"Dancing With the Stars" pro Louis van Amstel blogs on season 14 of "DWTS." The three-time world dance champion and creator of LaBlast fitness-based dance DVD workouts starred on seven seasons of the hit ABC show and weighs in on the dances, the judges scores and who will be eliminated. You can find him on Twitter @LouisvanAmstel.
I'm so happy that ABC has brought back Classical night to "Dancing With the Stars." I love Classical week. It adds such a grand feel to the show. The orchestra is amazing every week, but tonight it's like a grand concert. What a treat!
This week, I'm sure all the couples will pull out all the stops when it comes to their costumes. Also, this is the week that on top of the individual dances, the teams (Tango and Paso Doble) will compete against each other. Let's get started.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas' Rumba. Absolutely beautiful job, yet again, by Katherine. Stunning arm movement, great leg action and I appreciate that Katherine kept her toe touching the floor when Mark spun her in a circle. That could have easily been a lift. For a real authentic Rumba the dance could have been more sensual and it was a bit careful, but Katherine interpreted the music exactly, so I can't fault her for that. Totally agreed with Len. Katherine kept the Rumba timing solid, keeping it on count two, three, four, which is not easy. Bruno, more raunch?! Carrie Ann, more heat to Classical music!!!! Really? Good scores.
Melissa Gibert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy's Argentine Tango. I hope Maks is fine with all the lifting while being injured. I must say it's so weird to see an Argentine Tango done to classical music, but they made it work. The content was very appropriate and there were some very difficult elements in that routine. I always appreciate risk takers - Maks, for attempting it with a non dancer, and Melissa, for agreeing to the lifts. Very well done! Making the choreography that challenging meant there was some sloppiness in Melissa's legs and posture, but she held the character of the dance throughout. The judges will deduct points for Melissa not finishing off all her movement, but I hope they give her extra points for the difficulty level. Carrie Ann, you were a little harsh, (thank god you look gorgeous tonight). In fairness, this was not Melissa's best dance. Overall I agree with Len, it lacked some dance quality, but it wasn't bad at all. Scores are slightly low. I'd give them three 8's for difficulty level alone.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke's Viennese Waltz. That was a class act from beginning to end. Last week I criticized the routine since it had William standing around a lot. This week, he danced all the way through. Great posture and body movement. It was sensitive, yet powerful, and had an unexpected natural flow. They also looked beautiful together as a couple. I truly hope Bruno is not going to mention wanting more "raunch" or sex or hotness. They were lucky to be given Viennese Waltz for Classical night, because it's actually a classical dance. Len, what can I say? Well, at least you were in Austria. Wow, I'm impressed with Bruno's assessment, that was nice! Good scores.
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower's Argentine Tango. Don't worry about people, Roshon. Focus on being yourself and showing your talent through the dance. The public wants to see the real you. How interesting is this one. An Argentine Tango done to Lady GaGa's "Bad Romance" in a classical jacket. Things couldn't get stranger, but I loved it. Roshon was very strong and had some fancy footwork in that routine. Here and there he had some tiny insecure moments, but overall he pulled it off making it all work. Great suit, made him look very dapper. Roshon deserves to stay in the competition, so I hope you guys voted for them. Agree with Len about the ending. I also wasn't sure if the end missed a movement. Scores are OK. Can't disagree with the judges, but Roshon's technique was good.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd's Viennese Waltz. From the chairs, the song, the costumes and the choreography, the setting alone looks stunning. I'm going to sound stupid saying that I got teary eyed watching this performance, but I did. You can tell how much Donald wants to learn to dance properly, putting his ego totally aside, and I'm so proud of Peta and what she's doing this season. While bringing out the best in Donald, she's blossoming as a woman and as a professional. Three 10's in my book on all accounts and I don't care what the judges say! Underscored!
(As a proud side note, when I got my Emmy nomination for outstanding choreography it was my Carmina Burana Paso Doble also performed by Vittolio, the opera singer.)
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough's Paso Doble. Maria looks so beautiful in that red dress - very appropriate for Paso Doble and the song they were given. In comparison, I believe Maria is the lesser dancer of the remaining celebs. That routine is easier than the others and her movement is sometimes stiff - even though it's Paso Doble. Having said that, Maria has an iron determination and doesn't surrender. I highly applaud her for that. Even though the video package showed her insecurity and frustration, she did deliver a very solid performance. Sorry judges, I really liked it, but not enough for Katherine to have to watch her back. Wow, I can't believe the judges comments and scores. I'd say three 8's for difficulty level and maybe two 9's for performance. Not 10's.
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson's Viennese Waltz. Beautiful song, but it did not have a simple beat for the Viennese Waltz. Jaleel did a very competent job on his dance. Good posture, nice rise and fall. I also felt Jaleel's partnering with Kym was better than before. In comparison to the other Viennese Waltz, Jaleel lacked warmth in his movement. Len, don't be so grumpy, it wasn't that bad. I guess I thought it was better than the judges did. Jaleel was more pensive tonight than last week. I would have put a nine into their scores.
Group dance - Team Tango. Great opening, very crisp and clean formations. Very strong individual tangos too. (Mark, rub your "seven mirror ball trophies in this room" in our faces…lol…yes, and it's unfair! Love you too!) Back to the dance, a fantastic job for such a short amount of time. I was most impressed with the cleanliness. As for the judges, I don't know what Len saw. Go home for the night, Len, and take a double shot of whiskey, haha! Len, an 8? Put on a pair of glasses. Thank you Carrie Ann, I also thought Jaleel brought it.
Group dance - Team Paso Doble. Ah, I have memories with this song. I have to say this song is very hard to dance to, because it's not straight 8 counts. Even though team Paso Doble wasn't as clean and crisp as team Tango, they took risks and turned this dance into a real spectacle. The music is so powerful that I was worried their dancing would get lost, but every couple actually got stronger as the dance went on.
For cleanliness and technicality, I give it to team Tango, but for entertainment value, the use of props and determination, I give it to team Paso.
Overall. It's now up to you guys to vote for your favorite couple. I'm mostly worried for Melissa, but in my opinion I feel the judges over scored Maria to save her. Or will Roshon be the one going home because he's been in the bottom two a few times already?
I want to give a big shout out to our phenomenal orchestra and singers, the guest artists and all the producers for putting on such an amazing show.
Please share your opinions with me on Twitter @LouisvanAmstel. If you agree or disagree I'm ready to hear all about it!
Visit www.lablastfitness.com for more info about Louis Van Amstel, LaBlast or to find out how to get his DVD workout series.