“Dancing With the Stars” pros Anna Trebunskaya and Chelsie Hightower weigh in on each of the week 2 performances. Both “DWTS” veterans know what it takes to dazzle on the dance floor and each of the ladies give their take on the dances, the choreography, and the judges’ scores. You can find them on Twitter @atrebunskaya and @chelsiehightowr.
For the first time ever, the elimination took place on the same night as the competition. The audience votes from week 1 were combined with the judges’ scores from Monday night’s performance, and former NFL player Keyshawn Johnson was sent home with the lowest overall total score. The cast performed Latin dances.
Anna: Not only did every couple get to perform again this week, but the elimination happened in the same night. That seemed a bit unusual to me and not altogether appropriate. The new format did make the whole show feel more compact and full of action. It also gave celebrities a competitive edge to perform their best. There was a lot of really good dancing and some interesting choices this week. Now lets get to it!
Chelsie: There were many standout moments for me, but no one that really stood above the rest quite yet. And it was the first night this season we saw somebody go home. Nobody wants to go home first. Going home first is comparable to being picked last on the playground and we’ve all been there once or twice. (And you thought you couldn’t relate!) Without delay, let’s get to it.
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Val Chmerkovskiy
Anna: What a way to get the show going! A really strong samba! Elizabeth technically did everything quite good: she was fast on her feet and sharp with lines. She had some fierce emotions through out the routine. I would like to see a little bit more sex appeal from her though. The samba is a sexy dance. I felt that she needed to let her hair down a bit (figuratively and literally).
Chelsie: This is one of the hardest, if not the hardest of the Latin dances and I have to say she really pulled it off. The times when she is dancing with Val she looks great! But then again, how can you not look great dancing with him. She can work on using her feet through the floor more, that will help keep her connection to the ground. There is no question this woman has natural ability. She will go far. I don’t know if it was 9 worthy, but it was a great job. I give them a 7.8.
Christina Milian and Mark Ballas
Anna: “Fierce” seemed to be the name of this Paso Doble! I love the creativity of the routine. I also love Christina’s powerful movement. What’s missing at this point in the game is her feminine interpretation of the dance. Don’t get me wrong; it was great, but I know she can improve.
Chelsie: Nice concept, nice choreography. (Listen, I’m don’t want to come across as ungrateful for what I already have, but seriously, Christina, can I have your face? You’re pretty). Anyway, back to dancing. I really liked this dance. Christina’s body position got a little awkward while she stuck her head too far forward at times, but what she really has going for her is her natural style and that is something that cannot be taught. If she can work on refining that style and get more technical through out the season she will have the ability to do great things. For style alone, I give this routine an 8.
Bill Engvall and Emma Slater
Anna: These two have such a positive energy around them! The jive is a tough dance when it comes to stamina and Bill held his own. It was a true jive. His transitions need work though. Bill, work on those and focus on finishing the lines even with fast movement. You’re doing great!
Chelsie: I had to laugh at Emma’s comments to Bill in the pre-dance clips. That’s a bold strategy — stealing all of Derek’s moves. Lol. When it comes to the dancing, you have to love the guy for his effort. He really is trying so hard, but it didn’t blow me away. There wasn’t much jive action and he shuffled his feet throughout. I was much more impressed with what he brought to the table last week, but like I said the dude is trying!! And that is the heart of this competition. So for that I give him a solid 6.8.
Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke
Anna: I have to say I am more impressed with Jack this week. What is so great about his dancing is his innate sense of posture. He just has it. I also like the smoothness of his transitions and a constant awareness of Cheryl, which is so important in a Rumba. Jack, watch your footwork! Start pointing those toes and using your legs to create the movement. But overall, beautifully done.
Chelsie: Ok, I’m being biased, but Jack is my favorite. Rumba is usually a very hard dance for the men because they have to slow their body and their minds down, control their energy, and get into a vulnerable place. This didn’t seem to be a problem for Jack as you see most of his emotion came through his body movement, which is just as important! And dang, he almost did the splits! Jack has a natural ability that he didn’t know he had. And that is one of the reasons this show is great. It reveals people in another light and finds strengths they didn’t know they had. Well done Jack-O! I give you a 7,
Keyshawn Johnson and Sharna Burgess
Anna: Aww. Just as we started to get a glimpse of the great athlete that Keyshawn is, he was sent home. I loved the groove of the routine and his attitude about it. He got a little bit excited and started moving ahead of music, but did his best I believe. It’s OK, Keyshawn, you’re still a cool guy!
Chelsie: Hey look, Keyshawn is an athlete. He’s always going to work hard and for that alone you gotta admire him. And to be honest, before his adorable comments at the judges table, I may have given him a tougher review. All I’m going to say is work on your feet! We’ll look past the fact that you almost dropped Sharna. You won me over. I give you a 11.5 for your personality, but a 6 for your dancing.
