YET MORE INJURIES, RIDICULOUSLY DANGEROUS LIFTS AND JUDGMENTS BASED ON A MARKING REHEARSAL???

What is up with this show? Dancing With the Stars really made me mad this week. I’m kind of tired — have a big week (New York City Ballet begins, Stephen Petronio and Trisha Brown Dance Co’s open, and I have about 10,000 Tribeca Film Festival films to see, plus am trying to take computer skills classes since I virtually have none as well as schedule a visit to Bushwick, Brooklyn, where a new performance company which I’m a board member of  — first time being a board member for me!!! — is trying to rent a space) — so please forgive me if I’m cranky. But when I got home from a full day of craziness and watched my tape of the show, a few things just got on the only remaining nerve I have left right now.

First, we’re told Melissa can’t compete because of a fractured rib, which we later learn she sustained doing a crazy lift / back flip over Tony’s entire, standing body. Then, we see Cheryl being short and nasty with Gilles over his inability to do a lift, which he’s having real problems with because of a shoulder injury. He forces himself to go along with her, does an insane aerial-filled Lindy Hop, and does okay (although there was a timing flub on the first somersault lift thing; the one she was yelling at him over in practice), but, to me, you could see the pain on his face. And his kicks, his Charleston, everything was just lacking energy, though he tried to hide it, like a pro. Then, since Melissa can’t dance because of the rib injury, they judge her based on a previous practice rehearsal at which she and Tony are mainly marking the routine. I can’t believe they even showed that on live TV! Of course it was awful.

Ugh. The problem is that these lift-filled routines are too blasted hard for non-pros. Even regular ballroom dancers aren’t used to doing them — and that is mainly who is training these competitors. I mean, I’m kind of torn between wanting the pros to take the contestants as far as they can possibly go so TV audiences can witness the thrill of really virtuosic dance, and just wishing they’d put some professional ballet or exhibition dancers on the show for that kind of stuff. Let audiences ooh and aaah over the real pros at this kind of thing. It’s way too much for people who’ve never danced before in their lives. It’s honestly really shocking to me that there aren’t more injuries. I mean, when I was dancing, I really wanted to be challenged too, but you have to stop and realize what you’re risking if you’re not a pro dancer; you have to take care of your body.

And in the real world, I’m sorry, but Melissa would be off. If you can’t compete in the Prix de Lausanne, at Blackpool, then, you know, the judges don’t go basing your score a rehearsal tape you send them. That’s ridiculous. If the show would have real rules, then maybe the pros, the producers — whoever’s making the dance decisions here — wouldn’t push non-dancers way the hell too far so that they risk serious injury in the first place.

Anyway, no one really blew me away tonight. Gilles was good but looked fatigued and nervous about the lifts, Ty and Shawn’s routines were meant primarily to showcase Chelsie and Mark respectively — and they did, but I didn’t watch the contestants at all. Chuck’s Cha Cha was okay but generally underwhelming compared to his excellent Samba last week. And Lil Kim — well, she was pretty good. I thought it was a bit more about the facial expressions at first, but she came through on the dancing and did really well. Overall, she was my favorite this week.

The group dances: The group Mambo was cute though; the ending goofy corny fun. The pros totally outshone the amateurs but I still liked it. I kind of wish they’d have used real Mambo music though. But Wow, the group Tango was Excellent! The amateurs here — Ty, Gilles and Lil Kim — were better than those in the Mambo. The choreography was gorgeous and everyone danced perfectly in sync when dancing together, and all three amateurs looked really good out there — almost like pros. Ty blew me away. Completely blew me away. His footwork was excellent, his posture perfect, his handhold absolutely right — he was so polished! He looked like a real dancer out there! Len is right — he nailed it.

Okay, so overall, my faves of the night were Lil Kim’s main dance, and Ty in the group Tango.

I have NO IDEA what’s going to happen tomorrow night.

20 Comments

  1. I'm not a fan of Lindy Hop on this show. They all come turn out dorky looking and frantic. Can we ditch it next season please?
    Shawn seemed really subdued both personality and dance wise.
    I loved Ty and Chelsie's Salsa. It was fun and flirty and performed with energy and commitment.
    Poor Tony, he looked so miserable last night. First Melissa is out and then he has debase himself with that lame ending to Team Mambo. I get that it's an homage to the SNL parody of Single Ladies, but it looked incredibly silly and unnecessary.
    Lil' Kim's Paso was good, but could have been better without those weird facial expressions and that bedazzled face makeup.
    Please let Chuck go home this week. I understand that it is unfair that Melissa gets judged for a dance that she didn't actually perform in, but I don't care, CHUCK MUST GO!

  2. What is with Cheryl and all that cursing and meanness? Is it really necessary? Gilles is such a sweet guy. I expected Shawn's samba to come out a lot better. Chuck and Julianne are bugging me, I hope they leave also.

    The trick that Melissa injured herself with is similar to a trick that I've seen Yulia do in samba. Melissa is buff enough that I think she could do it if her ribs weren't already hurting, but I still don't like trend in DWTS to stuff the routine with tricks. Chuck and Julianne got their best scores last week when they focused on the technique. Hello everyone! Technique is important! C&J, you were wondering why you got good scores, you said it yourself last week that you were focusing on the technique, that's why the scores were so much better.

