COMMENTARY | Last week on “Dancing with the Stars,” Sherri Shepherd became the third couple to say goodbye to the ballroom. Her rock ‘n’ roll moves failed to impress the audience, and she returned to her day job on “The View.” Now the halfway point of the competition, the couples had to impress the judges with their abilities to interpret Latin dances on the ballroom floor. Carlos Santana opened a show that featured chart-topping tangos and salsas that failed to impress.
Two Tangos at the Top
Katherine & Mark fell from the top last week with their aggressive paso doble and returned with the Argentine tango, the one dance that allows lifts. It’s one of the hardest dances because of the lifts and legs moves involved. I thought Katherine would trip on her dress, but they managed to do a really good, well choreographed tango. The judges loved the dance, and Katherine & Mark moved back to the top with a 29.
William & Cheryl did the Argentine tango hoping to get back near the top after a disappointing week. He had a hurt ankle, but it didn’t prevent him from hitting the floor. They had to compete with Katherine & Mark’s nearly perfect Argentine tango earlier that evening. They managed to tie Katherine & Mark with a 29.
Dancing Toward the Top
Maria & Derek returned to do the salsa after they pleased the judges the previous week. During “Rock Week,” they tied for second place and hoped to move up with their salsa. Despite injuring her chin during rehearsals, Maria started the dance with a challenging move. When they were dancing and not doing gimmicky stuff, Maria & Derek actually did well. The audience loved it. Carrie Ann didn’t like the gimmicks either; however, the judges gave them a 27.
Donald & Peta ended the night with the third Argentine tango. They had a lot to live up to after Katherine & Mark and William & Cheryl’s high-scoring tangos. Donald studied the dance like he studied football footage. On the ballroom floor, he was focused during the dance and his physical strength helped with the lifts. It almost matched the other Argentine tangos of the night, earning a 27 and tying Maria & Derek for second place.
Roshon & Chelsie were in second place last week but still ended up in the bottom two. This week, they had to impress everyone with their salsa. Roshon tried to evoke a little of William Levy for his dance, even asking his competition for advice. He & Chelsie did a high-energy salsa with some difficult choreography. The judges enjoyed the dance, giving the couple a 26, the same score as last week.
Hoping to Move Forward
Jaleel & Kym didn’t capitalize on their good scores during “Rock Week” and hoped to get back on top this week. They performed the samba, the Brazilian party dance, at the beginning of the show. I didn’t think it was as energetic as it should have been. I expected a fast-paced dance. It did look like he had the technical aspects of the dance and some rhythm. Jaleel & Kym, however, pleased the judges enough to get a respectable 24.
Gladys & Tristan had to pull out her bubbly personality for doing the samba despite a week of traveling. They had a series of late-night rehearsals during their busy week. Always a crowd pleaser, Gladys put forth a good effort for the samba, but it failed to evoke the energy of the dance. The judges liked Gladys & Tristan’s samba for its charm and sweetness. The couple earned a 22.
In Dire Need
Melissa & Maks returned to the dance floor to perform the salsa after a week of injuries. Last week, Melissa had a minor concussion and Maks hurt his arm. As a precaution, Melissa wore a neck brace during some of the practice sessions. There were a few missteps during the dance and Melissa didn’t get rid of her inhibitions completely. She seemed to do better when she was dancing alone. She got applause for her effort, though. They earned a 21 for their effort.
Gavin & Karina performed the samba after a week when they escaped the bottom two for the first time. At an appearance, he asked his fans for votes. Though not the best dance of the night, it was fun to watch and it looked like Gavin enjoyed himself. He reminded me of the guy who doesn’t dance well but dances his heart out anyway. He became the first person to go below 20 on the leader board.
Who Will Have to Duel First?
Though Melissa & Maks and Gavin & Karina were at the bottom by the end of the night, last week proved that anyone could end up in the bottom two. Katherine & Mark regained their dominance while Gavin & Karina fell further away from the top. The results show airs on Tuesday, April 17, and Latin Night continues. Audiences will have to say goodbye to yet another couple, but not before they get one more time to redeem themselves to the judges.
Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas 10 9 10 = 29
William Levy & Cheryl Burke 10 9 10 = 29
Maria Menounos & Derek Hough 9 9 9 = 27
Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd 10 8 9 = 27
Roshon Fegan & Chelsie Hightower 9 8 9 = 26
Jaleel White & Kym Johnson 8 8 8 = 24
Gladys Knight & Tristan MacManus 7 7 8 = 22
Melissa Gilbert & Maks Chmerkovskiy 7 7 7 = 21
Gavin DeGraw & Karina Smirnoff 6 6 7 = 19