Week 6 – The Hottest Night of the Year (20.10.2014)

Introduction
It is interesting how the producers interpret the theme while most of the songs mentioned as Pitbull’s favorite songs or his song. Some people say the theme is ‘The Sexiest Night of the Year’ and some say ‘The Hottest Night of the Year’. While the type of the routine is mixed from Salsa, Samba to Foxtrot.

What is interesting this week is the presence of Leah Remini who fills in for Erin Andrews just for one week since Erin has another task. All I can say is : Leah Remini is superb. She is not afraid to say anything. I really mean anything. She is not afraid to say ‘no one can rely just on the judges score alone, thank God’ or when she hit Derek with the microphone saying : ‘Cause you don’t know what it feels like to get a 5 or 7, don’t you ?’. I laugh hard when she said that, because until now there is nobody ever saying that to Derek, the golden boy of DWTS. I also love the way she try to cheer up all the couples with her funny and positive comments.

There is only one thing that bothers me. Can we get some competent and qualified guest judge ? Not because they want to promote their new album or single, but at least can give a very neutral comment hence encouragement for each couple. Like Ricky Martin in the previous season, who is able to encourage the couple in a positive way.

The routine perform by couple (alphabetically from the first name of the pros)

1. Allison Holker and Jonathan Bennet
His best performance ? Yes, I totally agree. Unfortunately he’s been eliminated at the end of the show and I still think it’s not fair. Well, what’s fair in a reality show ? Finally Allison start to hold herself a little bit and thinking about her partner. And finally Jonathan came out and showed the world that he really can dance. Their jazz number is very entertaining and 8’s all across the board seems very fair. But I have to say it is contradictive. It seems like the judges knew he will be eliminated, so they spent their 8 on him. We will never know the answer. At the beginning of the routine, my focus is still in Allison. But starting from the middle of the routine, he really executed the routine very well. It’s really so sad to see him really happy listening to the judges comments yet he was the one who is eliminated.

2. Cheryl Burke and Antonio Sabato Jr.
Cheryl is such a small energetic lady. I love her. She has a free spirit. Never give up. Although she had a hard time during the rehearsal because her father is sick. Their routine is salsa, with Enrique Iglesias song ‘Bailando’ … Wow, a very interesting and sexy song, great setting and of course excellent choreography from Cheryl. And that’s what we called ‘Antonio is dancing’. He seems more and more comfortable with the movement especially the hip action. He seems very satisfied at the end of the routine. The combination of 7 and 8 is fair enough. Unfortunately, it’s all 7’s across the board. At least an 8 for the amazing choreography and Antonio’s significant improvement.

3. Emma Slater and Michael Waltrip
Emma looks great in her costume. But still he’s not a natural mover. This week they have Argentine Tango. I still can’t see he is dancing, no matter how hard he tried. But I always admire his spirit and enthusiasm to face all the challenges. Emma is really amazing in encouraging Michael to be always positive. I think the combination of 7 and 6 is fair for them.

4. Peta Murgatroyd and Tommy Chong
This week they do the foxtrot. And as soon as the song from Earth Wind & Fire started, I can’t take my eyes off of Peta. She is very gorgeous with her smile, her pink costumes, her spirit and the way she stand by Tommy. Perfect partner for Tommy. From week to week he survived and I really admire his willingness to learn and perform. Peta is amazing from the way she choreograph all the routines for Tommy and especially this foxtrot. It’s beautiful.

5. Witney Carson and Alfonso Ribeiro
This week is still full of injury. Both Alfonso and Witney got injured. It is affecting their performance just a little bit, but still they execute it well. And their routine really full of dangerous lifts and spins though. They dance salsa with J-Lo song ‘Booty’. Beautiful red costumes, especially on Witney. I agree with Julianne that this Alfonso-Witney team is really serious contender. Getting 39 out of 40 is fantastic.

6. Artem Chigvintsev and Lea Thompson
Artem said to Lea : ‘I need amazing, great is not an option’. He focused to beat Alfonso who’s on the top of the leaderboard. I feel that the song choice is not supported Artem’s choreography. And the help from the troupe is distracting since the color of the costume is not match Lea and Artem costumes. I think the combination of 7 and 8 is fair for them. In fact, the judges gave them all 8’s. I agree with Carrie Ann, they need to find what Lea feels great to do and not focusing on how to beat Alfonso. Lea seems not confident of herself as usual.

7. Derek Hough and Bethany Mota
Pure tango … Nothing more to say about Derek’s choreography. That guy can do anything with any song. Bethany is better than the last two weeks actually. She is not a professional dancer but she executes the routine well. She slips but she continue to dance. Looking at the whole routine, I think all 8’s across the board is good enough. But surprise, the judges gave them all 9’s. Bethany’s costume is great, but I think the hairstyle is too ‘old’ for her age. Although a lot of people like her hairdo. But when Carrie Ann said that she’s like watching Nicole Scherzinger dance, well I think she is exaggerating. The only person that you can compare with Nicole Scherzinger is Jennifer Grey.

8. Mark Ballas and Sadie Robertson
The package they shown about the objection from Sadie’s grandmother, and how Mark is really tried to accommodate it because he respect Sadie, really made me very curious what kind of choreography Mark create for their Rumba, the dance of love. Well, all I can say is Mark is a genius. Sadie looks very beautiful like a white swan. They dance sooo good until I believe that Mark is willing to give everything just to keep her in his arm. The closing is very very smart and amazing, when they sat on the floor and Mark reach out for Sadie to be close to him. I think they deserve all 9’s.

9. Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Janel Parrish
First thing first, why did they pick one of the strong couple as a filler for ‘you are in jeopardy’ thing ? Second, that is the first time I saw Janel fall apart right after Tom Bergeron announced that they are also in jeopardy. She seems depressed and suddenly she lost her confidence while she performed. I don’t need to correlate those two things. All I can say is as usual the choreography is great, Val’s routine, fast and sexy. They still managed to do their routine well though. But I feel that this week she is not focus as usual dance. Maybe because of ‘the jeopardy’ thing. Pitbull said he didn’t feel the passion in the routine. I say they always dance passionately and this routine is for TV audience consumption, not in the night club, and I think they did it with passion.

My favorite routines from the couples
1. Cheryl Burke and Antonio Sabato Jr. – Salsa / Bailando – Enrique Iglesias ft. Gente de Zona, Descemer Bueno and Sean Paul
2. Witney Carson and Alfonso Ribeiro – Salsa / Booty – Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull
3. Mark Ballas and Sadie Robertson – Rumba / Diamonds – Rihanna

My favorite routine from the pros
Opening number from Pitbull and the pros with the song ‘Fireball’ and do not forget that the number is choreograph by the one and only – Mandy Moore

Reflection from week 6
1. I will rewrite what I wrote previously. Being a positive-thinking person is not as easy as it seems. Jonathan Bennett is the perfect example for that. I can feel his disappointment but he still can smile and it is ah-ma-zing. If I put myself on his position, I really don’t want to imagine how my facial expression will be, hit hard every week, getting all 8’s for jazz routine and being eliminated as a closure, in front of million people watching him from all over the world. He is a survivor. On the other hand, this situation makes me think that if he can do it, then we can do it too.
2. Being competitive is good to keep your spirit up. But sometimes it will become a burden that might block your mind to be free. This week Artem stated to Lea that Alfonso is her direct competitor. The result ? Lea seems under pressure and not perform as good as usual, because maybe her mind is focused about how to perform better than Alfonso. I agree with Carrie Ann that sometimes we have to forget about it and just do the best we can.
3. Without considering all the scenarios from the producers or studio, we have to admit that this show is a high-end show. It involves a lot of talented people. Let’s start from the pros, the troupe, the band, the host (which is a very important aspect of the show) until all the crew that handling lighting, make up, hairdo, costumes, equipment and so many things needed for this show. Including the producers, of course. It is amazing to see large group of people working together to deliver a live TV show where we can watch all the beautiful routines from different angles at home. This show really makes me more and more respect and appreciate the people in entertainment world.

Week 5 – Switch-Up Night (13.10.2014)

Introduction
At least the new producers really learned from the previous season. In season 18, they did the switch up on week 4 and the impression from all the fans is that is brutal (quoted from Julianne’s comment). This season they did the switch-up on week 5. The advantage is the celebrity partners probably already feel comfortable with the environment of this show and hopefully the switch-up won’t make them fall apart. The disadvantage of the switch-up, and this will happen every time the switch-up is there, that the pressure will be on the celebrity partners, how fast they can adapt to the new partner. The pros will have less pressure since they’ve already experience in teaching and partnering with new person.

