Dancing with the Stars: Commentary

contestants 3

By: Kelly FitzGerald

I just started watching Dancing with the Stars and thought I would share my thoughts on the contestants this season. I happen to have a dance background, so its hard for me to watch without a critical eye.

The second episode of this season aired this past Monday (3/27). You can find my commentary below.

Nancy Kerrigan & Artem Chigvintsev (Cha Cha)

Nancy is middle of the road compared to the other female contestants. Considering she is a former figure skater, I expected a little bit more from her. Then again, she is 47 years old and figure skating is an entirely different ballgame. Her flexibility, grace, and musicality definitely read on the dance floor, as do her turning abilities which are sharp and tight.

She did well with her Cha Cha, which Artem tailored to her personality. She can definitely milk her movements more, especially when dancing solo like she did in the beginning. She is always quick to hit the next step or line, rather than enjoying those in between moments.

Judges scored: | 7 | 7 | 7 | 7 |

contestants 1

Erika Jane & Gleb Savchenko  (Foxtrot)

Compared to her first performance, Erika was far more toned down this time. Despite this change, I still find she relies too much on her sexuality when dancing. She needs to learn that being a sexy dancer involves far more  than just flipping her hair and shaking everything she’s got. There is a certain grace and lightness that she lacks, in my opinion. As far as the Foxtrot goes, she did a decent job. I thought she could keep her hips closer to Gleb’s and her upper body back farther. All in all it was a huge improvement from last week. I personally loved the stop and frisk intro. It was fun yet still tasteful.

Judges Scored: | 7 | 7 | 7 | 7 |

Charo & Keo Motsepe (Paso Doble) 

Charo drives me insane. She is a huge personality, and I love her for it, but she’s got to stop trying to steal the mic from the host and shouting at the judges. My issue with her dancing is she is only good at her signature “Coochie Coochie” move. She seems somewhat unteachable in styles other than shaking her hips and jumping around. I will say that everyone on the show can learn from her energy, however. Her facial expressions and performative quality is exceptional. She is always fun to watch, no matter how bad she is. Her biggest mess-up this week was timing. She was supposed to clap in synchrony with her partner, but she was way ahead of him and even looked back at him to try to get back on track. All I have to say is Charo is Charo – and you either like her or you don’t.

Judges Scored: | 6 | 6 | 7 | 6 |

Nick Viall and Pita Murgatroyd (Foxtrot)

Nick needs to get off reality TV because there is a common trend of him failing miserably. We all know it took him 4 tries on the Bachelor to find a fiancé, so hopefully he will get good at dancing by the 4th round too. It is really painful to watch him because he tries way too hard—and it shows. While dancing the Foxtrot, I saw his lips mouthing the counts. He is very flat footed, robotic, and as the judges said, “needs to breathe.” His biggest flaw this week was that his frame wasn’t even right. Peta was clearly leading him, instead of the other way around. He needs to work on his basics before trying fancy footwork.

Judges scored: | 7 | 5 | 7 | 6 |

contestants 2

Heather Morris & Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Jive)

Everyone knows Heather Morris has an unfair advantage as a former backup dancer for Beyonce. How she got on the show is beyond me. I’d like to say that was very poor casting. While I agree with the judges, that ballroom dance and hip-hop are entirely different beats, she still possesses a strong musicality and kinesthetic advantage that the other contestants lack.

As far as her jive went, I thought it was spot on and super fun to watch. I agree with Len though that the breakdown section was a bit of a cop-out in terms of the competition. Obviously she kicked a** at it because that’s her background. It was the most enjoyable dance of the night, but I’m still annoyed she fell back into her comfort zone.

Judges Scored: | 8 | 6 | 8 | 8 |

Bonner Bolton and Sharna Burgess (Viennese Waltz)

Hmmmm does anyone else think there is a romance budding here? I can’t talk about Bonner without talking about Sharna too. Their connection is so strong and so beautiful to watch. Bonner has great form, a strongly aligned frame, and oozes passion. He doesn’t let this passion get the best of him, however, maintaining a calm and collected expression. The Viennese Waltz was beautifully executed and quite poetic. I look forward to watching more from this couple. Donner is definitely one step ahead of the other male contestants.

Judges Scored: | 8 | 6 | 8 | 7 |

contestant 4

Simone Biles & Sasha Farber (Cha Cha)

I didn’t know what to expect from Simone when I heard she was doing the Cha Cha. She has a very young, girly, naive energy about her, which made me think this sexy style might get the best of her. As revealed in rehearsal clips, she struggled with finding comfort in the style at first. But, as expected, Simone rose to the occasion. Her movement was strong, punctuated, flirty, and tastefully playful. I thought she could use better facial expressions to make the audience really believe she was having a good time with it. Perhaps she should go hang out with Charo and Erika for a bit.

Judges scored: | 7 | 7 | 7 | 8 |

Chris Kattan & and Witney Carson (Jazz)

Chris makes my heart hurt. He is such a sweetheart and I could only want the best for him. But, the reality is that he can’t dance. In this episode he reveals that he suffered a severe neck break some time ago, which is the reason why he had to stop doing physical comedy. His decision to take part in this conmpetition simply because he physically “can” was touching. He offered a valuable message of not taking mobility for granted.

Chris and Witney danced the Cha Cha this week, which Witney clearly led him through. He isn’t strong enough to survive another round, though it really breaks my heart to see him go!

Judges scored: | 6 | 5 | 6 | 5 |

Normani Kordei & Valentin Chmerkovskiy (Cha Cha)

Normani was dynamite. By far my favorite contestant. Despite being jet lagged from her tour in Asia, she tore it up. Her energy was contagious, her footwork and rhythm was very clean, and she thoroughly brought the sass while still keeping it very tasteful. I predict she will be the winner of this year’s contest. There’s not much to say about her because it was that good.

Judges scored: | 8 | 8 | 8 | 8 |

Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater (Viennese Waltz)

Rashad is one of my other favorite contestants. I think he and Bonner will be the last male contestants standing. His background as a football player shows, as he is very in tune with the way he moves and leads his partner. His steps and timing were near perfect, and he was both confident and effortless. His pairing with Emma is a strong one, and I look forward to seeing more from him.

Judges scored: | 8 | 8 | 8 | 8 |

Mr. T & Kym Herjavec (Paso Doble)

Mr. T is the next male contestant to go. He has such a great attitude and is clearly giving it his all, but he is simply too rigid. He needs to loosen up a lot or else his season won’t last much longer. I saw a trace of improvement from last episode, but it was still too much punching and flexing. In fact, I’m not even sure if I’d call this performance a “dance.” It was more Mr. T looking sturdy and strong while Kym stole the spotlight.

Judges scored: | 6 | 5 | 6 | 5 |

David Ross and Lindsay Arnold (Cha Cha)

David Ross was great in the first episode with his baseball themed performance. He is a goofball and brings a great energy to his dancing, but I find him a bit awkward and flat footed. I think he will be gone as soon as he is challenged with a highly technical style because I’m not sure he’ll be able to keep up. All in all, he is fun to watch and lies somewhere in the middle compared to other male contestants.

Judges scored: | 7 | 6 | 7 | 7 |

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One Response to Dancing with the Stars: Commentary

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I find this show to be ridiculous. As a dancer, how can you watch without thinking they are somewhat making fun of the dancing industry? When I think of the ballet dancers who put hours and hours into their career, I think this show kind of is a parody.
    -Katherine Naylor

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