Joey Fatone & Kym Johnston opened the show with a lively Samba. A good Samba although the music was a little too fast again this week. Both Carrie Anne & Bruno again showed their lack of Ballroom knowledge by commenting on non-existing problems. There were a few creative foot placements near the beginning of the routine but an otherwise nice routine. They scored three 9’s for a total of 27.
Heather and Jonathan were up next with the Paso Doble. Because of her schedule, they only had two and a half days to perfect their dancing this week. They flew to England on Tuesday night as Heather wanted to be with her daughter. Heather took Jonathan to meet the actress playing Eva Peron in the show “Evita” to get inspiration for the Paso Doble and later danced on the “Evita” stage. Overall, they traveled over 16,000 miles before returning to New York. In her performance of the Paso Doble I felt that her arms were a little weak at times and her upper body posture was way too far forward. She did a good job considering her handicap but in a Ballroom dancing competition judges cannot have sympathy for that and must judge on the quality of dancing. Their scores - 7 – 8 – 8 for a total of 23 points out of 30.
Dancing third in line were John Ratzenberger and Edyta dancing the Mambo. I don’t know who picks the music for these numbers but many of the songs over the weeks have been really awful. Some songs have been really good and the performers dancing to those songs usually dance much, much better than the contestants dancing to the really bad songs. You cannot portray one thing when the music is telling you something totally different. It is a great band but the musical selections are the pits for some of the dances. The dancers need motivation and good dynamic strict tempo music is needed. It’s like trying to squeeze blood out of a stone – it is impossible to portray the mood and character of a dance with the wrong music. And I think the word “wrong” is more correct than “bad” music. The music is not bad but for this competition some of the music is wrong. The dance was a Mambo but sounded more like a Samba to me and it took awhile for me to realize that they were dancing off time on the “one” beat. Remember, I mentioned in a previous article that Ballroom Mambo can only be danced on the “Two” beat, so in a legitimate ballroom competition this couple would be placed last. But that is not John’s fault but the choreographer’s. John did seem to be having lots of fun with the performance. Carrie commented that he was on the beat most of the time (yes, but the wrong beat!), and Len said that the routine was awful (and the main reason for that was the strange music). They scored 19 points (7 – 6 – 6).
Dancing in 4th place were Laila and Maksim with a lively Cha-Cha and the music was better for this one. A nice routine well danced. Laila had some nice arm styling and good animation but one little section near the end that Laila choreographed was a little ugly and out of character with the dance. Maksim should have had the courage to not permit that. Host Samantha made her second goof of the season. You may remember that she announced Paulina had the lowest score before it was revealed who of the bottom two couples was being voted off. This time she announced that Laila & Maksim had received a score of 28 before the judges had even shown their paddles. Which brings up the disturbing thought that things are always the way that they look on screen. There is no way that she could have known those scores ahead of time. Hopefully she will still be there next week!! They received 28 points out of 30 (9-9-10).
Dancing next was Billy Ray and Karina with the Jive. A better performance than last week but way too much open work away from each other and not much Jive from his point of view. During the preview portion of their section Karina said that “I don’t think we’re going to get high scores this week”. Shows a lot of confidence in her partner. NOT!! Their scores 7 – 7 – 7 for a total of 21 points.
Carrie Anne has given Heather Mills, John Ratzenberger and Billy Ray Cyrus an equal score of 7 points although all three performances were of different skill levels.
Ian & Cheryl performed last with the Paso Doble. Again, no motivation from the music whatsoever; it sounded more like a Hustle. Not one of his best routines but considering the music it was to be expected. His posture was not good and his head was low and not always in the right position. Carrie Anne’s comment was to “Watch Billy Ray”! They received a score of 24 (8-8-8).
The group swing was next and was a lively creative number danced well by all.
The way it stands now Billy Ray should go next followed by John, then Heather but we all know that this show is mostly about popularity and little about skills so the results cannot be accurately predicted.
Tuesday's Results Show:
Heather must have realized that she was going tonight because she had her written exit speech with her. Heather was an inspiration for handicapped people and I compliment her for taking on this challenge.
I wish I knew exactly how the voting works and how they combine the Judges votes with the audience votes. I always wonder why they don’t display the percentage of votes from the audience and I also wonder if the producers have any say in the results.
My thoughts at this time are that Apolo should win but any of the other contestants could give him a run for his money. In the future, Ian will have to step up to the task a little more but Cheryl needs to work him harder and challenge him a lot more like she did with Drew.
I will be on vacation from next Monday so some other kind soul will be reviewing the next few weeks but before I depart I would like to rant a little more about the judging.
I mentioned in a previous article that I didn’t blame the Judges for doing a job that they are paid to do, but I did blame ABC for hiring non-ballroom judges. Len Goodman is the only qualified judge in “International” style but he has no knowledge of “American” style. Would Fred Astaire Dance Studios hire a Ballet expert to judge a ballroom competition? NO! Would a Ballroom judge be hired to judge an ice skating competition? NO! If I were offered a few thousand dollars a week to judge a Ballet competition, would I do it? Hell yes! I would run and buy a book on Ballet, learn what a plie is and I would be ready to go, and I guarantee that I would come up with some profound comments after each performance. But would I be doing a good job? Hell no! Without years of practical experience and study, without certification in Ballet at the highest level, I could never do a competent job.
Seriously though, neither I, or any other Fred Astaire Dance Council Member, would commit to do a job that we were not qualified to do, especially when it affects peoples lives, and this show and the Judges comments AFFECT peoples lives. Anyway, I have ranted enough. Time for vacation. Until later – Happy Dancing!!
Editor's note: Mr. Armando Martin, Fred Astaire National Dance Director, will be filling in for Lyall for the rest of the season. Thank you, Lyall, for sharing your insight and knowledge. Check the blog next week for Armando's article.