Friday, October 1, 2021

Dancing With the Stars S30E02: First Elimination


The show must go on at Dancing with the Stars
by Kim Krober


Dancing with the Stars returned for its second week with a bit of drama that was non-ballroom related. Pro Cheryl Burke revealed she tested positive for COVID-19 (despite being vaccinated) the day before the show went live. Out of an abundance of caution, the show's producers decided to keep Cody out of the ballroom too, allowing the couple to remain in the competition via a taped performance from last week's rehearsals. The show must apparently go on, assuming everyone else has tested negative thus far.

Tyra's opening outfit was a bit more flattering this week. However, she changed about halfway through, coming out looking like some sort of deranged peacock or one of those dinosaurs in Jurassic Park that shot out the poisonous venom at Wayne Knight. If that's considered high fashion, I don't want to be fashionable. Eek.

Let's see how your favorites fared on this second week of competition:

Matt James and Lindsay Arnold, Samba

Matt and Lindsay's Samba to Dua Lipa's "Levitating" felt a bit stiff and sleepy except for when he took off his shirt and threw it to a more-than-eager Bruno. Len called his hips non-existent and allergic to music (ouch). Ever the diplomat, Derek told him to work on his balance and footwork but also admitted that he's fun to watch. Bruno was too flabbergasted by his private performance to bother commenting on the Samba. Carrie Ann admired his amazing physique but said the dance itself felt awkward.
Total: 22

Olivia Jade and Val Chmerkovskiy, Viennese Waltz

Olivia and Val danced a light, ethereal Viennese Waltz to Justin Timberlake's "Better Days." Derek complimented the purity of her dancing, calling her a breath of fresh air. Bruno said it was seamless for a beginner. Carrie Ann was impressed by the trust and vulnerability in the partnership. Len thought it had nice rotation with a good mix of steps.
Total: 27

Kenya Moore and Brandon Armstrong, Cha-Cha

Kenya and Brandon's Cha-Cha to Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff" proves you can be mi caliente after the age of 50. Bruno called her simply irresistible with exceptional talent. Carrie Ann said she was amazing despite her rough start but cautioned her about grounding herself. Len told her she had plenty of "gear in the rear," working those hips. Derek loved the moments of greatness but said she needs to find more consistency.
Total: 24

Mike “The Miz” Mizanin and Witney Carson, Tango

The Miz and Witney Tangoed to Poison's "Nothin' But a Good Time," and it didn't get more entertaining than this. I especially enjoyed hearing his stories about imitating The Ultimate Warrior by hanging streamers from his arms and painting his face. Carrie Ann loved his energy and entertainment factor, along with his elongated arms and footwork. Derek was amped up throughout the dance, while Len felt it had plenty of attack but very little finesse. Bruno called it a Power Tango with well-channeled aggression and energy.
Total: 26

Brian Austin Green and Sharna Burgess, Rumba

Brian and Sharna's Rumba felt extra special knowing they were dancing to their song: "Say You Won't Let Go" by James Arthur. I especially loved the immersive Van Gogh effects in the background. Len liked the romance but didn't really care for the dance moves. Derek said it was beautiful but warned him about his floppy arms. Bruno could feel their honesty but thought it felt more like a Contemporary dance, saying it lost some of the Cuban motion required in a Rumba. Carrie Ann wants them to continue to build on the palpable chemistry but sustain the dance movements along with their connection.
Total: 23

Christine Chiu and Pasha Pashkov, Salsa

Christine and Pasha's Salsa to "Despacito" was spicy and action-packed, albeit foggy. Derek complimented her hip action but wanted more consistency from beginning to end. Bruno told her the dismount from the lift could have used more work. Carrie Ann admired her passion and attack, while Len just told her he didn't think she was in danger of being the first to go home. Um ... thanks for that clumsy compliment, cranky Grandpa Len?
Total: 24

Jimmie Allen and Emma Slater, Rumba

Jimmie and Emma were back with a Rumba to one of his own songs ("Make Me Want To") for week two. I was impressed by his dance moves just as much as his vocals. Bruno could feel the undercurrent of passion almost exploding by the end. Carrie Ann called it amazing, saying she felt her heart attached to what was going on in every movement. Len thought the footwork was a bit hit-and-miss but admired his upper body movement. Derek basically echoed his mentor Len, saying he could see his lower half struggling but his upper half looked beautiful.
Total: 27

