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November 2016



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PART II, DWTS Semifinal Night: Quite Tight, Hope They Get It Right! My Wishlist 1,2,3!

Hector's Wish List: #1 James, for the MBT. #2 Laurie  #3 Calvin #4 Jana . According to the  dance couple that gave me the most cathartic pleasure and inspiration in watching them. In selecting my wish list ranking I considered the Couple's Charisma, which I think is ESSENTIAL. Not only about the bond or connection between Pro and Star, and the way the Celeb apprentice mastered their routines,but about the challenge in range and choreography that the Pro was able to offer. In that sense, Sharna's the Master. She should have won and MBT years ago! Also in that sense,I was tempted to give Calvin and Lindsay 2nd place. They have  a closer bond than Laurie and Val, and have so much FUN dancing together! Lindsay also excells in imaginative choreography! We had hoped for Terra & Sasha over Jana & Gleb, It didn't happen.

As for Pat's Wish List:  #1 James & Sharna MBT #2 Calvin & Lindsay (yes, Pat did what I was tempted to do!) #3 Laurie & Val #4 Jana & Gleb. (Pat is convinced that Terra and Sasha should have been in the finals, were it not for the production's push.) Now let's talk about the rest of the Semifinal dances, all great! #3 Jana & Gleb + Alan in Trio, #4 Calvin& Lindsay +Witney in Trio, #5 Laurie & Val + Maks trio.

3a. Shoe Boutique Hampers Quickstep Mystique

Jana Kramer & Gleb Savchenko
Style: Quickstep    
"Go Mama" - Wayne Beckford

To see Jana & Gleb's Quickstep, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDeeOV3G1Gk

HECTOR SAYS: A Quickstep in a high fashion Beverly Hills shoe boutique? Right after a Waltz in a Diner? Plus, what about the purple baby carriage? It's because the song is "Go Mama", so Jana's really a fashion plate mama looking for little girl's shoes? Wo! So contrived! I smell the hand of production trying to make Jana Kramer look more glamorous (and frivolous )that she already looks! Shouldn't they give Jana more gravitas?  One lousy production idea after the other, and I very much doubt they're Gleb's! I really see the glib hand of bad production going for the superficial in Jana, as if she needed more of that! We really need Len back to drive some sense into production ideas that should  fit and enhance the dance, or not at all! The shoe store idiotic idea just took valuable dance time to show us their Quickstep chops  at the beginning and at the end. Their Quickstep chops weren't all that bad, but then they broke their hold to do some nonsensical side by side and lift(?). Gleb's frame and posture was amazing, which made Jana's flawed frame (Julianne said she should sway her neck to the side, not straight up and back) look worse! If you break the hold in the middle, you're bound to get Jana to flub her posture twice! And she did! I went EEK when Bruno said "proper Quickstep",the gave her a PERFECT score?? Is Bruno losing his touch? He did say it was glamorous and SLICK! Sure was! Bruno's often blinded by superficial, lightweight  "glamour". I've seen better Quickstep, with less ridiculous nonsensical set up! If Calvin's Tango got an 8 from Carrie Ann, this deserved a 7, proportionately. So FAUX!

PAT SAYS: Jana received a big sentimental push in her package. All about having to overcome the death of her dad as a girl, and then making all the wrong husband choices while looking for her lost father! She tells us she's healing by the power of DWTS and Gleb's support in dancing. That is inspiring! We wish Jana well,sincerely! But this Quickstep didn't show me her great dance progress! It was just another ho-hum Quickstep for me. Gleb wasted time dilly dallying in the beginning. It was a good Quickstep with some mistakes that were handily overlooked by the judges.  While in hold, I felt like she was bent back to much Her posture needed work tonight.  My thought, "if only Len were here", he'd open his colleagues eyes, and help the couple improve!  Oh well! It was a "good performance" but then again, did it deserve a 9, 9, 10? Are the Judges "under the influence"? SCORES  Judges:  28/30     Pat:  26/30  B   Hector  25/30  B-

