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"Dancing with the Stars" - Week 5 April 18th, 2011

Dancing With the Stars Week 5 Critique

For the fifth week of Dancing With the Stars, all the contestants were asked to do an American themed dance. I'm not sure if this was a great idea, as most of the songs are not very conducive to many ballroom dances. However, somehow, our pros made it work with songs and dances they were given. This show is as much a testament to the creativity of the pros as it is a glimpse into the abilities of the stars.

As the dances were so diverse on the show this week, I won't give you all the historical background of the dances as I have on past weeks. I will simply say that the song choice for two out of the three Foxtrots was terrible. But in actual fact, I think the producers choose the music first, then the dance to go along with it. And honestly, whoever is choosing the dances is not doing a good job. A big part of me suspects the choice of dances for each contestant is weighed against the dances they have already performed. Instead of sticking to two dances per week, they are doing each week as a theme, which means the dances each contestant has performed gets a little screwed up. As a result, some of the dancers don't even get the chance to actually learn the dance they are supposed to perform. Kendra, for example, hardly did any Foxtrot in her routine, and the little Foxtrot she did perform was done with a more Quickstep feel; so not only did she not learn very much Foxtrot, but neither did she learn the feel and glide of Foxtrot. And really, this is a shame. Every dance has a different character, a different history, and a different emotion. When the producers screw around with the songs and the character of the dances, the "stars", who are really nothing more than beginning level students, are never given the chance to fully appreciate the dance. I feel very sorry for them.

Petra Nemcova and Dmitry Chaplin

Score: Carrie-Ann=7, Len=7, Bruno=8 for a total of 22 and a grand total of 97

Dance: Quickstep

This was such a disappointment. Petra cannot figure out this dancing thing. She is a beautiful girl, with a graceful looking body, and people (Bruno included with the uneducated masses) confuse the graceful look of her body with actual grace. Simply put, and I've said this before, she has none. I'm sure she could learn it, but it would take time and a lot of patience. Her frame was awful from the start, and every time the camera showed her backline, I just winced. Her position was so ugly, and this is very unfortunate considering how beautiful she is when she is not dancing.

Dmitry is not a good Standard dancer. It shows, in the way he moves from foot to foot, from the difficult choreography he gave her, to the way he holds his frame. Quickstep, in my opinion, is the true Standard dance, and it shows everyone, from the judges to the audience to trained dancers like myself, who knows Standard and who doesn't. Unlike Foxtrot, Tango, Viennese Waltz, and English Waltz, there is no American Smooth counterpart to Quickstep. As a result, the pros are forced to teach and perform International Style. The International Style is much more difficult and technical than American Smooth, which is what most of the pros teach the stars because it's easier; therefore, if they are not very well trained in Standard, it shows in International Style. And, Dmitry, it shows.

I disagreed with Len and Bruno, although I suspect Len was simply trying to be nice because Petra is such a sweet girl. Len said little things, but honestly, her lack of frame is not a little thing. Her entire posture and upper body was wrong and twisted and warped, I found it hard to watch. My teachers always tell me that in order to win, you must look beautiful and move beautifully. Petra looks beautiful as long as she is walking down the runway. But as soon as she puts her frame up, the beauty dissolves. And I think Bruno has a crush on her. In actual fact, he can't get past her physical beauty. She has no quality; in fact, so little of it that she can't even fake it like the rest of the pros. Someone should remind Bruno that just because she is a beautiful girl does not mean she is a beautiful dancer. I think she was very lucky to give her a score of 22, difficult choreography or not. She deserved something more like 18.

Kendra Wilkinson & Louis van Amstel

Score: Carrie-Ann=8, Len=7, Bruno=7 for a total of 22 and a grand total of 1000

Dance: A March (ok, ok, it was listed as Foxtrot)

Wow, I doff my hat to Louis! What a difficult piece of music to choreograph to! And who said they should do a Foxtrot? That song was a Quickstep through and through, and actually Louis choreographed a Quickstep. Many of the steps between Foxtrot and Quickstep can be the same, as Foxtrot and Quickstep come from the same root, and if you compare American Style Foxtrot with Quickstep, the basic is EXACTLY the same. The difference is in the way you dance it. Given the music style and speed, it should have been a Quickstep, and it was. I think Louis did a great job with the choreography, and most importantly, he made Kendra look good. Louis gets the prize for the most successful pro tonight.

