" 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.
Today I had the pleasure to see all couples in dress rehearsal, which takes place about three hours before the live show. It's interesting to compare who's better live versus in the dress rehearsal. Latin night is Hot Hot Hot! Having Santana in the house brings it to a whole other level. I'm also very excited to be performing tonight with Anna Trebunskaya. Let the hotness begin.
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Jaleel White and Kym Johnson's Samba. Very solid and got better as it went on. Three lifts, hopefully they won't do that tonight! Jaleel's energy was better than in the dress rehearsal and had some very strong moments. I want to see more personality from now on and warmth in his movement if he wants to go all the way. The judges were fair. The scores were a bit low for the compliments they were given by the judges. I'd say a "9? would've been deserved (for his physical execution).
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy's Salsa. Melissa took the right approach for dress rehearsal to mark her routine physically, leaving the performance level to the live show. I loved the "headache" and "sex" comments in their package. I really respect and love Melissa's effort she puts into each dance. She really gave it her all. Like Len said, it was sometimes a bit rough though. Unlike Bruno and Carrie Ann, I believe Melissa is sometimes so in her head(in control)that's why she doesn't allow her body to move freely. I do agree with Carrie Ann when she said Melissa's base was too big. It stops you from being able to be flexible with your hips. I still would have given an "8? in there.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough's Salsa. All I can think is you guys are going to love this routine. It's fun, daring and clever. This is dress rehearsal; let's see if Maria is going to bring it like that tonight? Poor woman, another injury, landing on her chin must have hurt like crazy. Seeing this routine for the second time I really liked the performance part and the energy. The song did help a lot. I said it before, Derek was very clever choreographing the routine and keeping Maria in close hold most of the time with many arm patterns holding both of her arms. Very entertaining, but I have to be honest if I purely look at Maria's body (which is very hot by the way), there's very little flexibility and hip action compared to some other celebs. To move forward I'd like to see stronger legs and feet. Judges, in my opinion, overrated this performance. I would have given three "8s."
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas' Argentine Tango. Katherine did a very solid routine, also saving her energy for the live show. Or, at least, that's what it looked like. Wow, Katherine is the epitome of beauty inside and out. She is the queen of making subtlety very powerful. The quality and integrity of Katherine is way ahead of the rest of the celebs. I totally agree with judges. Three "10s" in my book. Come on grumpy Len!
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff's Samba. Gavin messed up a lot in the beginning of his dance but, you know what, this is rehearsal. The last chance. Remember the saying, "A bad rehearsal means a good performance"? Hopefully this is true for Gavin. Thank goodness Gavin didn't mess up his steps. Gavin didn't do that bad at all. He had awkward movements in there, but it somehow looked cute and he bounced all the way through. We'll leave in the middle if the bounce was done right, but at least he bounced. I agree with the judges. Even though they had some rude comments, they turned it into something positive. The scores are okay.
And then there was…..Anna and I dancing to Santana. What a great experience to dance to his music…again…and dancing with Anna.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke's Argentine Tango. Another solid rehearsal. No sign of an injury that might make him throw in the towel, thank goodness. They have a very unconventional song for Tango, but it works. Cheryl told me she was worried about her song, but I loved it. William did awesome. He had great form and was naturally sexy without trying too hard. He had some tentative moments and sometimes a bit piecy but, overall, a great, great job. I love the judge's comments. Three "9s" in my book. For "10s" it needed more fluidity.
Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus' Samba. Gladys started her rehearsal dance just marking through, but as the dance went on she just couldn't help herself and she just put her soul into it. I love this samba version of fever. I know this lady's traveling schedule for touring, but Gladys doesn't show the wear and tear at all. Form and lines are not Gladys's forte, but does she make up for that with her musicality and wit. Such fun to watch. This choreography was better this week. Great job. Moving forward to double dances, Gladys needs to work on finishing off her physical body and become more aware of the designs she creates. I love the judge's comments, but their scores didn't reflect them. Glad for the "8? from Bruno.
Roshon Fagen and Chelsie Hightower 's Salsa. If this is dress rehearsal for Roshon I'm looking forward to tonight's show when his adrenaline is going to kick in! I loved how they had some sexy moments and yet it was innocent. Roshon danced like it was his last dance. He's showing very clearly that he wants to stay in this competition. Strong moments, speed, flexibility and great partnering with Chelsie. I liked Carrie Ann's comments! It was very age appropriate. Salsa and calming down, Len? I do actually understand what he's saying, but Roshon wants to show America he doesn't want them to be in the bottom two. The scores are good. I'd say three "9s."
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd 's Tango. All I'm going to say is if dress rehearsal was the live show this Argentine Tango would be the dance of the night in my book! Last week I thought they were overrated with their Paso Doble, this week I totally think they're underrated (by Len and Bruno). This dance was Donald's best dance by far. Not one little hitch or tentative moment. It had great stillness in the top, fast foot work, dynamic changes and great partnering, especially in the lifts. I totally disagree with Len. For crying out loud, he's a football player with no dance experience doing this with only five days of rehearsal. Three "10s" in my opinion.
Overall: It was such a great day to have met all the celebs and see them dance during dress rehearsal. Everyone did better than in rehearsal, which is not the norm. I'm worried for Gavin and Melissa tomorrow when I look at the dancing and how the personalities come across, but after Sherri Shepherd's surprise elimination it just goes to show you that "Dancing" is about so much more than just dancing well.