Sunday, October 2, 2016

DWTS S023, Week 3: The Ornery Texan Gets the Big Boot on Debate Week

First, there was a presidential debate cutting into the timeslot. Dancing with the Stars (now only an hour long) had to adapt. And adapt they did. (Also, Erin had a death in the family and wasn't here this week.)

Ta-DA! We have the "Faceoff." Instead of their regular dances, we had two couples pitted against each other (six times). The dances were shorter, each given the same dance, but different music. The twist was that whoever the judges picked as best was granted immunity for the upcoming elimination. So six were immune, six were possible for elimination. Following me so far?

Let's go through them dance by dance.

Babyface/Allison vs. Jana/Gleb

I just love the team of Allison and Babyface. In this pairing, he still seems stiff, and they lost out in this Faceoff because his "kicks and flicks" weren't sharp enough. (We know how Len scores this one.) Overall, it was a night of women pros dancing their butts off while their male stars mostly seemed stiff.


Jana and Gleb, in their first non-sexual dance of the season, did provide sharp kicks and flicks in this jive, and so won the Faceoff.

JUDGES' SCORE:  26, Faceoff winner

Rick Perry/Emma Slater vs. Vanilla Ice/Witney Carson

Emma Slater and Rick Perry win the award for best music of the season so far (Rodrigo y Gabriela) for their paso doble. Also, great costumes. Emma's choreography continues to be just stellar. Nonetheless, they lost out in the Faceoff. (And Perry ended up going home on Tuesday. *weep, weep*) Sorry, Emma. Hopefully, you'll get a better partner next season.


The whole Vanilla Ice thing is hitting all my hot buttons on this show. 1. Someone who knows nothing about the show coming in. 2. Someone who has no idea how much work is actually involved to do this show, yet somehow gets signed to it. 3. Someone who, amazingly, has a fully booked tour schedule, and thinks he can squeeze DWTS into that anyway. Where do they get these people? Why do they keep booking them? UGH. Please let him be GONE soon...

Also, there is Witney. Vanilla Ice: "What language is paso doble?" Witney: "I don't know, Latin?" *eyeroll*

Note to Witney: Spanish. It's Spanish. (She's not the brightest one, that one.)


Len breaks the tie, making Vanilla Ice and Witney the Faceoff winners.

James Hinchcliffe/Sharna Burgess vs. Ryan Lochte/Cheryl Burke

This couple (James and Sharna) really rocks my world. And this cha cha was steamy, sexy and just off-the-charts fun. Loved the costumes, loved their chemistry, loved everything about it. James really seems like a natural dancer, unlike a lot of these pairings. The dancing was natural and fluid, and just fun to watch.

JUDGES' SCORE: 29, Faceoff winner

As was noted by the judges so astutely on the second night (I really love this addition of judges' comments and backstage chatter on the second night.), Cheryl was dancing her butt off and Ryan was mostly just standing there. Unlike most dancers, whose shirt bursts open and it becomes sexy, Ryan Lochte didn't have that effect. After all, he's a swimmer. We've seen him countless times shirtless. The sexy was just not there (IMHO). Although Cheryl was just tearing it up...

Terra Jole/Sasha Farber vs. Calvin Johnson/Lindsay Arnold

Usually Week 3 is the week we get the stars to connect in an emotional meaningful way to their dances. Well, that didn't happen (in most cases), except for this one. Sure it's a shorter dance, caused by preempting for the debates, but nonetheless, the Viennese waltz was packed with emotion for Sasha and Terra Jole.

They danced to "Iris" from the Goo Goo Dolls. The lyrics are all about being accepted for who you are. "I just want you to know who I am." And Sasha leaves Terra in the spotlight by herself at the end. This dance brought tears to my eyes.

Funny, how last season they (#DWTS producers) were just beating us over the head with how Nyle was doing so much for deaf people, and this poignant emotional moment almost went under the radar, yet to me, it was much more effective, cause it felt real. I, for one, accept Miss Terra Jole for exactly who she is, and celebrate that, and celebrate all she is giving to us on that dance floor (also thanks to Sasha Farber for bringing it out so poignantly).

