" Dancing With the Stars" pro Anna Trebunskaya weighs in on Week 8 of "DWTS" in which the stars performed an individual routine, plus a second dance with a competing couple. 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.
By ANNA TREBUNSKAYA
It was an exciting night of dancing in the "DWTS" ballroom Monday. Literally, there were no bad dancers and every performance was beautiful.
Click HERE for a Full Recap of Week 8 of 'Dancing With the Stars'
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: Charlie and Sharna opened the competition with their version of quickstep. I love Charlie's dancing from the very first show. There is a lightness, finesse and elegance in his movement. I agree with judges' comments that he also has a spot on musicality. Because of the type of dancer he is naturally, I thought Quickstep was a really great dance for Charlie. He had a very beautiful posture and frame hold throughout the whole routine. He stayed almost above the floor in this dance - so feather-light and crisp in his footwork. I'm so glad that he finally got his perfect score. Easy-on-the-eye performance. Totally deserved marks.
Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy: First of all she wins the best costume for me, and the best look overall. I love the concept of her being a powerful queen. Super-confident in her movement, consistent in her frame and posture. They were creating so much speed and energy on the floor that it felt like a tornado was on the dance floor. I agree with Len that the beginning took a little bit too long, but once she started dancing it was a killer tango. Technically, it was a jam-packed routine with a lot of difficult elements and she nailed them all. Awesome job, Danica.
Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: A controversial rumba routine from Maks and Meryl. On one hand, I loved the feel of the piece and the story behind it. On the other hand, I wish she were wearing Latin heels. It's no doubt that at this point in the competition she is the strongest dancer and from week to week Meryl is showing us that she is capable of everything. So I understand the desire to challenge her and mix in some contemporary style into Latin dance. I'm personally a fan, although some judges didn't seem to appreciate the creativity. I feel that a score of "8? for this quality of a performance was too low. I agree with Len. I would like to watch this routine again and again like a good movie or a play. Definitely a masterful performance.
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: This was a quirky, fun and flirty foxtrot. I love how Mark used the best in Candace and created a routine that highlighted her ability to act. On a technical note, she was a tad bit stiff in the upper body and could use a little more stretch through her arms. Now her foot-work was pretty clean, her timing was sharp and, the best part, Candace has the ability to tell the story through her movement. Overall a very solid, feel-good performance from her.
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: What a difference a week can make. One week he's a sexy gas station boy and the other he's an elegant, charming lover. I really enjoyed this choreography. It was clean, musical and not overly complicated. James and Peta are able to create real chemistry on the dance floor and that is their biggest weapon. It's so easy to get caught in their mutual emotion, that an eye can overlook what James is actually doing. Technically, I felt he was trying really hard to keep his frame and posture, which made him a tad bit stiff in his back and neck. Whenever they were not in hold it looked more relaxed and natural. Overall it was an enchanting performance.
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: What Just Happened?! That was a phenomenal Argentine tango! Amy danced the whole routine on a full pointe of her prosthetic feet. How did she even balance walking on those? It was truly fascinating to watch. The creativity of the piece is beyond what is possible: her ability to get into character, finish every line (I mean, did you all see that panshe!), and hit every musical note is incredible. This was a perfect score all the way!
Danica McKellar and Meryl Davis: Out of all the celebrity dueling pairs, these girls had the most technically packed routine. I disagree with judges. They were able to keep up their timing together and make the piece look complete. Sure, here and there was an occasional "random" arm - one girl would have a straight arm and the other would keep it softly bent - but when it came to being well matched both physically and technically, I thought they were the strongest pair. Also, their solo bit was more challenging in my opinion because they had to dance without partners, the same exact steps and had a direct comparison because of that. When a male and a female dance together, people do not immediately compare them to each other and don't expect them to have the same qualities, naturally. But with a female-female pair that comparison is inevitable. I'm a little bit disappointed with judges' scoring but it's in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.
Candace Cameron Bure and Charlie White: This was a breathtaking piece. Wow on the creativity and choreography. Both of these stars have all the qualities of contemporary dancers. They are light, expressive and emotionally available. Charlie's ability to partner really shone in this piece. When you do all the tricks and lifts with a pro girl she can help a lot with partnering, but when the partner is a beginner amateur, that is a real test for a leading man. Bravo Charlie. I also applaud Candace for being such a risk-taker and going for a wild "no touching the ground" ride.
Amy Purdy and James Maslow: Amy is phenomenal. Not only was she able to perform a dynamic Jive with Derek, but she kept up the same energy with James. Thumbs up for James for being so aware and available for Amy. James is another strong leading man. There is a reason why both James and Charlie are the last two male stars left on the show. This was the cleanest routine from all the quartets. Not overly complicated, but full of energy and precision, a charismatic performance.
The Scores (Individual Routine, Dance Duel)
Amy Purdy and Derek Hough: 40; 39. Total: 79
Charlie White and Sharna Burgess: 40; 38. Total: 78
James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd: 36; 39. Total: 75
Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas: 36; 38. Total: 74
Danica McKellar and Valentin Chmerkovskiy: 38; 34. Total: 72 (McKellar was voted off tonight.)
Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: 36; 34. Total: 70