Week seven gave us a powerhouse episode! Dancing to sounds by some of the biggest names in music of all time, the competitors gave it their best for Icon Night! Great tunes drew out some great dances and fancy footwork! The pros opened with a rousing rendition of “Last Dance” by Donna Summer, setting the tone for the night and getting the house rocking!
The evening brought back team dances – this time it was girls vs. guys! Both the celebrities and professionals joined forces, with all of the ladies forming Team Beyonce and the fellows forming Team James Brown. With only eight competitors left and a double elimination on the board, the competition is getting down to the wire!
Jodie & Keo – Quickstep to “For Once In My Life” by Stevie Wonder
Carrie – 8Len – 9Bruno – 9 for a total of 26
Up first was Jodie, and I was pleased to see such a spirited attack in her steps! Jodie pulled more confidence out and drove her energy to a personal all-time high. She lost contact with frame in a few spots, and seemed to fall out of rhythm with Keo, but put those mistakes behind her and kept on stepping. Len enjoyed Jodie’s commitment to the dance and the powerful energy behind her movements. Bruno thought it was an improvement and said she is moving in the right direction. Carrie liked her light-hearted style and determination. It was a great performance to kick-off the evening!
Kim & Sasha – Samba to “ABC” by The Jackson 5
Carrie – 9Len – 9Bruno – 9 for a total of 27
Kim was sensational with her Samba! She appears to have worked extra hard this week and taken the criticisms of last episode to mind. Kim had a buzzing energy and a great bounce to her steps. Her footwork was pretty spot-on, and she did not miss a beat. Kim has finally found her inner starlet, making sure she can grab and maintain your attention on the dance floor. The choreography was fun and fit the style of the song. Bruno said Kim was glowing and electrifying. Carrie felt she was “in the zone” and Len told her it was her best dance to date.
Nyle & Peta – Foxtrot to “Beautiful Day” by U2
Carrie – 10Len – 9Bruno – 9 for a total of 28
After last week, I am pleased to see that Nyle has his head back in the right place! He delivered an elegant and graceful foxtrot, but I was not too thrilled about his body position. He appeared to be too far out from Peta and his shoulders felt askew. Otherwise, his style, showmanship, footwork and timing were all tasteful and well-executed. I don’t agree with Carrie’s 10, but it was still an outstanding performance with great charisma! Carrie was happy with Nyle’s poise, but Len thought his rear stuck out and his frame didn’t sit right. Bruno loved Nyle’s dedication to the dance and partnership.
Antonio & Sharna – Tango to “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones
Carrie – 8Len – 8Bruno – 8 for a total of 24
I enjoyed Antonio’s attitude, drive and drama he created in his performance. However, the routine as a whole was unpolished and rough around the edges. He had several missteps and had a hard time keeping up with the pulse of the music. Antonio could not seem to finish his move before he was on to the next one, making for a bit of a hurried routine. The speed of the dance certainly was an obstacle, but he kept going and muscled his way through. His determination is not lacking, but the trial of learning two routines in one week appears to have taken a toll. Len liked the spirit and flair of the dance and wanted to see more finesse. Bruno was pleased with Antonio’s intensity and said he needed more precision. Carrie thought there should be more technique and closure to each move.
Wanya & Lindsay – Foxtrot to “I Say a Little Prayer” by Aretha Franklin
Carrie – 9Len – 9Bruno – 9 for a total of 27
Wanya carried over his hard work from last week and delivered a great performance this week! His movements were smooth and he glided around the floor with elegance. His arm work went well, as did his foot placements. Though it wasn’t as high energy as last week’s performance, he had a pleasant and glossy attitude. His head seemed a bit too wobbly for his frame, and sometimes he seemed to drag, but other than that, he did it justice. Bruno thought it was simply beautiful, and Carrie thought it was really good but she still wanted a more from him. Although Len wanted Wanya to engage his neck with frame while dancing, he still thought it was joyously well done.
