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November 2016



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Part 2: DWTS: Will MBT Be Snatched Away from Laurie? Hinch, Calvin or JANA?Latin Night Surprises!

The last four dances of Latin Night were: the Splash of the Night, literally and otherwise: Jana and Gleb's Wet Dreams Tango; plus Maureen and Artem's Samba. Another great Tango full of Hotel California Nostalgia by Calvin and Lindsay; and after a weak Paso kind of a Salsa redemption by Laurie and Val.

6. Jana & Gleb's Splashy Tango Wins Them a 40/40

Jana Kramer & Gleb Savchenko
"Hands to Myself" - Selena Gomez      Style: Argentine Tango

To see Jana & Gleb's Tango Argentino, click here: http://www.mjsbigblog.com/jana-gleb-argentine-tango-week-6-dwts-23-vi

HECTOR: I was quite impressed with how Jana and Gleb made this Argentine Tango work! How all the diverse elements  fell into place to create an artistic whole, even with a whallop of risky excess!  In the package, Gleb tells Jana they're gonna do the sexiest  A. Tango  ever! The jazzy production that followed: the bed onstage, the rumpled black sheets, the final cold shower, it all smacked of production meddling! It's all kosher, as long as the choreography works;-and this one did, in spite of overproduction. The substance, concept and content of Argentine Tango was there, amidst all the frills. Julianne complimented  Jana on minding all the advice that the Judges had given Jana: the arms, the legs, the shoulders, the spotting, she did it all RIGHT. Not only right, but inspiringly, artistically, effectively! Her lines were beautiful, her ganchos were striking,her footwork precise,  her movements organic,her flluidity perfect! I just couldn't believe it, because in the past I had been displeased with Jana's half-assed movement, and her plastic facial expressions. WOWI People do improve in great strides in this show!Jana DID! Jana seems to really want this! She puts in 100% the effort! I also loved Gleb and Jana's close connection. Gleb is a noble, serious, impassioned partner in the tradition of the great Russian dancers, like Nureyev!. I LIKE Gleb! So charming the way he tried with feminine mimicry to teach Jana to be sexy. Don't worry Gleb, manage your gender, Jana did more than well in her sexy rendering! The bed onstage was a bit tasteless, but I had great fun with the water pouring from above. The wet REALLY did help to make the whole Argentine Tango STEAMY, like a sybaritic ritual. I loved the writhing passionate WET DANCING lovers! It was new, it looked TRUE, it was flashy, it was creative, it WAS H-O-T!

PAT SAYS: Jana and Gleb were told they were in Jeopady, just before they had to dance.These two have had good chemistry since week 1.But on Latin Night, they were off-the-charts sexy. I enjoyed it; but maybe it was a tad on the "overly sexy" side.  It had Argentine Tango content and style, but because of the gimmicks, the bed onstage, the wet dancers at the end, the dancing under the shower, it hardly looked like a traditional Argentine Tango.  Jana nailed it.  Her leg and arm movements were sharp. Her characterization had passionate intensity.I wish Gleb would give her just a little more challenging choreography as I think Jana is capable of it. It was definitely outstanding as a satisfying performance and connection, but as for content and choreography I would not give them a perfect score but four 9's.   Judges:  40/40    Pat: 38/40   A-   Hector:  40/40  A

7.  Mo Better in Ballroom Elegance than Samba Artistry

Maureen McCormick & Artem Chigvinset
"Mas que Nada" Sergio Mendez    
Style:   Samba

To see Maureen& Artem's Samba, click here: http://www.mjsbigblog.com/maureen-artem-samba-week-6-dwts-23-video/

HECTOR SAYS: As I watched how Maureen and Artem's Samba failed to sizzle for lack of Latin HEAT, I realized something about Maureen's McCormick limitations: She can do Ballroom much better than Latin! In her lifeless Samba, she followed the steps, she kept the timing,( less than more) she tried to connect to Artem Chigvinset, (It din't work too well) and she tried to do a splashy Las Vegas type entrance solo ( It was cute, like watching your 8 year old playing s showgirl! But  it didn't work either).  Artem simplified the Samba as much as he could. Didn't add Samba rolls, had no sway and dips,and I couldn't recognize the voltas or botafogos. Dios mio! When Bruno asked Maureen not to get stiff when trying to BOUNCE, it's because poor Maureen had no bounce! Just watch, as they dance, Artem as he sexily bounces. Compare to Maureen's rigidity. But it gets worse. She didn't move her hips, nor she have undulations. Good Samba, is all about hip action and body undulations. The more different axis in you can undulate, up and down, sideways, back and forth, the dips, the sways, the spirit of Samba. This Samba had no spirit, no Samba. At least on Maureen's part. Maureen had beautiful lines and elegant grace, in Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz,etc. Her Argentine Tango was not that bad because Tango is really more Euro than Latin, no shake-shake your booty required. It's hard for me to say the hard truth about Maureen's dancing because as with everyone, else my heart goes out to her. I don't want to hurt sweet, vulnerable Maureen. But the Judges giving her a 31, her highest score is just not fair to the others-like Terra who got a 30 for a much better Paso! Scores should not be about sympathy, lest the American public get the impression our Judges don't have a clue what Samba is!

