I admit the new season of Dancing With the Stars wasn’t even on my radar until I saw a commercial Sunday night during the Oscars(why couldn’t Tom Bergeron have hosted?). But when I checked the case list during my lunch break today I was unexpectedly delighted. I definitely did not expect to see Dorothy Hamill on the show, but now she’s not only there, she’s dancing with Tristan McManus! I officially want them to win really badly. Plus we even have a new pro surnamed Savchenko(who’s saddled with a Real Housewife, poor dude), which will always make me think of a certain pairs skater.
I think the favorites right now, though, may be Mark and Aly Raisman(you knew they’d get one of the gymnasts after they all showed for Shawn last season), though that could quickly change, depending on how good the football player is and/or how much Derek’s got to work with from Kellie Pickler. Meanwhile Cheryl gets a comedian, Kym gets a soap star, Valentin gets the Disney Channel star, and Maks may be moving on, which is sad, but Julianne did it and Edyta did it, and I think it’s about time fans just accept that pros move on and disowning the show over it is just petty and demanding too much of people you’ve never met. Though hopefully Anna and Louis come back next season; they’ll be missed too. Interesting to hear Chelsea was “not invited back” and may be done. I can’t help but wonder how much of that stemmed from her reaction to the election results; saying you’re going to leave the country because Obama was reelected probably isn’t very good for ratings, even for a red-state show; it has too much of the reputation for being crazy. It’s not nice of me, but I have to admit I’m relieved myself she’s gone. Though one of the new pros is from Utah, but given how many ballroom dancers are, I guess that’s unavoidable.
I suppose there is general commentary to be made on the Finale of the Dancing With the Stars All-Star season, but like many fans, right now I want to focus on one man. A professional dancer born in Kosovo who identifies as Albanian and has a few ballroom world titles in what is known as Professional Rhythm and a chain of dancing studios, but of course he’s known for this glitzed-out reality show where he has a reputation for being one of the nicest pros on the show, which makes one think the producers of ABC want us to believe nice guys do finish last, thanks to the partners they’ve saddled him with over the years. It was bad enough how many of them couldn’t dance, but among them also was even the infamous Kate Gosselin.
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Mixed reactions from the show just now:
Maybe the producers finally threw one at the couples they genuinely had difficulty pulling off; there are only so many exotic dances one can demand before the slipups start. And really, it’s just not nice asking them to combine things that don’t combine easily. Even if it can make some of their dances more entertaining, it makes others of them weaker, and the good dancing is supposed to be what this season has going for it, so that’s bad.
Can we have that Indian dance on the show again, though? That was cool.
Except that when Len mentioned the polka to Kelly and Val, I suddenly found myself thinking that as far as I know, they’ve never had the polka on Dancing With the Stars. They officially need to do that sometime within the next few years.
And more recorded music as maybe the plugging for the Michael Jackson release goes a little too far. But when the first number performed is that Argentine Tango of Tony and Melissa’s which you feel might have lost some of its perfection if the house band had been involved, it has to be said that recorded music might not necessarily be weaker, after all. It is different, though, and should be handled with care.
How the hell did Kelly & Val’s rumba not get at least one 10? Maybe not a perfect 30, but it should’ve gotten one from someone. That’s sad.
I can’t even comprehend losing two more of these couples tomorrow…
Unfortunately I am starting to get the impression that which dances this season get the 30s is partly by chance and partly by which dances offend noone, neither of which is good grounds for a 30. The latter is especially bad, as it excludes the more daring and memorable dances. On the other hand, Melissa and Tony, if their first dance didn’t stand out in this talented a crowd, did stand out with their trio with Henry Bylikov:
Now that’s a 30.
In fact, the pros mostly did a lot better with the trio numbers than they did last season; they all seemed to have a better idea what they were doing, and only Kirsti, Max, and Louis still relied heavily on getting one of the pros off the stage for lengths of time they way most of the dances had during the first time round. I didn’t actually see the results show Tuesday night, and in fact didn’t learn the results until fairly late Wednesday morning, but even if Kirsti did hands down have her best dance in the initial round, it was time for her to go even before that trio number was way more than anyone could overlook. The couple that went with her and Maks on the other hand, we knew it was going to be a big loss but even so. Gilles & Peeta going down early in the marathon last week was a surprise, but who would’ve thought it would lead to this result, especially when they were given time to recover from it? Everyone figured they’d make up for it this week. But they didn’t by enough. There too went my theory of a repeat of that season’s final. In fact, Melissa is now the only remaining contestant that hasn’t won already.
I suppose this really makes Shawn the undisputed favorite, and quite frankly, at the moment that’s quite irritating following that borderline offensive trio number which highlighted too how unfair it is that Shawn is getting both Derek and Mark to work for her; what can compete with that? Except when Derek seems unable to keep himself from getting too adventurous choreographing trio sambas; this is the second time in as many times they’ve done trios that he’s failed to choreograph an actual samba!
