Monday, October 10, 2016

DWTS S023 Week 4: She Said Yes, and Cirque du Soleil Enhances the Dances

There was a vice presidential debate. There was a double elimination. There was a Cirque du Soleil event with clowns and bicycles and juggling and lots of stuff. For my money, not a thing on TV this week was more important (and better TV) than this moment. Sasha Farber and Emma Slater, two of our favorites from Dancing with the Stars, and quite possibly (it seems anyway) two of the nicest people around, got engaged in front of us all.

I was wondering when she knew something was up. Maybe the fact that they were asked to dance together to do a bumper (not a common occurrence). Maybe when he kissed her on the forehead at the beginning. Maybe when he kissed her on the lips at the end. Maybe when suave Tom Bergeron mentioned what "great chemistry" they both have (not a common statement from him). Surely, by the time Tom backed away and said he was letting Sasha "host for awhile," she had figured it out.

I think it was about that time that I, and the rest of America and the ballroom, started crying. The big sign behind them, flashing "She said YES!," the confetti streamers falling around them, the rest of the cast surrounding them with congratulations. It was an epic DWTS moment.

So so happy for you both. What a great couple. Ah, but back to the matters at hand...

We also had this this week: Cirque du Soleil! First time ever in #DWTS history. Of course, we had the regular dances, but Cirque du Soleil was there, in and around and through all of them. And cast members got to visit the shows that they were portraying (whether in Vegas or NYC) for inspiration.

One of the best things about Lindsay Arnold is that she seems to have single-handedly brought (and kept) the Charleston in this competition. It is often her go-to dance, and thank goodness for that. Here, decked out in their Kurios steampunk costumes, they do an amazing Charleston.

I really love Maureen and Artem. Maureen is trying so hard. I just love to watch them dance. This week, they had an Argentine tango (not the easiest of dances) to Mystere. It was beautiful.

I also have to commend the costume department for these lovely and amazing costumes (this week, but really all season long). The materials they are using make for incredible visual experiences, as you can see above.

Jana, who's in the mode of "Oh, poor me, I have so many other concerts and things to do" (while I should be rehearsing for this TV show I committed to), aka, you get no sympathy from me... performs a passable foxtrot from The Beatles' LOVE ("Here Comes the Sun"). Bruno calls it, "magic hour in Malibu in 1962," which is inaccurate, cause this song wasn't written yet in 1962, but picky picky.

They had fire! They had flags! They had the paso doble. You would think this would be a stunning dance. (They also had troupe members.) But as the judges alluded to, Marilu seems to be too much in her head. She really hasn't let loose in any of the dances she's done, even though she seems to be getting the steps completely accurately. So, I dunno. I liked them in the beginning, but I even liked Jana and Gleb's dance better this week. :-(

Maks, in the package, says this dance "is gonna be too hot for TV." Um, no. Too hot was Gleb and Jana's first dance. Too hot was Mark Ballas last season, with that white shirt. That's too hot. This was, at best, mildly hot. Course, they are doing Zumanity. Still, Amber is too wrapped up in her own sexuality, and not enough in the dance. She, too, like Marilu, really hasn't let loose this season yet. (Although the Booty song was close.)

There is also a dustup with her and Julianne. Awkward.

(To this moment, cannot find a pic of Ryan and Cheryl dancing in Week 4...)

Ryan and Cheryl are tasked with (of course) O, the aquatic Cirque du Soleil project. Although why? Other than to get some shots of Ryan Lochte in the water (like we haven't seen that before), it didn't make any sense. They are dancing a Viennese waltz. It was merely OK.

Well, I've said before that I just love Allison Holker and her choreography. And I've enjoyed watching her and Babyface, even though he doesn't quite keep up to her often. This week, they are also dancing a song from The Beatles LOVE ("Come Together"). Unfortunately, the trick that they have to maintain is hitting a series of spotlights as they are turning (a complicated move, even for a professional dancer). So, while I enjoyed watching it, the dance as a whole didn't quite come together, and they ended up getting the lowest score of the night (18!). Hard to come back from that. Allison did not look happy.

So we just slogged through five dances where people were too much in their head, not hitting marks, too wrapped up in themselves, blah blah. Don't worry, folks, Terra and Sasha are here to save the day.

HOLY GOD, was this amazing! Terra Jole rocked that salsa like nobody's business. She reminded us what this whole "dancing" thing is supposed to be about. Hip action? Sweet Jesus, was there hip action. I cannot believe this dance. It was so incredible.

Sasha and Terra get the first 9 of the season.

But, as it turns out, that amazing performance by Terra and Sasha was just a warm-up for the best performance of the night: Val and Laurie, doing jazz to Michael Jackson ONE. And I'm going to call it right here and now in Week 4: Val and Laurie are going to win this season's Mirror Ball. (I would love to see it be Terra and Sasha, or James and Sharna...) But they are destined to win. They are knocking it out of the park with every dance.

And as fantastic as Laurie Hernandez was, let's not forget that Valentin Chmerkovskiy is Michael Jackson in this dance. They were both spectacular. Not surprisingly, they get the first perfect score of the season.

Unfortunately, this was next. Vanilla Ice, who had five concerts in six days, and thus no rehearsal time. Oh, and they were doing a Viennese waltz, to La Nouba. You guess what happened. I have no sympathy for people who don't take this show seriously.

How much do I love love love James and Sharna? They are amazing. The choreography was stunning. The costumes were awesome. Great number. They quickstepped to Paramour, which they actually went to see on Broadway. Just wonderful.

1. Val and Laurie (jazz, Michael Jackson ONE)
2. Sasha and Terra (salsa, O)
3. Sharna and James (quickstep, Paramour)
4. Lindsay and Calvin (Charleston, Kurios)
5. Artem and Maureen (Argentine tango, Mystere)

1. Laurie and Val*
2. James and Sharna
3. Terra and Sasha
4. Calvin and Lindsay

* Prediction to Win (Week 4)

1. Jana and Gleb
2. Ryan and Cheryl
3. Marilu and Derek

(Please forgive my lack of accents. My machine doesn't do accents.)

All is right with the world.
So, let's get back to what's really important of these two nights. (See above.)

Oh, and the double elimination.

First, though, we had a performance by DNCE, with dance assist by four couples, all pros (except for Alan).

Then two couples are safe...

Come back from commercial, and we have a bumper to show us Contemporary dance, with these two. Oh man, was this wonderful.

Then, we had a package about all the stars' superstitious rituals, while everyone onstage was crying and congratulating Sasha and Emma.

There was a beautiful dance by (almost all) the male pros, plus Alan. Moody and atmospheric, notable for dueling Chmerkovskiys on opposite tables. Very nice. (Can't find a picture, sorry.)

Then, another "safe" or "in jeopardy"? moment...

Maureen and Artem are safe, unfortunately Allison and Babyface are the first elimination on this double elimination night. I am sad about this.

Then we have a little package about how rough it is to be a pro.

Then Derek (as he does sometimes) choreographed (and played drums and danced in) this number.

More results. Then some chick sang while dancers (including Witney) danced.

Then, this final elimination, with Vanilla Ice and Witney finally going home. I was really tired of hearing about how his schedule is so taxing, so I'm glad he now has more time to devote to just doing concerts.

NEXT WEEK: My Most Memorable Year


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