3b. A Dazzling Paso Trio but Slightly Not Perfect

Jana Kramer Trio with Alan Bernstein & Gleb Savchenko
Style: Pasodoble       "Kill of the Night"—Gin Wigmore

To see Jana, Gleb and Alan's Pasodoble Trio, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qsIcAIjVok&t=237s

HECTOR SAYS: Jana & the Guys really razzle-dazzled in this one: Whoop, Whoop! It played up to precisely Jana & Gleb's glamour assets, or "The Image" Production has tried to promote for her.  I don't blame them, THEY, in this case all three of' em, Jana, Gleb and Alan make an irrestibly appealing trio of sexy charmers! Why wouldn't Production be interested in pushing them? I watched the package three times. What an engagingly flirtatious trialogue! All three were sweet and delightful acting, reacting and rehearsing. Their potent appeal graduated from cute interaction in rehearsals to major Va-Va-Voom Vamp seductive appeal in their stylishly bewitching Pasodoble! Look at the start in the pic above, what mesmerizing classy style!They were  gorgeous, all three plus the stylized b&w Art deco costuming and ambiance! Down to the detail that Maleficent Jana's Collar had the same design as the lovely winter tree in the background. Like any work of art, everything in this Trio Pasodoble fell perfectly into place ,nothing in concept, movement,content or looks or was superfluous. I did wonder if it had proper Pasodoble content. Their gorgeous number didn't look like true Paso, it looked better, more alluring! But then Alan saved the day! While Jana and Gleb danced in hold, Alan leaped and did a classic Toreador move, arms up body tensed like for the kill.Cool! I watched it again and saw Gleb also do some more genuine Paso stuff, it was all over the place. Jana performed well, with great presence and appeal as the Queen of Whatever; but after a third look, I realized two things, (1) She was not to convincing as the boys in the forceful, rounded Paso lines or moves; and (2) Jana did not stand out as forcefully in her trio as compared to her competitors..Jana has the least force, passion and determination. All eyes go to James or Calvin or Laurie in their Trios, but in Jana's Trio the boys took over, had more energy and brio in their Paso moves. The Y's had it over the gentle Queen. Jana was gorgeous and appealing, but hardly had the charisma and presence of James, Laurie or Calvin. And especially not the grit and inspired fervor of  Little Terra, an erupting dance volcano!

PAT SAYS What is it about Jana that I am always left wishing for MORE! Like starchy take-out Chinese food. The background, scenery, costuming, with the beautiful tree in sillhuoette had such STYLE, it felt like the production for Broadway show.AMAZING! I loved the sophistication of the set-up, and the dance flair of the dancing MEN! But as I watched Jana's Paso intently, I wonder. Did Jana dance or walk her way through this Pasodoble? Yes! she walked. She played her character well and had all the expressive content necessary but the specific Pasodoble moves, steps and authenticity were not that well performed. Especially weak was the part at the end when she was facing Gleb and Alan. It felt and looked to me like she was stomping and not dancing.  She lacked finesse in her movements. She's done it better before! Yes, the Pasodoble perfomance was good. Jana, however, wasdefinitely was not as outstanding and forceful as her competitors. SCORES Judges:  30/30     Pat:  26/30    A-    Hector: 29/30  A

True Grit & Nobility
4a.  Charismatic Calvin Makes Great Strides in Tango

Calvin Johnson & Lindsay Arnold
Style: Tango    
"Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes

To see Calvin & Lindsay's Tango, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dq2BF012Y8

