This could be the season to break traditions on “Dancing With The Stars”. Week 1’s elimination was a huge surprise. Despite low scores, I discounted any possibility of Lolo Jones going home because Olympic Athletes typically have large fan bases and fare well in the competition. I was dumbfounded that fan support did not keep her there. That’s not to say I thought she should stay. It just surprised me. It also made me question if this season will become more about dance ability over simply fan favorites.
Week 2’s theme was “My Jam Monday”. The celebrities picked their favorite song to dance to. While I always enjoy the personal touch on the dances, overall a lot of the performances were just kinda ho-hum for me. And, as far of scores, many of the celebrities are lumped together. That means this elimination will definitely rely heavily on fan votes. Here is what I took away from the night:
Randy Couture (Cha Cha) – In Week 1 I was really impressed by the grace that he showed, so I was really excited to see him let loose with a Latin dance. He didn’t do bad, but he wasn’t as good as I expected. I really thought he would get into the music, get into the moves. It was just lacking, though. Do I think it means he’s going home? No, but I’m hoping to see him improve next time. Judges’ Scores: 7-7-7-7
Janel Parrish (Foxtrot) – Her Jive in the first week left me feeling “eh”, this week she stepped up her game. There were a few awkward moments where she got a little off, seemingly in balance, but for the most part it was a strong routine, and the scores reflected that. Judges’ Scores: 9-8-8-9
Lea Thompson (Jive) – This was by far my favorite dance of the night. It was tight and bouncy and full of plenty of attitude. She is, in my opinion, one of the best dancers in the competition. This is someone that deserves to make it to the final three, at the very least. I know she had my vote last night. Judges’ Scores: 9-8-9-9
Michael Waltrip (Samba) – Oh, those pre-performance packages can be so deceiving. Watching him prepare, seeing the fun, I was really expecting something special in the routine. Instead I was just left wanting. For me it was like he walked through the routine, except for when he would stop to do the awkward hip rolls. Judges’ Scores: 6-6-6-6
Tavis Smiley (Cha Cha) – This is another routine that was just so-so for me. I noticed it last week, and it continued this week, he is very heavy footed. Most of his steps are very clompy. I also noticed a few instances where he didn’t seem sure of where he was going. I think his time is limited. Judges’ Scores: 7-7-7-7
Alfonso Ribeiro (Samba) – Last week he set a high bar, and that is always difficult to live up to. I wasn’t thrilled with this dance. It’s not that it was bad, but it just didn’t “feel” like a Samba to me. The judges mentioned his character, and I think they were right about that. The character we saw in the Jive was the same character we saw in the Samba. There needs to be more adaptation into the dance style. Judges’ Scores: 8-8-8-8
Bethany Mota (Foxtrot) – I always feel bad when I see a celebrity injured, because it does make a difference. I’ve been through that pain myself, so I felt for her in her performance. That being said I thought she did a good job. She gave a strong performance. There were a few places in which I thought it looked like she was being precautious because of her injured ankle, but on a whole she did a really good job. Judge’ Scores: 8-9-8-8
Betsey Johnson (Foxtrot) – This was the surprise of the night for me. After the debacle of week 1, she came back and gave a truly respectable performance. Even beyond the dance, she pulled on my heartstrings, talking about how she “never felt pretty”. You could see how much the evening meant to her. That made her dance even more special. Judges’ Scores: 7-7-7-7
Antonio Sabato, Jr. (Rumba) – As I’ve said in previous seasons, this is my favorite dance, so I always have a critical eye when it’s performed. Doing such an intimate dance in week 2, as Cheryl pointed out, is difficult, but I thought they did a beautiful job. It was understated and sensual. This was much better for me than his Cha Cha last week. Judges’ Scores: 8-7-8-8
Tommy Chong (Salsa) – I’m telling you… He has some moves! Just like in week 1, there was fun and a little technique. He’s not the best dancer on the floor, but he’s still hanging close to the pack. I’m still looking forward to seeing him do a ballroom style dance. It’ll be interesting to see what he does with a dance that he doesn’t lend itself to fun or comedy. Judges’ Scores: 7-7-7-7
Jonathan Bennett (Cha Cha) – This dance was hit and miss for me. There were some good points and then there were others that left me hanging. It just wasn’t consistent. I still think that he shows promise, but he needs to hone his focus a little more in order to improve. Judges’ Scores: 7-7-8-8
Sadie Robertson (Jazz) – I have to say this was by far the strangest dance of the night for me. I felt like I was watching a cross between square-dancing and hip-hop. It was just odd. I really like her, and I think she can go far. This dance just didn’t really do her justice, though. Judges’ Scores: 8-7-8-8
At the end of the day, it was an interesting night in the ballroom. There could still be some shakeups in the leader board over the next few weeks because a lot of celebrities have had two weeks of Latin, or at least two weeks of upbeat dances, so it’ll be telling when they have to tackle something like the Waltz.
As for who I see heading home after two weeks of competition, my prediction is Michael Waltrip. He came in at the bottom of the leader board. Add to that the fact that he was in the bottom last week with fan votes added in, I think he could be in jeopardy.
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