“Dancing With the Stars” pro Louis van Amstel blogs on season 14 of “DWTS.” The three-time world dance champion and creator of LaBlast fitness-based dance DVD workouts starred on seven seasons of the hit ABC show and weighs in on the dances, the judges scores and who will be eliminated.
The couples who danced a ballroom dance last week had the Jive this week and the ones who danced the Cha Cha last week had the Quickstep. In this case, the Quickstep is the harder of the two dances because the couples only have 10 seconds in the beginning and the end to play with open choreography. The rest must be in close hold in a beautiful frame. Even though the Jive is fast, there’s a lot more room to wiggle around and use personality to cover up. Let’s see how everybody did!
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower’s Quickstep. Roshon is young and very free spirited. Let’s see if he can keep it cool, calm, and collected. I have to say, they both look stunning. His slender body makes him look tall and really helps him look dapper. Roshon’s posture was great and everything looked very smooth. Very nicely done. I totally agreed with the judges. I’m with Carrie Ann. I was worried too much swagger would kill his Quickstep, but it didn’t at all. Scores are high (26), but well deserved.
Sherri Sheppard and Val Chmerkovskiy’s Quickstep. I can’t stop laughing watching their package! Will stamina stop Sherri? I don’t think so. I love the gold dress on her, very tasteful. What a shame they missed their trick. For entertainment value and involvement, Sherri deserves a 10, but in my opinion, the dance was missing Jive content. I totally believe Sherri can handle more content. Judges graded her on entertainment value, not necessarily Jive content. Oh, thank God, Len at least mentioned the lack of Jive content. Scores are good for Sherri’s personality (23). For this Jive, I would have given three 7s. I have to say, it’s still early so personality is very important.
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy ‘s Quickstep. I like the fact Melissa takes her dancing very seriously and is really involved in the whole rehearsal process. She didn’t miss a step in her routine, but overall, being so serious can look heavy in the performance. Unfortunately, the heaviness affected Melissa’s frame, which should have been lifted up and over, more backwards throughout. Melissa, try and have more fun with it all! Len and Carrie Ann were contradicting each other in their critiques; she liked the end better than the beginning and Len said exactly the opposite. The energy was better towards the end. I would have given three 7s, but it’s not just about dancing. Judges’ scores: 20.
Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya’s Jive. Jack has come out of his shell so much compared to last week. Even though he can loosen up even more, Jack did an absolute great Jive. They had great content, musicality and good posture. The kicks could have been a bit sharper, but were way better than I expected. I totally agree with Len. Bruno, he only missed his kicks a few times! I don’t think Jack over did his Jive. What does Jive mean: fun and be over the top. If Sherri had an eight, Jack deserved an eight too for Jive content. Judges’ scores: 21.
Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus’ Quickstep. Unfortunately Gladys’ Quickstep lacked energy and frame. There were some basic elements and jump patterns, but Gladys’ posture was way too forward. It hurts me to say all of this, because I’m a big fan of Gladys’ and a friend. There was very little flow in the choreography, which didn’t help transitions either. She has so much personality, which just didn’t come through the dance tonight. I loved her hair and makeup, but the dress did not live up to Gladys, being a living legend and all! She’s more classy than that dress, sorry. Overall scores are OK, (19). Maybe not five, but I’d give a six.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas’ Jive. Katherine’s Jive was amazing. I loved everything about it. I’m amazed at how well she’s able to switch from elegance and class to being sassy and so free in her expression. If I have to find something to criticize, Katherine could have been given more Jive content – especially with her ability. I agree with Len about the middle section, but also all the kudos. Their scores (26) are well deserved. She needs the votes because not many people know her in the U.S. The Sabrina Bryan fiasco can’t happen again!
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson’s Jive. Jaleel’s Jive was very well rehearsed and technically, very sound. It just missed the mark on energy and was too tentative. After last week, I kind of expected more guts on the dance floor. It was very safe. I have to agree with Len. Carrie Ann hit it right on. Scores are OK (22). If they’re here next week, which I think they will be, Jaleel needs to become more expressive and external.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough’s Quickstep. It’s nice to finally see high energy on the dance floor from Maria. I appreciate the effort Maria put in to stay connected to Derek at all times when in full close hold. She kept a good posture throughout. Even though the steps sometimes weren’t fully in sync, the overall performance was a great balance between personality and content. Bruno, I wouldn’t call it near perfection, for that they should have been in close hold all the way. I agree with Carrie Ann and Len that she made huge improvements from last week. Three eights in my book, not a nine. Judges’ scores: 25.
Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani’s Jive. I’m so rooting for Martina, but she messed up quite a few times. I like seeing the joy on her face and her warmth comes through her dance, but unfortunately the Jive kicks weren’t very crisp or in sync with Tony. Martina was better in close hold, which I would have liked to have seen more of in the routine. It always makes the partner feel more secure. I would have definitely put a dress on Martina with her strong legs. If you have great legs, show them! Actually, I liked Bruno’s encouraging feedback. Scores are OK, 25, but comparing Len’s scores to Gladys’s five I make my case that it should have been a six. Gladys was a bit boring, but didn’t miss a step.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd’s Quickstep. Go Peta, push Donald! He’s a foot ball player, he can handle it. That was a proper, technically sound and fun Quickstep. They had just the right energy. It was the best Quickstep of the night in my opinion. Donald had great posture, a great smile, and stayed cool throughout. They look beautiful as a couple. What’s up with that lift in the middle? That’s the second week in a row. Playing with fire, I like it! I agree with judges all the way. Just one thing, Carrie Ann, are you the lift police? Three 8s? With those comments there should have been a nine in there, unless she deducted a point without mentioning the lift. Donald’s Quickstep was more in character than Maria’s, even though I liked hers. Judges’ scores: 24.
Gavin McGraw and Karina Smirnoff’s Jive. Just like last week, I was worried for Gavin while watching the video package, but again this week he did better than I expected. I’m very happy to see Gavin getting through without any mistakes and loosening up more as the dance went along. Sometimes I felt that Gavin was a bit slow, behind the music and that his kicks were slightly sloppy. Judges were fair and so were the scores, 21.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke’s Quickstep. Can the Cuban do Ballroom? Are you ladies even paying attention to the dancing? Towards the end it got a little sloppy and William’s butt was sticking out at times because he leans forward. In all fairness though, this is partly because of William and Cheryl’s height difference. Having said all this, I’m impressed at how well he danced. William’s arms were up the entire time, the routine had a lot of content and I really appreciated how involved he was in the character of Quickstep — far from Cuban. He’s going far on dance talent, not relying just on looks and a hot bod! I disagree with Len. I thought itt was great. In this case, I agree with Bruno. I would have given two eights and one nine. William danced his heart out for these scores! Judges’ scores: 25.
Overall. There were some disappointing routines and some really great ones this week. My top three tonight — William, Katherine and Roshon; all three have been consistent and have shown the most potential so far. Donald is an up and comer. I’m worried mostly for Martina (not happy about that) and am not sure if Gavin’s fan base can overrule Martina’s. I’m also slightly worried for Melissa. We’ll all have to wait to find out.
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