Friday, December 7, 2012

DWTS: Season 11, Week 4 Leader of the Pack

Acoustic Week and Double Score Showdown

Week Four of Dancing with the Stars, Season 11 saw the return of Jennifer Grey with Derek Hough clear above the fray with an almost perfect performance of their Argentine Tango while Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino with Karina Smirnoff dwells at the bottom despite the many lifts in his Argentine Tango. This week also featured a couple of new features to continue to make the competition more challenging. Only live acoustic music was used for the performances and the dancers had to dance on an elevated circular dance floor. These features made it difficult for the dancers because they have to listen to the music more carefully instead of depending on the song to create the high and low points of the dance and the elevated dance floor means that the audience can see the mistakes more clearly in the footwork. In addition, the dancers were scored on their technical execution of the dance and their performance so each dancer had two scores. The couples either danced the Rumba or the Argentine Tango.
The Rumba is a sensual, intimate, slow dance which involves a lot of hip action from both dancers. Corky Ballas described it as the vertical expression of a horizontal desire... or something equally embarassing. The Argentine Tango is an intimate, just repressed smoldering passion between two dancers; the dancers are allowed to do lifts.

Rumba Couples

Kurt Warner with Anna Trebunskaya. Kurt, being a Christian, was clearly uncomfortable acting out an intimate dance with a married woman who was not his wife, even though his wife was okay with it (she and Anna's husband visited to give encouragement). He had no problem with dancing to the beat, swiveling his hips and good footwork but his posture was not good, the dance lacked passion, and his arm movements still lack finesse. Technical: 15 Performance: 19 Total Score: 34
Brandy with Maks Schmerkovskiy. Brandy has beautiful lines and is very graceful and performed a sensual rumba with nice hip movements. The judges however, picked on her feet because it was unsteady and seemed to lack confidence. Technical: 22 Performance: 26 Total Score: 48
Kyle Massey with Lacey Schwimmer. Kyle worked very hard on his footwork and made sure to point the toes and improve his carriage. However, Kyle forgot that the rumba is slow and sensual and there was sometimes too much sharpness in his movements. Technical: 18 Performance: 22 Total Score: 40
Florence Henderson with Corky Ballas. Watching Mrs. Brady perform an overtly sexual rumba was embarassing--for me! It was like watching a favorite aunt doing something inappropriate on the dance floor. In addition there was not really any hip action to her dancing. Technical: 17 Performance: 18 Total Score: 35
Bristol Palin with Mark Ballas. Bristol, as a young mother, had to work on conveying sensuality in their dance. I thought she did fine for a beginner, she has improved on her technique since week 1, she definitely got her steps and hip movement right. The judges however slammed her for her performance because they didn't think that she engaged the audience. I thought it was a dumb critique, she is not an actress and I thought her focus should be on Mark because this was an intimate dance. Technique: 18 Performance: 14 Total Score: 32

Argentine Tango Couples

Rick Fox with Cheryl Burke. Rick did a fine job with the lifts, however he was clearly concerned about the elevated and round dance floor. Let's not forget that Rick is 6'7", his long legs can probably cross the diameter in three and a half paces which doesn't give him much room to maneuver if he needed extra room to balance Chery's weight during a lift. This concern is probably why he looked tentative on his performance. Technical: 19 Performance: 20 Total Score: 39
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino with Karina Smirnoff. One of the judges described his dancing as "It was consistent. It was bad throughout." Unfortunately I agree. Mike had several lifts in his dance; because he was concentrating on his lifts and not dropping Karina, the rest of his dancing really suffered. He forgot several steps, his posture was bad, there was no footwork but he did the lifts really well and he didn't drop Karina. They have the lowest scores. Technical: 12 Performance: 16 Total Score: 28
Jennifer Grey with Derek Hough. This couple is clearly the best pair of dancers right now. Their Argentine tango was flawless, well executed, and conveyed passion. This is the kind of dance in which Jennifer shines. Together with her acting ability, dance ability, and Derek's original and intricate choreography, it was such a pleasure to see this pair dance. The judges agreed and gave them the highest marks and the first 10s of the season for performance. Technical: 27 Performance: 29 Total Score: 56
Audrina Patridge with Tony Dovolani. This pair needs to do a lot more work to catch up with Jennifer and Derek. Their dance was smooth and there were no missteps. However, it seemed bland and lacked intensity. The judges said she needed to work on extending her feet to have a nicer line. Technical: 24 Performance: 22 Total Score: 46

Judging the Judges

The judging was so inconsistent. They gave Florence a higher technical mark even though she had mistakes and lacked hip action than Kurt who had great hip action and nary a mistake. They gave Bristol a lower performance score than The Situation even though he was awful. Rick got a lower technical score than Brandy even though they said that her legs were not so confident. Kyle's footwork was better than Audrina's but got the same score even though they told her to extend her feet. Score on the judges: 5 on the scale of 10.
Who will be eliminated on Tuesday? It comes down to Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, Bristol Palin, and Kurt Warner at the bottom three. I think it's time for Mike to go.

The Star Eliminated this Week

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, and I don't think this was a surprise. He and Karina had the lowest score and even though he did the lifts fairly well, there was not really any improvement in his dancing. They showed a clip of him in the confessional and he was upset at the low scores he got. He has a point. He got 4s from the judges for technical marks -- much too low I thought; he should've gotten at least a five for all those lifts. In the end, The Situation handled the elimination gracefully and it was clear that even though he might not have taken the competition seriously in the beginning, he had gotten hooked by it in the end.

Originally published 10/12/10

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