If I didn’t know better, I’d swear she peeked at Bruno’s scoring throughout the show because she mirrored him for all but one dance. The judges must have told her before the show how they would be scoring: ‘No paddles below a 7 because these are ‘all stars’ and they’d be crushed if we used anything less at this point’.
To be fair, the judges are in an uncomfortable position; but one that they have brought upon themselves. Their hands are now tied. This season they brought in the half-point paddles and said they’d be scoring much more harshly. I really wish they had meant it. Instead of using the lowest numbered paddles for the truly inept, they reward them for whatever characteristic they can find to rave about: confidence, entertainment factor, drama, etc. Can’t say that I blame them since they have to sit in front of a very vocal audience. If they score a couple truthfully, they have to deal with a ruthless public backlash that consists of the voters calling in to save their poor victims. They also have an obvious tendency to play favoritism with some stars or pros Unfortunately, all of these things combined are what leads to the greatest dancers being eliminated early and the incompetent with huge fan bases to remain.
I really wish the judges would just realistically critique the dances. They are supposed to be the ‘experts’ on the minute details of each performance and whether they are done correctly. They hold 50% of the final tally that is combined with the viewer’s votes to determine who gets eliminated. That power needs to be used sooner rather than later or we’ll be left with a Bristol and Kirstie final two. Get a clue!!!
Let’s get into my recap of last night’s show. The couples were pre-approved to do lifts and tasked with performing ‘unfamiliar’ to the ballroom dance styles. These were selected for them on last week’s results show by another couple. Some strategy was involved – choose a style you know you don’t want to ensure it’s not available for yourself, as most did, or do your best to sabotage, like Cheryl did to Val and Tony did to Karina.
The night kicked off with Kirstie popping out of a cake and enticing baker man Maks to join her in a Charleston to “42nd Street”. This number was fun, fun, and fun! To see this 61-year-old woman do an assisted cartwheel so perfectly when I’ve never managed to get my feet more than a foot off the ground was impressive. Watching her grab Maks’ head and burying his face into her cleavage for a full 8-count probably made a lot of people jealous. (I know I wouldn’t have minded being in her place.) They finished with some strange floor moves that Bruno compared to Shelly Winters in “The Poseidon Adventure”. Judge’s scores: 7.5/7.5/7.5/7.5 for a total of 30.
Bristol was tasked with Rock and Roll. She was under the initial impression that it was heavy metal until Mark corrected her that it was actually 50’s. She admitted to having a really hard time getting the basics down which forced Mark to dummy down the routine. They danced to "At the Hop" by Danny & the Juniors. I’ve sat every summer for nearly 20 years and watched hundreds of live theater shows to this exact song and seen much more animated, energetic, and remarkable routines done by untrained 16-30 year olds. Sorry to say that I found nothing noteworthy in this routine for me. I wish Mark had instructed her to at least put some ‘hop’ in her steps so he didn’t outshine her so transparently. Judge’s scores: 8/8/8/8 for a total of 32.
As I predicted, the ballroom’s mirror-ball dropped for Sabrina and Louis’ Disco routine to "You Should be Dancing" by the Bee Gees. They decided to steer clear of “Saturday Night Fever” and go with a “Studio 54” feel, which I guess they accomplished. To be quite frank, I was more stunned by Sabrina’s transformation from the Cookie Monster koosh ball we saw bouncing around from the beginning of the show into Tina Turner to notice much else. Some of the judges commented on her being off in her timing a couple of times but the only thing that caught my eye was Louis almost dropping her in their end pose. Judge’s scores: 9/9/8.5/9 for a total of 35.5.
