Can you believe it, “Dancing With The Stars” fans? I’m not sure what’s more shocking: that we’ve had yet another surprise elimination this week, or the fact that we’re already at Week 9. Next week are the semi-finals, and Bill and Leah continue to survive, while sending stronger dancers home. Could this be the most surprising season since Bristol Palin’s first season?
No big opening number tonight, but the stars each had to contribute 16 bars of movement, and viewers tweeted their favorite opening moves. It’s not surprising that Amber and Derek won that mini round, as they were the only ones doing real dance moves. I personally liked Tom Bergeron’s move the best.
The stars had to do two full dance routines tonight: their usual individual dances, and a trio dance with one of the eliminated pros or one of the troupe dancers. These trios were fantastic! Much more entertaining than the individual dances tonight.
In fact, I hate to say there were two individual dances tonight that I flat out didn’t like at all. That rarely happens. Elizabeth and Val’s Viennese waltz had too much angst (again) and not enough content, and as much as I like and admire Bill, he’s just not progressing quickly enough, especially considering the strength of the other dancers. His Charleston was disappointing: not enough content, he had no bounce or swivel, and I didn’t like their characters.
Without further ado, here’s what I did like tonight:
Amber and Derek’s Quickstep: Both of Amber’s dances were terrific—oh, that poor girl, having to suffer through a salsa with those two sexy men. Life is rough. But I really enjoyed this quickstep, which was smooth but high energy, escaping what I call the “quickstep curse”: quickstep music is really swing, so it tends to be faster than the static ballroom hold of the quickstep, which makes the dance feel low energy. Derek did throw some swing in his exciting choreography, but not so much that it turned off Len. It’s also tricky to do such a bouncy dance with one knee injury, let alone two, and Amber didn’t look injured at all.
Jack and Cheryl’s Viennese Waltz: While I really enjoyed Jack’s trio dance too—it was so great to see a different side of him, goofing off and having fun—I ultimately went with this beautiful waltz for the Birthday Boy. Yes, he jumped on the timing a little here and there, and he needs to watch his posture at the beginning, but it was a really lovely routine. Carrie Ann is right: he’s really growing and building on his technique. It’s great.
Big Kudos to the costume department tonight too; there were lots of stunning costumes, including Cheryl’s lavender sequined gown. And I loved how Carrie Ann so nonchalantly awarded Jack with “Oh, it’s a 10.”
Tony and Leah’s Trio Jive with Henry: This is my favorite dance of the night! I was concerned that there would be too much kitsch and not enough content, but that wasn’t the case at all. The number is extremely entertaining, with great choreography, lots of content, good execution (if you ignore her kicks, which are kind of terrible), and their uncanny judges’ impersonations are hysterically funny. I absolutely love that dress, and would really love one for my closet. I also wonder if she has problematic ankles because she’s always wearing those adorable cancan boots.
Corbin and Karina’s Trio Jazz with Whitney: While I really enjoyed this routine, I didn’t go as (lady) gaga over it as Carrie Ann did. In fact, I felt like it suffered a little from the “quickstep curse.” The music they danced to was swing, but the routine didn’t build fast enough. But it was wonderfully Fosse-esque, sexy and smart, and I adore tap. It did feel more like Corbin with two back-up dancers than a trio, but perhaps that’s a good strategic move.
Elizabeth and Val’s Trio Salsa with Gleb: Oh, how they make these contestants suffer so! Just like Amber, Elizabeth had to party and have fun dancing with these two very sexy men, and while wearing another stunning fringe gown that I’d love to have in my closet. That Gleb is really nice to look at. But Elizabeth also worked hard: that was a very quick, complicated salsa with lots of content, and she handled it really well, moving effortlessly between the two men. I absolutely agree with Carrie Ann and Bruno: this was Elizabeth’s best dance this season.
That makes tonight’s elimination that much more poignant: Elizabeth, with the second highest score of the night, is going home. Bill and Emma both knew their time was up, and yet they’ve been saved another week. Boy, Bill has got a fiercely loyal fan base. Rightfully so, because he’s a wonderful competitor, but I always find it frustrating when popular dancers win out over stronger, more technically proficient, artistic dancers.
What did you think, dance fans? Did you enjoy tonight’s trio dances as much as I did? Did you think for sure Bill’s time was up, or are you voting to keep him in the running? Is this the most surprising season ever? What are your predictions for who will take the final trophy on “Dancing With the Stars”?