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  • Writer's pictureNicole Grace

A Team Effort: Music Video Night on Dancing with the Stars

Welcome to Music Video Night on Dancing with the Stars! This was a really fun theme night. All the contestants and pros were really into it. I liked how 2-4 eliminated pros were incorporated into each number as “back-up dancers.” I’m not always a fan of troupe involvement in the competitive numbers, but this time it was great for the theme, it didn’t distract from any competitor’s performance, and the extra dancers didn’t overstay their welcome. As for the judging panel, Paula Abdul is my new favorite DWTS guest judge. She was well-qualified, definitely a peer of the regular judges, and had clearly done her homework by the way she often commented on a contestant’s overall journey on the show.


THE DANCES:


This was a really strong dance from Lele! Her isolations right at the beginning were remarkable. My favorite parts were the sections of salsa choreography, which went really well. Maybe there should have been less lifts, though, since Lele is such a powerful dancer, and for whatever reason, she lost momentum every time her feet left the ground.


This routine was fantastic! I loved how it started and ended with a lot of cha cha content, with a break in the middle for the Britney Spears choreography that was clean and exciting. The usual judges gave this team nines, but Paula Abdul gave them a 10! Usually I prefer when guest judges don’t deviate from the regular judges' scores, but in this case I think Paula Abdul is plenty qualified to give that perfect score. 


This performance was better than I expected! Harry didn’t blend in perfectly dancing alongside Alan and Gleb, but he still held his own well enough. However, when it comes to how he compares to the other teams still in the competition, the scores speak for themselves.


This routine was so fun, and I saw a lot of great jazz content! Jason is a joy to watch. It was great to see him pull off such complicated choreography, while making it look easy. I also noticed that the couple of lifts were executed effortlessly, after the previous week’s rehearsal package showing him learning lifts for the very first time. And he finally got his first 10!


Derek said this quickstep was Alyson’s best performance yet, and I agree. It was so, so cute, and while it wasn’t as fast as others’ quicksteps, it was super clean. 


This was a routine where I didn’t get tired of all the lifts, because they felt unique. While off the ground, Xochitl’s legs were bent and her feet weren’t pointed. Usually, not having your legs/feets perfectly straight and pointed during a lift is a huge no-no, but since each lift was like that, it felt stylized instead of an error. Each lift also blended perfectly with the sections that were on the floor. There was a small costume change, however, which didn’t go very smoothly and slowed down the momentum that had been built up until that point in the routine.


Charity wanted to dance with more power this week, and I was looking forward to her having a breakthrough. The performance itself was clean, of course, but it was a little too pretty. It’s like she was dancing on her tiptoes, when the choreography would have looked more striking if there had been more groundedness. There was also a lift that went slightly wrong, but Charity recovered and slipped right back into the dance like a pro!


First of all, I love Peta’s outfit! They both looked so cute. It was also fun seeing the blast from Bruno’s past in the rehearsal package. Barry danced with as much charm as ever, but he did mess up the choreography at a couple different points. He travelled across the floor smoothly, though, and the side-by-side section was great.


ROUND TWO - TEAM DANCES

This week was team dances! It’s always so fun to see the different contestants, who have gotten to know each other pretty well at this point in the competition, finally officially collaborate.


I really wasn’t excited when I heard that this team would be dancing to “Gagnam Style,” which made it all the more surprising when this performance absolutely blew me away! I loved the choreography, I loved the transitions from each pairs’ section to the next, and I loved the energy. All the dancers blended together extremely well, even Harry, who was by far the weakest dancer on this team. Speaking of Harry, the one thing he’s been consistently able to pull off this entire competition has been lifts, and he was the center of a showstopping lift in the middle of the dance. That particular lift was pulled off by Charity, Harry and Brandon, who are all on different teams in the competition, which I thought was cool. It also was an amazing blend of everyone’s strengths, from Charity’s background as a cheerleader, to Harry’s strength/height, and Brandon’s skills as a professional dancer. The judges were impressed as well, and awarded this team with the first perfect score of the season!


This dance was so cute and fun! I loved the way they played with the usual couple pairings, switching it up a couple of times. My favorite couple spotlights were Jason & Daniella, who called back to their rumba, which is unusual for a team dance, and Alyson & Sasha, whose tango section showed how much she’s blossomed since she first took on the style towards the beginning of the competition. My one complaint was that when all four pairs danced in unison, they danced at such a slow tempo, probably to accommodate Barry, who can’t dance very fast.


THE ELIMINATION

The bottom three teams for this week’s elimination were Lele & Brandon, Charity & Artem, and Barry & Peta. The couple ultimately eliminated was Lele & Brandon. I never expected Lele to make it to the finale, but when placed alongside the other contestants left in the competition at this point, Lele should not be in jeopardy. Brandon made it clear he thought so as well. Lele worked so hard, and brought such a great energy to the dance floor. She’ll be missed.


I’ll be back next week recapping tonight’s episode: Whitney Houston Night!


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