" 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. You can find him on Twitter @LouisvanAmstel.
It's already week eight and this week is especially exciting because they've added a new segment to the show - the trio dances. It's interesting to see what the pros have come up with and to see how the celebs deal with an extra pro in the equation. Plus, this week is harder with two dances. It's do or die. Let the games begin!
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd's Tango. What's difficult about the Tango is staying in close hold most of the time while still making it interesting. Donald did an awesome job, yet again. Great attack, and nice legato movements as well. Great posture. Nice creative ways to play with the hold, yet staying in hold. Totally agree with judges. Carrie Ann, I'm not sure what Donald could have done to create more drama. A Tango the face should stay calm, it's the movement that should be dramatic, that's what we call staccato. Good scores! If this was the last performance of the night it could have been 10 in my book.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough's Viennese Waltz. Beautiful job on the choreography, keeping it soft and tender. They have very nice chemistry, which was unexpected after seeing the video package. Maria shows that she will do anything necessary to make the top four, which in itself is admirable. Maria is a fighter and that's inspirational, but from a dancing point of view, I miss the flexibility from her body. If Maria makes it to next week I'd like Derek to challenge her by giving her choreography that's partly solo, so she can show America what she's really made of. I actually disagree with Len. I thought it was too much in hold (not close hold, on that point I agree with Len). I want to see more side by side and true elements like spins to show individuality. I don't get the 10's. I don't get the 8 either. For 10s Maria needed to be better technically and have more power behind her movement. Her performance was a 9 in my book.
Melissa Gilbert and Maks Chmerkovskiy's Foxtrot. Melissa is holding her own in the package, not even attacking back, so good for her! OK, there was one little glitch in the beginning, but overall it was solid and powerful. As a matter of fact it was sometimes too powerful, sacrificing the soft and tender moments which are characteristic of the Foxtrot. Like last week, from the point of view of a choreographer, it was more challenging, which I always believe at this point in the game should be rewarded. I do think the atmosphere in rehearsals affected the performance. We needed to see more warmth between them. Following two weeks of being underscored, I feel this week the judges were overly nice. It was good though, not great. I'm glad Maks realizes he went too far. That's a big deal. I think the score are appropriate, but I don't get the judges giving all that praise and then awarding three eights!
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas' Viennese Waltz. I just love watching Katherine move. She's so elegant, classy, and I have so much respect for her beautiful movement. The hold was gorgeous; she swung across the floor with such ease. What I'm noticing watching this couple dance is just how much Katherine has affected Mark. I've never seen Mark so calm and happy. It's so nice to see how sometimes it is the celebrity who brings out the best in the pro. (I remember how Kelly Osbourne affected me, it's so humbling.) Now you two, go make beautiful babies…Totally agree with Len, except his remark about the last trick. It was appropriate, it's "DWTS." I actually agree with Bruno - the coming up at the end was a bit wobbly. Carrie Ann, did you watch the same Viennese Waltz? You're nuts (I love you still!) Scores too low, eight? Really?
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower's Foxtrot. Awww, how cute having both of his grandmothers in rehearsal. They cracked me up. Unlike Melissa's Foxtrot, Roshon's was fresh, light footed, with warmth in the movement - exactly what the Foxtrot is supposd to be. I also thought they interpreted the music and I believe this routine, including the outfits, was very age appropriate. Roshon's hold and foot work were amazing and I loved how expressive Roshon was. In my opinion, this was his best quality dance of the season. Totally agree with Bruno, for once, and Carrie Ann and Len. He deserves 10s for that. Oh, come on Len, they deserved all three 10s!
William Levy and Cheryl Burke's Foxtrot. Wow, William. I'm impressed with that Foxtrot. It was a great performance. William was very solid in his movement and like Roshon, it was very appropriate. The costumes, the music, the choreography, it all made sense. Even though it was absolutely solid, sometimes William's movement were too rigid. The Foxtrot is known for being subtlety powerful, almost like what Bob Fosse was known for (Google this brilliant man, if you don't know him). Agree with judges, one 10 would be deserved. If Roshon had gotten three 10s, William should have received two 10s. Roshon's Foxtrot was technically better. What's not fair is that William's music was more powerful than Roshon's was and music is chosen by the producers.