Although this switch-up is hard for all the contestants, or maybe it’s a relief for some contestants or pros, it’s still interesting to watch the bonding and chemistry that supposed to be there in less than one week. And it feels kind of weird that this time seems the producers like to do more experiment by switching up between two couples. If I’m not mistaken, in the previous season 18, they only switch the Chmerkovskiy brothers. But this time they did it for Val and Artem, Mark and Derek. We will never know whether that’s the result from audience pick or they just decided to switch them up because it happened that they are all strong couple in the competition. Val and Artem are exotic kind of guys, while everybody knows Mark and Derek are best friends.

I have to admit it is interesting to watch Val and Artem, Mark and Derek switch-up. But on the other hand, it seems the producers put the spotlight on them and other contestants are not so important like these four couples. But in the end, everybody can speculate or have their own opinions. The final decision still in the producers’ hands.

I am amazed that some of the songs chosen by the producers are not even match for the related dance. And still the judges comment sometimes too harsh for the celeb, as if they don’t know that song choices is really the vital element in performing the routine well on stage.

We know that this is in the middle road, but I think they need to appreciate the efforts from everybody in the switch up situation. I totally agree with the comment I saw in one of the social media, that the producers supposed to choose guest judge who at least watch the show. Because we hear repeatedly from Jessie J as a guest judge that this is the first she sees him/her. The opposite of Kevin Hart though, while he gave a very generous 9 and 10, Jessie J even gave 5.

Guest judge for this week is Jessie J. She has great voice and entertaining. But as a guest judge, I’m not comfortable with the way she judging the couples. Especially when she mentioned a few times that this is the first time she saw this and that, and that she was not watching the show. As a guest judge, I don’t think it’s fair to score the contestant by watching them on the spot for the first time. You have to appreciate their growth from the first week. Maybe also a comprehensive briefing from the producers about the scoring system for guest judge ? Since she gave an awkward score for some couples.

There is no elimination this week. But the scores and the votes will be combined and they will do the elimination on the week after.

The routine perform by couple (alphabetically from the first name of the pros)

1. Allison Holker and Antonio Sabato Jr.
They are doing Bollywood this week. Allison has a lot of Bollywood experience especially in So You Think You Can Dance show where the type of dance is more various. Like she said, Bollywood is a very high-energy dance and needs high stamina. The only Bollywood number I’ve ever seen in DWTS is when Peta did this with Giles Marini. I still see Allison is automatic turn herself into a professional dancer once they are on stage. Because what I see in Jonathan is happening again with Antonio. All I can see is her, not Jonathan or Antonio. Compare if you see other female pros perform with their partner on stage, you can SEE the celeb partner and the presence of the female pros is just completing the whole package. It is understandable that Allison did not come from the ballroom background, but she needs to learn very fast how to put herself as a teacher and as a partner to the celeb, rather than turn into an autopilot mode being a dancer. Otherwise she will make Jonathan not stay long in the competition. In the case of Antonio, I believe she is able to choreograph better routine for Antonio. This number really did not suit for Antonio. They seem to dance separately. The part where Allison is standing above him and the part where Antonio fly with the rope, for me is not relevant with the Bollywood number. The total score of 28 maybe is appropriate for appreciate Antonio’s hardworking to perform such a very fast movement routine. The song choice is not suitable, didn’t help Allison or Antonio to perform better.

2. Cheryl Burke and Alfonso Ribeiro
What can I say. Amazing flamenco. Amazing partnership with Cheryl. They are great together. Cheryl’s costume is amazingly white. And the expectation for Alfonso is getting higher and higher every week. With a serious routine like this, still he proves that he can do it. I expect all 9’s though, but the scores, well I think the combination of 8 and 9 is quite fair.

3. Emma Slater and Tommy Chong
Here you go, Tommy. Judges complaint about the song but they didn’t pick the song, like Erin said. Emma really did great choreography, such an entertaining routine with a very slow beat music. Tommy Chong is great. He’s not nervous at all, he finished the routine well and Emma still can do some spinning with his help. For his age, he is fantastic though. I guess an average 7 will be good for him, considering the effort. Sometimes what is weird from the judges is they are contradictive. Like Jessie J expressed she like the routine, but she came up with 6. What I really love is when I saw Emma and Peta expressions as the pros when Julianne gave him 5. Sometimes the comment from the judges also is irrelevant. Julianne mentioned that Tommy look tired. Well, he is 76 and he’s been in rehearsal almost every day for more than a month. Of course he looked tired. I think the combination of 6 and 7 will be fair for Tommy.

4. Peta Murgatroyd and Jonathan Bennett
I feel that Peta really happy to get Jonathan for this week. She did well with Tommy, but Peta is a great dancer and choreographer. She is still young and energetic. Although only for a week, at least she is able to do something different for the choreography, especially when they are given Jitterbug as their routine. Fast like Jive, fast like Peta and cheerful like Jonathan. Very energetic number and as usual Peta’s choreography is amazing. Although I agree with the judges that Jonathan started very well at the beginning and I was kind of hope that he did well until the end of the routine, but he seems lost in the middle of the number and Peta almost slip out from his hand. The choreography is quite complex since it involved a lot of athletics movement.

I thought all 7’s will be appropriate, but the judges gave them all 6’s. The disappointment is obvious on Peta’s face. It’s not for her own sake, but it’s a traumatic experience for Peta because in the previous season, she got hit by the comment from the judges when she got Charlie White in the Switch-Up week, said that it’s not Rumba at all. Although they still get total score above 30, but that week lowered down Charlie’s rank from the leader board. And it happened again with Jonathan, who had already suffered from the previous week. This time is even worse. That is a mess in the scoring and it’s not easy for Peta since she has moral obligation to take Jonathan to get a better score, and it’s not easy for Jonathan to keep get slammed by the judges scores.

5. Witney Carson and Michael Waltrip
For once, at least Michael can dance a little bit. Although we still have to admit that he is not a natural mover. I think he is better than last week and he did not busy counting on his steps but he enjoy it. I don’t know why Carrie Ann comments about ‘when you can’t dance, make us laugh’. I did not see the intention like that. But we have to admit, it makes sense that Michael survived mostly because of the fans votes. If we are talking about the content and technique, week 5 is supposed to be great. But I still think Witney did a fantastic job with choreograph the routine for Michael with a simple disco movement but still you can see clearly that is a disco. Michael is another celebrity partner who keeps getting low scores and unsatisfied comment from the judges. And he realized that he’s not as good as other contestants, but his positiveness is amazing, same as Jonathan.

6. Artem Chigvintsev and Janel Parrish
They got Burlesque as their routine. First of all, when I heard the After Show DWTS from Afterbuzz TV, Jenna Johnson mentioned that Artem explain about Burlesques is usually a female dance. To choreograph Burlesque as a pair of male and female dance, it’s tough. Although after I saw them performed, that is a very sexy routine and in this season only Janel can do that routine. Again the song is not quite suitable with the routine like Julianne said about Burlesque concept (of course she knew because she is one of the dancers in the ‘Burlesque’ movie with Christina Aguilerra and Cher). And there is a moment when the flip and drop between Artem and Janel seems awkward, I don’t know why. But it seems that when we expect a dramatic closing, the flip and drop and spin is not getting there. I still don’t agree the judges especially Julianne and Carrie Ann (in her blog) comments that the routine is sexy and rauchy, but it’s not Burlesque. Let’s compare with what Artem said to Jenna and they are not the ones who pick the style and the song. It’s a hard comment though, but the scores is quite fair, the combination of 8 and 9.

7. Derek Hough and Sadie Robertson
Now that’s what I called a perfect partner for Derek. Look at her, so energetic and fresh. Likeable and always smile. And we can see the difference of the choreography that Derek made for Bethany and Sadie. Sadie execute the choreography very well. Getting all 9’s is just perfect for them. Nice costumes and simple stage but deliver a beautiful Charleston style. It is flawless.

8. Mark Ballas and Bethany Mota
While Sadie is comfortable dancing in high heels or flat shoes, Bethany definitely comfortable doing her routine in flat shoes. For the first time, she really did perform very comfortable and enjoying the routine. Hip hop style seems perfect for her although the choreography is quite simple if we compare with the real hip hop dance. So far all 8’s across the board is fair. Mark as usual, always create a unique choreography where he put Sadie and Derek as a cameo in the beginning and the end of the routine.

9. Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Lea Thompson
Broadway style with Val. Great concept and fun. Great setting, even Val, Assist by Henry, Sasha, Lindsay and Jenna have makeover as a group of old people. Although Lea seems hesitate in the middle of the routine because her legs seems all over the place, but when Val spin her and she do the solo for a few seconds, she came back and they close the number beautiful. It is a complex choreography, because there is a story involved in that routine. I guess 9’s across the board is the appropriate score for them, but it’s weird when Julianne and Jessie J gave her an 8.

