“Dancing With the Stars” pro Chelsie Hightower blogs on season 17 of the hit ABC show. Hightower gives her take on the dances, the judges’ scores, and who will be eliminated. You can find her on Twitter @chelsiehightowr.
Favorite Performances of the Night: Corbin Bleu, Jack Osbourne, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi
Favorite Choreography of the Night: Mark Ballas and Christina Milan
Most Technically-Perfect: Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff
Biggest Surprise of the Night: Cheryl Burke saying her mood was because of PMS and Brant Daughtery’s chest gyrations
Best Costume: Emma Slater’s Samba Outfit
I loved seeing Julianne Hough as a guest judge tonight. I thought she did a great job and had a lot of constructive criticism.
Jack Osbourne: Jack and Cheryl started off the night and got the audience moving right away with their fast paced quickstep. Jack, you are right. You are not Corbin and thank goodness for that! We love you just the way you are! You and Cheryl had the audience on their feet from beginning to end for good reason. This was a very entertaining dance, although I did think it was a bit over-hyped by the judges. Jack lost his frame several times and his steps were too big. In order to survive the fast-paced and difficult quickstep, you gotta think small base and wide top! Other than that, I think he did well! I give him a 7.5.
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren: Up next, Elizabeth and Val dancing the Argentine Tango! This was a beautiful dance and, in my opinion, her best one yet! She had moments of pure attack and aggression as well as moments of intensity and passion. Combining those elements in this dance especially is so important. Well done! 8.4.
Brant Daugherty: Brant and Peta Murgatroyd followed with the Salsa. Brant’s inspiration must have come from Ben Stiller in “Along Came Polly” – just as awkward yet at the same time just as entertaining. I like Brant — and while I may be a little biased because he’s so good looking — I fear he may have already peaked in the competition. I hope I’m wrong (mostly because I want to keep looking at him), but that’s unfortunately, the feeling I get. Great effort, Brant! Look, on the plus side, you are adored by females everywhere. 7.4!
Valerie Harper: It’s official. When I grow up, I want to be Valerie Harper. I love her and her shining spirit. I can genuinely say that I have learned from her always positive attitude, perseverance and strength. When it came to the dance, it seemed she forgot about half of it, and unfortunately I can’t overlook that, but there were moments when she was so graceful and elegant. Overall, it was a very sweet dance and it nearly had me in tears by the end. Bless you, Valerie! 6.
Leah Remini: Leah and Tony came next with the Cha Cha and Leah was shooting for a 9! Ambitious! I like it. She brought the attitude again tonight, which I loved, and she did a very good job. I’m glad Tony challenged her with more steps because she definitely can handle it. Good job Leah! 7.8.
Corbin Bleu: Corbin and Karina Smirnoff followed with the Paso Doble. I’m so glad they took out all the fluff and kept it a traditional Paso Doble. Corbin did a great job and Karina was obviously flawless. His intensity and overall feel for the dance was spot on. On a more critical note, I agree with Julianne’s comment that he could have shaped more through his lower body giving him the classic matador shaping that the Paso Doble is known for. But other then that, Awesome job. 9.5!
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi: Snooki and Sasha Farber up next with the Jive. She did an excellent job with the Jive bounce, which she kept going consistently throughout the whole dance. We rarely see that from a celebrity. However, she did get sloppy through her kicks several times. If she could focus on the retraction of the foot, pulling it back into her bum, she would fare much better. Other than that, very entertaining dance! 8!
Christina Milian: Christina, you are hot! This dance (the Foxtrot) was a good one for you. Don’t question yourself. Just go out there and do your best and let go of the things you can’t control. Christina has so much potential and I want her fluidity to be just as strong as her style. If I were teaching her, I would tell her to listen more to her partner, Mark Ballas, while they were dancing (as if their hands were their ears). Listen to his physical breaths and feel his movement. Embody that in your own movements. Great job, Christina! You are right on track. 8.7.
Amber Riley: Amber and Derek Hough up next with a tango. Amber looked great through her topline. She brought the passion and the performance quality for the most part, but I’m torn on this dance. At times she looked great through her footwork and at other times she really struggled. It was a bit over-hyped from the judges in my opinion, but was still good. 8!
Bill Engvall: Last but not least, Bill Engvall bringing the samba! As usual, Bill brought the entertainment value and had me smiling nearly throughout the whole thing. When it came to the actual Samba, even though Emma Slater kept it very elementary, Bill went wrong several times and overall not quite right technically. But let’s be honest, I don’t think America is voting for him for his dancing skills anyway. It’s all about his attitude, work ethic, and ability to entertain the crowd with his charming smile and free spirit. Keep on keepin’ on Billy! America loves you! 6.5.
Overall: Overall I thought It was a night of great fun and entertainment. We unfortunately had to say farewell to Valerie Harper, who graced us with her presence. I think it’s fair to say that she has touched many lives by being on the show and I hope we can all learn from this amazing woman. Best wishes Valerie! From now on, I’m going to work on being more like you ;)