DWTS Week 6

10-19 20

Mixed bag with a scare at the end. Let’s take this apart.

First off, it was apparently My Most Miserable Memory night, where they all tell maudlin tearjerker stories to make us feel for them.

And Tyra’s opening outfit. They must really hate her. How wide are those hips? Those pants do her no favors. And the top seemed to be a burlap bag with some sequins glued on.

The highlight of the night had to be Derek’s tour de force performance, reminding us of why he has six glitter ball trophies. I only have three words to describe it. O M G !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That’s what I came to see. I was covered in a musical frisson chill from the opening note. Fast and hard (like Bruno likes it). Part paso, part flamenco and all awesome. I would pay to see that every day. Yow!

Interestingly, the Derek performance kind of kicked the show into high gear. The six performances before him were pedestrian at best. The five after were sparklers.

Best of the night. AJ and Cheryl. OMG the boy’s got game. He killed it! I was wooting and jumping around the room cheering him on. He was giving out sass like nobody’s business. He could give Johnny lessons on how to be fabuloso. It was a real live samba. 10

Jeannie and Brandon gave me a rumba with some teeth in it. Strong, sharp, deep, emotional and sexy without being sex. So many gorgeous lines. I got some minichills. Brandon’s choreo has never moved me before, but he has improved. Loved the costuming and I want his shirt. She was robbed in the scoring.

Justina (and Sasha) was the only one of my favorites to make a mark tonight. Her VW was so beautiful. A few too many hard edges and I could have done without all the feathers but still, so beautiful. As Bruno said – Radiant.

Chrishell and Gleb got to do a dance that he excels in. I’ve always liked his contemporary. It always touches me. This was no exception. Wow. Gorgeous movement. The song moved me and the dance made me cry.

As for Kaitlyn and Artem’s samba, I didn’t see it the way the judges did. I liked AJ’s much better. Granted, AJ’s was choreographed to show off the man, whereas hers was choreographed to show off the woman and I liked his moves more. I think the content of his was superior. She’s good and will continue to move up and AJ’s days are numbered. But tonight went to him. And what’s with Artem’s pants? Are 1950s high water pants coming back in style?

Then there was the first half of the show which was an unmitigated mess. If you tuned in just as Derek was getting started, you missed nothing.

It started with my two favorites doing absolutely awful dances.

Johnny looked like he stumbled or got off time at the very beginning but picked it up and gave us Johnny face. He was totally sassy. But to me, salsa is supposed to be sexy with the woman being feminine sexy and the man being macho sexy. With the hose and fringe skirt Johnny missed the macho boat. Call me old fashioned but ballroom has conventions, traditions and expectations. One of them should have been wearing pants. Carrie Ann called them on it rightly. Now they’re doing instant voting I think America showed what they thought of his costume. The envelop can be pushed, but only so far.

Nev and Jenna were disqualified for failing to do ballroom. I came to see ballroom. They just jumped around like a pair of idiots. It was athletic, but nothing else. At that point I was 2 for 2 in disappointments.

Skai and Alan. What the hell were those costumes about? He was a zebra and she had on a blue tutu and wig they must have grabbed off a hooker down on Santa Monica Boulevard. I thought next week was Halloween. As for the dance, yeah she screwed it up. Aside from that, it had no hip action because she has no hips. I figured she be one of the bottom two and the judges would of course save her. I don’t know why they feel the need to fawn on her.

Vernon and Peta were a bright spot in the first half. Their routine had some cha cha and a lot of Vernon’s special dance. In the cha cha he was wooden and jerky, but when he did his thing he was selling it. He was having a blast and it was nice to see him have fun. Carrie Ann got it right that he’s easy to watch because he loves dancing. And now I know what happened to that hideous sofa that used to be in Grandma’s parlor.

Val danced a beautiful rumba and Monica held on for dear life. Nice hip action and extensions, but most of the moves were simple. My problem was her face. Her smile was not real. It was so obviously fake that it kept distracting me. I did like that the dance was romantic rather than vertical sex. I don’t know. Maybe she felt weird about dedicating it to her husband and then getting intimate with another man.

Nelly and Daniella got ridiculously high scores from the judges. I loved what Daniella did, she almost achieved escape velocity with her Viennese. But she was dragged down by Nelly’s dead weight. The opening sequence he did well, with flow and arms. But when the feet got involved it was a mess. At least Derek called him on it. He was my choice to go. Well, actually my choice to go was Skai but I know that’s not going to happen.

So nothing much happened tonight except they let Vernon go. I had decided that he and Nelly needed to be next. Maybe they’ll boot Nelly next week.

I still say the best dancers are a two-way tie for first with Johnny and Nev, and Justina a close second (or I guess that’s actually third). I don’t particularly care for Skai and Kaitlyn is good but not stellar, but I see them as spoilers since they have incredible fan bases. Next week is Halloween and that’s usually a good time. Looking forward to it.

DWTS Week 5

October 12, 2020

Oh, it’s 80s night and I’m feeling right, sung to the tune of Ladies Night. We have entered the Land of Mullets.

I’m not even going to get into TB’s costume changes, other than how many times did she change? Such a waste of their budget.

I liked two of the judges’ clothes choices. The deep colored dress suited Carrie Ann. Now if she’d just ditch the pan-fried hair. I’m not sure what Derek was going for, but I’m pretty sure he missed the mark. It was just odd. Bruno won the night, totally rocking the Gay Miami Vice look.

I have to wonder if there is any rhyme or reason to the dance styles they do. I mean, four tangos in one night?  And jazz? OMG

Let’s just get this out of the way. There were three disqualifications right off the top. Jazz is not a ballroom dance (noticed I used my indoors voice) and will not be sanctioned.  Most offensive was Justina and Sasha. There was no dancing. It looked like an aerobics class to me. It lacked fun, grace or dance. So disappointing since she’s usually one of my top three. I noticed that Derek only talked in generalities about this stage of the competition, never actually talking about what they did. Bruno just perved on Sasha’s pectorals. Conehead Carrie Ann just dithered with her fried hair. Maybe they were all thinking what I was thinking and didn’t want to admit that the emperor had no clothes.

Skai and Alan, and it’s me, not her. I just don’t like her. Probably not her fault, I just wish she’d go away. And take Tyra with her. Their faux dance was midway between the Justina/Sasha mess and Jeannie and Brandon. It had lots of flashy, ballsy lifts but that was about it. Throughout the first half it looked like they were stepping tentatively as if their feet hurt. By about the third lift the tentativeness was gone but she still kept pulling odd faces. And where’d they dig up Alan’s wig? It didn’t look like Doc; it looked like Martha Washington.

As for Jeannie and Brandon, now that was a performance I could get into. It was fun, frisky and had real dance elements. Everything the other two weren’t.

I’m having trouble deciding the worst actual ballroom dance of the night. I’ve got it down to two couples. One was Nelly and Daniella’s attempt at samba. It had nice samba content as the judges noted. Unfortunately, Nelly did not have nice samba content. Samba has an unusual beat that no one wants me to bore them explaining and Nelly must have checked out on that conversation also. He hit the beat some of the times and was completely off some of the time. He had a great time, smiling up a storm and doing inventive footwork (just not samba footwork) but it just didn’t work. He has no flexibility in his hips and makes me afraid I’ll dance like that after my spine fusion next week. I don’t know what happened with the judges. They were way too generous.

But I guess honors for the worst of the night has to go to Vernon and Peta. What a mess! It looked like he got in her way during the first move and she stumbled. They never got it back together. He was definitely scary looking with all the dreads. He was a ringer for Laurent, the black vampire in Twilight (Yes, I watched Twilight. I’m a Jacob fan. Edward was just gross). It lacked grace and poise and he just looked like a surly stumblebum vampire. Too bad; I like Vernon. And of course Peta isn’t going to let us get away without a few crotchshots. No comment.

And speaking of tango, there were three, count ‘em, three more. Bottom of that pileup was Jesse and Sharna. I so wanted Jesse to do well because he’s with Sharna. It just wasn’t happening. He opened a bit wooden, it seemed there was no mental connection between them. Once in frame he got better, but near the end he seized up again. And the emotion he was projecting was more paso doble anger than tango burn. I don’t know what he’s done as an actor, but must have been soaps. They don’t know the difference between anger, burn or chew the scenery melodrama.

The judges reversed the last two tangos from what I thought they deserved. Kaitlyn and Artem did something that would have given Len a coronary. First was all that freaking jumping around before the dance and then ending it with stiff 35-year-old white girl trying to bust a b-move? What tango they did was good, but not as good as what I expect from Artem. He’s about to be dethroned as my favorite male pro over this. And when did he get so bow legged?  And wasn’t their song, “I Think We’re Alone Now” from the 60s? Yes, talentless Tiffany covered it in the 80s but that doesn’t make it 80s music any more than the Boston Pops’ cover of Blue Danube makes it modern music.

The tango of tangos was Monica and Val. I need to take up smoking so I can have a cigarette after something like that. Wow. What she did was pretty good, but Val was a force to be reckoned with. When that man gets his tango on, everybody just stand back. It was a no holds barred smackdown. Some of his moves left me gasping. From when they fired guns over each others’ shoulders (with sexy body rolls) to their hair-raising race to the finish I was just hanging on. Yeah, love me some Tainted Love.

There were a couple of also rans. Chrishell and Gleb stumbled through a messy cha cha. She either missed or dragged on nearly every step. Those baggy pants never made anyone look good and did no favor to her hips. And for the record, Gleb looks awful in a mullet.

AJ and Cheryl surprised me. I liked their waltz. It was weirdly credible from someone who looked like he was about to spew through the entire dance. He just looked soooo uncomfortable. He had all the right elements, but I just kept expecting him to stop, bend over, and lose his cookies. But Cheryl pulled him through, demonstrating once again that she is the mistress of the faux lead. She is always the first female pro to make it look like her partner is leading. Probably my favorite thing about her. I’d like to bring up a complaint here. Why do, when the dancers do any kind of spiral move, the camera is intent on spiraling around them in the other direction? It’s distracting and disorienting. It screws with the perceived speed of the move and makes me dizzy. I’m the one in danger of losing his cookies.

