Well, I was out at the ABT opening night gala last night and so recorded the show and, for some reason, my recording had no sound. I tried to watch it on ABC.go but the site kept telling me the episode was currently unavailable. I tried to watch on YouTube but those posts had no sound either. I wonder if ABC somehow set it up so you couldn’t record sound on the finale (to prevent YouTube posts), because that’s a little weird. They certinaly don’t make it easy on people who go out all the time! Anyway, I had no choice but to watch without sound.

It’s obviously really hard to watch without music — you can’t determine the contestant’s musicality or sense of rhythm at all — but I was pretty underwhelmed by this finale in general. Paso is my least favorite dance, and I thought they all did decently, albeit not superbly. At this point, I can’t really judge who I like most because they each have their own special, likable quality. I thought Shawn was a little lacking in passion in the Paso, I thought Melissa’s lines were gorgeous — she can make such sleek lines with that long, thin, ballet body but she also looked a little stiff in places, and I thought Gilles was more about the acting and the facial expressions than the dancing. So, even though she wasn’t perfect, Melissa was my favorite overall for the Paso.

I used to like the freestyle dance, but it didn’t do much for me this time. Of course, not being able to hear the music could have been part of it, but, in a way, sometimes it helps not having sound because you focus entirely on the visuals and really see what everyone actually LOOKS like. Shawn and Melissa looked like they were having a lot of fun up there, but their dances both looked sloppy — lots of awkwardly bent legs, no real precision, no clarity of line, no control. It was just a lot of jumping around; it didn’t look like any kind of stylized dance. I’m sure it had to do with the many tricks involved — when you’re focusing on tricks you’re not focusing on grace and line and polish — you’re focusing on not killing yourself or your partner. I could totally relate to Melissa’s nearly poking Tony’s eye out during the practice session by the way! Oh how many times have I done such things… But still, when you do a bunch of tumbling, you can’t just throw your legs up all splayed and bent and formless; you still have to tighten your body, keep your legs together and think about the shape you’re creating.

I think I actually liked Gilles’s freestyle the best because it was just kind of low-key. He didn’t move a whole lot — was mostly there to be Cheryl’s support in the lifts and she did most of the body-shaking, fast, hip-shifting moves.  And Hustle’s just fun. They danced to Flashdance, right?!

Anyway, since I missed the music and talking, I would greatly appreciate comments filling me in!

I’m going back to ABT for more tonight and am going to have to record the show again. I hope I don’t have the same problem tonight!


  1. Sorry Tonya but I disagree with you. I thought Shawn's freestyle looked sharp (save for the wardrobe problem at the beginning but that I attribute to nerves). Melissa's had absolutely no dancing. Just lift after lift. Tony should know better by know. And Gilles looked sloppy and Cheryl did an extremely poor job in choreographing it, in that it was all about her. I really hope Melissa or Shawn takes the trophy. Gilles is extremely over-rated and I don't think Cheryl should be rewarded for yelling and cursing out her partner or pushing him in that he might ruin her partner (Gilles shoulder needs surgery.). She did the same with Cristian and I think she specifically needs to be told that if her partner needs surgery that they can't continue. Yes I realize some of it's the athlete's fault for pushing but it's also the teacher's job to say “now wait a minute, you need surgery and could potentially damage your body permamently. Let's make sure that's not the case and if it is, we really need to consider if this is worth it” It shouldn't be and The professionsals need to be s psudo parent in those caes.

    Ok rant over.

    I think your problems had to do with ABC had huge problems last night with the site. It crashed 4 times (that I counted) since the start of the show on the west coast with so many people trying to vote.

  2. I actually think watching the Paso without sound was a gift. They used Pink's So What as the song, which is actually not bad to hear on the radio but not used as a Paso song.
    I liked Gilles in the Paso the best, Melissa looked too nervous and Shaun looked a little too stiff.
    You know, I've really gotten to where I hate the freestyle. It's always about tricks and lifts and very little actual dance content, but since I had to watch it I give best freestyle to Shaun. Everyone else seems to think that Melissa's freestyle stank on ice (due to Tony's choreography) but I actually rather liked it. Yes, it was lift heavy but it was fun and funky.
    Gilles freestyle however was pretty thin and stale for which I blame Cheryl. She's got a gorgeous guy with a likable personality who can actually dance and she makes a freestyle that includes hardly any dancing and/or personality from her partner. She really blew it.

    I hope that Gilles body of work throughout this season will be enough to win him that stupid trophy. I like Shaun but Gilles is better all-around dancer and I would hate to seem him lose it because of a sub-par freestyle.

  3. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Thanks you guys! Haha, glad I didn't miss much with the group Paso, Susan! Damn, I missed that Gilles has to have surgery! — see what you miss with the sound off! Yes, I totally agree that she shouldn't push him with that shoulder, Katrina. Wow.

    I'm still going to keep visiting ABC.go to see if I can watch the freestyles at some point. I feel sound on those might have made all the difference. That's interesting that the site kept crashing. Hopefully it was just something weird and won't happen again. I am setting my program now! It should be an exciting night!

    We also find out who won the pro comp!

  4. For the group Paso, I thought Melissa was way too blocky. Gilles was good but my favorite is Shawn. I'd like to see a little more expression from her but I can't help but root for her 😀 I definitely thought she should have gotten better scores than Melissa.

    Susan, I agree, that song was really terrible for paso. I like a little creativity with my ballroom music, but paso to “So What” is really stretching.

    Holy crap Shawn and Mark's freestyle was awesome! She looked really connected to the dancing, they were sharp, clean and synced with each other I loved it!

    Melissa and Tony were great too, but I think Shawn and Mark's dance had a lot more energy. What is Tony wearing…

    I was really underwhelmed by Gilles and Cheryl's dancing. REALLY underwhelmed.

  5. Are you taping on a VCR or do you use a DVR/Tivo? If you are using a DVR, you may have left your settings on the tv or the DVR on mute which would leave you with no sound on your recording. That might be the same deal with a VCR but I can't be sure since it's ages since I've dealt with anything that ancient! I promise you, ABC would not block out the sound for a recording, no network has that capability and if they did they would not use it.

  6. Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas were tied with Giles Marini and Cheryl Burke down to virtually the very end of tonight’s broadcast. Celebrity actress Melissa Rycroft ended up third.

  7. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Hi Benita — I'm just using a VCR. And I didn't end up needing it last night because I got home early enough, so don't know if it wouldn't have fouled up again. Yeah, I must have somehow muted it before recording. It's just weird how those YouTube posts were muted as well … unless they really just wanted to drive people to their website.

  8. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Hi Benita — I'm just using a VCR. And I didn't end up needing it last night because I got home early enough, so don't know if it wouldn't have fouled up again. Yeah, I must have somehow muted it before recording. It's just weird how those YouTube posts were muted as well … unless they really just wanted to drive people to their website.

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