DWTS 11-21-11 The Finals

Sometimes wanting something too much can backfire. And sometimes, choreographers and contestants forget that dancing is not about doing tricks, it’s about design, connection, musicality, fully using the body, and engaging the audience in a flow of movement that transports, engages and transforms perceptions.

Do I want J.R. and Karina to win? You betcha. Do I think Rob improved? Sure. Are either of these males on the level of Ricki Lake? Doubtful. So, what to do? Well, I guess that’s up to the viewers tonight.

My analysis:

Ricki and Derek. Cha cha. My mark 10.
Ricki is a 10 on precision and technique alone. She creates gorgeous clear lines. She is a bit stiff at times; however, I saw great hip action, incredible footwork, high energy and definite cha cha style. Though I may not have been electrified or transported and I want Ricki to bring more emotion into her performance through her chest, I was awed by Ricki’s clarity – a clarity which J.R. and Rob don’t come close to having.

Rob and Cheryl. Waltz. My mark 9.
Suave, as usual. Simple, beautiful, graceful and fluid. Some energy drops and disconnects and at times I noticed Rob’s limited range of motion. He isn’t really a dancer per se because his whole body isn’t alive with it. If Rob could have mastered the presence that Bruno demonstrated in rehearsal, Rob could have knocked this out of the ballpark. But Rob’s not there yet.

J.R. and Karina. Cha cha. My mark 9.
A suave, moody cha cha that allowed us to feel all the nuances. J.R. invests everything and really articulates his torso. I watched this dance twice due to the judges’ overly negative comments. Although there wasn’t the precision and attack of a pro dancer, and there was a small section where J.R.’s timing was off, this was still a wonderful performance. J.R.’s ability is amazing for a man with no previous dance experience – the nuances, how he uses his body and his facial expressiveness – wow.


Ricki and Derek. My mark 9+.
Entertaining and fun. An amazing weaving together of ballroom styles danced with conviction. Unfortunately, I felt there were so many tricks that they interrupted the dance’s potential. Instead of being transported and getting caught up in the sheer joy of these two dancing, I got stopped. The quickstep part of this came closest to establishing the continuity of dancing I was looking for.

I wanted to sing and the choreography was simply too broken up for me by lifts and tricks. (Do I sound like Len? Heavens, who would have thunk it.)

Rob and Cheryl. My mark 8+.
I wish I could say that this dance thrilled me, but it did not. And because of the precision factor, the clarity exhibited by Ricki and Derek, I couldn’t give this dance a 9 because the performance and dancing simply were not at that level. Rob was suave and relatively carefree. He enjoyed this number, and he seems to believe that he is most entertaining.

I couldn’t get past what I saw as the limited range of motion of some of Rob’s arm movements and chest, the lack of presence and pizazz, and the relatively simple choreography. But then no one tonight blew me away. I really wish I could say differently.

J.R. and Karina. My mark 9.
Jungle madness with some of the most amazing tricks I’ve ever seen. A smart move on their part, this salsa freestyle number gave J.R. the freedom to dance like he might at a nightclub while it showed off Karina’s pro style. Whereas it matters in a waltz, foxtrot, or rumba if you’re slow and imprecise, in this kind of choreographed dancing it didn’t. High energy, spirited, joyful, and danced like they meant it.