Once again they ended the show with wham bam show stopping performances. Johnny and Britt kept the fabulosity alive with a wild contemporary. I know contemporary isn’t ballroom but I’ve grandfathered it in when they actually look like they’re dancing. At least they weren’t wearing their jammies. But it was hard and soft and emotional and lyrical and just grabbed me. Bruno described it perfectly even though he screwed up the perfect score.

My favorite of the night actually got low scores. Shoot the judges. Nev and Jenna continue to surprise me every week. Okay, we’ve found out now that he’s a ringer, he used to take dance classes. But then, so many of them have. And he had the weird eyes even as a little kid, too. I’m an 80s nerd and love a-Ha and immediately perked up for the quickstep. They were perfectly in sync and no one even talked about the great jete. They had so much fun, it was just infectious (in a non-Covid way). Definitely my fave of the night. As Bruno said, it was exuberant.

I loved the music for every performance, but then, I’m an 80s guy. Probably the last decade they made decent music.

Unfortunately, I think they made the right choice in dumping Jesse. He just wasn’t cutting it.

Nelly, Vernon and Chrishel need to go next. I’m afraid we’re stuck with Skai because the judges think she’s precious. They are still impressed with her shameless pandering about her dead friend. Kaitlyn will stay around because of Bachelor nation. Justina outclasses Jeannie but neither may make it to the end. I want a smackdown between Nev and Johnny. Now that would be entertainment.

DWTS Week 4

10.5.20

Well, that was a CF if there ever was one. What a mess. Still, nowhere near the gaffe of Steve Harvey back in 2015.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DKDaSd-4nY

People are already calling for Tyra’s head. I’m not sure if she was at fault as Steve was so I won’t pile on. But she was very quick to throw everybody else under the bus in avoiding any responsibility. And if the fubar was with the cards she was to read, then Tom Bergeron would have done the same thing. But I imagine he would have handled the fallout with more grace. He had class. I kinda wondered what was going on when she said, “the two bottom couples” and there were still three couples on the floor. Gleb was whipping his head around, trying to figure it out, too. Yep, amateur hour all the way around.

And what is it with her costuming? It’s like a whole separate event of the evening. First, she comes out in yards and yards of gold lamé; yeah, she has a lot to cover. Then she shows up in a Xena top with a couple of rain barrels tied to her hips. And make up by Annie Lennox.

I have to be grateful there were no execrable performances over the evening and even a few 9s and a 10 dropped. Grade inflation, however. And I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but the music they are using has taken a nosedive. Some of the songs I would have ranked undanceable.

The judges seemed to lose their minds over Skai’s shmaltzy performance. It was cheap tearjerker drivel designed to deflect judgment of her dancing. Her actual performance was nice but a 9 would have been stretching the mark. She’s just not yet built for dancing. She needs to grow up some. It’s like watching a pubescent girl dance with her father. She has no boobs or butt or anything else to fill out a ballgown. Call me crass or sexist, but I call it like I see it. And Carrie Ann has a history of buying into it. The judges all got sidetracked on the “lovely tribute” and didn’t really talk about the actual dance. In it’s own way that is just as bad as Bobby Bones or Sean Spicer being kept on the show by people who aren’t looking at their dancing.

The highlights for me was the Nev/Johnny/Justina Show. They are the ones I look forward to. They know how to put on a show.

As odd as Nev looks (I can’t figure out if his eyes or smile is scarier, he’s gotta stick around until Halloween) he is growing on me. I like his attitude of not taking himself so seriously, his wonder at dancing and he’s a seemingly nice guy. He has the body of a mini wookie, but that’s okay. I liked the manscaping comments. I liked his rumba, but I was amazed that no one called his obvious foul. Every forward step (and there were many of them) was a heel lead. It just leapt out of the screen at me. Did no one see that? I thought sure that at least ditzy Carrie Ann would have called it. Incredible hip rolls, though. You don’t usually see that on men outside of pros.

Justina and Sasha are also favorites. I mean who doesn’t love Sasha? And Justina is always my favorite party. I love a plus size woman who just owns it like nobody’s business. Sassy and brassy and who cares about the scores. Time to partay! When she dances, she glows. Best dance of the night.

Fabulousness is in the ballroom again! Johnny has found his mojo and is working it. His routine could have used more kicks, but that was just because I was enjoying them so much. One of the performances that gave me chills. He should have got 9s but was robbed. And for the record, I adore Mama Weir.

The rest of the performances ranged from “That’s nice, dear” to “What have you been doing with all the time you weren’t practicing?” The four-way tie for last place was, well, yeah.

Jeannie and Brandon. Soulless. I hate a soulless tango. It just failed to move me. Her face vacillated between looking scared to “I just peed my pants.”

Nelly and Daniella. He may or may not have accomplished a Paso, but the song was a hot mess. That was not PD music, not even music in my old white guy estimation. It was awful rap junk and was so fast they couldn’t articulate the artistry. It became just flailing. I made that note before I listened to the judges and was surprised to hear Bruno also decry the “lack of artistry” and mention flailing. You go, Bruno. I was amused to see that Daniella must have broken into Peta’s dominatrix closet. And damn, but Nelly has some big muscles. Kind of weird for a guy whose name comes from a pejorative for limp wristed gay men. On an aside, I figured Derek would say he liked the music. He is desperately struggling to stay relevant as he ages, while being handicapped with being painfully white.

Jesse and Sharna, such a disappointment. He was totally checked out. I don’t know who the ringer was they sent in to replace him. He did everything okay, but there was no spontaneity, no flirt, no sass, no life. And I’m glad they finally called him about keeping his head in Sharna’s tits. They just said he was looking at her feet, but we all know where his eyes were.

Anne and Keo. I think I’m going to have to rant for a while on this one. She apparently tried to pull the same trick that Skai did. Deflect from the dance by tugging at the hearts of the audience. I was moved by how she has been treated for coming out gay. It’s a travesty. And I applaud her heroism. She still can’t dance. That was the most bloodless PD I’ve seen since Kate Gosselin and Sean Spicer stunk up the ballroom. And I want to talk about racism and victimization. Keo keeps getting put with partners who “admire” his body. You never see Gleb’s partner’s pawing him. Or Val’s. Or anyone else (okay, Pasha has gotten a couple of off-color comments over time). So why is it okay to objectify Keo? Is it because he’s black so it’s alright to treat him like he isn’t human? He’s just stage dressing. Anne may be a lesbian, but your gender orientation doesn’t stop you from being a bigot or a racist or just a tasteless person. Keo deserves a huge apology from ABC and most of the partners he has been tasked with. Okay, rant over.

Moving up the food chain, I was disappointed with the scores Gleb and Chrisell received. What they did is what I want to see. A proper foxtrot. Classic, fluid, sexy, and beautiful. It had all the elements and was performed with emotion. What’s not to like?

I think Vernon and Peta are my choice for the next elimination. What they did was nice, but it was all Peta. Her best rumba ever. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I have no idea what he did. He has looked familiar to me, but I’ve had trouble placing him. Last night is dawned on me that he looks so much like Amenadiel, Lucifer’s angel brother on my favorite series, Lucifer. Here’s his pic.

The two 24s and the 25 were puzzling. I found them all overrated.

Monica and Val’s samba was nicely done. It did have proper samba moves, but Val must be slipping. Her execution was just not up to his usual. No bounce, no joy, just workmanlike effort. They seemed to be holding back. I say let loose and kill it. Or go down swinging. Seven’s would have been more appropriate.

AJ and Cheryl. I paid to see cha cha, not krumping. What cha cha he did was enjoyable, even if there was too much stomping. But I saw that as he was so excited and just wanting to stomp it out. I like some of Backstreet Boys music, including the one they used. The “virtual” band was a disappointment. I was envisioning something more live, not just some pre-recorded holographs blown up to monstrous size. I’d give it at least one seven mixed in with the eights.

Kaitlyn and Artem. I’m sorry but I had trouble focusing on the dance. That monstrosity of an outfit Artem was wearing kept getting in the way. I just kept getting visions of Hannibal Lecter’s suit made of humans. Once that was in my brain, I was lost. The VW seemed short, with no swoop or etherealness. Definitely not a 25. Even though Artem is my favorite male pro.

That’s my thoughts. The worst of the worst have been winnowed out. Now time to go after the ‘also rans’. I think they need to boot Nelly and Vernon next, in whatever order they wish. Monica and Skai also need to go but now Carrie Ann is hooked on her I imagine Skai will be around to the end.

In Candide’s best of all possible worlds the finals would be Johnny, Nev and Justina. In reality I feel Skai and Kaitlyn will be spoilers.

DWTS Week3

9.28.20

I began last night like I have begun every show so far by saying, “What the hell is she wearing?” It appears they are expending the entire wardrobe budget on Tyra’s fashion don’ts. But I think I have uncovered their evil plan. They realize they have made a mistake hiring Ms. Banks but don’t know how to get rid of her. The idea is that if they keep dressing her like a cross between a muppet and Vegas showgirl she’ll get fed up and quit. We should be so lucky.

And Bruno. Someone should let him know there is a difference between filling out a shirt nicely and wearing one too small. Every time we saw him he looked like he had been stuffed in that shirt like a sausage. It looked as if any moment one of the buttons might fly off and take out someone’s eye. I prefer him with a tie anyway. The neck is getting a little old to be taken out in public.

What was Derek’s sash for? Was he a Disney prince? Princes have crowns. If he wants to be a prince just wear a crown instead of being coy with the sash. And why did it disappear a few minutes into the show? And then come back later? The mystery of the elusive sash.

