! And now, kick their asses! ;-)

Judging from the first two weeks of competition, Allison has a much greater chance of taking home this season's Mirror Ball than any of those three.

As if to underscore all this, two of the four couples in jeopardy are Cheryl (and Ryan) and Maks (and Amber).

The couple voted off, sadly, was Jenna and Jake. Way too soon for Jenna the Pro to leave, but I can see why Jake wasn't anyone's favorite.


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