Villains Night? I thought it was just Halloween. I guess they had to specify villains to block all the Disney princess wannabees. Johnny might have run with it.
Carrie Ann’s costume gets honors for being weirdest. I’m not sure what it was – an Asian Queen of Hearts or Oriental Harlequin?
And Tyra’s disaster reminded me of the time I was in my little two-seater car and it was raining outside. I picked up my little push button umbrella and accidentally pushed the button. The mechanism was strong so it was determined to open. The inside of my car looked like Tyra’s wings.
I’ve always liked the Halloween show because they seem to up the ante on weirdness and it usually pays off. Sometimes it didn’t, like several of Mark Ballas’ disasters.
I was pleasantly surprised at this episode. In order to channel evil or malice they went with more serious music and that led to more serious dances (Paso, Tango, Argentine Tango). We had four paso dobles. When has that ever happened? And four tangos. All that left was a Viennese and a disqualified non-ballroom number. See, a good night. And the dancing was strong. I only really didn’t like one performance. When was the last time that happened? I’m not going to tell you which one I didn’t like until the end. But speaking of paso doble. One of my favorite of all times paso dobles was done as a Halloween dance. Little Red Riding Hood meets the Wolfman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IAoBj6EaFc
Once again, my three favorite performances were from my three favorite performers. I just can’t figure out which topped the other. They all pushed different buttons and worked on such different levels. However, one did manage to stand a little above the rest.
Justina and Sasha. Sasha seems to love Halloween. He used to always be behind the pranks they would show in outtakes. Not sure if he still is involved, but his intensity in the performance underscored how much he was into it. And his crazy eyes were a nice touch. I read the book and saw both movie versions of Carrie (loved them all). I think the character resonated with Justina as a plus sized Latina. Their tango was a tour de force of power, passion, menace, evil and just plain fun. I was mesmerized. Her scream was excellent. Then the use of her telekinesis to toss objects and even Sasha around was so cool. Sasha pulled some great choreo for this one. I was breathless when she finished trashing the scene. I’d say Stephen King would be proud. Definitely the best of the night for me. It captures Halloween.
Johnny and Britt. Absolutely LOVED IT! The fabulosity is definitely back. So on point and so gothic. They need to take care with the special effects though. I lost view of them in the smoke at one point. I want to be able to see what they are doing. From what I could see I was alternating between frissons and silly grins (a few maniacal laughs, but we don’t need to go there). The song was great. Definitely VW tempo but too hard driving for an ethereal dance. So they grabbed it by the throat and beat it into submission. It was like a triple rhythm paso. Mixture of dance and story telling at its best. Carrie Ann seemed to agree in her comments. I also liked Johnny’s story about identifying with the vampire as an outsider. He may be milking his outsider status, but it’s working. I’m glad he opted for a man’s outfit rather than pulling Vampira from Peta’s closet. I give it a 10.
Nev and Jenna completed the hat trick. It was just so creepy. I love the music for Swan Lake and it is eerie in its own right. Unfortunately for me although the music has a melancholy eeriness, I don’t pair it with danger and madness. I didn’t really see the story Nev said it was about, but I did see some damn fine paso going down. Maybe if I’d seen the movie it would have meant more. There was power and menace. There was violence and aggression. I was surprised that he looked so human. He has a face that would be a natural for a Jekyll/Hyde routine. Or maybe zombie apocalypse. Speaking of zombie apocalypse and madness, here’s a nice memory. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wftw2ev_waQ
Chrishell and Gleb’s number was so weird. I mean that in the good sense. The music had no real beat, just a kind of slow cadence, so they were left to interpret the feeling and mood with paso. And they nailed it. I loved the evil she channeled. Gave me goosebumps. I just wish the music would have had more punch, maybe moments of power. She needs to watch her face. Some of her evil leers morphed into “I’m so happy to be here” grins. Gleb always has good pd choreo and this one had so much of what an earlier one had lacked. Bruno was right when he said it was mesmerizing. I loved that she got so excited over the good scores. They’re so cute when they do that. They should have gotten straight nines.
And there were other joys to be had. Surprisingly, one of them was Nelly and Daniella. I wrote him off as just another rapper whose career is tanking and needed some visibility. That may be true, but the man can dance. Who’d a thunk? I’ve never been a Nightmare on Elm Street or Freddie fan. I like my horror either classic (e.g. Dracula) or psychological thriller realism (Psycho). It’s just not my kind of movie. But that song and the Argentine Tango merged to form just the right platform for their message. Daniella masterfully brought out the latent sexual mixture of evil and dreams, the eroticness of blood and terror. Nelly got a little foot happy a couple of times and Derek called him on it. His flicks also lacked conviction. I couldn’t see why Derek gave him a nine after pointing out what was wrong. An eight would have sufficed. It was a nice dance and a lot of fun, but I think the scores were inflated.
After referencing Chrishell and Gleb’s and Nev and Jenna’s paso dobles above, a less luminary quantification would be Jeannie and Brandon. I’m not sure why I wasn’t moved by it. I felt it lacked staccato and paso doble flair. It just didn’t look traditional and that’s what I want with pd. I think Bruno summed it up well when he said it lost the Spanish feel. Still it was grade inflation.