HECTOR SAYS; When Calvin sweeps Lindsay across that Ballroom, they take my breath away. There's something about Calvin that gives me pride, inspiration and joy! Is it to see such a splendid athlete dance so gloriously, a bigger than life persona? Part of the reason for my pride in these two exhilarating dancers is  remembering how Calvin didn't dance squat on week 11 Just shows what a big football Star can do when he sets his mind and coordinated body to do well!  How can Carrie Ann say Jana has progressed the most? Jana has remained stagnant, like most pretty starlets on DWTS who can't go past the fifth week! Calvin is nobility and true grit personified and his force and dignity was palpable in this Tango. What beauty in his long strides, and the way he and Lindsay look in frame, when Lindsay euphorically turns her head and leans exquisitely. Gotta have heart, style and personality, add ten tons of potent showmanship! There was a little faux pas, when Lindsay tried to do a Tango gancho around his leg, but Calvin forgot to pause. Consummate pro, Lindsay didn't stumble, but rolled around holding on to Calvin. They went right on, fluidly into the next Tango paseo, as if nothing happened. Bravo! Aha! But it was just what Carrie Ann Inaba held on,(with added intangible BS)  to justify giving What? An 8!! On Semifinals Night, when Judges typically overscore every single semi-finalist? We could see right through her true colors! I liked the strong content and straightforward no-nonsense dignity of Calvin's noble Tango. And what about the very creative beginning, with black-gloved ladies arms grabbing the dancers? Lindsay's little cute flourishes! Loved it!
PAT SAYS; Calvin and Lindsay did a fine Tango. The only mistake that I noticed was a slip on Linndsay's dress or was it that Lindsay tripped? I couldn't really tell. Calvin makes each dance his own.  That kick he did over Lindsay's head was amazing!! He portrayed the character of this dance forcefully. perhaps a tad too much. I agree always when Calvin dances with what Len said in the package tonight:
"Watching you dance gives me joy!".It always a BIG, happy event watching Calvin and Lindsay dance.  It wasn't his best dance, but really...an 8 from Carrie Ann! Dutiful to the show's directors, this looked so bad.An obvious attempt to get Jana into the semifinals! Shameless lack of credibiliy.Another reason for me to say: ALOHA, INABA She needs to GO!! SCORES Judges:    26/30    Pat: 27/30 A-   HECTOR;  28/30  A

4b. Calvin's Salsa Tri-Oomph:  Never seen on DWTS!

Calvin Johnson, Lindsay Arnold, & Witney Carson
Style: Salsa                       "Limbo" - Daddy Yankee

To see Calvin, Lindsay & Witney's Trio, click here: Salsa only: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zymRg1yfkIU
Package & Dance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxe-FyPaGXs&t=203s

HECTOR'S SAYS: Calvin, Lindsay and Witney's Salsa was pure fun from from package to performance! The audience was screaming from beginning to end of their feisty, daring SALSA! Calvin and Lindsay is a no drama, no angst happy dancing couple. With all the schmaltz on the DWTS couples' packages, it's SO refreshing to see uncomplicated happy celebs & unconceited Pros just dancing their hearts out! Calv & Lindz have formed an easygoing & friendly close bond. Witney and Lindsay ,as every DWTS fan knows,are Utah's dancing sweethearts and are forever best friends. It was the natural Trio choice. Judging from their Salsa Power Results, this was a Trio Made in Heaven!  Lindsay says on rehearsals they have to show the audience something they never have seen before. They DID. The MOST FUN SALSA EVER ON DWTS. It was Zumba Salsa by Puerto Rican Daddy Yankee,who wrote this to bring something different, imaginative, "a Salsa rhythm that will ignite creativity." Just what Lindsay wants! They produce a Salsa Tri-oomph. Whoo-Hoo! Calvin proved AGAIN  he's open to learn all and risk everything, this time from two very gifted dancers, It's what true heroes do! He gets a kick from the dance energy his teachers have,and they surely pass that energy, fire and skills on to him. He already has the tantalizing charisma and showmanship. A few short lessons and the man in the middle takes the flash away from  dazzling pros!  What a delight to see the "tree" do their dizzying experimental combination of booty shakes, formation counterpoint, interlacing turns, and dazzling complex lifts, while keeping perfect sync and true sensual Salsa beat. And Calvin's da MAN! He's the one keeping us in awe, while at one point he does a gravity defying lift. Lindsay is  slung from his waist holding Witney's FEET, while Wit is hooked to Calvin's neck holding Lindsay's FEET!! And what about the geometrical hand formations the three do in perfect sync, on stomping feet! Makes me feel Calvin & Lindsay (drop in Witney too!) should win the MBT!