My favorite routines from the couples
1. Cheryl Burke and Alfonso Ribeiro – Flamenco / Angelica – Hans Zimmer
2. Artem Chigvintsev and Janel Parrish – Burlesque / Mamma Knows Best – Jessie J
3. Derek Hough and Sadie Robertson – Charleston / Crazy Stupid Love – Cheryl Cole ft. Tinie Tempah
4. Mark Ballas and Bethany Mota – Hip Hop / She Came To Give It To You – Usher ft. Nicki Minaj
5. Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Lea Thompson – Broadway / You Can’t Stop The Beat – Hairspray

My favorite routine from the pros
Opening number with Jessie J singing medley of ‘Bang Bang’ and ‘Burning Up’

Reflection from week 5
1. Being fair is not easy. Like the judges, they judge something that is not apple-to-apple comparison. How can you judge someone as young as Sadie or Janel compare to Tommy or Betsey. Either the producers have a set of parameters other than technical ability or the judges need to be more careful when they score.
2. Perseverance, in this week very obvious I can see from Jonathan. His journey is like a roller coaster. And last week he had a bad score. This week he got quite harsh comment from the judges. I don’t know what’s happen behind the scene, but at least in front of camera he shown enthusiasm while Peta shown her disappointment.
3. Maintain your level of optimism and positiveness. Michael and Jonathan are the experts in those areas. They keep slammed by the judges’ comments and/or scores week after week. But they keep moving on, keep smiling in front of the camera, keep rehearse as hard as they can – do their best. Amazing !

Weekly Dance Chart (source : from Wikipedia)

I hope this chart will help the readers to remember the routine and also keep tracking who already eliminated and which couple who still move on to the next round. I will update this chart every week.

Week 1 – Premiere Show
1. Witney & Alfonso : Jive
2. Mark & Sadie : Cha cha
3. Derek & Bethany : Jive
4. Artem & Lea : Foxtrot
5. Karina & Randy : Foxtrot
6. Allison & Jonathan : Jive
7. Sharna & Tavis : Foxtrot
8. Val & Janel : Jive
9. Peta & Tommy : Cha cha
10. Cheryl & Antonio : Cha cha
11. Emma & Michael : Cha cha
12. Keo & Lolo : Cha cha
13. Tony & Betsey : Cha cha

Week 2 – My Jam Monday
1. Witney & Alfonso : Samba
2. Mark & Sadie : Jazz
3. Derek & Bethany : Foxtrot
4. Artem & Lea : Jive
5. Karina & Randy : Cha cha
6. Allison & Jonathan : Cha cha
7. Sharna & Tavis : Cha cha
8. Val & Janel : Foxtrot
9. Peta & Tommy : Salsa
10. Cheryl & Antonio : Rumba
11. Emma & Michael : Samba
12. Tony & Betsey : Foxtrot

Week 3 – Movie Night
1. Witney & Alfonso : Quickstep
2. Mark & Sadie : Viennese Waltz
3. Derek & Bethany : Jazz
4. Artem & Lea : Cha cha
5. Karina & Randy : Paso doble
6. Allison & Jonathan : Tango
7. Val & Janel : Jazz
8. Peta & Tommy : Argentine Tango
9. Cheryl & Antonio : Foxtrot
10. Emma & Michael : Waltz
11. Tony & Betsey : Contemporary

Week 4 – Most Memorable Year
1. Witney & Alfonso : Jazz
2. Mark & Sadie : Samba
3. Derek & Bethany : Rumba
4. Artem & Lea : Contemporary
5. Allison & Jonathan : Samba
6. Val & Janel : Rumba
7. Peta & Tommy : Jive
8. Cheryl & Antonio : Samba
9. Emma & Michael : Quickstep
10. Tony & Betsey : Jive

Week 5 – Switch-Up Night
1. Witney & Michael : Disco
2. Mark & Bethany : Hip Hop
3. Derek & Sadie : Charleston
4. Artem & Janel : Burlesque
5. Allison & Antonio : Bollywood
6. Val & Lea : Broadway
7. Peta & Jonathan : Jitterbug
8. Cheryl & Alfonso : Flamenco
9. Emma & Tommy : Mambo

Week 6 – The Sexiest Night
1. Witney & Alfonso : Salsa
2. Mark & Sadie : Rumba
3. Derek & Bethany : Tango
4. Artem & Lea : Salsa
5. Allison & Jonathan : Jazz
6. Val & Janel : Samba
7. Peta & Tommy : Foxtrot
8. Cheryl & Antonio : Salsa
9. Emma & Michael : Argentine Tango

Week 7 – Halloween Night
1. Witney & Alfonso : Rumba
2. Mark & Sadie : Paso Doble
3. Derek & Bethany : Paso Doble
4. Artem & Lea : Argentine Tango
5. Val & Janel : Viennese Waltz
6. Peta & Tommy : Quickstep
7. Cheryl & Antonio : Viennese Waltz
8. Emma & Michael : Jive

Group dance – Team Itsy Bitsy : Emma & Michael, Artem & Lea, Val & Janel, Derek & Bethany
Group dance – Team Creep Du Soleil : Cheryl & Antonio, Witney & Alfonso, Mark & Sadie, Peta & Tommy

Week 4 – Most Memorable Year (06.10.2014)

Introduction
This theme is always interesting because all the contestants will reveal a little tiny part of their lives, either it’s a true story or just created to add the drama side of the show. As the next process from the story of their lives, it is also interesting to see how the pros interpret the story into the routine. Sometimes we can connect directly to the routine after we hear the story, but a few times we got confuse what is the correlation between the story and the routine.

But as always, we can depend on the pros. Whether there is a correlation between the story or the routine, it doesn’t matter. They are still able to present an entertaining routine.

What’s difference this week is the fourth judge is America, the audience. I don’t see the necessity to discuss about how their score can be calculated so fast because we will discuss about technology then. Let’s assume that the fourth score is really from the TV audience, well, they gave the similar score as the judges.

The routine perform by couple (alphabetically from the first name of the pros)

1. Allison Holker and Jonathan Bennet
Jonathan’s story is about his parents, it’s an honor to them and all the fans of ‘Mean Girls’. Unfortunately this week is the lowest point for them. Their opening is on Christmas spirit and then it change suddenly into samba. What make it worse is that Jonathan’s foot is seems so heavy that it doesn’t appear like he is dancing. On the other way, Allison seems not connected to the song and the mood of the routine. Honestly I try to guess what is the routine and just realize it was a Samba after they put it on the screen. It will be very difficult for them next week to improve their score with the switch up partner.

2. Cheryl Burke and Antonio Sabato Jr.
Antonio’s story is about how his family struggled when they first moved to America. How his parents are very proud because he got his first job to be in Janet Jackson’s music video, because this is the start when he became an actor. After they performed the routine, the judges comment about full extension, but I thought is more about hip action. I mean he is able to be Janet Jackson’s partner in her video. He always hesitates to move freely. Like Carrie Ann said, he has a wonderful body but afraid to show it. The performance is better from last week and more entertaining to watch compare to Michael and Emma.

3. Emma Slater and Michael Waltrip
Michael’s story is when he won the Daytona race while at the same time he lost his friend and mentor because of the car crash on the same race. He describes his experience as ‘it’s like you went to the highest high and to the lowest low in within thirty minutes’. Unfortunately, the Quickstep will be a very difficult routine for Michael. We can’t see the Quickstep. We can only see him jump all around the dance floor. And in the end, he slips and Emma is slightly falls to the floor. I agree with the judges that the performance is technically poor. If America gives higher score for him, I think it’s more because of his effort and spirit to do the best.

4. Peta Murgatroyd and Tommy Chong
Tommy told the story when he had to spend nine months in prison since he’s been accused transporting drugs across the border. He lost his freedom and feel helpless. Overcoming that fear was very very hard to do. He learned how to live each moment, one moment of a time. He dedicated this routine as a celebration to his freedom. Enjoyable to watch – that’s the correct term for Tommy, came from Carrie Ann’s comment. He’s not able to do an energetic move but he loves to dance and he loves to entertain people. The choreography is simple but maybe because of Tommy’s limited physical movement, there is a few mistakes in the middle of the dance. Same as Betsey, considering their age and physical ability to dance, I think they really depend on fans to keep them stay in this show.

5. Witney Carson and Alfonso Ribeiro
Alfonso told about his years with the ‘Freshman of Bel Air’ who made him famous but also pigeon-holed him as a character in that series. In the end, he still thankful for the role and he dedicated this number to all Carlton’s fans. Janel and Val may take us to tears, Sadie and Mark may take us to laugh hard, but Alfonso and Witney definitely take me to scream because the number is so good. Great choreography from Witney, the Carlton dance FINALLY appears on stage, beautiful setting, fun story and they dance from their heart. It is so fun, entertaining and perfect. The only dance gets perfect score of the night – I wouldn’t mind at all.

