Getting To Know You: Week Four on DWTS
Updated: May 10, 2022
I know I’m a couple weeks behind on my DWTS commentary, but it’s alright. I have a lot of schoolwork, so I’m watching and writing when I can. I’m still having a good time catching up and seeing how long I can avoid social media spoilers about who got eliminated, haha.
On the fourth week of the 2020 season of Dancing with the Stars, there was no official “theme,” but watching it felt reminiscent of previous seasons’ “Most Memorable Year” nights. For those of you not familiar with this theme night, “Most Memorable Year” is usually about three or four weeks into the competition, and each contestant picks a year from their life they deem the “most memorable” and their dance that week reflects the story they share from that year. It’s a great way for the audience to connect more with the contestants, and it’s often one of the most emotional nights of the year. There was no “Most Memorable Year” night last year, and I missed it. While I don’t think they’re having it this year either, in this episode, each of the contestants were prompted to open up about the people and events that have shaped them, allowing us to get to know them on a deeper level.
(cover photo for this post is from the @dancingabc Instagram page)
(click on each team's name and score to view their dance clip)
The best dance from Nelly yet! In the package, Nelly emphasized how much he wanted to improve with this dance, and he did! He went full out on this paso doble. His footwork was great, and I thought he was really keeping up with Daniella. He’s working really hard, and it’s paying off!
At this point of the night, I still hadn’t figured out the unofficial “getting-to-know-you” theme of this episode, so I was a bit confused watching Chrishell’s package. I thought, “Why is she talking about freezing her eggs? This is so random, what is happening?” Then, after I realized that the night was about getting to know the contestants, I respected Chrishell sharing in such a vulnerable way. There is so much stigma against publicly discussing different aspects of women’s health, and I appreciated Chrishell’s take on owning your narrative as a way of protecting yourself from shame and judgement.
As for her and Gleb’s foxtrot, it wasn’t my favorite. I think the execution was pretty solid, I just wasn’t a fan of the choreography.
In the rehearsal package before this dance, Monica and Val discussed how Val could be a more effective dance coach for Monica. The discussion that took place between them was very cool to see. She basically told him that since she is new to the world of dance, she is a lot less comfortable, and needs more affirmation and empathy from her coach. I thought the way Monica spoke to Val was really admirable. It is important, as a woman, to be able to say to a man, “I want you to know how your behavior is affecting me, not because I think you’re a bad person, but because I want you to understand how I’m feeling.” Because Monica wasn’t talking to Val like she thought he was a bad person. She was opening up a dialogue that would improve the rehearsal process for both of them. She told him what she needed, and he responded respectfully. They both communicated clearly and effectively, with the goal of better understanding each other. This is what proper communication looks like.
The new understanding between Monica and Val really paid off in this week’s samba! Monica looked so much more confident and in control compared to previous weeks. She and Val were really in sync. It was like a switch was flipped on. This was one of my favorite dances of the night.
The production concept for this piece was really cool. The set design was built around the theme of rainbows coming out from the darkness. Anne’s costume followed the same theme, while putting an innovative twist on a traditional paso doble costume. The paso doble is the bullfighting dance, so the female dancer’s skirt is meant to imitate a flag that’s waved in a bullfight. Instead of a skirt, however, Anne was dressed in a reversible jumpsuit. In the beginning of the dance, the jumpsuit was black, but a few eight counts in, it was flipped inside out, revealing the rainbow fabric that was hidden underneath. The rainbow jumpsuit had wings attached to the arms and the legs, billowing out like a traditional paso doble skirt. The effect was really cool, but I wondered if it was restrictive while Anne was dancing.
The darkness vs. rainbow theme related to Anne’s story from the rehearsal package. She talked about how, when her career as an actress was taking off, she was in a public relationship with a woman and was blackballed from the entertainment industry. All of that happened before I was even born, so I didn’t know anything about. It was really interesting to hear her story, and to appreciate how far we’ve come since then. People who stood up for who they were, regardless of the consequences, paved the way towards a more accepting society.
As for the performance, I loved the strength in Anne’s movements, especially in the beginning. There were moments when she seemed a little shaky, but her joy in the dance was consistent throughout.
