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Our first guest judge of the season, Robin Roberts, was welcomed to the judges’ table. She was a big fan of the show so she was very excited to be on. In the end, Robin didn’t veer far from Len, Carrie Ann, or Bruno so the scores stayed pretty tight.
The Switch-Up challenge is also upon us which has left the celebrities a bit nervous. The professionals will dance with a different celebrity thankfully for only one week. The pros were nervous to show their teaching skills and also equally nervous if their original celebrity did better with a different pro. Some of the top contenders that Tom and Erin mentioned were Cody Simpson possibly being with Peta Murgatroyd and Amy Purdy being paired up with Mark Ballas.
Billy Dee and Emma had to quit the show because his doctor advisedd that he should stop because of his chronic back problem. He was excited to have participated, but he just couldn’t keep going. I applaud him for trying the show, but everyone knew that he was going to be eliminated soon.
James & Peta - Jive - Peta emphasized how sexy James was, but he explained that he was a chubby kid when he was growing up. He picked 2007 as his memorable year because he looked past the bullying and got to be a part of Big Time Rush. As the couple danced they started dancing on a table, which I’m surprised how small it was. James did really well considering how height tends to be a detracting factor in a jive. He kept his energy contained correctly. James had power in his kicks and leg flicks and had energy throughout the whole performance.
Len thought the performance was his best. Robin appreciated how well James attacked the dance. Bruno thought the performance was explosive and superb. Carrie Ann was happy how active he was, she warned him of “claw” hands. Score: 36 (9,9,9,9)
NeNe & Tony - Rumba - Tony wanted to apologize about Carrie Ann’s critiques. NeNe picked a Whitney Houston song because it was her wedding song. NeNe evolved after getting married, breaking up, and coming back together in 2013. The couple had a bed as their prop, but didn’t use much of it in the beginning. I appreciated that NeNe extends her legs really well. For me, NeNe still doesn’t dance “sensual” but still a little too “sexual” for my tastes. Either way, I appreciate NeNe’s movement throughout the floor and Tony choreographs really well for NeNe’s personality.
Robin thought she was the life of the party and loved that she showed a different side of her personality. Bruno thought she was a siren, her flow between steps were nice, but she needed better basic movements. Carrie Ann thought that the passion came through the dance. Len was pleasantly surprised by the routine, but she needed to put better pressure on her feet. Score: 31 (8,7,8,8)
Cody & Witney - Jazz - Cody explained that 2010 was when he moved to the US and explained that his family gave up everything for him to succeed. He’s dancing to “Surfboard,” his own song because it connected him with his childhood. I found the dance to be an easy excuse for Cody to do really whatever he wanted. He could pop and lock to his heart’s content. The problem was that he wasn’t as synchronized with Witney as I hoped he would have been. With a dance that was heavy with side-by-side choreography, it was really noticeable.
Bruno called the routine refreshing and saw the modern elements. Carrie Ann loved the vocabulary of movement. Len thought it was a tight routine. Robin loved his style and how he respected the dance. Score: 35 (9,8,9,9)
Danica & Val - Contemporary - Val was proud of Danica after the sexy samba. Danica was excited to have “Lullabye” as her song. She chose 2010 as her most memorable year because it was the birth of her son, but also she experienced the loss of her grandmother. I appreciated how much couple work Val put into the choreography without being too dependent on lifts. The lifts were nice punctuations between good amounts of choreography that actually transitioned wall. Danica put her heart in the performance and I loved that she was holding her son during judging.
Carrie Ann loved the sincerity of the performance; she had grace and a delicate nature. Len loved how fluid the movement was. Robin thought the performance was a “wonder” and loved how meaningful it was for her. Bruno loved how enchanting the performance was. Score: 36 (9,9,9,9)