Dancing With the Stars – The Switch Up!‏

It’s time for the switch up! This is a new one for me, so I have no idea what to expect, but I have the feeling it’s going to get interesting. On top of everything, former pro Maks is the guest judge tonight, so that’ll be interesting too. How do the stars and the pros feel about it? Along with many fans, no one really seems too excited about this twist. Thankfully, from what I’ve been told, the stars will go back to their usual pros next week, which is good, but who knows what could happen tonight? The problem is, the pros want to help their new stars do well, but doing so may hurt their regular partners. It’s a tough situation. Let’s see who deals the best with what they’ve been given!

Tamar and Louis (Samba)

Well, Louis is definitely harder on Tamar than he has been on Paula. With Paula, he struggled to teach her to learn the moves of the dance. With Tamar, he’s focusing on pushing her as a dancer. He doesn’t want to let Val down, so he doesn’t go easy on her. And it shows. I wonder if he’s made the dance a little too hard on her. The song is a lot faster than she’s used to, and the songs are twice as long now, so there’s a lot to learn, and I think she gets a little lost at times. As she’s dancing, she looks a little bit overwhelmed, as if she’s struggling to remember her next move. As Maks says, their separate moves are good, but there is a disconnect when they dance together. The other judges echo his remarks, though at least Julianne tries to be positive about it. This definitely wasn’t Tamar’s best dance, and I think everyone knows it.

Score: 29

Hayes and Allison (Viennese Waltz)

Allison is more of a mother figure to Hayes than Emma usually is, so it’s a bit of a different experience for them. This waltz is a little more of a grown up dance, so she wants to help him look a little more sophisticated. And costume-wise, he does. He looks very dapper in his grey tails. His dance is decent. I admit that I don’t know much about dancing, so I’m not sure if there are supposed to be all these quick moves and big arm movements, but to me, they seem out of place with the music. The male judges seem to agree with me. Maks says there were too many steps and went too fast at times, and Bruno thinks his arm work was a little messy because he doesn’t have enough control of his arms. The girls disagree. Julianne says it was youthful and Charming.

Score: 30

Paula and Mark (Jive)

Paula is a little nervous to dance with Mark because he’s so edgy, but she doesn’t seem to have too much to worry about. It’s clear she can handle herself. She’s definitely not shy, and her interaction with Mark seems to be filled with a lot more fun than when she is with Louis. And it shows in her dance too. It’s extremely slow for a jive, but she seems so much more comfortable on the floor with Mark than she does with Louis. She’s just having fun and not worried about missing a dance move. The girls love the new Paula, saying that this has been her best dance yet. The guys are a little more critical. Maks thinks she’s holding back and wants to see more from her, and Bruno criticizes the fact that she danced on her flat feet instead of on her toes.

Score: 26

Alek and Emma (Rumba)

I just want to say that Alek is adorable. He’s clearly into Emma, but he’s shy, and so his reactions to her are so cute. He admits that he has trouble focusing when they’re rehearsing, because she’s so attractive. He’s definitely got a point. I also think it’s adorable that both Alek and Emma really wanted to work with each other, so they both got their wish. I think the dance is just beautiful. It’s elegant and graceful and also sexy at the same time. I’m a little surprised that the judges aren’t more positive with him. Julianne says she wishes he’d emote more on stage. If he’d show his emotions more, he’d just be that much more incredible on stage. Tom points out that she did break his nose during rehearsal, so maybe emoting more would actually hurt a bit. Maks says he’s the dark horse in the competition, though he does agree that he needs to emote more. Personally, I think he deserved a much higher score than what he got.

