Blame a date with Captain America and the Winter Soldier at Disney for my no comment on “Dancing with the Stars.” Week 3 had no eliminations because our low-movement elder statesman Billy Dee Williams was having back problems and withdrew.
Does that make sense to you? Do you remember Season 9? That season the oldest ever winner, Donnie Osmond, competed to win our hearts over singer Mya and Dmitry Chaplin, but during week three, actress Debi Mazar (dancing with Makxim Chmerkovskiy) was eliminated AND Tom DeLay (partnered with Cheryl Burke) withdrew. That was a double elimination.
Yet during Week 3 of Season 18, Billy Dee Williams withdrew, but there was no elimination. This week, Week 4, there was no elimination either (and that was a surprise), but we had the first ever switch-up. Fans got to choose who danced with whom. There was again no elimination, but we had another guest judge, this time one who actually knew something about ballroom dancing, Julianne Hough, and we had three more tens.
Now on to the new partners; first up was Tony Dovolani and Candace Cameron Bure, performing the quickstep. This was a very fun, rock-inspired quickstep. Candace lost her frame and goes too rock and roll-ish.
Bruno Tonioli said it was a quickstep performed by the Sex Pistols.
James Maslow & (Peta Murgatroyd) Cheryl Burke had a very dramatic tango but he was dressed more for Paso Doble. I have to pause here and ask: Were you distracted by Julianne Hough’s keyhole cutout that showed the sides of her breasts? Should the judges be a distraction?
Guest judge Julianne Hough called him squatty. The problem was Maslow’s lack of pelvic tuck. Head judge Len Goodman called it “burning hot.”
Drew Carey & (Cheryl Burke)Witney Carson performed a cha cha cha. Carey is game (and bruises easily), but while he performed “somewhere between Elvis Presley and Liberace” in his gold and sparkly gold suit, he still lacks the basic hip action that he needs during week four. Remember the cha cha cha had traditionally been a Week 1 dance.
At this point, we got the b-roll for the Macy’s Dance.
Derek Hough is a great choreographer and he’s also well-spoken. He knows how to get the best out of his celebrity partners and does even better with professional dancers.
His latin inspired (Paso and a bit of dramatic flamenco with ballroom postures and men all bare-chested was a real crowd pleaser. I would have liked to have seen more skirt on the solf female dancers (five male dancers). Of course for real flamenco, the skirt work for the woman is key. For the men it is the footwork which they couldn’t do. The tapping of the flamenco should compliment, but not necessarily replicate the Spanish guitar. There should be some call and response. Instead of the percussive drama, the drama was in the dramatic moody lighting and how it captured and sculpted the men’s bodies and brought the dancers into focus or partial silhouette.
Charlie White & (Sharna Burgess) Peta Murgatroyd performed a rumba with a lot of modern feel. Here we could see a bit of a generational gap. Len Goodman liked the number, but thought it wasn’t really a rumba–too sharp and not enough hip action. Julianne Hough mentioned that White was on his heels and back-weighted–which probably is because of his ice dance training.
Tonioli loved that grand intention and clean lines. But also found White’s problem was with his foot-weighted. Inaba also noted there was a lift. His scores were really spread out from a 7 to a nine. Inaba and Goodman didn’t like it so much, but Hough and Tonioli (who really work off each other) were loving it ( 7, 8, 9, 9). I favor the 9 because it wasn’t traditional and I know that White can to smooth. It was a risky choice by Murgatroyd and it only partially paid off. The lift, however, that shouldn’t have been in there, however, I only think Inaba took a point off for it.
Perhaps this switch up was hardest on Amy Purdy & (Derek Hough) Mark Ballas. Ballas had to learn how to lead someone whose balance wasn’t completely natural. Ballas gave her “breathing room.” Ballas had to ask Hough for advice. Hough and Ballas are best friends so they all about love.
Cody Simpson & (Witney Carson) Sharna Burgess performed a breezy foxtrot in white with a park bench scenario. However with Simpson in a suit, you can tell that he’s bringing up his shoulders and he leads his arm movements with his elbows.
Still if Simpson was in a musical, we’d love it. He is learning to do heel leads, but they have to be more refined.
NeNe Leakes & (Tony Dovolani) Derek Hough killed it. She was like an African jazz queen. Let her “inner Beyonce out” said Julianne Hough. Goodman also loved the performance called it her best performance yet. Derek Hough did a good job of showcasing Leakes and adjusting to the size difference.
Meryl Davis & (Maksim Chmerkovskiy) traded Chmerkovskiy’s. She had Val and ended up at the top of the leaderboard after performing the Argentine tango. Now the Argentine tango as performed on DWTS is really show tango by way of ballroom. Still, Davis shows that DWTS should always opt for female ice skaters. Very dramatic. Lots of difficult lifts. Goodman called it “the dance of the night.”
Meryl Davis & (Maksim Chmerkovskiy) Val
James Maslow & (Peta Murgatroyd) Cheryl Burke
Amy Purdy & (Derek Hough) Mark Ballas:
Charlie White & (Sharna Burgess) Peta Murgatroyd
Danica McKellar & (Valentin Chmerkovskiy) Maksim
- 32 (8, 8, 8, 8) + 36 = 68/80
- “Love Me Right!”—The Swag Geeks feat. Brook Penning
Cody Simpson & (Witney Carson) Sharna Burgess
NeNe Leakes & (Tony Dovolani) Derek Hough
Drew Carey & (Cheryl Burke)Witney Carson :
- 33 (8, 8, 9, 8) + 30 (7, 7, 8, 8) = 63
- Cha cha cha
- “Money (That’s What I Want)“—Barrett Strong
Candace Cameron Bure & (Mark Ballas) Tony Dovolani
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