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Oct. 14th, 2016

Part 2: DWTS Most Memorable Year: A Night To Remember. Bravo!

James & Sharna, Tango; Marilu & Derek Viennese Waltz;Amber & Maks, Samba; Terra & Sasha, Contemporary

On Most Memorable Year Night,  the first five contenders were outstanding, all of them! (See Part 1) The following four Star couples were even better!  The remaining four Stars' stories were even more poignant and emotional, they're dances meaningful and expressive. The momentum rose in crescendo,in suspense, beauty and emotion. Amber celebrated her baby with a rousing Samba, Marilu and Terra danced wih strong emotion in honor of their departed parents, James celebrated being alive after a horrible accident! What we LOVED is how they ALL gave all they had to sincerely honor their most cherished memories in dance. Here are their stories,in the dances that express them:

6. Marilu Grows Wings, Flies Freely in Waltz

Marilu Henner & Derek Hough
"Surprise Yourself"—Jack Garratt                Style: Viennese Waltz

To see Marilu & Derek's Viennese Waltz, Click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1uSlkSqn20

HECTOR SAYS: Sniffles, choke, gasp...I was tearing up from beginning to end of Marilu's story, then her beautiful Viennese Waltz; then the way Marilu crossed her arms on her chest and sweetly stared at Derek. I gasped! What about the audience jubilation and the girl Judges embracing Marilu, one on each side, while the boys, Bruno, Derek and Tom embraced each other as well. What JOY! Marilu's tells her MMY tale with profound emotion, choosing 1978 as "the best of times...the worst of times" quoting Dickens. Best, because Henner got her big break as an actress  by becoming the only girl in the superhit show "Taxi". Worst, because her beloved mom, who ran a small dance school from her garage, died that same year of a paralyzing  illness. She tells Derek Hough, with whom she has a loving connection, perhaps too admiring, that she wants to honor and fulfill her mom's dancing dreams on DWTS. "Give yourself the freedom of space," Derek counsels, "don't constrict yourself". She had been too much in her head, but Marilu finally let herself go. She "allowed herself to be great", said Carrie Ann. Marilu floated into a glorious Derek-designed Viennese Waltz. The song "Surprise Yourself" was meaningful, but  It had little clicking sounds that stopped the tempo, usually a no-no for Waltz. Derek used it to artistic advantage. Marilu floated ethereally through it all, kept  a brilliant continuous flow, as Bruno mentioned. Henner did the typical Waltz extensions, stretching her arm and looking up ecstatically, like she was reaching for heaven, and her mom, in exhilaration. Later on, as Marilu came out of the Waltz chorus climax, Marilu uttered a little gasp of pride and pleasure. Julianne lauded that gasp .Me? It  took my breath away. I was completely moved by this Viennese Waltz from beginning to end. We all waltzed along with Marilu! If I were a Judge, I would paddle her a 10!

PAT SAYS: Hallelujah,  Marilu! You got out of your head, just let the dance take over! Marilu went with the heady flow of the Viennese Waltz! She really did beautiful arm extensions, her poise and frame was polished elegance, her lovely turns  were gorgeous. For once, I  felt a close and true connection between Marilu and Derek, and then to us! This Viennese Waltz was a great and stirring, meaningful homage to Marilu's mom. Marilu freed herself from fear and let her grace and muse direct her, hit a home run! It's  what I have been wanting to see from Marilu from week 1. Well done, Marilu!  Keep it up! Judges:  27    Pat:  27   A    Hector: 28  A

7. Sassy Amber Dazzles In Saucy Samba

Amber Rose & Maks Chmerkovskiy
"Woman Up" - Meghan Trainor    Style: Samba

To see Amber & Maks Samba, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPfvfRVEh5s

HECTOR LIKES AMBER: Amber Rose grows on you. Or at least on me. I must admit, in the beginning I thought she was aloof, a bit coy, with a bit of a defiant attitide, not too likable. Physically, I found her disproportionate, too tall,  too big in certain places. In dance she looked timid, tentative, a bit scared...What to make of Amber Rose? Gradually she started gaining confidence in dance, showing a sweet and kind side. Somehow, she started looking better and better as weeks went by. Can't figure it out. Maybe wardrobe wasn't dressing her right. I thought her awful short-shorts Salsa outfit and hair made her look cheap. What a transformation, though, in her Argentine Tango! She looked beautiful! Sofia Loren body, a gorgeous all-woman monument,In the Samba package,  I watched the tough love Maks used to get a good performance. My heart went out to her as she cried, so desperate and vulnerable. Maks pisses me off! Amber's got me! I like her! She and Maks do that three C's Samba, as Julieanne called it, grand costumes, creative concept, strong content. I love her more as a dancer. As she came  down the steps, solo, then joins the four Troupe  girls, WOW, she looked spectacular, totally owned the Samba! She eclipsed all 4 girl Pros! Amber then samba-ed around the Ballroom with Maks. All eyes on her, she stole the show from Maks! But Julieanne is right when she says Amber's dance energy and confidence is less with Maks than among the girls of the Troupe! She seems to be a bit intimidated by Maks. Yes, the Judges advice to totally trust and believe in Maks is great advice! It may be too late for Amber to take the advice and move up but whatever the outcome, I'm glad Amber Rose was here!  Amber has built herself gradually, a GOOD image, in my view,, a sassy but shy girl who wants to make her presence felt. Amber wants to be accepted as herself just the way she is. Yes Amber, I even like your big bum! For me, Rose has transformed  from cocoon to butterfly. Fly along, delicate buttterfly, empowered! 

PAT DON'T LIKE: Amber comes out and does a sexy-saturated Samba, just when I"m feeling up to here with the increasing sexy outfits, sexy dances and sexual innuendo on DWTS, Then I found Amber's Samba slow paced, tentative, and not forceful enough as a Samba dance. Her connection to Maks seems strained and tenuous. I'm sure there is much more to Amber, but Maks hasn't brought it out of her yet. His tough approach to teaching doesn't seem to be working for them. I don't like it that I think Amber's sex appeal is being exploited in her dancing. Amber seems stuck in this "sexy" box. It's a tired act for me. If I hadn't seen so much skin, sexy and shirtless dance action since S23 started, I may have been more impressed with Amber & Maks' Samba. I  felt she was overscored in this dance. Sadly, I think we may not ever see the other side of Amber.I think her journey is in danger of coming to an end. Judges:  24   Pat:  21     C    Hector:   24  B-

8. Charismatic Hinch Is Our Favored Winner!

James Hinchcliffe & Sharna Burgess
"The Right Time" - Yves V w/Mike James
Style: Tango

To see James & Sharna Tango, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agcoXNNv_NY

HECTOR  LIKES JAMES: My favored dancer for the  MBT win is no doubt THE HINCH! James is, in my view,  the most mesmerizing dancer in the S23 Cast, as well as the most charismatic, likable guy! There, I've said it! Till last week I had this huge conflict! Laurie Hernandez is my compatriot, and, she's pretty HOT! I may be considered a traitor! And till this week, I felt she was the sure thing, for the MBT WIN! But Hinch was my heart's  favorite. He has more maturity and style! He has the savvy, sophistication, and the lilt in his dance,that comes with some life experience. He put it all in his Tango, with a perfect frame, poise, posture  and swag! That's what Bruno meant when he said James put the super-slick, super-sharp amazing control  in his Tango. He not only had the technique and total routine pat, he then proceeded to add some style, elan, flair, savoir faire. I could not believe this surprising "beginner" dancer! I truly was mesmerized by the Hinchcliffe Mystique! Truly, I enjoyed waching Hinch and Sharna's tango, a lot more than I enjoy the Pro couples do their thing in between DWTS dances! Heresy? Hinch dances LIKE THE BEST PRO! But James is also eminently LIKABLE! His story is of a near death race car accident is the stuff of heroic legend. Hinchcliffe was pierced through by the car's suspension like a lance. His doctor says the survival rate for this injury was 0. He flatlined for a moment. His recovery was miraculous, because of the doctor's diligence and his good physical and mental stamina. He coudn't walk, yet was back on the racecar in less than a year, dancing better than a Pro on DWTS in 15 months! This week, Laurie flubbed her Paso, went down, opened a breach for James to move up. James took the challenge and except for stingy Julianne got an almost perfect score.Both Laurie and James are amazing dancers. Laurie still is the one most likely, and the hype is fully behind her. It'll be a Dark Horse win, for James. My who's better test?  I'd rather watch James stylish, swaggering dances twice as much than Laurie's impressive ones.  This guy is PURE CHARISMA as a dancer, as a celebrity or as a race car hero! May the best one win, the voter's choice! I'll be happy either way.

PAT LIKES jAMES TOO: What an amazing story James has! That he recovered from his race car accident and is dancing 15 months later  is totally mind blowing. I am not a race fan so I had never heard of Hinch before other than seeing him on Celebrity Family Feud this summer.  I found Hinchcliffe charming then and I still do, even more so! His dancing is so on point, so fascinating for me,it's impossible to believe that he's never had any training.  Dancing looks so effortless for him.  Bruno was right in that his movements are perfectly timed to the music and he knows just where to accentuate his moves. To me, James just gets better and better every week and in my opinion, should be the true MBT winner.  He definitely deserved 30 for this dance, but we all know why he didn't get it right? We at least expect James will be treated FAIRLY! Keep it up James, you are knocking it out of the park every week!! Judges:  29   Pat:  30     A+   Hector: 30    A+

9. Terra Shows Small People Can Dance,
     Especially, With a Partner Like Sasha

Terra Jole & Sasha Farber
"Stand by Me"- Florence & The Machine           Style: Contemporary

To see Terra & Sasha's Contemporary, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sZ8hnSjkdc

HECTOR LOVES THIS COUPLE: Terra and Sasha do a beautiful Contemporary Dance to close the DWTS Most Memorable Year show. Terra got her big break in her reality show on 2013. That same year her dad died after a liver transplant operation. Her dad, who encouraged her showbiz dreams, asked her not to be present so as not to miss her show opportunity. Terra had a close relationship with Dad, so she was heartbroken not to have been at his death bed. She wants to honor her dad, who never saw Terra's success as a Reality Star.To get full emotion in her Contemporary dance,  Sasha tells Terra, touchingly, to imagine himself as her dad, and that she's dancing with him.. Terra later says it was like the dance she could not do with dad at her wedding. Tom Bergeron, who rarely makes a comment on the dancers, felt compelled to mention how connected Sasha and Terra are, in and out of their dance. Sasha's choreography is sincere, direct and riveting, as is the classic "Stand by Me". It has dramatic emotional moves, like when Terra and Sasha both raise one arm and look up. Or admire that great balancing move in which Terra stood on Sasha's thighs, and held both arms up while Sasha extended his arms out expansively (Beautiful!). I also was surprised when Terra ran away, slammed her head and fists in frustration, ran back to Sasha and angrily struck his chest with both fists.  Dramatic on the brink of excess. They take risks,show vulnerability, get away with it! I loved it! I's moving! Terra is a dancer, extends her arms, points her feet with conviction. I also admire Sasha's skill to adapt lyrical moves to their height difference! He kneels when she strikes his chest, and so forth. Sasha's twice the artist, in expressive power,  and making Terra look good and produce a beautiful, emotional, artistic dance. Kudos to both! I love this couple, as a couple, our Ginger and Fred!

PAT IS INSPIRED; Terra always amazes each week with how she just dives in, does the dance,and does it WELL! She puts a lot of work, and heart, into it and it shows in dance quality. Terra and Sasha, as a couple, are the biggest surprise for me, this season,  I didn't think I was going to enjoy her journey as much as I have; but every week, I end up appreciating her dancing as well as her Inspiring personality. Teaches us DANCE is for everyone, big or small. Even though her movements and lines are not as big in stride and size, their BIG in spirit, beauty and emotional power. Sasha seems to be able to create the right choreography. like Contemporary in this week,  to complement and adapt to Terra. So, Kudos Sasha & Terra! I always look forward to see what they have in store for us each week expecting to be pleasantly surprised, again and again! Judges:  27     Pat:  27     A-    Hector: 27    A-

That's it for the 5th Week, DWTS Fans! Wonderful Memorable Year Night! Not to spoil our happy fun, the best at the end is: THERE WERE NO ELIMINTIONS! WHOOPEE! But Ouch-not next week! Next Week: Latin Night, which is always FUN, ain't it? Looking forward for Laurie to dazzle, and see how the BIG Laurie vs Hinch Battle for the MBT will look like! Can Hinch topple the Sure Thing? How about Terra, Calvin and Marilu? Could they be the Dark Horse instead? And how about Jana, Maureen, Amber, and Ryan? Will one or them be the one to go? It's geting TENSE & EXCITING, midway. The way it's supposed to! Stay tuned!

Oct. 12th, 2016

A DWTS Most Memorable Year Night to Remember. Bravo! Part I

Mandy MooreI So love your Most Memorable Opening Waltz! This blog dedicated to you.

To see te Andre Rieu Opening Viennese Waltz, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2wHaybyshw

Week 5's Most Memorable Year turned out to be pure perfection. Best DWTS show since Week1!
Everything from the initial Mandie Moore beautiful Opening number,to each marvelous assigned dances. The performances kept getting better and better, and the show seemed to gain more momentum with each dance! There was never a letdown! The theme from Titanic performed by Andre Rieu and Orchestra (What a guest!The King of European Classic-Pop Spectacle) and a breathtaking Viennese Waltz extravaganza danced by all the Pros. Unforgettable opening number, so perfect in all its elements. Starting out in darkness, it spotlights on the orchestra, as Andre Rieu plays the violin mid-ballroom. What a wonderful start, for a love theme, to spotlight on our just engaged couple, Emma and Sasha in a flowing and elegant Waltz move! The spotlight moves on to Jenna and Artem, then Witney and Val, and finally Lindsay and Derek. These four couples all do lovely solo moves, then finally whirl around Rieu in joyful Waltz turns. Enter three more couples,Allison and Keo, Cheryl and Gleb, and Sharna and Maks, joining the others in an exhilarating Waltz circle, Sharna and Maks in the middle. All of a sudden the Ballroom lights up in celebration,, the camera takes in the whole room including the dancers,the magnificent full orchestra, the female musicians, dressed in colorful gowns. The seven couples merge and wonderfully swirl round and round. taking us to heaven with them. Gracefully the girls form an inner circle while the men orbit in a different direction. How beautiful! Then they circle again,with Emma and Sasha in center, thus beginning an ending with a celebration of love!

What I enjoyed the most was the faces of pure euphoria on all the Pros, male and female
. It was Andre Rieu, Lord of Euro Waltz. Mandy Moore gave the dancers a classic, majestic Viennese Waltz to do. They threw in all their skills, all their passion and inspiration of their life's vocation, into this stately Waltz. As an expectator, mesmerized by their flight of fancy, I could not help but feel envy for their gift of dance. Then I thought, what would an artist do without an appreciative audience? Catharsis works for both! I was so happy I teared all up with this magnificent spectacular gala! Thank you, dancers, thank you Rieu and musicians, DWTS; and YES. Thank you Master Puppeteer Mandy Moore!!

PAT'S VIEW of Opening Waltz:(Pat Halford is my collaborator. She describes herself as :Enjoying life with my reitred Navy husband of 24 years Just moved to Arlington Tn, originally a California girl.)

Finally an opening number that was downright amazing! Our pros really shined and shared their brilliant, traditional, beautiful ballroom skills! It's about time! The whole 'sexy" dances are ok, every now and then, but when you see them week in and week out, it tends to get same'Ole, and kinda demeaning. This is my "equal gender" opinion, for both the female and male pros. I would love to see more opening numbers as dignified and and show-worthy as this one. Next to Disney week,most Memorable Year has been  one of my favorite theme weeks This season was no exception, it gives us better insight into our celebrities up close and personal really as real people.  I often serves to endear some of them to me of whom I originally had a false conception.

1. Mo's Dance Journey to Grace & Empowerment

Maureen McCormick and Artem Chigvinset
"From the Ground Up"—Dan + Shay  Style: Fox trot

To see Maureen & Artem's FoxTrot, click here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwX6Q3uzZJQ

HECTOR SAYS: Bravo Maureen! Artem too. This artful sensitive guy grows on me every season. Skilled pro, great talent, good soul! The complete package. Maureen danced her best dance. Her MMY, 1984, the year she married her husband of  32 years. She credits him with saving her from a wild life of aimlessness and addiction which resulted from her fall from fame after her years as a child actor on "The Brady Bunch".It took guts for Maureen to come out with honesty to millions of viewers. She does it with arresting aplomb. What i loved about this dance, Mo's lack of not nerves. She was emotional and vulnerable as befit the meaning of her poignant dance, showing great style and grace. But she was confident and in control. Even better than last week, when she danced well, but still a bit nervous, a tad unsure. No longer. The new Maureen, feeling, serene and trusting. What a sweet connection with her loving and patient partner, Mr. Chigvinset. Affectionate and encouraging, Artem has such good sense and sensibility in teaching and choreography! What a performance he got out of Maureen, with great Foxtrot content and stylish artful moves and turns. Maureen has a talent for showing great lines and projecting sincere emotion, looking natural, ethereal and fluid. This Foxtrot was a dance of love and appreciation for her husband. We could see from her grateful looks at her partner, that it was a double homage to her dance mentor also. It  was a study in correct frame posture and lovely turns, a Foxtrot with a Waltz feeling, dignified but sweet and lyrical. Mo looked beautiful as a bride in a lace and chiffon dress. She honored that dress with a "homage to love" performance. I would award her a 30/30. Nothing wrong in technique, timing or moves. Mo projected passion, meaning and beauty. I enjoyed it more than perfectly scored dances other have deservingly, or not, received.

