“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.
I made a prediction in Week 3 that Katherine, Donald,and William would be my top three. Week after week, they confirmed my first impressions through their sheer hard work and great performances. At times, I thought some were underscored or some overscored, but somehow America kept voting for the right celebs to return. Even though the three finalists are judged on a few dances tonight and tomorrow, it’s really the Freestyle that’s the most important. A fantastic Freestyle can cinch that win for a couple and a lackluster Freestyle performance can cost a couple that “DWTS” mirrorball trophy.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke’s Cha Cha. William looked very relaxed throughout his dance and it was clear he was enjoying himself. Being able to look as relaxed as he did is actually hard work. Even though I think the energy could have been a little sharper at times, William did a great job partnering Cheryl. I agree with judges that it was great. I would have liked to have seen a little more strength. Three “10s” are great, but I have no comparison with the other two dances yet. I’m not sure if I would have given “10s” for this final dance.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas’s Paso Doble. Katherine did a wonderful job with her Paso Doble. It was high quality and strong, but still feminine. I liked it better than her first Paso Doble. The costumes were beautiful. The music was a very traditional Paso Doble, which is nice to see for a change. As with William, I would have liked to see Katherine have a few moments of sharper dynamics. This routine was nevertheless very polished and very high quality in movement. I agree with judges, but I do feel they are more enthusiastic than it actually was. In my opinion, William and Katherine gave the same performance, so I don’t mind the “10s.”
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd’s Argentine Tango. It’s interesting, because Donald was standing around more than in his first Tango. Even though that could be criticized for lack of content, in my opinion, he did a fabulous job while “standing still” because it is so hard to pull off partnering without having step patterns to support you. The transitions were seamless and very smooth, but, like the other two dances, Donald could have been a bit more present and staccato in some of the leg work. The “8″ from Len in Week 5 was wrong. That should have been a “10.” I do agree with Len that it was a tad careful, but I also agree with Bruno that this Tango was more subtle. It’s not fair for Len not go give a “10″ to Donald because this performance was not worse than William’s or Katherine’s. It’s not fair to compare a high energy Cha Cha or the powerful Paso Doble. The Argentine Tango is way more subtle.
All three performances in Round One were on the same level. No one has taken the trophy yet. It’s all up to the Freestyle.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke’s Freestyle. It was a good dance, but for a Freestyle it was a little too normal. I think we all expect something different from any other dance we have seen. What I like seeing is that William is just having a good time. Will it be enough to win? It depends on whether Katherine or Donald will dance as if their life depended on it. In a way I have to agree a little bit with Len, it was a bit predictable. I would have given this three “9s.”
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas’s Freestyle. Now, that’s a Freestyle! It was very entertaining and well thought out, taking us back to the forties. From the music and costumes to the choreography, this Freestyle had the ingredients to be successful. From an energy perspective, I believe that this was Katherine’s most open and exuberant performance so far. Very well done. I totally agree with Bruno, Carrie Ann and Len. This is the first performance I agree with the scoring. This was worthy of three “10s.”
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd’s Freestyle. Wow, Donald! What can I say?! Every time I see Donald on the dance floor I feel like I’m watching a kid in a candy store and that’s the quality we all fell in love with. He’s so committed and willing to try anything. In this Freestyle, Donald danced as if his life depended on it. This was the energy I was missing in Round One from all celebs. Like with Katherine, this was a true Freestyle with all the right ingredients. It was very original. Again, I totally agreed with the judges.
Overall. Who Will Win?
After a great first round and an amazing Freestyle round, I would rank Donald and Katherine as a very close first and second, and then William in third place. That doesn’t mean that tomorrow night things can’t change. It’s still too close to call. No couple can rest on their laurels and take it easy tomorrow. I hope you guys voted!
What an awesome final it was tonight! Let me know what you think. You know where you can find me, @LouisvanAmstel on Twitter.
Visit www.lablastfitness.com for more info about Louis Van Amstel, LaBlast or to find out how to get his DVD workout series.