Sunday, October 30, 2016

DWTS S023, Week 6: Latin Night Not as Steamy as Promised

It was billed as "the hottest night of the season." Well, it wasn't. It's Latin night at Dancing with the Stars, so normally that means a lot of hot dances. Still, the hottest night so far this season was when Jana and Gleb came out on Night 1 with that STEAMY Viennese waltz. You heard me. (So it was steamy and inappropriate. On this night, when it is appropriate, their dance wasn't so steamy.)

This dance, Week 1, was HOT. (But it wasn't supposed to be.)

Old favorite Pitbull kicked off the show (with two other guys) and all of the female pros, plus a bevy of Pitbull's own female dancers. The number (as his numbers usually are) was all over the place, using every bit of stage. The best thing about it? Having Allison Holker among the dancers really made it sparkle. Although Sharna and Witney were really his arm candy...

What Latin Night REALLY is is complicated. It's Week 6, the rubber has hit the road, and if you're still here, these steps get complicated. The Latin dances, one of the biggest staples of the ballroom circuit, have been scaled back in recent years, adding more (*shudder*) Contemporary and less proper samba. But on Latin Night, everyone is on a Latin dance.

Really, what you see is not so much HOT as struggling with a lot of steps (for the most part).

This starts right out of the gate with these two: Ryan and Cheryl. For all the times Ryan reminds us that he has "Cuban" heritage, he doesn't seem to have the Latin rhythm in his blood very much. The whole samba, they are taking each other's clothes off, but it doesn't seem sexy at all. In fact, at the end, they end up in bathing suits under a black light (and he has glow-in-the-dark kneepads, which really kill the mood).

JUDGES: 30 (out of 40)

Also, another crazy thing that happened on this show is that, well, Pitbull hasn't been on as a judge in a long while. So he forgot the whole system and just blurted out his score as the judges are giving their comments. AWKWARD... They set him straight for later judging... sheesh.

I love Sasha and Terra with a passion that I've only felt rarely on this show. The connection they have, the chemistry, the singularity of movement--all of that is huge. But really, the magic of these two (shown again in this paso doble) is the way that Sasha takes the elements of the dance, and molds it to her unique needs.

I would've been giving these two all 10s weeks ago. This dance is no exception. Between the music (they consistently have the best music), the costumes, the sets and lighting, and mostly Sasha's stunning choreography, these two are sincerely my favorite on this show. Sasha did this thing this time around...I don't know what the step is called, but often there is a step in paso where the man is on his knees (and usually he bounces up quickly). In this dance, he stayed down on his knees for quite a bit, and it made it feel more intimate because now he was on Terra's level. Very powerful.

Just stunning. They blow me away, week after week after week.

HOT OR NOT: Not (but WHAT a dance!)
JUDGES: 30 (out of 40) (Boooo!)

I am so over Amber's whiny madness. Although I love to see Maks dance, I was quite happy to see these two get voted out this week.

They cha cha to a song called "Blah Blah Cha Cha." Quite fitting. One thing that really bugged me (other than Amber's overall attitude) was the whole trope that if a woman drops a handkerchief (first of all, which woman carries a handkerchief anymore?)... the man will immediately swoop down and pick it up. So dated, so old. That part didn't work for me.

Another thing that bugged me about Pitbull's commentary is that he constantly was referring to things people did in rehearsal. You're supposed to be judging just what's in front of you, dude. On show night. Grrrr.

JUDGES: 28 (out of 40)

James and Sharna are another of my top favorite couples, week after week. James speaks in his package about his alter ego, Ricardo, who brings the sexy. But he's fooling no one. Everyone knows that Canadian guys are the sexiest guys on the planet.

And this week, they are doing the sexiest dance: rumba. Not sure who thought up this sexy lace number of a shirt for James to wear, but wow. (Way sexier than Ryan Lochte's kneepads, I'll tell ya.)

All this nonsense about James "not being an actor," is just crazy. He invented a persona called Ricardo, for gosh sakes. If that's not acting...