Beautiful, beautiful dance. Another interesting thing about the pairing of these two couples is that Terra is quite a bit shorter than Sasha, and Calvin is quite a bit taller than Lindsay. In this pairing, I just loved the shapes that Sasha was able to create, despite the height difference.


Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the Viennese waltz was all about having round (circles) of frame shapes? To my eyes, Sasha and Terra did this much more consistently. Calvin's arms were often bent in hold. Lindsay's choreography was marginally more interesting, but I would've given the edge on this pairing to Sasha and Terra. Also, Lindsay and Calvin danced to "It's a Woman's World," which didn't seem to hold any significance at all (for Calvin), whereas Terra's song was quite moving and connected to HER.

JUDGES' SCORE: 32, Faceoff winner

Amber Rose/Maksim Chmerkovskiy vs. Maureen McCormick/Artem C. 

So, remember in past seasons, when Maks came on as a judge, and he was berating everyone for not having enough content in their dances? Yeah. Here's Maks doing a salsa, with not enough content in his dance. However, to be fair to Maks, I think there are other things going on. It appears (just my instincts here) that Ms. Amber Rose is quite a handful (from "blacking out" during their first dance, to not seeming to be willing in general), and perhaps she just wasn't capable of doing all the salsa moves. And Maks, knowing how this thing goes, knows that really the bad dancers are the ones voted out first, so he could slide with this one having a lack of content. He just offered up a great show.

They had black lights and graffiti, the song was J Lo's "Big Booty," as he said, so people could focus on HIS big booty (but of course), and in the middle of the song, he takes out his phone and takes a selfie (while he's dancing!!!). Definitely a #DWTS first.

So, yeah, it was way entertaining. But a "salsa"? Um, not so much.


Contrast that with:

If I hadn't told you already that this was a salsa, which dance would you say, off the top of your head this would be? RIGHT. A salsa. So clearly. The costumes, the music, the dance, everything about it screamed: Salsa!

Guess who won this Faceoff?

JUDGES' SCORE: 28, Faceoff winner

Laurie Hernandez/Val Chmerkovskiy vs. Marilu Henner/Derek Hough

The errant lift which caused Carrie Ann to take a point off. :-(
So Laurie Hernandez is 16 years old. She still sleeps with a teddy bear and has never had a boyfriend. Asked how she could get into the mindset of this tango, she talked about envisioning "a great quesadilla." Hey, whatever works. Men are sometimes like a hot quesadilla. I get ya.

They were talking with the costumer, and she was describing some lingerie in the front. Val says: "Lingerie. French for trouble." Luckily, her costume (for a 16 year old) was tasteful. But the transformation was pretty incredible. Between Val's big brother coaching and costumes and hair, WOW! As Val said in the package: "If you don't do this, you're going to be 'Cute Laurie' all season." She is Cute Laurie no more.

They also had this thing where their shoes lit up during the dance. It was amazing. Also nice, because (especially with the tango) you want to see their feet.

And she may be thinking of a quesadilla, but she brought more passion to this dance than bubbly Ginger Zee brought all last season (IMHO). And Laurie Hernandez is pretty much known for smiling all the time. We constantly saw her smiling at the Olympics. One would think that she would have a tough time NOT SMILING (as Ginger Zee did) during the tango, but no, she did great getting into character and being serious through the dance.

JUDGES' SCORE: 31, Faceoff winner

Now, one would think that Marilu Henner would be able to bring the brunt of her experience and life lessons to this tango, and just beat the pants off Laurie Hernandez with her passion. However, that is not what happened.

There is much more of an ease with Val and Laurie as partners than with Derek and Marilu. They do seem to have an effortless ease when you see them in interviews, but she still seems to be really tense when she's dancing, and that's not going to bode well going forward.

Also, I realized as I was watching this: Marilu Henner is pretty much known for being a comedic actress, not a dramatic one. So maybe the passion flair thing of the tango is hard for her. Not sure, but she didn't convey what she needed to convey to these eyes.

(And it came out on the next night that she "did better in rehearsal" than in the final show.)