6. Artem Chigvintsev and Lea Thompson
What an incredible story and what a beautiful dance. A story about an extraordinary father and daughter relationship. Lea said that the way he died taught her how to live. The number is very elegant, with a beautiful song and the choreography is very emotional. This is Lea’s best dance. If I am America, I will give them 10 like the judges. The training 32 years ago in ABT paid off in this routine. She moves so graceful and you can see the movement of a ballet dancer. Artem, he is a genius and pour all his heart into this number.

7. Derek Hough and Bethany Mota
Bethany told about bullying she had before. How she overcome the fear and be a successful person like now. From the beginning, Derek’s choreography is always creative and full of passion. But it needs the right people to execute it well so the routine will be enjoyable to watch. Bethany has the spirit of teenager, but for this rumba, no matter what incredible the story behind it, I did not see something that impressive, the way I see Janel or Sadie or Lea dance. In this rumba, Derek used a beautiful and artistic backdrop, and the song perform live by the singer. But for the first time ever, I start to like Julianne – again. She gives highly appreciative for Bethany’s life experience but she is not afraid to say to Derek that there is not enough rumba content, and I absolutely completely agree with her. Bruno mentioned about the hip movement in rumba and I completely agree that she is not performing the correct rumba.

8. Mark Ballas and Sadie Robertson
Sadie’s memorable year started when the family started the reality show with Duck Dynasty. She told about her grandpa being in the news because something he said. But whatever happen, Sadie said that family has to stick together. So this number is dedicated to her family. I will give 10 for this dance. Although Mark’s face is look scary with the Robertson’s beard, but the choreography is fun-tastic. Sadie as usual is amazing, seems effortless when she moves. The most important thing is they really enjoy it. I hope the 10 for them will appear more frequent in the future.

9. Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Janel Parrish
Janel’s story is about her vocal teacher who she said like a second grandmother to her. She regretted that she didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to her vocal teacher. She dedicated this rumba to her teacher because she is the reason why Janel loves performing so much. This couple is really amazing, in terms of chemistry, choreography, performance and costume. And this week, although there are a few missed in the number, overall they are wonderful. The choreography is beautiful, but I think for Val’s rumba, she needs to be softer so we can see both of them become one in this lovely rumba.

10. Tony Dovolani and Betsey Johnson
Betsey’ story is beautiful. She has great memories about the time she spent with her daughter, Lulu. This number is dedicated to her. Tony definitely is the best partner for Betsey Johnson. This week Betsey do the jive without hesitation, still able to do unbelievable moves and she dance beautifully. I believe America will save them because we already by her willingness to get better regardless her age.

My favorite routine from the couples
1. Witney Carson and Alfonso Ribeiro – Jazz / It’s Not Unusual – Tom Jones
2. Mark Ballas and Sadie Robertson – Samba / Hunter – Pharell Williams

My favorite routine from the pros
Opening number choreograph by Sharna Burgess

Reflection from week 4
1. Week 4 and I still see how are the pros always encouraged their partners to have fun and enjoy the moment. It’s easier to say though. But let’s imagine for a while, if you are not a professional dancer and you have a very low esteem when you begin the show, but your partner always positive and give you encouragement that you’re doing great and just enjoy it, won’t you accept that those positive things will boost your self-confidence ? They are really professional.
2. If we have to quit or stop doing something, at least we already did our best. That’s what happened with Betsey and Tony, when they already tried the best as they could. Although I think there is another couple that is more likely supposed to be eliminated.

Week 3 – Movie Night (29.09.2014)

Introduction
This week theme is Movie Night. The couple can choose one song from the movie that they like to do the routine. But for sure, this week is full of surprises. From Kevin Hart as a very generous guest judge who gave a lot of 9 and 10, the three couples in jeopardy, plus the couple who eliminated this week. This is reality-tv show, full of drama and you never know what will happen next.

For some of potential couples, they are getting better this week. For others, there is an improvement especially on the technique. But we have to admit that body stiffness and age are really the limitation for some celebrities. Let’s say Antonio and Michael, no matter how hard they try, they are not natural mover and it is obvious. For Tommy and Betsey, their performance is better this week. But we can see that Peta and Tony really trying to choose the move very careful. It affects the speed of their routine too.

The routine perform by couple (alphabetically from the first name of the pros)

1. Allison Holker and Jonathan Bennet
Allison is a very humble pro dancer. The comment from the judges on week 3 said that her choreography has less content, really push her to do better for Jonathan. This week they dance a real tango. Maybe it’s not as good as other pro’s tango, but they learn how to do it better to survive every week. I just hope with a very good bonding and spirit between them, they can survive each week challenges.

2. Cheryl Burke and Antonio Sabato Jr.
Until week 3, I have not seen any special element from Antonio. There is still no significant improvement from week to week. Meanwhile Cheryl seems work very hard to promote Antonio and to create amazing choreography. Still did not work until this week. But I have to say they suppose to have a better chance to survive compare to Michael and Emma.

3. Emma Slater and Michael Waltrip
For the third times, we all can see that Michael Waltrip has a difficulty to move his body. Even though Emma choreograph a simple routine and use props and additional dancers, I can not see he can lead Emma the way the other male celeb did. I am very surprised they still safe. Don’t get me wrong for the third time, I always thought that Emma is great, and that is includes her enthusiasm and positiveness.

4. Karina Smirnoff and Randy Couture
After last week, he seems lost in his performance, Randy come back this week with Paso Doble which requires very sharp movement. The song from ‘Rocky’ is perfect, but maybe the costume could have been a little more matching the song though. He seems hesitant and like Julianne said, seems always waiting for Karina. His confidence when he performed the foxtrot with Karina doesn’t appear this week.

5. Peta Murgatroyd and Tommy Chong
Every week I always concern whether this couple will survive or not. I have seen Peta doing the best she can do for Tommy. I don’t know whose idea is it, but taking ‘Scent of a Woman’ for the routine is a smart choice. I can imagine that the real tango must be very difficult for Tommy, but again Peta succeed to choreograph the moves for Tony. I’m glad they are safe. But the 10 from Kevin Heart as a guest judge ? I’m not fully agree with him.

6. Witney Carson and Alfonso Ribeiro
Witney is amazing, she proved herself that she deserved to be the pro dancer in this show. Her choreography is great for them who use the song from ‘Austin Power’. Alfonso perform the Quickstep well, the ballroom dance which requires a love of movement and body contact with his partner. Alfonso is an entertainer, he loves when he can entertain the audience. Somehow Witney is able to accommodate his needs. The segment when Alfonso dance with the Troupe in front of the trailer and the appearance of his son is really entertaining. But that is continue with a good performance on Quickstep. Way to go, Alfonso !

7. Artem Chigvintsev and Lea Thompson
Inspired by Lea’s movie is great. They even borrow the ‘Back to the Future’ car for the show. But what matters is when they perform, Lea still killin’ it. The jive she did last week is slightly better than this week. For overall performance, they are very entertaining and I like the chemistry they have.

8. Derek Hough and Bethany Mota
We know that Gene Kelly’s number is unique. And from the footage, also from any other social media, we also know that Derek put all of his heart to this number. They did well, but I have to agree with some people that the perfect score for them may not be right. The 40 for Derek, I agree. The 40 for the number he is doing with Bethany, may be not. The jazz number with Amy Purdy last season, which one of the Emmy nominated for Derek, that’s what I called perfection. Bethany’s facial expression is not match Derek’s. I always love the way Derek’s dance, full of passion and from the heart. Well, as I mentioned, this week is full of surprises, whether you like it or not.

9. Mark Ballas and Sadie Robertson
This cute couples, has the best costumes of the week. So simple hence so cute, you can’t even hold your smile when you see them. And when they dance, I can feel the joy. Actually I always see Mark has a very good taste of chic and elegant costume for his partner. And his choreography is always nice and entertained. With the routine from the movie UP!, I really thought that they at least get 9’s across the board. My comment is the same with everybody and Mark himself, I rely on Carrie Ann’s comment about this number is her favorite that night. But when I see 8, well, another surprise then. I still think they deserve higher scores.

10. Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Janel Parrish
This Valentin, is a Wow. I can’t imagine you have to re-choreograph the number two days before the show. And they execute it like they have been rehearsed for the whole week. Janel really has a great charisma. Every time she appears on stage, I can feel her shining. Her expression when she dances is priceless. And this week, the number is really unique. No further comment, it is perfection.

11. Tony Dovolani and Betsey Johnson
This is another surprising couple. Last week Tony did something that transformed Betsey from Hip Hop style Betsey to Lady Betsey. It works, Betsey performed nicely. This week, they perform Contemporary with the famous song from ‘Ghost’. It’s unbelievable to see her dance and do some pose that extraordinary for her to do. Same as Tommy, they both are great in a way that they are willing to push themselves to do better and believe in their partners.