Donald's Jive with Peta and Karina. I'm sure Donald was in Candyland ! Oh my God, how entertaining was that? Brilliant! Great choreography, a lot of Jive content, awesome sharp kicks. Donald, you're my man. He shows so much heart and dedication, not just to wanting to win "DWTS," but actually wanting to learn how to dance properly. I don't think Donald has ever missed a step all season. Also, I loved the costumes! Len, you bug me tonight. You too Bruno. They totally should have triple 10!!!!
Maria's Bollywood Samba with Derek and Henry. Nice, Maria, two boys to your disposal? I've been on Maria's case for not moving enough on her own and dancing with her body, and well, in this dance she did both. The Bollywood was awesome and Maria totally captured the character, which is not easy. If this were Samba with Bollywood, it needed more Samba content. If this were Bollywood with some Samba, this was her best dance in my opinion. Costumes were beautiful. I actually disagree with Bruno and Carrie Ann, in this case in Maria's favor. I do agree with Len, there wasn't enough Samba content. I find it confusing from the video package and don't think the producers made it clear if this was Bollywood or Samba. She was underscored though, deserved three 9s at least. I don't know what Len's on this week.
Melissa's Samba with Maks and Val. I'm sure many women ( and men) are jealous of Melissa right now. Melissa looks so good in that black, Latin dress. Hot, yet very classy. This was the most expressive I've seen Melissa. Movement-wise, she had some stiff moments, and in my opinion, her movement was too big at times, but it was very powerful. Melissa was in control of her boys. I agree with the judges, even though they were a little too kind in their assessment. I'm happy for her scores, but Len giving Melissa a nine and Maria a seven doesn't make sense.
Katherine's Cha Cha with Mark and Tristan. I think in this trio all of England is represented! What a trooper Katherine is to keep on dancing while her pants are stuck to her foot. The routine was good; Katherine's movement was graceful as ever. I really liked how she acted out the ending, making her stronger and less submissive. It lacked a little in energy in the performance during the dance. Hot dress! It was wonderful - not absolutely wonderful, Bruno. Carrie Ann, I thought last week Katherine's energy in her Rumba was appropriate, because of the classical music, this week it could have been more energy. I would have given this three 9s, no 10s, sorry.
Roshon's Paso Doble with Chelsie and Sasha. That was absolutely powerful from beginning to end. And I totally appreciate the real Paso Doble content. Those knee walk, or better said, knee runs were amazing. Roshon totally rose to the occasion going towards Sasha's level. Roshon danced his heart out, he wants to stay, and deserves to stay. With performances like this Roshon can make the final three. Judges, you should really watch the monitors so you see what we see at home. I didn't notice anything that wasn't in sync. Len, thank God you lightened up. Two fries chasing the Ketchup? Great scores. I kind of expected Len to give him a 10.
William's Paso Doble with Cheryl and Tony. I think William is growing with every dance he performs. This routine was not easy, adding in Flamenco elements, cape work, and putting him on the dance floor with another male pro. Still, he stood his own, and showed that he also is in it to win it. William comes across as very sincere and hard working. Carrie Ann, why wouldn't you care for Flamenco? It's part of the Paso Doble character! Dance history is easily found on Google! Bruno, he only missed one movement, don't exaggerate. Scores good.
Overall. I think adding the trio dances this week is the best thing the producers have ever done so far. It was very entertaining and all the pros did an amazing job creating these dances.
Wow, I'm totally confused on who I'm worried for this week. Between the judges' crazy scoring and the surprising performances, I have no idea who's going to be on the chopping block. It's going to be an emotional result show tomorrow. Everyone tonight danced as if their lives depended on it. Good luck to all tomorrow. Tonight was a huge success!
Please share your opinions with me on Twitter @LouisvanAmstel. If you agree or disagree I'm ready to hear all about it!
Visit www.lablastfitness.com for more info about Louis Van Amstel, LaBlast or to find out how to get his DVD workout series.