1. Sasha and Terra
2. Sharna and James
3. Val and Laurie
4. Artem and Maureen
5. Lindsay and Calvin
6. Allison and Babyface

On night 2 of Week 3, the "Results" night, we have much more time to go over everything, and hear the judges' comments and backstage chatter. (Quite revealing.) I'm really digging this new format.

We also have former Mirror Ball winner Kym Johnson as co-host with Tom Bergeron. Well, she's better than Leah Remini (who always kept hitting people in the face with microphones; really annoying), but she's no Erin Andrews. Johnson was ok reading off the teleprompter, but when she actually had to converse, she was pretty terrible. Come back, Erin!!!!

Johnson starts off the show calling Tom Bergeron "Thomas," saying, "You're Thomas now," then promptly only calls him Thomas once again (good thing). He's been Tom for 23 seasons. Come on, now.

Their banter was leaden. Ugh. And throughout she has a habit of sticking the mic too far into people's faces (Ryan Lochte even backing away at one point). At least she wasn't hitting them with it...

Last week, I misspoke when I said that Keo was not in the troupe this season. There was a cha cha bumper with Hayley, and Tom clearly said it was Keo dancing (he danced quite a bit on this episode).

So, Kym's talking to Calvin and Terra, about their height difference and whatnot, things they have in common. And Terra starts riffing on how they can't just go into a store and buy shoes. "They all have strawberry shortcake on 'em. Sometimes you just don't want light-up shoes," she says. Sasha starts cheering her on. She is an entertainer, indeed.

Then we had this wonderfulness, with all the women pros and troupe dancers doing this dance. So great.

Tom says after, "And people wonder why I'm never late for work." Oh Tom, we know it's cause you're a professional!

They had this really nice insert when this song started, it showed Jenna and Keo, dancing on a beach. Then, it showed Florida Georgia Line singing onstage, and then there were Jenna and Keo dancing. Very nice.

An actual nice piece, called, "Welcome to the Competition," which highlights what they all THOUGHT it was going to be about, and what it's actually about to dance on this show. The running theme, of course, is, MAN! You have to work so HARD!

Then! (LOVE this about the Tuesday Results show!) LA legends Fitz and the Tantrums perform their hit, "Hand Clap" with dancing assist by some of the pros (Jenna, Allison) and the troupe. Very very fun.

Fitz and the Tantrums (Fitz and Noelle) and troupe, courtesy of Just Jared Jr. dot com.
Then Florida Georgia Line sings another song, with Gleb and Lindsay dancing this time.

Lame, forced banter by Kym. Blah blah.

This summer, Maks and Val had a show that they toured the country with (charging big $$ for the priviledge). They decide to recreate some of that magic here.

The most fun part about this is that they picked a woman from the line outside to feature, and she not only gets to sit front and center during their song, but she also gets a kiss from both brothers (on the cheek from Maks, on the lips from Val). Woo hooo!

Who's the star of this show? Can we say CHMERKOVSKIY????? Wow.

Then, Tom informs us that Len is going to be gone for a couple weeks (or so) to judge the mothership show (Strictly Come Dancing) in England again. :-( (Probably a good thing since next week is Cirque du Soleil Week, and we know how Len feels about all the hooha stuff.) Len admonishes people to start doing "proper ballroom dancing" while he's gone.

Then, they decide to show us (after 23 seasons) how they put together a number. First, dancers, then costumes, and makeup and hair and lights. (They forgot sets.) Oh, and music. Then, they dance.

Can you tell that this Tuesday show is often a time-filler? Good grief. (And this was AFTER Florida Georgia Line did two songs. What? They couldn't have Fitz and the Tantrums do two songs?)

Then they had a nice package where Sasha told Terra that she danced so well that he teared up (which he "never does"). Sweet.

Then some promo about next week's Cirque du Soleil show.

Finally, the bootee is named (Rick Perry).

1. Laurie and Val
2. James and Sharna
3. Terra and Sasha
4. Babyface and Allison
5. Calvin and Lindsay

1. Vanilla Ice and Witney
2. Jana and Gleb
3. Ryan and Cheryl

NEXT WEEK: Cirque du Soleil Week


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment. I encourage and welcome the dialogue.