My favorite routines from the couples
1. Mark Ballas and Sadie Robertson – Vienesse Waltz / Maried Life – Michael Giacchino from ‘Up’
2. Witney Carson and Alfonso Ribeiro – Quickstep / Hey Goldmember – Beyonce ft. Devin & Solange from ‘Austin Powers in Goldmember’
3. Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Janel Parrish – Jazz / America – Leonard Bernstein from ‘West Side Story’
4. Derek Hough and Bethany Mota – Jazz / Singin’ in the Rain – Gene Kelly from ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

My favorite routine from the pros
Opening number with the judges

Reflection from week 3
1. From the beginning of the show, I notice one similar thing from all the pros. They know the rehearsal will be very tough and hard, but they always emphasize one important thing to their celeb partner : just have fun with it. In other words, you do your best when you perform, but don’t think about winning, just dance with your heart and the audience will see you shining. It is the important lesson of life, do everything with your heart.
2. We know about ‘The Show Must Go On’. It is easy to say but it is not easy to execute. Look at the ankle injury of Bethany Mota or Val who got call from the producers just a few days before the show informed him about the legal issue of choreography. If they want, especially the celebs, they may decide to withdraw with all the injury or the chaos in rehearsal schedule. But both the pros and the celeb partners decided to move on and have fun with it. Amazing attitude.

Week 2 – My Jam Monday (22.09.2014) and the result show (23.09.2014)

Week 2
My Jam Monday (22.09.2014) and the result show (23.09.2014)

Introduction
This week theme is My Jam Monday, which means the star can choose their favorite song for their routine. The variations of the dance are cha cha, foxtrot, samba, jive, salsa and jazz. What different is the opening number for week 2 include all the judges to dance a little bit. I love to see Carrie Ann and Julianne dance. But I still think that Len can do better moves than what he did in the opening number, the same with Bruno.

The routine perform by couple (alphabetically from the first name of the pros)

1. Allison Holker and Jonathan Bennet
I was a little shock when I watch their performance. It supposed to be cha cha. Before the judges’ comment, I feel that the number is more like freestyle or modern dance. It shows more on Allison’s flexibility. Last week performance is better. No wonder Carrie Ann, Len and Julianne comments that there is not enough cha cha on this number. I think the best comment is from Len where he advised Allison to watch her choreography and come back next week with more ‘content’. Other than that, I like the setting and the costumes from both of them. And they are kissing, what a brave act – LOL.

2. Cheryl Burke and Antonio Sabato Jr.
Maybe rumba is more suitable for Antonio. Although as Cheryl and Julianne said, doing the rumba in the beginning of the competition is not easy because rumba is a very passionate dance. But somehow, Antonio does his job very well. He is more fluid and more confident than last week. He is an actor but maybe it’s not so easy to have a very intimate body contact with Cheryl in their rumba. But they did it and if he keeps appear to be calm and confident, he will stay for a long time. And by the way, I love Cheryl’s costume, it is so beautiful and she is so pretty in that costume.

3. Emma Slater and Michael Waltrip
There is something missing about Michael, I still don’t know what it is. But this week, I’m not comfortable with the choice of song while they have to do the samba. The beat is not matching the samba movement. If we compare them with Randy and Karina, I can see how good Karina covering Randy, so we still can see both of them hand in hand perform the number. Michael is a nice person from the way he acted, but I got to admit that he is having a difficulty to catch up with Emma. Except for his hip action at some point, it is sad to admit that they did not dance synchronize.

4. Karina Smirnoff and Randy Couture
Karina’s costume is cute, yellow and has the 1930’s style, matching with Randy who wears the army costume. The song is good, ‘Satisfaction’, perfect for Randy. But I really have to say I agree with Carrie Ann. After last week Randy dance so well and smooth in foxtrot, I really expect him to perform as good as last week (at least) or even better. But he seems a little scared to move although Karina said that his facial expression is good during the dance whilst the camera did not catch it. I really hope he stay this week and I am pretty sure he will work harder for next week.

5. Peta Murgatroyd and Tommy Chong
Age 76, it’s not easy to dance like the other male stars. But Peta is doing a fantastic work, choreographing salsa for Tommy. We knew from the beginning that the physical movement and activities are the biggest hurdle and limitation for Tommy and especially for Peta to choreograph the number. The crowds support them because Tommy is a great personality. He is fun and confident. Peta is more relax this week, maybe because she is already accept that the possibility to be eliminated will always there every week for them. This week I saw her having fun and enjoying the time they perform the routine. Peta’s costume, it’s an amazing pinky one.

6. Sharna Burgess and Tavis Smiley
Sharna has proven from the last season that she is a good choreographer. This week I think the choregraphy is great, also the setting and the costumes. But in the footage, we can see that Tavis was too full with his activities, which is kind of disadvantage for him especially to fully rehearsed with Sharna. I can see that Tavis is doing his best to do the routine, but his last week performance was better. You can’t miss any opportunity to perform the routine as good as you can, so I just hope he get enough votes and scores to survive this week. But seriously, their scores are not bad at all.

7. Witney Carson and Alfonso Ribeiro
I can’t write much about this couple – yet – because the clip I got from YouTube has no sund at all when they dance. But looking at the movement, I like what I see. I mean Witney choreograph nicely, she dances great and Alfonso has a natural body movement. I like seeing him dance. But I can see that being on the top of the leaderboard has given him too much pressure. Last week he dances with a lot of smiles. But somehow this week he is kind of tense. But getting all 8 from the judges, it’s not bad at all, not bad at all.

8. Artem Chigvintsev and Lea Thompson
Wow, Lea is killin’ it. She is really entertaining. She has quick steps like young girl. And Artem, he is just amazing. Amazing in the way he dance and in the way he convince Lea that she can do it. They get the highest score after Randy and Janel perform. I have confidence she will get better and better. Wearing the leopard printing costume, that is something, Lea. She is my warrior prince this week.

9. Derek Hough and Bethany Mota
Derek is always creative when it comes to choreograph the number. And he is willing to take a risk to provide something unique for the audience. This time he is taking a risk by using the bass as their dance prop. Although it’s only in the beginning, but putting Bethany to stand on the bass, I can say that is a very brave movement and they did it, Bethany did it. Derek always perform in a complete very nice package : the choreography, the costumes and the props. Bethany still looks cute but more feminine compare to last week when she was more like a teenager. That impression comes from the costume, and I think it’s amazing. She can dance, but I like Amy Purdy more because she is an athlete and she has the flexibility for Derek’s choreography. Anyway, whether you like it or not, I have to admit that Bethany has all the advantages to win or at least reach the finale. Just imagine that possibility when you have thousands of followers in the social media, and the Emmy winning choreographer also a very talented dancer as your partner.

10. Mark Ballas and Sadie Robertson
I love Sadie because she does not afraid to show her enthusiasm about everything. And she has the advantages of a slender body and long legs. Although she needs to be more flexible when she dance, but the hip action is really good. I predict that the trio of Sadie, Bethany and Janel will always get a close scores every week since they are all young and pretty and can dance. The choreography is fun and energetic though.

11. Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Janel Parrish
Janel is so pretty in her costume. As usual, Val has a very good taste of how to create a perfect setting for the routine. It is romantic, like the way two people dance the foxtrot. I kind of afraid Janel might fall because of the mask they wear in the beginning and fall not far away from their feet. But they dance beautifully, although I think Karina and Randy did better last week. I am 100% sure they will stay for another week.

12. Tony Dovolani and Betsey Johnson
Another shocking couple. Last week I think Tony is so kind that he let Betsey to dress like she usually did. But the result was so poor because they were in the bottom of the leaderboard, yet they are very lucky that they survive the premiere night. And this week, Tony takes in charge. Betsey is amazing, she is clean and she is pretty. I can hardly recognize her because the dress I simple and beautiful. The choreography is nice and Betsey do the routine without any error. It makes me want to cry when she told Erin that Tony did all the changes on her, all of it and she feels grateful. That show how professional Tony Dovolani is. Two thumbs up for Tony who made Betsey turn from a messy lady into a princess. To thumbs up for Betsey that she is willing to follow Tony’s advice to get better.

My favorite routine from the couples
1. Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Janel Parrish – Foxtrot / Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jansen
2. Artem Chigvintsev and Lea Thompson – Jive / Land of a Thousand Dances – Wilson Pickett
3. Derek Hough and Bethany Mota – Foxtrot / All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor
4. Mark Ballas and Sadie Robertson – Jazz / She’s Country – Jason Aldean

My favorite routine from the pros
None

Reflection from week 2
1. It’s great to see the mutual relationship between the pro and the star. Like Lea, who feels that she can do the steps if Artem ‘touch’ her. For me it’s not depending on your partner, but she really trust her partner. It’s not easy, believe me, in any aspect of life, not only in dancing. You can see all the way to the final that the pro always had their ways to build and maintain the self-confidence of their partner. It’s not easy for the pros and it’s more difficult for the stars. But that’s what friends are for.