PAT SAYS: Wow Maureen, I did not know your story.  You have come a long way from your younger days.  This lovely Foxtrot was amazing. showed your emotional journey to where you are now in your lifeArtem, you did our girl proud. I feel you are so under rated on DWTS as a pro!  Mo's movements, lines and self-confidence have grown leaps and bounds.  She glided around the dance floor, with Artem supporting her all the way. She was fluid and graceful, showing not a care in the world.  It was gorgeous. Kudos to Maureen McCormick for being the most improved since week 1. Judges Scores:  24    Pat:  24   B    Hector: 28  A-

2. Tall Story of Charismatic Dance Swag

Calvin Johnson & Lindsay Arnold    Style: Jazz
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough"—Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

To see Calvin & Lindsay's Jazz, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdiUPuNbiW0

HECTOR SAYS: Calvin, the big football hero, has a much different most memorable year story than Maureen. He has a happy one, the year he broke Jerry Rice single-season record for receiving yards, in 2012. But by no means did the emotional roller coaster lose momentum for us  because it's a different metamorphosis than Maureen's. Was production clever enough to give the happy stories happy styles, in this case Jazz? Kudos to production, then! But also, Calvin, with Lindsay's promotion help, was able to display a lot of emotion in the story (and his dance) of his big year of glory. That, because he is so genuinely family-oriented. To his dad, who gives testimony of their mutual love in the package, and to whom he lovingly throws a football at the end of his dance. He's also openly sentimental about his wife and children holding up his cellphone pics,saying he wants to give his kids the love he got from his family. Awww! What's not to like about this surprisingly emotional big guy! A huge, not gangly, but very graceful Teddy bear. Plus we like his very rapidly improved dancing! He hs natural grace and coordination in those large limbs and enormous feet! He's come a long way in how he uses his arms, his feet, his entire body; plus he displays such musicality! You can see him using his tallness as an asset as he stands very straight and sways with his arms close to his body, his hands flipping out like Fred Astaire. The man is already creating his own style! Have to mention:How breathtaking Lindsay's style development! She's moving so gorgeous, it hurts! What a talent she is, for teaching, choreography and individual dancing style! Rah, Rah, Rah, Lindsay, such special charm. I loved EVERYTHING in this Jazzy celebratory number! Down to the surprise inroduction of Jerry Rice into the dance. A treat to watch Calvin's amazingly connected, easygoing graceful showmanship from beginning to end. Most rapid progress on this DWTS journey! He could easily reach the finals! Most of all, I like how he easily draws us to join Lindsay and he into his dance euphoria!

PAT ON CALVIN: Calvin just goes out on the dance floor with glee, and does his Jazzy thing. His improvement week to week, IS noticeable.  He dances with such joy! It's so much fun to go on his euphoric ride with he and Lindsay. The lifts he did with Lindsay for this Jazz dance are exhilarating, so high, so seemingly effortless! Like Bruno said, "I thought Lindsay was going to go through the roof"! Aint No Mountain High Enough is one of my favorite songs. Calvin just fit into the Motown mold so cool! He moves so well.Other tall guys have a difficulty being graceful, but Calvin Johnson has the moves,the grace, does not look awkward at all. Calvin was surprised.  I felt he and Lindsay were underscored on this dance.The Jerry Rice surprise was so much fun!! Judges:  24    Pat:  26     B  Hector: 27   B+

3. Jana Shows Sincere Emotion In Contempo

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko
"In My Daughter's Eyes"—Martina McBride       Style: Contemporary

To see Jana & Gleb Jazz click here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1Slo-gYD90

Jana chose her Most Memorable Year as recently, when she gave birth to her daughter. Her daughter's birth changed her, helped her heal and forget an abusive relationship she had 10 years ago. In her Contemporary dance, she makes it a statement of love to her daughter, wishing she will grow up to have the sense and good fortune not to fall into an abusive relationship. The Martina McBride song "In My daughter's Eyes" gives inspiration to a lovely Contemporary choreography, which Gleb Savchenko simplified to get a meaningful performance in full lyrical effect from Jana. I was impressed with Jana's. beautiful lines, flowing continuity in moves, and sincere and vulnerable characterization. I had been bothered by Jana's coy, open-mouthed, or melodramatic facial expressions in her former dances, but this time, we could see true emotion and graceful delicacy in her moves and expression. Jana's performance was moving,fluid and and artistically satisfying. Although Carrie Ann praised her for moving "bigger" (arms, extensions, forceful expression), I felt she was a tad less "big" at times as compared to Gleb's big, beautiful moves. About Gleb,he's quite the heroic danseur noble in Contemporary, looking more sensitive and dignified than other highly touted Pros. Gleb is showing more mature talent and sensitivity than in his former stint at DWTS. Jana was justly praised by all three judges in her Contemporary. She showed growth, dedication and enthusiasm. Jana eems particularly suited for Contemporary. This was her best dance!

PAT SAYS: Jana has a very powerful story regarding domestic abuse. She tied to healing by her Most Memorable Year, the year of the birth of her daughter. Jana's struggles and the strength she gained from going through them were portrayed in this inspirational dance. I could feel her dance.  Her movements, lines and footwork have always been graceful and moving  for me, but this dance felt  like Jana finally lifted a weight off her shoulder and grew wings in order to do a beautiful dance This was the breakthrough moment that I was waiting for the dance passion and talent I felt Jana had in her. Keep it up, sister! She and Gleb just seemed fly on gossamer wings on the dance floor. Kudos  Gleb for your choreography! .Judges:  26    Pat: 26    B    Hector:  27   B+

4. Ryan's Redemption by the Honesty of His Dance

Ryan Lochte & Cheryl Burke  

"A Song for You"Leon Russell     Style: Contemporary

To see Ryan & Cheryl's Contemporary, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flzLP1z-bXw

HECTOR LOVED IT!   It has been hard for Ryan Lochte to face the music and DANCE on DWTS, on S23, but all in all it has been well worth it for Ryan to hold himself together and persevere! In one instant of wrongdoing one of the bigggest Olympic Stars ever lost his honor in and lost it all. Lochte's appearance on DWTS drew scorn, even a spectacular protest on camera. As his MMY, Ryan chose the moment  in 2008, in which he broke his competitor's world record. On it's face it doesn't seem that heartwrenching, but in his package, Ryan shows his tender heart, chokes with emotion  as he recalls the moment when he realized he'd broke a world record! We also find out how much Ryan sacrificed since his early teens to get to that point. All of a sudden Ryan was humanized for all of us!. He goes on to say how hard it has been to stand under the critical gaze of millions for his sins, as if his primitive dancing were not enough. By then he had us! Then he also dedicates his dance to his always loyal mom, Aww! Our hearts softened by Ryan's story, we get an Epiphany! A first rate, creative choreography from Cheryl, to soulful,slow vocals, demanding total expressiveness and vulnerability from Ryan. Never underestimate an Olympic champion. Lochte was heart-stirring! The total sincerity of his emotional performance made my hair stand on end. He was exposing himself raw, such a big man extending his arms wide, crawling himself into a ball on the floor,or powerfully lifting Cheryl with dignified elegance! Taking one risk after another, as serious as priest in a temple. I'm in AWE! Such purity of purpose! I could feel his huge effort to do well by Cheryl, for his mom. for his own redemption. My heart went out to Ryan. I never thought him capable of giving us such a glorious, difficult Contemporary performance. Lochte showed great integrity; gave us profound satisfaction. This was true DANCE! Bravo Ryan, you showed us your worth and your honor in one incredible performance.

PAT LOVES IT LESS:   Ryan continues to grow as a dancer. I'm not sure I liked the song to much, though. The song seemed a little choppy to me for a Contemporary routine.  I always imagine Contemporary Dance as more flowing, airy dances. Ryan. however, was impressive in this dance. He really opened up and shared his emotions with us.  He improves his dance skills all around week to week. Every week he surprises with a new found dance expressiveness.   I'm looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us next week. I fear, though, that he may be in danger of ending his journey next week. Judges:  24   Pat:  23    C+    Hector: 26  B

5. Laurie & Val Bungle Their Paso

Laurie Hernandez & Val Chmerkovskiy             "Rise"—Katy Perry                    Style: Pasodoble

to see Laurie & val's Pasodoble, click here:   ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UKivZ4MHJU

Trouble in paradise for Laurie and Val?They ended up in the middle of the pack after their less than outstanding Pasodoble. It's a big let down after you've always  been at the top. It's more hurtful when you just landed a 30/30 in your fourth and last week!. We can see the pressure eating at both top Star and trainer during Laurie's meltdown in their rehearsal package. Laurie can't get the Paso moves to Val's satisfaction, so she loses her usual cool and cries. it's their turn to Paso, and they try too hard. There's a "Lady Trapped in 4 Walls" opening that hardly seems relevant to the Paso Style, but Laurie writhes sensually on the floor in a one piece bathing suit and does it really well! Hardly her fault that it didn' fit! Then the typical "Ole Tu Ma're" Paso start with a neat trick by which Val playing Matador wraps his cape around Laurie and creates a flowing Paso skirt. The typical Paso moves proceed, a bit too same o'le maybe, but I felt there was due to a discordance between the Kathy Perry modern angst music and the traditional Paso moves, Something wasn't working right, the music discord? That beginning too modern? The rest too traditional, and as Julieanne shrewdly mentioned (yet gave Laurie and Val a 9) there was a lack of connection and feeling between the couple. Yes, it felt that Laurie was on her own and Val was the side show. On top Laurie was too much in her head, looking  tad too fierce and a tad too tense and disconnected. Also, sigh, Laurie messed up a bit on her footwork, and as Bruno mentioned, didn't round out her arm and skirt and hands movements in true Spanish style. She wasn't big enough. I didn't like this Pasodoble at all, thought it overscored. It did serve to shatter the idea that Laurie and Val were invincible and opened up the competition. But do watch out! Next week it's Latin Night, and my Puerto Rican firecracker and her saucy partner Pro are sure to sizzle and zip and perhaps get another 30!

PAT ON LAURIE: Was not expecting Laurie to get a "negative" edit on her package, but in truth, it wasn't that negative. She is young, this is new to her, and Laurie had a moment with Val, as ALL of his partners have had with him, at some time.. Val Chmerkovskiy tends to be "intense" as a teacher (for lack of using a harsher word). Laurie has so much potential to be a great dancer and yet from week 1, in my opinion, she has not been given challenging choreography or much content to speak of. Yet she has been praised to the moon and back by the judges. On week 5, the judges at last critique her on flaws to work on.Shouldn't they had done that from week 1?  I digress - I didn't like the opening of her dance inside the box, it didn't seem to fit. Once she got to Paso, my complaints are the same as always: Some of her movements are too hard,  She missed a pass, and her footwork was a little messy.  She seemed a little stunned, before and during the Judges comments. I agreed with Julianne that they need to work on their partnership. and less on showcasing just Laurie I don't feel that they have a strong connection together as dancers.I'm fascinated to see how this all plays out next week. Maybe to get everyone back on the Laurie Vote Bandwagon,Laurie and Val will be overscored again!   Judges:  25    Pat:  24   B    Hector:   22   C

Oct. 8th, 2016

Part 2 Cirque Night: DWTS Missed Op for Cirque Blast! Emma & Sasha Win Night!

Aww! The big event, in my heart, that MADE Cirque Night dazzle was...Sasha kneeling to offer Emma his ring!

to see Derek's Hough's BEST reaction to THE PROPOSAL click here:https://www.yahoo.com/tv/derek-hough-had-best-reaction-232800993.html

These two DWTS Pros have won every DWTS fan heart! Emma Slater: She's the  best Brit import since Elizabeth Taylor, and Sasha Farber: He's an Aussie Latin Dance Champions whose gentle heart is as big as his dancing talent. God joined them in dance,then in love. They clicked as soon as Sasha saw Emma in S14, when Emma joined the show. I  met them both personally,on S17,  when I travelled 4000 mi to see DWTS live. Emma had read the glowing stuff I had written about her and Bill Engvall, whom Emma miraculously drove to 4th place.(They became the season's favorites, overshadowing winners Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd.) I was stunned when Emma planted a kiss on my cheek when we met! Sasha stood by, smiling. I bet he was jealous! I never wash that cheek! I wish Emma and Sasha  happiness, companionship, and a beautiful life together. Dance through life in love and conquer!. What can be more inspiring than two GREAT dancers in love?  Sasha kneeling barefoot and half dressed nervously getting the ring out of his pocket, was the Night's Best Event. Awww!  It generated a heartwarming rippling glow that made thewhole show brighter, better, happier! May love always triumph in the  Farber-Slater home!

Here's my summary take on Cirque Night: Fell short expectations,but basically BRIGHT! Cirque lost a bit of razzle- dazzle by joining DWTS. The DWTS studio seemed too small as compared to Vegas. The Cirque performers  inclusion into performances were at times not too relevant, or effective to the performance, with some outstanding exceptions. The Cirque music used for the dances was simply wonderful, and well adapted to every dance. I expected Cirque to be as effective as Disney Night in fantasy, and it wasn't. Better integration into the DWTS experience would have given the show more meaning. Bring back Cirque next year, but make Derek Hough Artistic Director. He will know how to put it all together into an artistic whole! Plus a lot more impactful. You'll have a show worth the investment and an extraordinary Emmy winning DWTS for 2017!   Now to the REST OF THE DANCES, 7to 11!

7. Spotlight Chasing Messes Up Babyface's Tango!

Babyface Edmonds & Allison Holker
"Come Together" - Beatles    Style: Tango

To see Tango, cklick here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gK8O8jUNDk
To see Package & Judges scores, click here

HECTOR SAYS: For Stars to get some staying power on DWTS, the art is that of keeping all together. The dance routine, the steps, movements, footwork, all to the BEAT!. Posture, frame, feeling, connection, confidence, trust in your partner. Then there's characterization, style, appeal. presence; musicality, grace, fluidity. Plus,spotting, camera angles, foot placement, putting the entire performance together, with sets, lighting, extra dancers. Easy? It can drive a contender crazy! It did, Babyface Edmonds. He was one of my favorites. He had a serene, cool, composed quality which I liked. His first two dances were amazing, for a beginner. His third wasn't that good. In this one he went berserk, Pfft, kaput! What happened to him? His lovely and talented teacher, Allison Holker probably thought they needed to break out, shoot up! Babyface had the dancing chops! She concocted an unique, ambitious, creative choreography, to the music of Come Together. Oh Brother! Come Together is what Baby face couldn't do!! I was surprised how well the Come Together fit their Tango. Just fine! As the repeated cadences progressed, the dancing pair was supposed to move in and out of different spotlights. How clever, what a nice idea! But it didn't work for Babyface! He had so much trouble chasing after the spots on cue! He focused mostly on that, lost focus for the other essentials. He did get the spots right, but forgot to put all the other elements of a good dance. He looked flustered,not in control. He didn't have his usual serene grace, dapper frame. He stooped. It wasn't a stylish, graceful performance. He couldn't make it all "come together". Got a low score, was OUT the next day. Too bad. I  liked this couple! It hurt to see them go!

PAT SAYS: Mmmm...where to begin with one!.Babyface seemed to be lost from the first step in this Tango.  He is  reserved, shows no emotion one way or the other  while he dances. Wish we would've seen the rehearsal dance! Allison said it was so much better, that he had nailed it. Next day, Babyface was eliminated, as I had thought possible.   Judges:  18    Pat:  18      Grade:  D   Hector: 20    Grade: C

8. Terra Lights Up the Ballroom with a Saucy Samba

Terra Jole & Sasha Farber     "Simcha"Benoît Jutras      Style: Samba

To see Terra & Sasha Samba, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Rn5g9lVwXg

HECTOR'S TAKE: A blast of energy, a tour de force dynamo, what a Samba Carnaval Terra and Sasha did! The Judges both praised Terra's energy, the way she affected the audience as she and Sasha swept into the Ballroom. As she started out with a Samba solo, shaking her booty, and, indeed, everything, it reminded me of Amber Riley, who had a different body type than the tall, svelte ideal, yet her energetic solos shook up the whole Studio! Sasha cooked up a real complex Samba. What a happy, exhilarating, explosive Samba!Terra put all her heart and all her determination into doing it! There was 100% real Samba in there: the bounce, the whisks, the voltas,the botafogos. Terra had a little trouble on the passes and promenade, due to her short legs. Hard to keep up with Sasha's stride! She almost had a meltdown during rehearsals trying to learn the hardest dance genre in the book. It's not all about steps, but about feeling. Intangible Samba euphoria, coupled to a great technical routine is what delighted us all. This time the Cirque fire juggler who performed, did add fire to the Samba. He became a third force. Bravo! We also love how connected Terra and Sasha are, you can see real love on each side! Sasha used tough love on Terra, trying to show her she could do the tough & difficult dance. When Terra & Sasha finished, to  resounding applause and lavish praise from te Judges, Terra seemed dazed, so sweet , so unassuming...so inspiring! These jolly Jole-Farber duo make us happy everytime they dance. Even more than that, I always cry  out of pure joy everytime Terra dances!

