Friday, December 7, 2012

DWTS: Season 11, Week 5 Brandy Rises to the Top

Dancing to America's Favorite Television Show Tunes

This week is the first time that Dancing with the Stars had their dancers perform to television show tunes and I hope they don't repeat it. As a concept, TV Theme Week looks like a fun idea but, let's face it, we heard the TV theme tune for only 20 seconds, maybe? Imagine listening to it for a minute and a half. Yeah...that was a problem. So was dancing to the theme. It just looked weird watching a couple dance a rumba while scenes from the show play in your head. In addition, there were five dance styles that were on display this week unlike the previous weeks.
This week we saw Brandy doing very well and taking the leadership position with a fabulous Quickstep. We also saw a big fight between Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough, Florence as Mrs. Brady doing a tango to The Brady Bunch song, and Bristol Palin in a gorilla suit...this is why I SO love Dancing with the Stars!!!

Quickstep Couples

Brandy with Maksim Schmerkovskiy started the night off with a fabulous Quickstep to the tune of Friends. However, the Friends theme tune is from an actual song, I'll Be There For You by The Rembrandts. So the dancing was fast, their feet were flying but their upper bodies were still and Brandy's carriage has really improved, and she had such a pretty smile on her face -- you could tell that she enjoyed it. They covered the span of the dance floor with fast steps but they danced with elegance and lightness. The judges rewarded them well with the top score of the night and their best scores yet. Score: 27

Kurt Warner with Anna Trebuskaya did a nice job on the Quickstep with the Bewitched theme song. Because they were always in hold, they were able to get his big hands out of the way, and Kurt has improved in his performance, his face had a smile and it looked like he was enjoying the dance. His technique has become smoother, he was light on his feet, and his upper body posture has improved. Score: 24

Rumba Couples

Audrina Patridge with Tony Dovolani danced a Rumba to The Hills theme song, her own reality show. The Hills theme song is really a few lines from Unwritten. Audrina is very pretty and her long lithe body is great for rumba. Her technique is very good but the dance needs to be intimate, sensuous and passionate and theirs wasn't like that. Score: 23
Rick Fox with Cheryl Burke performed a Rumba to The Hill Street Blues theme tune and I thought they did a great job. The dance was sexy, intimate and romantic. For a tall guy, Rick performed delicate movements and was very smooth. His hip action was also very good. Chery put together a nice routine that minimized the differences in their height. Score: 24

Foxtrot Couples

Kyle Massey with Lacey Schwimmer danced the Foxtrot to the Charlie's Angels tune with Kyle as Bosley and Lacey as one of the Angels. Kyle's costume however reminded me of Isaac from The Love Boat. (Does anyone remember that show?). Their performance, as always, looked fun and was engaging. I saw improvements in his carriage and I thought he danced well, but the judges again slammed his footwork and one of the judges hated the 70s touches that Lacey added to their routine, probably because it took away from the traditional foxtrot. They received their lowest score to date. Score: 20
Jennifer Grey with Derek Hough as always, performed well in their dance, The Foxtrot, to the Married ...with Children show tune which is really Frank Sinatra's song, Love and Marriage. What was an eyeopener was that during their rehearsals, Derek was so frustrated with Jennifer for not getting the moves (she is 50, Derek, have some patience) that Jennifer objected and it blew up and resulted in Jennifer walking off her anger. She came back of course and went on to do well, but this is why I love watching this show. Score: 24

Tango Jive Couples

Florence Henderson with Corky Ballas danced a Tango to The Brady Bunch tune -- of course! I have to say, it was very strange to watch a tango to it, in fact I didn't know it was a tango until they said so. Florence wore a housecoat at first and quickly shed it to reveal a rhinestone encrusted light brown evening dress. The tango they performed looked jerky and it didn't look at all sexy although it was intense and they had fast spins. Score: 21
Bristol Palin with Mark Ballas danced a Jive to The Monkees tune, which is why at the beginning the two dancers wore gorilla outfits. They put them on because the judges were always criticizing Bristol about being more expressive and to have more engagement with the audience. In fact, Mark enrolled Bristol in a Clown School class. They spent so much time trying to help Bristol break out of her shell that I don't think they had enough time to practice their dance. It looked awkward peeling off the costume, she forgot the steps, she didn't bounce enough, and she was out of step. Score: 18

Scoring the Judges

The show started this week with an assessment of each couple's strengths and weaknesses, which is the first time I've seen this happen in Week 5. I think that the show has been getting feedback from the audience that the scores have been wideranging and inconsistent and has created a lot of dissatisfaction with the judges. This may be why they started the week 5 show with the judges' assessments so that the audience gets a better understanding of what criteria the judges use. Given that, I think the judges have been less opinionated this week -- it's an improvement. Too often they seem to have a pet peeve on one thing or the other and grade it based on that instead of the overall dance. This week I give the judges a score of 6.

Who is in Jeopardy?

The bottom three couples are Florence with Corky, Kyle with Lacey, and Bristol with Mark. Of the three, Bristol with Mark had the lowest score. She has been in jeopardy two previous times. It may be time for her to go, if not her, it may be Kyle if his fan base doesn't vote enough. Tune in Tuesday.

The Star Eliminated this Week is...

Florence Henderson with Corky Ballas?! This Results show outcome was a total surprise. Many viewers had expected Bristol Palin to go home, however, she apparently has a strong enough fan base that voted to save her so that she was one of the first dance couples saved. Kyle Massey's fan base also voted to save him. Florence had the third lowest score this week among the dancers but it was her personal best. Who were in jeopardy with Florence? It was Jennifer Grey and Rick Fox!
I and many in the audience and the dancers were sorry to see Florence (who will always be Mrs. Brady to me) go because she took such great pleasure in the dance and the show and worked so hard in rehearsals. It could be that many in the audience thought now is the best time for Florence to make a graceful exit because it can only get more physically demanding from here; next week, each dance couple will be expected to learn two dances. To the end Florence was a class act, she reiterated how wonderfully produced the show was and how all the people involved were the best to work with, especially her pro partner, Corky Ballas.

Originally published 10/19/2010

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