Kendra improved a lot. Her posture was better, even the little dancing they did in frame looked miles better than that terrible Viennese Waltz she did last week. And I loved the costuming! It looked great on Kendra and fit the music perfectly. For the first time since this season began, I was happy with Kendra.

It was a good score, fair for her dancing. And I was very happy Kendra didn't complain this time. She was really starting to get on my nerves. After this week's performance, I'm willing to watch her for another week.

Kirstie Alley & Maksim Chmerkovsky

Score: Carrie-Ann=8, Len=7, Bruno=8 for a total of 23 and a grand total of 107

Dance: Foxtrot

Sexy sexy Kirstie! Sometimes when I'm watching her, it's easy to forget she is actually 60 years old! A lot of people sneer at the fact that she's struggled with her weight, and blah-di-blah-di-blah. I'm a ballroom dancer, my whole life is centered around losing weight and staying thin, but I can honestly say, Kirstie looks good. For a 60-year-old woman, she looks great! And I think that little bit of extra weight makes Kirstie look better. She has a natural beauty that would have dissolved into wrinkles years ago if she was rail thin like young girls are expected to be. Simply put, KIRSTIE LOOKS GOOD.

She definitely redeemed herself from last week. If you remember, I could have cared less that she lost her shoe. She danced badly last week. She forgot choreography, had chicken wing arms, was too twitchy and sexy, and lost her posture. The shoe was the least of her woes. But this week she performed beautifully, getting into the character of the song (if not Foxtrot) and honestly looking like she just enjoyed herself. She deserved the score she got.

There wasn't much actual Foxtrot in the routine, but then again, the song was not a Foxtrot song. Another mistake on the producers' parts. I agreed with Len that she performed well, but, like Len, it was not my cup of tea. However, it was not Kirstie's fault, and I was glad to see Len did not take it out on her score.

Romeo & Chelsea Hightower

Score: Carrie-Ann=9, Len=8, Bruno=9 for a total of 26 and a grand total of 111

Dance: Foxtrot

I'm sorry, but Romeo is just not one of my favorites. Don't get me wrong, he wasn't bad, but I thought he was overscored. There wasn't too much Foxtrot for me to critique. His posture is improved, the tailsuit and top hat looked great, the character was perfect. He was offtime in a couple of places. One that really stood out to me was a hit that he did a couple of counts early. Go back as wait for the point when the song says "King of the hill". Romeo hits early, Chelsie hits with the blat of the music. I watched it a few times to make sure it wasn't supposed to be like that. I still think he was early. If Chelsie choreographed it like that originally, then it's bad choreography. In the dance world, what you meant is nowhere near as important as what is perceived.

Dear me, Chelsie is a terrible Standard dancer. You could tell she was not comfortable doing what she was doing. Her left hand was searching for a place on Romeo's arm, which is quite funny as a Standard dancer myself, because I know where to go with my left hand immediately.

Overall, Romeo and Chelsie's characters for the dance were too overworked and over-exuberant. Foxtrot is supposed to be sophisticated, subdued, smooth like good wine. They danced it with punch, like bad vodka. Really too bad, considering the great song they had to play with.

And 26? Wow. The judges really like him. He deserved 8s and 7s. I suppose I would have been fine with Carrie-Ann and Bruno giving him 8s, since they seem to have a crush on him, and Len should have given him a 7. But that said, I suppose he did a good job with the bad teaching Chelsie gave him.

Chris Jericho & Cheryl Burke

Score: Carrie-Ann=9, Len=8, Bruno=9 for a total of 26 and a grand total of 112

Dance: Viennese Waltz

I don't really have much to say about Chris. He did a good job with the choreography Cheryl gave him. What did impress me was his posture. What a change! And I think he's slimming down a bit, in a good way. During his first two weeks on the show, his overall bulk tended to bother me. I think the improvement in his posture and the slimmer look of his physique is really helping him. He's starting to look good.

That said, I have to admit I dislike watching Cheryl's Standard. She is extremely sway-backed and, as a result, looks stressed while she dances. But then again, like the rest of the pros on the show this season, she was never a very accomplished Standard dancer either.