PAT'S TAKE; Terra has grown on me. This performance just wowed me! This lady can move! Her happy Samba was better than some of the other contestants' dances. Terra also had the hip movements.Her passes, which are hard to do, were not as correct,as. Bruno said.  "I commend you for trying to do the passes." Terra went out there and burned up that dance floor! Kudos to Sasha as well, Sasha Farber, like Lindsay Arnold,  is showing himself  to be an excellent teacher and choreographer, with a heart. JudgesScores: Pat:27Grade:  A  Hector: 27    Grade: A-

9. DWTS Biggest Star Is Born! Give Her the MT, NOW!
Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy
The Way You Make Me Feel"—Michael Jackson    Style: Jazz

To see Laurie & Vals Jazz, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUDg99jJgzM

HECTOR GLOATS: Give Laurie the MT! This Jazz was more spectacular than anything Cirque, did, Although the 4 Cirque dancers were an excellent enhancement , all eyes were on the huge little Star on center stage, the unique and invincible Laurie Hernandez! From Puerto Rico, My homeland, the land of Linn-Manuel Miranda, Ricky Martin and J-Lo (Step aside J-Lo! here's Laurie!). The subject was Michael Jackson, and although the 4 Cirque dancers were exquisite Jackson dancers (They trained Val in how to do MJ), Laurie was THE ONE who channelled Michael!  Her technique was flawless. plua her timing, her sexy moves,. Her sharp footwork was excellent, Her trust in Val total, as she jumps in abandon to his catch.

Most fascinating was Laurie's total Star Power & her PRO characterization of the MJ mystique.
Laurie must have been practicing Jackson dancing since she was 5, while looking at the Mirror
.  Laurie showed in this dance she is as good a dancer as she is an Olympic gymnast. She did better trademark Jackson moves and looked more Pro than her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy! The Judges give her three 10's, officially jumping on the Laurie bandwagon. The problem is it draws all suspense away as to who's gonna win that MT! The show's energy wil dwindle wih no competition.  The run is for 2nd and 3rd place now. Since the genre is Jazz, not a Ballroom dance, it allows to have little in-hold dance, lots of splashy solos, lots of Broadway excesses, like the hot rod, the phone booth, the park bench. Everything but the kitchen sink! It was all fitting, right, spectacular!. IF it was Val's choreography, hats off!, To think Laurie's only 16! Remember what critics said about bringing in teens to dance at DWTS? Laurie just crashed that teen ceiling. She'll be one of DWTS biggest Stars!

PAT DIGRESSES: Well what can I say about Laurie? "Laurie would be our first perfect score, of the season", I said as soon as I heard it was going to be Cirque week. I TOLD YOU SO!   I have no qualms about Laurie's ability to dance. My problem is that she's not given challenging choreography, yet  the Judges gush over her like she just danced the most difficult dance on the planet.  This week, when it would have been understandable to have gymanstics in their routine there was none.  All she did was walk hard, sashay around, sit, and pose. Yes, I know its Jazz but still where were the "dance steps"? I know she is "The Chosen One" , but... Come on Judges!  When are you actually going to critique her? Not just gush that she's the next best thing to sliced bread?  This was a good dance but, in my opinion, it wasn't "30" worthy. Show me some DANCE please!!!   Judges:  30     Pat:  27     Grade:  A   Hector: 28    A  (Hector's note: I'd hold that Perfect for a future dance, just not to discourage the competition and end all suspense.)

10. Vanilla & Witney Deliver a Fun & Fancy-full Farewell Waltz

Vanilla Ice and Witney Carson
"La Nouba"—Benoît Jutras      Style: Viennese Waltz

To see Vanilla Ice and Witney in Viennese Waltz, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=refJoDVF4xQ

HECTOR SAYS: Vanillla Ice makes all of his dances festive, and this Viennese Waltz was especially adapted to his magic happy touch. It had a kind of fanciful old-fashioned Euro small circus atmosphere,and Vanilla Ice's Persona as Circus Master fit right into the character wonderfully! This marvelous Viennese Waltz fit the Cirque theme and performers like a glove, Witney did a sweet choreography full of Viennese Waltz content and feeling, yet not to complex or fast for Vanilla's abilities  The Circus type  music was exceptional, as indeed was ALL the music used for the Cirque show, much of it composed by Benoit Jutras. Vanilla put in a very repectable technical performance ,keeping the time, doing the Waltz turns in correct posture and frame. While he turned about the ballroom jovially, trapeze artists did their Cirque routine hanging from the roof, and colorful  jugglers and clowns danced around the stage.It was the most effective use of Cirque, simple and beautiful, just: Vanilla and Witney dancing around with the trapeze artists hanging in the middle, There were small imperfections in Vanilla's dancing, like the use of his arms. In balance what I found that Vanilla Ice did best was, with Witney's capable help,  put it all together to deliver a satisfying and enjoyable performance. Dance is more about passion than technique. Vanilla's passion to put in a good show made the whole performance work. His larger than life pesonality and bright charisma put a spell over the audience which leads us to ignore the little flaws in his tecnique. Passion and human feeling trumps over technique. Witney should also be commended for her skilled teaching and beautiful dancing and choreography. I really will miss Vanilla and Witney on S23, a very appealing cute couple.So sad the voters didn't save them!  

PAT SAYS: Yes Mr Ice, you can move and you have some grace about you too.  I see improvement in his dancing from week to week.  This was actually his best dance to date as well.  I appreciate the fact that he works hard, and that he looks happy to be part of this show, and enjoys the DWTS experience.     Judges:  23    Pat: 23   Grade:  C+  Hector: 26   B-

11. Hinchcliffe-Burgess Spectacular Quickstep Brings House Down

James Hinchcliffe & Sharna Burgess
 "The Hollywood Wiz" - Dubuc/Lessard      Style: Quickstep

To see James & Sharna's Quickstep, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSH_MLng2Kc

James & Sharna delivered the most spectacular, showstopping Quickstep in DWTS history. James and Sharna make a perfect COMPLEMENTARY duo. Sharna provides the choreography (She's a genius!), teaching skills and the passion to inspire James to dance; James brings his surprising, amazing dance ability and above all his charismatic SHOWMANSHIP ! I love this couple! As a COUPLE, they have way more magic and charisma than Laurie and Val. Bruno said that their very important HOLD in Quickstep ( which I found bouncy, precise and delicious!) reminded him of Fred & Ginger! The other two  judges found a frigging small mistep. How puny,and scrimpy is their soul! If I look closely, I'm sure  could find 3 or 4 flaws in Laurie's Jazz as well; but why should I spoil my fun and rain on their parade?. James and Sharna DESERVED a 30 as well. Applause to Bruno's 10.For all his idiosyncrasies, Bruno is the one judge thinks BIG and looks to a creativetive future in DANCE! Talking about their prodigious Quikstep, charismatic James says Sharna "is over the moon" about their Paramour Broadway opportunity. I marvel at how well the different and dazzling parts of this performance fell in artistic place,, the chorus line, the dance around in hold, the boys line,the splashy FINALE. Nothing should be added, nothing taken out, I take my HAT OFF to Sharna-for her choreography, and to  James Hinchcliffe for his dazzling for his showstopping PRO performance!Who knew a racecar driver could become a Pro in 4 short weeks? A STAR is born! I liked this performance better than.Laurie's. It's less contrived as a dance design. James Quickstep filled me with joy and nostalgia for Broadway's unique razzle-dazzle! I watched it over and over again,Can James grab the MT away fom Laurie? Not with the hype machine the network has invested in its Olympic Star!

PAT LOVES JAMES TOO::   James and Sharna's Quickstep- WOW! A perfomance that actually went with the theme.  James has charisma and charm through the roof! Plus,  he actually CAN DANCE!  He walks with ease ino  the character of each dance.  Tonight James nailed it.  He was quick and smooth. His foot placement was very good.  His frame was marelous, as well.  I didn't see the mistake that Carrie Ann and Julieanne pointed out and James accepted. I LOVE this partnership.  I know he is not "The Chosen One" but this performance was definitely a "10" across the board performance,fr me and for many!     Judges:  28     Pat: 30     Grade:  A+    Hector: 30  Grade: A+

That's all for today folks! See what i have to say about "Most MemorableYear". It's the show in we sometimes get a peep at each Star's Life and essence, when the dance gets it right!

Oct. 5th, 2016

Part 1: "Cirque" DWTS Not Up to Hype, Not A Bad Show. Babyface & Vanilla Say Adios

Part 1:The Cirque de Soleil theme was at best ill-used, at worst, trampled, pummeled and trashed by the DWTS production team.

It served perhaps to spark some energy for the dancers. In the beginning, I was excited with the beautiful Star & Pro costumes. Even the Judges were all dolled up! (Will MC Tom Bergeron ever get festive and get into a costume? It seems like production should splurge and buy at least Tom a new suit!). There was an air of excitement, fantasy and luxury, like last seasons' Disney Night. But it wasn't half as successful as Disney Night. Like a delicious soufflee which did not rise, the show fizzled from that auspicious beginning to a fall-flat ending! In that first Calvin & Lindsay performance, for example, there was supposed to be a connection to the Cirque Show, Kurious, Cabinet of Curiosities. All the others were also supposedly connected to different shows. But they mostly failed to make that connection with the public, except in a few dances! Example:Calvin and Lindsay did the Charleston. What did it have to do with the flying bycicle and two other Cirque characters? It was also badly lighted. Spotlight amidst darkness would have brought atention to the flying bycicle, etc. But the Cirque characters were lost among the busy DWTS glittery concentric circles and background scenery.

Most of the "Cirque" performers showed little connection to the DWTS dances. The Troupe members, when used,  were way more relevant than the Cirque diversion. I've seen the Cirque shows live in Vegas. They are spectacular. But as diconnected, irrelevant side shows, DWTS did no service to Cirque enhancement or production. Cirque lost, appearing  mediocre. DWTS totally missed a fantastic opportunity for spectacle.This show was interesting, but by no means spectacular. The Star dances had little or no relation of the Cirque showmen. They became distractions. The dances of the Stars and Pros, however were good entertainment. I did enjoy Week 4 for the dancers, but Cirque had nothing to do with my satisfaction. It was a really a colossal failure! I cry at how expensive the operation must have cost. To no avail!

Dance 1: Calvin & Lindsay opened  with a scintillating Charleston, well choreographed, happily performed by the 2.

Calvin Johnson & Lindsay Arnold
"Bella Donna Twist" - Raphaël Beau  Style: Charleston
To see Calvin & Lindsay's Charleston, click here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbDbn5rCDWQ

HEC SAYS: This charismatic footballer progresses in strides as long as his walking legs. It's unbelievable how much Lindsay has been able get out of him in just 4 weeks. Lindsay Arnold is quickly ascending as one of the best Pros. Her choreography and teaching skills are excellent. She's a formidable dancer, as well as having a delightful personality. The Charleston choreo was rich in many  cute, chopped, fun and funny whimsical moves. The ease in which Calvin Johnson could do the breathtaking lifts (see photo). was awesome. Bruno described it as flipping pancakes. How well he moved in perfect timing, very straight, spiffy posture, not stooping or losing form like many tall athletes tend to do. Calvin's very musical! What we like best is the big smiles he flashes as he dances. He's really enjoying his totally new dancing experience. Lindsay is obviously fascinated by her new dancing discovery! This is one football star whose dancing I REALLY enjoy, not forced to enjoy by the hype of production's love affairs with klutzy football stars! In another less competitive season, I would bet he'd be the winner. But Laurie and James, and even Marilu and Terra will not be easy to beat!  But I'd be totally content if he could get that Trophy. Johnson is so likable! I'm also impressed how he's picking up some grace and style and on how move those long limbs and big feet! We feel like rooting for him to WIN! Can he?


HOW ABOUT PAT? @pahgah at Twitter Enjoying life with my retired Navy husband of 24 years.

PAT SAYS: Wow! Every week Calvin makes improvements and impresses me more. I was expecting Calvin's movements to be a little awkward like in his first three dances ( He's so tall!). But nope! He was right on the money.  His quick foot movements and arm placements were outstanding. Johnson kept up with the fast pace of the dance, and was on time. He also was really into the character of the dance. Lindsay sure knows how to bring out the best in her partners.  I am impressed more and more with Lindsay as well.  Great job, Calvin! Im sticking to my early prediction that he is the "Dark Horse". Calvin's  and gonna give James and Laurie a run for their money!    Scores: Judges 23     Pat 24 Grade:  B    Hector: 25/30  Grade:  B+

2. Maureen Expresses Lyrical Delicacy in Tango

Maureen McCormick & Artem Chigvinset

"High Bar" - Benoît Jutras  Style: Argentine Tango

To see Mo & Artem's Argentine Tango, click here.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_kgAu3nWis

HECTOR SAYS: Maureen emoted and whined a lot during her rehearsal video, to Artem's exasperation, and with no happy resolution before their scheduled Tango Argentino. I just wondered why they subjected the public to this painful exchange between them. Is this production 's idea of reality TV-verite?  I found unnecessary. It didn't turn me off to her as a whining basket case, but it could have turned many a voter! It was like adding insult to injury because we've watched other painful evidence of Maureen McCormick insecurities. It could have sparked sympathy in the Judges scores. Maureen got three 8/10s which I found generous from the Judges. She did do a lovely performance, and I do have a soft spot for Maureen, as does Artem Chigvinset. I don't see much conviction and belief in herself enough for Maureen to last much longer in the competition. As the judges mentioned, her ganchos, though attractive, were not wild and forceful enough. Her footwork was correct but not intense. Her lines were beautiful, and her dance flowed harmoniously, but it was a basic though sweet choreography simplified by Artem.( I also liked Artem's used of the Cirque's  Firebird as dance enhancement. It fit, for once.)Mo does have a touching feminine, little girl quality which men like me find appealing. Her lyrical, ethereal characterization and facial expressions oddly fit the dance, giving it a special quality,. Amusing,  that it probably had to do with how anguished and scared Maureen was than her dramatic interpretation. I would have given her an 8 too, a little out of sympathy yes. But also because, even if lacking some force,the dance was fault-free by comparison to the others. It also had lovely musicality rhythm and flow to it, uninterrupted serene enchantment. I was glad Maureen avoided elimination. I feel moved by her tender, if pained, connection to Artem. What a patient gent Chigvinset is! I like them both!

WHAT ABOUT PAT? Maureen delivered a good performance in this Argentine Tango with Artem. It was a little slow for me and her movements could've been sharper/harder (kicks,hooks,  etc) The rehearsal package of a sniffling Maureen, didn't put her in a good light.  It makes me wonder why Artem's partners all get negative rehearsal stories,  with the exception of Patti LaBelle. I think Maureen was overscored. I thought this was a kind of consolation from the judges because she was going to be ousted. But no, the voters gave Maureen another chance. Who knew?
Scores  Judges:  24   Pat:  21 grade:C    Hec: 24/30    Grade: B

3. Jana & Gleb Have Some Wings, Need to Fly HIGHER!

Jana Kramer and Gleb Savchenko
"Here Comes the Sun"    The Beatles   Style: Foxtrot

To see Jana & Gleb's Foxtrot click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed9uagbFXP8

HECTOR'S OPINION; It was a wonderful, whimsical Foxtrot choreography that Gleb Savchenko did for Jana! Gleb is a kind of romantic character with a wistful who looks like a matineee idol (Doesn't anyone think he looks like a taller, better looking Val?).. Jana's performing in Vegas, busy, and they're pressed for time. Gleb's conflicted in his muse, can't get it quite right. Jana's stressed and tired and not happy with how her routine is turning out It's heartwarming how Gleb tries every trick in the book to help Jana dance. He tells her that Foxtrot is a spiritual dance, coaxes her into better self-assuredness. He even sweetly tells Jana he will dance "just for her".I like Gleb's choreography for it's whimsy and romantic passion. He pulls out of the Beatle's classic, a playful, lyrical dance statement in which the couple started and ended on the floor. In between Jana and Gleb do lovely, floating, in-hold moves and artful turns. The judges tell Jana they like her dancing, Bruno raves about her fluid underarm passes straight into hold. Carrie Ann asks Jan not to freeze her shoulders because she looks " a little lost" It's all about how to come gracefully out of a turn, as Bruno puts it. Julianne hits it right on the nose by telling her to practice spotting (focusing on one spot for better orientation and balance). I like Jana and Gleb's dancing, but there is that neck and shoulder thing that bothers me, and her coy facial expressions which don't look natural. But I think Jana & Gleb are competitive & capable of putting in the work and inspiration to perhaps shoot up to the top.

PAT'S TURN: Jana is a very graceful mover. Her arms and leg movements are gorgeous.  She really gets into each character of every dance. The thing I am finding with Jana is that she is one note. She's staying at the same level and not progressing. Good grace and appeal, but I don't see her advancing in gret strides like the others I think  that will harm her in the long run.  Jana needs to have a breakout performance to get ahead in the competition.  Side note: Jana and Gleb were the only couple who didn't have any "extras"(Cirque enhancement) in their dance. I wonder why? Judges:  23/30     Pat:  23/30    Grade:  B-   Hector: 23/ 30  B-

4. Marilu Gets 21 vs Maureen's 24? Judges Heads WRONG, Not Marilu's!

Marilu Henner & Derek Hough   "Battlefield"- René Dupéré    Style: Pasodoble

To see Marilu & Derek's Paso, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLh5R8vFoJw

I was very impressed with the dramatic way this Pasodoble was set up, integrating the Cirque du Soleil
and the added dancers carrying big red flags; a Derek dance-enhancer which is often effective as it was tonight. It was the only dance that really fully represented the spectacular nature of the Cirque de Soleil. No one like Derek Hough, who also directed a great DWTS Pro creation on Results Night, to capture the essence of what "DWTS meets Cirque de Soleil" should look like. ALL the dances should have had the same relevance to their Cirque artists. Had they ALL been like this Pasodoble, the Cirque integration to DWTS would have been successful. But it was not. Next time, Derek could be selected as artistic director for La Nuit de Cirque, and you can bet it would have been a BANG! As for Marilu's dancing, she did everything right, Her footwork was sharp and precise, she looked very appealing, her posture was perfect, her lines orgeous, the dance movements good, the transitions satisfactory, DANCEFABULOUS! The judges all praised her. What they all found was a tepid approach at PASSION. Bruno said energy decreased when shifting to solo, both Carrie Ann and Julianne said she was too much in her head. She 's trying too hard. True, true and true. But a score of 7,7,7, twice  in a row? What's going on? Maureen McCormick was not half as sharp. Her choreography was simple,  half as complicated as Marilu's. Mo's  dance not quite as powerful,or showworthy; her passion weak,her ganchos and footwork not as sharp. Yet Maureen got 8,8,8 = 24 for her simple less than passionate dance as compared to Marilu's 7,7,7 =21? GIMME A BREAK! Are the forces of hype against Marilu & Derek? Are the Judges conveyors or TPTB wishes? Something is rotten in the Judges' heads, not in Marilu's!