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Sasha Farber
Anna: Choreography is beautifully done. I think Nicole has so much potential, but there’s still some hesitation in her movement and expression in the dance. She has such an adorable personality and a banging body, but the emotion just didn’t come across as sexy. Maybe she was thinking about her man in the audience… Here’s the trick — you’ve got to commit to every action and character you express. That will make you rise up in top.
Chelsie: I expected this to be good after seeing her natural ability last week, but I never watched “The Jersey Shore,” but it doesn’t surprise me that Snooki had a hard time connecting and bringing out real raw emotion. And I actually agreed with Carrie Ann (not with her annoying lift comment, which is a whole different subject), but her comment about the fluidity. Either way, Snooki is a great ‘lil dancer and I think she is here to stay for a while. Nice job, a solid 7.5.
Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani
Anna: Fantastic Samba! Lots of content and pizazz. I love the way Leah attacked the dance. Wonderful emotions through out the dance. This costume was very clever and accentuated her upper body, but her lower body could be much stronger. Leah, finish your lines with your feet, point your toes, and stretch the knees of a standing leg. All of that will propel your movement. Then there will be no stopping you!
Chelsie: There’s the tigress I always knew Leah had in her! On an honest note, Leah can make up for any of her dancing flaws just by the performance and attack she is able to bring to the dance floor. It’s clear this woman has a lot of courage and we are starting to see that coming through on the dance floor. On a technical note, she needs work on her leg action. But she is great. I give her a solid 7.5.
Bill Nye and Tyne Stecklein
Anna: That was a very cooky Paso Doble, but it worked for Bill. He has a tough time isolating his hips and having fluid movement. In this particular routine, because of the style of it, he never had to use his hips and be fluid. Very clever, but it will only last so far . Whatever you have next bring back the technical work in.Bill seems like a genuinely nice guy- I would love to see him improve .
Chelsie: I’m a fan of Bill Nye. Not his dancing; although, there was an improvement from last week. Everything I said in my last blog still applies. I still love him despite his dancing. GO SCIENCE! 6.
Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff
Anna: Corbin is definitely one of the more coordinated and authentic dancers of this season. This routine suited him perfectly. It was cute and cheeky and had lots of playfulness and young energy. I would love to see a little more posture work and isolation in his body. I liked everything that he’s done so far in the Jive. Lets see what Corbin brings in his next weeks Quickstep!
Chelsie: Corbin, I think it’s time for to step out of your “High School Musical” roots. You got this. Fly little birdie, fly!! Seriously though, I could have done with out the “High School Musical” references tonight, but the dancing was great! I don’t have anything critical to say. A very enjoyable performance! He was the first person I felt truly did deserve his scores tonight. Well done! I give them a 9.
Valerie Harper and Tristan McManus:
Anna: I want this lady to win! Now, I know she isn’t as youthful as other competitors, but who cares?! She’s beautiful, stylish, hard-working, and has the spirit and heart of a champion. Valerie, work a bit on sustaining the lines and keep working in the posture.
Chelsie: GO VALERIE! This woman is amazing and has something to teach us all. It’s awe-inspiring to see the way she handles just a simple hurt knee. And I’m sure that’s just a glimpse into how she handles all of life’s challenges. The epitome of strength of character, courage, and positivity. I’m happy to say, she’s not a bad dancer! She has moments of pure grace and elegance. Way to go Valerie! Keep up the good work. 7!
Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgratroyd
Anna: Hot and hotter rumba! His routine was so steamy that you didn’t really notice his dancing, and Peta’s slinky moves were a bit if distraction too, of course. I would love to see more of solo work from Brant. There are a lot of great dancers this season, so Brant, you’ve got to step up your game. You’ve got the sex appeal man, now work those manly sexy feet, hands and legs!
Chelsie: Brant Daugherty is one of God’s greatest creations. OK, I’m totally being dramatic, but he is good looking. This rumba was spot on! So much awesomeness in this piece, and great choreography by Peta. He is a good dancer with potential to be a GREAT dancer. Well done, Peta and Brant! 8.
Amber Riley and Derek Hough
Anna: Wow! I think that’s the first time that Derek’s partner not only kept up, but actually added to his energy. Absolutely fantastic performance, full of emotion and sass! The comment about Amber’s feet from the judges was absolutely valid. The style was closer to a lindy and a jitter bug, so her flat foot work was appropriate, but Amber, just work on it and you will skyrocket even more.
Chelsie: We all know I love Amber, but the first thing I thought was, “Why is she wearing those shoes?” I feel she may have fared much better in regular heels than flats — after all her feet were one of my favorite things about her performance last week. I don’t think this was her best, but it was still good! And my love for her hasn’t changed. I give them an 8.
Chelsie: I have to say I was pretty shocked about Keyshawn getting sent home. I would expect him to have a massive fanbase being the legend that he is. Coming from a home of five older brothers and knowing how boys are, he might just get a lot of teasing from his colleagues going back to work. Either way, it looks like he really enjoyed his time. Farewell Keyshawn! I am very sad to see you go! You can find me on twitter @chelsiehightowr ;).
Another great night for dance. Congratulations to all the couples, until next week!