Amanda Kloots and Alan Bersten, Foxtrot

Amanda and Alan danced a Foxtrot to Ray Chew Live's rendition of "It Had to Be You," chosen for its special memory of being her wedding song with her late husband. It was lovely from start to finish. Carrie Ann likened her elegance and strength to a Broadway musical star. Len wanted the dance to keep going, calling it "as smooth as butter on a hot muffin." Derek told her it was enjoyable to watch, while Bruno said she was absolutely radiant. The judges told her to flaunt it if she's got it (long, shapely legs and kicks).
Total: 32

JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson, Cha-Cha

JoJo and Jenna's Cha-Cha to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande's "Rain on Me" felt like she was continuing to live her best life. Len said it was his favorite Latin dance of the season so far. Derek praised her energy but told her she needs to contain it a little, especially during the side-by-side bits. Bruno called it crisp, crackling, and brilliant, but echoed that it needs a bit more control. Carrie Ann likened it to a dance-off, with the two trying to outdo each other each week, but doesn't mind because she gets so lost in the dance.
Total: 31

Iman Shumpert and Daniella Karagach, Rumba

Iman and Daniella's Rumba to "U Know What's Up" by Donell Jones was silky smooth. Derek loved watching him enjoy himself on the dance floor with an almost effortless quality. Bruno commended his enthusiasm and commitment to listening to the judges' critiques. Carrie Ann admires his special connection with the music. Len said he liked it, calling it a great improvement from last week. His scores and confidence got a well-earned boost, but was it too little too late?
Total: 25

Martin Kove and Britt Stewart, Cha-Cha

Martin and Britt's Cha-Cha to The Isley Brothers' "Twist & Shout" was also a vast improvement over last week. He let loose and had a bit more fun with it. Bruno praised him for having more content and steps, saying he's moving in the right direction. Carrie Ann liked watching him enjoy himself. Len congratulated Britt for working on Martin's kinks. Derek loved the opening James Brown movement, saying it was a lot of fun. I wished they would have given him higher than a 3 or 4. It's not easy to be fluid at 75!
Total: 15

Melora Hardin and Artem Chigvintsev, Rumba

Melora and Artem's Rumba to Celine Dion's "All By Myself" was poignantly refined. Carrie Ann called it dramatic, admiring her arms and storytelling ability. Len said it was "easy like Sunday morning" but could have benefited from a few more recognizable steps (that was really a critique and a testament to Artem's capabilities). Derek adores her, saying she's so easy to watch with beautiful, quality movement. Bruno likened her to Greta Garbo in what was perhaps the ultimate compliment.
Total: 27

Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke, Salsa

I was so bummed for these two this week. Please don't beat yourself up, Cheryl, just focus on getting better soon. Their taped performance from last week's rehearsals was used, and honestly, I thought their Salsa to "Don't Go Yet" by Camilla Cabello was still perfection. It was good to see them both virtually. Len wished her a speedy recovery, saying the dance was full of "razzle dazzle" and was well-crafted with lots of content. Derek said for a rehearsal it was really well done. Bruno cautioned him about grounding his hips, but said not being live didn't detract from his talent. Carrie Ann said it was a bit lackluster because it wasn't in the ballroom, but overall it was not a bad effort.
Total: 24

Melanie C and Gleb Savchenko, Foxtrot

I absolutely adored Melanie C and Gleb's Foxtrot to The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun." Derek told her she's a gorgeous dancer with a beautiful frame. Bruno said she never looked lovelier, combining the lyricism with the dynamics. Carrie Ann loved seeing her softer side, though she noted clenching hands during the performance. Len said she pleased him with a well-done performance. The message of peace and love from Ringo Starr was surreal and awesome!
Total: 30

Suni Lee and Sasha Farber, Cha-Cha

Suni and Sasha danced an animated Cha-Cha to Cardi B's "I Like It." Bruno told her to smile more because she shines and that it's okay to become a different character when she dances. Carrie Ann liked seeing her gain confidence, telling her to come out even more amazing next week. Len felt it was much improved and action-packed, while Derek called her "Sassy Suni" with crazy flips.
Total: 28


The second week of competition also brought us the unpleasant business of the first elimination. Like seasons past, the viewers' votes and judges' scores combined gave us a bottom two who were up for elimination. Their fate lay in the hands of the judges to determine which couple was sent packing and which was given a reprieve. Any ties among the judges this season will be broken by head judge Len Goodman's vote. It came down to Martin and Britt and Christine and Pasha in the bottom two, with Martin and Britt ultimately being eliminated. I didn't blame the judges - they were just doing their job and voting with their heads and not their hearts. Martin still kicks ass and has one of the hottest shows in the modern era. I will miss having him in the DWTS dojo though.

Do you think the right contestant went home? Don't forget to keep voting for your favorites!

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