Score: 29

Bindi and Val (Cha Cha)

Bindi is a little nervous because she doesn’t want to disappoint Val, and Val feels a little pressure because he wants to continue her momentum from last week. She’d gotten her first ten, so he wants to keep that going. After lots of animal metaphors, Bindi introduces Val to a giant snake, which seems to freak him out at first. But after touching it for a few moments, he seems to grow a little more comfortable with it. It’s fun to watch. The dance itself is great. It’s full of energy and positivity, just like Bindi herself. It’s fun and I’d definitely say that Val has more of a connection with her than he does with Tamar. All the judges gush over her, each one raving about how bright and upbeat she is. She’s a ray of sunshine, Julianne says. Bruno says she’s the essence of joy.

Score: 37

Carlos and Lindsay (Quickstep)

Carlos was in the bottom last week, and it’s sort of scared him into working even harder this week. Lindsay gets right to work with him, focusing on his problem with his shoulders, and it shows in his dance. Though he says he’s jealous of Nick for getting to dance with Witney, he doesn’t have anything to be jealous of, because the dance is incredible. It’s high energy, and it’s clear how confident Carlos is as he dances. The judges are completely positive in their comments, saying it was magnificent and amazing. Carrie Ann says it doesn’t get any better than that. Julianne says it was exactly what he’d needed, and she’s certainly right. I don’t think he’ll have to worry too much about going home now.

Score: 39

Alexa and Derek (Tango)

Alexa messed up some of her dance moves last week, and it really brought her down. It brought Mark down too, and he took it really hard. He was really hard on her for it too, so now she wants to make up for last week because she doesn’t want to let Mark down. Derek makes her see things from a new perspective, and that makes all the difference. I’m not a huge tango fan, but the dance is really good. It’s extremely precise, and their connection is undeniable. Derek and Alexa dance as one person, and it really couldn’t get any better. Carrie Ann gives them a standing ovation! Julianne says she’s raw and authentic! I couldn’t even understand what Bruno was saying! All I know is that it was very positive. She gets the first perfect score of the season!

Score: 40

Andy and Sharna (Argentine Tango)

Andy has had a rough go of things over the past few weeks. He works really hard, but he never really seems to be able to pull off his dances, especially in the eyes of Carrie Ann. He really wants to impress her this week over anyone else, and boy, does he deliver. Canceling the show he’d had booked this week really paid off. The dance is extremely sexy, and he has a great connection with Sharna. She really did a great job with him this week. And they do this lift where she’s got her legs around his neck that is just incredible. He definitely seems more confident this week (an expression we find out is due to Sharna telling him to make a “just smelled a fart” face), and he’s got the judges gushing over him for the first time. Julianne says he’d nailed the footwork and musicality. Maks and Bruno both say that he’d made a few mistakes with his footwork but agree that performance value more than made up for it. Carrie Ann says it was like watching James Dean dance.

Score: 36

Nick and Witney (Paso Doble)

The pre-dance package didn’t give me a whole lot of hope for these two. Of all the new pairings, Nick and Witney seem like the most mismatched of them all. And it doesn’t help that Witney didn’t really want to dance with Nick, even if it was because she felt a little intimidated after his incredible dance last week. Nick tries to take more of a leadership role because he thinks she doesn’t care as much about the dance, which also doesn’t fill me with much hope. The dance is good, in my opinion. He seems very determined and commanding, which I definitely admire. The judges are a little hard on him. Maks says it wasn’t his cup of tea. Julianne says he was a little too committed and overdid it a little bit. Carrie Ann was a little more positive and said he’d found his way and stayed in the zone.

Score: 35

So that’s it for the night! Alexa is number one tonight, and Paula, as usual, is bringing up the rear. Personally, I think it’s pretty obvious that Paula will go home next week, but who knows who will be the second person in jeopardy. It seems like the people who performed poorly last week danced incredibly well this week, and for the most part, those who danced well last week slipped a little this week, except for Bindi. And considering the scores from both weeks will decide who is in jeopardy, I think it’s nearly impossible to tell who will be at the bottom next week. Who do you think will join Paula at the bottom next week? Once she’s gone, I think it’s just about anybody’s game.

– Rebecca

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