Julianne says that James is "hands-down, the best male dancer we've ever had on this show." :-0 Pitbull misses his cue when they give the scores. The voiceover announcer actually has to say: "Pitbull" twice. *shakes head*

HOT OR NOT: Muy caliente (as Ricardo would say)
JUDGES: 38 (out of 40)

Marilu and Derek is an interesting work-in-progress. Derek made an interesting comment in the package about Marilu's legs, and how he didn't want to look at them cause "she's my mom's age." But hey, go for it. Lots of older ladies are pretty darn sexy, Marilu among them.

Their salsa continues on last week's dance evolution of Marilu.

JUDGES: 34 (out of 40)

First, Gleb is a bit full of himself. He posits that this Argentine tango is going to be the "hottest one ever" on DWTS. (It isn't.) In point of fact, to my eyes, it's not even as hot as the first dance they did this season. Certainly NOT the hottest Argentine tango on this show (just a quick pause brings to mind not only a couple that Val did, a couple that Maks did, but also one steamy one that Sharna did. Plus at least one that Mark Ballas did. All WAY sexier. And that's not even pausing to think about it.)

Here's really the gist of it. Let's use Gleb's dance and compare it to last season's sexiest Argentine tango (by a country mile): Mark and Paige, the dance with the white shirt.

Gleb's starts out with a bed center stage. (Gag. Can we say "on the nose"?) With black satin sheets on the bed. (Double gag.)

Mark Ballas, on the other hand, had a progression of passion. As the dance progressed, it got hotter and hotter and hotter, clothes were being taken off, but they were still dancing. There was a table involved, but it was all a dance of passion.

Jana is already darn near naked at the start. Plus, they are dancing to Selena Gomez (not the sexiest song).

Then, there's this. Their big set piece. Did no one mention to him that taking a cold shower usually means dampening hot lust? Not amping it up... So yes, it's got a gimmick that no Argentine tango has had before, but it didn't in any way make it hotter. The dance itself is supposed to be what makes it hot. Ugh.

These two really bug me. The judges (since Len is not there, especially) really loved it. I did not. Gleb throws his wet shirt at Bruno (cause if Bruno is aroused, he always gives good scores, so good way to get a 10). But then, during the comments, Pitbull says to Jana (completely inappropriately): "If you want, you can go ahead and toss that dress over."

Really, ABC? Really, Disney company? You have this guy judging? It was so rude, it was unspeakable. I really hope they never have him back as a judge again. This incident was a fiasco.

JUDGES: 40 (out of 40) (gag)

We come out of commercial to a rumba bumper by Allison Holker and Keo Motsepe (to "Light My Fire"), which to me, was way hotter than the dance everyone was just raving about.

Artem and Maureen, Week 6. Courtesy of Just Jared.
Maureen and Artem and troupe. Courtesy of Just Jared.
Then, Maureen and Artem do a splashy samba, with lots of color and troupe dancers. And streamers! But this one seemed more of a strain for her, although I enjoyed watching it.

JUDGES: 31 (out of 40)

For my money, this Argentine tango, danced to "Hotel California," was just as hot (or even hotter) than Jana and Gleb's version. No shower scenes, no bed in the middle of the set. Just a nice Argentine tango. And I personally like Calvin's connection with Lindsay more than Jana and Gleb's.

Lindsay knows how to get there: through amazing choreography, with some stunning lifts, but just straight up Argentine tango. No gimmicks. That's what this competition is supposed to be about. Here's hoping that Lindsay and Calvin get further in this competition than Jana and Gleb. Because they deserve to.

JUDGES: 37 (out of 40)

Val, in his package, preparing Laurie for Latin Week: "There's going to be a lot of men ripping their shirts off." (beat) Laurie: "Don't you usually rip YOUR shirt off?" Val, to 16-year-old Laurie: "NO!"

So Val got around the whole hotness thing by packing the dance full of salsa content, which Laurie executed wonderfully.

HOT OR NOT: She's 16, not applicable. Good salsa though.
JUDGES: 37 (out of 40)

1. Terra and Sasha (paso doble)
2. James and Sharna (rumba)
3. Calvin and Lindsay (Argentine tango)
4. Laurie and Val (salsa)

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

NEXT WEEK: Different Era Dances and TEAM dances


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