PAT SAYS: Well Maureen McCormick  was safe for another week,  courtesy of the overscoring of the judges for the past two weeks! Her Samba was too slow and timid. Mo  looked lost, tentative, unsure of herself. Her Samba "rhythm" was: She messed up a few steps, then picked it up again and finally finished nicely. In spurts. Don't know what it is about these "intense", get tough instructors. Is it a good technique or is lack of patience when they get pissed off at their trainees? Wouldn't dare to judge, since I haven't been in their shoes! Sadly, I think either Maureen or Ryan will be leaving us next week - as it should be. The talent left in the competition is just beyond what these two can do. They've reached their limit. I felt like Maureen was...Overscored again!     SCORES-   Judges:  31/40
  Pat:  28 /40   C     Hec:   27/40   C-

8. Calvin & Lindsay Do A Better No Gimmick Tango

Calvin Johnson & Lindsay Arnold      "Hotel California" - Eagles        Style: Argentine Tango

To see Calvin & Lindsay Argentine Tango, click here: http://www.mjsbigblog.com/calvin-lindsay-argentine-tango-week-6-dwts-23-video/

HECTOR SAYS: Calvin and Lindsay did the best Argentine Tango of Latin Night. As far as Tango authenticity in concept, content, Ballroom artistry, complexity of steps, and classic integrity it was superior to the Argentine Tango danced by Jana and Gleb.  The gimmicks and sex angle  in Jana & Glebs made it more pop spectacular. Study both closely and you will find that Linday's choreography was better in every way to Gleb's. Lindsay's  had so many varied and difficult steps, the formations were to die for, the lines were beautiful. There was real drama in the way it was phrased, with point-counterpoint followed by beguiling ganchos, sweeping in-hold paseos around the ballroom. Artful nuances adorned the transitions, like amazing cartwheels and high breathtaking swirling lifts like I've never seen in any DWTS Argentine Tango performance. Lindsay is a very gifted choreographer and a gorgeous, exquisite dancer, but I was totally floored by Calvin's self-assured and commanding performance. For a man that didn't know one dance step at the show's week 1, and who's height and long extremities make it more difficult for him to look graceful, Calvin gets the prize for most committed rapid learner. It's a measure of how DWTS has evolved that four years ago a football player that could dance the way Calvin does would have been the sure prize winner. None of the previous football MBT winner could dance as well as Calvin, yet he's running fourth in 2016. Don't footballers have  the voter bases they used to? Or have the voters grown more sophisticated in the artistry they demand from their winners? Also different is the hype the football players got then and now. It seems the production spotlight is turning more to gymnasts, sexy Stars, and sure-fire dance ringers. Had the bed and the shower and the hot sex been removed from that other Tango, the pure dance remaining would not be as competitive as Calvin & Lindsay's mesmerizing truer dance performance.

PAT SAYS: Calvin in jeopardy TWICE?  I just can't believe it! Could it be that the low scores the judges have been giving him are having an effect on the voters?  Calvin really outdid himself in this polished performance!. I loved this Argentine Tango much better than Jana's in that it had more Argentine Tango content and had better choreography. The lifts were out of this world! Lindsay just flies!!  Calvin took charge of this dance and he was leading the whole dance through.His lines were precise and sharp.His characterization and passion and intensity waas HOT  He had a natural sexiness about him.This was by far his best dance yet  Lindsay is time and again shows how brilliant she is as a choreographer and how as a teacher, she brings the most out of her partners. I can see Calvin in the finale!!   I feel that again, Calvin was underscored.What's going on?    SCORES: Judges:  37/40     Pat:  39/40    A+     Hector:    40/40    A+

9. Salsa Better, but Laurie Opens Flank to Possible MBT Loss

Laurie Hernandez & Val Chmerkoskiy   "Light It Up" - Major Lazer    Style: Salsa

To see Laurie & Val's Salsa, click here: http://www.mjsbigblog.com/laurie-val-salsa-week-6-dwts-23-video/