  3. You can read my thoughts on my blog but here's some reponses:

    – the problem with Shawn's dance wasn't the Chorography for her OR Mark, it was the damn song! It was way to slow which brought down the whole dance. (I awwed big time when he brought Shirley in ;))

    – Shawn's scores deserved much better, I mean Chuck's dance was worse than hers and got similar scores? WTF?

    – I have always disliked Cheryl's teaching style. It annoys me to no end. Hence the reason I do not want her to win

    – I wanted to hug Tony so bad last night.

    – You're right, She would be out. I think if they're going to institute real rules though they need to get rid of Carrie Ann and Bruno and get real judges in there

    – Len's comment about Ty should be the one to go home was inappropriate.

    – I liked the Mambo's dance better in terms of perfromance factor but in terms of Mistakes vs. no mistakes. Team tango did better. Personally, let's just get rid of the stupid team dances anyway

    – I agree with a comment below, let's get rid of Lindy! They're not doing a real lindy on here anyway. Real lindy rarely uses ariels anyway!

  4. I agree… thats why I'm saying all over any public board I can in hopes that somebody from ABC/BBC/DWTS will see it, that the judging needs to change. Yes the fan vote is important. I'm a fan! However, this is a dance competition. The judges scores need to be weighted a bit more, even so much that Len's score is weighted more than the other two. That is my biggest pet peeve. People crapping about Len because he says a comment when 90% of the time, the comment is spot on. Carrie Ann and Bruno have both never judged ballroom and have never danced ballroom.

  5. I admit to being a new-comer to the show, but I am surprised to discover that the judges are not all from ballroom! What are the producers thinking?

    I am also disturbed by the numbers of injuries due to extreme technical tricks. It puts the contestants in unnecessary danger. The professionals should know better than to push someone thru their pain. That's crap.

    And the misuse of music really drives me crazy. Its one of the reasons I avoided watching for so long. Still, I've got to admit that I'm enjoying the show, especially when we get to see someone like Lil Kim develop into a pretty good dancer.

  6. Hi Tonya,
    I don't usually watch this (I'm embarrassed to say) but you have really inspired me. Do you know the best link to see last nights show on the web? I'm especially interested in hustle since I am writing a disco book. Any advice about getting to see hustle and mambo would be appreciated. I'm going to the Miami IHSC next weekend. I am also taking web design classes. Thanks.

  7. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Hi Lori — Wow, thank you for commenting! I'm so flattered that I've inspired you! For viewing videos of the show, I only know of Rickey.org : http://www.rickey.org/?cat=261 and I think the DWTS website has a place where you can view old episodes, though I've never viewed them there. Rickey posts the videos of each couple dancing individually. Katrina, do you know of any other sites?

    I went to that competition in Miami years ago! That was my very first one! Have fun :) And very exciting about your book — definitely let me know when it's out!

  8. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Yeah, I'm not sure exactly what Bruno and Carrie Ann's backgrounds are — I think they have some ballroom background but are mainly theater dancers, and Bruno's choreographed for theater. Which is relevant of course, but theater dance is different than ballroom — it's more flashy and personality oriented rather than focused on perfect dance technique. I guess maybe the producers thought that's what this show was mainly about — performing to an audience, not perfecting technique.

    I'm liking Lil Kim more and more too! She is developing into a good dancer.

  9. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Yeah, I agree about Chuck — I am glad he's gone. Overall Melissa was a better dancer. And his Cha Cha this week makes me think his good Samba last week was just a fluke, that he's not really becoming a better dancer. We're getting down to the semifinalists now and I just don't think he was semifinalist material.

  10. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Yeah, she was cursing a lot, right! It wasn't just me… I hope she doesn't think it makes her look cool. Maybe she's just tired and frustrated at this point. But she has one of the best dancers on the show. Julianne and Chuck were bothering me too. I found myself not liking her personality when she was around him. She'd act all ditzy and tell stupid jokes. And what was that comment last night he made about how she should wear less clothes so they'll do better?….

  11. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    I was happy to see Shirley too, Katrina :) That song was really slow — why'd they choose that? I'd think Shawn could dance at full speed?…

  12. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    I like the idea of going back to basic ballroom too, focusing on the dances that are part of a regular competition. Leave the social dancing with the lifts and what not for the end, for the freestyles. You're right — it does give the audience something to look forward to. I'm hoping for the finale they'll have more pros dancing — I mean, more than those currently on the show.

    Fun seeing Pasha and Anya last night!

  13. I think maybe what happened is that the song they chose wasn't available so they were given a different one…

  14. I agree, put if they're going to put in new dances put in ones that are part of regular ballroom, like Bolero

  15. Carrie ann's background is not even in theatre. It's in pop dancing. She was a fly girl (along with Jennifer Lopez) and then she injured her knee and know only chorographs (though not well).

  16. Also, if you're in the US you can watch them on the ABC website.

  17. I totally agree with the crap music! Do they really have to use pop music for everything?

  18. Shim, you watch the show, they don't use pop music for everything. Here are some songs used from season 4 on:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_with_the_S…)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_with_the_S…)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_with_the_S…)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_with_the_S…)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_with_the_S…)

    So yes they do pop music but they use other stuff as well.

  19. I totally agree with the crap music! Do they really have to use pop music for everything?

  20. Shim, you watch the show, they don't use pop music for everything. Here are some songs used from season 4 on:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_with_the_S…)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_with_the_S…)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_with_the_S…)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_with_the_S…)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_with_the_S…)

    So yes they do pop music but they use other stuff as well.

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