Joey & Kym
Mr. Showbiz — need I say more? Joey delivered two spectacular performances that embodied the perfect blend of dancing expertise and Hollywood razz-ma-tazz. Both dances were chock full of content, captivating floor work and well-rehearsed, eyebrow-raising maneuvers. Without a doubt, Joey & Kym rebounded from last week’s shocking red-light setback with a matched set of over-the-top routines. As Joey claimed in his behind-the-scenes footage, the Fat-One isn’t done singing yet! And I can hardly wait for next week’s follow-up.
Joey’s Fox Trot was light, fun, and floated across the dance floor. The combination of Kym’s Hollywood-themed choreography and Mr. Showbiz’s execution made for an enchanting routine that mesmerized the audience. Kym managed to incorporate moves that played to Joey’s comedic personality, his great sense of rhythm, and his wonderful ability to effortlessly and authentically portray the character of the dance. Joey’s number looked the most polished of all the ballroom routines, both in terms of technique and performance. Like Carrie Ann, I thought it was irrefutably the best of the four ballroom dances.
Joey’s Jive was absolutely incredible! It was energetic, infectious and filled with innovative movements and comedic choreography. Joey’s fast footwork, animated facial expressions, and amazing tricks totally sold this routine. The natural exuberance that Joey brings to the dance floor is hard to replicate and difficult for his challengers to surpass. Joey unquestionably captured top spot in this week’s round and deserves to challenge Apolo and Laila for the distinction of being the Last Dancer Standing!
Apolo & Julianne
Mr. Excitement ignited the audience with a pair of exceptional routines. Although Apolo fell just short of completing his Mission Impossible task – earning six waves of the #10 paddle – I thought that his Week 9 performances should have ranked second instead of third. Apolo’s charismatic routines were electrifying. And the studio audience was noisily enthusiastic in their appreciation. The quest for this Olympian’s sixth gold remains within reach!
Apolo’s Quickstep, the first routine of the night, set the bar at the highest level for this round of the competition. It was fast, fun, and wonderfully entertaining. His exceptional footwork was light, precise, intricate, and flowed across the floor with skillful control and consummate ease. Apolo’s speed, athleticism and cheeky sense of humour were perfectly showcased by yet another of Julianne’s superbly crafted routines. I thought the dance was fabulous and made a profound statement of just how far Apolo has progressed in his transformation into a ballroom dancer. The Apolo Express certainly shot out of the starting gate at full throttle!
Apolo’s Cha Cha was energetic, cheeky, and exploded with electric movements. Julianne’s routine was so sexy that Carrie Ann felt dirty just watching it! Apolo’s flawless technique, swift footwork and total immersion into the character of the dance totally sold this routine. While Len may have labeled his hip shaking and pelvic gyrations as raunchy, I thought his performance was exhilarating. I felt it was equally as good as the Cha Cha delivered by Laila, if not marginally better. Apolo is at the top of his game as the finals approach, and his competitors will have to maintain the pressure if they hope to eliminate this resilient challenger.
Laila & Maks
The Queen of the Dance offered up two more outstanding performances. Laila remains determined to beat the boys to the finish line. Fortunately this week her routines contained enough content and excitement to virtually guarantee her a place in the finals. Laila is a force to be reckoned with, whether in the ring or on the dance floor. Her confidence, strong personality, and admirable work ethic have earned her a well-deserved spot in this season’s finals.
Laila’s Quickstep was fast, smooth, and filled with Cleopatra-themed movements that significantly enhanced the entertainment value of her performance. Laila was light on her feet, relaxed on the dance floor, and provided the audience with a sophisticated — albeit technically basic — version of the Quickstep. However, I didn’t think that some of Laila’s fast-paced footwork exhibited as much control or was as clean as that performed in Apolo’s routine. I also didn’t feel that Laila and Maks complemented each other as dance partners as well as either Apolo or Joey and their respective partners. Although Laila received a perfect score from the judges, in my book her ballroom number ranked third — marginally behind those of Joey and Apolo.
Laila’s Cha Cha was a knockout blend of cheekiness and dancing precision. Her hip movements were wonderfully sensual, her footwork confident, and her delivery technically proficient. Laila exudes allure and magnetism on the dance floor. Although some of her arm movements were still a little loose, overall she brought a polished and captivating routine to the floor. The entertainment component of her performance has evolved nicely and movements that showcase Laila’s playful personality have been successfully integrated into Maks’ choreography. Laila and Apolo, in my opinion, are running nose to nose for the number two spot in the competition.
WAITING TO EXHALE
Ian & Cheryl
A mixed package from Mr. Perfectionist. Ian supplied us with a solid hit and a slight miss in this week’s installment of DwtS. Despite his diligence, Ian’s results rank clearly below the exceptionally high standards set by the other celebrities still competing for the disco ball trophy.
Ian’s Tango was solid, but lacked the pizzazz that his competitors regularly bring to the dance floor. On the plus side, Ian was technically competent in his floor work, appropriately aggressive in his movements, and effectively sound in his execution. Cheryl’s choreography was a perfect fit with their musical selection and included a delightful balance of clipped movements, dramatic poses and sharp footwork. Unfortunately, Ian remains unable to stop mentally focusing on the execution of his dance steps long enough to relax on the dance floor and enjoy the entertainment aspect of his performance. Even his behind-the-scenes instruction from a life coach failed to unleash Ian’s "true" inner self. While I agree with Len that this Tango was Ian’s best routine to-date, unluckily for Ian he is participating in a season that includes three more highly skilled celebrities.
Ian’s Elvis-inspired Jive, complete with pompadour, was fun, relaxed, and solidly performed. Finally Ian managed to loosen up and feel the character of the dance. Of course, the audience’s familiarity with the King of Rock and Roll combined with one of Elvis’ most famous recordings, helped reinforce this long-awaited breakthrough. Still, Ian’s kicks were sharp, his footwork precise, and his dance technique competently executed. Ian has certainly done everything humanly possible to retain his spot in the competition. Unfortunately, his connection with his inner-self came too late.