Dancing With the Stars Week 4: All That Jazz

Week 4Things are getting a bit tense in Antonio’s world. The six o’clock news had a short segment yesterday evening showing some clips from rehearsal and asking some questions.

One of the questions—does he take the judges’ criticisms personally—was answered in the negative, with AB indicating that as long as Sharna is happy with what he’s doing he doesn’t worry too much about the judges.

But it sounded a bit like whistling in the dark to me, because after all it is the judges who ultimately make the decision. Steeler Nation may be turning out in force and making sure there isn’t an early exit for the couple, but in the end it is a judges’ decision. And you just know that it has to stick in AB’s craw, because he is such a fierce competitor. Whether he has been focusing his  legendary work ethic on the task at hand is a question, of course, and one I can’t answer. I noted he seems to have a lot of other things going on as well, and perhaps he overestimated how quickly he could learn. Or perhaps it’s just a lot harder than he thought.  

There was also the feeling that perhaps they played the Antonio Jr. card a bit too soon.

The one very interesting bit of the discussion was Sharna saying that she’s discovered that AB learns on the football field by using visualization, and that fits very well with how she teaches the dance moves. So let’s find out how well it’s working.

As usual I’ll begin with Hines and Kym, all the way back in 2011. During Week 4 Hines had to travel back to Pittsburgh for several appearances. Although his dance partner accompanied him, they lost a day of rehearsal. But, as Kym Johnson told OK! Magazine, “He treats it like a football game. It’s play by play, and now that this one’s gone, it’s next week. He never rests on his laurels.” (The laurels of which she spoke were the pair eliciting the first “9” grade for the competition the previous week.)

They were given the Paso Doble, a very intense Latin dance. Ward commented to the LA Times, (or complained, depending on how you view it):

All week long, she kept telling me how I had to put passion, feeling, and emotion into my routine. Having my teammates there [James Harrison, James Farrior, Max Starks, and Keyaron Fox were at that broadcast] really helped because I wanted to do well for them. I kept hearing them shout, “Get it, Hines, get it,” and it made me want to nail the routine even more…It’s such a great feeling to have that kind of loyalty and support. That’s what the Steeler organization and Steeler Nation are all about.”

The judges loved the dance:

  • “You were in the zone, my friend—that was a touchdown on the paso doble.”
  • “You are the most determined of all our celebrities. You come out every week 100%.”

Score: 8/7/8

Now for Antonio. Oh joy, it’s Disney night…

He and Sharna danced first, a jazz routine to “A Friend Like Me” from Aladdin. In this dance a number of the other male professionals (not the ones competing, but the other dancers they have hanging around for special numbers, etc.) would join them, and Sharna was concerned that they not show him up.

I don’t think they did. It looked pretty terrific to me. It all seemed well under control as he effortlessly spun his partner around. Antonio was in a white suit and a white fedora, which looked pretty sharp. Sharna’s (fake) red locks were covered with a long Jasmine black wig. They looked great together, and there didn’t seem to be a single false step or move. Let’s see what the judges thought:

  • Len: [who was actually smiling]: I said it a couple of weeks ago, there’s a dancer in there, and tonight the dancer came out. You produced your best dance. Congratulations! (With great enthusiasm, in a subdued British sort of way.)
  • Guest judge Zendaya: That was so much fun! I’m not even gonna lie, the entire time (beating her hand on the desk) I was smiling, the entire time. And you held your own with all those pro dancers, which is very hard to do, and you never missed a step, you were clean, it was on point. I thought it was amazing.
  • Bruno: (in his usual over-the-top, arm-flinging way) The genie magic is working already!!!!! You’ve been pimped for the top. (Whatever that means…) It’s true! From the football field to Radio City Music Hall. You could have been a Rockette!!!!
  • Carrie Ann: It was right on point, doon doon doon, well done! You are a smooth operator. I mean, there’s nothing I can say, there was hardly anything that I can take away from that performance….I wish you were my friend, because that was incredible!

There was a large contingent of Steelers present, including Marcus Gilbert, Cam Heyward, and Mike Mitchell. I think there was also a coach or two present.

Scores: 9/8/9/9

Well, unless everyone else is fabulous, they just made up a lot of ground.

The next of the NFL guys was Doug Flutie. He and partner Karina danced a jazz routine to “Just a Spoonful of Sugar” from Mary Poppins.

It just wasn’t quite in sync, and while there were some fun bits, it was often slightly awkward. The judges were honest but encouraging.

Scores: 6/6/6/6

Finally, Von and Witney danced a Viennese waltz to “The Dream that you wish” from Cinderella. It’s probably not fair to compare it to Antonio’s routine, because it required a lot more grace and control, and it was pretty good, but not entirely fluid to my eyes. Let’s see what the judges thought:

Bruno: What a staggering transformation since last week! I am totally enchanted! You can do suave, sophisticated, elegant, light. Your posture is better, your lines are better. Still ou need to work a little bit more on your turns. But I’m telling you, you’re kingly.

Carrie Ann: First I have to comment, Witney, you are stunning tonight. Von, that is the champion I’ve been looking for. All the lines were elegant. I know that you might not take this as a compliment, but you were adorable. You made it like a fairy tale come true.

Len: (It was pointed out to him that he was applauding at one point in the routine) Well, you know, the thing is, I’ve not been grumpy tonight and someone’s gotta get it. (Looking very stern.) But Von, it’s not you. Last week was drab—this week was fab!

Zendaya:  I thought it was extremely graceful—like, you were Prince Charming. Everybody was caught up in this fairy tale, and I think you really painted that picture for us. It was beautiful.

Scores: I haven’t watched them yet, but I’m going to hazard a guess that they are the same as AB’s…

Here they are: 8/8/8/8

Well, I was wrong. Maybe it isn’t fixed…

Here are the full results for tonight, in the order the couples danced:

  • Antonio and Sharna: 9/8/9/9
  • Marla and Tony: 7/7/7/7
  • Nyle and Peta: 8/8/9/9
  • Doug and Karina: 6/6/6/6 (They were told that because of the strong viewer votes they were “safe.”)
  • Kim and Sasha: 8/8/8/8
  • Jodie and Keo: 7/6/7/7
  • Von and Witney:
  • Ginger and Val:  9/9/9/9
  • Wanya and Lindsay: 8/9/9/9
  • Paige and Mark: 9/9/9/9

This breaks down to the following “leaderboard” of cumulative judge’s scores:

  • 106: Wanya and Lindsay
  • 104: Paige and Mark,
  • 102: Nyle and Peta
  • 100: Ginger and Val,
  • 95: AB and Sharna
  • 93: Von and Witney
  • 92: Kim and Sasha
  • 91: Jodie and Keo (In danger)
  • 90: Marla and Tony (In danger, and went home because of the lowest combination of judge’s scores and audience voting)
  • 79: Doug and Karina

Sorry for the super-blurry photo, but I wanted to get the lift in, which was really impressive. A good week has put AB and Sharna squarely in the middle of the pack, with four couples below and four above them. Hines and Kym were at No. 1 at this point, AB, just sayin’. Don’t rest on those laurels…

And Steeler Nation can’t rest on our laurels either. Get on over to abc.com and vote! You have until 10:00 Eastern to do so today.

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