It's Just A Jump To The Left
And then a step to the riii-iii-iiiight as the couples take on Halloween in individual and team dances.
The best news this week: Len is back! Finally, someone (besides occasionally Julianne) to judge the dancers on actual technique instead of sexiness (Bruno) and whether or not they make her cry (Carrie Anne). And since it's nearly Halloween, all of the dances will have a spooky or creepy theme. Hey, it's more specific than usual, so I will take it. And finally, it's the first week with team dances in addition to individual dances, so everyone will have to learn two routines.
The team dances are difficult to rank and score because they're so different from the individual dances: they're freestyle, they feature dancers of varying ability, and the individual sections are too short to see anything, really. So I'm leaving them unranked at the top, and then ranking the individual dances only.
It feels like there is still a lot of dead weight left this season. Like, does anyone really think that Michael or Tommy, charming though they may be, might win this season? Then why are they still here? We need a double-elimination week, and we need it soon. Let's let the remaining women and Alfonso duke it out already. Here are your rankings:
NOT RANKED: Team Itsy Bitsy
Bethany chose Janel, Lea, and Michael to join her. Derek takes the lead with choreography and they wisely put Michael in the back. And then Michael can't make the second of two rehearsals, which seems like the worst possible outcome. He must have put in some hours with Emma, because Michael holds his own in the routine. At least, he's not a distraction. There are a lot of hip-hop moves, but I have to say, usually Derek's team dances have at least one show-stopping segment, and that was missing tonight. I can't point to anything that was BAD, but it was missing the wow factor. The judges love it and give straight nines. Score: 36/40
NOT RANKED: Team Creepy
Their theme is sort of a French old-timey carnival set to "Time Warp" and I weirdly love it? The dancing is way worse, but the vibe is way better. They all seem like they're having a ton of fun. I do wish I could have been a fly on the wall when someone explained Rocky Horror Picture Show to Sadie. The judges loved it too, but noted that the group was out of sync. Score: 32/40
8. Michael Waltrip and Emma: Jive
Michael struggles with the fast steps in the jive, and Emma gets frustrated with him. But they are dancing to "Devil Went Down to Georgia" which is non-ironically one of my favorite songs (although I have a lot of philosophical questions about it, starting with how the devil's song is like a billion times better than Johnny's and yet Johnny wins). Anyway, this is a terrible routine. Michael barely bends his knees and he misses all the kicks and flicks that would actually make it a jive. Bad. The judges agree. Score: 20 + 36 = 56/80
7. Tommy Chong and Peta: Quickstep
Tommy had trouble in rehearsal, because the quickstep features a lot of bouncing and he's working with seventy-three-year-old knees. When the actual routine comes, though, he turns it on. It's not the fastest or bounciest quickstep I've ever seen, and Tommy misses a few steps near the end. The judges have kind things to say, but Tommy is down on himself, and rightfully so. He's doing great for his age and natural ability, but we're getting to the point in the show where that's not quite enough. Score: 28 + 32 = 60/80
6. Antonio Sabato Jr. and Cheryl: Viennese Waltz
This was Antonio's best dance yet. His posture wasn't perfect but he was right there with all the steps and showed a good sense of rhythm. The judges totally disagree with me; they all think it was terrible. Score: 27 + 32 = 59/80
5. Lea Thompson and Artem: Argentine Tango
Lea and Artem have a crisis of confidence during the rehearsals because they've been falling down the leaderboard. Their routine looks great, but you can still see Lea's lack of assurance. Instead of connecting with Artem, she's in her head and looks like she's counting her steps. Technically, the dance is fine, but artistically, it's a bit lacking compared to her previous outings. Julianne reminds them to have fun, and then Bruno gets so carried away talking about evil that he falls off the judges' podium and nearly takes poor Julianne with him. Score: 34 + 36 = 70/80
4. Janel Parrish and Val: Viennese Waltz
Janel and Val use their routine to interpret her show, Pretty Little Liars, and do a dance where Janel ends up killing Val in the end. It's a cute idea (and I'm sure her fans loved it), but the focus was too much on the story and not enough on the dancing. They barely got any dancing in, and what we saw was pretty basic and rote. And Janel looked great! I wanted to see her dance more! Some of the judges agree. Score: 31 + 36 = 67/80
3. Sadie Robertson and Mark: Paso Doble
Mark has created a dance where he's a zombie and Sadie is…a person? It's an interesting conceit, but it feels like Mark spent too much time on the concept and didn't get to tweak Sadie's technique. While she doesn't miss any steps, she looks a little bit off, stiff and uncomfortable. Luckily, it kind of works, since she's supposed to be terrified. The judges are, once again, concerned that the theme was given more weight than the actual dancing. Score: 30 + 32 = 62/80
2. Bethany Moto and Derek: Paso Doble
Leave it to Derek to interpret the traditional bullfighting paso routine as a Bride of Frankenstein and a bunch of demons or something? It looks cool even if I have no idea what it is exactly. Bethany makes some great shapes with her arms and has intense eye contact, but the connection between the partners is missing. The judges liked it, except Len wants a bit less production and more dancing. They all give perfect scores except Len. Score: 39 + 36 = 75/80
1. Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney: Rumba
Alfonso and Witney are battling a number of injuries, but their rumba was technically beautiful. I can't get over how graceful Alfonso is. I knew he was capable of learning the choreography, but he really makes it look good. The only thing that was missing for me was that connection, which seems to be the refrain this week. I don't know if the partners are all sick of one another or what, but none of the pairs is showing much chemistry. The judges are really pleased that Alfonso did a proper dance. Alfonso courts the "aww!" voters and announces that he and his wife are expecting another baby. Score: 36 + 32 = 68/80
It comes down to Antonio or Tommy, although they're not necessarily the bottom two. Tom tries to waste some time by asking Len what he thinks and Len says, "Well, you could make a case for either of them staying or either of them going." Gee, thanks, Len. Finally, Tom announces that Antonio is going home. It was time. Now let's get rid of the other men except for Alfonso, and (sorry not sorry) Lea, and we'll have a competition.