PAT SAYS: I agree that Marilu tends to be a perfectionist and lives in her head. For an actress, she really isn't getting that much into the character of her dances because she is so worried about getting all her steps right.  She needs to just go out there and let loose.  This wasn't one of my favorite Paso's by Derek. It was a little stop and go for me. Could Marilu be in jeopardy? Possibly.   Judges Scores:  21     Pat:  23     Grade:  B-  Hector: 26   Grade: B

5. Maks & Amber Do a Powerful, Hot, Great Tango!

AmberRose & Maksim Chmerkovskiy  
"Tickle Tango"—Simon Carpentier Style: Argentine Tango

To see Amber  & Maks Tango, click here:     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ohN3_Dnteo

HECTOR'S VIEW: Finally! Amber & Maks put on a dance performance projected full of power, impact, and style. After three disappointing performances, I was expecting Amber & Maks to disappear in the double elimination.  This Argentine Tango, however , turned out to be their Redemption Tango. TheirTango, was a content and style success! Maks BIG persona and male presence is well attuned to this genre, which is said to be the anguished projection of the troubled Argentine male. Maks produced a very interesting choreography adapted to what Amber COULD do, not too complex. What she did in the way of footwork, ganchos and in-hold moves, was excellent, a well done real A. Tango. Yet, what really made her Tango special was Amber's sassy characterization, which Maks could draw from her by providing a sexy, teasing, provocative courtship drama in 3 acts. 1 Table Foreplay, 2 Courtship Promenade, and 3 Table Surrender. The Table provided an exciting prop for Maks and Amber to start and finish their love struggle. The actual in-hold dancing was sexy, stylish, connected, flirtatious, simply irresistible. I loved this Tango, especially the final act, in which Amber reverses roles and becomes the agressor. Whoop, whoop! Hot, lovely seduction at the end. Sparks flew as Amber lay sensually on the table and Maks did a big leap, landed on top. Amber really did a superb characterization of an empowered seductive lover. And what about her much talked about body? She looked temptingly BEAUTIFUL in a tight black and lacey skimpy suit.  Was it the dress design that made Amber's figure look SENSATIONAL? What this show does for people's positive transformation is AMAZING!

PAT'S TAKE: It truly was Amber & Maks' best dance to date.Still, I find Amber's  pace slow, lacking  energy. She hasn't shown much confidence in herself or much enjoyment of dance. Maks gave her proper Tango content this week, and she handled it well, For me, though, it wasn't memorable. It seems to me also, that  Amber likes to create drama. Julianne was the target now. Too much was made of this sad incident by the show producers.  Funny, that  Maks had nothing to say!  He didn't defend his partner, lay there passively. I guess thats a change from protestor Maks, who couldn't keep quiet before, Mak did Amber a disservice.  Will she survive another week ? Sranger things have happened? Judges:  21    Pat:  22   Grade:  C   Hector: 26    Grade: B

6. Ryan Improves!...A Little. But Voters Love Him!

Ryan Lochte & Cheryl Burke
"Jeux d'Eau"—Benoît Jutras
 Style: Viennese Waltz

To see Ryan & Cheryl's Viennese Waltz, click herehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVr6Jgyuav0

HECTOR'S VIEW: Cheryl did a gorgeous Viennese Waltz choreography, with a lot of content. It had proper ambiance and I did like the accompanying Cirque performers (But they just lie there. The Troupe would have done a better job. They're better dancers!). I didn't get the relevance of the pool show with Ryan and two girls doing an Esther Williams flashback, with Lochte playing Esther. The music was sublime, very waltz appropriate. It's called "Jeux d'Eau" (water games).  A connection to Ryan's Esther Williams Show? But no connection to the Viennese Waltz. Ryan has improved an awful lot! He was awful. Now he could carry the whole dance with determination and correctness, and at  times some grace. He went in and out of character in spurts. like he was trying to coordinate everything and remember all Cheryl has taught him.He's very uneven and lacks polish.  In the package, Ryan tries  to build an image of a person who works hard, one who  loves dance, loves  to be on the show, loves Cheryl, his grandmother, and everyone. But somehow his words fall flat and I'm not able to buy it anymore. Ryan Lochte has been a PR creation of the DWTS staff, Casting made the mistake of asking him, and then tried to make the best of Ryan afer the deluge.Because of  their Ryan build-up, production has been able to get people to vote for him and save him. OK. But I care about dancing, not popularity, and Saving Private Ryan. And production, with their Ryan Hype, has drawn votes away from MUCH better dancers than Ryan, like Vanilla Ice and Babyface Edmonds! I don't mind Ryan progressing, but as much as he has progressed he will never be as good a dancer as the eliminated duo. I hate the show to manipulate the voters and sacrifice two good dancers for a slow one. All because of trying to artificially raise a Fallen Idol!
 PAT'S VIEW:  Ryan shows improvement from week to week. By golly! Ryan is starting to win me over as well, with his personality. His arm lines were much better than in his other dances. His "swimmers back" is improving as well. Ryan showed a graceful side of himself this week.  Cheryl is doing a great job with Ryan.  I enjoyed this Viennese Waltz! I thought this was his best dance to date as well. Judges Scores:   22/30     Pat: 23/30  Grade:  C+  Hector: 21/30  C

That's it for today, DWTS fans! Remember, my criticism of DWTS is constructive, it aims to show you how it could be even BETTER!  I LOVE THIS SHOW!  When I sound pissed off, don't ever think I'm pissed off  enough not to watch it! I will always watch DWTS. I want you to keep loyal to it,have fun watching it! But do protest at WHAT YOU DON'T LIKE. It's like disciplining your own children. Your complaints are  to make them grow stronger. But by all means, KEEP watching! Tell me what you think, at @archihector @pahgah, or the Comments below. And don't forget to look for Part 2 for a  Sunday treat. Roll down the blog for former articles.  Check the index on the margin. Or CLICK AT

Oct. 3rd, 2016

Part 2. Goodbye Gov! You Did Well! Dance-Off a Hit! Redeemed TV Week FLOP!

Part 2: DWTS Dance-Offs Amber vs Mo, Laurie vs Marilu

The Salsa Wars: Mo goes Latin, Amber More Hip-Hoppy

Amber Rose  & Maks Chmerkovskiy "Booty"—Jennifer Lopez feat. Iggy Azalea
Maureen McCormick & Arhttps://i.ytimg.com/vi/9IN6pPNTPD0/maxresdefault.jpgtem Chigvinset "Tres Deseos"—Gloria Estefan

To see Amber & Maks, Salsa ccick here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IN6pPNTPD0
To see Maureen& Artem's, click here:      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztXTcVOk_gQ

Quite clear who was the better Salsa dancer in the Salsa Wars. Maureen McCormick, aka Marsha, Marsha. Amber Rose, who danced first has a sassy facade but seemed tentative, hesitant. She followed Maks and her routine timidly,did the steps and the moves but her heart wasn't  in it. Amber looked scared. She's likable, our hearts go out to her! One would want her to get out of her head, have fun, and show a lot more passion and conviction. Her looks makes one think Amber has the fire in her. But so far, it hasn't come out!
Maureen, by contrast, appeared more confident on her Salsa turn. On Debut night, she looked more scared than anyone. YEAH, she's getting over it. She still  needs more self-assuredness, more Dance flash, to make her presence bigger, but she did much better than Amber. Her Salsa with Artem, maybe in part fueled by  the more genuine Gloria Estefan Salsa beat,  had more content and Latin style. Maureen still needs to get on that stage and look bigger than life, but we could see her flaunting some style and personality a bit, learning how to project more power. The steps and footwork, she did pretty well. Artem is a good teacher. McCormick has some posssibilities. But the competition is really stiff! Mo needs  to lose the  stage fright and show more power and presence to break away from the bottom! JudgesScores:  Amber & Maks  25/40   Maureen & Artem: 28/40

6, Tango Power: Laurie & Marilu's Good Tango to Bad Music

Laurie Hernandez & Val Chmerkovskiy: "Into the Sunset"—Crystal Lake feat. Kifi
Marilu Henner & Derek Hough "Battle Cry"—Imagine Dragons

See both Tangos, Laurie & Val & Marilu & Derek by clicking directly on vid at top.

The Big  Main  Dance-Off Duel Event was saved for last, the Tango Duel, featuring top contenders (but who knew Calvin Johnson and Terra Jole would steal the limelight!). Laurie Hernandez, Olympic Champion and magnificent dancer seems to be the anointed Mirror Trophy winner. She's too good! Her Olympic gymnastic ability gives her nimbleness, discipline and control in dance-like motion. This gymnast cookie, though, can really DANCE. Laurie doesn't approach dance with a mechanical gymnastic bent, but with  fun and sensual joy in dance.  She had the sensual moves in Cha Cha, how will she move in Tango? She's only 16, and someone told her that to do proper tango, one needs experience and maturity. Not at the DWTS level, I don't think, but on a very sophisticated level, maybe.The physical dexterity Laurie has and the easy sensuality and easy mimic we saw in Cha Cha did help her in Tango. Every Tango quality checked off. Laurie was a bit stif and looked nervous but the performance worked. Val's choreography was formulaic, a bit hectic, with a feeling of deja vu, but it worked fine. The music was awful!

I liked Marilu & Derek's Tango performance just as well.Marilu says their dress rehearsal went better, and let us in on some mistake she made which I did not notice. Keep a poker face, don't say it, Marilu! I thought their Tango choreography was more original, less cliche. It was more dramatic, sexier. Spotlighting the dancers amidst darkness worked better. The constant lightning-like flashes in Laurie's Tango was a hectic diversion, not an enhancement. Marilu and Derek's music was not ideal, but worked better for their Tango. Marilu also looked a bit tense! She should ease up, let her hair down and simply enjoy herself. I'm sure that if she takes the challenge more casually, it will help her develop wings and fly with Derek.  I believe a lot in this couple's potential and creative power. So looking forward to what they will do next, it's the couple to enjoy in great choreography, as we saw in this duel which was predictably won by ....who you think? Laurie and Val!   Judges Scores:   Laurie & Val: 31/40   Marilu & Derek: 28/40
That's it for this 3rd week folks, Enjoy the 4th DWTS Event!

Oct. 1st, 2016

Part 1: Goodbye Gov! You did well! Dance-Off Show, Redeemed TV-Week FLOP!

The Dance-Off was just and hour but it was a HIT! It helped to redeem that awful 2nd week of DWTS dances for Season 23. Premiere week was a BIG HIT. Thumbs Up. The show debuted with a BANG! Great dances, great competitors. With so much potential, how could  the 2nd week fizzle out and fail  so quickly!Thumbs down!

Gov Rick Perry was OUT! He was enjoyable and show-worthy. Emma again worked her miracles, looking and dancing gorgeous!

TV Themes Week is usually lackluster, but this one really was awful!.Sharna & James take the cake for awful and distasteful Paso with "The Walking Dead" Theme. I needed an airplane bag! Len had a predictable fit! For the other dances, production tried hard to pick a fitting theme for each Star, but forgot about good music and fitting the styles to the music. TV themes are usually jingly,not great,  not danceable music, which makes it so much harder to blend with a style, like Tango, or Cha Cha. The viewer can immediately perceive this is jarring and mediocre, like fitting a square peg into a round hole. Whoever is in the creative part of production seems to think any music can fit any style. They are delusive. For mediocre pop dance production, maybe so. But to be at the quality  level of dances choreographed by say, Derek Hough or Mark Ballas. it's impossible to create decent dance spetacle with this ill-adapted, ill-planned disa

Sharna & James take the cake for awful and distasteful Paso with "The Walking Dead" Theme.

Thanks God for the Dance -Off! Third week, Just an hour, compact excitement. It had to be one hour, for at 9:00, the big Presidential Debate started. One couple dueling agaisnt the other, same style, different music.  I thought the teams were well chosen for balance. Whoever won the duel between two couples, would gain immunity. Six would be immune to elimination, and the losers would be in Jeopardy. That's good crowd suspense. Not all the dances were music/style appropiate nor equally good, but that's the point, isn't it? Execution faults is why one scores over another. It's a contest, dude! It did look like a proper dancing contest, though. with some music/style misfit, but, Oh Bro, so much better than the corny, embarrassing,uninspiring TV themes forced into a dancing style! I also liked the immediate, no Judge comment scores on the first night, due to time constraints. The contest gained more energy that way, without long interruptions and a speedy pace. The Judges critiques were craftily put into the Results Show on Tuesday, by having seemingly "extemporaneous" comments said by the Judges while the couples dance.  It was a fun way to get the Judges' views. It looked more casual and candid.It wasn't equally inclusive, though.  We hardly got any comment from Carrie Ann, but a lot of smart critiques from Julianne. It seems Len is carefully trying to humanize his image, be less grumpy. He's scoring high-er. Bruno is wallowing into his hyper-emotional image, self-indulgent in his Trumpish outrage, but still making very smart dance comments despite all the fluff. It's a colorful, very dance-smart Judge's team,at  their at their peak! But I wish that, when they get back to the regular formula, the Judges would try avoiding the same o'le metaphors, cliches and platitudes. Not trying to spike their usually perceptive dance comments with cleverness...And stick to dance commentary!

The Face-Off Dances, By Dance Style

1.The Jive Contest:  Baby Face vs Jana: The Sophisticate vs The Kitschy Cute

Jana Kramer & Gleb Savchenko "Great Gosh A'Mighty"—Little Richard      
"Babyface" Edmonds & Allison Holker "Too Many Fish in the Sea"—Bette Midler

To see Babyface & Allison, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iHLtStmsrA
Jana & Gleb, click here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By1oKKYDS-Y

This was a great "Jive" duel and both Babyface and Jana danced well. Both were very show-worthy and full of dance pizzazz! The Jive styles plus their personal styles are very different! Babyface and Allison danced to Little Richard. What can top that cool jazzy sound? Jana and Gleb danced to a Motown hit which Bette Midler later made popular. Good music, but not the dynamic soul sound of Little Richard! Allison's choreography was sexy-passionate, and jazzy cool Jive. Their ambiance was classic Broadway, Dark with spotlight on the dancers, very adult. Allison Holker, WELCOME! She's looking darn gorgeous right after after having her baby!  Glittery, Mata Hari skimpy showgirl costume, in very high heels. Flicks and kicks looking so good in unison with Babyface Edmonds. He  was more than keeping up with the timing, showmanship and musicality. Babyface has this serene, cool. suave, dapper quality which I like A LOT! Adult SWAG! He's so precise and controlled, I like it. But Allison needs to give him a few PASSION quanta, energy transfusions. She has passion galore, he needs some of THAT, lose his control a bit. Make bigger, crazier moves, Babyface and you'll be a bigger STAR!

Jana and Gleb did a very different Jive, not jazzy-sexy but youthful-happy "High School" Jive.
Very pink and white, with lots of silver and pink hearts emerging kinetically in the background. It was high energy, very stacatto, less sensual, very fast and a bit hectic and sophomoric for my taste. A bit of glib Gleb choreography too tad full of aggressive male moves that tended to get attention away from Jana. Jana was delicious. She uses her acting talents and her facial expressions  well, adds more drama and razzle-dazzle to her performance.The way she sensually used her arms around her head and pouted, near the beginning, was brilliant! She kept the beat with just a few flubbed steps.I would have preferred less disingenious, hootchie-coo coyness,  Her mouth should not be open all the time. Plus she should point her feet more, or wear high heels like Allison did! But all in all, Jana had the audience in her pocket! What an attractive dancing couple! I loved it, with some caveats. High energy, high fun, but a bit too unsophisticated and hectic..
At the end Jana and Gleb got immunity by one point. Len and Bruno both preferred Jana & Gleb, who got immunity 26-25. I liked both Jives, but preferred Babyface & Allison's. It had more quality choreography, & less open-mouthed, more adult fun. Judges Scores: Babyface & Allison: 25/40        Jana & Gleb 26/40

2. T
he Paso Duel: Rick & Ice Even,  Passion Wins it for Vanilla!

Rick Perry and Emma Slater: "Tamacun"—Rodrigo y Gabriela
Vanilla Ice and Witney Carson: "Save Tonight"—Zayde Wølf

See both Rick & Emma and Vanilla Ice & do their Pasodobles here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4qvBVxac74

Neither Rick nor Vanilla are very good natural dancers, but they are both very hip for the show! Vanilla has a bit of more dramatic flair,  and musicality. They reveal in their packages and in their determination to DANCE that they both love to be in DWTS!  That is something the voters know instinctively realize and  appreciate!
They both are both proud Texans and maybe as such theytry as hard as they can. And we can detect certain real camaraderie between the two Texans. We love that too! This is gonna be some FRIENDLY but fierce Texan duel. And it was!

