With The Stars
Phillip B Stephens,
Fellow and Examiner
Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing
Week 5 featured a switch of partners as chosen by
the show's audience. This provided an interesting
aspect to the routines. The show opened with a very
nice performance featuring the pros and stars.
Maks Chmirkovskiy was the week 5 Guest Judge, and
proved to be a very fair judge who offered very
helpful comments on all the performances.
Tamar Braxton with Louis Van Amstel - Samba
Dancing with a different partner is a challenge, but
they sure had an excess of drama in that video
package preview. They look good together and the
backup group is a nice touch. They were nicely
in sync with the group and each other all the way.
Tamar had some sloppy leg actions after the 2nd
group section. The performance was reasonably good,
but she looked nervous. Maks was kind, but honest.
Bruno noted her loss of balance and missed
connections. Kari Ann also noted their lack of
connection. Julianne noted that the routines this
week are long and that this was a challenge for the
performers. 29 -
just a bit high.
Hayes Grier with Allison Holker - Viennese Waltz
He looks quite nice in the tails. So few people
wear them these days, and I'm sure he never has
before now, so this was a good experience for
him. Nice lines, but some bad posture and a
few frantic moves. A good routine performed
adequately, but not a stellar presentation.
he does look quite like the Prince Charming of
fairy tales.) Bruno called his rise and fall a
bit kangaroo-ish. Kari Ann loved the
noted his arm lines were never completed. Maks gave a
good critique, and yet the audience booed.
Either that's put on, or the audience doesn't
understand the reason for the criticisms. 30,
which is a bit high for that performance.
Paula Deen with Mark Ballas - Swing
Her outfit is "cute", but could have
been tailored a bit better. She's off time,
but is performing well. Not much life in
the swing part, but it was a clever
routine. It was what I call "showy", but
not "dancey". Kari Ann thought that
was Paula's best dance? She must have
been using some of California's "medicinal
marijuana" during the break! Julianne
felt the same? Are they BOTH on Medi Mary? Maks
liked it, but wanted to see more Jive. (That
was so slow I didn't know it WAS a Jive!).
Bruno thought it was flat and noted that she shuffled
26. The lady judges were too generous
Alek Skarlatos with Emma Slater - Rumba
They look nice together. He is amazing in
many ways. Good timing, nice lines, fairly
good footwork, uses hip action, is crisp
with syncopations and seems very comfortable
with these movements that are all so new to
him. The judges really like his dancing,
but they - and I - would like to see more
facial expression. 29 - I did think that
was a better performance than those scores
reflect. Paula Deen got 26 for a crappy
Swing/Jive and this guy only got 29 ...
Raspberries to the judges on this one!
Bindi Irwin with Val Chmirkovskiy - Cha Cha
She is a talented and expressive dancer. Her
leg actions are not 100%, but quite close. She
uses her feet and legs well and commits fully to
what she's doing. This was fast, and she did
have a problem now and then with unfinished
lines, but it was still VERY good. Maks loved
it. I agree with Bruno that she gives a lift to
the spirit. Kari Ann noted additional
confidence. Julianne views her as a ray of
sunshine. 37, and well deserved.
Carlos PenaVega with Lindsay Arnold - Quickstep
A very unique opening. He has good frame
and great expression. This is a truly
challenging routine and he is hitting every
move with energy and pizazz. That was a
GREAT performance! Hard to believe this was
with a different partner. They looked as if
they'd been dancing together for quite some
time. Bruno loved it. Julianne and Maks
also loved it. 39, and absolutely deserved.
Alexa PenaVega with Derek Hough - Tango
Too much positivity in the preview
package for me. Alexa is a
beautiful woman. I didn't like her
skirt, but she performed well. Some
actions were a bit harsh, but she
was in a good dance position and made all
her positions and lines quite nicely. She seemed
much more sure of herself in that
routine than with Mark. 40 - and
Andy Grammer with Sharna Burgess -
Good lines and presentation in the
opening, spoiled slightly by weak
posture. His timing is good and the
lifts look effortless. I really like
the look and feel of this performance
with this particular piece of music. A
great job. Judges liked it. He really
is a good performer. 36, and very much
Nick Carter with Witney Carson - Paso Doble
A very dynamic opening that went a bit off in the
partnership moves. He does make good lines and his
actions were generally synced with hers. Maks
didn't like this Paso, and I'm wondering if that had
to do with the music. All the judges gave good,
positive comments. 35 - a wee bit high.
A very good show.
That's my review
of week 5.
If you have comments about my review, please send