2. This show really gave me a perspective about how people handle their stress. Each person has their own way how to channeling the stress and being free from it, because the pressure is really hard. Imagine as a person that is not a professional dancer, you have to learn more and more complex moves from various type of ballroom dances. You have only less than one week to learn a lot of new things and you have to perform in front of the nation. This is a reality show, of course the producers always doing something dramatic to increase the level of enthusiasm from the audience. But I am 100% sure that it is not easy for all the casts to survive week by week. But they made it and that is more important than winning the mirror ball.

3. Being a teacher is difficult. It takes a lot of patience and empathy. Being a dance instructor in this show is also includes how to do your best to make your partner shining when they perform. That’s what I call selflessness.

4. When Tony Dovolani said this to Betsey Johnson : ‘We’re gonna leave it behind us. Because now it’s a brand new week.’ – that is a powerful motivation statement. When Alfonso said that what the judges said is what Witney said, and that’s why he will follow whatever Witney says, that show that the pros has a quality of an excellent mentor and partner. The positive attitude is the most important thing in this life.

Week 1 – the premiere show (15.09.2014) and the result show (16.09.2014)

Introduction
What I love about this new season is the chemistry between the pro and the star, at least for most of the casts are really good. Regardless age differences or the musicality or the ability to dance. Can’t stop smiling seeing the chemistry when they dance. Cheryl and Antonio, Sadie and Mark, Bethany and Derek, Witney and Alfonso, Betsey and Tony, Emma and Michael, the beautiful Karina and Randy, Sharna and Tavis, Janel and Val, Allison and Jonathan, Lea and Artem, even Peta and Tommy.

The pros, we know all about them, they are undoubtedly very professional. They are able to create a comfortable environment for their partner, and what I see in the first week is they are having fun. In week 1, they perform cha cha cha, foxtrot or jive.

The routine perform by couple (alphabetically from the first name of the pros)

1. Allison Holker and Jonathan Bennet
Allison is one of the new pros, but she is already exist in the dancing world. She is a great choregrapher and even got nominated for the number she choreographed together with Derek in 2013. But she proves that she is a good instructor and she has a good rapport with Jonathan. Well, this is the first week. All the celebrities are usually still has a lot to fix, but Jonathan and Allison really have a good time, from the rehearsal until the show. They both tall and Jonathan is a good-looking guy. And if he can catch up all the technical things and moves synchronize with Allison in various type of dance, I can see he will stay for a long time.

2. Cheryl Burke and Antonio Sabato Jr.
Cheryl is undoubtedly a fantastic dancer and a great instructor. But Antonio seems very nervous during the show, which I think affect his performance a little bit. This season they have a lot of good looking guys and good looking girls. And of course Antonio is one of them. I can not predict his journey, because there is nothing special – yet – from his appearance. But with Cheryl as the pro, that might be a chance they could stay a few weeks longer.

3. Emma Slater and Michael Waltrip
I love Emma and she has beautiful smile. I can see that she is also a very energetic person. Look what she did in season 18, where she got Billy Dee as her partner. She was very patient and I see that again in this season. Michael did not have the advantage of a slim body, so for me his performance looks ‘heavy’. And I still don’t see a good choreograph from Emma, especially the costumes. For me, costume is one of the vital aspects when you have to perform in front of a large number of people, especially when you dance. You need to design attractive costumes, match with your choreography and the type of dance. Emma and Michael wore a yellow racing car uniform. The yellow is so bright but the whole costumes did not make you want to watch the routine very carefully. I have a feeling that they won’t stay long. Sorry Emma, I love you but this is the fact.

4. Karina Smirnoff and Randy Couture
This is a shocking couple. Karina always dance beautifully, and she has a good taste of choreograph a fantastic dance. I’m not a ballroom dancer, but I know that the lady is the main attention in any kind of ballroom dances. And this season, Karina has made it, at least for the first week. She made Randy still looks macho and yet looks soft from the way he handle Karina. I agree with Carrie Ann, he looks fantastic, especially they are doing the foxtrot with one of my favorite song, The Way You Look Tonight. And as I mentioned before, Karina is the best when it comes to the costume design. Her white gown is really flowing, gliding around her body. It’s beautiful, regardless the technical acknowledgement from Randy still need a lot of work to improve. If they continue doing that, I can feel they can stay longer than Cheryl and Antonio.

5. Peta Murgatroyd and Tommy Chong
In the last season, Peta really amazed me with all her fresh and energetic choreography with James Maslow. I can name all the routines they did that really fascinating. I kinda disappointed when I knew that Peta’s partner is Tommy Chong. No matter how Tommy has a great technique for ballroom dancing, but let’s face it, he is over 70 years old. There is no way Peta can choreograph complex routine and there is no way they can get to the final. I don’t know why the producers pair them, but for me, it’s a waste of Peta’s talent. Although she is always smiles, but somehow I can sense her disappointment. From their routine, I can see that Peta really limited herself in choreograph the routine. Tommy’s physical condition is a limitation and I did not see a balance from their performances. I think it’s not fair both for Peta and Tommy. I’m not surprised if they can’t stay for a long time.

6. Sharna Burgess and Tavis Smiley
Sharna has always a fantastic dancer with a great facial expression. Last season she did great with Charlie White. And this first week, at least they have a good start. Tavis has a charming personality and I hope he can catch up with Sharna because I felt the same way for Sharna as I felt for Peta. But at least Sharna has an advantage that Tavis is only 50, still have the opportunity to have a great shape and do all the routine Sharna makes and perform it well. I wish Sharna can stay for a long time.

7. Witney Carson and Alfonso Ribeiro
This is one of the cute couple. They perform the last but they get the highest score. Witney is improve a lot from the last season as her debut being the female pro. And she can match Alfonso’s personality and the choregraphy. They did well, in fact, they did great. People are hysterical watching their routine and they really deserve the highest score from the judges. I’m not surprise if they can get to the semifinal.

8. Artem Chigvintsev and Lea Thompson
For reader’s information, Artem has won one mirror ball in the Strictly Come Dancing, the British version of DWTS. So, what else can we expect ? Fantastic pro/instructor and great choreography. He already prove it in the first routine with Lea, which has the basic of ballet 32 years ago. They do the routine very smooth, that’s what I thought because I can only see from the entertainment perspective. I think if Artem is able to create a perfect routine for Lea, they will survive for quite a long time in the show.

9. Derek Hough and Bethany Mota
I never doubt about Derek’s ability to dance and choreograph. He is an Emmy winning choreographer, he won five mirror balls and in the last season he was amazing because he was able to bring out the best of Amy Purdy’s dance ability, in a sense that Amy lost both her legs when she was a teenager and she used two prosthetic legs for years.
I don’t know what is happening in the new producer’s mind, but I suspect that this is about the rating of the show. Bethany has many followers as a YouTuber and Derek has many faithful fans that willing to die for him. Maybe the new producer thinks that conditioning Derek and Bethany to become the champion will certainly boosting the rating. I don’t think so. As much as I love Derek’s ability of almost everything (dancing, choreographing, singing, writing a book and maybe many things which I don’t know), I don’t have the need to see Derek get his sixth mirror ball. Five is enough. But looking at their first routine, I know that Derek is unstoppable. He is always creative, not afraid to do something different. Look at the stage setting for Bethany’s room. It’s fun, it’s young, it’s energetic and it really match the Shake It Off song from Taylor Swift and the Jive movement they did. I don’t want to predict that they will win, but I guess I have to live with the fact that they have a great opportunity to reach the finale.

10. Keo Motsepe and Lolo Jones
Unfortunately the fun is not happening with Lolo and Keo. I know that there was a technical error when Lolo forgot about the moves and it takes quite some time for her to catch up with Keo. But I can see that Keo really tried hard to make Lolo feel comfortable. But I think Lolo is kind of a serious person, she really hard on herself, because she can’t stop talking although the judges did not say anything harsh about the mistake. On the other hand, I really like Keo, he is a very positive person. They were the first couple eliminated in week 1. But Keo will stay with the Troupe until the end of the competition.

11. Mark Ballas and Sadie Robertson
I never watched Duck Dinasty, so I don’t know Sadie Robertson. But when I first watch her, I like her. She is young, funny and cute in a different way with Janel. Last season, Mark really have fun with Candace, but this season I think Mark is more than happy to have Sadie as his partner because she is young and willing to try anything, related to the dance. What’s a fun fact is that Candace and Sadie are faithful to their religion. And I think Mark is superb because he took Candace to the finale last season with Candace’s limitation of some moves or costumes. Similar condition with Sadie this season, but she has the advantage of being young and single. That’s why their first routine is so colorful and cheerful, they are doing well with Katy Perry’s song and Sadie is so cute that Mark can not help laughing. She is a serious contender.

12. Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Janel Parrish
Well, a lot of people wrote that Val and Janel are ‘Maks and Meryl’ in this season. I completely disagree. Although we always look at Maks because of his ‘bad boy’ image is so strong and that;s what makes Maks a very interesting personality, I always see Val as a strong personality too. Comment from Danica and Meryl proved that thought. Val is more serious than his big brother, and I always thought that he has the talent to choreograph such an interesting routine. When he did the Argentine Tango with Meryl, they have very positive comments from the judges.
What’s happen now it’s not the ‘Maks and Meryl’ thing like people write in every entertainment news. It is about the relation and the chemistry with his partner. I’m not a fan of ‘Pretty Little Liars’, but when I see Janel smile and talk, I like her. She has a great spirit, funny, pretty and expressive. We knew that a great chemistry always help the couple to synchronize their body on the dance floor. And it happens on Val and Janel. Their jive with ‘Bang Bang’, the new song from Ariana Grande / Jessie J. / Nicki Minaj is superb from the choreography point of view. And they dance beautifully. I have 95% confident level that they will reach at least to the semifinal.

13. Tony Dovolani and Betsey Johnson
I don’t know why the new producer picks Betsey Johnson for Tony’s partner. Tony is the longest pro in DWTS history, and although his routines was not always fantastic, but I love watching Tony on the dance floor. With all the mess with the props when they dance, I feel sorry for Tony. I didn’t say Betsey is bad. She is a very energetic lady for her age. But like Peta, I think Tony deserve a chance to prove that he is a good pro and choreographer, that once won the mirror ball in DWTS All Star. Sadly I don’t think they can survive.

My favorite routine from the couples
1. Karina Smirnoff and Randy Couture – Foxtrot / The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
2. Derek Hough and Bethany Mota – Jive / Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
3. Mark Ballas and Sadie Robertson – Cha cha / Birthday by Katy Perry

My favorite routine from the pros
1. The new pros dance (Artem, Allison and Keo) with ‘Come Get It Bae’ from Pharell Williams. The trio is very good. I don’t know who choreograph the dance but all I can say that it’s very entertaining. The dance divided into three short segment. First, the trio do the intro. Second, they dance accompanied by the other pros and troupe. It’s really good to see the dance of Allison – Val – Henry, Keo – Peta – Lindsay, Artem – Jenna – Sharna. The last segment is the group dance with the trio closing the dance.
2. The nine female pros and troupes, in white and silver nuance with the lighting that give a golden effect, dance beautifully. Choreograph by Mandy Moore, it is the best combination between great choreography and fantastic professional dancers I’ve ever seen. They deserve standing ovation. Dance to the song ‘Bo$$’ from Fifth Harmony, they move together like angels. It’s a jaw-dropping perfomance. It’s fascinating to see the nine of them dance effortless, fierce but feminine. I will never forget a simple and extravagance setting, and the unique moves that Mandy Moore created.

Reflection from week 1
1. As always, every time I watch this show, I always saw something. They respect each other, the pro and the star. In some point, I know it’s not easy to work so close together with somebody you just know from the entertainment or sport news. But I believe the pros always have a fantastic spirit that really contagious as long as their partner are positive.
2. It’s hard to be sportive yet wise. Especially when you are eliminated. I admire the positive energy from the stars.
3. The casts always find a way to have fun with dancing. And I always believe that dancing is fun.

Dancing With The Stars – Season 19 (Fall 2014)

I love watching people dancing or playing music. One of the great and highly produced TV show in America that includes great dancers, great choreography, emphasize on ballroom dances (which I think is beautiful dances but not easy to learn) with fantastic setting on-stage and extraordinary crew is DANCING WITH THE STARS.

Unfortunately I won’t be able watching the show in here where I live, so the only source I can watch is from YouTube or TV online (which is sucks because most of the time the internet connection is not good). But I never give up, as long as I can still watch the show it doesn’t matter if I can watch the show a few hours or a few days later. Because for me, watching the DANCING WITH THE STARS (DWTS) is not only watching the professional dancer and the celebrity dance in various type of ballroom dances, but I can learn a lot … I really mean it … learn a lot about the way they prepare the show and learn a lot from the people that involved in the show. I think I will write some of my thoughts in the end of the season. But this is what I really like to do since the last season, writing about what happens and what I thought about the show week after week. Similar to any kind of review people or entertainment news did in America.

But first of all, let me give you a glimpse about the show. DWTS is reality TV show focus on the ballroom dances, and additionally include contemporary, jazz, freestyle and some other type of dances. The show itself is always have couples, one is the professional dancer (a.k.a. the pro) and the partner is usually celebrity, sometimes athletes or even the Olympian athletes. There is a small group of professional dancers we called the Dance Troupe, they will join the pros to do some routine performances during the break (called as ‘bumper’) and opening number or special number, and even help the couples in their performance. The judges have a related background to the type of dances and they will judge from the technical perspective. They are choreographers, producers, experienced judges and professional dancers. Usually there will be several guest judges who will give comments about the entertainment point of view. In one year, there will be two season of the show, the spring season and the fall season. Each season usually takes 10-11 weeks. The type of dance is different every week for every couple. Let’s not forget that this is the Live Show. So what you see on stage, it’s really amazing. The changing of the background or stage props, were done by the fantastic crew during the commercial break.

All of those incredible things added by how hard the pros rehearse for their routine numbers and also rehearse and teaching their celebrity partner who usually doesn’t have a dance background or experience. They still have to do the dress rehearsal before doing the live show. Some of the celebrity or athletes still have to do their regular job. And sometimes the pro has to go to the city where their partner stays for their job at certain circumstances.

The casts
In this season, there are 13 couples in the show. 6 couples with the male pros and 7 couples with the female pros.
This list begin with the pro and their celebrity partner :
1. Allison Holker (new) and Jonathan Bennet
2. Cheryl Burke and Antonio Sabato Jr.
3. Emma Slater and Michael Waltrip
4. Karina Smirnoff and Randy Couture
5. Peta Murgatroyd and Tommy Chong
6. Sharna Burgess and Tavis Smiley
7. Witney Carson and Alfonso Ribeiro
8. Artem Chigvintsev (new) and Lea Thompson
9. Derek Hough and Bethany Mota
10. Keo Motsepe (new) and Lolo Jones
11. Mark Ballas and Sadie Robertson
12. Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Janel Parrish
13. Tony Dovolani and Betsey Johnson

There are also a few great dancers too in what we called the Dance Troupe. For this season they are : Lindsay Arnold, Jenna Johnson, Henry Bilyakov, Sasha Faber and Gleb Savchenko.

This season they have four permanent judges : Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Ann Inaba and Julianne Hough. Although referring to what happened in the last season when Julianne say something harsh to Maks as a guest judge, I see the she is trying hard to be more careful in the way she gave comment to the couple.

The host is Tom Bergeron, I love this guy, always calm and funny. Erin Andrews is back as the co-host and that is the thing that I love about the new producer’s decision. A lot of people said that Erin is not worth it because of the way she talked and I even read a rumor that she acted like a diva on the set. I never believe it because as a sideline reporter of the sport show, she must have a very good response about what to say and what to do. And I can see that Erin is start this season with more careful in week 1. But I love to see the energetic Erin like I saw in season 18.

This is my first experience to write a short review about the TV show. So what I would like to do is to write my opinion from performance perspective every week which cover some aspects such as :
1. Introduction of the theme of the week and hi-light about a few things in the related week
2. The routine perform by each couple
3. My favorite routine of the week from some couples
4. My favorite routine of the from the pros if there is any
5. Reflection of the week

To help us, including myself and the readers to memorize the show, I will use some data from Wikipedia which I think is the most comprehensive data about the show.

REFLEKSI PESTA DEMOKRASI DI INDONESIA

Hari ini seluruh rakyat Indonesia yang sudah memenuhi persyaratan untuk ikut serta dalam pemilihan Presiden, dengan sangat antusias berbondong-bondong datang ke TPS yang telah ditentukan, untuk menggunakan hak pilihnya mencoblos calon pemimpin bangsa untuk 5 tahun mendatang.

Dari laporan pandangan mata selama seharian ini, banyak orang yang tidak mau menyerah begitu saja jika namanya tidak tercantum dalam Daftar Pemilih Tetap. Yang sudah terdaftar dan bisa menjalankan hak pilihnya dengan baik, langsung merasa senang karena berharap Presiden terpilih ini akan membawa Indonesia ke arah yang lebih baik.

