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After last week's presidential election, this week the contestants were dancing in tribute to all the veterans for Veterans Day. While they had to honor an important part of the United States, double eliminations were also looming. With Melissa having 39 points last week and Kirstie with 28, can Kirstie close the judges' scores?
Round One - Veterans Day Ballroom Round
Shawn & Derek - Viennese Waltz - Shawn was excited to have a perfect 30, but knew she couldn't rest on her laurels. There was a confusing explanation of angels, according to Derek, about their dance being an important part of the army. I think the theme was just shoe-horned in, even though Sarah McLachlan's music is very touching to any occasion. The dance had grace to the routine, something Shawn never had during her original season. The dance felt insanely short (all of round one's performances were about 45 seconds long) but the movement was great and what Shawn did show was great to watch.
Len thought the dance was both quiet and gentle; he wanted more parts in hold. Bruno thought it was heavenly perfection. Carrie Ann thought there was depth in the performance. Score: 29.5 (10,9.5,10)
Apolo & Karina - Tango - Karina was excited to have a good week, but Apolo was discouraged to get a 9. Karina wanted to go intensely with the routine so Apolo wanted to zip line across the dance floor for no real reason. He slid across with no issue, but it shouldn't count for the routine because it was before the music. The tango seemed intense enough and Apolo channeled the power he needed to. It looked like Apolo really wanted to make sure everything was perfect as he swung around, his posture looking odd at times.
Bruno thought that it was a great performance. Carrie Ann thought he had attack in his performance. Len loved the passion; his frame was wide at times. Score: (10,9.5,10)
Kirstie & Maks - Viennese Waltz - Maks explained that the frame Kirstie learned last week in quickstep matched the frame for Viennese Waltz. Maks knew she was improving, but he continued to push her as hard as possible. The dance had grace and levity to it. I'm sure Kirstie made sure she picked shoes that wouldn't fall off as well. Kirstie definitely benefitted from being in hold almost all the way through the routine because Maks could drag her around where he needed to.
Carrie Ann thought the interpretation was beautiful; it was one of her best dances. Len thought it was her best dance. Bruno appreciated the carriage, the dance was well done. Score: (9,9,9)
Kelly & Val - Viennese Waltz - Val wanted continuity in Kelly's movements, but she continued to stress about her inevitable double elimination. Val tried his best to calm her down so the two had time to talk about the passion of the competition. Val seemed to create choreography that jerked Kelly around a bit too much for my taste, especially in comparison to Kirstie and Shawn's rendition of the Viennese Waltz. Kelly did a great job keeping up with the slightly sped up choreography and her side-by-side actions were beautiful. Maybe if the dancers had more than 45 seconds, this routine would have felt a little less rushed.
Len thought the routine was too sharp at points. Bruno thought she was a twinkling turner; she was giving all her soul. Carrie Ann thought Kelly was truly pushing herself; she has the spirit of the show. Score: 28 (9.5,9,9.5).
Gilles & Peta - Quickstep - The couple was worried about getting past the double elimination so Peta wanted to make sure that he had a perfect frame and technical brilliance. While the music ("Danger Zone") really threw me off because I would never have considered it for a quickstep, something about their movements came off a little too frantic for what a quickstep should be. Gilles matched Peta's movements, but I really disliked the choice of choreography tonight.
Bruno thought he was fast, slick, and efficient. Carrie Ann thought it was so close, there were slips and wobbles in his feet. Len thought it was thunder and lightning; he had control in his movements. Score: 29.5 (9.5,10,10)
Emmitt & Cheryl - Viennese Waltz - Cheryl wanted to make sure that Carrie Ann's critiques of posture were being fixed. Emmitt was worried about making it to week eight, so he talked to Daryl Johnston to get some motivation. Their dance floated around the floor and Cheryl had very smart choreography that included drop spins and drags to cover up Emmitt having to actually dance. Emmitt is a good dancer, but is being shadowed by better dancers all around him.
Carrie Ann thought it was smooth, but he slipped in a few sections; he needed to push himself even harder. Len knew he was smooth, but he hoped there was more fluidity in his movement. Bruno thought it was classy, but it was nice. Score: 28 (9,9.5,9.5)
Melissa & Tony - Quickstep - The two returned excited about their scores, but were worried to keep up. Melissa was stressed out that she just wanted to keep going further into the routine. The routine was cute and had accessible choreography; the beginning could have been tighter, but I'm not sure if the judges even noticed that. Everything seemed very clean about the routine and the final spin sequence was perfect.
