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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

Dancing with the Stars, Oct. 7 – “Keep on Keepin’ On”

Somehow it all worked out right last week. Bill Nye went home while dealing with a debilitating quadricep muscle tear and a lack of dancing ability. Bill Nye and Valerie Harper could be right behind him, but it would definitely be sad to lose them. In fact, it’s such a great cast this season, it will be difficult to lose any of them. Tonight Len Goodman is missing from the judging panel and replaced by former DWTS professional dancer Julianne Hough.

Partners: Jack Osbourne and Cheryl Burke. They’re doing the quickstep, and it’s very physically demanding for him, although the two of them argue about who is carrying who in the dances. She gets short with him only to admit she is PMSing. Oversharing, Cheryl. He accuses her of wanting to dance with Corbin.

Dance Style: Quickstep
Song: Man Like That

Me: His frame looks good after they worked on it, and his footwork looks pretty awesome as well.
Julianne: Ballroom is definitely Jack’s strong suit, but he needs to smile more.
Bruno: “Jumping Jack Flash, so full of tricks.” He kept up the pace well, but needs to watch his frame.
Carrie: She liked the frame and thinks he’s more animated this week.

Last Week’s Score: 7, 7, 8 = 22 This Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24

Partners: Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Val Chmerkovskiy. They’re doing the Argentine Tango this week. she institutes her own lesson into it, and that’s the two of them staring intently into each other’s eyes for a long period of time. She found great value, but I’m not sure if he did.

Dance Style: Argentine Tango
Song: Symphony 6: Fair Thee Well and the Requiem Mix

Me: She looks very elegant, but part of that is just her body as a whole, yet her dancing certainly adds to it as well.
Bruno: The bewitching creature has taken everyone on a journey to the hidden depths of passion and did it without going wrong.
Carrie: Elizabeth has been the most elegant and sensuous dancer from day one but tonight cut through some of the movements with a sharpness she hadn’t seen before.
Julianne: She has been one of Julianne’s favorites since the beginning and gave her goosebumps tonight. Elizabeth took control instead of waiting for Val.

Last Week’s Score: 8, 9, 8 = 25 This Week’s Score: 9, 9, 9 = 27

Partners: Brant Daugherty and Peta Murgatroyd. They want to retain the lead position this week and maybe even be the first team to earn a 10. It’s Peta’s first solo salsa on Dancing with the Stars, so she recognizes the pressure is on. He has an old shoulder injury that makes it hard to do the lifts, leading her to take out the hardest ones but hoping to keep some of the others in.

Dance Style: Salsa
Song: Shake Señora

Me: The lifts that they keep in work well, but his other moves don’t look right. They’re almost too animated.
Carrie: The lifts were fantastic, but she cautions that when you take off your shirt, it’s very revealing, and she saw that he needs to work more on the salsa moves.
Julianne:When he took off his shirt it was awesome, but she does agree with Carrie Ann and thought it was a little loosey goosey.
Bruno: He had no idea Brant was such a party animal, but as far as his moves, “the girls are right.”

Score: 9, 9, 9 = 27 This Week’s Score: 7, 7, 7 = 21

Partners: Valerie Harper and Tristan MacManus. She feels her low score last week was fair. This week they’re doing the Viennese Waltz. She feels the song, Carry On, is a great sentiment and almost the musical equal to the message she’s trying to accomplish after her diagnosis. However, she’s struggling with the steps yet again and is not willing to quit. She’s here for the party and wants to “keep on keepin’ on.”

Dance Style: Viennese Waltz
Song: Carry On

Me: She’s having a hard time with her steps still, and it’s quite obvious, although there are times where she still looks great.
Julianne: She is teary-eyed and is another to mention Val’s courageousness. She was elegant to start out but thinks when they separate it shows more vulnerability.
Bruno: She painted some pretty pictures, but if she goes wrong, she needs to cover it up and not show it.
Carrie: She loves watching her carry on and agrees there were some beautiful moments, but it makes the mistakes show more.

Last Week’s Score: 6, 5, 5 = 16 This Week’s Score: 6, 6, 6 18

Partners: Leah Remini and Tony Dovolani. Leah admits she’s not as much of a nervous wreck as she was in the beginning. To get 9s this week, she suggests Tony come down a pole in something skimpy. She thought the Cha cha ha would be slower and is wrong. While she asked Tony for less moves this time, he instead gave her more harder moves.

Dance Style: Cha cha cha
Song: Papi

Me: She’s always dances so sexy and looks great this week. Leah could go on to be the most improved dancer this season if she continues.
Bruno: She was channeling the J Lo attitude and performed so well and only needs to work on that footwork.
Carrie: She loves watching her beause she’s in the zone. Carrie wants Leah’s movements to match up to her face.
Julianne: She thinks Leah’s footwork was actually strong and quick, but she wonders if maybe the shoes aren’t as flexible, while also seeing the same disconnect as Carrie.

Last week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24 This Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24

Partners: Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff. Carrie Ann said last week that Corbin’s hip-hop keeps coming though his ballroom moves. He wants to learn the paso doble this week the right way. Karina wants to make it as traditional and technical as it’s supposed to be. His natural ability challenges Karina to give him the best choreography and techniques.