Carrie Ann as a blonde. No, just no.

There was some good stuff and some break outs. Finally. Mostly within the final 15 minutes.

High point of the night. Nev and Jenna’s Argentine Tango. Now that’s entertainment. I got my first chills of the season on this one. I only get chills down my arms and into my chest on the very best dances and this one got a tingle going. It was sharp, crisp, menacing – everything A Tango is supposed to be. And with the weird eyes, he’s even scarier than Depp’s Jack Sparrow. Kind of bandy legged, though. But no one’s perfect.

Second best Johnny and Britt’s rumba. The fabulosity that is Jonny Weir finally showed up. It wasn’t vertical sex, for obvious reasons, but a proper rumba, with a little contemporary thrown in. The hip work was a little odd at places and I think they got off on he spin. Britt bounced on one leg and almost fell. That mucked with the rhythm and they didn’t match the music and the dance just kind of died at the end. But so nice while it lasted. Johnny’s best and I hope an omen of what’s to come.

Kaitlyn and Artem’s rumba was a surprise. Since they had on their jammies and were barefoot I expected some soft porn. But it turned out to be actual dancing. She did great for having a bad foot and Artem is my favorite male pro. I like whatever he does.

And then there were the ones where the judges were apparently watching another dance than I was seeing. Such as:

Chrishell and Gleb. Yes, what they did was nice. Very nice. But I felt robbed. It was mostly posing and then the spin. There was only one measure (123, 456) of waltz. I replayed it and counted. Gleb can do much better than that. A disappointment.

And Jesse and Sharna. Not nearly enough kicks and hardly any flicks. Just jumping about and flinging his feet around. Not a pointed toe in sight. I love Sharna but not that dance.

There were two Viennese Waltzes to compare and there was no comparison. Jeannie and Brandon won by a mile. Val is a beautiful smooth dancer with great shaping. Monica, not so much. He put in plenty of lift but she was earth bound. No flight, no float. Brandon really showed his chops and made Jeannie fly. Almost got goose bumps. And I loved when she stole Bruno’s paddle. It’s cute when they get excited.

Back to back Quicksteps was not kind to Keo. AJ and Cheryl stole that matchup. He got through it without messing up. Quite an accomplishment in QS. Lots of energy and I’m glad they covered all his ink with makeup. As an old white man, I just think he looks trashy. I know, I’m a dinosaur. And did he say his daughter’s name is Lyrica? Isn’t that a pain medication?

Anne and Keo were totally outclassed by AJ and Cheryl. One of the weakest jetes ever. And that was Keo. She didn’t even try, which may have been why his didn’t take off. The side by side was just a mess, looked like she forgot the choreo. And her objectifying Keo was just plain creepy. Why do they keep putting these strange creatures on Keo? Who did he piss off?

But Vernon and Peta kicked their asses when it came to QS. It had a slow start and I was worried. But somebody must have lit a fire in his butt ‘cause he suddenly took off like a rocket. He was so into it and that’s always fun to see. He’s a very likeable individual and I highly respect his devotion to his family and vow to be there for all his kids’ achievements and special moments. I think people forget how important that is to the kids. They remember.

Skai and Alan had a better jive than Jesse and Sharna but Skai had this weird Stepford Wives/department store mannequin grin on her face the whole time. As an actress I would think she would have a better game face or even RBF than that. I hope she brings it back on Halloween because it was just plain scary. Nice flicks but her timing was off at the beginning.

Charleston is NOT A  BALLROOM DANCE!

How many times to I need to tell them this? Is no one even paying attention? What’s next? Bollywood? Justina and Sasha didn’t even touch each other until the final couple of measures. That’s line dancing, not partner dancing. And she flubbed the steps. Loved Sasha’s cartwheel but the rest was cheesy, corny and bah humbug.

Nelly and Daniella weren’t terrible but it was a good thing Len wasn’t there to complain about all the folderal they did before they actually started dancing. And it started out okay, but it looked like he took a breath at the beginning and forgot to breathe for the rest of the dance. It was obvious he was running out of oxygen by the end. And his neck just disappeared as his shoulders crowded in around his ears. I like Nelly, the person. Nelly, the dancer, not so much.

And then Carole and Pasha stunk up the place with possibly the worse samba ever. I get it, she’s old and doesn’t know dance, but surely Pasha could have done something with her other than come up with the most over the top costumes since Mark Ballas. It was just sad.  

So far, over the first three shows I’m in agreement with the voters on who should be the bottom two and I agree with the judges on who to save and who to boot. I hope that continues. I think I like the new system and hope it will spare us future travesties like Bobby Bones and Juan Pablo di Pace.

I hope Anne gets the boot next week (sorry Keo, but at least you won’t have to put up with her pawing you anymore).

I predicted in the very first posting that Nev was my dark horse pick and he won the night running away. And now Johnny has his game on it might be a fun contest. Skai may make a comeback but for three nights out, she has not impressed. Bachelor Nation will keep Kaitlyn coming back every week for awhile. But I’m hoping for a Nev/Johnny/Justina smackdown. Could be epic.

DWTS Week 2

9.21.20

I was so completely underwhelmed by DWTS last week that I totally forgot it was on last night. Slipped my mind. Someone reminded me today, so I speed watched it this afternoon. Another hour of my life gone with nothing to show for it.

I have to begin with I am so, so, so tired of Tyra. She adds nothing but annoyance. Kind of like when brainless Burk Blank was co-host. And that outfit? What the hell was it? Looked like a cast off from Auntie Entity from Mad Max.

Who dresses the judges or are they allowed to pick for themselves? Did no one consider fuchsia beside pink is a fashion crime? Fuchsia is so definitely Bruno’s color, looks good on him. Pink is so definitely not Derek’s color. We’ll save his masculinity and call it dusty rose. It makes him look faded. And my eyes are still vibrating from the clash of them side by side.

On the positive side, there were no absolutely awful dances this time. Considering what they have to work with, that’s quite an accomplishment. Unfortunately there were no standouts. I agreed with the judges on the two best of the night, but little else. I got the feeling they were watching a different show.

Weird dance line up. There were five foxtrots and four cha chas. Then a mashup of the others. Who selects this? The music was mostly crappy, but I can’t complain too much when they had Fleetwood Mack and One Republic.

Best of the night was Kaitlyn and Artem. I love Artem’s dancing and am so glad they brought him back. The FT was beautiful, lyrical and dreamy; just like a FT should be. The shaping was so nice. It got the highest score of the night and it got the first 8.

Second, for me was Nev and Jenna. Such nice body rolls. He’s quickly becoming my dark horse favorite – a person who unexpectedly discovers a love of dance. Now if we could just do something about the scary eyes and creepy smile. And Derek is right, man is he hairy. But kudos for saying no to the manscaping.

The judges loved Justina and Sasha’s FT also. It had a nice fairy tale quality. She was so getting into it. I love to see a big girl carry herself so well and unselfconsciously. And I love Sasha’s choreo.

Jesse’s hair seems to have grown out some since last week or either he has extensions. Either way, he doesn’t look quite as much of a dork as he did earlier. He and Sharna’s FT was bothersome. For one thing the song was too fast. He was tentative and frequently flat footed with hunched shoulders. At least he mostly kept his head up and away from Sharna’s boobs.

I though AJ and Cheryls FT was flashy and very Hollywood golden era. It was cute and I like it. I’m with Bruno in that I thought it had pizzazz.

Interesting that my top 5 were four foxtrots and a cha cha. Well, they are two of my favorite ballroom dances. But then that changes daily.

I liked the music for Ann and Keo’s foxtrot, but once again, it was too fast. At one point it looked like they were doing quickstep. She’s still holding back and not finishing the moves, and I’ve never been overly fond of his choreo. Not his fault but it looked like his coat was made from an old couch at my grandma’s house.

And oh, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny. What are we going to do with you? You seemed to forget to pack your fabulosity. Tango is second only to PD in drama and this was so lifeless. The transitions were clunky and some of the moves were just so wooden. I guess in skating he can do the big move and then stop while his skates glide along finishing the move for him. Not gonna happen here. He had to do it all. He needs to get his game on or he’s a goner.

Okay, I like Alan. I loved his blue jacket (gotta get me one) and I love samba. I even kinda like his Skai. But that was a mess. I’m sure she’ll be around for a long time no matter how she dances because she’s a Disney princess, but that was just an awkward mess.

Nelly and Daniella. He looked so uncomfortable, kinda like my uncle at a wedding, trying to look cool and failing so, so badly. He tried to get his groove on, but it had apparently left the building.

Chrishell and Gleb. I expect more from Gleb than this. I’ve seen what he can do. I’ve also seen him choke. This was closer to the latter. It looked more contemporary than rumba. At least international rumba usually gives me a little bit of porn. Meh, it was too dark to see.

Charles and Emma. Just thankful he’s gone.

Jeannie and Brandon. She tried to be playful but it kinda looked creepy. Old people pawing young people is just so wrong. Also too staccato.

Carole and Pasha. They really gave the old lady VW on her second week? Really? Except for looking like a gold lamé Statue of Liberty she pulled it off. The long dress was good for hiding her mistakes. I would have liked more movement. There was just a nod to 123 and then all this bowing and curtsying and stuff Len would have called folderol.

Vernon and Peta. I’m disappointed in her. Usually she digs deep into her closet for dominatrix wear for PD. Vernon did some parts nicely and some parts I think he was having flashbacks to being on the football field. I thought he was going to tackle Peta. His leap was nice though. Jumping over the fullbacks into the end zone. Score! The shaping and menace was missing. He kinda reminded me of Gort (without the laser beam). All he needed to do was say Klaatu barada nikto (only SF fans will get that).

Monica and Val. Very little jive going on. I was waiting for it and suddenly the dance was over. What the hell? I also spent some time trying to figure out what the set and costumes were supposed to represent. If anyone has figured it out, let me know. Might be something simple, but I frequently miss the obvious. Hey, I fell headfirst down a flight of stairs when I was three. I have an excuse.

