Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dancing With The Stars, Season 8 Finale

A Teacher's Perspective

By Debra Stroiney

I would have been happy with any of these three dancers winning the whole thing. They were strong dancers and performers throughout the season but they also learned and improved as the season went on.

The Paso Doble:
This dance where they competed against each other was very good. It was good to see them all side by side. It was good to see them try this dance again because it is a dance where the styling and emotion need to come out. The footwork is mostly marching. Gille was definitely the strongest. I agree with the judges regarding Shawn’s head and some of her posture. Melissa was just a little off, and it was more obvious when you put her next to someone who dances like the Paso Doble as Gilles does.

Other than the votes (barely), the deciding factor of Season 8 was the Freestyle. Shawn’s Freestyle was amazing; it had the tricks and the dancing, plus the entertainment factor. They did the perfect mix of all these and were able to make it flow. I agree, for once, wholeheartedly with the judges. Melissa and Gilles did not have routines that showed off their natural dance ability. I liked a lot of Melissa’s routine but I agree that it needed more transitions. I like the song Gilles chose. I mean it was a little out of the ordinary but fun! Again, I feel there could have been a higher level of dancing. Gilles could handle it and still put on a show. I know he was limited with the amount of lifts he could do because of his shoulder but that doesn’t matter if you do other things to make it entertaining.

Dance of their Choice:
All three had perfect scores for their encore routines! But with these three someone really had to mess up for them not to have received perfect scores. I was watching so intently to see if something was off or if someone would slip - nope! Three strong, perfect performances. In fact, Shawn’s score on her Cha-Cha improved since the first time she performed it.

Gilles and Shawn were tied and it really came down to the votes and even then only by very little. I wish we could have called this one a tie somehow. Less than 1% of a difference between the two! That’s incredible. Shawn may have been more well known or perhaps they liked her performances more. Who knows… since it wasn’t by much. I will say that Shawn and Mark really pushed to the end of this competition. She has always done well with technique but I feel that she improved her performance and expressions over the last few weeks. I am glad that Carrie Ann said they underestimated her in the beginning of the show. Plus Shawn got to learn how to have fun while performing! Remember, no expressions are allowed in gymnastics. I think Gilles also deserved to win too. He picked up this skill so quickly and made it look good! Gilles and Melissa have gained skills they will never forget and, I am sure, some great opportunities after being seen on this show.

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