It’s time for the hottest night of the competition. Unlike normal weeks where half the couples are doing a Latin dance and half are doing a ballroom dance, this week, everyone will be doing a Latin routine. So turn on a fan (or the air conditioner) and let’s get to it.
Mario & Karina Smirnoff – Samba – Before we get to the dance itself, I have to ask, how do they start together on the first beat of the music? There must be some signal, but I sure can’t pick up on it. Okay, now back to your regularly scheduled commentary.
I think one reason I like Latin night is the stars normally seem to be having so much fun. Mario certainly looked like he was having fun. As well he should. It was a fun routine. And it seemed really strong to me. Well, until they got to that nice little lift. But I seem to be the only person who thought it was a lift. I wish they’d make the rule clearer for us at home. Len called it Mario’s best dance so far. Of course, he did say he still needs to work on footwork. But everyone thought it was smooth and classic.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 9 Total – 27 His best score yet. And he’s set a high standard for the rest of the stars. We’ll see how they live up to it as the night progresses.
Priscilla Presley & Louis van Amstel – Rumba – After a bit of a slow start, this routine really took off. Of course, her splits and that hold at the end were amazing. It did look like they missed a turn in the middle, which is never a good thing. Still, I’d say this was a solid if not spectacular performance. The judges liked it less then I did. They thought it lacked spontaneity and it looked like she was concentrating too much on technique. Len also dinged them for heel leads. I’m betting these scores won’t be good. Of course, the judges did start arguing, which made Priscilla and Louis laugh.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 7 Len – 7 Bruno – 7 Total – 21 Priscilla was expecting a lower score, and to be honest, so was I. But that’s only one point below last week’s score. Of course, they were in the bottom two last week.
Marissa Jaret Winokur & Tony Dovolani – Samba – This seems to be a step backward to me. They are so focused on shaking it that they almost forgot to dance. Eventually, they did start dancing some Samba, but it was too little too late for me. But just to prove how out of touch I am, the judges loved it. They nit picked on a few minor things like being off beat at the beginning (okay, that’s actually major), but they basically liked it.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 8 Bruno – 8 Total – 24 They tied last week’s score, and she seems happy about it. I’m expecting that to be near the bottom, but we’ll see how it holds up.
Cristian de la Fuente & Cheryl Burke – Rumba – Watching this dance, I am realizing what was lacking in Priscilla’s. This one not only has heat, but the dancing is much better. They moved fluidly and some of those moves, while not the splits, were pretty impressive. Len, on the other hand, thought it was competent but not outstanding. Carrie Ann said there wasn’t enough chemistry. And Bruno said the walks were weak. Obviously, I need to get my eyes checked.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 7 Len – 8 Bruno – 8 Total – 23 I expected three 7’s. Still, that’s lower then I thought it should be. The judges just need to consult me more often.
Marlee Matlin & Fabian Sanchez – Samba – Again, she did a great job with the routine. That was certainly on par with the other dances we’ve seen this evening. I noticed a few times they seemed off, but nothing major. We definitely have strong dancers this season because all I can say is another solid performance. The judges saw more slips then I saw, but they praised her for keeping her spirits up and never giving up.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 7 Len – 7 Bruno – 8 Total – 22 Slightly above the bottom of the pack. About what I expected from the judges’ comments and their other scores tonight. Maybe my problem all night is I am willing to settle for what I get instead of the what it should be. I guess we’ll see as the leaders from last week dance tonight.
Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas – Rumba – Not that she needed it, but I’d say that was her break through week. Yes, all the steps look great and it was beautifully choreographed. But I thought I saw some real emotion. And she was looking like she was having fun to boot. Carrie Ann talked about a little less in the technique department, but I sure didn’t notice.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 10 Bruno – 10 Total – 29 When Carrie Ann’s 9 came up, I was worried, but she was the only one to offer any real criticism, so the score makes sense. We’ll see if the final two can keep on her heels again.
Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough – Samba – Well, that started while they were still being announced. And the fun never stopped. It was fast with lots of shaking and moved all over the floor. I don’t think she had as much hip action as she probably should have, but that was my favorite Samba of the night. The judges really jumped on her hip action. But Carrie Ann did praise her willingness to go for anything Derek puts before her.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 8 Len – 8 Bruno – 7 Total – 23 I thought it was worthy of at least a 24. But those hips really hurt them.
Jason Taylor & Edyta Silwinska – Rumba – It looked good and the routine itself was great, but I thought Jason lacked hip action. The judges, however, thought it was great and they mostly praised it. Len jumped on Edyta for her poses and not letting Jason dance enough, and I’ll definitely agree with him on that point.
Scores: Carrie Ann – 9 Len – 9 Bruno – 9 Total – 27 A small step down. They are leaving Kristi safe at the top this week. But at least he’s still near the top.
1. Kristi – 29
2. Mario – 27
2. Jason – 27
4. Marissa – 24
5. Cristian – 23
5. Shannon – 23
7. Marlee – 22
8. Priscilla – 21
Encore: My money this week is on Kristi. She hasn’t done an encore yet, and I think it’s about time. Jason has already done one. Mario could be a contender as well. But I think it will be Kristi.
The Bottom Two: With just over half the couples within three points of the bottom score, this is hard to predict. I keep thinking that Marlee will be down there because she doesn’t have a big fan base. So I’m going to stick with her. Priscilla is an easy pick because she’s the bottom score and she was there last week. So my picks for the bottom two are Marlee and Priscilla.