Emma worked her Dance School-Choreography Magic with Rick. It worked wonderfully! She's from the Len Brit School and knows how to simplify a graceful, show-worthy routine. Her often basic apprentices can do it, look good, and  conquer. (Why doesn't she ever get someone she can win with! Because she's the Miracle Worker, she always gets the duds!). I was amazed at how well, side by side or in front of each solo Rick could interpret the wonderful Spanish music. Most of the time, Gov. Perry was on time, and he greatly  improved his arm movements. The "taconeo" was a bit stompy at times, but all in all their performance was very enjoyable. The tall and handsome governor and gorgeous Emma have scintillating stage presence. He used his to provide a dignified air to his well-reheased steps, she used hers and her considerable dancing talent to wow us into focusing on HER, such GARBO! I really enjoyed every second of it, of every "paso" of this genuine Spanish Paso.  smiling all the time. So amused & charmed  by Emma's AWESOME teaching skills & Rick's respectable performance!

Vanilla Ice showed fire and passion as Witney & he stormed into their dramatic Paso.
Vanilla  & Witney had the kind of music that while not Spanish, had the fiery intensity of the score for a TV action drama. It lend itself to Paso. Vanilla didn't even know what a Pasodoble was.
(He asks Witney: "What language is that?". Witney's answer: "Dunno, Latin?" OMG Wit! It's Spanish). Yet Vanilla showed  lots of determination, verve and "CHUTZPAH" in his dance. He may not have had perfect timing or steps. I cringed at the way he at times moved, or moved his arms. But for a Paso beginner, what he learned from Witney took focus, lots of  rehearsing and a fierce work ethic. Vanilla is a tour de force! He attacks dance with the boldness and bravery of a Matador, of a Pro! One can forget small tresspasses and validate his good performance because Vanilla is out to dazzle us, in an amusing, comedic way. He seems so sure of himself. That made all the difference against Rick, who was dashing and impressive as well,  but not as much, or as forceful. Vanilla also showed more musicality than Rick, as befits a singer. Still Rick and Vanilla tied. Len  Goodman broke the tie by deciding for Vanilla. It was Vanilla's punk passion that made the difference. ( A sequined baseball cap, worn backwards? What gumption!)
Scores:  Rick & Emma: 23/40, Vanilla & Witney: 23/40 Len breaks tie, Vanilla wins.

3. The Cha Cha Duel:  
JAMES vs RYAN, NO CONTEST! Grace vs Hardly None.

James Hinchcliffe & Sharna Burgess:"Big Trouble"—Outasight
Ryan Lochte & Cheryl Burke: "If It Ain't Love"—Jason Derulo

See James & Sharna here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdB_4CEFbUQ
See Ryan & Cheryl here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qdUR4VXNNw

This was an uneven contest. So unmatched, it was pitiful to watch. What were they thinking? As a contest it was no fun. As individual dances, both were interesting, Ryan's in a sloppy way, but interesting , somewhat of a treat to enjoy. And I don't mean snickering. In the package James mopes about going up against an Olympic Giant. Oh come on, Hinchcilffe- He swims! As a dancer, Lochte has no chance against you!. Yet. He 's picking up some technique quick. But no, other contestants are so much better natural dancers! Hinchcliffe you have such natural dapper grace and swag! There's something about James dancing that I love to watch. He's nuanced. He phrases  his steps to the music and the beat with  artful Latin Sabor. Where did he get that? Does James have a Cuban Grandma too? His deliberate teasing cool Cha Cha style looks so PRO! As I look at him sexily interact with Sharna, I just can't believe he's playing us, with sensual Cha Cha ease. It's not about his footwork or steps! He's sensually living this dance and taking us with him. I don't understand why he didn't get a higher score! Maybe the Judges are too set into  their International Style Ballroom rules, they forget about the sensual origins of dance.They don't give that much importance to a guy with STYLE, and cool deliberate sexy SWAG!

About Ryan Lochte: Cheryl is one good dancer and choreographer.
She gave Ryan a simple  but sexy Cha Cha routine, full of content.  She also gave it some ambiance dancing on a  raised stage  with red lights and silhouettes.
She wiggled all around him for that sexy Cha Cha feeling. She builds up his confidence by telling him he can, and that we need to see his fun personality.We do. We like him. He's humble and nice and human, not the bad guy who lost all the sponsors.  He's also potent eye-candy for the girls, tall, hansome, muscular. When he moves well,he looks GOOD! And he had some good moves. But his dance doesn't hold together as one whole. It's like spurts.It doesn't FLOW. He makes a good move, then he STOPS for a millisecond, and spoils the fun! Or he mars a sexy Cheryl connection with an awkward move. Ryan's Cha Cha doesn't READ as a fluid piece. You can't stop the beat every so often and expect the dance to work. Especially when competition is SO STIFF!
Judges Scores: Ryan & Cheryl: 25/40   James & Sharna:   29/40   I'd give him a 31/40, for the guy with mesmerizing STYLE!

4-Viennese Waltz Fest: Both Terra and Calvin Delight!

Terra Jole & Sasha Farber"Iris"—Goo Goo Dolls
Calvin Johnson & Lindsay Arnold "Woman's World"—BJ the Chicago Kid

See both Viennese Waltzes here: https://

This were the best dances of the night. Both Terra and Calvin did great performances of Viennese Waltz.
Terra and Sasha were inspiring in the way Amy Purdy, Noah Galloway and Nyle Di Marco were. Terra wants to turn her disability into an ability. She tells us she wants to be treated like anyone else,"I want to be me", she says tears in her eyes as she chokes.  I choke with her, and I teared up all the way to the end of her beautiful Waltz. Sasha deviced a basic but wonderful Viennese Waltz, full of content. Terra, with her expressive and joyful face and her wholehearted effort to put in a great dance performance, delivered a Waltz full of MEANING! She had her routine pat. I couldn't believe how good they look, as I was wondering how they could do a Ballroom Dance that depends largely on hold. She's so diminutive, yet they both stood straight and poised full of conviction and we loved their Viennese, tears in our eyes. It was goose pimply moving! How well Terra did her extensions with pointed feet, as she laid back on Sasha's arms. How lovely they floated around the Ballroom, taking us with them. Kudos to Sasha, who showed such delicate and tender compassions as he encourages and consoles her. Their connection was surely an important asset! The element most satisfying in their Viennese Waltz, was the passion and meaningTerra and sasha pit into their performance.

Along come Calvin and Lindsay, and were breathlessly enchanted by their Viennese Waltz as well!
This one did not create tears and goose bumps, but elicited a great big pleasurable smile, just as we see in joyful, wide receiver Calvin Johnson. This time he delivers a spectacular performance, for a beginner, and we're the receivers!
Lindsay Arnold did a marvelous, elegant more complicated choreography. She worked real wonders in getting Calvin to complete it with style and gusto. I loved Calvin's frame, poise and posture. His tall and big everything, body, arms, legs, and what huge feet are difficult and awkward to control in dance. Yet Calvin is known for his strength, big leaps, coordination and control  in fotball. It appears Lindsay got him to gracefully apply it to dance! Loved the way he slid on his knees towards Lindsay. And what stylish, swashbuckling grabber and dragger he is! He dragged Lindsay while in a split position by both her arms, then he dragged her again towards him on her pointed feet. Boss! His moving arms still look like airplane wings, not yet graceful, but so uch was graceful! How he can charm an audience with his A1 smile is part of his sensational dance appeal. Two different Viennese Waltzing Stars, we loved both. Hard to choose. The Judges gave the win to Calvin by two points. I would have scored Terra and Calvin evenly, but if I must, I'd give the win to Terra. With me, passion and emotion always will trump lighthearted exhilaration. I rather have catharsis by tears and goose pimples, inspiration trumps showmanship, for me!  Judges Scores; Terra & Sasha: 30        Calvin and Lindsay: 32
See Part 2 for Dance-Off continuation

Sep. 19th, 2016

The last 5: Jake, Rick, Terra, Ryan and Laurie. Will Jake & Jenna Be Out?

Who will be eliminated Monday 19, September? Maureen (22), Jake (22) and Rick (20) had the lowest scores. So will it be Rick, who danced worst? If the Governor  has an adult voting base in Texas Town, he'll probably surpass Jake, whose fans are young and don't vote on DWTS. Marsha Marsha 60, probably has a huge fan base among oldsters, will survive. Sadly for Jake and Jenna, it will probably be Jake!

No 2nd Chance?
9. Jake Charms, But  Flubs Timing & Footwork

"Kiss You"—One Direction     Style: Jive

To see Jake & Jenna's Jive, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqjGAopXCA0

Hec Says: The set up, ambiance and choreography was an interesting first Jive debut for Jenna Johnson, who just came out of a SYTYCD successful Pro Mentor role. But it appears that Disney teen actor Jake Austin, seasoned from childhood as a comedian, but quite a rookie in dancing capabilities, had a panic attack and messed up the timing and footwork in his performance. Either that , or he had just not been sufficiently drilled in his routine by Jenna.  Still, as Bruno told Jake, he survived on energy and charm, went ahead and finished his performance smiling brightly, to a great deal of audience applause and cheers. I liked Jake's performance and smiled at his rookie flub, thinking he could improve on his next try. But the competition is so heated, Jake and Jenna may fall through the cracks and be eliminated next week. He got a 22 score, tied in with Marsha Marsha, who surely has a bigger fan base. Governor Perry was the lowest scorer at 20, but the DWTS demographics will probably favor him over young Austin. Not that many young people watch DWTS.! Debut and an early goodbye? Sad for Jake and Jenna. I really liked them! I wanted them to thave a second chance.

Pat says:
9.   Sadly, I love Jenna Johnson. But I am not feeling he connection or chemistry with Jake Austin. Jake lost timing in this routine tried to keep up with Jenna, but didn't. I think Jenna may have given Jake a routine beyond his capabilities, too difficult. Since it's Jenna's debut as Pro, she might have tried too hard, or maybe Jak panicked and blanked out. I think Jenna's experience in the Troupe should have made her know better. Sadly, I think they may be the first to go.  If not, he has lots to work on. I think Jenna just may need to simplify her routines, or find something that works for Jake. Judges:  22/40 Pat: 20/40  Hec: 23/40  C+

10. Don't Expect Perry to Win the MT!

"God Blessed Texas"—Little Texas  Style: Cha Cha

To see Rick & Emma Cha Cha, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc8RwHqUoxs

Hec says: Emma has her work cut out for her....again! Is Emma the miracle worker for the real rookie dancers with NO experience? So when is she going to be rewarded with  a real good prospect so she can win a Mirror Trophy? I have such admiration for Emma Slater's dance talent, but I do recognize that it's her kind heart and positivity that earns her the "need lots of work" dudes. Governor Rick Perry richly earns that distinction, plus add a case of stiffness that needs immediate attention from Doctor Emma. On the plus side, Perry is tall, dark handsome and has a very appealing and likable personality. Rick did manage to go from beginning to end without forgetting the routine, but Bruno Tonioli called him out on his lack of timing. The three commenting Judges went into "condescending-pat-on-the-back" mode. Len Goodman brought out his"You've come out, you've given it a go,(well done?" Haven't we heard that lots of time when the stiff ones come out?). But at least Rick had, thanks to Emma "lots of recognizable Cha Cha content" which is more than could be said for Vanilla Ice or Janna Kramer. Plus, Emma gave it a festive Texas fair flavor with a bit of bright production. Do not expect creative innovation or wnning the MT from Perry though.

Pat says: Emma does it again! She makes her partners look good! I was surprised! Rick has some musicality and didn't look totally awkward out there.  I don't think Latin Dance is going to be his thing.  I see him doing much better in Ballroom dances. I think he will be around for a few weeks. Judges:  20/40    Pat:  24/40    Hec: 20/40   Grade: C

11. Show Grows in Stature for Giving Terra a Chance

"Stuff Like That There"—Betty Hutton  Style: Jive
To see terra & Sahs's Jive, cllck here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMsaYUNt2Jk

Pat says: Terra is a firecracker that's for sure! I wasn't sure how this was going to work or look but... it wasn't half bad.Surprising!  I think, though, that the dances in hold will pose a difficut challenge,because of the height difference. I trust Sasha Farber, though to find a way to make it work! What's up their sleeve for next week? I'm sure looking forward to that!

Hec says:  It's the first time a "Little Person" competes on DWTS. Her name is Terra Jole, and she'[s dancing with Sasha Farber.  It is a big challenge... to the show, to the little person competing , to her partner, to the Judges, event to us, the audience.My instinctive reaction is why mess around with social experiments?  It doesn't sound appealing to me. Then I remember the many other challenges the show has attacked, taking the bull by the horns. There's Amy Purdue Gurl, no legs, yet how inspirational that was!  There's Noah Galloway, Nyle Di Marco, Chaz Bono, all made us wonder why, but made the DWTS expereience so much richer, because production dared. As soon as Terra took oversexily channeling Bette Midler, I knew Terra was showworthy, and by the end of the performance, I was misty-eyed!  Challenge was met by triumph! What courage and dignity Terra showed getting better scores than half the "normal" contestants on the show, What dignity Sasha showed by taking on such a difficult challenge! The thing about about going out of the show's comfort zone is DWTS hits a higher moral stature as social pioneers. The show becmes so much more than just light entertainment! Welcome Terra! Kudos. Kudos to Sasha as well! And Kudos to the show for giving the strange and the different a chance. To compete, just like anyone else.   Judges:  25/40  Pat: 27/40  Hec: 26/40   B

"Call Me Irresponsible"—Michael Bublé   Style: Foxtrot

To see Ryan & Chery's Foxtrot, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOidVyHwux0

Pat Says: Ryan really surprised me. I wasn't expecting much from him other than awkward movement and a cocky personality. I was pleasantly surprised that he was graceful and very down to earth.  He endeared himself to me, which I was loathe  to do..His dancing, though, has room for improvement in all aspects. That said, I am inclined to give him a chance both on and off the dance floor. Cheryl did a great job with him. I can't wait to see what they bring us next week (hopefully no more protestors' drama!!) Go Ryan!! Judges:  24/30   Pat:  24/30  Hec: 25/30   Grade: B

Hec says: I wonder whether Ryan Lochte was asked to be on the show before or after (deliberately provocative?) the Brazil incident by which he lost all his sponsors. I do have a feeling that DWTS likes to take on controversial contestants, perhaps to create more interest. It probably had been decided before Ryan's disgrace, and the show decided to have him stay. For more fun. Damage control had Ryan explain to us how repentant he is , but is it cute or in very bad taste to have him dance to "Call me Irresponsible".  That said, for Foxtrot's sake, I was glad this was the music choice.It  IS proper Foxtrot music. I hate the  weird unfit music the show forces upon dance style.. I also love what Cheryl Burke did with it. Fine comeback, Kudos Cheryl. What a dancer! I was thinking, what  stylish sophistication in her movements! Which had the virtue of drawing away attention from Ryan's more tentative, less zesty Foxtrot moves. Not to imply that I wasn't impressed with Ryan 's dancing chops, somewhere in between Hinchcliffe and Perry, but drawing more closely towards Hinchcliffe.Lochte has the looks and the presence, and some surprising cool and musical moves. Olympian determination is awesome, and I do admire his brave taking the bull by the horns in direct attack, which was pobably advised by the producers. Nevertheless Lochte is showing dignity, drive and a positive attitude  I wonder how he managed to make such a mess of the Brazil affair, as I see him managing his DWTS journey well, with elan and charisma. Lochte may not win the MT, or not even make the  the finals, but he certainly is a dancer-personality worth watching.

Sep. 14th, 2016

Great DWTS Cast, Bright S23 Opening, Marred by Lochte Protest

First dance, the Star Cast for Season 23 of DWTS dazzled, one after the other!. Great dancing chops, bright appealing personalities and sizzling Pro pairings, plus Derek & Maks were back!

To see what happened on and off screen after Ryan and Cheryl danced click here: http://hollywoodlife.com/2016/09/13/derek-hough-reacts-ryan-lochte-protesters-dwts/

Six-time Trophy winner Derek Hough had left the show for an opportunity to do Singing In the Rain on Broadway. His show moved its opening from early to late 2017, which allowed him to come back to DWTS S23, a  last minute.surprise comeback. Maks Chmerkovskiy, a powerful Star Pro who had purportedly retired and had had several stints on DWTS as a guest Judge, also was back! Add that to reigning top Pro, Maks bro Val Chmerkovskiy, and...Happy days are here again! But near the end, second to last contestant Ryan Lochte had danced a  promising Fox Trot with returning  Star Pro Cheryl Burke, when all hell broke loose. Olympic Super Star Lochte had been involved in a post Olympic Brazil incident in which he and other athletes had said they were robbed at gunpoint by men dressed as police. It later was disclosed that the drunken athletes broke into a gas station toilet to use it, and were confronted by real police using guns. By the time Lochte tried to come clean and apologize, the damage to his reputation was such, that he lost all his Olympic sponsors. In a mea culpa pre-dance preamble, Lochte appealed to viewers to forgive him, then danced a pretty cool Fox Trot with Cheryl to, of all songs, "Call Me Irresponsible". (So much for production good taste!).

