America’s Ballroom Challenge 3: American Smooth

The third season of America’s Ballroom Challenge got off to a strong start with the American Smooth Round.

Pictures of the seven American Smooth finalist couples can be found here.

This year’s technical commentary was much improved by the addition of Ron Montez, who offered insightful observations without any of Tony Meredith’s awkward pausing. And I laughed out loud as Ron politely, but definitively, dismissed each of the gimmicky showdances.

Ron was right about the gimmicky showdances, of which there were four. Most of them seemed kitschy and not particularly creative. Mazen Hamza & Irena Sarukhanyan (last year’s winners) seem to be the only American Smooth couple who can create themed routines that feel representative of the American Smooth style.

My favorite dance of the night was probably Steven Dougherty & Eulia Baranovsky’s showdance, but I’m a sucker for that Fred & Ginger stuff. The judges agreed, as Steven & Eulia won that round.

The real revelation for me tonight was how glamourous J.T. Thomas is. J.T.’s pewter metallic group dance dress made her look something straight out of a comic book artist’s fantasies — only in a classy way. Her tailor is a magician.

J.T.’s lavender showdance dress was understated, but so flattering. Instead of the dress drawing attention to itself, the dress showcased the woman wearing it. With all of her competitors covering sequins and feathers, J.T.’s dress stood out for its simple elegance.

I don’t know if her outfits helped her with the judges, but J.T. and her partner, Tomas Mielnicki, won both the group dance and the overall competition.

Next week, America’s Ballroom Challenge returns with the American Rhythm competition.

What did you think of the season’s first episode? Was Jasmine Guy a fitting replacement for Marilu Henner?