"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.
Are you ready for another show? It's Rock Week and I can't wait to see the costumes and hear the music selections. I realize this week I disagree more with the judges than others, so I'm sure you'll have opinions to share with me on Twitter. You can find me at @LouisvanAmstel.
Let's get started!
Sherri Sheppard and Val Chmerkovskiy's Tango. Sherri looks very powerful. She keeps her frame well and had great character. She could keep her head back more and lift her chest up a little more, but it is Rock Week. She has to rock it out and Sherri did that! The head banging worked. Val is right, Sherri looks hot, hot, hot in boots. Carrie Ann said they, "lacked exuberance." Hello, it's the Tango! It's supposed to be serious. Sherri's body is expressive, sorry Carrie Ann, we should not have too much facial expression in Tango. I didn't know a "mean" expression was bubbly. The scores are low compared to last week. I thought this week was better. I would have given one "8."
Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas's Paso Doble. I loved how Katherine's costume was rock n' roll, but still captured the character of a Paso Doble. A very solid performance. I liked the use of the skirt reflecting the matador's cape. I actually agree with Bruno that Katherine could have finished off the moves, but we know she is a very clean dancer. It's nice to see the rougher side of Katherine. I don't think the strength "threw her off" as Carrie Ann said, she just missed a hand hold. I liked the way Len put it! In relation to last week, I would have given this one a "9."
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson's Tango. I haven't seen Jaleel as alive as he is in this package. I hope he brings it to his Tango. "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" is a great song for a Tango - very out of the box. It is harder in the Tango to show all of your energy because you have to be in a close hold all of the time, which is easier for Paso Doble. Jaleel does a great job with his frame, steps and musicality. Oops, they just did a lift, the same lift as Donald and Peta did in Week 2. It could have had a little stronger energy for Tango for the Rock week. This was very clean but it could have been rougher, the opposite of how the judges felt Katherine should have been cleaner. I agree with Len. Funny, Bruno, you want more aggression but you talk about "stalker walks," which are sustained and slow? What do you want Bruno? I guess Carrie Ann isn't the "lift police" anymore. The scores are OK. I would have given Jaleel and Sherri the same scores.
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovsky's Tango. Melissa is getting better and stronger each week. So far I really think this is the best choreography tonight, but what a shame that Max fell. I can't believe that Melissa is not scared given her broken back within the last two years. It takes a brave woman. I totally agree with Len. Bruno, it was very clear that Max slipped, it wasn't Melissa's fault. Don't try and discourage people from voting. I agree with Carrie Ann. I don't know where Bruno is coming from. Their costumes are very pretty and appropriate for the Paso Doble, but I would have liked a little more rock n' roll edge for rock week. Actually, Carrie Ann makes a point about being in close hold. I would have given three "8?s because I thought this was a little better than Sheri's and Jaleel's dances.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd's Paso Doble. I love the package - hilarious, a strong guy showing his sensitive side! Thank God that was a top shot because I think both feet were off the ground AGAIN! Where is Carrie Ann, the "lift police"? Donald did a good job, but sometimes you could see him think very clearly. But I love how his facials were strong like Paso Doble but also funky like rock. I would have liked to see more content as he was walking around a lot while others have had more content in their dances tonight. One thing is clear, they are working the female votes with the shirt off! Bruno, I thought it was good, but not "magnificent." I wish the dance was as passionate as Carrie Ann just was. I don't know which Paso Doble Carrie Ann was watching. Maybe I am off tonight, but I didn't think this was better than Donald's dance last week or the week before, and I say that simply because it lacked Paso Doble content. The scores were high. I would have given three "8?s or maybe even one "7? for a lack of content, and I have loved them week after week.
Gladys Knight and Tristan McManus's Tango. Go Gladys! A rock legend dancing to a rock legend's song, that sounds promising. I love how Gladys shows her feistiness. I didn't think she was that flexible, with those nice back bends! What Carrie Ann is trying to say is that the dance just didn't come together because of the choreography. I don't agree with you, Len. Gladys was feisty and strong but some of the choreographic elements just didn't make sense. This was the most ambitious routine for Gladys and it was a hard song. Nevertheless, there were other couples that also had hard songs to dance to. But, with no doubt, energy wise, this was Gladys' strongest dance. It's funny how the judges' comments just don't match their scores tonight, especially Len's comments about strong choreography. Yet Len gave Gladys a "6." The scores were right, but the comments didn't match the scores.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke's Jive. The Jive is fun and exuberant, but it's harder to make a Jive to rock n roll compared to strong Paso Dobles and Tangos. I love how William is game for anything in their video package. I know singing the song is sometimes unprofessional, but it shows everyone that William is having a sincerely good time. What a shame Cheryl couldn't do the circles with her legs. The good thing is that had she done the circles that would have been a "lift"! What a shame that the malfunction threw William off, so his kicks were off. He couldn't get back into it, but he did a good job otherwise. With obvious mistakes, an "8?? Really? Sherri did not make one mistake and she had lower scores!
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower 's Viennese Waltz . Viennese Waltz and rock, they couldn't be further away from one another, but let's have a look! Because the Tango and the Paso Doble are very powerful dances it is hard to make a Viennese Waltz as strong and appealing. Roshon is putting a lot of effort into posture and clean lines with great success. He is leaning back a little too much, but that is a minor point. I can't find the rock n' roll in this but it is a very nice Viennese Waltz. Great job and very solid. It's hard to compare a Viennese Waltz with a powerful Tango or PasoDoble. He did a very nice job and better than his package showed. Kudos to Roshon! Bruno makes a nice point that Roshon's long limbs create lovely lines. That was cute of Len to say "Good job Dawg," and deservedly so! Great scores. The best for the night so far and totally deserved. If I were Len I would have given him a "9? too.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough's Tango. Maria pushing through shows you something about her perseverance and I admire that. Great hold and I love her energy. A little booboo in her Viennese crosses. The tango is really serious and combining it with rock is really serious and all I see is Maria smile, which is out of character for the dance. The head banging made it a lot better because that was the hard rock. Not one moment did Maria let her injury affect her or her performance. It's great that the Greek contingency is showing their support! Nia Vardalos, Rita Wilson and John Stamos. I agree with Len about posture. I disagree with Bruno. I think the links could have been more in character and definitely without the smiling. Nonetheless, she did a wonderful job especially when you consider her injury. Awesome costume sexy, touch of rock and still Tango! I would have given one point below Roshon just because of the difficulty of the choreography. I thought Roshon's choreography was more challenging.
Gavin McGraw and Karina Smirnoff's Tango. I love seeing the calm on Gavin's face and yet Gavin's body is strong. This is the most ambitious dance for Gavin so far and he is doing the technical steps of the Tango. As a couple, I commend them. They are really staying in close hold. This is Gavin's best dance, in my opinion. It's strong but still contained and it is powerful. It had some pensive moments but overall this was also Gavin's best performance. He could have been a touch more aggressive. His frame wasn't bad, Bruno. Len, last week William's butt was much further out in the Quick Step! I agree with Carrie Ann. I don't get it! Len is complaining so much and Len gives him an "8," which is the right score. I would have given three "8?s.
Overall, it was a good night. I didn't always agree with the judges though. I am worried for Gladys, but hopefully her fan base will save her. Will it be Gavin because it's his third week in the bottom two, or will he surprise us and avoid the chopping block? We will all find out tonight!!