As a figure skating fan in the modern era, I am of course quite familiar with the concept of routines to two difference dance rhythms, though usually couples don’t try to do them to the same song(though Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon did two combo ODs to weirdly remixed versions of songs that couple provide for two different rhythms). Also, usually the combined rhythms are from the same group(i.e. polka this year combined with another ballroom rhythm). It seems as if whoever chose the rhythms before last week’s result show just wasn’t that prudent, and as a result, we really only got two combinations that really belonged together, putting the samba with the rumba and especially the tango with the paso doble; it’s no coincidence the latter was the routine that got the 30, though of course it didn’t hurt that the choreography had both Derek and Mark to contribute to it! I really liked Emmitt and Cherl’s Latin combo as well, and you’ve got the respect that one for being the only one that never used to a wardrobe change to mark a transition, but just sensibly followed the countours of the music and used the challenge to better express them:
He’s in the pink and he’s not afraid to keep it on!
But the real story of the night was the swing marathon, if only for the results. In all the previous marathons, if the results didn’t exactly tally to the order of general ranking of the couples in the judge’s eyes, the marathon was usually still won by one of the biggest favorites and the lower ranked couples tended to go earlier and higher ranked couples later. But here, we had Gilles & Peta out shockingly early, Shawn not making the top two either, and Kelly and Val doing so instead, and though perhaps Melissa and Tony winning isn’t quite as unbelievable as those three things, the normal pattern wouldn’t have made the the co-favorite or indeed top chllanger. Though then again, may that’s just yet another indication that the final is simply going to be a repeat of the season 8 finale; those three competitors are really starting to look like the favorites at this point.
Unfortunately thanks the the power continually blinking out in my house and sending my cable box awry before going out completely a little after 9:30 Monday night and not coming back until the next afternoon I haven’t seen all the numbers from this week, and I wasn’t able to vote, but I did get to see a good deal. Including, of course, the first perfect score of the season, and it’s probably insensitive to say this after what followed, but I have to admit, I find it weird that it was that particular dance by Sabrina & Louis that finally broke through. Any other season and sure, that could be a first 30, and certainly she didn’t deserve to be sent home for it! But here I had to ask what made it stand out from all the other brilliant routines we’ve seen already.
It was merely a coincidence of timing, of course, and one that made me wish Apolo and Karina had performed earlier; that number would’ve been really worthy of it. Or Melissa and Tony’s might of been, though it seemed Carrie Ann insisted on disagreeing anyway. An especially remarkable number considering poor Tony had to go on when no doubt his mind was far more on his family left in the path of Sandy(Maks I assume can similarly be praised, but thanks to my cable box I missed him and Kirsti):
Also when it came down to Sabrina & Louis and Apolo and Karina, I actually wondered if maybe too many of those voting hadn’t seen the latter due to the power failing, since they’d performed later; they were literally the last I saw before my power left for the night; if they’d gone I would’ve been really mad at the chosen dance order. But it seems as if Sabrina just can’t win on Week 6. It’s enough to make you wonder if there isn’t a little too much voting to the worse dancers on the show, but what can you do?
So we had a split competition, a week off from losing someone, five bob wigs Tuesday night, one overlapped song fr0m the first “Guilty Pleasures” week a few seasons back, and the team dances performed to recorded music instead of to the live band. I have very much mixed feelings about the last. Of course the house band isn’t always the best, and “Gagnam Style” especially might not have sounded right coming from them, and both the songs involved are known to be used in edited videos or videos of people dancing to them, so it made sense in both their cases. But it really just isn’t the same when the music isn’t live. At least they were only a handful of points apart so as not to wreck the leaderboard up too much, though then again, even that can make a huge difference these days!
And once again Gilles and Peta prove to me how incredible they are. I do not like “I Will Always Love You,” except occasionally when it features Homer Simpson kicking people. It is cheesy and overdone and I hate the whole self-sacrificing woman thing. And when Gilles & Peta rumbaed to it Monday, I simply could not tear my eyes away:
And then the next day they topped it off by his coming out and doing a freestyle solo in a nothing but a towel, which takes bravery. For that alone you gotta cheer for them.
(Admittedly Shawn and Derek were equally hypnotizing, and normally I might have even considered embedding their video instead. But I embedded Romeo & Chelsea’s last time around, and I am not embedding two dances to “My Heart Will Go On” after as many “Guilty Pleasures” weeks on Dancing With the Stars; I simply refuse)
In retrospect, I think the producers may be relieved their gimmick of having the couples pick each other’s dances saw almost everyone pretty much fumble it and not know what they were doing(for all Karina’s belief that Cheryl did). After all, if they’d manage to think enough to give each other dances that didn’t suit them, this week wouldn’t have been nearly as good.
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Is it really only the third week? It feels like later. This is what All-Stars should be about, one dazzling routine after another.
I’m not sure how many of them, though, really related to the dances they were supposedly remaking. Though I can’t comment on a lot of them, some because they were done before I started watching, and some because, contrary to what the celebrities persumably thought, I had no memory of them. Gilles & Cheryl’s original foxtrot, for instance, I can still only remember vaguely. Though that was okay, since Apolo & Karina’s was just so exquisite. In fact, I even wonder on some level if most of the celebrities shied away from doing the most truly iconic dances, because they didn’t want to have to outdo them.
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Watching the results pre-show, which I am getting in the bad habit of doing it seems, and thinking it’s hard to say any dance Melissa did was more defining than that first 48-hour waltz, I was actually brought back to my first exposure to Dancing With the Stars, a year before I actually started watching the series. At the time I was in the thick of the Star Wars fandom, and someone linked to Joey’s Jedi tango on YouTube. I quite enjoyed it. It was good to see it again, especially now that I had the context for it.
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