Next week is Disney. I hate theme weeks (except Halloween). I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Disney movie so I have no idea what they are going for. The songs are usually forced and clumsy and I could go on. But I won’t. At least it’s better than My Most Miserable Memory week.

Ok, so this is what I’m seeing happening. Carole gets the book next week. Skai and Kaitlyn will try to outcute each other. Bachelor nation versus Disney. An Alan/Artem throwdown. Justina and AJ stick around because of personality. Nev may hang on till close to the end. Remember you heard it here first. Unless I got it totally wrong. In that case, blame somebody else.

Fire Tyra

Can Tyra be the first to get the boot? Please.

Well, I wasted another hour of my life that I can never get back. At least with my DVR I can record it and the 2 hour slog-a-thon is only one hour once I fast forward through all the commercials. If I had to watch the ads also my brain would truly turn to jello.

Who is the marketing ‘genius’ that thought Tyra was a good idea? The same one who thought New Coke was smart? Tom Bergeron was a calming presence, kind of like the keeper of the zoo, although his humor sometimes reminded me of bringing grandpa home from the asylum for Thanksgiving. And Erin was great. You gotta love a six foot woman who wears heels. The producers said they were going in a new direction. Yeah, directly down the tubes.

Maybe they caught Tom doing something awful or doing someone awful. I still think that’s what torpedoed Giles Marini all those years ago. His shower scene on Sex and the City or whatever it was called was totally PG on TV. But someone leaked the footage that couldn’t be shown on TV to the web. Now we know why the character was called Mr. Big. I just checked. Yep, the pix are still there. Google “Gilles Marini Sex and the city shower scene” but be forewarned.

I considered taking a wait and see attitude with the new girl. Give Tyra a chance. Nope. Not gonna happen. So far she just seems to be a rack for fashion disasters and other crimes against nature. First she cruises out like an escaped float from the Rose Bowl Parade. Then a fuscia on red pantsuit? That’s so far beyond a fashion don’t, it’s a fashion hell no. In what universe is that supposed to be attractive? And that monstrosity around her neck?

The judges were equally disorienting. Carrie Ann is blonde now? Most Asians really don’t carry that off well. She’s one of them. She’s ditzy enough without punctuating it with blonde. And Bruno’s gone totally white. Maybe he got a glimpse of Lenny naked. Tyra called him a silver fox. More like ferret. Or weasel. I liked Derek’s circa 1980 necktie. I had one just like it.

And who choreographed that totally lackluster opening? DWTS needs to get their money back.

There were fifteen performances, so like the movie, it was Fast and Furious. So we got 30 second meeting shots, 30 second dances, 2 minute judge jawboning and on to the next commercial.

For me there were 6 performances of note: 3 surprisingly well, 2 supremely awful and 1 what the hell?

I had to wait all the way to the sixth dance to find something I liked. Jesse & Sharna. He had the hardest dance (QS) out of the box with the most content and mostly nailed it. I guess. I was watching Sharna. He needs to keep his head up and quit looking at his feet and Sharna’s boobs. And a crew cut? That hairstyle has looked good since, never. The wardrobe was awful.

A bit brighter spot was Nev’s foxtrot. It was what a foxtrot is supposed to be. It was classy and well executed. Great faux leading. Reminded me of Evan Lysachek, except Nev appears to have a personality. Here’s Evan doing a similar routine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nduAmka73hA The smile is a bit creepy. It seems to belong to a guy who is telling a little girl there is candy in the back of his van. If it wasn’t a fluke he could be the dark horse, the one who suddenly against all odds finds he can dance. And I love Jenna anyway.

The high point of the night had to be Justina and Sasha. Not only did it make me smile but I laughed out loud. I haven’t seen so many jiggly parts jiggling since Neicy Nash. What it lacked in style it more than made up for in sheer sass and brass. And I also love Sasha.

Then came the awfuls. Charles Oakley apparently couldn’t make it so they grabbed a wino from an alley and stuck a suit on him. So bad it hurt to watch. How can an athlete, a black athlete have absolutely no sense of rhythm? But if you look back over the history of the show, basketball players have always fared poorly. Stilt legs and monkey arms just make them too gangly to be graceful dancers. Plus they’ve not brought one on yet who had a sense of rhythm. I guess if you have rhythm they steer you toward football.

I really liked Pasha’s paso doble. Carole’s, not so much. Cute concept, atrocious execution. It gave me a nightmarish flashback to Sean Spicer’s paso. Her 3 wasn’t the lowest paddle ever, though. That would be Master P who got two 2s and a 4. (Don’t search for it. Your eyes will bleed). If they had negative paddles, I’d be waving them for old Carole. I imagine she and Charles are in a race for the door. Maybe there’ll be a double elimination. I was going to insert a video of Sean’s nightmarish paso but it is “not available” on line. Maybe he paid them to take it down. So I found an equally godawful paso. Kate Gosselin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EURnLDlPAAY

My ‘what the hell’ moment was Johnny Weir. I expected it to be ‘fabuloso’ but it was so mundane-o. No emotion or life. I wanted so much more from him. He’s been talking a big talk, now’s the time to man up. And fishnet stockings over hotpants? I think he got into Peta’s closet.

Skai Jackson was the highest scorer and it was not bad at all, just not standout. She’s a bit stiff to have such a long history of being on camera. And I can’t watch her all dolled up trying to look sexy without feeling like a pedophile.

The rest of the night was pedestrian, at best. Lots of chaff to work through.

AJ & Cheryl. My first question, is there any part of his body that isn’t inked? And are those prison tats or rehab? He says he’s been a Backstreet Boy for 28 years. Dude, you need to stop. If you haven’t made it to Backstreet Man by now, it ain’t gonna happen. And his suit was from even farther back. I wore that to my prom in 1974.

Chishell & Gleb. I need me a top like Gleb’s. Way cool. She’s a disaster. What’s wrong with her legs? They didn’t seem to move. Gleb was dragging her around like a department store mannequin.

Vernon & Peta. I’ve seen worse. Not much foxtrot going on, just posing. He’s stiff and his butt sticks out. If he finds a little rhythm he’ll be around for awhile because the footballers get lots of votes for some inexplicable reason. I’m glad Derek told Carrie Ann she was a shit for calling the lift.

Ann & Keo. So she wore dominatrix boots for her first practice? Why does Keo always get these people? Who has he pissed off at ABC? She was wooden and kept making faces. She did get in the best line of the night. When braindead Tyra asked her what she was thinking while dancing she said, “Please don’t fall down and can I get a second take?”

Jeannie & Brandon. I’m not sure she did any salsa, mostly just Brandon tossing her around. It was hard to concentrate when Brandon looked like a glow stick with a big butt.

Kaitlyn & Artem. Ok, disclaimer. I’m not a beard fan. You never know what might be hiding in there. Spiders or a hive of killer bees. She’s a bachelor person so people apparently know her name so she’ll get votes whether she can dance or not. Two words mostly came to mind while watching her dance: sluggish and ungainly. And there must have been a blue light sale at K Mart on day glo yellow material. What they had left over from Brandon’s outfit they used here. Glad to see they’re economizing.

Monica & Val. He could make a potato sack look good. Nice lines but not as good as Nev’s FT.

Nelly & Daniella. I had no idea who he is. I thought Nelly was a politically incorrect term for a gay person. His dance was more credible than I expected. Nice smile. Needs to teach Nev how to smile without being Oilcan Harry (old Mighty Mouse reference). I wondered about the sneakers. Glad Derek called it.

As an aside, the entire wardrobe department should be fired. It was absolutely awful. On the other hand, one of the best selections of music in recent history. There. I found something nice to say.

Escape to Paradise

One of my passions is ballroom dance. I’ve been doing it for more than 40 years. I’m nowhere near competition level but I consider myself rather competent. Another passion is cruising. I’ve been on 18 cruises. I like traveling and I hate living out of a suitcase. This way I get to unpack once, but I’m in a different place every day. Food is provided and pushed all the time, there is constant entertainment, and they make my bed. What’s not to like? All but two of my cruises were specific dance cruises. See passion number one. A new passion I’ve picked up in retirement is writing. I don’t claim any talent at this but I enjoy it. Since I’m not trying to support myself, I can write whatever I please and not care what anyone else thinks. Even with this attitude I’ve had seven short stories picked up by magazines. Six have been published, I decided not to let go of the seventh one.

This story is a combination of all three of my passions. I get to write about a cruise and ballroom dancing. It also involves abusive partners, mystery, the scent of ginger flowers and very strong drinks with tiny umbrellas. Well the last two items are up to you. So pull up your chaise and tropical drink of your choice and enjoy.

This story appeared in Scarlet Leaf Review on January 21, 2020.

Escape to Paradise

 At 8 pm on a Thursday in January, there was a knock at Jenna’s door. She looked through her peephole and began shivering. It was Dusty. Dustin Randall, her ex-boyfriend. Dustin, the ex-boyfriend who wouldn’t let go. Dustin, the ex-boyfriend who nearly put her in the hospital the last time he beat her. Which would be the LAST time he beat her, she had decided. She had packed her bags and left him. First, she fled to the Women’s Center. They helped her get an apartment. She never gave him her new apartment location. Someone must have ratted her out.

 “Go away, Dusty!” she shouted through the door. She was aware he could hear her through the cheap thin material.

 “Come on, baby. Let me in,” he wheedled.

 “You’re not supposed to be here. I have a restraining order.”

 “Yeah, my daddy’s getting it dismissed. Come on, babe. I just want to talk.”

Jenna closed her eyes and prayed for strength. The results of their last ‘talk’ had not yet healed, leaving lingering yellow and green marks on her face and arms. 

 “I’m calling the cops!” she yelled.