I think Len was right on with his comments. He was a bit flat-footed, but his posture and frame were beautiful. I though the score was very fair.

Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff

Score: Carrie-Ann=8, Len=7, Bruno=7 for a total of 22 and a grand total of 113

Dance: Samba (and Line-Dancing)

Ralph gets the unfair distinction of being the most underscored contestant on the show. He was given the same score as Petra, yet his dancing was miles above Petra's. Again, this is just a good indication of the inability of the judges to assign a quality to their scores. Instead of comparing the dancers to each other, they compare the stars to their past performances. Therefore, it is better to start bad and end mediocre, rather than to start good and stay there.

The choreography Karina gave him was not easy, and Ralph performed it beautifully. Actually his steps were much harder than Chelsea's, the only other Samba of the night. Nothing against Chelsea, because I liked her routine (her critique is up next), but Ralph performed more difficult Samba steps, and simply MORE Samba steps, than Chelsea, with much less gyrating. He had good stretch, acceptable Samba Rolls, and acceptable Batucadas. In actual fact, Samba Rolls and Batucadas are some of the most difficult steps in Samba, and he did pretty good! He was a bit flat-footed, but then again, all of the boys are! Yes his basic figures were messy, but man can that guy spin!

Len was right, there weren't a lot of hips in his routine, but then again, so what? And Bruno said he wanted Samba... actually he said he wanted sex, but we'll move on. The song Ralph and Karina were given was not a Samba song. Karina should not be expected to choreograph a Latin looking Samba to Sweet Home Alabama. If she had, the judges would have gotten on her for not sticking with theme of the song. When it comes to Ralph, he is constantly in a catch 22, and I feel bad for him. He deserved a higher score for sure. I would have given him all 8s.

Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas

Score: Carrie-Ann=9, Len=8, Bruno=9 for a total of 26 and a grand total of 114

Dance: Samba

Finally, Mark gave us something we can watch! The rest of us ballroom dancers were all waiting for.... A BALLROOM DANCE!! And thank you, Mark, at last, for giving us one. And not just any one, but a good one! This routine was, for me, the best one of the night. Chelsea is a good dancer. I have maintained that from the beginning, and I was just waiting for Mark to give her the ability to show it off. For this routine, he was more subdued, allowing her to show off her abilities. For once, I didn't get distracted by him.

Her hips moved very nicely, and her Samba technique was pretty dang good! Not only that, but she is very cute while dancing. I really enjoyed this routine.

Actually, I think she deserved a better score. I would have swapped her score with Hines. She was my favorite one of the night.

Hines Ward & Kym Johnson

Score: Carrie-Ann=9, Len=9, Bruno=9 for a total of 27 and a grand total of 121

Dance: Rumba

If Ralph gets the distinction of being the most underscored contestant of the night, Hines was the most over-scored. I like him, of course, he's a handsome guy with a gorgeous smile and beautiful presence, but I just don't think he deserved the scores he got. His Rumba was no better than Ralph's the other week, which is funny when you consider that he was making fun of Ralph during his practices. He even had the spatula hand Bruno was whining about, yet Bruno said nothing about it to Hines. The bias of the judges is overwhelming.

During his forward walks, he was taking heel leads. He didn't move his hips enough, and he seemed very stiff. Maybe his uniform was overstarched.

As I said, he was overscored. I would have swapped his score with Chelsea's, but the judges and audience seem to have an infatuation with Hines, to the point that they forget to actually watch his dancing. I also don't think he's made any improvement in the last couple of weeks. I like him, but he hasn't improved much. Yet, the judges still gush over him! As a judge myself, I'm confused as to why the judges can't get past his adorable smile. It is cute, but his Rumba was not.


Bruno could stay seated in his chair throughout one critique. He is really starting to annoy me; add to the fact that he doesn't even say anything productive. He either talks about sex, or repeats Len. Again, the show can do without him. And Ralph's situation is very unfortunate. Ralph has the most ability and talent out of all the boys left on that show, yet he is being persecuted by the judges. I would say to Ralph, keep working on it, and keep dancing. You may not win, but out of the boys, you certainly deserve to!

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