Another lovely dance from Nev, dedicated to his wife. The production team used fog again, which I hate, but I still enjoyed watching Nev and Jenna dance together. This team has given consistently good performances since Week 1, and they are always a delight to watch.
Justina is back in her element with another Latin dance! She and Sasha were fantastic together! Their energy was matched, and they danced together really well. I also enjoyed that their costumes were my absolute favorite color.
First of all, I loved Kaitlyn's dress! It was gorgeous, and Artem’s outfit complimented it perfectly. Second, there was fog again on the dance floor, which always makes me wish I could see the footwork better. Third, above all else, this was another beautiful dance from Kaitlyn. She’s truly a talented dancer.
Also, I was amused when Carrie Ann referenced Len Goodman when she was giving her comments.
In the package, Johnny talked about how much his mom’s support has meant to him, which was very sweet. His and Britt’s jive was really fun to watch. There were a few moments where they looked a little out of sync, but overall it was pretty darn good. They kept up the momentum they started to gain from Disney Night.
With this tango, there were moments when the pair looked a little wobbly, and others where they looked strong. Still, the dance had a lot of fierceness and power to it, which made it enjoyable to watch.
For this dance, Vernon really nailed the hip rotations that are necessary for a good rumba. This was a pretty solid number for him.
This was one of Jesse’s better dances! There were a few moves that looked a little awkward, like a strange step-tap section of traveling across the floor, and an odd moment when Jesse knocked his hips against Sharna. I don’t think those specific moments were really Jesse’s fault though. It was the small snippets of the choreography itself that struck me as awkward, not necessarily the execution. Other than that, it looked pretty smooth, and I thought I saw his hips moving with the music.
I loved that this dance was a tribute to Skai’s old costar, Cameron Boyce, who passed away unexpectedly in 2019. I wasn’t a big follower of the Disney Channel show the two of them were on together, but I knew that Cameron Boyce was a really great dancer. I love how Skai’s motivation for coming on DWTS was to honor him. It’s really hard to lose a peer when you are that young, so I feel for her.
The foxtrot itself was lovely. It was smooth and full of grace. Skai did wonderfully. Skai and Alan received the first 10 of the season, and it was well-deserved.
This dance was saved for the end, because it was a special number: AJ’s bandmates from the Backstreet Boys made a virtual cameo. I do not know much about the Backstreet Boys, but I thought it was sweet how connected they are after all these years.
AJ is one of my favorite contestants this season, but this was not my favorite dance of his. For starters, the projection screens had this weird QR code pattern going on in the background, which was distracting. Also, it felt like a subpar cha cha routine. There was barely any cha cha choreography, and when there was, AJ was out of sync with Cheryl. The number was meant to be staged like a boy band concert, but as a result a lot of the ballroom aspects were sacrificed. I think Bruno said it best when he said that it was good but, “Where is Cheryl? Where is the cha-cha-cha?!”
(do not read if you are avoiding spoilers!!)
This week, there was a little hiccup with the elimination announcement. Each week, Tyra reads off the couples that are safe one by one, until the final two pairs are left standing on the ballroom floor, and somewhere along this process there were a couple of errors. First, Tyra said, “this means that the bottom two couples are…” when she had not yet announced the last safe couple, so there will still three couples remaining. Tyra noticed, and asked for clarification on who the bottom two couples were. Then, Tyra was told which couples were the bottom two, and one of them had already been told they were safe! Monica and Val literally were called back onstage, because they were erroneously told that they were safe, when they were actually in the bottom two. It was a bummer, and everyone was upset, but it was probably just human error. I’m sure Tyra directly repeats whatever is given to her through an earpiece, or cue cards, so it wasn’t her fault.
Anyways, the final two couples were Anne & Keo and Monica & Val. The earlier error meant that the judges were rushed for time to deliver their verdict, but they unanimously voted to save Monica & Val and eliminate Anne & Keo. I think that was the right decision. Anne was a good part of the show, but Monica has improved a lot and I think has the potential to improve even more.
That’s it for this year’s version of “Most Memorable Year!” Next week is another theme night: 80s night!!