PAT SAYS; Ok! or K, like we say in TN! The Calvin, Lindsay, Witney Salsa Trio was just W-O-W! This dance was UNIQUE, DWTS stand-out fun! It made me wanna be out there and wiggle my fanny with'em! Did you see Bruno wiggle out of his chair? Woo,Hoo! This Salsa Trio made us all want to Salsa, their energy was so contagious! This performance was  pure entertainment euphoria; really dazzling showmanship!  Don't even dare question its Salsa content, it taught us what Salsa's all about: FUN following our sensual body rythms .It was Salsa taken to the edge, pure Salsa Power! Calvin so nailed it, looked larger than Latino life! The awesome historical-hysterical Calvin lift was amazeballs A lift invented by Lindsay especially for Calvin's  tall potential: Lindsay ad Witney both whirling around Calvin like an airplane propeller! I can't say enough about how Lindsay has dazzled us this season wth her awesome gift for teaching and choreography...and she's aww so nice ! Ahh! How I adore Calvin's brilliance and progress! He's MBT WORTHY, or at least deserves no less than 2ND PLACE! SCORES   Judges:  30/30     Pat:  30/30     A+    HECTOR; 30/30  A+

Laurie's Foxtrot
5a. More Tango Force than Foxtrot Lightness

To see Laurie & Val's Foxtrot click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq_mCFBBfpQ

HECTOR SAYS: How can a dance be fairly critiqued after such a sad package as we saw for Laurie? It started out sentimental as usual, nothing much different than standard packages, talking about how Grandma Hernandez was the one who brought her family to New York for a better life, new horizons. Then after playing up Laurie's special bond with Abuela, and how Laurie feels guilty about her commitments not enabling her  to visit at her at her Old Folks home,an unexpected bombshell: Wriiten words appear on screen that Laurie's Grandma had passed away after the package interview. Then the announcement is followed by Grandma heartwrenchingly saying goodbye,:"I'm proud of you...continue doing the way you want it"...Flash forward to confetti falling on Laurie like if she has won the MBT! Stunning! The poignant story was real and true, but did we appreciate the really distasteful exploitation? I wish I could talk about the Foxtrot without the influence of that package. Julianne did a fair and touching sweet and reasonable comment. Bruno and Carrie Ann were crippled in schmaltz, overflowing with undeserved praise. Bruno indecently saying how "complex" and "full of content" this Foxtrot was, etc. etc. etc.?Gimme a break! it was a fair Foxtrot, nothing especially creative or outstanding about it.Ialso thought  it looked too much like a Tango. look at the pics above, they're pure Tango!  Laurie did dance it full of feeling and adding meaning by her fluidity of lovely movement and expression. Was it more creative, impactful and meaningful  than her main competitor's (James) Argentine Tango? No it wasn't I'm very sorry about Laurie's grandmother, but it won't affect my voting for James as a beter dancer overall. Laurie's lack of life experience and overtraining in gymnastics hampers her ethos and mystique as a dancer. She still looks like a little girl adapting her gymnastic training to dance. Laurie still needs more softness, true dance artistry and graceful feminine magic.  

PAT SAYS: Why did this Foxtrot seem harsh to me? It was very staccato-like, a bit disconnected. It lacked the flowing and graceful movements that I love in Foxtrot. It was sad to hear that Laurie lost her grandma. That said,  I also felt that TPTB used this to their advantage, to further their agenda.  I place no blame on Laurie. I feel for her but I just thought that her grandma's deth  was exploited as a promotional boost for the show, without delicate caring for Laurie's feelings.About the dance, let's forget the sad incident. Laurie has had difficulty all season in her Ballroom style dances.  She has issues in expressing a more graceful feminine side. She should have been more critiqued for it (She was called out for it in her awful Paso, but then criticism stopped)), maybe she'd have shown more progress in losing that gymnastic harshness she still has.  Again, it was a good dance, but if someone else had been dancing it, it wouldn't get a perfect score from the Judges!  SCORES   Judges:  30/30    Pat:  27/30     A-   Hector: 28/30   A

5b. Neither Samba nor Trio, but 30/30.
 Will Laurie Win on Hype & Sympathy?

