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.