“Dancing With the Stars” pro Anna Trebunskaya weighs in on each of the week’s three performances. The “DWTS” veteran knows what it takes to dazzle on the dance floor and gives her take on the dances, the choreography and the judges’ scores. You can find her on Twitter @atrebunskaya.
Singer Aloe Blacc gave a fresh and classy performance at the top of the show this week. A little abstract routine worked beautifully with the folk feel of the song. I’m so proud of all of the dancers and the choreographers who have been just splendid this season in every opening.
This was a night of the “most memorable year” in the celebrities’ lives. There were a lot of dedications to family members (kids, wives and dads) and that made the whole show just a tad more emotional and dramatic, in my opinion.
Christina Milian: There was an empowering story behind Christina’s Cha Cha. We all need a little reminder that things can work out for the best and it will be all right. Her routine was all that too – confident, positive and full of rhythm and presentation. She looked fab. Week from week, we all admire Christina’s costumes (the girl can’t look bad in anything). All the ingredients are there but I still feel like she has to explore more of her soft side. She’s hitting every line spot-on and hard, but, in between, there’s a gap of movements so it comes across as stiff at times, and, by all means, she’s not. It’s getting harder to criticize her on a technical level, so if I would nitpick here it is. I would love to see a rawer Christina, see her emotions and feelings and not just what she’s letting us see. Unfortunately, she was the one eliminated in the fifth week. Ah, the unpredictable votes. That was definitely the biggest surprise of the night.
Jack Osbourne: Wow! Was that the most honest interview on the show? With profanity and tears together, I applaud you for sharing your story, Jack! The waltz was the most appropriate dedication to Jack’s wife and daughter. I loved all that. Now, the moment Jack started dancing he got me engaged on a whole new level. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. It was elegant and rich and probably the best dance he’s done so far. Jack got a little bit excited with his steps and there were a few places where he went off the beat of the music. He’s still learning and improving. I don’t think we’ve seen all that Jack has to offer. Jack, stay composed even as your heart is racing (and I’m sure it was with all the emotion running through your body), the “eye of the tiger” in the middle of the storm kind of thing. Jack was the most technically perfect celebrity dancer of the night.
Leah Remini: I really loved the beginning and the concept of that routine! Leah is such a strong woman and a performer that she sells it 100 percent. Now, on the technical side, there were a few glitches. I agree with Carrie Ann about the transitions between the lifts. I think Leah was so focused on the execution of the lifts (And who wouldn’t be? It’s scary to hang upside down.) that she would get frozen in her movement right before the actual lift. I still feel this was a huge learning curve for Leah. Booty-shaking? Check! Being lifted by a man high off the ground and smiling through it? Check! Can’t wait to see what she has in store next. And she gets the best costume of the night. I just love that she had two costumes in one routine.
Corbin Bleu: Another gorgeous performance from Corbin. I loved his boyish fresh Foxtrot with all the elegance of his outfit. He really is a very talented dancer who can do anything. It’s almost impossible to criticize Corbin, but it’s fun to nitpick. I liked the frame work he showcased in his Foxtrot but I felt his head was a tad bit forward through some parts, probably due to excitement. I would love to see Corbin use his back in a more three-dimensional way. He gets too involved in the forward projection and what’s behind him gets a little lost. In other words, keep your neck on top of your body and stretch through the triceps to create frame. Also, Corbin got the worst comment from a judge. He got penalized from Carrie Ann for nothing because I didn’t see a lift in the beginning.
Bill Engvall: Awww! That was a very sweet dance from Bill. I loved that he dedicated his dance to his wife. Behind every great man … well, you know the rest. Gail must be one-of-a-kind. I just love how Bill tries and works hard and he gets it in the end. He never complains that he’s not the most talented or that he’s one of oldest competitors this season. He just does his job and brings smiles to our faces each week. There were some funny rises and falls in his Viennese Waltz, some funky foot placements and being behind the beat but, overall, I felt it was a very solid routine. Good job Bill!
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi: You work it girl! That was a very fun and exciting jazz routine from Nicole. I’m a fan. She’s showing a constant improvement with each week. She’s definitely putting herself out there without any reservation. That’s the spirit! I loved the nightclub concept of her routine. It was a very appropriate choice of music and costume. Nicole still needs to improve her connection to Sasha. She needs to learn to stay connected to the audience and keep her partner in her peripheral vision. Nicole, you know how to do it. You’re a mom. You always know where your baby is and what he’s doing. There were moments when she also would look on the floor a tad bit, and hide her eyes. You can’t do that. Stay open for us to see your big pretty Italian eyes. She’s the most improved week-to-week celebrity.
Brant Daugherty: A very heartfelt routine from Brant. This was a very successful performance from him. Last week I was worried for him with the salsa, but this week the stars were in his favor. The contemporary style just suits him. He has a great physique, lost of passion and emotion and never-ending commitment. All of these are the right ingredients for the style. There was so much passion and angst in this dance that I felt chills while watching it on my couch. I can only imagine what the audience experienced live. I give this guy the favorite choreography of the night. Congratulations on a beautiful night, Brant. Thank you for sharing your heart with us through the dance.
Amber Riley: A wonderfully enthusiastic Foxtrot from Amber. I would agree with Len that a bit more Foxtrot content would have been nice. But it was a firework of jazz and Broadway and some soul, with Foxtrot somewhere in it. I loved the routine and I see how the music and the feel of the song would dictate the direction of the choreography. Amber is a phenomenal performer and I applaud her commitment. I also feel that she could be pushed technically a tad bit more. I was so impressed with her technical ability in last week’s Tango that I want to see that level every week now. A girl can dream, right?
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren: That was a really strong nonstop Jive. You don’t need any Jive pills, Elizabeth, though I loved the whole scene in the beginning. Elizabeth has shown to be a very steady and consistent performer from week to week. I agree with Len that it’s harder for tall people to do a sharp Jive because it’s just harder to coordinate long limbs. I felt she stayed on time and had fast footwork and kicks. She really is one of the stronger technical dancers on the show and I’m glad that we get to see more of her emotion and feeling bit by bit. Keep it coming.
It’s really hard to say who is the most likely to be eliminated next week. I’m still worried about Brant and also about Bill, but they are both still in the game so another week will show.