Laurie Hernandez, Val & Maks Chmerkovsliy
Style: Samba      "Magalenha"- Sergio Mendez

To see Laurie. Val & Maks Samba Trio, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2VjsQopyGY

A Trio not a Trio? And a Samba lacking Samba? I was totally befuddled by Laurie's Trio performance, It seemed short on Samba and short on Trio, and also, short on dancing, simply more like a sitcom which not too much of a script. As a Samba, it was altogether. hampered more than it was helped in Samba content and  mastery by the cute little story weaved into it. Maks, the logical choice for Laurie and Val's Trio choice,  plays a Samba teacher training Laurie and Val to compete. The three move from rehearsal to competition. That's it! In between, there is some good.. hot and elegant Samba, but not enough of it to leave the impression of having watched a rich, stellar, complex and content-full Samba. What it had, however was very well danced by Laurie,with ease and grace as I've never seen her have up till now. But much too basic, it left me wishing for more! Then there's the Trio shortage. Maks the Samba dancing School Master keeps walking in and out of the performance as befits and arrogant Maestro. Good acting performance, but half the dancing the other Trios got from their third member! Again, when Maks was THERE, present and dancing, Maks was GREAT! But Maks running in and out of the performance left me totally thinking we were short-changed. Think of how much heart, skill, commitment, or plain D-A-N-C-E, Witney, or Alan,or Jenna or Artem put into their Trios! I felt cheated out of a Samba performance by Maks! As to the little Maks Dancing School story, and Maks playing the exacting, concerned Mentor to Laurie and Val- yes, it was cute, charming and ingenious. But even that script seemed like it lacked a plot ending. At the end I was stumped and bewildered, how the Chmerkovskiy's went on a tangent and managed to get away with a perfect score by means of a charm, fluff and smoke and mirrors in lieu of dancing merit.. A blatant disfavor to Laurie relative to the hard effort the others put in! Ironic, that, in a sense,the passing away of Laurie's grandmother, saved the day for Laurie and Val! it pushed the Judges to ignore the glaring flaws in their dancing, due to sympathy. And perhaps,the same sympathy chain effect,  may  serve to induce the voters to favor Grandma's favorite over Hinchcliffe, who in my opinion has higher dance merit to make him a more just and deserving MBT winner..The Hinch and Sharna have achieved their wins without the company's favor, all on their own! That's life!

PAT SAYS;  What about Laurie, Val and Maks Trio Samba? This was a Trio Dance, right?  Where was Maks?  The least third member participation tat I have ever seen in a Trio Dance! Of course, no mention by the judges of that little fact, when they gave the Trio a PERFECT SCORE!. Was it a good Samba? For Laurie's abilities, I thought it was a bit basic.  There wasn't a lot of challenging content.  I felt Terra's Samba earlier in the season was much better and had more movement.  Laurie's Samba rolls were good but other than that  I  thought she just twirled around the dance floor. Val did her a disservice by not giving her more challenging content.  It was yet another spurious spotlight dance for Laurie - Neither Maks nor the Troupe gave us much Samba to see in this more acted out than danced story. I expected much more from this Trio. SCORES; Judges:  30/30      Pat:  26/30  B+    Hector:  28/30  A

                         Cumulative                                      Cumulative
                        (up to wk 9)       Wk 10 score       (incl wk 10)           Place
Laurie                                    368                       60                       428                      1                
James                                   366                       59                        425                     2
Jana                                      350                       58                       408                     3
Calvin                                    346                       56                       402                     4


Completed 2d half semis

Same take on Laurie I was surprised. After reading that link I sent u about Val knowing ahead of time also found out that the package was filmed a few weeks before so that really disgusts me with tptb! But that made sure that Laurie secured the win (I hope I am pleasantly surprised and am WRONG about that). From the general consensus that I have been reading from all different dwts tweeps and other blogs I have read, the consensus is absolute and utter disgust with tptb for sinking to a new Low of exploitation. No one is angry or disgusted with Laurie.! Another job well done - let's see who wins cuz we all know who DESERVES to win (hinch) or will it be a repeat of last season where the true winner came in 2d to the hyped and pushed nyle demarco. Another great job on the blog my friend!!