Sungguh luar biasa bahwa dalam waktu 2 jam sejak ditutupnya Pemilu, ada 5 lembaga survei di beberapa stasiun televisi lokal yang sudah menayangkan hasil dari sekitar 92% sampel suara. Namun yang mengagetkan adalah bahwa tidak lama kemudian ke dua kubu langsung mendeklarasikan kemenangan mereka. Walaupun tetap di ujungnya mereka menyatakan bahwa mereka tetap menunggu real count dari KPU di tanggal 22 Juli nanti.

Banyak komentar di sosial media bahwa capres kali ini, keduanya tidak siap menang atau kalah.

Tapi menurut pendapat saya, memang orang boleh berbeda pendapat. Namun pernyataan mas Anies di televisi merupakan analogi yang sangat bagus. Mas Anies menjelaskan tentang perbedaan lawan dan musuh. Dalam setiap kompetisi, kita pasti punya lawan. Misalnya dalam bulutangkis, wajar kalau lawan melakukan smash. Tapi setelah pertandingan selesai, sang lawan akan kembali menjadi kawan. Tapi kalau sang lawan tiba-tiba melempar raketnya ke kita, itu namanya black campaign.

Maka setelah hari ini dibuka dengan menjadi pemilih pertama di TPS saya (karena saya menghindari antri), lalu sampai sekitar jam 3 sore dag dig dug melihat hasil quick count, dan sekarang masih melihat berita tentang kedua capres yang sedang berkumpul dengan para pendukungnya, saya mencoba berefleksi tentang pilpres kali ini.

1. Jangan pernah under estimate atau merendahkan rakyat. Rakyat kita tidak bodoh. Walaupun mungkin pengetahuan politiknya minim, termasuk saya juga seperti itu, tapi kami selalu berusaha melihat dan menggunakan hati nurani kami dengan cerdas, dalam menentukan pilihan.

2. Ternyata kaum elite politik di Indonesia belum matang. Saat kedua kubu saling memberikan deklarasi kemenangan, hal tersebut membuat rakyat bingung. Saya malah geleng-geleng melihat komentar seorang host talk show di sebuah stasiun televisi yang sedikit menyindir : apakah calon nomor 2 yang menang atau kita punya 2 presiden.
Lalu agak malam, mulai ada yang ‘mencolek-colek’ Ahok, katanya Ahok memprediksi Jokowi menang. Lho, Ahok sudah menyatakan itu dengan terus terang koq. Dan itu hak beliau walaupun beliau memilih nomor 1.

3. Indonesia yang sudah dikenal dengan kedewasaannya dalam pemilu yang LANGSUNG, UMUM, BEBAS, RAHASIA – sedikit ternoda dengan adanya perbedaan hasil dari 7 lembaga survei yang muncul di berbagai stasiun televisi. Dua asosiasi yang menaungi lembaga survei di Indonesia sudah memberikan pernyataan tentang hal tersebut. PERSEPI (Perhimpunan Survei Opini Publik Indonesia) menyatakan akan melakukan audit tentang metodologi yang dipakai. Sementara dari Asosiasi Survei Indonesia menyatakan bahwa kesalahan perhitungan itu wajar dan berkaitan dengan kapabilitas/kemampuan periset – namun kebohongan tentang data berkaitan dengan integritas periset. Saya yakin orang-orang yang bekerja dalam lembaga-lembaga survei tersebut adalah orang berpendidikan. Saya hanya berharap agar tidak ada kebohongan dalam pelaksanaan quick count.

4. Saking uniknya capres tahun ini, terus terang saya salut dengan tingkat antusiasme yang sangat tinggi dari WNI yang tinggal di luar Indonesia untuk menggunakan hak pilihnya. Dan saking hebohnya dan uniknya pilpres tahun ini, membuat kedua anak saya yang baru menginjak remaja, menjadi tertarik untuk bertanya dan mengikuti perkembangan quick count hari ini.

Sebagai penutup, saya bangga menjadi rakyat Indonesia. Karena rakyat Indonesia adalah rakyat yang punya hati nurani cerdas karena mau menggunakan hak pilihnya demi kemajuan bangsa. Saya bangga karena rakyat Indonesia sebenarnya sangat menjunjung tinggi demokrasi karena terbukti berhasil melakukan ‘pemilu langsung’ selama ini.

Hendaknya sekian ratus juta rakyat Indonesia, termasuk saya, dihargai keberadaannya oleh para elite politik Indonesia. Kami tidak perlu tanda jasa. Kami hanya perlu mereka meletakkan negara diatas kepentingan pribadi, sehingga tidak ada lagi korupsi, semua bekerja bersama untuk memajukan kesejahteraan bangsa.

Sebuah rangkaian syair yang indah dalam lagu ‘Indonesia Pusaka’ yang merupakan refleksi hati rakyat Indonesia :

Indonesia tanah air beta
Pusaka abadi nan jaya
Indonesia sejak dulu kala
Tetap dipuja-puja bangsa

Di sana tempat lahir beta
Dibuai, dibesarkan bunda
Tempat berlindung di hari tua
Sampai akhir menutup mata …

Me-time

Wanita diciptakan Tuhan untuk menjadi mahluk yang multi tasking, dalam berbagai wujud. Tanpa melihat motivasi, latar belakang dan kualitas dari hasilnya, wanita itu memang luar biasa.

Bayangkan, ada wanita yang karirnya sangat hebat. Tapi biar bagaimanapun dia masih berusaha untuk mengasuh anaknya dan menemani suaminya. Atau ada ibu rumah tangga yang full time membereskan pekerjaan rumah, mengasuh anak, memasak untuk keluarga, tapi masih sempat berjualan makanan. Kalau kita lihat para pengemis di jalanan, walaupun mungkin yang digendong bukan anaknya, tapi dia tetap multi tasking. Mengemis (karena dikejar setoran oleh boss premannya), sekaligus mengasuh anak yang dipinjamnya.

Saya sendiri seorang wanita, yang merasakan bahwa secara tidak tertulis, saya memang dituntut dan dibentuk oleh hidup saya untuk bisa melakukan berbagai hal dalam waktu yang bersamaan. Dan saya bisa bilang bahwa hal tersebut todak mudah. Butuh latihan bertahun-tahun dan kesabaran yang sangat besar. Saya sendiri masih kurang sabar koq, tapi saya menyadari bahwa kodrat kita adalah ‘bertangan banyak’.

Tapi hari ini, di saat saya harus menyiapkan segala keperluan di rumah, lalu siang langsung buru-buru pergi karena harus mengantar anak saya ke Jakarta, saya menyadari satu hal yang mungkin selama ini saya anggap sepele.

Kebetulan anak saya harus latihan tari yang memakan waktu sekitar 2 jam. Setelah mengantar anak saya ke studio tari, saya minta kepada sang ‘sutem’ (supir tembak – baca : supir sewaan) untuk mengantar saya ke sebuah mall besar yang tidak jauh dari studio tari. Disana saya mencari tempat yang enak, tenang dan bersih. Saya duduk di pojokan, memesan minuman dan mulai bekerja. Saya merasa waktu berlalu dengan sangat efektif. Saya berhasil mengerjakan beberapa pekerjaan, bahkan sempat menulis satu artikel untuk blog saya dan masih sempat pula chatting dengan rekan kerja karena ada yang harus diselesaikan.

Setelah dua jam berlalu, saat saya sedang berjalan ke lobby mall tersebut, tiba-tiba saya sadar bahwa ada yang berubah di dalam diri saya. Rasanya hati menjadi ceria, badan menjadi segar, dan tidak ada rasa lelah sama sekali. Dalam perjalanan pulang ke Cikarang, saya berpikir apa yang bisa membuat saya seperti itu. Dan jawabannya ternyata sangat sederhana. Saya perlu ME-TIME. Time for myself, just thinking about what I want to do not what I have to do.

Me-time, dimana saya berada dalam sebuah tempat yang baru, dimana saya bisa memperhatikan hal-hal yang baru namun sekaligus bisa menjadi diri sendiri tanpa khawatir ada teman atau relasi yang memperhatikan.

Frekuensi saya mengunjungi mall di Jakarta adalah jarang. Karena itu efeknya cukup signifikan. Namun esensi dari sedikit pengalaman saya tersebut adalah : percayalah pada orang/majalah/film yang mengatakan bahwa kita harus menghargai diri sendiri, yang sudah melakukan yang terbaik (menurut versi masing-masing) untuk keluarga. Jadi boleh dong kita memberikan hadiah untuk diri kita sendiri dengan ME-TIME.

Banyak cara yang bisa dilakukan untuk menikmati ME-TIME. Namun saya merasa dua jam ME -TIME saya hari ini telah memberikan energi baru dalam diri saya. Seperti layaknya handphone yang baru di-charge.

Jangan pernah merasa bersalah untuk meluangkan waktu agar dapat menikmati ME-TIME.

We deserve it ….

MFM-CP