This season of ‘Dancing’ seems like it’s just flying by. It’s already week eight, and last night was the last competition show before the semi-finals. It was also the week to bring back the instant dances, and to award the first perfect scores of the season. If there was ever a time to get a second wind, it’s now, and Hope jumped at the chance to revitalize her game this week when Maks decided to (gasp!) act like an adult for the first time in weeks.
As a result of that, I may have thought last week that I knew who I wanted to win, but now I’m back to only knowing who I want to go home next. Here’s how it went:
Rob Kardashian (reality star) & Cheryl Burke Dance: Quickstep Scores: 9, 9, 9 Len said the opening section was terrible, but once they got in hold, it all changed and it was Rob’s best dance. Bruno said Rob was speedier than a drag race, and his lines were the best he’d had so far. Carrie Ann said Rob was the ideal contestant for this show, and he was polished and light on his feet.
You know, I’m not really sure what to say here. The dance was good, but there was nothing spectacular. And honestly, I gotta put that on Cheryl this week. I couldn’t see a single misstep that Rob made--Rob was great and deserved all the praise he got--but the choreography lacked oomf. Either way, after declaring my allegiance to J.R. last week and even before Hope’s renaissance, a little voice in my head has been telling me to take another look at Rob before throwing my weight fully behind anyone, and this dance made that voice just a little bit louder.
Hope Solo (goalie for U.S. women’s national soccer team) & Maksim Chmerkovskiy Dance: Quickstep Scores: 9, 9, 9 Bruno called the dance light and breezy, and said it was her best dance yet. Carrie Ann gave Hope a hug, and commended Maks on doing a good job this week. Len said it was a bend of speed and control, and agreed that it was Hope’s best dance.
Maks did something incredibly mature this week. He accepted the blame for all the drama and tension he and Hope had been dealing with, and made himself lighten up. At times the lighter touch with Hope in the rehearsal footage seemed completely contrary to his nature, but I can’t deny that I was smiling while I watched them for the first time in a while. My shoulders weren’t tense. It’s a bit late, but it’s better late than never, right?
The dance wasn’t perfect, but it had a wonderful airiness to it, and the imperfections were drowned out by how easy they looked as a team for the first time I can remember.
Ricki Lake (actress and talk show host) & Derek Hough Dance: Waltz Scores: 9, 9, 10 Carrie Ann said pointed out a little stumble at the end, but enjoyed the way Ricki always loses herself in the dance. Len called the dance beautifully executed, but said she was missing the heel leads. Bruno called the dance deliciously dreamy, and full of artistic detail.
I felt the same way about this dance as I did with Rob’s. I saw nothing to criticize, but nothing that got me excited either. The difference is that Ricki’s dance was a slower dance that didn’t need the excitement like Rob’s did, so it was more understandable here. She did a fantastic job overall.
Nancy Grace (TV host and journalist) & Tristan McManus Dance: Tango Scores: 8, 8, 8 Len said Nancy did her best dance at week two, then plateaued until bouncing back this week. Bruno called her a brazen jezebel, and said she had the right attitude for the dance. Carrie Ann said it was clean and sharp, but her toes weren’t quite right, and she stumbled with the dip at the end.
I feel like I’m going to start sounding like a broken record talking about Nancy. Just refer to any of my reviews of her dances over the last couple weeks, and you’ll get the gist of how this one went in my eyes: wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great, and Tristan made Nancy look old. Yadda yadda yadda...
J.R. Martinez (actor and U.S. Army veteran) & Karina Smirnoff Dance: Waltz Scores: 10, 10, 10 Bruno said it was like a musical valentine’s card. Carrie Ann said something happened that was magic. Len said after stumbling last week, J.R. came back strong this week.
The first time I watched this, I didn’t love it. I’m not really sure why, but it seemed to get goofy in the middle. I rewatched it again, though, and fell in love with it. I’m not quiet positive it was worth three tens, but it was close enough.
After the first dances, each couple drew a random song to do their instant dances to. They got to rehearse the dance itself throughout the week, but they didn’t have their music until just then. Brooke kept saying they had only twenty minutes to rehearse to the music before performing, which doesn’t really add up (I don’t think), but maybe she’s not including however long it takes for them to do a costume change, etc., etc..
Rob Kardashian (reality star) & Cheryl Burke Dance: Instant Jive Scores: 8, 8, 8 Len said there was no glaring mistakes, but he needed to sharpen up his feet. Bruno said it was a great job, but agreed with Len on the kicks and flicks. Carrie Ann also agreed, but was impressed with the seamlessness of transitions.
It was pretty obvious that Rob was nervous. They’ve talked about him being shy before, and you could see it here. Len’s assessment of “no glaring mistakes” was about accurate too. It would be easy to pick it apart, but he’s got to be given credit for doing what most people couldn’t.
Hope Solo (goalie for U.S. women’s national soccer team) & Maksim Chmerkovskiy Dance: Instant Jive Scores: 8, 9, 8 Bruno said she was like a wild child, but she needed to stretch the backs of her legs. Carrie Ann called it a definite improvement from the last time Hope jived, but said her hands were strange. Len said it was fantastic and everything a jive should be. He actually stood up and shouted how good it was. Wow!
That was awesome! Hope’s first jive was just cringe-worthy, so I was really worried, but the change in the dynamic between Hope and Maks this week really does seems to have made a huge impact. If their quickstep wasn’t proof enough of their comeback, this instant jive sealed it. I couldn’t stop grinning.
Ricki Lake (actress and talk show host) & Derek Hough Dance: Instant Jive Scores: 8, 8, 8 Carrie Ann said there were a few stops and starts. Len said she coped very well, but agreed with Carrie Ann. Bruno said it was very demanding choreography, but also thought it didn’t flow as well as it should have.
Unlike Hope, Ricki did a great job with the jive on her first go around with it, so it wasn’t unexpected that she did well this week. She did more than well, though. She was fantastic. For a few seconds there, she almost looked like a pro at it. It was fast and fun, and can I just say that Ricki is looking amazing? Because she looks amazing. I didn’t see what the judges were criticizing, but I was probably enjoying it too much to notice.
Nancy Grace (TV host and journalist) & Tristan McManus Dance: Instant Jive Scores: 7, 6, 7 Len was pretty brutal, actually. He said she was a Cinderella story, that she came to the ball and lasted eight weeks, but that it was midnight and time for her to go home. Bruno said it was too laid back and loose for the jive. Carrie Ann said Nancy got lost in the choreography, but it was nice to see how much she trusted Tristan.
Oooouuuuuuch. Just... ouch. That was pretty much a disaster. I think the sevens were actually too high. It’s a shame too, because I love that song
J.R. Martinez (actor and U.S. Army veteran) & Karina Smirnoff Dance: Instant Jive Scores: 10, 10, 10 Bruno said the side kicks were sensational, the timing was impeccable, and a bunch of other stuff that I could barely hear over the crowd screaming. Carrie Ann said J.R. was in a class all his own. Len said J.R. had the X factor and the feel good factor mixed together.
I really can’t say anything the judges and the scores didn’t already say. It was amazing! J.R. said he wanted it to look like he’d been rehearsing it all week, and it did.
It was a great night of dancing! Ricki and Rob held their ground, Hope made a comeback, and J.R. nabbed the first perfect score of the season. Twice!! I know it seems odd that after that I would start rethinking my declaration of being on Team J.R., but if I wasn’t already taking another look at Rob, Hope came along and threw a wrench in the works. I tossed in some extra love for her when I voted today, and spread the rest of my votes out to all but the obvious.
If Nancy doesn’t go home tonight, you’re all grounded indefinitely.