Emmitt was blessed getting Bolero, the Cuban dance of love, to "Better in Time" by Leona Lewis. Cheryl not so much as she had to bring in [I]four[/I] other professionals to help her out. I was so disappointed to see another dance where the male star became the stripper pole for the female pro. While the dance was beautiful, I detest the foot placement-hiding smoke machine, we could still witness his feet were firmly planted for nearly half of the song while Cheryl did all of the moves. I get so aggravated because I think these types of dances should be reserved for female stars with male pros. I feel as though Emmitt may be in trouble tonight because he hasn’t stepped up his game like everyone else’s been striving to do. Judges loved the drama and scored: 9/9/9/9 for a total of 36.
Gilles was boastful last week that he could dance anything. I truly worried that Bollywood would be his downfall because of his injuries we always hear about. Peta had to call in an expert and later we saw them both suffer during rehearsals: she had a mini-meltdown and Gilles a knee wound that we only saw. Their dance "Jai Ho" by A.R. Rahman proved me wrong, as it was exotic, fast-paced and dazzling to witness. I was more amazed by this routine than any other Bollywood I’ve seen on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. Paula mimicking Bruno said, “Gilles my love, I’ve got a special little bottle I’d like to keep you in.” Judge’s scores: 10/9.5/10/10 for a total of 39.5.
Melissa’s package started off in her Dallas home where we got to see her adorable daughter Ava and husband Ty. She met up with Tony and they decided to do lots of lifts, tricks, and flips for their Jitterbug to "This Cat's on a Hot Tin Roof" by Brian Setzer Orchestra. The malt shop décor they used was the perfect setting and didn’t distract from the high-energy or rapid fluidity of the performance. There was one flip that Tony failed to land her perfectly on but neither one of them missed a beat. I think I counted eight different lifts in their 2-minute number. Impressive! Judge’s scores: 9/9/9.5/9.5 for a total of 37.
This week we got to see gymnastic Olympic gold medal winner, Shawn, visit her hometown and meet the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team before watching her and Derek try to incorporate even more gymnastics into yet another routine. Is anyone else getting as bored with the gymnastics as I am? Oh yeah, Derek did get to highlight a little of his other career as a musician by playing the bongo drums for their Mambo to "Para Los Rumberos" by Santana. I was grateful we were only threatened by the pre-package that it would again be saturated by gymnastics. Shawn’s dancing in this routine was on par with Derek and there was actually a lot of genuine dance content. Judge’s scores: 10/9.5/10/10 for a total of 39.5.
Apolo was tasked with Hip Hop to "Poison" by Bel Biv DeVoe, which Karina had the misfortune of not having any knowledge of and had to bring in a choreographer just to learn the dance from. Poor Karina. Midway thru the dance she did a high sweeping leg kick as Apolo prepared to remove his jacket when her foot slid out from under her and she landed on her right thigh. Apolo continued tearing off his jacket, then his dangling mic pack, as Karina clambered back onto her feet. After a second or two to regroup they continued on and afterwards Karina burst into tears thinking she had tanked their potential scores. Judges were very reassuring to her and scored them: 8.5/9/8.5/8.5 for a total of 34.5.
Kelly’s Contemporary dance to "Fix You" by Coldplay was my highest anticipated one going into the show. They did not let me down. Even though Val has never done anything but strict ballroom dancing, he managed to create a piece that was captivating and heart-wrenching. We all knew Kelly was dancing barefoot with a toe she had broken earlier in the day and it helped us feel her pain that much more. The lyrics were ‘as tears stream down your face’, and they certainly were flowing down Kelly’s by the end of the routine. Val, the valiant, carried her delicately in his arms afterward to their required places. Judge’s scores: 9/9.5/9.5/9.5 for a total of 37.5.
This week’s results show will have the highest cumulative scoring stars picking couples to form teams to perform freestyle routines for next week to go along with their individual Guilty Pleasure-themed dances. It will also feature a duet with Donny Osmond and Susan Boyle, a Macy’s Stars of Dance performance by ‘The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers’, and Carson Kresley will ‘pull back the curtain’ on all of the secrets he’s uncovered.
These are my opinions: If you agree, disagree, or have some of your own, I’d love to hear it here. Speak up!
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