“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.
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Week 6, wow, how fast is this season going by!
Motown week opens with legendary artists. How awesome is that? The energy is wild from the get-go. Hopefully all the couples will be able to live off of that energy. Tonight won’t just be solos. The marathon dance is back so all couples will be on the floor at the same time, which is always interesting. Let’s see who has the stamina to stay on top and who will really dance. Having double dances now, the celebs have to really step up to the plate. There’s a lot more to memorize.
Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus’s Rumba. Wow, awesome package. What a great moment for Tristan! The positives: Gladys has such a natural way of moving, she makes it look so easy. Nice hip action too. She is such a delight to watch and very soulful as usual. Keeping the Rumba timing (when there was Rumba timing) was right on. The negatives: Gladys needs to work on her leg action. They were bent throughout and they should be straight as an arrow. Also, as cute as the gimmicks were, there were a bit too many. Having said all that, I still think this was one of Gladys’ better dances simply because she is her movement internally (Capiche?!). I agree with Len. The scores are OK, but I don’t know yet what the other couples will get.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough’s Foxtrot. That’s a fast foxtrot. Maria did a great job. It’s a shame about the little mishap on the stairs. Great frame, very good posture and as a couple they moved nicely and smoothly across the floor. I do feel Maria is quite stiff and needs to loosen up if she wants to go to the finals. In the hold, Maria is solid, but when Derek lets her go she looks pretty tight and insecure. I agree with Len’s first part “In hold,” but “NOT in hold.” It wasn’t as great. As a matter of fact, that’s where Maria lost her footing. I agree with Carrie Ann’s score – three “8′s” in my book.
Roshon Fagan and Chelsie Hightower’s Rumba. This was a very solid performance by Roshon. He looked very comfortable in this routine, awesome arm lines. The momentum in one of the turns caused a very slight lift. Roshon attacked this Rumba a little hard sometimes which sacrificed some of the tenderness and sensuality that is so important for the Rumba. It was very age appropriate though. Carrie Ann, wow, now you’re going to be the lift police after so many other competitors did lifts before and you didn’t mention anything. Even though the judges had a weird way of criticizing Roshon, I do agree with them. The judges could have been a little less aggressive about it. The scores are low-ish. I’d say the scores should have been the same as Maria, three “8′s.” (In my opinion, Maria should have gotten three “8′s.”)
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas’ Samba. This was another beautiful performance by Katherine. She just doesn’t have a bad movement in her body. There were a lot of great technical elements in that routine, with a good, solid bounce. I’m going to be a little more critical of Katherine right now (In my opinion, in comparison, she’s already better than anyone else). Katherine can finish her legs off better when closing her feet and when doing a Latin dance she should express it differently from her ballroom dances. Everything is always “pretty.” I sometimes want to see the differences — sultry, hot, rough, sweet, bitchy, sensitive. She can show more variety. I like what Carrie Ann said, although I would have liked to see a bit more ‘In your face’. A little over-scored. Three “9′s,” in my opinion, but since Maria got such high scores two “10s” are deserved in comparison.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd’s Foxtrot. Is Donald really a football player? He’s not a dancer? Donald totally impressed me again tonight with his dance. It had great Foxtrot content. He had a great frame and let’s not even get started on Donald’s charisma. It was strong when it needed to be and soft when the time was right. Awesome job, especially knowing he’s not a performer, dancer, singer, actor at all — and yet he does it all with ease. And another great costume! I totally agree with Bruno. That was cute, Len! I agree with Len that Donald can do more. Get your freestyle music! Well deserved scores. If they would have given one “10,” I would have agreed.
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s Viennese Waltz. From a quality point of view, this was Melissa’s best dance. What I also appreciate is that Maks choreographed some side-by-side parts where Melissa is totally by herself spinning and moving beautifully. It shows Melissa is not afraid to take on challenges. Her frame was a little off and her shoulders up, but besides that it was great. Melissa is also more relaxed now, which she could still take to another level. Melissa looks so pretty tonight. Thank you, Carrie Ann, I totally agree. Nice and deserved comments from the judges. In comparison to Maria, Melissa should have also gotten “9′s.” I actually think Melissa’s Viennese Waltz had more quality than Maria’s (Don’t get me wrong, I love Maria.).
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson’s Cha Cha Cha. It’s nice for Jaleel having already done the dual Cha Cha Cha so he has half the choreography in the can. I thought this routine was very Motown in every aspect from costumes to choreography. It took away a bit from the Cha Cha Cha technique, but this is Motown week so no one can say it wasn’t right. What made Kym so happy in their package was Jaleel’s sharpness in his legs and feet and he sure did a good job. It’s strange; Jaleel did such a good job, he tried his hardest and yet something is missing. I can’t put my finger on it, but I’m missing sincerity. Maybe he’s trying too hard to please? Or to cover up? You decide. Bruno, calm down. It was great, not a “10″ though. Over-scored, sorry. It was very, very good, but not two “10s.”
William Levy and Cheryl Burke’s Rumba. That video package was too funny. There is lots of pressure on Williams shoulders having a Cuban Rumba. That’s a fast Rumba. What I so appreciate about William is that he doesn’t play the HOT card. You can see he really puts the effort in to learn each element of the dance, and with success. When this routine allowed him, he had great body movement and hip action but, unfortunately, I didn’t see enough of it. That’s a shame because he can actually move. There was quite a bit of standing around. Great partnering. Bruno, in my opinion, hypes it up a little too much, like with Jaleel. I actually agree with Carrie Ann all the way. Len, it wasn’t raunchy. It’s funny. In my opinion, Bruno hypes it up too much and Len trashes it unnecessarily. Absolutely no ”10.” A “9″ and two “8s,” yes. Bruno should take some Rumba lessons.
The Marathon Group Dance. It’s fun to see everyone on the floor at the same time. It can be stressful and yet it’s freeing to have to improvise and just go crazy. I pretty much agree overall with the outcome. I did think William should have been out earlier and Donald should have stayed longer, just because they were dancing Cha Cha Cha and executing big lifts. I would have given it to Katherine or Donald.
There was a lot of under and over-scoring tonight which is confusing and not helpful in crowning the best dancers. It comes down to the public vote to keep the best dancers in the game. I’m so anxious to find out what the outcome will be tomorrow. I’ll see you guys on the dance floor tomorrow night. Don’t forget to share your thoughts with me on Twitter @LouisvanAmstel.
Visit www.lablastfitness.com for more info about Louis Van Amstel, LaBlast or to find out how to get his DVD workout series.