As Ryan and Cheryl prepared to get their Judges' comments, two male protestors jumped unto the Ballroom floor, while several other women shed their dress clothes to show an anti-Lochte T-shirt. (see photos above) It all happened off-camera. All we could see was Judge Carrie Ann Inaba saying "Excuse me,...back off" (see video, top) while the two protesting males were tackled by security and forced out and arrested. Meantime, an angry Derek Hough, also off-camera (see video above) rushed to the protesting T-shirted women, screaming "Get out of here....This is a positive show!". On camera Tom Bergeron, calm and collected asked the excited studio audience to take a breath and went off to break.Like a hen protecting his chickens, Derek Hough shooed the hawks away. Impressive, I thought, and had to smile at Derek's immediate and protective action. Derek went beyond his show duties, showing how appreciative he is of this show,  who has made him world famous, if only because of his spectacular contributions to it.This is what Derek said, revealingly:
“This is my home and I was just so shocked that people would come here and be so negative,” Derek told PEOPLE. “This is a safe place for people to learn a new skill and seek redemption or start a new chapter in their life and that’s what Ryan is trying to do and I just felt so defensive that someone would try and ruin that for him and for everyone watching, so I took it upon myself to make sure they were escorted out. I wanted to protect my home.”

Bravo, Tough Hough! Love it how Derek Hough considers the show "his home" , and home to others.  Love to see a caring, grateful, principled protagonist.
He sees DWTS not only as a vehicle for him to develop his talent for dance, but an institution to further and encourage new Star and Pro talent ,an institution that helped him take flight as a Big Star!  How kind of him to want to give back, and give others, like Ryan, "a chance to redeem themselves". This is how I feel about the sad brouhaha, which marred what is an outstandingly promising Season 23. 1) Ryan Lochte is an Olympic fallen idol,who in an instant, lost everything, after years of brilliant achievement through hard work. What he did was foolish and stupid, but human. If he shows true contrition, why not forgive andd forget? Who are we to cast the first stone, become his judges? Shouldn't we instead give him a hand to help him get up, like Derek is compassionately doing? 2) There's a time and a place to protest, and disrupting a happy show that celebrates life and dance is innapropriate and very rude. Besides, punishing Lochte  seems so pointless to me! There must be 100K causes more deserving than this.The protesters will only help Ryan gain sympathy (and votes) by their Olympian overkill.3) The unfortunate incident marred a flawless first night and tarnished the lustre of Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy's striking dance debut. It had been dramatically placed last to end the show with a big Bang. The preceding turmoil hampered the balance and flow of the show. Who knew? One thing is sure.We should not allow these protesters to in any way dim the brilliance of what I see as an outstanding, competitive, refulgent Season 23!

Opening Number    DWTS Oro-Cast   Choreographer: Mandy Moore?

Was it Mandie Moore who did the spectacular OPENING? It looked like her, but even Moore so! Great idea to do the Opening at Griffith Park, with has an awesome view of Los Angeles. It's even better at night, but the lighting would have been too difficult. In dim daylight, we could appreciate the kaeidoscopic patterns of the dances, and the integration of dance to landscape. How great the girls looked in skimpy red outfits, very Vegas showgirls. But the guys in black with red coats looked so dapper and picture perfect! Plus it helped for better dance definition. Very OUT-OF-THE-BOX, and fitting, Dancing with the Stars at the Observatory!

He Says, She Says, Hec & Pat Talk DWTS

Let's talk about the STUFF of DWTS. That's the DANCING! Pat Halford is again collaborating with me. Like last Season, She's giving her straightforward, no inhibitions opinion on celebrity dance qualityPat's my reality check. For balance. Sometimes I go on eccentric trips, and her no nonsense sense brings me back.

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.

I'm doing the dance crits chronological, but Pat and I will give each dancing couple a score and a gradeA, B, C...etc. At the end, you will find the Judges Ranking, according to combined scores, to compare to Pat's and mine. You will also get our guesstimate of sad partings (who will go?). Here we go on the new DWTS dance rollercoaster, s23!

Passion for Derek & DWTS
1. Marilu Will Inspire Derek's Most Creative Ride!

"Can't Stop Dancin'!" Becky G.     Style: Jive

To see Marilu & Derek's Jive, Click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgNVYZ-b3iQ

HEC says: Marilu Henner and Derek Hough opened the show, probably because a big bang at the beginning and at the end was desirable, and the two best bets were THEM, and Laurie and Val, who went last.  Henner-Hough were the unlucky ones to open.Judges always score the first out conservatively, allowing some slag for surprises. Also, first out is more nerve-wracking,and Marilu 's bit of nerves and upper body stiffness, which Julianne and Bruno mentioned, was probably due to going first. She will certainly lose the nerves and improve. Even so,  I was SOO surprised with Marilu's Pro dancing chops: the way she did her kicks and flicks without missing one beat, her posture, grace and STYLE! What lovely curvature in her ankles and pointed feet!   Bruno mentioned what a brutally complicated  choreography Derek gave Marilu to do, he didn't treat her as a beginner! Just because she's not, and she COULD. This 64 old woman shows awesome skill, and so much energy! (Over 60 have never made the finals!) Marilu is still beautiful inside and out and ,bountifully appealing. But what most counts as a good sign for DWTS success, is her fierce determination, her exuberant enthusiasm, and her contagious delight in dancing, being in the show, and getting Derek as a partner! Most of all, for going far in this show, YOU'VE GOTTA HAVE HEART! Marilu Henner has heart, passion and emotion to dance us to the end of DELIGHT! I And with Derek Hough as a partner, we're in for a heavenly  creative ride. Marilu has such fierce adoration for Derek and DWTS, which she blends as one. Rightly, for
isn't Derek Hough the Soul of DWTS? I'm sure Derek will be energized to create his very best for Marilu!

PAT says:
Wow Marilu you can keep up with Derek! She had god moves, but correct me if I'm wrong, isn't jive supposed to have kicks and flicks? Didn't see any in this routine. Marilu definitely has potential1 She has rhythm, good arm and leg movements. I think, though, that she needs to tone down the enthusiasm a bit.  Overall a good performance! Judges:  27/40  Pat:  28/40  Hec: 30/40    Grade: B+

Race Driver Control, & Heart
2. James Owns Ballroom, Makes Biggest Splash

Live Life Zayde Wolfe       S,tyle: FoxTrot

Hec says: Cool, calm and collected, James Hinchcliffe rode Sharna Burgess as he rides his race car, with fearless confidence and impetuous ardor. He was the big surprise of the night. One more or less expected gymnast Hernandez and sometime Broadway Star Henner to have the moves, but who knew if a race car driver could FoxTrot with dashing elegance! My theory about his dancing elan and prowess is 1) he was born musical to begin with, and  2)the kind of nerves of steel he must have to face death in the racetrack  makes dancing in front of millions like a piece of cake. Nerves make many lose focus and control in the Ballroom. It's a big factor why many don't do as well as they could. One could see nerves unhinging Maureen MacCormick's performance, and overexcitement hampering Marilu a bit. Hinchcliffe swept into his FoxTrot with quiet and controlled ease and style, and a perfect frame. Hardly missed a beat, James was Master of the Ballroom at First Dance! Whoa, I was taken aback, what a winner! His total confidence and obvious natural grace was a sign of not a tad of nerves, total recall of what Sharna told him. He had his routine pat. so he went ahead and let his body and soul flow with the music, connect with his beatiful partner, and show off his bright personal style. He leaned a bit too much forward, needs to work on his arm movements, and take some kinks out of his fluidity, but James has at first dance less posture flaws than last season's winner.  James was having the time of his life dancing! How do we love a racecar Champ who loves and respects our show,  and DANCE? Enough to vote him is as a winner if he keeps killing us softly, with his dance!

Pat says: Oh my goodness! Let me just say Ive been a fan James and Sharna since they were announced. Always been a Sharna fan! These two have charisma and chemistry to boot!! I didn't know what to expect from James, but boy he had good posture, good rythym, fluidity and seemed very at ease.  James needs to work on his arm movements and a few other little things. Sharna also seemed to be back in her groove after last season.  This is the couple to watch out for!
Judges:  31/40   Pat: 32/40   Hec: 31/40  Grade: A-

It's a Tough, Tough S23
3. Calvin Can Dance, But Can He Win?

"That's What I Like Flo Rida feat. Fitz              Style: Cha Cha Cha

To see Calvin & Lindsay Cha Cha click here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpJrP7Tiabg

Hec Says: Calvin Johnson's  is great big fun guy and we like him! Dancing CHA CHA CHA with Lindsay Arnold who has a sweet way of making amateurs acquire dance power. We may have a winner here, at least in showmanship and personality. The competition is really hot on S23, so Calvin's got to have a determined work ethic. Yes he really can dance. And yes, Lindsay put in Cha Cha content into his routine. He keeps to the beat somewhat, adheres to the routine, all with a great winning attitude and a great big smile. There used to be a time when footballers were BIG on DWTS. They didn't have to be ringers, just have good moves and a huge fan base of voters. But no longer. We had three last season, nothing happened. The show has evolved to higher dance standards. We require better dancing and choreography on S23,, not just celebrity preening. I credit the Hough-Ballas -Hough trio for that, especially Derek! Singled-handed, he's educated the voters to crave for more dancing prowess, creative choreography. Choreography's a piece of cake for Lindsay. But those big feet, infinite legs, conspicuous arms, O BRO, Lindsay has her work cut out for her. But the guy has natural moves. He picked up the Cha Cha beat, and for such long limbs, he moved them with a certain swag. Stiff, still. Lindsay must work on the loosening up, the SWAY, the cool sensual grace. But i could see it in him, sister! Repent! Be positive! Maybe Calvin can do better than Coolidge! Oh, have his shirts come down to his hips! Short waisted, long legged, Calvin looks like Abraham Lincoln. But CALVIN'S A WINNER!

Pat Says: This was another couple that I was anxious to see. I have been so impressed with Lindsay her last two seasons that I was excited to see this pairing. I wasn't let down. Calvin surprised me.  For being so tall, he had rhythm, fluidity and actually could move.  I thought he would be more stiff but he wasn't.  Being so tall, I expected his movements to look awkward, but he nailed them.  Has to work on his footwork, arm movements and some posture work.  I wouldn't be surprised if he does better than we all think he will.  Judges:  26/40  My:  28/40  Hec: 28/40   Grade:  B-

Or Maureen to Go
4. Rampant Emotion Must Give Way to Controlled Beauty

"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" Mary J. Blige
Style:Viennese Waltz

To see Maureen & Artem click here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqnsez0sStg

Pat says: Let me just start by saying, Artem is my favorite male pro. So happy that he got Maureen McCormick, of Marsha, Marsha fame. Someone actually enthusiastic  to be on the show. Better than Artem Chigvinset got last season! Mo surprised me. You could see that she was nervous. Her Viennese Waltz performance had spurts that interrupted its fluidity, But overall, it held together.   Marsha could surprisingly follow the music. She needs to relax and tone down her nerves, which will give her more control of her dance. Hopefully, this will help in Mo' fluidity of the dance, She also needs to improve her arm and leg movements.  In her favor, I could connect and feel the joy she showed in dancing.I feel the Judges were  too harsh on her, considering it gave us some sweet enjoyment.
Hec says:  OK! Marsha-Marsha was sentimental to the point of corny, a bit kitschy (like her old show), and too darn nervous! Still, Maureen McCormick (can you believe Marsha is 60! Sinful!) got to me, like she got to her partner Artem Chigvinset, who says he feels protective about her, like he's never felt for any Star! Her delicate wisfulness and tender emotion are very appealing to protective males, plus her delicate beauty at 60 is captivating.. Bruno, Len and Carrie Ann were very tender to her as well, She got to them too! They said very sweet, perceptive things about her, Then they slam her with 6,5,5,6, the second lowest score for the night. You could see disappointment in her face.  OK, her Viennese Waltz flow, was chopped with nervous halts. Her  underconfident excitement caused her arms not to move big, round and Waltz-like but at times stiff like she was terrified. Her nerves made her lose focus and  some of the steps. With a lost puppy adoring face she trailed behind Artem, who, as always looked artful, flawless and serene, giving not a clue that anything was wrong. Still, there was something about Marsha's dance that moved us, it felt musical and beautiful, and we enjoyed it. Carrie Ann perhaps advised her best "I loved your vulnerability...it will serve you well...because emotion fuels the dance...Trust Artem, let him guide you". Maureen needs to tell herself she can be cool. calm and collected, like nerves of steel James Henchcliffe, starting at rehearsals. She must learn to control that rampant emotion, and harness that beautiful energy to put it in a coherent, artful way into her dance. If she can do that, we will love to see her lovely essence in dance. She's very appealing! Otherwise it's dance emoting, not dance emotion. Judges:  22/40   Pat:  24/40  Hec: 24/40  C+

5. Babyface & Allison: HOT HOT HOT! What A Season!

"'Deed I Do" Ray Charles         Style: Fox Trot

To see Babyface and Allison, click here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZxFktVrPdU

Hec Says: "It was timeless, it was classic, just like you", said Julianne to 26 R&B artist Babyface Edmonds. I certainly thought so. And he's eminently likeable! As he says he wants to do something out of his comfort zone in honor of his recently deceased mother, we can feel his sincerity. He's genuine. Babyface is a surprisingly serene person. Although Julianne also found him a bit bouncy and at parts hectic, I think he needs even MORE pizzazz. Not to worry, his partner Allison Holker has tons of that and passion galore!  I loved how Allison imparted  jazzy Broadway quality to this Foxtrot. Holker always goes beyond Len Goodman's would-be plain DWTS Ballroom, she makes it sassier!  How performance savvy and dapper Babyface is! He not only kept up with saucy Allison, he,added some male gravitas. Appealing Babyface keeps the cool, the beat, is obviously musical and dance capable.But Babyface needs loosening up, boosting his  hustle volume to compete with the likes of Hinchcliffe!  I'm looking forward to see how this couple evolves, one giving to the other. I'm anticipating greatness! I'm excited about them! My FEEL: Oh my, Season 23 is HOT, HOT, HOT!

Pat says: . Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds did a great job with this Fox Trot with Allison Holker.  He has rhythm, of course. like a Rhhytm & Blues 11 Grammy winner ought to have, but surprisingly, he's a smooth, dapper Fox Trotter! His arm movements could've been a bit more elongated.  He could have put more power in his leg movements. and more polish in his Fox Trot  technique. Overall , though, Babyface did a very good job. Great to see Allison Holker back on the dance floor, after her maternity leave! Since her first season, people have made comments that her routines are a bit "hectic". I considered it passion, but maybe tonight it was a bit hectic. I loved their set and costumes. Judges:  26/40   Pat:   28/40  Hec: 28/40   Grade: B

Message to Amber
6. Trust Yourself & Maks, Come Back & Dazzle

"Here" Alessia Cara                                            Style: Foxtrot

To see Amber & Maks click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnZRlopaDv0

Pat says: Wow, exotic dancing in the ballroom? Not a fan of the silhouette in the beginning of Amber & Maks' Foxtrot. Too risque and not in good taste. Amber seemed to be insecure in parts of her routine. I was, though, pleasantly surprised that her movements were graceful.  Amber needs to work on her confidence, technique, posture and arm/foot placements. If she gets the right choreography from Maks, she may surprise us all. She moves well.
Hec says: It's Maks' Comeback in a Foxtrot Debut with Amber. I expected a lot. High expectations tend to end up in disappointment. For one, I didn't think the pop music "Here" by Alessia Cara gave the Foxtrot romance or sophistication, which the Ray Charles music Baby Face got had. Then that silhuoette at the beginnings with intimations of a sexual practice was all wrong. The performance itself went by without the dance or the dancers making much of an impact. It was too blah. From rehearsals, Amber Rose thought the "princess" theme was wrong for her, so her characterization was tentative. She didn't believe in it and neither did we. Her dancing was tentative as well. Like Bruno said, it had spurts of musicality and grace, but Amber didn't get a coninuous flow. She looked nervous and insecure, not owning the dance floor like many of her tough competitors. Her heart was not in it! Amber has a great personality and dance potential. She just need to focus,  believe in herself and in Maks Chmerkovskiy. Trust him, connect to him, believe he can take her to the Finals, We had another Amber, with big curves! That Riley girl won the Mirror Trophy on the basis of her determination to dance! Be reborn again, Amber, and come back and dazzle on that second dance! Judges:  24/40  Pat:   24/40  Hec: 24/40  C

7. Ace Performance, No Cha Cha Content!

"Ice Ice Baby" Vanilla Ice    
                Style: Cha Cha Cha

To see Vanilla Ice & Witney's Cha Cha, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKx182pZxb8

Pat says:   I'm beginning to think all Witney Carson knows is Hip Hop! I hope that's not all we are going to see this season. Where was the Cha Cha? Didn't see any in that routine; but it was great entertainment! A Vanilla blast from the past, a Hip Hop Fest! Vanilla Ice has awesome potential to dance well... in the proper style. I hope Witney does her style or genre homework in choreography.  She didn't do that well with Von Miller last season. Hope to see the appropriate dance style next week.  Surprisingly,  for having no Cha Cha content in this dance, Vanilla Ice and Witney got fairly decent scores. I've seen Len Goodman give 4's for less of a misrepresentation of style.

