'Dancing with the Stars' Season 18 Recap: Week Seven Performances (Latin Night)

By Michael Pascua,
Can the Celebrities impress Ricky Martin with their Latin flavor?

Drew Carey’s elimination last week showed that even if you are a fan favorite crowd pleaser, you need both strong scores and fan support. This week the pressure increases as the celebrities have to learn two dances for the first time this season. We start the week with a performance to Ricky Martin’s “Vida” and it set the precedent for what we were looking for this week on DWTS: passion and party spirit.

Ricky Martin was also our guest judge and was looking for entertainment, passion, and focus. The contestants were all excited to dance even with Danica mentioning her injured rib. Even with the rib injury, Danica & Val were first to be safe with James & Peta in jeopardy. During the dances, Amy injured her back after her rumba and had to go to the medic before the group dances began. Her body seized up and had trouble breathing after her performance and couldn’t perform the team dance.

Round One - Solo Dances

Amy & Derek
Dance - Rumba
Song - “Light My Fire” by José Feliciano
Derek tried to explain the whole concept of the dance of love for Amy, but it caused Amy to think too hard. The love theme stressed Amy out because she explained to the audience about her long term relationship with Daniel Gale who we also saw on ‘The Amazing Race.’ Derek decided to act crazy during rehearsal to make her feel better. The couple began on the stage and I liked the shapes that the couples made. Amy’s hops made up for some occasional foot positioning or abruptness from not having more of a slippery sole. The final split pose looked beautiful.

Len thought that the sharp and smooth moves were great and the dance was rhythmic. Bruno thought that Amy never lost the elegance of the dance. Carrie Ann thought she was sexy but she had to criticize her for her feet coming off the ground. Ricky loved the sensuality, passionate nature and connection. Score: 36 (9,9,9,9)

James & Peta
Dance - Samba
Song - "Gasolina" by Daddy Yankee
Peta warned James that there was a lot of rubbing and hip action in a traditional samba. Peta noted that there was a unique chemistry between the two that she’s never had with other celebrities. James tried to quell the fire by saying that the two wanted to stay as platonic as possible during the season. The couple set themselves up at a gas station to match the title of the song. The problem was the song was nowhere near what a samba’s tempo should be, The two fit in as many samba moves in as possible and also included a lot of stripping to help cover up the fact that it was so hard to find the beat.

Bruno thought that the routine blew up his sparkplugs. Carrie Ann’s head was spinning, she appreciated the chemistry between the two. Ricky thought the routine had unexpected moves. Len thought the footwork wasn’t the best and his hip action could have been better. Score: 35 (9,9,8,9)

Danica & Val
Dance - Salsa
Song - “Watch Out For This (Bumaye)” by Major Lazer
Val loves taking on the challenge of beating Meryl this week. He explained that he wanted the moves to go from hot to cold in a few seconds. Danica thought that she had a strong core, but during practice, Val tried to flip her and they heard a popping sound in Danica’s hip and she had to go to a doctor. She explained that her rib was fractured and the doctors suggested she couldn’t practice. The couple still chose to dance and Danica covered up any pain she may have shown. I don’t like the fact that she got the troupe and her facial expression didn’t match the dance. Her smile covered pain. The routine looked like a hip-hop routine and some of the arm passes looked sloppy; the routine clearly lacked the polish it needed from extra practice.

Carrie Ann felt the pain, but she missed the down and dirty nature of the routine. Ricky asked how she was feeling and he respected fighting through the routine. Len thought there were only two sections that were salsa, but it looked too much like a pop video. Bruno appreciated the concept of the dance, but the feel was missing because of the injury. Score: 33 (8,9,8,8)

NeNe & Tony
Dance - Argentine Tango
Song - “Can’t Remember to Forget You” by Shakira Feat. Rihanna
NeNe knew that the people with dance experience were still around, but she would own her dance. She explained that she was bringing a bit of “NayNay” to her dance. Tony also wanted to bring dancers to give her more character. She knew that she had to up her technique as well. Tony danced shirtless after Twitter forced him to. I thought there was a little bit too much crowd interaction in the beginning and I forgot to look at NeNe. Once the couple got on the dancefloor, I thought that NeNe tried to extend her legs and flick, but the kicks were a bit slow for my taste. The drag section was a bit clunky and the ending was a wasted opportunity.

Ricky thought the character was strong and NeNe was glowing. Len agreed, but noted the technique still could have been crisper. Bruno thought the hooks needed to be sharper. Carrie Ann needed sharpness in the movements, but was impressed by the evolution of NeNe. Score: 31 (8,8,7,8)

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