THE MARK BALLAS SHOW: SEMI-SEMI-FINALS

Sorry, am compelled to call DWTS the Mark Ballas show now, because whenever he dances, it is so all about him. Mark! Can the man ever learn to be the frame? “Oh baby, what’s wrong?” he says to Shawn in practice, before hugging her. Oh Mark — just melt me. But it’s nice to see a pro not beating up on his amateur, unlike Cheryl, who gave Gilles more hard times this week… Anyway, I thought Mark and Shawn’s Quickstep was great fun, but again, was only watching him. The quintessential ham. Seriously, though, he’s an excellent performer, and an excellent dancer… which is rare I think. And I love that half-Texan half-British accent. Shawn seemed to do very well.

Chelsie’s taking over and making it all about her with Ty isn’t as bothersome, I guess, since the woman is supposed to be the picture.

But, yes, that Argentine Tango really showcased her strengths as well — those gorgeously powerfully swift hooks, the pretty legs lines in the lift. And she made it a bit Cha-Cha-y up front, with those fast swivels. Perhaps a little too cutesy for A.T., but none of the judges said so. I totally agree with Len regarding Ty. He was splendid handsome polished perfection, as he was in the group dance A.T. last week.

Derek and Lil Kim’s Waltz was really nice I thought. The judges were critical but, funny, I didn’t see any fumbles. Her footwork looked totally on! Her frame and posture were excellent — she almost never came out of that closed handhold and she didn’t look at all stiff or awkward. It’s hard to do that, to keep in that tight frame with your partner, if you never have before.

I love that Cheryl took Gilles to the Emerald Ball! I thought their Foxtrot was a bit boring though. Did anyone else think that? Just missing a certain pizazz.  Glad Len mentioned the too-bent knees. I thought something looked awkward but couldn’t figure out exactly what it was.

I’m very happy that Mayo and Anna are two of the remaining pro contenders. My two favorites.

Melissa was really lovely in her Viennese Waltz. She’s such a ballet dancer — excellent, full-bodied rondes, developpes, arabesque, and that continuous spin with several different legs positions was really nice. Her form was so perfect, so solid, and her arms were beautiful. She was like a feather. I tried to focus on her feet to see what Len’s been on about with her lack of heel usage, but I really couldn’t — her overall form was so captivating. I believe Len though, and that is part of the dance so…

Onto the Latin round:

Okay, Mark apparently hasn’t heard Bryan and Carmen‘s Blackpool lecture on Paso: that the dance really isn’t dramatizing the slaying of a bull; that the woman really isn’t an animal. Anyway, so Shawn FINALLY has a solo! Yay Shawn! And she proved she can really nail those Paso poses! Gorgeous! Excellent shaping. And the whole dance was really very good — great precision, perfect footwork, excellent shaping throughout. I felt again like he outdanced her and she looked nervous and like she was trying to keep up with him. But she did. I disagree with Len that it wasn’t exciting. I thought it was far more exciting than Gilles’s Foxtrot.

Aw, so sweet how Ty pulled Jewel up out of the audience at the end of his Rhumba solo and kissed her! He deserves a standing o for that :) He’s so into his wife, so not a flirt. So refreshing. I love the costumes — love the powder blue color, made this a nice lyrical rhumba not a sexy hot one. But yeah, Ty’s right about not being a rhumba king — his hips weren’t there at all, good attempt at the cucharachas but too much booty-swaying and no connection between the hips and the lats and legs to properly ground the movement. He is a very strong partner for her though — he held, swung, whizzed her around like she was a barbie doll.

Okay, now it’s turning into the Derek Hough show. Wow, Lil Kim’s Salsa, or I guess I should call it “Bionic Booty” solo rocked! I liked it because it was so much more than just lightening-fast booty shaking. She moved her whole body — those full body rolls were perfect, seemed to use all the muscles not just the most obvious ones — and some great floor moves — splits, kicks — much better variety and fuller movement than I was expecting based on the practice discussions. And the partnering part of the routine was just as good. I did see a couple of foot flubs, but it looked more like she was just dancing faster than the music for the most part.