Len had a smile because he danced a great quickstep. Bruno thought it was as good as the best. Carrie Ann saluted the two, they were on fire. Score: 30 (10,10,10)
Round Two - Latin Trio Dances
Shawn, Derek, & Mark - Samba - Mark returned after a week and the three decided to go fully tribal. Shawn couldn't tell the difference between her feminine and masculine moves. Derek wanted to make sure both samba and tribal movements were incorporated. The dance was intense in the beginning, though I question the amount of samba in the whole routine. The camera work really didn't help the routine, but it was creative and fun to watch. I personally wouldn't score this routine high as a "samba" but it could have been great if it was classified as "freestyle."
Len had to judge a samba, but the routine got self-indulgent; it wasn't samba enough. Bruno had jungle fever watching the routine; it had an animalistic quality, but it wasn't a samba. Carrie Ann disagreed with the other two, the samba sections were executed well. Score: 26 (10,7,9).
Apolo, Karina, & Sasha - Jive - Apolo explained that Sasha could help teach Apolo his steps. He had to dance like a pro which worried him about timing. I actually thought that putting Apolo in against Sasha made him look both better and worse at the same time. I had my eyes on Karina the whole time instead of Apolo so watching Apolo miss occasional flicks got covered. It wasn't the best choice to have Apolo on the side, but it didn't help that Karina was wearing such a loud red "Bad Sandy" outfit.
Bruno knew that he took risks to mirror a pro, he conquered the task. Carrie Ann thought there were minor mistakes in the beginning, but he was vibrant. Len loved how fast, sharp, tight and together the routine was. Score: 29 (9.5,9.5,10)
Kirstie, Maks, & Tristan - Paso Doble - The trio decided to be angels, Kirstie picked Tristan because he was hot. She thought she needed double the help and had a bit of an ego boost having Tristan around. The theme was a bit silly for my taste with the wings, but they lost timing as well. Kirstie really stood around a lot as well. I then had a problem with the lack of integration with the two pros during the routine. The ending was the dumbest looking thing as well. Also confusing: Kirstie's black leggings.
Carrie Ann loved the theme and costumes, but the routine was sloppy. Len liked that there were no incidents, it lacked finesse. Bruno thought it was surreal to watch. Score: 24 (8,8,8)
Kelly, Val, & Louis - Jive - Kelly thought that Louis was the "best" dancer; she realized that Louis taught many of the celebrities to dance. The thing was that there were a lot of changes in partnering. I thought the choreography was an amazingly strong use of the trios. There were so many twists and kicks that it was fun to watch. Louis was also shirtless which was amazing to see; hotness from a 40-year-old.
Len thought it was fun, fast, flamboyant, and fabulous. Bruno loved the sequence where she was leading. Carrie Ann was impressed by how she went back and forth. Score: 28.5 (9.5,9.5,9.5)
Gilles, Peta, & Chelsie - Salsa - Gilles was excited to have Chelsie and the salsa. He was worried about how tangled he would be with the women. Gilles started with a little bit of a solo and it was nice. I was happy to see Chelsie match the sex appeal of Peta. There was movement and spinning like crazy and Gilles never missed a beat. There were definitely points where I wished that Gilles did more than watch how hot Chelsie and Peta were.
Bruno loved the intent of taking care of the women; he lost timing with the women. Carrie Ann agreed, his musicality was off, but he took control of the dance floor. Len thought he was in the spotlight. Score: 29 (9.5,10,9.5)
Emmitt, Cheryl, & Kym - Salsa - Cheryl picked Kym as a way of Emmitt showcasing him. Emmitt was a bit confused on how to please two women at the same time. Emmitt had a solo similar to Gilles but was having much more fun. I thought that the routine was more of a party but Emmitt didn't have to do any of the work. He kind of stood there as Cheryl and Kym spun around him. Emmitt looked like he had a lot of fun in the routine and the final spiral sequence was great.
Carrie Ann thought he was a spicy dancer. Len thought the choreography was clever; the performance was a knockout. Bruno loved how natural and smooth his salsa was. Score: 30 (10,10,10)
Melissa, Tony, & Henry - Paso Doble - Henry popped up for practice and was excited to dance. Tony emphasized how aggressive Melissa needed to be and Henry tried his best to get the character perfect. Melissa was hitting as hard as she could as she danced, using her legs to perfection. I thought the cute section where she screamed was a nice touch. Melissa was great throughout the whole routine, though I wonder if the judges are helping her scores because she's not doing so well with fan votes.
Len thought she was like a Frisbee; Melissa impressed him the most. Bruno thought she was the queen bee; she had beauty in her dance. Carrie Ann loved how she was in control during the routine. Score: 30 (10,10,10)
Melissa & Tony - 99
Shawn & Derek - 93.5
Emmitt & Cheryl - 92.5
Kelly & Val - 92.5
Gilles & Peta - 92
Apolo & Karina - 91.5
Kirstie & Maks - 78