Laney’s Look: Two Eliminations And Plenty Of Solid Performers On “Dancing With The Stars”

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The first two couples eliminated on "Dancing With The Stars".
The first two couples eliminated on "Dancing With The Stars".

There’s something to be said for two nights of “Dancing With The Stars”. I know that up until a couple of seasons ago, the show was always a two night event, but two nights of

The first two couples eliminated on "Dancing With The Stars".
The first two couples eliminated on “Dancing With The Stars”.

actual dances and competition… That made me an extremely happy girl. Of course we also saw the elimination of two celebrities as well.

Monday night’s elimination of Chaka Khan completely took me by surprise. I knew she wouldn’t be in the competition for the long-haul, but I also considered her to be this season’s “legend”. With that said I really thought she would make it through at least the first couple of weeks before possibly facing elimination. I was definitely off on that one. That’s not to say that it was undeserving. She was one of the lowest scorers. Her performances in week one and week two definitely failed to impress, so I have to say that I agree with the elimination. It just surprised me.

Seeing Victor Espinoza eliminated Tuesday night was not a surprise. As you may remember my post following the week one dances, I predicted that Victor would be the first elimination. While he wasn’t the first, he was close to it. His performance Monday night was fun but wasn’t great technically, however, I have to give him major props for his Rumba Tuesday night just prior to his elimination. He gave a truly respectable performance. Lack of fans I think played a huge role in his early elimination, because he certainly wasn’t the worst dancer out there.

Now there are eleven celebrities remaining, and I have to say that there is some stiff competition this season. I’m going to break down both nights of competition by celebrity in the order that they performed Monday night.

Nick Carter (Jive and Foxtrot): Monday night’s Jive was definitely a little rough. The judges’ hit the nail on the head when they called Nick out for getting caught up in his head. Fears of performing to the song mixed with a literal slip-up, and it got the better of him. He was able to redeem himself with the Foxtrot on night two, though. He was graceful and elegant. It was a great performance. Judges’ Scores: Monday 7-7-7 Tuesday 8-8-8

Paula Deen (Rumba and Tango): Paula has been a surprise for me. She really has a certain sophistication when she dances. While I perceived her has this seasons “older celebrity”, she actually performs better than previous ones in that category. Her Rumba on Monday was graceful and her Tango on Tuesday night was perfectly respectable. She messed up in a few places and is relying a lot on Louis to remind her of the routine, but she’s doing surprisingly well. Judges’ Scores: Monday 7-6-6 Tuesday 6-6-6

Hayes Grier (Foxtrot and Quickstep): Hayes is another performer that seems to have come out of nowhere. He has great flow and really appears to be a natural. With someone his age, you often wonder exactly how seriously they’ll take this competition, but he impressed me this week. You could see how hard he is working, and it showed with both of his performances. He needs to watch his footwork and his frame, but I know that he can improve and go far. Judges’ Scores: Monday 8-7-7 Tuesday 8-7-8

Andy Grammer (Jive and Contemporary): Frantic. That was the word that came to mind Monday night when I watched Andy’s Jive. While the dance is supposed to be fast, his was simply insane and just didn’t work for me. On the other end of the spectrum, I absolutely loved his contemporary dance on Tuesday night. As one of the judges’ said, dance is supposed to make you feel, and Andy’s contemporary dance did just that for me. Judges’ Scores: Monday 7-7-7 Tuesday 8-8-7

Kim Zolciak Biermann (Quickstep and Foxtrot): This week Kim showed enormous improvement compared to her debut in week one. She showed a lot of energy with her Quickstep Monday night, and there was elegance with her Foxtrot Tuesday night. I’m still of the opinion that she won’t be long-lasting in the competition, but with continued improvement like we saw this week, she could possibly last a little longer. Judges’ Socres: Monday 7-6-6 Tuesday 6-6-6

Alek Skarlatos (Jazz and Quickstep): Every time Alek performs, I have to remind myself that he is not a performer. Everyone else, in their own way, is a performer, but Alek is a soldier. That makes his performances even more remarkable. He has a freedom that you don’t often see with nonperformers on the show. Even actors sometimes tense up in regards to dancing because it is outside their comfort zone. If he can keep fan support, I think he could be in this competition for the long haul. Judges’ Scores: Monday 8-7-8 Tuesday 7-7-8

Alexa PenaVega (Salsa and Rumba): This week saw the introduction of Mark Ballas’s off-the-wall themes for his dances. I’m still trying to figure out the point in having Alexa dressed up as a lion for their Salsa, but she gave a great performance, so I won’t complain. Tuesday night’s Rumba was as beautiful as their Salsa was fun. There were a few stumbling blocks in the performance, but overall I thought it was really beautiful. Judges’ Scores: Monday 8-8-8 Tuesday 7-7-8

Tamar Braxton (Cha-Cha and Charleston): Tamar seems to be growing more comfortable in the competition. There were debates about thrusting and wardrobe this week, but in the end she gave solid performances both nights. I wasn’t over-the-top about the Charleston. I’ve got to admit that I wasn’t sure what style of dance she was doing because I missed the introduction. Going just by what I was seeing, I thought she was doing Jazz because I didn’t see much Charleston in the routine. I can’t fault Tamar on that one, though. The performances were strong, though. Judges’ Scores: Monday 8-8-8 Tuesday 8-8-9

Gary Busey (Foxtrot and Paso Doble): While Gary is certainly not the strongest performer in the competition; I could actually see some Foxtrot in his Monday night performance. His performance Tuesday night was lacking, though. I didn’t see a great deal of Paso there. On a whole, though, he is delivering what I expected him to deliver going into the season. Judges’ Scores: Monday 6-6-6 Tuesday 5-5-5

Carlos PenaVega (Foxtrot and Cha-Cha): Carlos is turning out to be one of my favorites this season. I’m excited each night to see his performance. He’s not going to get me to turn my back on Nick, but I certainly wouldn’t complain if the two of them faced off in the finale. Carlos’s Foxtrot Monday night was beautiful and smooth. I wasn’t as excited by his Cha-Cha. He still gave a commendable performance, though. Judges’ Scores: Monday 8-8-8 Tuesday 7-7-7

Bindi Irwin (Tango and Waltz): Bindi does not seem to have any inhibitions when she hits the dancefloor. She has an ease and joy that is infectious. The judges loved her Tango on Monday night, but I have to admit that it wasn’t my favorite. I preferred her Waltz on Tuesday night – even if she was docked a point because of a lift. No matter what I still stand by my belief that we’ll be seeing her in the final three. Judges’ Scores: Monday 9-8-8 Tuesday 7-8-8

There are a lot of close scores, and it is a reminder of how key voting is – even if you think your favorite is safe. We’ve seen plenty of dancers leave too soon over the years. That’s why I vote every possible way each night – phones, facebook, and website.

Tuesday night I kept replaying the dances in my head as I tried to determine who will be leaving the competition next week. I’m going back and forth between Gary and Kim, but I think at the end of the day it is going to be Gary. I think the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” fan base is strong enough to help Kim hold on another week.

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