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 4, movie week! The stars and their partners danced to songs from various movie scores. It’s hard to compare the couples this week because of the variety of dances — from the Tango to paso doble, the soft Viennese Waltz to the Foxtrot. In the Tango, the couples must be in a close hold the entire time, except for the first and the last ten seconds. The paso doble has an advantage of being more spectacular than the ballroom dances, but the Foxtrot and Viennese Waltz can be easier to execute.
1. Chynna Philips and Tony Dovolani’s Tango
Oh my god, Tony coming out of the air! What a shame Chynna couldn’t get back into her dance. The beginning was promising and at least she didn’t stop. What helped them is that Chynna didn’t screw up steps — she just didn’t do the steps, that’s why it didn’t look too bad and that’s why the scores are OK (three 7s). I agree with the judges. I wish they would always be that encouraging though, because they could have trashed this performance. If they stay this week, I have a feeling she will come back strong.
2. David Arquette and Kym Johnson’s Paso Doble
From the dark place where David started, he did a remarkable job. He didn’t miss a single step, just a slight stumble at the end catching Kym. You can see David’s confidence growing from week to week. This was definitely his best performance yet. I do agree with Len, (only a little bit), that David needs to work on his shaping. Other than that David was very involved in the dance. It was not “Temple of Doom,” Len. Scores were well deserved (two 8s, one 7). He deserved maybe even three 8s.
3. Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya’s Viennese Waltz
Where would the show be without Carson? Their dance is such a clever way to mix entertainment value and still use elements of the Viennese Waltz. Carson executed the choreography well. Lucky for Carson, Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean” is slightly weird and effeminate, which gave Carson some leeway on his movements, which are slightly awkward at times. Len needs to lighten up! Yet he was cute saying he’d vote for them! Scores should have been like Chynna’s (three 7s) or even an 8 for Carson’s entertainment value, given this is movie week and Carson really expressed the dance he was given. (Carson got 6 from Len and two 7s from Carrie Ann and Bruno for a total of 20 out of 30).
4. Nancy Grace and Tristan McManus’ Paso Doble
I thought the video intro package was great and if Nancy can bring her TV persona to this dance she’s going to kill it. Nancy was good at the twist turns, which are the recognizable moves of the dance, but this song did not help a bit to create a powerful paso doble. I could see Nancy’s will to do well, so it wasn’t for her lack of effort. It was a clever move to make the skirt too long because it hid flexed feet and bent legs when they’re supposed to be straight. I kind of agree with the judges, but I don’t agree with Carrie Ann. Nancy needs to improve technique now to stay in the competition. Nancy, point your toes and become more aware of your legs! Wow, I did not agree with the scores. I’m sorry guys I thought this was more a mix of 6 and 7, especially compared to other couples. I love you Nancy, I want you to do well!
5. Hope Solo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s Foxtrot
Cute and what works for Hope is she’s solid in knowing the routine. The weird part is when Hope is doing the hard part in close hold she does better than when she’s alone which makes Hope look a little stiff at times. In other words, when it’s difficult choreography she does better than when it’s easier. Less thinking Hope and more doing, get out of your head. Totally agree with Len’s frustration. Team work is everything. Scores are great, on the high side though imo.
6. Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke’s Paso Doble
Even though you can see Rob is thinking about what comes next, he did a great, solid job. Rob is starting to become more expressive each week and you can see he’s committed. He does have to work on making his movements more fluid now. It’s sometimes too choppy. Carrie Ann, I actually was waiting for MORE Superman powers! Having said that, the costume was Clark Kent, not Superman. In that case, I agree with Len. Scores (three 8s) are deserved, maybe one 7 instead.
7. Ricki Lake and Derek Hough’s Tango
Within 10 seconds, you could see this was the best dance of the night so far. Awesome job. Great mood, posture and energy. This music was hard, but they dealt with it amazingly. It was real international-style Tango and in closed hold (one of the “DWTS” rules), which is harder than the other dances. My only criticism is stamina overall, and consistency within Ricki’s frame. Scores are amazing (two 10s, one 9 from Len). A little surprised about the two 10s.
8. Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer’s Paso Doble
What a fun and clever video package! This dance is the most active I have seen Chaz take on and he shows a lot more involvement. Chaz started off tentative, but got stronger by the end. Very nice to see Carrie Ann’s emotions and encouraging words. Chaz is improving each week — maybe a bit slower than other celebs — but he keeps growing. Chaz just won’t give up. Good scores (three 7s).
9. J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff’s Foxtrot
Best dance of the night! This was not as flashy in terms of music or as a dance, but this was pure quality. J.R.’s posture, musicality and technique will get him to the finals. If I have to criticize J.R., I’d say he could be more expressive and include the audience more. J.R. is really learning how to dance properly in such a short amount of time. The humor was cute, not too much. I disagree with Scores (two 9s, one 8). In this case, I’d say he should have received the same scores as Ricki (two 10s, one 9).
From a dancing point of view, I’m worried for Nancy and Chaz, but they are both very likeable. It’s going to be so interesting to see who gets the votes!
Get the latest from Louis van Amstel at his website, Lablastfitness.com.