Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Should Dancing with the Stars Finals Include More Dancing?

One of my guilty pleasures is watching Dancing with the Stars.   If I miss an episode, my household is instructed to go on information blackout until I can catch up.  No morning news, no web news, weather only from weather apps to avoid spoilers . . . technology really makes it hard to stay in the dark.

This season I have really enjoyed watching Maks and Meryl's journey to the finals.  Personally, I think Maks has been robbed of the mirrorball more than once (Mel B, anyone?)  After 13 seasons he was clearly the Susan Lucci of the mirror-verse.   Though Derek Hough's choreography is excellent, after all these seasons I begin to see the same tricks over and over to hide his celebrity's lack of skill.

Carry the Load
The easiest way to camouflage is to pick the partner up.    The partner no longer has to stay in time with music, or get to the right place on the floor.   Another version of this is to twirl or drag them across the floor, which both have the same advantages of not demanding any timing of the celebrity.

Plant Their Feet and Dance Around Them
Sometimes this involves a pose, or a fancy position, but the result is the same.   For example,  that cha-cha move once more where he holds back of his partners head and raises and lowers her in time to the music at least 5 times, more if he is in a dance challenge and needs showy filler til he can think of the next move.

Add a Great Prop for Balance
Derek's not the only one guilty of this.   But dancing while sitting on a table, or a chair, or steps,  or holding on to a pole or a rope,  removes one of the greater challenges of ballroom dancing - moving across the floor. It's much easier to look good if you don't move.  

This year's partner had two prosthetic legs.   I get the difficulty involved with that, but Heather Mills did not get to dance half the time because she had one prosthetic leg.   The freestyle done this season with Amy Purdy was clever and beautiful, but, for the most part, it wasn't dancing.    It was a series of lifts (well-done) and poses, interspersed with brief sets of steps that covered very little ground, and finished with her spinning in the air a la Cirque de Soleil.    I would have liked to see her on her gazelle feet actually covering some floor.    

The freestyle from the fourth place couple was also dance-light.   A nice no hands flip from James, then some booty-shaking with backup dancers.  A run up a wall, and then twirling a martial arts spear to used up the rest of the time before a pose.

So I think Meryl and Maks more than earned the win.   We didn't get to see much of Meryl and Charlie dancing together (cut off coming in from the break) and why didn't they let the charming and hilarious Diana Nyad dance?   She wasn't great, but Billy Dee got ten times the onscreen camera time.  One more season down in the mirrorverse.   I go from selected information blackout to withdrawal

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