“I just cannot wait to show that Latin looover, that is inside me,” says Gilles, melting the whole audience. Does he look like a monster, as Cheryl says in practice? Hmmm. Well, the cucharachas were good, better than Ty’s anyway. But I didn’t care for those sliding steps he took at the end of the solo. Made him look rather feminine. Oh, okay, Carrie Ann’s picking up on what I saw that was odd. As is Len. Yeah, the rolling around on the floor over and under her at the end of the routine was a bit much. They really didn’t need to go that far. Bruno would have to bring up Showgirls. Gilles did look better in Rhumba than most men new to Latin that I’ve seen, but he does need to turn his feet out more and just make it look more grounded. It looked like he was walking on his tip toes. He needed to put more weight on the heels and really press his lats down into his hips, forcing the hips to push the legs down, down down into the ground. I might be wording it weirdly, but people new to Latin need to work on making it grounded, not so light so you look like you’re tip toeing. Rhumba emanates from slave women carrying heavy loads atop their shoulders, not daintily tip toeing around.

Melissa’s Samba solo was really short. But she moved better than I expected, for Samba, I have to say. She did well with the shoulder shakes and the bachachatas, but I thought the rest of it was too weighted toward the ball of the foot, which made it too bouncy. Bouncy in a jumpy, tennis ball sort of a way not a proper Samba way. The judges loved it though. All tens? I like her a lot but I don’t think that was deserved at all.

Lovely to see Louis van Amstel again, in the opening pro numbers! Paired with Lacey, was he? Hmmm, wouldn’t have thought of that as a partnership but it seemed to work well. Ooh, and we’re told after the spicey Latin number that he choreographed. No wonder I liked it so :)

13 Comments

  1. Quick semi-related comment. Earlier on the show, you commented that Karina stole Anya Garnis' dress but I think Anya took the design from Beata:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gT3vPZEtrk

  2. Oh btw!!! I went to Emerald Ball and saw Yulia and Riccardo dance!!!! They are so mesmerizing and breathtaking!!!!

  3. I'm probably going to get threatened for saying this, but there's something about Gilles & Cheryl dancing that always somehow bores me. They're very one-note, and they really played up that one note in their latin dance. I love Ty for trying so hard, but the poor guy just can't quite get his hips to work right.

  4. Mark and Shaun- I liked the quickstep. It was fast and fun. But sometimes I feel that Shaun is just going through the motions when it comes to selling the dance. She carries alot of tension in her face and has a tendency to fling her arms about, but that actually worked to her advantage in the Paso. She nailed it and totally deserved three tens (darn you Len!). Best dance of the night for me.
    Ty and Chelsie- The lifts were awesome in the AT but he seemed too heavy in the rest of it.
    The Rumba didn't seem like a Rumba to me, which is entirely Chelsie's fault. The choreography seemed amateurish. I did love the ending though. What a sweet, wonderful guy.
    Gilles and Cheryl-I don't know what is happening with this couple. Something has been off for several weeks now. He's so naturally talented and has a winning personality but it feels so forced now. I think Cheryl is pushing the “isn't he HOT AND SEXY” stuff too hard. I thought he could and should take it all in the beginning but now I'm not so sure.
    Lil Kim and Derek- He really knows how to choreograph a smokin' Salsa! Loved this one as much as I did last seasons with Brooke.
    Melissa and Tony- I'm now leaning toward her winning it all. That waltz was lovely and fluid. The Samba was sexy and they did Samba Rolls! Yeah!!
    Loved the pro numbers! Really great choreography by Louie and got to see Jonathon and Anna! Lacey and Louis looked fantastic partnered together!

  5. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Oh, I've never been to the Emerald Ball but have always wanted to go! What's it like? I know, I love Riccardo and Yulia. Now everytime I see Mark I am starting to think of him:)

  6. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Oh how funny — I missed Beata and Michael; they'd broken up by the time I started going regularly to ballroom competitions. Haha, it does look similar with all the mesh — except Anya's is so much more revealing!… with the substantial material strategically placed. I always loved her dresses but thought how nervous I'd be to dance in one!

