"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.
Week 3 is story week, where celebrities reveal heartfelt experiences from their personal lives. Season after season, it always packs an emotional punch.
I personally love this week because we really get to know the celebs and often times the couples get closer to each other. Having said that, the question is: can the couples transfer their story lines into their dances, so that the scores and votes are based on the dancing, not just on an emotional story?
Let's go! Follow me on Twitter @LouisvanAmstel to share your opinions.
Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya's Samba. What a story. It feels so good to meet Jack's children and siblings. I'm so happy for Jack. (I met my sister after 21 years. It's the best feeling). Jack is loosening up more and more each week and has become more expressive. No wonder if you just met your daughter! Good bounce, very good rhythm, just needs to become a little sharper and stronger in arms and legs. Costumes were very appropriate. Agree with judges! Scores are good.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough's Rumba. I'm proud of Maria's parents. You see, hard work does pay off. I love people who don't give up and don't mind working hard. Even though I can see Maria's forte is not grace and elegance, she did an absolutely beautiful job and Derek was very clever with his choreography. It really gave Maria the opportunity to show improvement and femininity. I do want to see more fluidity from her body going forward. I agree with Len, Bruno and Carrie Ann a little too flattering. It was great though. I would have given a combo of 8's and 9's.
Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus' Foxtrot. It's so nice to hear a legend talk about how she started in showbiz. I love how Gladys makes even the subtle things so expressive. She's such a joy to watch. Overall it was OK, but I'd like to see more rise and fall and proper ballroom choreography with the appropriate timings. The choreography isn't up to par, especially compared to the other couples. I also feel Gladys is capable of more challenging choreography. The dress in the back makes it very bulky. The front was beautiful, but less is more. Totally agree with Carrie Ann - Gladys dances like she sings. That's what's going to save her for weeks to come. Judges are being very nice tonight…hmmm. Scores a bit high compared to Jack, whose dance was considerably harder.
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower's Samba. So great for Roshon to be working with Michael Jackson's choreographer. Wow, that was spot on! It was an awesome mix of Samba, MJ's moves and the 70's. This dance is the perfect example of how you put the storyline into the dance. Roshon did everything right - technically sound, high energy, and showed the Samba when needed. For the future, Roshon just needs to refine his energy. On the other hand, he's still a kid, let him be free. Loved it! Len, they were dancing to a 70's song by MJ, which also happens to be Roshon's inspiring story. Disagree with Carrie Ann, his timings were great and there was a lot of choreography. If Maria deserves 9s then so does Roshon. He did a lot of solo dancing where Chelsie couldn't help him.
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff's Rumba. Do you guys see how fulfilling a dream is, just a finger click away? So nice to hear how supportive Gavin's parents have been from the beginning. That was classy, sensual, and great partnering. Karina always gets her partners to really be there for her, which is not easy to do. Yes, I would have liked to see a bit more dancing from Gavin, and flexibility in his torso, but his lines were great and he was so involved in moving with Karina. Costumes were stunning. Gavin was so much better than last week. What a way to thank your family! Len hit the nail right on the head. Scores a bit low. I would have given a 9, it wasn't far off from Maria's rumba. Partnering hasn't been rewarded in my opinion.
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas' Waltz. It's good to get to know Katherine a bit more, even though she shared a sad story. I can see now where Katherine's humility comes from. I can already feel the tears coming. I'm going to overlook the fact this song, was a 4/4 beat not a waltz beat, which is 3/4 beat. What I find most impressive about this dance is Katherine didn't let her emotions take over until she was totally finished with her dance - a true professional. It had such beauty, with great depth, yet wasn't overly dramatic. Mark, start looking for Freestyle music! Their costumes were so beautiful. Len, if there were official rules about the close hold then you can enforce it. Unfortunately, as of now there are no such rules. I do agree there should be more close hold. For the dance quality the 10's are absolutely deserved, but this was not waltz music, so I have a hard time agreeing with the scores.
Sherri Sheppard and Val Chmerkovskiy's Rumba. I'm so happy to hear Sherri's son is a healthy and strong young boy and to see this side of Sherri come out. I love her honesty. I'm also glad they had a commercial break in between, so she could collect herself. It's not easy to dance after watching the video package. That color dress looks so beautiful on Sherri and was very flattering. Sherri has no lack of expression and is very involved in her dancing. What I admire most is how easy and fast she moves across the floor. For future weeks, Sherri needs to pay more attention to legs and feet. Scores are good!
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy's Jive. Wow, Melissa is dancing with a broken back? And the jive? I have a new respect for her! That was a full on routine, which could have easily gone wrong, especially knowing Melissa's medical history. It didn't at all. It was kind of a medley of Rumba and Jive. Yes, the jive kicks were a little heavy and Melissa still needs to work on her posture, but she was dancing her heart out. Melissa broke her back less than two years ago and is now doing this show. It's crazy what determination can do! Agree with judges. Good scores!
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson's Rumba. I liked their rumba, but was not impressed. It was almost a disco routine and too much bouncing up and down. It was soulful that I will say. The look was great and very sophisticated, but I like to see more emotional involvement from Jaleel. There was a slight accidental lift! Compared to the other rumba's this one felt over choreographed. There was nothing really wrong with it, it just left me a bit cold. Len said it right, it was competent. I would have given 8's with maybe a 7.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke's Salsa. A Cuban doing Salsa is a recipe for hotness! Wiliam told the story of a true, brave immigrant . It was awesome to see him become so successful. What I like so much about William is he doesn't rely on his looks, he takes "DWTS" very seriously and it shows in his dancing. Sometimes his energy takes over and he wants to go too fast. If William works on giving all his energy more form, I will not be surprised if he goes all the way! Costumes were hot and ripping open that shirt was appropriate. This was the dance to do it! I appreciated Carrie Ann's honesty about the little boo boo. Awesome scores! There was a mistake though and slight musicality issues, so a 10 was high in my opinion.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd's Rumba. What a way to meet your wife! How sad and beautiful at the same time. It's like a book Nicholas Sparks would write. I'm going to disregard the lift at the start. I'm going to call that a creative opening, haha. For such a slow Rumba, Donald did a great job. He had strength when he needed to be strong and softness when he needed to be tender. Like Gavin, Donald had some great moments of partnering with Peta. I also appreciated how aware Donald was of his arms. Slowly but surely, I'm going to expect more dance quality from his body. Donald's expression and involvement is incredible since he's not an entertainer. He's a big sports guy for crying out loud. Totally agree with judges, especially Bruno. Awesome, scores, well deserved.
Overall. So how inspirational was tonight? Nights like these in my opinion are the reason why "DWTS" became a No. 1 show. I'm very happy to see the judges acknowledge the positive instead of highlighting only the negative, but they were maybe a little too nice at points tonight. This week is all about positivity though, especially because the celebs are so revealing and candid.
Wow, who to send home? It's going to be tough. From a dance point of view, I'm worried for Melissa and Gladys, which pains me to have to say. Can we skip elimination this week? No one deserves to go home after sharing so many heartfelt stories. Maybe we're in for a surprise!?