“Dancing With the Stars” pro Louis van Amstel blogs on season 16 of “DWTS.” The three-time world dance champion and creator of LaBlast fitness-based dance DVD workouts has starred on seven seasons of the hit ABC show and weighs in on the dances, the judges’ scores and who will be eliminated each week. You can find him on Twitter @LouisvanAmstel.
By Louis Van Amstel
Here we go: another season and more celebs. It’s blogging time. Are you ready?
I am excited to write my blogs again for you this season. I like to say that whatever I write is my professional opinion, nothing personal. Sometimes I like something, and another time I might not like that same couple. It wouldn’t be right or interesting if I say everyone is “great” and everything is “fun.” That’s not what blogging is about. I am asked to look at the show using my experience and knowledge. Honesty and integrity is what I’m asked to do, so that’s what I’ll do. Enough talk, let’s get started.
Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson’s Quickstep: Wow, Ingo is amazing in his hold. He’s spot on with his steps, musicality and he’s having a lot of fun. Great job! Bruno doesn’t know the difference between heels and toes, so stick with talking about performance. Carrie Ann, Ingo’s hold was great, especially in week two. Len, being less grumpy suits you better! The scores are too low. I’d give that an eight.
Dorothy Hamill and Tristan MacManus’ Jive: I so feel for Dorothy in being an athlete and not being able to go full out in rehearsal. What a shame they didn’t have all week to rehearse because it showed in the performance. Having said that, you can clearly see Dorothy’s ear for music and warmth in her movement. Even though the trick toward the end went wrong, she saved it well. If her injury is beatable, she can go far in this competition. I have to agree with judges, although I don’t want to. Who doesn’t love Dorothy Hamill? Len, I thought you weren’t grumpy tonight, but I guess I was wrong. Carrie Ann, thanks for the encouragement. I still would have given a six or seven based on natural ability, even though the routine was shaky.
Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff’s Jazz: How are you going to compare apples to oranges and bananas with ballroom and Latin? I guess I’m going to try. They had a great mix of the Charleston, Lindy Hop, a high entertainment value and awesome lifts done with ease, all done in a jazzy jacket. I thought it was too short! Not having seen anyone else, I’m going to predict early that Jacoby is top-three material! Job well, well, well done! The judges are spot on! The scores are too low though and should have been at least three eights, if not a nine, in my opinion.
Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold’s Jive: Good work Lindsay. You encouraged him not to leave, so power to you! Victor did a good job. He had nice energy and kept up with Lindsay. From a choreographer’s point of view, it was entertaining but lacked Jive content. Yes, toward the end there were some recognizable Jive moves, but the Jive kicks were too much rock-and-roll and Lindy hop kicks. I have to agree with Len. Bruno, I agree with you that the kicks were off, but in Jive kicks you don’t want to point or flex your toes. They need to be relaxed, so you can rebound your knees! That’s a proper Jive kick. I also agree with Carrie Ann and the nice mix of positive feedback. Victor was cute with Brooke. The scores are fair.
Wynonna Judd and Tony Dovolani’s Quickstep: Looking at their package, it looks like Wynona is going to have a great journey on ‘DWTS’ this season. Her honesty and sincerity is going to help her grow. I so appreciate the effort Wynonna puts into her dancing, but I would like to see her show her joy more, like she said she had when doing her Cha Cha. I also would have liked to see a dress like a police costume rather than pants and sneaker-like shoes. The dancing was good and proper when in hold. Don’t play it safe, though. You have nothing to lose, only to gain an amazing experience. I hope Wynonna stays around for a long time because she’s so inspirational to many. Tony, I actually like that moustache on you. There was nice feedback from the judges. I totally agree with every word from Carrie Ann and agree just slightly with Len about the close hold being far apart at times. Scores are okay.
Zendaya and Valentin Chmerkovskiy’s Jive: She’s so cute but she can’t stand on high heels? This is going to be interesting having the fastest Latin dance. OK, high heels a problem? Not at all. Fantastic jive, great content, awesomely (yes, I made up a new word) entertaining. Even though Zendaya’s limbs are so long and sometimes a little sloppy, she is so fast and high energy. I’d also put her and Val into the top three! Good for you girl. Age is just a number, if you’re younger or older. Amazing and well-deserved scores! High scores don’t save, so VOTE VOTE VOTE.
Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess’s Jazz: The demented worm, Andy? Really? From a concept, production value, dance content and comedy point of view, this is the best number so far. I did not expect that from Andy. That was amazing. Len was spot on with his assessment and so were Bruno, and Carrie Ann. I would have given them three eights. It was so well thought of.
Sean Lowe and Peta Murgatroyd’s Jive. In the package Sean looked really awkward, like a dude who has no rhythm. But in his performance he did really well, especially taking into account that he’s not an actor, entertainer or a pro athlete. That was a lot of fun and technically reasonable. Sean, keep working on precision and growing as a dancer, because you’re up against some real naturals! Sean did a great job and had a fun concept, too. I have to agree with Bruno that Sean has great charisma but just needs to work on dancing. Good critique Carrie Ann. It wasn’t that bad, Len. Was that Eric Roberts asking Len why he’s so cranky?! Scores are OK.
Aly Raisman and Mark Ballas’s Quickstep: I love that color blue on them. That is a very solid quickstep and Aly’s lines were so well-executed, even better than her Cha Cha. She was very cool, calm and collected. I would like Aly to keep in mind that she’s a young girl, not an old conservative lady. Even though I loved the color, the costume made her look old, in my opinion. Aly could be a contender for the top three if she keeps growing and starts becoming more expressive inside and out. Scores are nice!
Lisa Vanderpump and Gleb Savchenko’s Jive: Lisa can spin. One thing is for sure, Lisa does not dance like a housewife! I did not expect her to do this well. I’m glad I was wrong. Lisa needs to bring more energy to the table and be more precise, but I thought this Jive was very respectable. I’m agreeing a lot with Carrie Ann tonight. Honest, but positive feedback. They could have had a seven in there.
D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke’s Quickstep: “DWTS” is “Hunger Games” in tights? Brilliant! Stop complaining D.L. You’re losing time to rehearse and don’t forget that 50 percent of the score is public vote! I hope his dance is going to knock the roof of the place. That was actually not a bad quickstep at all and an OK hold. He remembered his steps. D.L.’s bottom was back the whole time, but it kind of looked cute. What’s with Carrie Ann tonight? I love her with all her comments. You can be honest and say if something isn’t good, but still be nice. D.L.’s comments with Brooke put him back on the map. Hopefully, D.L.’s video package won’t hurt them too much. Scores are OK, maybe all sixes.
Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough’s Jazz: How gorgeous is Kellie Pickler? They’re a hot couple. I had no idea Kellie could dance like that. Look at her feet again when she does her leg extension! Wow. She was fantastic, amazing and awesome. What else can I say? She’s the one to beat by miles. Knowing Kellie as a singer, what would her concert look like if Derek would choreograph a full-on production number for her? Wow! She’d give Lady Gaga and Madonna a run for their money! Her scores are low. At least three nines, if not a 10. I know it’s only week two, but this was the best performance.
For the results show, I’m worried for D.L. and Dorothy, but I think D.L .is going home.