“Our most talked-about season ever!” Tom Bergeron crowed repeatedly Monday night. Not sure folks were talking about the dancing though. One of our dancing couples received death threats and was forced to stop the tweeting that appeared to escalate the threats. In Vermont a viewer, annoyed by the results and – according to his wife – off his meds, shot out his television last week. At Cats in Baths, however, we are always on our meds, and we are always all about the dancing - especially during finals week.
Monday night began with our finalists Kyle, Bristol, and Jennifer doing a “redemption dance,” the single dance the judges thought each contestant should have performed better. With Jennifer there was really only one dance that qualified – the paso doble, in which she had received her lowest score of the competition. There was no doubt a wider selection of disappointing dances for the judges to choose from for Bristol, but the jive made the cut. (Remember, this is the one they danced in gorilla suits, memorable for all the wrong reasons). The judges’ choice for Kyle was the foxtrot, danced originally to a disco number and which we agree was a little weird.
Monday night Jennifer’s beautiful redemption paso doble earned 10s from all the judges and a rare solo standing ovation from Len. “I didn’t want this ever to end! I wish I had an 11!” Bruno bubbled, and we agree. We rewound just to watch it again, and it was even more fabulous the second time. Kyle didn’t disappoint with his redemption foxtrot. A huge improvement over the original, it was full of energy and excitement and earned him 9s all around. Bristol’s redemption jive was better than the gorilla-suit version, but she’s still stiff. Her partner Mark’s high, energetic steps are so precise that he makes her look even more unsure of herself. Still, the judges found it a “vast improvement” and gave her all 9s. As our friend with the shotgun might say in his gentler moments, it really didn’t deserve three 9s. On the other hand, if you’re judging on improvement….well, maybe.
For their second dance, our competitors had the popular and important freestyle. We know this because a bunch of people from past seasons told us the freestyle was really popular and important. So did the judges. So did Tom and Brooke. This is how we strettttttcccccchhhhh nine minutes of dancing to an hour and thirteen minutes. Anyway, Kyle’s freestyle was the “Tootsie Roll.” Although we did not learn the tootsie roll at the Alker School of Ballroom Dance in Mississippi and are thus unable to judge its technical merits competently, Kyle is still fun to watch. There is no one of the three contestants who has come a greater distance in his dancing than Kyle. From someone full of jokes and giggles the early weeks (and in the bottom the first week,) he has clearly tried so hard and succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. His tootsie roll earned him two 10s and a 9 from the judges for a total of 59 for the evening.
Bristol’s freestyle was the “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago, which she had neither seen nor heard of. Nor has she ever seen a Broadway show. Mark probably put his finger on one of the problems (and perhaps should have gone to Plan B when he realized it) when he said that Bristol was intimidated by this dance because of her total lack of familiarity with it. The judges pointed out that this particular dance is almost iconic and that expectations are high when it’s performed. The Bob Fosse choreography is sharp and sultry and sexy, and that’s just not in Bristol’s range. In short, she was painful to watch. Still, the dance earned her two 8s and a 9, for a total of 52 for the evening.
Jennifer’s freestyle, danced to “Do You Love Me?” was an effervescent, exuberant twist full of lifts and jumps and spins. Len said she has been “a consistent, persistent juggernaut. Fantastic!” Carrie Ann said she was “amazing.” Bruno pointed out how much range her two dances of the evening had shown, from the dark and dramatic paso doble to the bright and bouncy twist. It came as no surprise then that her second dance also earned her three 10s, giving her a perfect 60 for the evening.
Tuesday night, after our competitors perform two more dances, we’ll see the “Mirror Ball Trophy” awarded to one of our three finalists. Kyle has certainly shown the most improvement. Bristol, probably the least gifted dancer ever to be in the finals, has been the most talked about. Jennifer came into the competition with arguably the highest expectations of any contestant ever having starred in Dirty Dancing, one of the greatest dance movies of all time. In this our last week, we’re just trying to be fair. We’ve enjoyed the show this season, and we promise we will be happy no matter who wins. As long as it’s Jennifer.
|Sandy H. wouldn't let us watch this movie when it came out. |