DWTS 20, DWTS Year 10, and America’s Ballroom Challenge

Hey dancers!

It’s coming four days late so talking about all the shows gets lumped together, but this cold has had me feeling like my head is going to explode so I haven’t been in the physical state to write anything, let alone watch it.

Dancing With the Stars 10 - year anniversary

Dancing With the Stars 10 – year anniversary

First up is Dancing With the Stars, week 7. Eras Week. Or something. I like this idea.

Riker & Allison – what a cute idea! He actually performed this beautifully, even though the carriage was weird and there wasn’t much body contact. It looked to me like he had that Jacoby Jones issue but he doesn’t exactly hunch, but still somehow stunts his posture to try to get down to his partner’s height. Don’t think it deserved the season’s first 10 from Len, but I’m glad he got it.

Chris & Witney – small improvement, yes, but umm…even Witney looks and sounds like she doesn’t want to hear “you’re safe”. I’m hoping with everything I have that he doesn’t survive the elimination.

Rumer & Val – love Bruce Willis, what a sweet man. (Sidenote: Keo and Emma’s jive bumper was AMAZING.) I had a dip like that once and my head hit my partner’s knee on the way down. Ouchy. This reminds me of Chynna Phillips’ jive in season 13. Nothing really wrong with it at all, but it was a “polite” jive. It didn’t have very much attack. And we all know that with the jive, you NEED attack.

Noah & Sharna – I like the premise. Noah moved kind of small. It’s amazing, when you consider it, what he has been able to do despite his limitations. Like, how can you worry about foot placement when the foot seems to take a mind of its own at times? That’s all I can say, really.

Robert & Kym – ooh, that split over the shoulder is a Derek trick I’ve always wanted to use! Robert is such a dapper leading man. This was probably his best dance. It cemented the fact that he really is, as the man, the rock in the partnership, and knows how to perform. His footwork was pretty slick and sharp, too.

Nastia & Sasha/Derek – oh, Derek. Let me cut you a slice of fail cake. Hah, he reminds me of myself. I can’t sit still either. Anyway, I’m curious as to why she isn’t dancing with Henry. I also wonder, though, as to why Derek had to be in it. Okay, this was an awesome performance. Oh, there’s Sasha’s signature trick! Nastia finally looked like she was having a total blast. It was well-staged to the point it felt and looked more like one of the pro numbers. And Sasha partners Nastia very well.

Willow & Mark – interesting concept, but really cool use of those prop ropes. That’s all I have to say. I know she’s the one that got eliminated, but I guess this is why – I always forgot about her every week.

I love the dance-off. Not that it’s any closer to a “real” competition, but it’s fun to watch.

Riker vs. Willow – oh, this is my song. Where Riker and Allison screwed up is they used the choreography sections where it was more trick than salsa. He did dance it way better this time around, though. I’m okay with Willow winning this one.

Noah vs. Robert – Noah didn’t do much, but was clean and on beat. Robert moved a lot and fell really off time. But we know in ballroom, clean trumps sloppy every time. So this one is Noah’s.

Rumer vs. Chris – oddly enough, this might be the best Chris has danced. Regardless, this was a no-brainer; Rumer danced gorgeously. And how refreshing to see her in some color.

Poor Willow. It must really hurt when you’re 14 to basically be told, you’re cute but not enough people care enough to vote for you! On the other hand, Tom’s dad moment. Can we give him all the hosting Emmys?

On the 10th anniversary show: Geez, you could fill an audience just with former contestants. I’m still not going to pretend to be enamored by Kelly and Val’s surfer flamenco – ew. AMBER REILLY, YAAASSSS!!!! Resistance to her really is futile. The NFL players’ section was easily the best part of the entire thing. It was fun and they showed exactly what every one of them was famous for in DWTS history. On another hand, that rendition of Lady Marmalade took me to CHURCH! Amber matched Patti note for note, yaaassss. Overall, the show was nice, I guess. I wish the judges would dance more. Bruno was hilarious in the front line in his white suit.

And, after the jump, onto America’s Ballroom Challenge, International Style!!!

Artem Plakhotnyi and Inna Berlizyeva perform at America's Ballroom Challenge (c) PBS.org

Artem Plakhotnyi and Inna Berlizyeva perform at America’s Ballroom Challenge (c) PBS.org

International Standard, to me, is the most beautiful thing in ballroom dance. It really takes you back to a time where a man was really a gentleman and a woman really was a lady. I love this style and hope to learn it eventually. The gowns on the ladies in this round with the floats were stunning. Anyway, I was hoping to see Victor Fung and Anastasia here, but it’s cool.

The Standard showcases were interesting. I wonder what led a Canadian couple, Anton Lebedev & Anna Borsch, to choose a Western theme. I liked Oscar Pedrinell & Lenka Kovalcikova’s performance. There’s not much room in ballroom for humor, so I really appreciated them. I also know that song will be stuck in my head for days to come. Artem Plakhotnyi & Inna Berlizyeva, what a couple! They absolutely captivate you. I was eating pizza and still couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. That woman is like water rolling onto the shore. Incredible. Angrey Begunov & Anna Demidova were dazzling! I wasn’t expecting any of those music changes, and the way they used samba in their quickstep was pretty great.

Naomi Spektor, dancing with her uncle Ilya Reyzin, was really impressive. If there is one thing I don’t like about ballroom (other than how expensive it is), it’s that young girls like this seem so much older. I’m not saying they’re sexualized at all, it’s just that if I hadn’t read the bio on the PBS site, I would have thought this young lady was 21 years old, not 13.

Ah, a feature on Brent Mills! Love it. He always does an amazing job of picking the music.

The Latin final!!! I feel like I’ve been waiting an eternity for this. I want that jive song! This final was kind of unexpected. I know most of these couples from the Paradigm DVD YouTube channel, which features mostly competitions on the west coast. So I just happened to notice that there didn’t seem to me to be very many east coast couples.

Roman Kutskyy and Anna Kovalova dance at America's Ballroom Challenge (c) PBS.org

Roman Kutskyy and Anna Kovalova dance at America’s Ballroom Challenge (c) PBS.org

Interesting! Kamil Studenny and Anna Pelypenko (Canada) used the same song for their showdance as one of the standard couples. Yulia Kuznetsova is a fairly new name, but I think she’s fantastic. She has those amazing overarched feet. I personally feel like her facial expressions are over the top, but that doesn’t bother me. The dynamics in speed that she and her partner showed were breathtaking. Dmitry Nikishkin and Olena Shvets are here to rep New York! I wonder why they chose to do most of this showdance in side by side.

Finally, Roman and Anna! She’s one of my favorites, and what a handsome man. Their dance really showed the anguish in love. I like that they chose to dance to a Russian song. It’s something really different than I’ve ever seen from them, and they were outstanding. I remember when Evgeny Likhachev was dancing with Jenya Shatilova. I didn’t really notice him back then, but he’s dancing with way more command and power with Maria Levina. Love that they chose the paso. I also remember Vitalii Proskurin and Eugenia Shatilova with their previous partnerships! They both dance way better together. Wow, I never noticed it before, but she move so slick! Almost like a snake. In a really good way. This might have been my favorite dance of the night.

Robin Kencel was fantastic with Sergey Vasilyev. Seeing Pro-Am on television that isn’t Dancing With the Stars gives me something to look forward to.

What did you all think? Next week’s show is going to be insane!

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