  7. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    No, I agree with you and Susan, below, about Gilles and Cheryl. I thought they were very hot at first, but for the last few weeks they've started to become boring. He's still dancing well (for the most part anyway), but their routines seem to have had the wind knocked out of them or something. I think it may be the way she is treating him. I'd be so nervous to dance with someone if they yelled at me all the time like we see her doing in practice. It's like she's grown really sick of him.

  8. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    I totally Susan, especially about Gilles and Cheryl, and about Mark and Shawn. It does seem like she is trying really hard to keep up with him, to do everything properly, but she looks nervous and isn't really selling the dance. Her solo (however brief) gave her a chance to shine for once and she really pulled through. The whole Paso was really perfect.

    I love the samba rolls too — my favorite move in that dance! I love that Melissa and Tony tackled those, and she did very well (they're hard — hard to get the footwork right and not step all over your partner, and hard not to whack your partner in the head with your arms — it's a hard step) — so the fact that she did those so well shows she's really made of something.

  9. No, I can't stand him dancing anymore… part of has to do with Cheryl, can't stand her one bit, but yah I'm so bored by him now

  10. Shawn and Mark
    – awww
    – LOL at the song
    – good facial expressions!
    – amazing!
    – aww too bad about the rules

    Ty and Chelsie
    – This is a milonga song…
    – his movements aren't as sharp as hers

    Lil Kim and Derek
    – Her hold isn't so hot…
    – It was so so, nothing special.
    – Completely didn't really deserve a standing ovation

    Gilles and Cheryl
    – great song, bad foxtrot song
    – Cheryl's dress looks… hookish
    – his left arm is too high
    – eh, it was okay
    – Good comments Len!
    – No
    – That dance didn't deserve 10s

    Melissa and Tony
    – so not a Viennese Waltz song
    – heel leads are better…
    – I don't like her arms like that…

    ~ Cody!!! Maruice :( and Lisa
    ~awww no more Genya!!!!
    ~God Louis's a genous at choroegraphing

    Shawn and Mark
    – horrible song
    – Gorgeous dress except for the feathers
    – Nice!!
    – yea!!!!!
    – I think it was the songs fault, not theirs
    – I was annoyed that this didn't get a perfect score. It totally deserved it

    Ty and Chelsie
    – He's trying with his hips but that looked so akward
    – missed that hold
    – This song is too fast for a rumba
    – That's not really great… I mean I know you love your wife but it's your dance not hers

    Lil Kim and Derek
    – She's not working her helps correctly…
    – Her timing was off there
    – Nice basic work there
    – Carrie Ann's comment was right… it was a little frantic

    Gilles and Cheryl
    – great song *eye roll*
    – good use of basic rumba walks
    – nice split from him
    – that's just wrong… This is family show

    Melissa and Tony
    – good hips
    – Song's a little slow
    – She's a little slow there
    – Good Samba roll
    – Still seems a little slow

    What annoyed me most was Derek and Kim. I've been a fan of Derek's for a while now (thanks to Footloose in London) but I don't know between last season and this, he's just starting to annoy me. I don't really like Kim either… she looked like somebody dancing at a strip club during that Salsa… and that Salsa was… not really a good salsa.

    I'm so over Gilles (part of it has to do with Cheryl). I”m just rooting for Shawn at this point. I want Tony to be in the semi finals just because he deserves it after the not so good partners' hes had since season 2. He deserves to be in the finals.

    I think part of the problem with Shawn is definitly her age. Cody had similar problems. I also think it's her background too. But I love her and have since she was a junior (gymnast)

  11. It looks more like a dress I saw Elena Khvorova wear:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91K4b1n9u-U

  12. Crystille, it does look like that dress as well. All 4 look pretty similar to me.

    Beata and Michael were before my time too, Tonya. I just found that video I posted. Too bad, I think they would have been fun to watch. Beata and Max have some nice performances tho.

  13. Crystille, it does look like that dress as well. All 4 look pretty similar to me.

    Beata and Michael were before my time too, Tonya. I just found that video I posted. Too bad, I think they would have been fun to watch. Beata and Max have some nice performances tho.

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