“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.
It is a really different experience to be in the audience during “Dancing With the Stars” versus at home watching through the lens of a TV set. I’ve been fortunate to have one of the best seats in the ballroom, right next to the judges’ table. Some routines really shine with camera angles and some look amazing live. The opening dance was more of a TV spectacle with swing, Charleston and Lindey Hop styles mixed together into an energizing routine. I thought every pro looked fantastic in their outfits and had great energy.
Bill Engvall: I’ve never seen a Tango quite like that before, with sun hats and a cheeseburger. I’m glad that Bill went in with the humor of the song. If they had stayed with a traditional interpretation of Tango, then this song would not have worked at all but, with a special tropical twist, it did, somehow. I smiled through the whole routine. As much fun as the dance was, I kept noticing Bill’s upper line. His frame seemed small and his shoulders were tense. Unfortunately, it wasn’t his best dancing, in my opinion. Tension in the dance should be more through the core and not the upper body. I would like Bill to put his energy into his legs and core and stretch his elbows wide. I’m so thrilled that they are coming back next week. I can’t wait to see what else they have up their sleeve.
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren: I love the way Val challenged Elizabeth and gave her a big solo in the beginning. She is getting fiercer and fiercer by the minute. That was a very strong performance. She looked fantastic and was really selling the dance. It’s so good to see her breaking through her shell, stripping her old fears away and taking on the character of a real competitor. I believe she has all the ingredients to make it to the end. My note for her dancing now is pay attention to the details, please. Bring your feet all the way together when you dance. They should be either together or apart, no third option. Also, in some fast moves Elizabeth needs to work on finding moments to straighten her knees and point her toes.
Leah Remini: This was a much stronger technical dance than what Leah showed last week. I liked the routine. It was simple and clean. It stayed at a very light-hearted pace. I would give this routine the most technically perfect celebrity dance of the night. Her frame was just beautiful to watch and her footwork was strong too. I think Leah is improving every week. Now she’s at the point where she needs to merge the performer with the technician. I felt she was a tad bit hiding her emotions, like she was thinking really hard in order to not make a mistake. It’s not easy but you can do it, Leah. Bring the sparkle and your pizzazz back next week.
Brant Daugherty: Because of Brant’s fear that he may not have enough audience votes, this routine was specifically designed to please the judges, especially Mr. Len. It also worked well for Brant. It was full of basic Tango context, full of rhythmical changes, strong and competitive from beginning to end. He is much stronger in the ballroom dances, but there is always room for improvement. Brant needs to watch his right side. He’s trying so hard to stretch his frame wide that he brought his right elbow back too much and that made his frame look weaker actually. I like that he was hanging on to Peta a bit and muscling her through. He also had a few mishaps with his timing and balance. It’s all about being just enough in the right places. What Brant has achieved in his dancing takes a lot of work, and I applaud him for that. He is not a dancer but he’s working hard, keeps his head in the game and improves every week. Oh, and he’s not hard to look at either. I do feel that he may be the most likely to go home next week but let’s get see what he brings to the table next week.
Amber Riley: This was the best overall performance of the night for me. She is a really good mover. She’s just a natural, very talented. Amber looks really good with simple moves like shaking her booty, but then she gets the technique in the Samba roll, and that’s not an easy step. I wish there would have been a few rolls actually. She did it so well. I feel that watching Amber live gave me the real perspective on how good this girl really is. Her routine was meant to please Len, but that’s a tough task. His heart is sometime made out of stone (Not really, but it sure seems like it!). Keep doing what you are doing, girl. Bring that kind of dance to the ballroom floor and you will melt Len’s heart.
Jack Osbourne: First of all, I love Jack’s personality, his sense of humor and charm. I also love how he just goes for it. The Paso Doble is so out of character for Jack, but he still went for the challenge so I’m torn here. It was a little clumsy in places, but he got the face right. It had good strong lines, but then he stumbled on the footwork. I think that whatever dance Jack gets next he’ll be able to redeem himself. To me, he can’t lose his personality attributes because then we start seeing his little mistakes. It was not my favorite dance for him, but I still think he’s lovely fella. Now, the worst comment by the judge was, “You were trying to be stiff for Cheryl,” from Carrie Ann. She did quickly fix herself, but not quick enough. Bruno then took over with more outrageous remarks about pelvic thrusts and so forth. You just show him a finger…
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi: There was a great concept to this Foxtrot. It made this dance seem like a scene from an old musical. It’s my favorite choreography of the night. Nicole is the most improved celebrity week-to- week so far as well. It’s really fun to watch her journey and to see her transform into different characters. This Foxtrot girl is not what we know of “Snooki,” but she brought it and it was lovely. She needs to watch for staying in the character the whole time. There were still moments where she had her “thinking” face. Remember, the camera is always on you. Having said that, I think Nicole had a much better chemistry with Sasha (Yay, finally!).
Corbin Bleu: That outfit was awesome! It’s my best costume of the night award winner. I loved the concept and I loved the passion and drama . Corbin is such a talented dancer that it seems like this is his playground. I have to agree with the judges that because of the whole character approach, his upper body line suffered a little. He went for intensity and lost his preciseness a little bit. Again, this is the artistic choice here: do we have more in-hold, proper moves or do we go with the theme of the song? It’s a tough call, but they went for the second option and the scores suffered. I’m glad that Corbin had a chance to redeem himself in the Switch-Up Challenge.
The Switch-Up Challenge was something we’ve never had on this show. There’s almost no way of predicting what is going to be next so it makes it really hard to practice, hence stressed celebrities in the video package before the actual dance. I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Some people really stood out to me. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was committed to whatever came her way. Bill always had humor with him and Leah was picked up by Tony into a lift like she does that every day before lunch. Now, these guys didn’t make it all the way but I couldn’t help but mention them. Overall, every celebrity came through in the challenge and held their own.
The biggest surprise of the night was that nobody got eliminated! Now this is a first, I think, on this show and what a lovely thing for everyone to have another chance next week. Carry on!