 “And what are they gonna do? They’re all on my daddy’s payroll.”

 “My lawyer said I could call the State Troopers. They don’t kowtow to your family.”

 “You don’t want to make me mad, Jenna. You know how I get. You just bring the misery upon yourself. Don’t make me hurt you.”

 “Go away! I’m done with you. I don’t ever want to see you again. Can’t you get that through your thick head?”

 “You know I can’t do that, honey. We belong together. You and me. You belong to me. And I aim to keep what’s mine. Now open this fucking door!” Jenna had just finished dialing 911.

 “911 Emergency. What is the nature of your emergency?”

 “There’s a man trying to break into my apartment,” she whispered.

 “Are you able to get out of the apartment?”

 “No. He’s at the only door.”

 “Do you know the identity of the intruder?”

 “Yes, my ex-boyfriend. I have a restraining order against him.”

 “I’ve already dispatched the police, in the meantime..,”

 “No. The police are on his daddy’s payroll. They won’t do anything. Can you send the State Patrol?”

 “Sorry, ma’am. We’re only connected to the police. Your police department is not owned by any family. They will protect you. I suggest you get into the most secure room you can and barricade the door. The police should be there in five minutes.”

 Wham! Jenna dropped the phone at the sound of Dusty trying to break the through the door. She could hear the faint squawk of the 911 operator still trying to talk to her. Jenna scurried into the kitchen, clawed open a drawer, and pulled out the revolver she had just bought. Checking that it was loaded and that the safety was off, she put her back against the wall directly in front of the door. With arms extended, holding the gun with both hands, Jenna pointed it at the door. The end of the revolver trembled violently.

 “Dusty, go away! I have a gun.”

 “And what do you think you’re gonna do with a gun? I ain’t scared of you, girl. You ain’t got the balls to shoot me. We gonna have us some fun. You ever heard of being pistol whipped?” Wham! A huge crack appeared in the door. 

Wham! The thin veneer of the door shattered. Dusty pushed his arms through, knocking the plywood out of his way. He leered evilly when he saw Jenna ten feet away, scared out of her wits. She usually thought he was so handsome, and he usually was. But when he got that evil look on his face, she knew she was in trouble. He forced his way into the room. Before he said anything, Jenna fired the pistol at him three times. All three missed, mostly because she turned her head to the side and closed her eyes as she fired.

 “What the fuck, girl? You gonna pay for that.”

 Jenna fired the remaining three shots. At least one hit him because Dusty went down howling in pain. Bright red appeared on his thigh. She could hear sirens in the distance.

 Dusty looked at Jenna through the grimace of pain on his sweaty face.

 “You have just signed your death warrant, bitch.”

***

 The police swarmed in a few minutes later. They immediately recognized Dusty and knew what was what. Jenna was disarmed and taken into custody. They called an ambulance for Dusty. She called her lawyer from the police department. Since she was in her own apartment, had a restraining order and a broken-down door her lawyer could bully the night cops into not booking her but releasing her to him. Mr. Randall would probably fire them.

 As he drove her to a friend’s house he said, “Too bad you didn’t kill the bastard. Save us all a lot of trouble.”

 “He said he is going to kill me. He means it, too.”

 “Well, he’s going to have to wait. Violating the restraining order, breaking down your door, communicating threats. We might put him away for a while this time.”

 “No, we won’t,” Jenna said with defeat in her voice. “His daddy will just paper over it. He’ll be bandaged up and out on bail by morning. He’s never going to stop. Not till one of us is dead.”

 “That’s just defeatist talk. Come on. There’s a new judge who isn’t owned by the Randalls and I think I can get this before him. We might get that ass some serious time.”

 “You really think so?” For the first time there was hope in her voice.

 “Yeah, I do. Here we are.” He pulled up in front of Arlene’s house. Arlene was Joyce’s half-sister. Joyce was Jenna’s best friend. Joyce’s apartment would be the first place Dusty would look. Dusty didn’t know Joyce had a half-sister which made it a perfect hideout. Arlene opened the door as they got to the porch. 

 “Come on in, honey. That bastard acting up again?”

 “Ms. Connors, thanks for taking Jenna in like this. Remember, for both of your safety, the Randalls mustn’t find out she’s here.”

 “I ain’t scared of Dusty Randall. Let that punk set foot on my property. I got a shotgun and I don’t miss. I’d love a chance to blow his ass clear across North Carolina.”

 “I love your fighting spirit but please, lie low. Good night, Jenna. Get some rest. I’ll call you tomorrow.” He left.

***

 When her lawyer called the next day, the news was as expected—not good. They had released Dusty on bail that morning. He never went to the jail. His family arranged for him to be held overnight at the hospital. The Randalls were making noises about suing her, but her lawyer explained NC law was on her side. The broken door, the recording of the 911 call and the all-important restraining order proved that she was within her rights to defend herself, with deadly force if necessary. The good news was that he had the case placed before the new unbiased judge. The bad news was that the case wouldn’t be heard for another month. Until that time, Dusty was free to do as he pleased. 

 “He knows where I work. I can’t take a month off. He’s going to find me and kill me.”

 “We’ll work something out,” he said.

***

 On Monday morning, Jenna drove her five-year-old Honda Civic to the State Employees’ Credit Union where she worked. She didn’t see Dusty’s Camaro anywhere in the parking lot, but still waited for the security guard to come out to escort her into the building. She worked in an office, not as a teller, so Dusty would have to get past the security guard and locked doors to get to her. She knew he was crazy enough to try it, though. 

 After work, the security guard walked her out to her car. As she pulled away, she thought she saw Dusty’s blue car a few blocks behind. Since he didn’t get any closer, she figured he was trying to tail her to her apartment. As planned, she drove straight to her attorney’s office in a highrise. It had the benefit of a gated parking lot. The gate guard watched as she entered the building. Once inside, she went through the building, out another little-used service entrance, across an alley to where Arlene was waiting. Tomorrow Arlene would bring her back to enter through the side entrance and she would take her car to work. Jenna knew this would not work for long. Dusty was a lot of disagreeable things, but stupid was not one of them. Crazy, but not stupid. That’s what made him so dangerous. He would figure out there was a ruse and discover it. But she had a few days.

***

 “Aruba? You think I can afford to go to Aruba?” Jenna exclaimed over the phone to Joyce. It was Wednesday evening.

 “Yes, you can. My brother and his fiancée are having to cancel. They can turn the tickets over to us. They’re willing to let them go for half-price. It’s a steal. And it leaves this Saturday. You can get away from dickhead and relax. By the time you get back, it’ll be 14 days closer to the hearing. Less than a week to go at that point.”

 Jenna was hesitant. She had vacation time and her boss at the credit union was very supportive and concerned about her situation. It was a near certainty that she would approve the time off. But a cruise? Such a luxury seemed almost obscene considering the trouble she was facing. But then again. Fourteen days without having to hide, look over her shoulder, be constantly on edge would be heaven. 

 “How much?” she finally said. Then, “I’m in.”

***

 Jenna packed in her apartment on Thursday night with a State Trooper guarding her. She realized she hadn’t obsessed about Dusty for several hours and was feeling a little happy again. Just one more day to go.

***

 As she ate her lunch on Friday at her desk, as she usually did, Jenna heard a commotion out in the lobby area of the credit union. Someone was shouting. She walked over to the security station near her office and looked at the console, which had a view from all the security cameras in the building. Sure enough, in the lobby was Dustin Randall, red faced, probably a little drunk facing off against two security guards. He ranted while they just impassively stood in front of the door that gave access to the rest of the offices. Her boss showed up beside her.

 “That asshole needs to get shot, and not in the leg,” she said. “You’re doing the right thing to get out of town for a few weeks. Send me a postcard. I can stick it on my refrigerator as my inspiration to get back into my bikini.”

 As they watched the camera footage, Dusty seemed to wind down his rant and give up. He turned as if to leave, but it was just a feint. He swung back around with a roundhouse punch aimed at the first security officer’s jaw. The officer reacted in time and only got a glancing blow. Immediately the guards jumped on Dusty, taking him to the floor. In no time they cuffed him, with him screaming obscenities and Jenna’s name, waiting for the police to come pick him up. Jenna revised her estimation of Dusty. Looks like he is stupid, after all. Well, she thought, this will keep him tied up until tomorrow. It looks like I will get away.

***

 “Wow, I didn’t realize how big it is,” Jenna gaped at the Ocean Flyer, pride of the Cormorant line, as they were boarding.

 “Yep, just us and 2,000 of our closest friends,” joked Joyce. 

 Once on board, they hustled up to the Lido deck for the buffet lunch. Sitting at a table, looking out over the palmed resorts of Fort Lauderdale, Jenna momentarily wondered if she was just having a wonderful dream. She was so afraid she’d wake up to find Dusty breaking down her door. This is paradise.

 “Forget him,” Joyce said, placing her hand on Jenna’s. “At least for the next 14 days. Relax, unwind, get drunk, flirt with some cute guys. That’s what vacation is for.”

 “You’re right. Tell the waiter I’ll have a margarita. And find me some cute guys.” They both laughed gaily. 

***

 There were so many activities on board the ship they hardly knew what to do first. They would be at sea for two days before any island stops so they’d have plenty of time to explore. Jenna found one activity that she considered a must.

 “There’s an orchestra playing ballroom music in the Queen’s Lounge after dinner. Let’s go.”

 “Ballroom? Seriously?”

 “Yes. I took lessons for a couple of years, BD, Before Dusty. I let that get away. I want to reclaim something that he has no part of.”

 “Okay,” Joyce said dubiously. “But you’re buying the drinks. And if it’s all old folks, I’m outta there.”

***

 It turned out there were mixed ages in the lounge and several single men. That immediately caught Joyce’s eye. She and Jenna were attractive young ladies, so they quickly caught the attention of the men present. A very attractive fortyish man came to their table.

