SAN DIEGO, May 7, 2012 – With a double elimination looming on Tuesday, the pressure was on Monday night for the six remaining competitors on “Dancing With The Stars” in week 8 of Season 14.
All of the competitors showed why they’re still in it to win it, with many having their best nights ever. But the judges’ scores didn’t always reflect it, much to the frustration of fans.
The couples are only separated by six points out of 60 possible points total from high to low on the leaderboard, just a 10 percent spread. It means that fan votes will determine which two couples go home this week in the double elimination.
At the bottom yet again is Melissa Gilbert with 51 points. She performed a nice classic foxtrot, but she truly impressed in the Latin trio dance with her smoking samba partnered by brothers Val and Maks Chmerkovskiy. She seemed comfortable, confident and enjoyed herself. It got her three 9s from the judges and the envy of women across America.
Barely ahead of Gilbert is a surprising name, Maria Menounos, with 53 points. She and partner Derek Hough performed a lyrical, emotional waltz that had many in tears including Menounos herself. Her trio dance with Henry Byalikov took the audience to Bollywood with a samba that would have seemed at home in Mumbai.
Hough’s choreography is brilliant and creative, but it is also challenging and Menounos made a few missteps. Judge Len Goodman called her out for it. Goodman didn’t like the style of either dance and scored Menounos two points lower than his fellow judges on both dances, which seriously hurt her scoring overall. It wouldn’t be the only time the fans were unhappy with Goodman’s scores.
In the middle of the pack with 55 points are Katherine Jenkins and Donald Driver. Jenkins performed a Viennese waltz that didn’t really impress but still scored 26 points. It was her trio cha cha with Mark Ballas and Tristan McManus that showed what she is made of as a performer. In the costume change as part of the routine, a tear-away pant leg caught on Jenkins’ shoe. She kept dancing with it without a hitch until she had a chance during a kick to fling it off her shoe. With her impeccable timing honed as a singer, she never missed a step. The routine to Tom Jones’ classic “She’s A Lady” was a big success and saved her overall score.
Driver had his two best dances of the season, but he scored just one ten from Carrie Ann Inaba for his smoking hot jive with Peta Murgatroyd and Karina Smirnoff. He may have suffered from dancing the first Latin trio dance with the judges “leaving room” for the rest of the competitors. He also danced first in the individual dances, performing a crisp and powerful tango to the song “Higher Ground,” which scored his familiar 9s from all three judges.
Fans during the Communities live chat and on Twitter were outraged by Driver’s low scored and expressed their frustration as to why he isn’t scoring better. How he didn’t earn perfect scores tonight across the board is hard to explain. As it’s unlikely he’ll be voted off, next week the producers need to give him a break and have him dancing later in the lineup to be fair.
Roshon Fegan couldn’t have picked a better time to have his best night of the season. He showed sparkle, charm and a light quality that earned him two 10s for his foxtrot. His trio dance was a paso doble that he danced extremely well with attack and good posture. He lost unison in his arm movements a few times with third partner Sacha Farber, which is why he received three 9s.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke top the leaderboard with a total score of 57. Levy performed an excellent foxtrot while channeling James Bond, a character that works extremely well for him. It had style and wit and he played the character perfectly. He received a perfect score of 30 for this performance.
Levy’s trio challenge partner was Tony Dovoloni, voted off the show earlier with Martina Navratilova. Dovoloni and Levy are similar in body type and height so they matched up well for a powerful paso doble. This is one of Cheryl Burke’s best dance styles and the result was a smartly executed traditional paso doble with good and evil fighting for a woman’s love.
All of the dancers seemed to truly enjoy the trio routines. Each of them was energetic, imaginatively choreographed and well staged, and best of all well performed. There is some versatility available with a third partner in play. Let’s hope the producers bring the trio challenge back again next season.
With so little difference between the top and bottom scores, it really is going to be the fans that decide which two competitors will go home. Gilbert’s run of support may finally fail her, and if Roshon Fegan’s fans don’t mobilize, he may follow her out the door.
Find out which of the two competitors will go home on “Dancing With the Stars” Tuesday, May 8, at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time, on the ABC Television Network.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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