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.