 “I’m Jack, a ship dance host. May I have this dance?” He held his hand out to Joyce. She giggled girlishly and accompanied him to the floor. Two minutes later, after she had walked all over his feet, he resignedly returned her to the table. 

 “Sorry, guess I should have told you I don’t know how to dance,” she said to him sheepishly. Jenna could tell he was biting his tongue. “You should ask Jenna here. She’s a bona fide ballroom dancer.”

 “Joyce! I am not. I haven’t danced in two years.”

 “It’s like riding a bicycle. It comes back easily. May I?” the host asked. Jenna allowed him to lead her to the floor. She could tell it was a foxtrot.

 “I only know American style foxtrot,” she said. It impressed the host she recognized it was a foxtrot and that she knew there was a difference in styles. He beamed, took her in dance hold and moved off. Slow, quick, quick. Jenna found that it came back. They floated around the room effortlessly. This is what dancing is all about, she said to herself. It’s like flying. Just skimming along, free and easy. We’re like Fred and Ginger. Oh, how I have missed this. When the host returned her to her table, he commented it was one of the best dances he’d had recently and hoped she would allow him to dance with her again later. She smiled and assured him he was welcome anytime. She felt like she was glowing.

 “Ooh. He likes you,” Joyce giggled. “And so debonair. Looks like Cary Grant.”

 After another song, a young man, upper twenties, their age, came to their table. He was cute, and Jenna found his nervous look endearing.

 “I’m nowhere near as good as you, but do you want to dance? I’m Drew, by the way,” he said to Jenna. It was a rumba. Jenna figured even a novice could probably handle it. 

 Drew proved that he had a basic understanding of the dance. He only stepped on her a few times, but mostly he did basic moves. This gave her an opportunity to talk to him.

 “So, are you enjoying the cruise?” was all she could think to say. She grimaced at how trite it sounded.

 “Slow, quick, quick,” he said. “Can’t talk. Counting. Slow, quick, quick.”  She giggled and allowed him to finish the dance without further interruption. 

 He returned her to her table and asked Joyce to dance, but she said no. She decided she wasn’t a ballroom dancer and was content to just watch. Plus, she was on her third hurricane.

 Drew came back a couple more times that evening to ask Jenna to dance as did Jack. The third time Drew returned her to the table, Joyce asked him to stay awhile.

 “Shtay awhile,” she drawled. “It’ll shave ush all time.” He looked at Jenna and she just grinned. Joyce was a lovable drunk. Drew pulled up a chair and sat by Jenna. 

 “Look at that old couple,” Jenna pointed out a couple in the crowd. It was a waltz so nearly everyone was dancing. “They aren’t doing anything fancy, but they look so happy. They’ve probably been dancing with each other 50 years. It’s so romantic to be so comfortable and in sync with someone. Her eyes are closed. She’s probably remembering the handsome boy she fell in love with.”

 “Her husband or some other guy?” Drew asked. Then he winked and laughed.

 “Oh, you,” Jenna chided and swatted his arm lightly.

 “You are such a romantic,” he said. “It’s nice to find that. I’m afraid I don’t see it all that much.”

 “Drew. You have a southern accent. Where are you from, anyway?”

 “Well, I grew up in Winston-Salem. That’s in North Carolina. Now I work for a bank in Charlotte. Me and my buddy Bill decided to take a cruise together. He’s probably up in the disco putting moves on underage girls. He’s a mess.”

 “Hey, we’re from North Carolina, too. Just outside Greensboro. And I work in a bank. Well, at least, a credit union.”

 “Wow, howdy homegirl,” he laughed. They heard a snore and noticed Joyce was out. 

 “Well, I guess I need to get Sleeping Beauty to bed. Come on, girl. Up.” She grabbed Joyce’s arm and dragged her up. Joyce stumbled a little, and Jenna put her arm around her. 

 “Let’s go, babe. Goodnight, Drew. I hope to see you around the ship.”

 “Night.”

***

 Midmorning next day found Jenna ensconced at a small table on the Lido deck enjoying the sunshine and a breakfast of fruit. 

 “I swear I’m not stalking you. Really. Cross my heart.” Jenna looked up and Drew stood by her table with a tray of food. 

 “Well, good morning, have a seat,” she invited.

 “Thanks. Where’s your other half?”

 “In bed with an ice pack on her head.”

 “Ouch.”

 “That’s what she said,” she quipped. “How about Bill?”

 “Oh, he’s out at the pool chasing a bikini.”

 “Already? It’s barely past 10,” she asked with surprise.

 “I guess the early bird gets the bimbo,” he said.

 “You don’t seem to think much of Bill, sometimes.”

 “Don’t get me wrong. I love him like a brother. It’s just he has no judgment. He just thinks with his, well, his smaller head.” Jenna couldn’t help but giggle. 

 After breakfast, Drew went to check on Bill. Jenna thought a walk along the deck would be nice. As she neared the front of the ship she saw people gathering at the rail and pointing. She went to see what was going on. Just fifty yards away she saw a family of dolphins leaping about playing and having a marvelous time. Everyone was exclaiming and taking pictures. She was as charmed as anyone. She looked up and saw people on other decks had also noticed the dolphins. About two decks up she noticed a handsome man, a very handsome man with an evil leer. He was staring at her. It was a face she knew all too well. It was Dustin Randall. She froze for a second and then bolted. She raced as fast as she could back to her room. Once inside, she bolted the door and slumped to the floor leaning against it. Her heart felt as if it would burst.

 “What’s going on?” Joyce croaked blearily from her bed.

 “Oh my god, Joyce. Dusty is on the ship.”

 “What? He can’t be? How would he even know?”

 “Hell, his family knows everything that goes on. They probably had your phone bugged or something. I just saw him on deck, staring at me.”

 “Are you sure it was him?”

 “Joyce. I lived with him for six months. I know what he looks like. He’s here. He’s come after me. What am I gonna do?”

 “We need to see the captain.”

***

 They soon found out that no one can just ‘see the captain’. The purser’s office directed them to the security office. 

 “So you think your boyfriend followed you on this ship?” said Chief Security Officer Nigel Scott.

 “Yes.”

 “Has he made contact or threatened you in any way?”

 “No. But I have a restraining order that he can’t come within a thousand feet. Anywhere on this ship is inside that. And he knew I was coming on this ship.”

 “What’s the name?”

 “Dustin Lee Randall.” The security officer pulled up a computer file.

 “No one by that name on the manifest. Does he have an alias?”

 “Not that I know of.”

 “Well, there’s no one with that name listed. And our security is too tight for any stowaways. Maybe you just made a mistake.”

 “It wasn’t a mistake. You took pictures for our key cards when we got on. Let me look through the pictures and I’ll find him.”

 “I can’t let you go through our files, miss. That’s about a dozen breaches in security protocols. And even then, there are about a thousand men on this ship.”

 Jenna pulled out her phone. She didn’t have service on the ship but the camera app worked. 

 “Here’s his picture. Can you look for him for me?”

 “Miss. I have more important things to do than look through a thousand pictures trying to find a person who isn’t even on the ship.”

 “Oh, please. I’ll never be able to relax if I think he’s here. He’s said he will kill me.” She hated playing the damsel in distress, but this was an emergency.

 “Okay, look. Go to the purser’s desk and buy some phone minutes. Send his picture to this number.” He handed her a scribbled number. “When I have some free time, I’ll try to run through the guest photos. All right?”

 “Yes, thank you.”

 Jenna followed his instructions and then locked herself in her room. 

 “So you gonna stay here in the room the rest of the cruise?” Joyce asked, hands on her hips.

 “What else can I do?”

 “Oh, babe. Get over it. Go and live it up. There’s like a hundred people around you all the time on the ship. He’s not going to try anything here. Plus, there are hunky deck crew, totally kissable, too, standing every few feet on the deck. They can surely take care of him. You’re safe here. Safer than anywhere else. Don’t let him take this away from you.”

 “You think so?” Jenna was unsure. 

 “I’ll be right beside you. If I see him, I’ll scream bloody murder. Everyone will be watching. Probably taking video.”

***

 Joyce was recovered by the evening, but sipping only ginger ale. She raised an eyebrow as Drew approached their table in the Queen’s Lounge. 

 “Mind if I join you ladies?”

 “Please, sit,” offered Jenna. After a moment, Joyce gave Jenna a pointed look. A look that said ‘go for it’.

 “I’ve got a roll of quarters I need to throw away. I’ll be in the casino if anybody needs me,” she said airily and walked away.

 “Is it something I said?” Drew looked puzzled.

 “No, just Joyce being Joyce.”

 They danced to several songs. While he was nowhere near the skill level of the dance host, Jack, he was competent. Jack claimed a few dances, but he had to work the entire room. After about her fourth dance with Drew, Jenna said, “You should probably dance with some other ladies or people might talk.”

 “Let them talk. I enjoy dancing with you.”

 Jenna knew she was blushing, but it was nice to be getting positive attention for a change.

 “You seem preoccupied. I hope I’m not boring you,” Drew breathed.

 “Oh, it’s not you. I just had a bad moment today. I thought I saw my boyfriend.”

 “Boyfriend? Um, am I in the way?”

 “My ex-boyfriend. He’s been harassing me. I think he’s on the cruise, the bastard.’

 “I don’t want to get mixed up in any weird domestic stuff. Why don’t I go sit at another table?”

 “Don’t go, Drew. He’s not going to cause any trouble. I alerted the ship. They’re looking for him. As Joyce said, we’re always surrounded by like a hundred people. What’s he going to do?”

 “You sure. I don’t want to cause you any trouble.”

 “You won’t. You’re the nicest thing that’s happened to me in a while. I’m enjoying it.” Drew smiled self-consciously. She thought she saw a hint of a blush. It was adorable.

 “We’re stopping at the private island tomorrow. Care to explore it with me?” he asked.

 “I’ve already talked with Joyce about hitting the beach.”

