“Dancing With the Stars” pro Chelsie Hightower weighs in on each of the week’s 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 @chelsiehightowr.
By CHELSIE HIGHTOWER
NeNe Leakes: NeNe brought it all on the dance floor tonight to “It’s Getting Hot in Here” with her hip hop-styled salsa routine. (Side note: Could “DWTS” go just one week without someone taking off his shirt? Rhetorical question – of course not. I guess it’s a good thing, though, because the lady fans certainly don’t object.) This was a fun salsa packed full of entertainment. I must say, though, NeNe unfortunately picked up her feet quite a bit throughout the routine and her steps were too big. This made it difficult to produce the hip action needed. Was it her best routine? I don’t think so personally, but the judges loved it, and if America did, too, I guess that’s most important. Well done, NeNe! Keep up the good work!
Candace Cameron Bure: In the opening, Mark was teaching Candace to bring out her sexy side in rehearsals while running through their ChaCha routine, as cheeky as it was. I think she accomplished the sexiness goal, and as the judges mentioned, her leg action was a highlight and the most notable aspect of the routine. Well done, Candace!
James Maslow: James danced a fast, fun and very charming Quickstep tonight. And you’re right, James, there is a reason they call it the “Quickstep,” and you figured most of it out. But as Peta may have instructed you, the only way to keep up with this insanely fast-paced dance is to keep your steps small. I think that if James had kept his steps smaller and cleaner, his energy tighter and cushioned into his knees more, then he would have conquered this dance. As it was, it unfortunately fell short. But James, you are still great – keep up the good work!
Danica McKellar: Danica graced the stage tonight with great confidence and quality. Smiling her way through this difficult ChaCha routine made it look as if she did it effortlessly. And I give her a gold star tonight for technical correctness; I thought she did it as well as a non-trained celebrity could have possibly performed. Great leg action, great hip action, great performance. Well done, Danica!
Meryl Davis: I was truly moved by everything this couple did tonight, from the pre-dance pep talks Meryl was giving Maks (I thought it was supposed to be the other way around?) to the performance that was filled with emotion and power. The passion Meryl exuded in this routine tonight filled the entire stage. It would be impossible to have watched this tonight and not be touched by the emotions she radiated. One of the main things I stress when I teach is to perform with such emotion that the audience will feel what we’re feeling. Meryl did that tonight to the utmost degree. The couple was strong, powerful and technically on point. Loved it! Amazing job tonight, you two!
Drew Carey: I have loved watching Drew dance this season because I see he always gives it 100%, no matter what. This routine tonight was so much fun and had me nearly groovin’ in my seat. To get the most out of this competition, the key for Drew would have been to improve technically every week bit by bit. And through every performance to make sure that he was reaching his potential as a performer and not allowing the details to bog him down. Drew has the ability to bring the stage to life and I think that was mostly what the audience wanted to see out of him. You had a great run Drew; we will miss you!
Charlie White: Wow, the difficulty of this routine is one you would see two professionals performing – definitely not one who began ballroom dancing just a month and a half ago! But Charlie did a great job with this creative, but difficult ChaCha. On a critical note, I would like to have seen his feet stay connected to the floor the whole way through, but either way, he did a fantastic job! Charlie, you are truly an amazing athlete.
Amy Purdy: Amy and Derek continue to amaze me by coming out week after week with memorable and quality routines. This one was nothing short of that. I was unsure how Jive would go for Amy with doing the flicks and kicks and all with two prosthetic legs. But amazingly, she performed as well as the best of them. She was sharp, precise and technically correct. Unfortunately there were a few glaring mistakes that one can’t overlook, but overall it was a great routine. Well done!
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The Judges’ Scores
Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 40
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: 38
Danica McKellar and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 36
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: 36
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: 35
NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani: 33
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: 32
Drew Carey and Cheryl Burke: 32