One of my all-time favorite horror fests is Psycho. Tony Perkins is deliciously looney in it. And was so avant-garde for its time. I was glad to find AJ and Cheryl were doing it because I knew she’d come through with a great tango. I got chills just from the set up. My only problem was that the music was too frenetic for tango. It rushed through the whole piece. It just didn’t seem to match up. What they did was great, but it missed the mark. I’d say that was the music, and not them. I did notice him hunching and am glad Carrie Ann called him on it.
I thought I would like Kaitlyn and Artem’s pd more than I did. I mean who can’t like Artem at his masculine best? But it had problems. I love the music. Disturbia is a cha cha for me, but if they want to dance pd, go for it. I don’t really think of 101 Dalmations as a horror movie, and that’s what I was grooving on up until this point. I guess Cruella is a villain in the strict sense but it didn’t work for me. And what was the story here? Cruella dancing with a dog? They performed it beautifully; no one pasos like Artem. But to what end? There was no evil in Kaitlyn’s Cruella; no fear or menace; no anger or aggression. It was plotless and emotionally stale. Here’s what I mean by the dance telling a story. Just a slasher trope but so so creepy. I like it even though it’s contemporary. Go full screen on this one and it’ll scare the bejesus out of you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpDY5-rrck0
Thanks to Derek for calling everyone’s attention to what a great dancer Artem is. I may sound like an Artem groupie, but the man throws it down.
The final two were a questionable one and one I really didn’t like. One, obviously was the jazz routine. I’m not going to go into a diatribe about jazz again this week. Much as I want to. Monica and Val had good and bad points. They used what actually looked like dance moves to tell a story and it held me spellbound (the music helped). A big problem was Monica wanting to play temptress. Nurse Ratchet was definitely not a temptress. It did remind me of the maid who morphed back and forth between young temptress and old crone in American Horror Story about three or four seasons back. That was one of the best written horror series since Twilight Zone. I believe it was brought to us by the same creative force that brought Glee. Now if that isn’t a whiplash for change in direction. I think he also produced Scream Queens, that wonderfully campy whodunit that ran for several weeks. It starred Jamie Lee Curtis, who is a veteran horror hostess, as Dean Munsch (some puns come to mind, but I won’t go there).We also got John Stamos and Taylor Lautner as romantic rivals, Michele Lea apparently for her talentlessness and the deliciously whacky and my all-time favorite Niecy Nash and all her jiggly parts. But I have digressed. The good overrode the bad in my opinion. One of the better jazz pieces.
Which brings us to the worst of the night. Skai and Alan’s mess. I was never into Chucky or Bride of Chucky. I got it mixed up with Chucky cheese. Just not my type of movie. Maybe if I’d seen the movie I would have known what was going on. But dance is an art form that is supposed to take you on a journey even if you don’t have a map. I shouldn’t have to know all the ins and outs, whatever they may be, of Chucky if danced well. Even Alan said at the beginning that Argentine Tango was about telling a story. So, uh, where’s the story? I got angsty, overwrought, emo teenagers, one black and one white, apparently in Appalachia by the costuming. I would make a snarky remark about West Virginia here, but North Carolina has those pockets too. So mostly it looked like an illicit, interracial love affair getting out of hand. Those things never go well in the uber-Conservative South. So there is definitely a horror story there. I can’t be sure, but I don’t think that is what Chucky is about. The moves and shapes were fine, but it just went nowhere. It definitely didn’t rate nines. Her agent must have some dirt on the judges because they just seem to pander to her. I usually like the new system of the judges deciding who goes home because they can protect us from the mindless masses who do as they are told. No matter who are in the bottom two, the judges can save the better dancer. But they seem to have lost their minds over this kid. I’m not really loving her personality as it comes out. Her dancing is good but it’s nowhere near the level the judges are singing seraphims about. Since I was on a Milo Manheim kick this week, here’s how a real star dancer who’s only 19 handles himself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAhZ5cTp6KU He’s dancing here with Riker Lynch. Both boys came in second in their seasons. Riker lost to Rumer Willis (yeah, she was a little better) and Milo lost to, wait for it, Bobby Bones. WTF? That’s one of the reasons they had to change the rules. So when Skai starts showing me stuff like this, then I’ll say she’s a dancing star. Until then she needs to sit down and shut up.
We’re getting down to what my dad used to call short rows. After next week’s double elimination they will be down to seven people, only three off of the four they’ll send into the final. So far, no surprises. The past few weeks we have weeded out the chaff. Back when I thought Nelly couldn’t dance, he was the one I picked to leave this week and then Monica next week. Just flip that.
Here’s how the remaining fall out to me, ranked best to worst. I’ve starred who I think will win. Three stars for first, two for second and one for third. Hopefully, I’m wrong.
*Johnny/Nev These two have star power. Johnny’s got the buzz and Nev is the surprise dark horse.
Justina This sassy Latina wants to take it home. She gets the big girl vote and has grabbed most of our hearts.
AJ Everybody loves boy band refugees. AJ has struck the right tone of growing up, being humble and seeming like a really nice guy. Plus he can dance.
**Kaitlyn Another boring bachelorette, but DWTS and Bachelor are owned by the same company. And don’t tell me the producers don’t meddle with the voting.
***Skai I need the emoji for sticking my tongue out. She’s a Disney princess and the judges have crowned her a dancing queen.
Jeannie She should get some nice parting gifts.
Nelly He’s made his mark. He might need to leave before he loses his street cred.
Chrishell Not much there, but Gleb can make even a burlap sack look good.
And here’s my parting Halloween treat. Sweet dreams.