 “Bring her. If I can pry Bill away from his bikini bimbo, we can make a foursome.”

 “Sure.”

***

 Drew showed up at the gangway the next morning alone. 

 “No Bill?” Jenna asked.

 “The bikini apparently held more promise. I swear she’s not even 17.”

 The three of them left the ship and were soon walking along the sand under palm trees. It was the middle of January and here she was in paradise. Bright sunshine, sparkling water in a shade of blue only seen in the Caribbean, gentle breeze softly scented with tropical flowers and coconut. If only I could stay here forever, Jenna thought. Stay here with someone like Drew.

 “Listen, you kids. I don’t need a sunburn as my souvenir, so I’m going to park it in a chaise under a palm tree. I’ve got a novel full of heaving bosoms to keep me occupied. You go have fun.” Joyce shooed them away. So they explored. Jenna had a delightful time. Drew turned out to be quite charming.

***

 That evening the purser found her at her dining table and asked to see her for a moment.

 “Security Officer Scott has checked the photo you provided against the passengers. It doesn’t match anyone on board. I’ve talked with the captain. Our security team will remain on alert, but we feel sure it was just mistaken identity. It’s happened before. Please try to relax. Here is a complimentary pass from the captain for a day in the spa. Please enjoy.”

 Back at the table, she told Joyce that there was no sign of Dusty. 

 “I was sure I saw him.”

 “Your nerves have been a mess, girl. You probably just saw what you fear. Kinda like your worst nightmare.”

 “I guess.”

***

 After dinner, they went back to the room to freshen up. Joyce said she had actually won money at the casino and would try her luck again.

 “Anything beats watching you and Casanova make cow eyes at each other.”

 “Joyce!” Jenna was shocked.

 “Hey, I just call it like I see it. He’s way hunky. I say go for it. I’m okay with the old bra on the doorknob, but I’m not spending all night in the library. Make it a quickie.”

 “Joyce! You’re scandalous. I’m not bringing Drew back to my room.”

 “Okay. Go to his. But mark my words. Sex is in the air.” She leered playfully and left before Jenna could throw anything at her.

 Jenna changed to a dress a little less formal than her dinner wear and headed for the lounge. She left her room and began walking up the long narrow hallway. You could see nearly the entire length of the ship here. It was dimly lit and kind of spooky. There was no one about except a gentleman coming from the direction she was heading. She started out. She suddenly noticed the man’s limping walk looked familiar. Her heart flew into her throat as he got close enough for her to make out his face. Dusty!

 She turned and fled back to her room. She could hear his running steps behind her.

 “Jenna! Stop, damn you!”

 She zipped her card in the lock and quickly slipped in the room and bolted the door. As she leaned back on the door, sobbing, she slid slowly to the floor. Would this nightmare never end?

 Once she was relatively together, she called the security desk. She explained that regardless of what they had told her, someone matching the description of her ex-boyfriend had just chased her back to her room. She realized she was sounding hysterical but couldn’t help it. Before long Security Officer Scott, her room steward and the ship’s doctor were in her room. 

 She accepted a sedative from the doctor. “He called my name. I know his voice. Why doesn’t anyone believe me?”

 “I’m sorry, miss, but I just don’t see any way he could have gotten on the ship. I have passed the photo you gave us to all ship’s personnel. If he is on this ship, we’ll find him. There is a suite available on the King’s deck. Entrance to the deck is key carded. We can upgrade you and your roommate there for extra security if you wish. No charge, of course,” the security chief offered. 

 The purser had paged Joyce, and she burst into the room.

 “What’s happened? Jenna, are you okay?”

 “No. Dusty IS on board. He chased me down the hall.”

 “Oh, shit. Sorry, guys,” she apologized for her colorful language.

 “I was just telling Miss Davenport that we can upgrade the two of you to a more secure deck.”

 “It’ll be a bitch to move all this stuff again,” she groused.

 “Don’t worry,” he said. “Your steward can arrange for some porters to transfer your belongings.”

***

 By nearly midnight, they had moved into the new suite.

 “Nice digs,” noted Joyce. “We actually can turn around without bumping butts.”

 “Yeah,” Jenna said wanly. She was a little spaced by the sedative. Joyce sat on the bed beside her.

 “Jenna, level with me,” Joyce said seriously. “What’s going on? Did you really see Dusty? Or do you just think you did? I mean, be honest. How could he have gotten on the ship with no one knowing? It doesn’t make sense.”

 “Not you, too,” moaned Jenna. “No one believes me. Do I have to turn up with a fucking knife in my chest to make you believe me?”

 “Oh, no, baby.” Joyce tried to soothe her, taking her in her arms. “I believe you. If you say you saw him, then you did.” Jenna just folded herself into a ball in Joyce’s arms and cried.

***

 Drew found them at a table during lunchtime the next day. He came up to their table, smiling.

 “Ok. This time I am stalking you. What happened last night? I missed you in the Queen’s Lounge.” He suddenly noticed her pallor. “Oh god, what’s happened? The boyfriend again?”

 “Yeah, he attacked her last night,” Joyce told him. 

 “Oh my god. I thought the ship said he wasn’t on board.”

 “Apparently the ship fucked up,” Joyce said tersely. 

 “I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do?”

 “Well,” Joyce said. “I gotta take a leak. Stay here while I go.”

 “Your friend has a way with words,” Drew murmured, trying to lighten the mood. Jenna just looked at him. 

 “She’s just angry. Dusty has ruined her vacation, too. He poisons everything.”

 “I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this. You are such a nice lady.”

 “Thanks. I think I’ll go back to my room.” She got up to walk away.

 “Shouldn’t you wait for your friend?” 

 “Oh yeah. Walk me to the elevator? They restrict my deck entry. I’ll be safe from there.”

 He walked her down to the nearest elevator.

 “I know you’re feeling low right now. But I hope you come to the Queen’s Lounge tonight. It’s just not the same without you. I’ll miss you.”

 Jenna made a half smile. “I’ll see.”

 The elevator opened, and some people got off. She got in, with a group of people, pressing ‘King’s Deck’ on the panel. Drew seemed quite taken with her, she thought. She was somewhat taken with him, as well. Too bad the cruise was such a bomb. She could really do with two weeks of mindless flirting.

 The elevator stopped. A few people got off, a few got on. When the elevator stopped on the Queen’s deck, most people got off. It required a key card to go further. As the last person exited the elevator, Jenna glanced in the mirrored wall and almost died on the spot. The reflection showed that Dusty was right behind her in the elevator. 

 “I said I’d kill you,” he hissed. He grabbed for her arm, but she evaded him, and dove out the rapidly closing door, screaming. By the time security personnel had arrived, the elevator was long gone. One of the deck crew lifted her in his arms like a child and carried her to sickbay. 

***

 Hours later, Joyce helped Jenna climb into the bed in their suite.

 “It’s going to be all right, babe. Don’t you worry. Joyce is here and everything’s going to be fine.”

 “No, it’s not. They think I’m crazy. You do, too. Everyone does. Maybe I am.”

 “Now, that’s crazy talk. You know I’m with you on this. You just get some rest.”

***

 The next day, the ship’s doctor, purser and captain came to see her.

 “Miss Davenport,” the captain began. “We are terribly upset that your vacation has been marred by problems on this ship. My crew and I have done everything we can to ensure your safety, but I don’t know what else we can do. Tomorrow, we will dock in Curaçao. There is an American embassy there. If you wish, my staff will assist you in contacting them to arrange air transport back to your home destination. Unfortunately, we cannot offer a refund since the voyage is nearly half over, but if you have purchased trip insurance, our ship’s doctor will assist you with filing.”

 Jenna thought for a few moments. “Yes, I’d like to go home. Joyce, I want you to stay. There’s no need to ruin both our vacations.”

 “Nothing doing, hon. We’re in this together. I go where you go. Besides, I’d have a crappy time without you here to enjoy it with me. Looks like it’s time to pack.”

***

 “You up for dinner in the dining room tonight?” Joyce asked later that day.

 “Yeah, I think so. Might as well use it while we can. I have enjoyed the food on this cruise.”

 “You and me, too. A couple more days and I’d have to break out my fat britches.”  Jenna had to laugh.

***

 After dinner, Joyce said, “Come on. I’ll go with you to the Queen’s Lounge. You know Romeo will be there looking for you. And don’t worry. Neither of us will leave you for a second. Total protection. But you need to unwind a little.”

 “You don’t like the music. I hate to make you go through that.”

 “Oh, hell, girl. I’ve gone through much worse for a lot less. Just buy me a couple of hurricanes and I’ll be fine.”

 As soon as they found a table in the Queen’s Lounge, Drew showed up.

 “I was so worried about you,” he said to Jenna. “Are you going to be okay?” She had taken a half a sedative tab after dinner, so she felt she had a grip on her nerves. For now.

 “Thanks, Drew. You’re a dear. I’ve enjoyed meeting you.”

 “That sounds a lot like goodbye,” he said, puzzled.

 “It is. I’m leaving the cruise tomorrow. The captain said I can get a flight back to the US from Curaçao. I just don’t feel safe on the ship anymore.”

 Drew’s breath caught quickly. “Are you sure that’s the right thing to do? To just toss the whole vacation?”

 “I don’t know what else I can do. Constantly look over my shoulder waiting for him to attack me? That’s not a vacation. 

 “Joyce, talk some sense into her. She’s just giving up.”

 “Why do you care?” Joyce asked. Drew got quiet. 

 “Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t know I’m not allowed to have an opinion.”

 “Joyce, you don’t need to be rude,” Jenna said. “Drew, I’d love to stay. I’ve had such a nice time with you, but it isn’t working. I’m a nervous wreck.”

 “Well, it’s just that you’ve become kind of special to me these past few days. You seem to understand me and are so nice. Aw crap, I don’t know how to say it. I like you. And I’d like a chance to know you better.”