Hec says: Rapper Vanilla Ice's Dance Debut was more like a Freestyle Spectacular than a simple first night, Six back-up dancers, a light show...Enter Vanilla Ice & Witney in a splashy convertible, headlights on,  with the gang all there! Dancing with zeal and zest to his own loud Hip Hop  "Ice Ice Baby", Vanilla & Witney did an exuberant performance...of Hip Hop, not Cha Cha Cha, as every judge agreed. Len must be pulling the few hairs he has left, I thought. He hates cars, production, and lack of content. No Cha Cha content, three Judges proclaimed! Still Vanilla Ice brought the house down,.If you look closely, though, Pro partner, Witney did put in some basic Cha Cha steps, but Vanilla Ice embellished them with stacatto Hip Hop mannerisms, that it ddn't look or feel like Hip Hop.  Still, they wiggled out of the Judges wrath, 7, 5,  6, 7 = 25, third highest score. So all is well that ends well! It's clear that a pattern is forming: Len and Julianne are the tough Judges, Bruno and Carrie Ann, the soft ones.  I would advise Witney to stick closer to style or genre, lest Judge Karma eventually catches up with them and lessens Vanilla Ice chances to win!
Judges:  25/40 Pat:  40/40  Hec: 25/40  B

8. Janna & Gleb's Viennese Waltz Too Sexy?
"Dangerous Woman" Ariana Grande
Style: Viennese Waltz    

To see Janna & Gleb in Viennese Waltz, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A11qmDD4M7A

Pat says: WOW HOLY COW throw me some cold water! That was one hot tamale of a Viennese Waltz. Lovely country singer and actress Janna Kramer and her partner Gleb Savchenko have some awesome chemistry! Great connection between them, and very appealing to the audience. Jana surprised me with beautiful lines and good arm and leg movements. As Carrie Ann said, Janna  needs to work on body strength and developing those muscles that dance movements require. She shows a lot of potential. She has the moves, presence and appeal. I wouldn't be surprised to see these two go all the way up to the finals! A final note: Welcome back, Gleb Savchenko!, We needed some "new" or in Gleb's case, returning, male talent this season. Refreshing to get Gleb back!. He might be able to make up for the loss of Mark Ballas. Also, till the Cast Announcement, we didn't know Derek and Maks would be  returning to the show. I was looking forward to new Pro talent to be hired. Could Gleb be like Mark in creative and performance power? Gleb is returning from a successsful season on the Brit DWTS equvalent. Strictly Come Dancing.

Hec says: I'm with Len on this one! It's OK to add a sexy touch to Viennese Waltz, like Derek did in the now famous "These Arms of Mine"  Viennese Waltz he did with Jennifer Grey, viewed by almost 2 mi. on "You Tube". As long as it has the sweeping turns, beautiful lines and soft ethereal character and elegance of Viennese Waltz. "Pitched a bit funny", said Goodman, "too dramatic". Yes, I heartily agree! The choreography Savchenko did had proper Viennese Waltz movements, turns and lines, but it was so saturated with sex and raunchiness it lost the ethereal and elegant character. I think, from some of Gleb's comments during rehearsal, that he deliberately set out to do a sexy performance, He overdid it. Character and tone is an important element in dance. When Bruno made the comment, "I cannot wait to see your Rumba", he was hinting at the tone of this dance being more appropriate to Rumba, the dance of love, than to Viennese Waltz, although Bruno gave them the highest score, 8, saying he liked it hot! To understand how tone or character is important to the integrity of each style, imagine a Rumba where the choreographer deliberately set out to do an ethereal, not sexy or sensual Rumba. It would be a failure. Like I think pitching the sexual and taking the delicacy and elegance out of Janna and Gleb's Viennese Waltz was a failure. It made the dance look cheap.    
Scores: Judges 27/40   Pat:  28/40   Hec: 27/40   B-

IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN HAVING OUR TAKE ON THE LAST 5 DANCES, Jake, Rick, Terra, Ryan and Laurie,  TUNE IN TOMORROW Morning Mon. 19/ 9/ 2016.  Who will be eliminaed tomorrow night? Maureen (22), Jake (22) and Rick (20) had the lowest scores. So will it be Rick, who danced worst? If the Governor  has an adult voting base in Texas Town, he'll probably surpass Jake, whose fans are young and don't vote on DWTS. Marsha Marsha 60, probably has a huge fan base among oldsters, will survive. Sadly for Jake and Jenna, it will probably be Jake!

Sep. 8th, 2016

Who Will Win? Top 4 Battle It Out! All Are Deserving & Unique Dancers!

The Final Contest, SYTYCD Next Generation. At the show's beginning, we had qualms about the show being about children, for the first time in its history. Dance school for momzies to bring their kiddies?

Best Judge's Observation of the Season: Paula Abdul: (One  sweet and pleasant anecdote.) I loved Paula's remarkable and perceptive observation. J. T. and Robert stood listening to the Judge's comments for their Best Encore Performance, Travis Wall's transcendent "The Mirror" Dance, Paula noticed and delightfully brought it to our attention, that Little J.T. not only put his little left  foot next to Robert's right, but lovingly places two of his toes ON TOP of Wobert's foot. Aww! How darling! It just served to show the awesome, loving,  poignant connection Robert and J. T. share. And why they make our hearts leap and take our breath away when they dance!--------------------------------------------------------

Who's your favorite? Which do you think will win? L to R: The Four Couples at the Top: Kathryn Mc Cormick w/Tate McRae, Robert Roldan w/ J. T. Church, Gaby Diaz w/ Emma Hellenkamp, Leon "Kida" Burns w/ Fik- Shun.

Oh, Bro! As we saw the initial auditions and the show advance, though, we were pleasantly surprised. The technical level of many of these auditioning children was very high, and the fact that they were children made it more impresssive and unexpected. As for their level of expression and passion, BECAUSE  they were children, they projected  more authenticity, innocence and lack of artifice.  Once each of the TopTen Star chose their child,  it was nothing but pure, more enhanced pleasure from there on. Something about the love and the bond we could see with EVERY All-Star and his child, that was different, more intense, than the Mentor-Star relationships we had seeen in all of SYTYCD history. It kind of sparked the maternal-paternal feelings these very feeling dancer-mentors  have. All of a sudden we could see a different side of every All-Star. Jenna, for example,  so tender and loving to Jake, and how she burst into tears at odd times.And the most poignant, the palpable love we could see between Robert and J. T from that wonderful Mandy Moore first dance hey did. It's too be expected that dancers have deeper or more poignant feelings than others. The better they express their richness of emotion in dance, the better the dance and the dancer! And what we saw in this show is a FEAST of feeling in dance. The trust and innocence of a child is something so wonderful! No doubt, the All-Star mentors were deeply moved by the  S13 experience,   No doubt that the viewer was touched more than ever by watching how these wonderful mentors became the wind beneath the wings of their talented minions. The biggest winner of all was the viewing audience.

I will only review only theTop 4 new dances, since I already covered the favorite dance that they repeated.
I WILL say, that ALL of them, produced a better performance of their favorite dance, the second time around. It figures. Practice makes perfect and motivates them to infuse more meaning and emotion in their encore performance.

1- Kida & Sasha Do Justice to Cheesman Afro Art

"Din Daa Daa" George Kranz             Style: African Jazz     Choreographer: Sean Cheesman

To see Kida & Sasha's African-Jazz click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9x-G9bAD8lo

Bar goes high when it's a Sean Cheesman choreography. He's always so innovative, creative and  representative of the best of African-Jazz tradition. We were NOT disappointed neither by the out-of-the box, very musical and transcendent Cheesman creation, nor by the excellent performance by Leon "Kida" Burns and provocative All-Star Sasha Mallory. This was an exciting but perhaps (to me) risky pairing, the wistful, earnest Hip-Hopper, used to Fik-Shun, and the offbeat Contemporary diva.  How well it turned out, though! Kida did brilliantly, outside his style: full of energy, skill and performance fire! Sasha is a tour de force, and not once did we feel Kida was not up to her or the challenge of African Jazz. Indeed some of the steps (probably Hip Hop) that Cheesman put in between the expansive Jazz movements, were, like Paula said, stacatto choppy, lilting movements that seemed like Kida's specialty. How proud we felt of how well he was performing one to one with Sasha, taking control in several lifts, rolling with her in a great-arms-to-feet circle-around! Ying and Yang evocative. Oh, and how effective were the basic black and white geometric print leotards. I loved everything about  this very rapid and difficult showpiece full of musicality and exuberance! I felt as proud of Kida as Jason Derulo felt. I love how Jason's face and body language beams with embracing Kida Love. Kida's become a high class versatile performer!

2- Tate & Jonathan Salsa Like Latinos de Verdad!  

"Robi-Rob's Boricua Anthem" C+C Music Factory       Style: Salsa
Choregrapher: Stephanie Stevenson

To see Tate & Jonathan's Salsa, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7qSaD0z1zY

This Salsa choreography by Stephanie Stevenson was fast, complex and dynamic! It was also a very theatrical, show-pizzazzy Salsa, the kind you'd find in a Vegas Spectacle. So full of mind-boggling lifts and contorsions, it's dizzying. As spectacular as the choreography, was Tate's shocking Latin Salsa Power! She wiggled, shook her hips enough to make Shakira envious! She showed SWAG in Salsa, but not only that: I thought  her Ballet abilities brought her Salsa to a higher level than I've seen it performed. On Jonathan's shoulders, she stretched out her legs like the wings of a plane. Glorious!  Her splits on the floor were awe-inspiring, so beautiful!  There were several moments when Tate took our breath away, by her elegant application of Ballet skills to Salsa. All without losing her sexy Salsa beat or mojo.  Jonathan Platero is turned out to be a very connected partner,a dazzling, precise and very graceful dancer. He did the dizzy fast pace looking calm, cool and in control. Not too big, yet very strong, Jonathan managed those awesome lifts with ease and control, making Tate shine bright. Paula also highlighted Tate's ability to connect to the camera and the audience. She did great, switching styles and partner, showing she can be more than a stylized and inspiring ballerina.

3- Emma & Jenna Take Our Breath Away

"How Long Will I Love You"  Mike Scott       Style: Contemporary
Choreographer: Jaci Royal

To see Emma & Jenna"s Contemporary, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePlVkSNCpOY

I was double- blown away by the beautiful Contemporary that Emma and Jenna did. The closest to Contemporary I have seen Emma Hellenkamp do was the romantic little childhood romance she did with JT (Travis Wall choreographed), which Nigel didn't like (but I did). We were a bit apprehensive if this young Tap Star could hack a full-blown, emotional Contemporary dance. Also, we wondered how Jenna Johnson would connect to Emma. They had never done any dance together.  Plus, Jenna is a Ballroom Pro, Contemporary is not her thing. Why take this risk on Emma's LAST CHANCE! They HAD TO BE SMASHING! Last op to squeeze some votes for Emma! No pressure at all. BUT,  they were NOT SMASHING. That adjective is for Tap and Ballroom. For Contemporrary, they were exquisitely impassioned, sensitive and moving.This Contemporary was about the agony of a child (Emma) feeling betrayed by her mom (Jenna) who confesses in mid- dance that she's an adopted child. It's a story of love, disillusionment, and finally,  forgiveness, Jaci Royal provided a lovely, simple, heartfelt choreography. I was very impressed with Jenna's characterization, not her usual happy, sexy persona in Ballroom! This was a new Jenna, solemns, serious, loving, earnest mom, worried about her child. But most impressive was Emma, who lost her Tap persona and assumed a new identity as a lyrical dancer, gentle and poetic. Her leg and arms extensions were graceful and controlled, her turns easy and awesome. What was most praiseworthy about Emma and Jenna's performance was the total integrity and sincerity of their dance. Everything fell in place with fluid inevitability, motion, music and feeling, choreography and performance Emma and Jenna  were totally credible in the way they reacted to each other. They made the story blossom, and made their love-pain dance look real.

4- JT & Marko Best Bollywood, Best Dance of Night!

"Malhari" Bajirao Mastani      Style: Bollywood           Choreographer: Nakul dev Mahajan

To see J. T. and Marko's Bollywood, click here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcWAocmMfuM

"J. T.'s World! Appreciate living in J. T.'s World."said Jason Derulo, bless his heart, he's so right! "Your technique, your acrobacy, your performance quality", Jason told J. T. Church," keeps getting better and better, no matter who you dance with (It was Marko Germar) , what  choreography someone puts on you." (Exotic, new Bollywood, by Nakul dev Mahajan). Besides loving J.T.'s impassioned and heart-grabbing  dancing, I love J.T's alert and humorous reactions to every comment, every nuance. The littlest dancer has awesome intelligence and insight. I'll always remember how in his memorable first dance with Robert, he burst into tears due to Paula's sensitive praise. The fast, diffficult, new Bollywood choreography was quickly learned by J. T.. He could interpret it enough  it to present a cogent, dramatic and the most entertaining dance of the night! Nakul dev Mahajan set the story as the King (Marko) teaching his Prince (J.T.) how to dance.  This gave J. T. an ocassion to show humor, and an out not to be as perfect as Marko. What a dancer Marko is, he merits every adjective in the Perfect Dancer Manual. Such style, poise, energy and distinction! As the dance progresses, we can see J. T. go from tentative to as perfect as Marko at the end.  We see J. T. dazzle with his flexed Asian hand and feet movements, and as Nigel mentioned, his high jumps, his energetic  Russian squats in sync with Germar. .At the end of this exuberant, joyful, rhythmic dance, what strikes me is the power of J. T. to make  performances brighter, more joyful moving, memorable! Larger than life, charisma fail me as adjectives to define the "J. T. Effect" or as DeRulo called it "The J. T. World! God smiled at J. T. and J;T; puts that smile in every dance.

Who will be the winner of SYTYCD Next Generation... and who I think should win.

JT & Robert  Stand in the Light of America's Love, right from that very beautiful Mandy Moore first dance. JT's Like Robert, Mandy believed in J.T's promise from the start, encouraged him to be so much more than "CUTE".

I find J. T. 's a very special performer. He has the kind of special  charisma that defies definition, but makes us poignantly involved in every dance he does. All four finalists are awesome dancers, great entertainers, but they don't have that J. T Church." It" or "X" factor, that Star Quality that make us enjoy his dances more than all others, that make us watch it over and over. If you look for technique, he has improved developed enough to make his dances successful, but he has no way as much virtuosity as say Tate McRae. This is probably the reason Tate will probably win SYTYCD next generation. Voters will mistake virtuosity with dance excellence. But didn't  Martha Grahame say dance was about passion, not how well you danced technically, not about steps, but about feeling? Tate has incrdible nimble ability, but it took her almost to the end of the show to put palpable feeling in any of her dances. In control and physical ability, she was better than her mentor, Kathryn McCormick, from the beginning; but in dance emotion, expressiveness and meaning she never could get to the Kathryn's level. She will never have Kathryn's passion. J. T. does, not Kathryn's passion, but his very own,, right from the start! Robert Roldan saw that. This is why I feel J. T. should be the winner. He's the one that's we want to see again and again. Also, this is a children's contest. J. T. is the quintessential child, the youngest and the smallest. Yet what giant pleasure he has given us! Shouldn't he be the chid to win? Tate is the oldest, ant the tallest. She doesn't look any different than the All-Stars that have won past contests.. So she doesn't strike me as the appropriate winner of a children's contest. She will be less memorable than J.T. Church. Still it's Tate whom I've seen favored to win in the social networks, with J. T. second. .So be it, if it's the voters will. J. T, will be the winner in my heart.

Dream & Prediction
I. My Dream Final Results (Would Like)   1-J.T. 2- Tate 3-Emma 4-Kida

2. Who Will Likely Win (Voters' Choice)   1- Tate 2- J.T. 3- Kida 4- Emma

Thanks for your readership and support!
We'll know our winners Monday Sept 12, 2016. Stay tuned for the Final SYTYCD Blog and the opening of DWTS same Sept 12. WOW! They coincide-again! Tweet me with your feedback at @archihector.

Hi, I'm Hector J. Sola, from San Juan, Puerto Rico. I'm the blog author. I got  a great education in architecture at Harvard, UC Berkeley, and Paris, France. Still dabble as such and as a real estate professional. I have always had a passion for the arts, which included dance, and YES, music, but lately,WO, I've developed a strange and all-absorbing passion for dance,and dancers.My new love demanded that I learn everything about it, so I plunged into it and discovered fascinating new mental and emotional stuff about dance!  That  added to my obsessive  fan fascination and joy in anything DANCE, drove me to write a BLOG, Hector's Blog! I HAD to share my insane pleasure in dance, dancers, choreographers and what it all means when they get together and take us a bit closer to God. I'm serious!

Sep. 1st, 2016

SYTYCD: Final 4 Dazzling Dancing Kids, Voters' Kill It! All 4 Are Winners!

But heart-enhancing J. T. Church deserves to win. No one can move us like J. T. !

1.1 ."I'll Keep You Safe" Sleeping At Last     Style:Contemporary
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey

To see J.T. & Robert's Contemporary, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiCAMa65_JE

Eliciting feeling because you dance with feeling is EVERYTHING! J. T.Chuch and Robert Roldan went directly to our hearts in their first dance, then it became like a weekly ritual. Is it my exaggeration to say that they sparked the American consciousness, becoming cultural icons in a few weeks? At least we can say with certainty that they became  iconic for the  SYTYCD  audience, the clear favorites. It was funny to see show producer Nigel Lythgoe's reluctance to embrace J. T., not because he had anything against the pair per se, but I think that he was alarmed that J. T. fever would sweep away interest for the other contestants. True, as fetching Cat Deeley announces the next dance every week, I anxiously anticipate J. T. & Robert's turn, feel a bit disappointed if he's not on; even if in this season, I have enjoyed almost every dance by the outstanding child dancers, which are ALL very talented.  Tonight was no different. They all danced well, but my heart belonged to J. T. ! All Top five danced inspiringly, once with their partner, in their comfort style. The second time, they danced with their Mentor again, but this time the roles were switched. The young contenders acted both as teacher-mentors and choreographers as well.  I was a little worried whether the children could do it. Not to worry. They ALL did an excellent job as mentor-choreographers! It was a production brainstorm! Kudos to SYTYCD!

