Former “Dancing With the Stars” pro Louis Van Amstel blogs on season 13 of “DWTS.” The three-time world dance champion, who starred on seven seasons of the hit ABC show, weighs in on the dances, the judges’ scores and who will be eliminated.
Week 2. Tonight there weren’t any real standout performances and there weren’t any real terrible ones. It makes it harder to pick who I think is in trouble. Full critiques below, in random order, and then I’ll tell you who I think is in danger of elimination.
J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff ‘s Jive. J.R. did such a natural jive, as if he has done it for years. I also love the fact that he enjoys himself so much. He’s great at both ballroom and Latin. He’s the one to watch out for. The only Lindy Hop I saw in the dance were the Lindy kicks on stage and toward the end, which many world class competitors have in their jive routines. So Len, why are you calling them out on it? It was maybe 10 seconds of the whole routine! Oh, and Lindy Hop is part of the heritage of jive. I do have to agree with Carrie Ann’s critique — there was a lift. I just hope she’s going to be a consistent lift police officer this season! I’d give them three 8s.
Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus‘ Quickstep. What I love about Nancy is she’s having a good time on the dance floor and knows the routine and hears the music. From a choreographer’s point of view, it was a simple and clear quickstep. Yes Len, Nancy held her arms up all the time, but her posture was not very lifted up and over like a beautiful mayflower, and there was quite a bit of space in between them. I’d like to see more power from the legs, but a good job for the second week. She gets a 6 or 7 in my book, definitely no 8 … Sorry Nancy, I love you!
Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani’s Jive. Chynna looks gorgeous and seems to have a good time. It’s just a shame her body doesn’t move as freely as her facial expressions. There is a disconnect. I so wish Chynna well because she looks like a hard worker, but she dances like she’s driving with the brakes on. Tony, I truly believe you can give Chynna more real ballroom technique to work with. She can handle it. Judges gave her 7s, which was good. High in comparison to J.R.’s scores!
Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke’s Jive. It might not be the best jive Rob is doing, but he’s keeping up with the music. He could be a natural if he would relax into the movement more. Not sure if the costume helps him a lot, but I guess it’s appropriate for the song. It took 24 seconds before they started dancing. Rob is not going home because he’s likable and showed improvement. (By the way, in my opinion, it’s not relevant if Rob is better than Kim! I don’t think the judges have to point that out. Why? To make Rob feel good, or to make Kim feel bad?) His score of three 7s is good, but again high if you’re comparing him to J.R.
Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer’s Quickstep. I just love it that Chaz is having such a good time dancing. Yes, it was a bit slow, but not that much slower than Nancy’s quickstep. Chaz’s posture was much better than Nancy’s in my opinion — even though the female posture is harder in ballroom. So, Len, was there really a three point difference between Nancy (8) and Chaz (5)? Absolutely not. The pros decide the choreography which kind of determined the scores in this case. Tristan kept it more traditional and Lacey opened up the choreography (a riskier move), but the celebs shouldn’t have to pay the price! Awesome job Chaz. Keep up the good work!
Elisabetta Canalis and Val Chmerkovskiy ‘s Quickstep. So much better than their Cha Cha last week. Elisabetta is so beautiful and I love her energy in this dance. You’d expect a hot Italian woman to be great at Latin, but her ballroom, so far, is way better. Her posture was great. She just needs to find the consistency and stay connected with Val in the ballroom hold. She deserved an 8. Their choreography was faster and harder. (Len, I don’t get you tonight! Still love you though … lol, or do you have a little thing for Miss Grace???)
David Arquette and Kym Johnson’s Jive. David needs to listen to the music. It’s painful to watch if there’s no musicality. What gets him through is the willpower; he’s just having a good time for himself. He needs to build a stronger body, so he can be sharper with his body movement. His body is not “too loose,” it’s just not precise enough. I think that’s what Bruno tried to say! I give him props for learning all that choreography though. The judges’ scores of 6s across the board are alright. But, if in the judge’s mind David’s dance was “like a runaway train” according to Bruno, then why did he get 6s and Chaz got a 5, and they weren’t as tough on him?
Ricki Lake and Derek Hough’s Jive. As much as I loved Ricki last week, I thought her jive this week was inconsistent. At times she looked very nervous and other times really into it. One moment she was into the music, the next moment she was off. It also took them 24 seconds to get into jive. Bruno, I don’t know what you think is a correct jive kick, but — I’m sorry! — it wasn’t Ricki’s. Jive kicks are rebounded with the knees, not the ankles and feet. In that case, J.R. got closer to a proper jive kick. I’d give her three 7s. (Judges scores: 8, 7, 8).
Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s Jive. OMG, those costumes!? Fun and very different for Maks. Yes, Hope was a little sloppy and hunched over at times, but she’s powerful. She went for it and didn’t miss a step. She now has to polish her dancing on the outside, but she’s got the meat and potatoes. Chynna needs to do exactly the opposite; she’s very polished on the outside, but needs to get her guts more involved. Hope’s scores are a little low in comparison.
Kristin Cavallari and Mark Ballas’ Quickstep. If it weren’t for all the gimmicks during the quickstep I would have given them three 8s for sure and the best dance of the night. It’s such a shame because Kristin had great posture (the best of the night in my opinion) and when in hold they stayed in touch. If a celebrity can’t move, then the more gimmicks the better. But if she can dance, let her do the real deal! It’s also keeping the integrity of the dance, so people watching can learn about the proper way of doing it.
Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya’s Quickstep. It was fun to watch Carson and Anna. He did all his steps and kept up the smile. Now Carson needs more quality in the movement if he wants to go further in the competition. If I listened to the judges, then this was another train wreck, which it wasn’t at all. (Len and Bruno, were you and I watching the same dance? Dancing on banana skins? Len, you’d be starving? If it was the worst of the night, then why did Carson get a 6 and Chaz got a 5?)
So, who’s in danger of elimination this week?
From a dancing point of view, I think David Arquette and Chaz Bono are in trouble, but they’re both very likable. Overall, I’m still worried for Elisabetta. On dancing alone, she deserves to stay though!
Note: I’m writing this blog while sailing on the Oasis of the Seas in the middle of the ocean. I only was able to watch the dances on the internet with some of the judges comments. Thank you Rickey.org for putting the dances online so fast. I couldn’t have written this blog if it weren’t for you!
Get the latest from Louis van Amstel at his website, Lablastfitness.com.