Hi Everyone – Woohoo! Week 6!
Can I just start out by congratulating Tony and Julianne on one of themost beautiful performances we’ve had on the show in all eightseasons??!! WOW! They performed to Rascal Flatts and did anincredible job. It was indeed poetry in motion. Dances like that arenot easy to come by. What a beautiful number indeed and a great wayfor everyone to be reminded of the artistry of dance at its best. Thenumber choreographed by Mark and Artem was also great. I liked thetheme of revolution, and the costumes brought a different flavor tothe ballroom, as well. Rascal Flatts were incredible as usual. Theyare such nice people — they came over to the judges to say hello and they’re someof the most personable performers, talented and so grounded. It’s nice to see them doing so well and have such greatsuccess.
This week was an interesting week. There were lots of changes in theleader board. For the first time Gilles was not in first place.Lil’ Kim and Derek took top honors, and a well-deserved 1st-place rank for themindeed. Their jive was so much fun — I’m sure it read well oncamera, but if only you all could have been there to see it LIVE! Itwas FABULOUS! They did it again last night and it was even better.They have the momentum right now and I’m curious to see how thingswill evolve over the next few weeks. We are at the halfway point andI still think it’s between four couples. Shawn and Mark, Melissa andTony, Gilles and Cheryl, & Lil’ Kim and Derek. These four bringsuch different qualities to the dance floor and are all doing reallywell so far. Gilles came up to me last night before the show — inbetween all the pretapes we had — and apologized for what he thought wasspeaking back to me. It was very sweet, but I told him it was okay andthat I didn’t think he was speaking back; rather, that he was justexplaining something about his situation that he didn’t know if Iknew. He was saying he couldn’t sleep last night. It’s nice to seehow much the competition matters to the contestants. They take it soseriously and it’s a beautiful thing to see these people fall in lovewith dance the way I have. Dance is such an expressive tool and sucha wonderful medium to connect with an audience — and these contestantsare in the thick of it, living it, and you can see the satisfaction ontheir faces when they do a great job. It’s wonderful!!!!!
After the jump, Carrie Ann answers your questions about the scoring process and how the judges craft their comments — for a limited time only!
Okay, this week I’m not going to go over everyone’s dances, since youall saw them and I encourage all of your own opinions about it to bewhat they are…but I wanted to answer some of the questions you havebeen asking. So, here is my response to the question about how we judges vote:
A lot goes into the judges voting. We judge them on numerouscriteria. Some of the things we look at are posture, timing, line,hold, form, pose, togetherness, musicality, expression, presentation,power, foot and leg action, shape, illegal lifts, lead and follow,connection to the audience, and of course the intangibles and Xfactors. Now, remember that a dance is usually about a minute to aminute and a half. And there’s a lot to look at and to take in. Wejudges have about 5-7 seconds to calculate our own score and mark itand come up with our comments. It is not a lot of time. Also, I haveto pass off the scores to the stage manager in that time so I evenhave less time than the other two. We are not allowed to score untilthe dance is finished and they start to walk over to us and talk toTom. Although it is difficult to describe what gives a person a scoreof 10, I can say this. Each performer’s perfect 10 will look slightlydifferent than the next person’s. No 10 would look a-like becauseeach of our contestants comes to the dance floor with different assetsand styles, and different strengths and weaknesses. And of course, eachprofessional dancer has a different style of choreography, which willaffect their performances. Take for example, Lil’ Kim and Derek vs.Cheryl and Gilles. Their 10s looked completely different. And theywere awarded those 10s for different reasons. But both dances felt likethey were that person’s perfection in motion. I usually look for thatextra magic for it to be a 10. Dance is moving energy and sometimesthat energy gets moving in a way that feels like a wave, and that isspecial. So far, the 10s have done exactly that in the ballroom andit’s been exciting for everyone.
One last thought about scoring andjudges comments: Remember that we are three people with differentbackgrounds (except that we are all ex-dancers and performers andunderstand dance from an insider’s point of view), and we each come tothe table with our own opinions. Judging is always going to bepartially subjective. Much is based on objectivity, of course, butthere is the little something extra that is based on our own creativeand aesthetic taste. That is what keeps an open dialogue and keeps itinteresting. Remember, there is no absolutely correct score.Len gives his score. I give my score. Bruno gives his score. Andyou all then get to vote. This is what keeps it very fair. As you cansee, the audience can keep people in the competition even if thejudges score them lowest on the leader board. And that is a wonderfulthing about our show.
Another question was why sometimes the comments don’t seem to reflectthe scores. I think this is a great question. As I stated earlier, wehave a very limited time to give our critique of the performance.Sometimes, a great performance will get a critique with constructivecomments, pointing out where to improve and what was lacking but get ascore of 9. (Like Melissa and Tony this week). Or sometimes,someone will get a critique with positive notes but a lower score.This happens because we are limited in our time to speak. Often thejudges are allotted 20 seconds or so to give the whole critique. Ialways try to give encouragement and comments that the performers canactually work on when they go back to the studio. I believe that theyare all there to do their best…and like a coach, it is my job to helpthem improve. Some people need gentle encouragement, and some peoplecan handle more a more direct approach. Everyone out there is at adifferent level and we have to keep that in mind as we give ourcritiques. Sometimes, though, we just don’t have enough time to sayall that we want to say and justify our scores and give constructivecriticisms and positive reinforcement. Tom keeps us aware of whetheror not we have time during commercial breaks. Our show is a live showand we have to be very mindful of keeping the show “on time.” Sosometimes, it’s just a time issue and we don’t get a chance to sayeverything we want to about a person. We say what we can in theallotted time.
Now, before we wrap it up, we must say good bye to Steve-O and Lacey.He was such an interesting contestant. I would agree with Tom that hewas a lot like Jerry Springer and won the hearts of the audience. Itwas a great platform for him to showcase another side of him to theAmerican audience. I appreciate his earnest approach and dedicationto learning how to become a ballroom dancer. But we’ll see him againon the finale. Now it’s getting down to the end and it’s going to getexciting. Hold on, everyone — they start to do two dances next weekand that’s when the strong survive and the weak will fall to thewayside. Should be interesting!!!!
Stay tuned! Thanks for reading — and I’ll back next week. Thanks for all yourgreat posts.