HECTOR SAYS: Laurie's back! Well, somewhat. As I expected last week's fouled Paso experience served to give Laurie & Val an incentive to come back from the bottom. Score-wise her 37/40 placed them 3rd, tied with Calvin Johnson and Lindsay Arnold. Artistically,though, I thought Calvin's Argentine Tango was superior. One problem I could see with their Salsa performance was using the wrong Hip-Hop music, such an ill-fit soul-wise for Salsa. The rhythm worked fine,but the spirit of Hip-Hop  is totally alien to a Puerto Rican who wants to wiggle and sway to her own Latin music.That said, Laurie & Val did the best they could with it. They moved sharply to the beat  and did fantastic, fast Salsa footwork and moves, put in some good lifts (but never as spectacular as Calvin's). They also showed a much better connection with each other than in the awful Paso last week. I also liked that Val decided to go with the power of pure dance, no gimmicks, unliked the Jana & Gleb overproduced Tango. It was a very respectable, commendable performance, but it didn't WOW, like the top three performances did. I detected a kind of gymnastic mode in Laurie's Salsa, a bit not loose enough, her hip moves did not sway in abandon, and her Salsa had a hip-hoppy  to it. That and I found too much Swiss-clock precision and punctuation in Laurie's Salsa.The judges did too. Julianne hilariously showed how Laurie should "get down low" in her hip moves, not just gymnastic side-to-side but much more sexily. Bruno gave her an undeserved 10, but in his CHOICE OF WORDS  revealed what he was really thinking,praising Laurie on "the power, the energy, the PRECISION, unleashed with DEADLY ACCURACY". Did he say sexy connection, sensual moves, hotness natural flow or spontaneity? No, because it lacked it.Laurie needs to get rid of her gymnastic bad habits. Give Laurie the right Latin music, and it will unleash her interior Latino. Two weeks ago, Laurie was "THE SURE THING" to win this seasn's MBT. Now, I'm not so sure. 3 dark horses are gaining speed on Laurie's flanks. It seems possible that they will overtake our powerful front-runner.

PAT SAYS:   Laurie and Val ARE  the only couple yet to be in jeopardy-hmm. Any theories on that? Conspiracy or otherwise. Laurie danced much better than last week but there was a lot of room for improvement. I'm not buying Bruno's 10,that was  an outright impulsive, undeserved gift! Is Bruno on orders? What Laurie hasn't done for me, is bring that "WOW" moment. She hasn't shown much growth in her performances.  The gymnast executes the moves well, but I don't feel an emotional connection to her. I want to see at least one performance by Laurie that I can just say "WOW, that was great and unexpected" I just haven't had it yet.  By no means, does this mean that I don't like her! I like her a lot and her respect her performance power and potential. Still, she doesn't have my heart. Her performances don't move me as they seem to do others. I don't know exactly why. It may be she's too young, or that I don't think Laurie is that well paired or connected to her partner Val. Judges:  37/40      Pat:  36/40    B+     Hector:  34/40

Before we go, here's the cumulative board scores which Pat prepared for us to see how the race is going. James is best prepared to overtake Laurie. Will Laurie outperform him? How will the voters react? Will Production behave? Stay tuned, for a truly independent blog!

           Week 6 Score           Cumulative Score       Rank            
Laurie                            37                             186                       1
James                           38                             184                       2
Jana                              40                             171                       3
Terra                             30                             168                       4
Calvin                           37                              168                      4
Marilu                            34                             167                       5
Mo                                31                             155                       6
Ryan                             30                             150                       7
Amber                           28                              149                      8


OK folks! That's half of it, hope you had  chuckles reading it. For Part 1 of Latin Night, click here: http://hectorsblog.livejournal.com/45571.html

Don't take yourself too seriously! I certainly don't. Laugh at yourself, DANCE through your troubles! Like Hinch does, who got the surprise great pleasure (besides racing) of his life by DARING TO DANCE! Just click here for next weeks blog: http://hectorsblog.livejournal.com/45571.html

Your comments welcome comments down at the end, or on Twitter. See you next week!

Who are we?

Pat Halford @pahgah : An original California girl, now living in Tennesee. Here's her Twitter description: "Enjoying life with my retired Navy husband of 24 years."

Hector Sola @archihector : Architect, realtor, blog writer.  I love music, dance, film, visual media & WORDS . Educated at Harvard College, U. C.  Berkeley, Paris, FR, fellowship.  Married till death took my Laura, my love. Dad to 3 adult girls, 1 boy. From San Juan, Puerto Rico. Frequent Los Angeles, CA visitor.