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  • Nicole Grace

Burnin' Love with Elvis Night on Dancing with the Stars

In recent seasons, Dancing with the Stars has done quite a few theme nights devoted to celebrating the work and legacy of a singular artist. Last week, the show did a tribute night that excited me more than any other they have done: Elvis Night! I’ve learned quite a bit about the life of Elvis Presley over the years, so my familiarity with the topic was the source of my enthusiasm.


After an incredible opening number, every couple danced to a song made famous by Presley, and the number was themed to a certain era in his career for a night of decades and rock’n’roll themed fun!


THE DANCES:


Jessie & Alan – Foxtrot to “Trouble” 7/6/6/7

Jessie showed improvement from Week 1 to Week 2. She was more in control of her movements, yet still some of the longer strides of the foxtrot seemed to get away from her. Maybe it’s because she’s a bit short?


Jordin & Brandon – Quickstep to “Hound Dog” 7/6/7/7

I really enjoyed Jordin and Brandon’s first dance, and this quickstep was a fun follow-up. Their dance was so fun to watch, and while they noticed a few missteps, the judges agreed.


Sam & Cheryl – Viennese Waltz to “Heartbreak Hotel” 6/6/7/7

For this piece, I was a little bit distracted by how much I didn’t like this cover arrangement of “Heartbreak Hotel” or Cheryl’s outfit (the costume department can’t win every time). However, Sam improved this week; he also has an excellent stage presence and it’s lovely to see how much he and Cheryl seem to genuinely like each other.


Shangela & Gleb – Quickstep to “Shake Rattle and Roll” 7/7/7/7

I loved the cotton-candy aesthetic for this high-energy, fun quickstep! Shangela and Gleb were excellent, but the thing I didn’t love that had nothing to do with their dancing. There was a pink Cadillac sitting on the dance floor the entire time.. The intro, which lasted a bit too long for my liking, was choreographed around the car, and there were a couple of times while the couple was traveling across the dance floor (an important feature of the quickstep), that they got so close to the car I was concerned they were going to run into it!


Teresa and Pasha – Jive to “All Shook Up” 6/5/6/6

This jive was off to a rocky start with Teresa stumbling right at the beginning. Instead of staying thrown off the entire dance, though, she recovered pretty nicely. A lesser performer would not have been able to pull that off.


Daniel & Britt – Jive to “King Creole” 7/7/7/8

First of all, it was so sweet to see Daniel with his moms during rehearsal. Daniel brings such a great energy to his performances, especially with this jive. He slyly included the ASL sign for “hot,” which makes me eager to see he and Britt will incorporate more ASL into their choreography in future dances.


Gabby & Val – Viennese Waltz to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” 8/8/8/8

This number was a smooth, solid, graceful piece, wonderfully and technically executed. Gabby’s dress was gorgeous as well, but unfortunately it did not pair well with some of the camera angles.


Vinny & Koko – Quickstep to “Viva Las Vegas” 7/6/7/7

As I wrote last week, Vinny did not do well during his first dance, but it seemed like he was capable of more. He DEFINITELY had a comeback in Week 2 and gained much better footing in the competition. This quickstep was genuinely fun to watch, and showcased considerable improvement.


Charli & Mark – Quickstep to “Bossa Nova Baby” 8/8/8/8

Charli and Mark’s quickstep was wonderful, of course. What was interesting for me to see in the rehearsal package was that Mark is able to coach Charli on smaller nuances to add character to her performance on Week 2. Charli walked in the door an experienced dancer, so this team needs to spend less time building a foundation and can, this early in the competition, work on aspects of performing that come after the basics are mastered, which gives them an edge in the competition.


Selma & Sasha – Jive to “Jailhouse Rock” 7/7/7/7

The jive is such a demanding dance, and it’s so different from the Viennese Waltz, which is what Selma and Sasha did last week, so I wasn’t sure what to expect for their jive. They blew it out of the water! I am so glad that Selma is improving and having success on the show.


Cheryl & Louis – Tango to “Little Less Conversation” 5/6/5/5

Cheryl had such a solid start, the judges wanted more from her. She and Louis attempted to up their game for Week 2, but unfortunately their tango fell short of judge and audience expectations.


Joseph & Daniella (Alexis) – Viennese Waltz to “If I Can Dream” 6/6/6/6

Daniella tested positive for covid before the show, so one of the troupe members, Alexis, stepped in to dance with Joseph. I enjoy when a dance starts with the celebrity contestant dancing independently for a few counts, I think it shows the choreographer’s confidence in their partner. Throughout the piece, Joseph worked really hard, especially with shaping his arms properly. There were still a few missteps, though, and a moment where Joseph lifted Alexis off the ground accidentally.


Heidi & Artem – Foxtrot to “Suspicious Minds” 7/7/7/7

This was a solid, elegant foxtrot. I didn’t find it to be as memorable as other dances of the night, though.


Trevor & Emma – Rumba to “Always on my Mind” 7/7/7/8

I was pleasantly surprised by this dance. Interestingly enough, a rumba played to Jason’s strengths, as an actor known for playing sexy characters. I noticed that he had great extensions and hip movements. Overall, very impressive.


Wayne & Witney – Jive to “Burning Love” 8/8/8/8

Wayne absolutely killed this dance! The staging at the beginning was so cute, and the execution was so high-energy and exciting. It was an excellent finale for Elvis Night!


THE ELIMINATION:

(do not read if you are avoiding spoilers!)

The final two couples for Week 2 were Cheryl & Louis and Teresa & Pasha. Usually, the judges are on the same page when it comes to choosing which couple to save from elimination. However, this week was the once-in-a-while occurrence in which the judges were divided. Bruno and Derek voted to save Teresa & Pasha, while Carrie Ann voted for Cheryl & Louis.

Since there are four judges, usually those first three judges vote, and if they are all in agreement, there is no need for Len to vote (he is usually asked after the verdict is delivered which team he would have saved, and he often is in agreement with his colleagues). Since Len is Head Judge, his vote breaks the tie (think of it as his vote counting as two votes).

Len used his deciding vote to save Cheryl & Louis, which I expected because earlier in the night, Len gave a higher score to Cheryl than the rest of his colleagues did. I remembered that because it was unusual; usually Len gives scores slightly lower than his colleagues’, rather than higher.


Overall, Elvis Night was an exciting evening of performances! Week 3, set to air tonight, is another theme night: Bond Night.


#DancingwiththeStars #DWTS #Season31

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