 “Drew, don’t start. We’re from different worlds.”

 “What different worlds? Charlotte and Greensboro are what, a couple hours apart? Maybe we were meant to meet.”

 “Oh brother,” Joyce said dryly. “I’m on the Love Boat.”

 “Well, at least, can we dance?” he asked. They danced several dances. Drew seemed determined to keep her dancing. He really is taken with me, she thought.

 A rumba came on. Drew pulled her close, very close. She realized she enjoyed dancing this closely with him. His face was close to hers. He kept looking into her eyes. Oh god, she thought. This feels like one of those trashy novels Joyce loves. He leaned in, as if hoping for a kiss. What the hell, she decided. Give him a nice memory. She opened her mouth to him. Maybe the sedative was just kicking in, but she was feeling a bit lightheaded. Or maybe it was the kiss. Damn! He’s good at this. A moment later, he had his mouth by her ear. 

 “Oh, Jenna. I think about you so much. I’ll be lost without you. Won’t you reconsider leaving me?” he whispered in her ear.

 “I’m not leaving you, Drew. It’s this ship. I can’t be on a ship with my ex. And I’m sure he’s somewhere on board.”

 “Jenna, you’re tearing me apart.”

 “Drew, please don’t make this any harder for me.”

 They remained in the lounge until the band quit at 11, but Jenna could tell the life had gone out of Drew. She’d been unaware of how deeply he felt. She liked him, too, but he was way ahead of her. The ladies gathered their belongings to leave. 

 “Will I get a chance to see you tomorrow?” he asked. She would swear there were unshed tears in his eyes.

 “We’re doing an early breakfast. I’ll be at Lido at 7.”

 “Okay. Bye.” He looked down at the floor. She felt awful.

 “Drew, you’ll be okay. Just do like Bill. Go chase some bikinis.”

 “I’m not interested in bikinis,” he said like a truculent little boy.

 “Joyce, go on. I need to talk to Drew.”

 Joyce looked at Drew. “She has a curfew of midnight, young man. Not a minute after. Got it?”

 He gave her a half-hearted grin. “Yes, ma’am.”

 Jenna laced her arm through Drew’s. They strolled up the incline out of the lounge into the central part of the ship. He turned right, and they went through the double doors out onto the deck. There was a half moon out. It cast enough light on the water that you could see the outline of an island in the distance. It was quiet and romantic. Drew dropped her arm and propped both of his on the deck railing, looking down into the dark sea.

 “Drew, I’m sorry.”

 “Are you? Was I just a game?”

 “No, Drew. You know I care for you.”

 He petulantly snatched his arms off the railing. He jammed his hands in his pants pockets and started walking away, down the deck. Jenna followed. 

 “Drew, I’m not trying to hurt you.” He passed a windbreak and stopped again at the railing. She came up to him. It was darker here. He pulled her gently into himself. She had to admit she liked his arms around her. It had been a while since she felt safe in a man’s arms. He was leaning in again, so she helped and reached her mouth toward his. She also had to admit she liked kissing him. She was becoming lightheaded again. Maybe she shouldn’t have taken that half tab. But it was hours ago. It should have worn off by now. She realized she had trouble keeping her balance. Drew supported her.

 “What’s wrong, hon?” he asked. “Like my kisses that much?”

 She found that she couldn’t get her tongue to work to answer him.

 “That’s okay, baby. You don’t need to say anything. Dusty said you always talk too much.”

 What? her brain flared. She tried to struggle, but could not control her body.

 “Shh, honey. Everything’s okay. It’s just time for you to take a swim. You’ve been depressed and talking crazy the past few days. I’ll say I tried to get to you but you jumped before I could stop you. I had a bit of trouble dosing your drink tonight. That bitch of a roommate of yours wouldn’t take her eyes off me. I can tell she’s hot for me. She’ll need consoling after you go overboard. She’s not bad looking. I can probably get her in bed in no time. Whadaya think?”

 Jenna was paralyzed and could only look at him with eyes wide with terror. 

 “You were so easy. You just ate up my sad little boy routine. Dusty said you’d probably spread your legs for me before the week was out. I was hoping for some of that before you went over, but you had to mess it up. He ain’t even on this ship. He’s back in Greensboro. You were crazy to think he’s here, but it works in our favor. Now the whole ship thinks you’re nuts. Anyway, this is where we part ways.” He put an arm under her to lift her over the railing.

 She heard a click and realized it was a gun being cocked.

 “Stop right there, Mr. Wilson.” It was the Chief Security Officer Scott. “Release Miss Davenport and turn around slowly.” When Drew released her, she fell to the deck. The momentary deflection of the guard’s attention gave Drew the moment he needed. He jumped past the guard and raced down the deck. Two burly deck hands cut off his exit. They cornered him. With a crazed look back at Jenna, he dashed to his right and sailed over the railing. A deckhand ran to the side and threw over a life preserver, the other ran to the wall and rang the man overboard bell. The security guard came and propped Jenna up. “Good thing I kept an eye on you.” Once again, a deckhand picked her up like a child and carried her to sickbay. 

***

 Jenna was sitting by her attorney in a courtroom twenty days later. It was the beginning of February, so she was the only one in the courtroom sporting a suntan. She got it during fourteen glorious days in the Caribbean. Once she had realized Dusty wasn’t on the ship, she could relax. She realized she had experienced hallucinations, but they had seemed so real. The ship’s doctor said that was common in survivors of abuse. The final eight days had done her a world of good.

 “Guilty,” the judge intoned. “Sentencing to be on…” he looked at the court calendar. “The 24th of February. Bailiff, take him away.” The bailiff led Dustin Randall in an orange jumpsuit from the courtroom.

 “Your honor. I’m Mr. Mills from the District Attorney’s office,” said a man approaching the gate separating the attorneys from the courtroom. “We’d like to request a delay in sentencing of Mr. Randall until the disposition of our case. I have three warrants for the arrest of Dustin Lee Randall, his cousin Andrew Scott Wilson and his father, D. Jarratt Randall. We plan to charge them with multiple felonies including bribery, racketeering, wiretap, suborning felonies, conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to hire a murder, attempted first degree murder, kidnapping, assault with intent to kill, witness tampering. And there may be more.”

 “Your honor,” the Randall lawyer objected. “These charges are all hearsay. A spurned woman violently attacked young Dusty and now they want to drag the Randall family name through the mud. The family has suffered enough. I move to drop the charges as baseless.”

 “Objection overruled. The charges will stand. Sentencing is delayed. Since we relate the counts to the current tort, the clerk will calendar them on my court dates. Court adjourned.”  

DWTS 6

Okay, first things first. CONTEMPORARY IS NOT A BALLROOM DANCE. I feel better now I needed to get that off my chest. I have to disqualify two celebrities for not doing ballroom dances. Too bad one of them was partnered with Gleb. He does really wonderful ballroom choreo.

They are talking about halfway through the season? It feels like it just started. They’ve only bumped, what, 4 celebrities. By the halfway point the chaff (Sean, Karamo) should be gone.

And looking at who is left, how could they dump Sailor. Sailor got three 9s and Ally got a couple of 8s and a 9.  I mean the choice between her and Ally was obvious, but they should not have been the bottom two. I’m sure the producers manipulate the numbers to get the result they want. Sailor must have really pissed someone off.

My thoughts in the order they came.

Ally and Sasha gave me true chills. No one else really did that. JVBD came close. I love the 80s. I love the song. I love the colors. I love Sasha’s choreo. They ate up the floor. It just did it for me.

Kate and Pasha. Sorry, I just don’t like her. But she was working those fat legs for all she was worth. The size of those opening steps were phenomenal. I’m with Len, I love to see a flekerl. Of course hers was messed up by the camera spinning also, so you couldn’t really tell how special it was. It looked like a double flekerl. But the dance was heavy. VW needs to be light. 9s are grade inflation.

Kel and Witney. Wow, they did a jete. You don’t see that much. Best ever was Apolo and Julianne. It was entertaining, but I could tell when Witney was back leading. Len got his panties in a wad over nothing. I ran it back and only saw a moment where her heel caught in her hem. It didn’t impede the dance. I saw nothing else.

Kel and Jenna just looked like a couple jumping around in their jammies.

Hannah and Alan. Looks like Mama kinda fell into the makeup. Yikes. But that samba was how I like it – hot. And one whole samba roll. Thank you. And kudos to Alan for not waxing. Men have hair. Deal with it.

Sailor and Val. I think Tony and Stacy did it better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VJDAkm2urU Stacy had legs for days and the opening kicks were tremendous. Possibly one of the best jives on DWTS. Sailor’s wasn’t in the same category. If you dance to an iconic song, you gotta expect comparisons. Mostly I was distracted for a while by how ridiculous Val’s manbun looks. Is it just me? Can we get a write in campaign going to get him to stop?

Sean and Lindsay. Please, please make it stop. Find a way to get rid of the Pillsbury doughboy before he wins the whole thing. You heard what he said – they’ve never been in the bottom two. The Trump crazies are going to carry him through. I liked Bruno’s tumbleweed comment.

JVDB and Emma. Yeehaw – three whole samba rolls. Lots of hips going on and I could see recognizable samba happening. Needed to be more bouncy.

Lauren and Gleb. Nice, but a bit overwrought. All the emoting gets in the way. She’s already shot her wad for My Most Miserable Memory episode.

Not a great dance night, way too many 9s flying around. I think Sean was the only one who got 7s. And capped off by an awful elimination. By dancing ability alone, the deadweight left are Sean, Karamo and Kel. I expect at least one of them will be in the bottom two. Probably Karamo. And I’m sure the judges will let him go. If you are of a religious bent, pray that the producers come to their senses and manipulate the numbers to put Sean in the bottom two. He is so awful the judges would have to let him go.

Next week ought to be fun. It’s the Halloween episode. Looking forward to it.