old – DWTS 5-24-10… the final two stars

As far as I’m concerned, there are two teams competing. It just isn’t fair to put Erin in the same league as Evan, a professional skater who has presence and technique, and Nicole, a performer who also has presence and technique even if she does battle the thought processes that hinder her at times.

Erin & Maks. Samba. My mark 7.
Moments were incredible and Erin shows an ability to move well. She can shake it but—she also loses it. I see her go in and out of the dancing here. I can also tell that she isn’t a long term or pro dancer and if I’m going to honor what I feel makes a dancer, years of technique and hard work, I have to point out what I see and why I say what I say. And no, this competition show is not fair.

Erin’s presence and carriage are momentary. If she were up against those like her–Chad, Jake, Niecy and some of the other competitors who left the show earlier, she would win. But she’s up against Evan and Nicole, who are in a league of their own. I can’t say that I always like Evan, but when he’s good he’s so good that all else falls away. I see the star and champion he is and I’m totally hooked into the present moment.

Erin did good work and I applaud her for that. She worked her butt off in this samba. She can shake it. And yet, a professional has something they can’t lose. There’s the way the legs are shaped from days of class. There’s something in the stance and posture. It’s who a dancer is. This was definitely a samba, but the choreography wasn’t anything special or unusual or even that exciting.

Unfortunately, this is a media-driven show. The judges started by giving Erin 10s, so there’s nowhere to go for the real pros–Evan and Nicole–but down. Since they’re already at 10 in my book when compared to Erin on anything they do, I’m going to go beyond 10s to vote on this one.

Evan & Anna. Viennese waltz. My mark 20.
Such musicality. It’s a whole new scale of performing and dancing for Evan. Gorgeous and romantic. This shows that Evan’s breakthrough last week is solid. He’ll be able to maintain what’s he’s learned on the show and take it into the rest of his life. He’s grown in so many ways to be more graceful, lyrical, emotional, nuanced, connected. This waltz brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful beautiful pair dancing together for our delight!

Nicole & Derek. Rumba. My mark 19.
Beautiful. Such nuances and color. This is something that Erin has no concept of–yet. Nicole was lyrical, passionate, able to flow her movement and connect to Derek and the quality that is rumba. Some unusual wrappings of the body that seemed difficult and sometimes awkward. I should know by now but still ask, why the judges get so picky with Nicole when they didn’t do so with Erin?

FREESTYLE.

Erin & Maks. My mark 8.
Well, Maks probably doesn’t deserve to have his partner demolished and that isn’t my intention but when professional judges hold up Erin’s dancing as risky and exceptional and tear down dancing that is exceptional, I’m human and I react.

I groaned and moaned through this dance every time I saw how uncontrolled Erin still is. Guess the judges have one set of rules for ESPN people and another set for Evan and Nicole. I noticed Erin’s feet, which were often horrible and loose. I guess being a modern dancer means you don’t have to stretch your feet. Erin unfolded her leg awkwardly and then flung it over Maks like a football player. She really tries, but she is simply ungainly as much as she is passionate. The choreography was a very common way to do modern dance, when you have no technique and you want to look like you’re doing something. It’s what I remember doing in college modern dance showcases 20 years ago. Mediocre choreography that fit what Erin can do at this time. Was it risky? I don’t know. After what I just wrote, you tell me.

Evan and Anna. My mark 17.
Fun. Some awkward moves, yet Evan was so exuberant and emotionally involved. A more relaxed Evan than the technician of the past. Although this was not my favorite of their work, it was more original and well danced than Erin’s floppy romp.

Nicole & Derek. My mark 19.
If Nicole had not slipped I would have given them a 20. So well danced and choreographed. Dazzling–the contrasts, the mixture of steps, the clear and articulated gestures, their ability to dance together side by side so in sync. This was a bravura showcase for these two dancers who love to perform, to give every ounce of themselves for our enjoyment. Bravo.

Some nice touches beyond the choreography and performance here. The lime green shoes and the color change highlighting those same colors fit this piece wonderfully. I enjoyed the humorous touches that are often part of Derek’s style of crafting dances. Loved Nicole’s upside-down split and whirl with flexed feet.

Nicole and Derek are my choice for this season’s champions with Evan and Anna very close indeed.