Laney’s Look: Clear Leaders Are Emerging On DWTS

Laney's Look: Clear Leaders Are Emerging On DWTS (Image 1)

The division between dancers is definitely becoming apparent on “Dancing With The Stars”. These last two weeks of competition have revealed which celebrities are contenders and which ones are slowly falling by the wayside.

I was a little surprised by last week’s elimination of Randy Couture. Had he been given a few more ballroom numbers, I think he might’ve been able to hang in the competition longer. The Latin style simply did not suit him well, yet he showed surprising grace in the Fox Trot.

This week’s elimination of Betsey Johnson I can’t say was surprising, yet I found myself a little sad. For me, seeing her transformation over these weeks has been wonderful. She had so much joy, and I’ll never forget a few weeks ago when she said, “I feel pretty for the first time.” That touched something in me, and, while I initially was indifferent about her, I came to really enjoy her. I see her as someone that is like so many of us. She’s insecure about herself and puts on a mask – with flamboyant hair and makeup and attitude – to conceal it. Betsey wasn’t the best dancer on the floor, but she was fun to watch. I’ll miss seeing her each week.

Every season I have a love/hate relationship with this Monday’s theme. The celebrities were asked to pick their “most memorable” year. While I enjoy hearing those personal stories, and seeing how they translate on the dance floor, it can sometimes make it harder to be balanced when critiquing dances. Monday night was the first time in awhile that I felt the judges weren’t biased in their scoring, so now I’m going to make my attempt of weighing in without letting the personal stories get in the way.

Janel Parrish (Rumba) – I thought this was a beautiful dance. It’s something that I’ve said countless times, but the Rumba is one of my favorite dances. She truly did this dance justice. There were a couple of little slip-ups, but overall it was beautifully done. Judges’ Scores: 9-9-9-9

Jonathan Bennett (Samba) – Early on in the season I thought Jonathan showed promise, but his Samba was yet another dance that fell flat. While I appreciated the tribute to “Mean Girls”, there was just never any oomph to the dance, let alone the bounce and hip action. I think he could be in trouble. Judges’ Scores: 6-6-6-6

Betsey Johnson (Jive) – The start of this dance was so sweet with Betsey and Tony including her daughter, LuLu. The dance itself I thought was neat and well done, but there wasn’t anything extraordinary about it. I do have to give her major props for the handstand. That was something that impressed me every week. Judges’ Scores: 8-7-7-7

Bethany Mota (Rumba) – Bethany’s dance was performed beautifully and had a wonderful message; however, it was much more Contemporary than Rumba. Sadly that impacted the scores, but the performance itself was absolutely gorgeous. Judges’ Scores: 8-8-8-8

Michael Waltrip (Quick Step) – This performance had highs and lows. There were times that Michael was right on, and I was getting excited for him. Then there were times that it fell really flat. I think his time on the show is starting to dwindle. Judges’ Scores: 6-6-6-7

Lea Thompson (Contemporary) – This was hands down my favorite dance of the night. Julianne put it best when she said that the performance was “flawless”. From the music to the story in the dance, it was just picturesque. Even if I didn’t know the back-story to the performance I would’ve loved it. Lea impresses me every week. Judges’ Scores: 10-10-10-9

Antonio Sabato, Jr. (Samba) – Antonio is another celebrity that has not lived up to what I expected. I really thought that he was going to have some moves, especially in the Latin style dances. Instead he is really stiff. It makes a lot of his dances, including Monday’s Samba, really awkward. Judges’ Scores: 7-7-7-8

Tommy Chong (Jive) – I always look forward to seeing what surprise Tommy has in his performances. He’s proven to be a much better dancer than I expected – probably than anyone expected. The Jive was probably his weakest performance to date. He’s fun to watch, but it is going to continue to be harder for him to hang in with the other celebrities. Judges’ Scores: 7-7-7-7

Sadie Robertson (Samba) – This dance was kinda off the wall. It definitely wasn’t your typical Samba, but it was a lot of fun and really well executed. Mark Ballas tends to be outside the box with his choreography. There are times I’m not a fan, but I enjoyed this one. Sadie is also a great dancer. She’s a real contender for the trophy. Judges’ Scores: Judges’ Scores: 9-10-9-9

Alfonso Ribeiro (Jazz) – This was the week Alfonso fans were waiting for – the appearance of “the Carlton”. He even admitted that his performance was for the fans. While his signature moves were part of the performance, there was plenty of other content in the quirky number; whether you are a fan of his or not, it would be hard to not enjoy the performance. Judges’ Scores: 10-10-10-10

For me the top contenders in the competition are Lea, Janel, Bethany, Sadie, and Alfonso. I’ll admit that I’m partial to Lea. I can’t really explain why except for she has impressed me since week 1. They’re all really remarkable.

As for the next celebrity to leave the ballroom… My dad believes it’ll be Michael Waltrip or Tommy Chong. My prediction is Jonathan Bennett or Michael Waltrip. Both have been in the bottom a couple of times, and both have some of the lowest scores. Right now my instinct is leaning toward Jonathan being eliminated, but this season has been full of surprises. It could be anyone.

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