old – DWTS 11-1-10

It’s the 200th episode and it seems to me there is a structure to this show even with the little surprises thrown in here and there. DWTS is a bit like a daytime drama. The top contenders always take a fall midway to three-quarters of the way through the season. They get emotional. They judge themselves – most often – as not quite good enough, unsure if they can make it through. There are tears. It’s like a flag thrown on the field – a signal to me now – that the one celebrity will probably win because they’re in many ways so far ahead of everyone else.

There is less of a signal this time. Too many dancers are showing that emotion and are in similar positions. But what could I be suggesting? That Jennifer Gray is going to win? Yeah. But then if Brandy and Maks trump Jennifer and Derek with a little help from the judges, I could be wrong. I did waffle before I said Jennifer. Why? Because of the vulnerability factor. Brandy’s vulnerable. She’s got that emotional connection to Maks and to many of us. She’s the underdog and a beginning dancer. We’ll vote for that.

Jennifer has the popularity factor – the star of Dirty Dancing and connection to the late great Patrick Swayze.

But there’s one more flag thrown on the field. It’s a political time and we have a political child on the scene. Politics create volatility.

What will sway us more? Skill, emotional connection, politics? Just like you, I’ll have to wait and see.
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Team Kristi. My mark 8.
Messy. Looked like they needed more rehearsal. Rick was too slow but loved it and so it was a good dance for him. Kyle needed way more solo time. Bristol showed her held-in-ness, rigidty in the torso and upper legs.

Team Apolo. My mark 10.
How could this team NOT win? They were much cleaner, tighter and well rehearsed. It was wonderful choreography that suited each person as well as being full of little surprises.

Kyle & Lacey. Mel B’s Paso. My mark 9.
He really got it. His body isn’t Maks’ but he had the character, style, passion, and attack. It was electric. He’s really a unique little dancer, personality and entertainer.

Kurt & Anna. Emmet’s Tango. My mark 7.
Kurt did the steps and flowed it. He needed more attack and the Latin grrr. Having just been reminded of Emmet with the clip of him, I compared Kurt to Emmet. Unfortunate for Kurt. He didn’t have the sharp crispness and tension that I was looking for. But I enjoyed it.

Bristol & Mark. Kelly’s Viennese Waltz. My mark 7.
Bristol’s face was the most expressive of any of her dances this season. However, Bristol and Kelly are miles apart as dancers and entertainers. Bristol had no emotional connection to the music or to Mark or for that matter, to me. Much of this dance made Bristol look awkward. I can’t make up a story or plead like Kelly did to help Bristol feel better or do better as far as getting votes. She knows why she’s on this show and hopefully the dancing experience has benefited her. For me, she simply doesn’t have the vulnerability, technique or quality of movement that says champion.

I wouldn’t want to win anything because I’m a politician’s daughter, yet that is something Bristol will always have attached to her. She wouldn’t be on this show if her mother weren’t failed vice presidential candidate Alaskan Governor who quit her job Sarah Palin. There is however someone underneath the Bristol DWTS persona and the way to show her seems much different than building the confidence of a person like Kelly Osbourne. Bristol is gorilla suits and air guitar not princess gowns and glass slippers.

Rick & Cheryl. Helio’s Quickstep. My mark 8.
Wonderful personality and Rick had fun with this. I was actually surprised that he could move that fast. I expected him to be slow. This was smooth, graceful and expressive. Now I want to see him let go a bit more so his emotional being can be free and feel safe enough to connect to Cheryl and all of us viewers. I think it could make a tremendous difference. Right now I don’t feel he’s expressing enough depth or has enough real connection as a performer.

Brandy & Maks. Gilles Foxtrot. My mark 9.
Wonderful, sexy, well danced. To think she had to do the “pro” role that Cheryl Burke danced though! The other celebs danced the celebrity parts that were more suited to them. Nevertheless, Brandy really came out of herself. I could see her determination. She was slinky and genuine. She’s a different body type than Cheryl, however, and so that took my attention every so often. I could see how she’s not a pro and looked looser, lacking the tone that Cheryl had when she danced to that song.

Jennifer & Derek. Drew’s Tango. My mark 10.
Jennifer also had to do the Cheryl – pro – role. She captured the flavor, character, flow of the dance. I loved the quieter more romantic parts amidst the attack of tango.This dance showed that no one has to kill themselves and hurt their bodies to dance. She can tone down what she does and take care of herself.

If a performer gives us soft and vulnerable and is able to relax into sections of a dance then they have 1) more range 2) show more contrast and 3) have the energy left to give to the stronger more intense parts. Dancers don’t have to hurt themselves to be good. That’s what I want to see more of from Jennifer – the soft, vulnerable ultra feminine side as she takes care of herself. I hope she can allow herself to soften and let Derek guide her even more. We need to see that so that there is more of an emotional context to the dancing she does.