Ginger & Valentin – Viennese Waltz to “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston
Carrie – 10Len – 10 Bruno – 10 for a total of 30
Wow… just WOW! Here’s the first perfect score of the season – and Ginger made it look easy! Her frame was well-maintained throughout the piece, with excellent footwork and top-notch style! Ginger got in the zone, found high-quality partnership and gave it wonderful expression. Her movements, especially with her arms, made incredible lines. Her execution was fantastic and her transitions were seamless. Even the choreography fit the timing and feel of the song! Carrie gushed, saying that it was perfection, while Len compared it to a refreshing cool breeze on a warm summer day. Bruno exclaimed, “Content, style, interpretation – impeccable!” and said it was her best dance yet.
Von & Witney – Salsa to “A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley
Carrie – 8Len – 8Bruno – 8 for a total of 24
A perfect score is a tough act to follow, but Von did a good job! It was a different take on how we are used to seeing Von – he is typically so smooth and sly. His head was in the game, though he seemed a bit choppy here and there. Von’s footwork was a bit rough, and his hips were shaky, but his upper body had good position and hold. Von and Witney really did an awesome job on all of those lifts! Overall, it was a solid performance with good aim and direction – it just didn’t hit a bullseye. Len was wowed at the lifts and compared the performance to pizza, saying it was “a bit crusty on the base but tasty on top.” Bruno thought it was different but effective, and Carrie said it was rough around the edges.
Paige & Mark – Jive to “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner
Carrie – 10Len – 10Bruno – 10 for a total of 30
Who could have guessed we would have not one, but TWO perfect scores this week?!? Paige channeled Tina Turner with excellent taste and was brimming with energy! The choreography was very difficult and tempo was rapid, but Paige kept up and made it her own. Her steps were sharp and crisp, her balance and expression were on par. She packed outstanding discipline in her technique with a smokin’ hot attitude, creating a package that really delivered! Paige has developed good chemistry and partnership with Mark, which makes things so much fun to watch. On top of her style and showmanship, it appears Paige has really worked hard on the fundamentals of technique. It is a tough combination to beat! Bruno felt it was smoldering, while Carrie thought it was the best kind of ridiculous. Len was overjoyed to see the whole routine have great control.
With all of the personal dances out of the way, next came the team dances! The men of Team James Brown were up first, dancing to a medley of music from, you guessed it, James Brown. I was floored with the performance! Despite having to learn two dances this week, the men came out and crushed this routine! Every guy has a different style, even amongst the professionals, and it was great to see them all bringing their own character to light. The moves were slick and gave nice nods to Mr. Brown’s talents. Everybody was on time and hit each step with flair. Carrie and Len gave 9’s and Bruno gave a 10, totaling up to 28 out of 30. Now that is teamwork!
Then came the ladies of Team Beyonce – with a heaping helping of diva attitude! Dancing to a medley of Beyonce’s songs, the ladies got fired up! They packed their routine with some nice choreography and sizzled with those hot moves. The energy was overflowing and they showed they are clearly capable of fantastic dancing! There were a few times that they fell out of sync and there were a few mistakes. However, with the power and drive they had, they really put on a fantastic show! Carrie and Len each gave an 8 while Bruno scored them a 9 for a total of 25/30. Way to go girls!
With the team dances over, it was time for the double elimination. The couples in jeopardy were Kim & Sasha, Wanya & Lindsay, and Von & Witney. Wanya & Lindsay were called safe, leaving Kim & Sasha and Von & Witney to be eliminated. Next week we will be back to a single elimination, but the ballroom is already beginning to look empty!
This Monday brings the dreaded Judge’s Challenge week. Judges will work with all six of the remaining couples to see who has what it takes while America can judge from home during the show. Be sure to vote for your favorites or risk them going home at the end of the night! The Quarterfinals with our top five couples are just around the corner, so don’t miss out! Catch you next week!