Sweet, lyrical Stacey Tookey choreographed J.T. and Robert's dance this time
. The show's producers sure know how to pick J.T. & Robert's choreographers with tender loving care! Moore, Wall and Tookey! Next: Derek Hough? Or hey, put Mark Ballas on the task. His Mario Bros. choreography for another child was the most ingenious I have ever seen, but Mark is also out-of-the box-creative with sentiment! BUT, that said, I bet the best choreographer one could get for J. T. is sublime Robert Roldan himself.  His work would be an act of love for J. T. , and with himself as half of the pair, he would know exactly what J.T.. needs and can do! Robert wouldn't stop, out of love both for Dance and J. T., until he had a masterpiece for us to see!

Stacey Tookey's Choreography is based on a beautiful song "I'll Keep You Safe" by, can you believe Ryan O'Neal, the actor-song writer-producer, who records under the name Sleeping at Last? The message perfectly fits the moving story Tookey cooked up, about a son whose dad finds him sulking in his bedroom. No doubt J. T. is a fine little actor, knows how to pull the right strings in us to find our poignant soft suffering spot. Tookey gives him beautiful (and at times unusual) body language to express his grief in dance: spastic fits, high kicks (in pointed glory) , the reflexive moving away from Robert moves. Part of it is how Robert magically interacts with him. What a stirring, larger than life sublime dancer Roldan is! To instill hope in his son, Robert's character extends and moves his arms looking as fatherly as a legendary biblical Moses! And what a delightful practice Robert has made of flying J. T. around, throwing him in the air while J. T. keeps every nerve in his body as pointed as his feet. How unjust Nigel, who undermined J. T. by saying he just learned to point his feet! I've been watching J. T. point his feet from the get go! He just relaxes his guard at times, physically, never emotionally!  I loved what Stacey. Tookey did for love of J. T., Robert and, as always, for the sacred Art of Dance. We could also see in the rehearsal package, that she took a special interest to push J. T.  to his dance limits. Weekly we've seen awesome progress in J. T.'s  technical expertise. (I think  main credit & responsibility goes to Robert as his principal inspiration and trainer). Why do  top-notch artists, Tookey, Travis, Moore, Blackstone-and of course Roldan, have all taken such special attention to shower their gifts on lucky J. T. Church?.There's  a reason why. His easily transmitted PASSION. As Martha said:

1.2. J. T.  Choreographs Tender Homage to Best  Friend

"Count on Me" Bruno Mars  
   Style: Jazz        Choreographer: J. T. Church  

Concept: "Friendship" : Friends can always count on each other
To see J. T. & Robert's Jazz click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REbOp52_q60

The choreograpy J. T. Church did used a sweet and happy Bruno Mars song about how good it is to have friends one can always count on.  The song is just perfect, simple, innocent, full of heart,  just like J.T., and exactly reflecting  the very real and strong mentor-student, friendship relation betwen J. T. and Robert Roldan. This connection is common to all top 10 Star-Mentor couples, but more vibrant  and moving in J. T. and Robert's case. Their sweet connection is in everyone of their dances, a radiant and loving, potent force which moves us in sad and serious dances and take us to a bright spot in happy dances. This one was a happy dance and J. T. embraced both the teacher job and the choreography task, with daunting passion! Indeed, J.T. has a charismatic off-stage persona which makes him a P. R. dream in the rehearsal package. He's funny, he's bright, he's exuberant, hes natural, not put on or fake like Tahani Anderson, for example, some times struck me. In the rehearsal clip, we see J. T. commandingly  give a class to poor, humbled Robert, who smiles acceptingly. J. T. takes over every detail, including design, interpretation, costumes, etc.

The choreography he does has an internal logic and flow to it that  perfectly interprets the music. J. T. artfully combined all the steps he's learned from the top-notch artists he's worked with, Moore, Travis, Blackstone, Tookey, and a few new ones. We can recognize them, but who cares? They were put together with skill, ingenuity and creative inspiration. Bravo! I'm blown over when he patronizingly stands behind Robert, takes his hand and moves it to Robert's heart!  What a delightful dance, just the best that I would expect from him, not pretentious, overinflated or overdone, and as touching and special as any they have done. Robert and J. T. did it again, grabbed our hearts like no one else. And this time, J.T. takes credit for a great choreography and a fine job, teaching Robert! He COULD! The little guy that COULD!

2.1 Kathryn's Great Gift to Tate and Viceversa

"This Gift"—Glen Hansard         Style: Contemporary        
Choreographer: Stacey Tookey

To see Tate & Kathryn's Contemporary, click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH0RPGbLC6k

It's always a gift to have Stacey Tookey choreograph. Her special sensibility and artful, lyrical touch is present in every dance I've seen her do. My heart beats a little faster anticipating her lovely , and with Tate McRae  and Kathryn McCormick as performers I am sure it will be exquisite work. I was not disappointed. Tate's magnificent dance virtuosity always takes my breath away. When I think I've seen everything she does a special twist. Like when she pushes away from Kate and appears to be in rapture, hand over her heart and standing on pointed feet. There's such lovely juxtaposed curves in her feet, ankles an legs, it's an artists delight! I swoon. Then I feel giddy when I see the gorgeous reverse attitude turns in glorious sync that Nigel so admired. Nigel says they're a gift to each other, and that is indeed right. In the show's beginning, there was a discernible discord between Tate and Kathryn ability to project feeling. Kathryn excelled, Tate seemed lagging, not up to Kathryn's brilliance. Tate's pliant adroitness seemed at times overbearing or arbitrary, even distracting from the dance meaning. Awesome, with Kathryn's mentorship, Tate has learned how to use her admirable virtuosity to the service of substance, meaning and expression, like Kathryn always does. That is a priceless gift for McCormick to give McRae. Tate's well on her way to become a complete and amazing dancer!

2. 2Tate Gains Respect as a Dancer with Meaning

"Footprints"—Jeff Grace  Style: Contemporary    
Choreographer: Tate McRae

Concept: "Unmasked"- Remove your mask to show your imperfections/true self
To see Tate& Kathryn's Contemporary, click here:

I was really impressed with Tate's choreography! If anyone ever thought that this girl was just about tehnical virtuosity and not having the maturity for meaningful expression (That's me! Mea Culpa, Tate), here's the dancing proof that you were WRONG! Here, she's given the task of doing a Contemporary choreography, and serving as Kathryn's teacher in a role reversal, and she passed, with flying colors! Interestingly, Tate used a prop, and it's a haunting symbol I have always loved in creative art, the MASK. There's a little story complete with a allegorical lesson: Two women meet, but they're wearing symbolic masks, the affectations and poses we use socially to disguise our real feelings. Midway, they drop their masks and grope between each other to accept the imperfect selves they have been hiding. At the end,in mutual acceptance, they drop their masks for good. Simple and inspired. The real delight was how this theme was developed in dance with an apt and felicitous hand, and not one developpe, as Nigel remarked. (Well one developpe, leg midway, but not a la seconde, way way up, which is Tate's trademark.). Like a giggling teenager, Kathryn said Tate deliberately omitted the way up leg (to show she had other tricks she could do?). Tate's Mask dance had  a mix of lyrical and unusual moves, like the two girls running back and forth  in place, which I liked. I found it creative, poignant and sophisticated, not looking like the work of an amateur 14 year old, but a seasoned  PRO. I loved it! Tate was warmly praised by all the judges.

3.1 Nigel's Crit Tarnishes Kida's Krump Success

"All the Way Up"—Fat Joe and Remy Ma      Style: Krump (Hip-Hop)
Choreographers: Pharside & Phoenix

To see Kida & Fik-Shun's Dance, click here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAIy-2ajSAk

What most troubled me about Kida & Fik-Shun's "Krump"  performance was Nigel Lythgoe's comment about Kida not quite making it right by the Krump style. "Style left me a little cold", said Nigel. Itwas the kiss of death for Kida's chances at winning this contest, or placing as high as I think Kida should.  How unfair was this? Nigel did make the negative criticism amidst ameliorating compliments, but the end result, because what Nigel says bears so heavily in voters minds, was bad for Kida and unfair as far as the intrinsic merits of Kida's performance went. I LOVED Kida's performance, thought he had done brilliantly! One measure was how during the performance, and for the first time ever, my eyes went to Kida over Fik-Shun! Let me say I also LOVED Pharside & Phoenix (buck favorites of mine) choreography, always such rhythmic fun,with a great dose of humor and street authenticity.  This Kida kid was aflame with charisma, swag and vibrant personality, so different from the sad child that started, and that bravely rose like a phoenix  to excel on SYTYCD, despite grief for his father. Here I was thinking "AT LAST, Kida shining brighter than Fik-Shun", yet Nigel brought it all down. Maybe the show producer's felt he must express this enlightened nuance about Krump authenticity, but I felt at this stage, right before the finals, it was too late to be constructive and It really tarnished the lustre of Kida's dance. It may killed his chances to win, or place higher here. I thought was a vibrant, funny. dazzling performance by Kida. I felt Kida did exhilarating justice to the exuberant Krump style. I didn't feel Kida's coat hindered him or that he danced any less energetically than Fik-Shun. My heart goes to Kida-come-a-long-way. I feel like standing up and jumping in homage to Leon Burns! "Kida" rocks! Or rather, Kida Krumps!

3.2 Kida Does a Master Animation Choreo & Performance!

"I Can Make Ya"—Fingazz Style: Hip Hop   Choreographer: Leon "Kida" Burns

Concept: Manipulator- Robot Kida teaches robot Fik-shun to loosen up
To see Kida & Fik-Shun Hip-Hop, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgz9sMCuFes

"Insane choreographer...one of my favorite dances of the season" from Maddie Ziegler's mouth. What a compliment for Kida, who brilliantly served as choreographer and in his  switch with Fik-Shun, as teacher and mentor for this dance.  What's dazzling about this Hip_Hop Animation is how expertly Kida and Fik-Shun give the illusion of mechanical robots in  movement, in attuned  sync and and precise beat to the music. Their magical movement hold us spellbound and provoke acute pleasure. We revelled at the double back bend in smooth swaying motion that Nygel Lythgoe complimented and Kida and Fik-Shun repeated, to everyone's delight. And that was just one of a series of machine-like moves that held us spellbound. Funny how in Hip-Hop animation, it's machine-like perfection that creates emotion. Unlike Contemporary, in which the dancers human quality is what connects, to move our hearts. Jason de Rulo said two things, and I agree: People are going to  marvel at how you did these seemingly automated steps. When both artists sat at the floor at the end and seemed to magically rotate, I looked at the floor thinking they must have powered rotating circular platforms on the floor! Awesome. Secondly, Jason said peple are going to watch this dance at home over and over again, it's that good! (I already have!) To think it's teenage Kida who authored the whole dance presentation! Twice awesome!

4.1. Emma Can "Sit In The Groove", Taps Into My Heart

"On the Sunny Side of the Street" Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie version  
 Style: Tap                                                        Choreographer: Savion Glover

To see Emma & Gaby's Tap, click her:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBZU_1hoOGk

"I adored it", said Nigel about Emma and Gaby's  magnificent Tap! He doesn't often adore anything, but hey, I adored it too! This was 100%pure Tap Power, with several artists converging to fashion a Masterful Performance! First, Savion Glover, Tap legend and choreographer, who got a bigger build up than Cleopatra entering Rome! Charmer Emma was so excited about working with him, and ain't we captivated by wistful, joyful, artistic Emma! What say season 12 winner and dance goddess Gaby Diaz! God, I adore her,too, best possible MENTOR! The musical piece is by no less than Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie, egads! As I watch the powerhouse dance, I get more and more pleased and excited. What's different about this Tap performance, is its slow, fast tempo. Like Jason and Nigel said, the two tappers must "sit in the groove",  tapping to this music, and not many tappers can slow their tap down to "chill in the mood". But Emma could! As I watched her so cool, so totally in control, so "stylish in the pocket"- Ahhh! What a talented, dance savvy girl-adult!  She totally deserves to win, certainly belongs in the finals! . She has her own light, her own tap sound, glorious feet, and she's whoopping it up with Gaby and Savion! As the dance ends, I'm so flushed and excited,that I burst into tears for this sweet dancer! Emma and Gaby can fully tap into my, and the entire audience,  emotions. These Tap girls give me goose bumps, and I so like that feeling!

4.1. Emma Celebrates Her Sister In Happy Tap

"Rather Be" Clean Bandit       Style: Tap     Choreographer: Emma Hellenkamp

Concept: Here With You-: Two friends who would rather be together than anywhere else
To see Emma & Gaby's Tap, click here:

What a warm, friendly, celebratory,happy Tap Fest Emma skillfully choreographed and performed with her  true and close friend and mentor, Gaby Diaz! Their Savion Glover choreography was stylish nd sophisticated, but we wanted now to see Emma's happy, spontaneous, free-pirited  innocence reflected in her choreography. We can feel Emma and Gaby's true connection, through their quick encouraging glances,  bright smiles, warm hugs. We can see sisterly love in their dance and body language. It's real, it's great, and 11 year old Emma Hellenkamp just put it brightly into her choreography. Emma and Gaby are the best example of synergy, the sum being more than the parts. Their combined Tap dance delivers more energy and power than their individual tap performances. It's more sync, more sound, double the fun for them and for us, the audience. The most important reason for two being better than one, though, is the vibrant love we see them share. The mentor, the student, their roles now reversed, how great must be  Gaby's pride in seeing where she has taken this brightly talented girl. How gratifying for Emma to see how their combined effort has turned voters hearts, captured their approval. Emma must be thinking: "I can, I'm good, I'm proud to have done well by this woman, my mentor! How far I've come in  perfecting my craft through my sister's  help and influence". We've seen them progress so much, through their hard work and mutual help and admiration. By celebrating their great happy Tap dance, we feel warm all over! We feel that we're part of Emma & Gaby's dance, we're connected! Great sister Gaby! Great artist, Emma!  Hallelujah!

5.1. Tahani Falls Short of  Mentor in Scott Brainstorm

"WTF"  Missy Elliot, Pharell Williams Style:Hip-Hop
Choreographer: Dave Scott

To see Tahani & Fedoke Hip-Hop, click here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7e8r0_KxPFE

I really enjoyed Dave Scott's choreography for this Hip-Hop. Clever and funny little story with an Afro dance tradition which I always like celebrated. It's about an indigenous tribal African couple (Tahani Anderson & Comfort Fedoke) who discover HipHop through a blaring radio in the jungle. They immediately like the rhythms and proceed to dance to their idea of indigenous African Hip-Hop. Delicious idea. It's like Hip Hop going back full circle back to its African roots.  It was a very fast and complicated Dave Scott routine, ingenious and creative, stimulating our imagination to wonder if this is what Africans would really do to Hip Hop. It's commendable that Tahani could do the complicated dance. I have to say that I never expected Tahani to come this far. I felt her dance potential was not as good as the others. I was dismayed that no Ballroom dancers made the final 5, and found all 3 Ballroom Top 10 better dancers than Tahani. In this dance, Nigel and Paula adviced Tahani to try for more rounded, bigger moves, and try to make better transitions. I felt Comfort was so performance savvy and inspirational in her precise and angular breathtaking moves, she far outdanced Tahani. I could see some progress in Tahani's dancing, but not enough to match her talented mentor.

Tahani Designs Superb Self-Enhancing Dance!

"No Flex Zone" Rae Sremmurd   Style: Hip-Hop
Choreographer: Tahani Anderson

Concept: No Flex Zone: Cool Tahani schools nerdy Comfort
To see Tahani & Comfort's Hip-Hop click here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75jnZSPo9Rk

I liked Tahani's choreography and switched  teacher role in this number. It was much  better than  her first performance. One could see here her  energy and enthusiasm in projecting her own personality and leadership. Plus it appears that she aptly choreographed to what she did best, unlike the first performance, in which she had to follow Scott's difficult choreography. While in the first number, she had to live up to Fedoke's expertise, in this one she took charge and made Fedoke a colorless nerd, which offset Comfort and put her in the limelight. No nerd she, she played the vibrant athlete, and used her best cavorting to shine bright in her dance performance. Bravo! She looked fit, ripe and ready to rock and roll in this one! I really liked everything about Tahani's second tour de force, bright and athletic number, custom-made by Tahani to deliver a terrific last , creative, happy, fun performance. At the end of the show, Tahani got the bad news that she was teh one the voters didn't choose to remain! Goodbye Tahani! That was a great goodbye performance!

Thanks for your readership and support!
We'll know our ranked winners Monday Sept 4, 2016. Stay tuned for the Final Blog and the beginning of my next Blog, for the opening of DWTS next Sept 12. Tweet me with your feedback at @archihector.

Hi, I'm Hector J. Sola, from San Juan, Puerto Rico. I'm the blog author. I got  a great education in architecture at Harvard, UC Berkeley, and Paris, France. Still dabble as such and as a real estate professional. I have always had a passion for the arts, which included dance, and YES, music, but lately,WO, I've developed a strange and all-absorbing passion for dance,and dancers.My new love demanded that I learn everything about it, so I plunged into it and discovered fascinating new mental and emotional stuff about dance!  That  added to my obsessive  fan fascination and joy in anything DANCE, drove me to write a BLOG, Hector's Blog! I HAD to share my insane pleasure in dance, dancers, choreographers and what it all means when they get together and take us a bit closer to God. I'm serious!

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