Dance Style: Paso Doble
Song: Zorongo

Me: It definitely looks very traditional. In fact it looks amazing.
Carrie: The intensity was smoldering and the movements were absolutely stunning. Yet because it was so good, just a little of the hip-hop still snuck in.
Julianne: She appreciates the lack of gimmicks because he doesn’t need it. His hips need to be under though.
Bruno: They had the pure essence of the paso doble. He agrees the hips need to go under to get the traditional Spanish line.

Last Week’s Score: 9, 8, 9 = 26 This Week’s Score: 9, 9, 9 = 27

Partners: Nicole Polizzi and Sasha Farber. The dance this week has a cheerleading theme, and Nicole is anxious to put her bad feelings of cheerleading behind her. When she was cheerleading in school, the competitiveness of it brought her anorexia. The added stress of flying back and forth each week between the east and west coast is taking a toll on her.

Dance Style: Jive
Song: Mickey

Me: She is one-hundred percent in her element. Cheerleading is her thing. She has the energy and the bounce for it.
Julianne: This is so Nicole. She’s using her face and everything, yet her flicks and kicks need be a little better and she needs more of a connection.
Bruno: “Oh Snooky, you’re so fine you blow my mind.” Her performance level has grown, although this seemed like more of a Lindy Hop.
Carrie: She wants to see a cartoon of Snooky the cheerleading dancing girl. Carrie Ann does not that Nicole’s arms were a little T-Rex like.

Last Week’s Score: 9, 8, 8 = 25 This Week’s Score 8, 8, 8 = 24

Partners: Christina Milian and Mark Ballas. Being in the bottom two last week, she worries that people aren’t voting enough. The Foxtrot this week will be her first ballroom dance. She is now questioning herself as a performer, though, after that threat of going home.

Dance Style: Foxtrot
Song: Sexy Silk

Me: Just like Leah, she really gets the attitude nailed down here, perhaps even more.
Bruno: He hasn’t ever seen a Foxtrot so spunky and sultry. It wasn’t traditional. He would like to se her work on the section and hold.
Carrie: Christina is able to transition from style to style really well but does need to work on her shoulders to elongate herself.
Julianne: Every week has seen Christina be strong, gorgeous, and sexy, but this week Julianne was looking for a softer side and to have her stand out a little more.

Last Week’s Score: 9, 8, 9 = 26 This Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24

Partners: Amber Riley and Derek Hough. He jokes that they have an in this week since his sister is judging, but in reality he knows she will not go soft on him. Amber is another one dealing with a knee injury and doesn’t want to make it worse. She needs to get the fluid drained and has to watch Derek and Lindsay do it instead of participating. She is worried about that and doesn’t want to disappoint anyone.

Dance Style: Tango
Song: Love Lockdown

Me: She can take on the serous dance just as much as she can do the fun.
Carrie: Amber is in fine form tonight. They were connecting and were like one person. Her footwork is improved.
Julianne: She was hoping something would go wrong to give her a terrible score to not show favoritism. But “holy cow,” she was like a tight little explosion that hadn’t exploded.
Bruno: It was pure, unmistakably, classic, amazing tango. She’s a magnificent dancer.

Last Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24 This Week’s Score: 9, 9, 9 = 27

Partners: Bill Engvall and Emma Slater. He inadvertently hurt her in dress rehearsal last week, but it has only made them closer. The Samba this week is a lot of gyrations and hip movements. When he was 20 it would have looked cool, but at 56, he figures he just looks like a creepy old man. It maybe not be the prettiest hip movements, “but by God, they’ll be moving.”

Dance Style: Samba
Song: Cuban Pete

Me: He’s right; it’s not pretty. I wouldn’t say he looks like a creepy old man, but it doesn’t look very natural.
Julianne: The reason they kept him for last is because everyone there loves him. He’s the heart of the show, with his fellow competitors and audience loving him.
Bruno: He thought he was going to wet himself. It had everything you could ask for except timing and rhythm.
Carrie: Who needs Cuban Pete when you have Blue Collar Bill? It was really entertaining even though some of it was strange.

Last Week’s Score: 8, 8, 8 = 24 This Week’s Score: 7, 7, 7 = 21

With a combined score of last week’s viewer votes and this week’s judges’ scores, Bill and Emma, Elizabeth and Val, Leah and Tony, Corbin and Karina, Amber and Derek, Jack and Cheryl, Christina and Mark. This means Brant and Peta, Valerie and Tristan, and Nicole and Sasha are all in jeopardy. Being pulled out and sent back to safety right away are Nicole and Sasha.

The couple going home tonight after four weeks are Valerie and Tristan. This has been absolutely wonderul and completely unique. It was an opportunity for her to carry a message to folks that whatever your challenge, you need to keep on keepin’ on, just like their song tonight. Tristan says sometimes you get very lucky to do well with your partner, and sometimes you get lucky to meet someone who can affect it more. His life is a little better since he met Valerie.

Clearly, just considering dancing technique and performance, Valerie was the most deserving of going home. However, when it comes to indomitable spirit, she perhaps deserves to stay more than anyone else. I would think that not only has she left a mark on Tristan’s life, but the rest of us as well.

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