Steve-O’s injured, but they’re going to wait until later to let us know what that means.
Holly Madison and Dmitry Chaplin Quickstep: Well, she’s cute. It looked a lot like he was kind of pulling her around the floor and she was just hopping without really having the steps down pat. But she hasn’t had as much training as the rest, so there’s that to consider. I agree with Len that her frame was part of the problem — she didn’t have a firm center and that’s why it looked like he wasn’t leading, but dragging her. I don’t think she’ll get kicked off first. I think she can improve.
David Allen Grier and Kym Johnson’s Salsa: Uh, it was okay. I mean, it’s so hard to judge amateurs learning to dance in adulthood. He looked uncomfortable — I mean with the dance form, with the rhythm and speed. But he looked like he was having fun, which is part of the battle. Hmmm, he might be first to go tomorrow night, depending on how audiences feel.
Denise Richards and Maks Chmerkovskiy’s Quickstep:
Wow, that was really nice. She had a great battemant, a great ronde, good speed, did very well with that fast footwork, and what a cutely choreographed routine. Cute how she put her head on his shoulder like that. The only thing is that she lost her frame — her lower body disconnected from his quite seriously toward the end, and she looked a little uncomfortable (though, like a good actress, tried to hide with that smile) in close handhold. But these are things she can improve on — not necessarily easily, but it’s definitely doable.
Belinda Carlisle and Jonathan Roberts’s Salsa: Well, she’s definitely better at Standard than Latin. She was having a great time out there, singing along. But like Len said she wasn’t at all connecting to the ground, through the feet, moving up through the hips. She was doing a lot of wiggling and shaking and bouncing, but it wasn’t organic or solid. I had a teacher once who always made me “feel the floor” and he wouldn’t begin dancing with me until he could feel me (through our handhold) feeling the floor. I thought he was nuts, but it worked. When I forced myself to connect to the floor, feel my feet, my energy coming up from the floor through my feet to my hips, to my center, he could sense it. And I looked so much better. She needs to learn to do that too. Some people are just better at one type of dance though, and I think Standard’s going to be her thing more than Latin. We’ll see though.
Ty Murray and Chelsie Hightower’s Quickstep: Wow, he really kept up with her. I disagree with Carrie Ann — I think she was totally leading him, but she’s the pro, so… He wasn’t that polished, but he had all the steps down and he was quick-footed. Very impressive!
Oh, the bottom two are having a dance-off tomorrow night? So, they’re making it kind of like So You Think You Can Dance. Hmmm.
Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas’s Salsa: She’s a natural. She was moving with ease and precision and clarity (as Len said), but it wasn’t really saucy. It needed more spice. Those back kicks were gorgeous. She’s cute: “I’ve never danced Latin before. In gymnastics . . . that’s . . . not really allowed.”
Steve Wozniak and Karina Smirnoff’s Quickstep: So, he’s hurt his foot. It’s not completely clear to me what it is: bone spur? Hmmm, that started out pretty good. Very fast, and he kept up with the rather intricate footwork, up front. But then he started to get tired and kind of lost the specificity. He was still bouncing around, but I was hoping he made it to the end. The last trick looked a bit scary — it looked like he picked her up and then she came down a bit hard, when I assume she was supposed to slide — like he was dragging her? Oh well, that’s the trouble with doing difficult tricks with amateurs. I hope she’s okay. It was very energetic and it’ll be interesting to see if he can improve. I hope he stays on, but I worry he may be one of the two doing the dance-off tomorrow night.
Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough’s Salsa: He says, “Salsa goes against every masculine bone in my body.” I don’t get why American guys say such things. Latin men do this dance. It’s not the least bit feminine — at least not when done properly… I Love You — what a corny song to have them dance to. Makes me annoyed that they’re even dancing together — and I’d almost forgotten. I’m actually glad Bruno’s being hard on him. I’m still annoyed with him for the anti-Latin comment. I think he did okay — it certainly wasn’t polished, it certainly wasn’t sexy, but I think he tried and just couldn’t get it — likely because of his inhibitions. Which annoys me more.
Lawrence Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska’s Quickstep: Oops, her feet came off the ground a bit again in that swing! That was really good, I thought. He had the speed, the rhythm, he got all that footwork with those little jumps in rotating directions, really well. And he didn’t lose proper connection at all! I think he did last time — I’m going to have to look that up, but I think last week I thought he danced well on his own but when he danced with her was nervous and awkward. If that’s so, he made a huge improvement this week. And in Standard! That was really really good.
Steve-O and Lacey Schwimmer’s Salsa: Oh, okay, so Steve-O just got hurt, right before the show, and we see him get hurt on video playback of their dress rehearsal. Oooh, ouch — landing right on that microphone pack on his back. Well, judging by the video, I don’t really see how this was a Salsa — oh no, I’m really agreeing with Bruno this week, how scary. It looked more like a Jive / Cha Cha or something, a combo, anything but a Salsa. She gave him some difficult tricks though — that long slide on the heels of his shoes, the ending flips to the floor — that would be nerve-wracking, especially after he’s hurt his back earlier in the week. They might have been better off just doing basics. Anyway, too hard to judge him this week with the odd routine and the injuries, so I’ll wait till next week — I hope he’s better by then. If he’s in the bottom two tomorrow night, how’s he going to do the dance-off?
Lil Kim and Derek Hough’s Quickstep: Aw, I love Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend! She’s like Shawn Johnson, a natural. She did slightly better in Latin, whereas Shawn is more of a Standard dancer, but it’ll be fun to watch the two of them go against each other more. I think they’ll both last long. Derek outdanced her, his kicks and jumps were higher. Len thinks it was completely lacking in quality. Hmmm. I didn’t even notice that they came out of frame. I thought her footwork was precise though. I think maybe why they became unconnected was because he was outdancing her — going higher, etc. — their bodies weren’t at the same level, how are they going to maintain connection? But I blame that on him, not her. Everyone wants to look good on TV, but it’s sometimes better to put good dancing above the flash. Or maybe she was doing better in practice and then got nervous and he wasn’t really outdancing – -who knows?…
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani’s Salsa: Okay, natural number three. She, Shawn, and Lil Kim are going to be the ones to watch this season, methinks. I still think — disagreeing with the judges — that she wasn’t grounded enough — she had the same basic problems as Belinda but of course since she’s a dancer, she looked far more polished. She was on her toes — or the balls of her feet rather — too much, which is normal for a person with ballet-background. But I agree she had the best Salsa of the evening. Excellent tricks; she has really pretty leg lines.
Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke’s Quickstep: It was okay, but seemed a little too performance-y. It seemed to lack polish, although he had the speed element down pat. The judges are heaping mounds of praise, and now they give him the highest scores of the night? Hmmm, what did I miss? I’m still rooting for him in general — he’s the only guy who’s anywhere near the same level as all these wonderful women.
My favorites thus far: Shawn, Lil Kim, and Melissa. Who may be in the dance-off tomorrow night: David and Steve W.? Maybe Belinda? What do you guys think?