Dancing With the Stars: Antonio in the Quarterfinals


via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Thanks to Steeler Nation, Antonio is still in business (as in “Business is Booming,” I suppose) on DWTS. As the sole remaining NFL player, hopefully he can uphold the shield, if you will.

But it seems his desire to win the Mirror Ball Trophy didn’t get in the way of his obligations to the Steelers. In fact, the “obligations” weren’t, as Phase 2 OTAs are entirely voluntary for veterans. Nonetheless, AB was hard at work on Tuesday morning, which is pretty impressive considering he finished the DWTS taping on Monday night just after 10 pm Eastern time.

He even spent some time last week organizing a celebrity softball game, to be held in early June, with the proceeds benefitting Children’s Hospital. As he exited the meeting he noted he had a dance rehearsal. Let’s hope he’s left enough time for DWTS. As it gets closer to the finale, the judges expect more, the routines get more challenging, and they throw extra things at the dancers.

During the 2011 season the extra was an “instant” dance. The premise is that the choreographer develops a generic routine for the assigned dance, but without accompanying music. They learn the routine, but don’t know until they have finished their first dance of the evening what song they will dance the “instant” dance to. They get a CD of the song when they get the scores for the first dance and have 20 minutes to fit the choreography to the song. If this sounds hard, it is.

Andrew Pueschel, the dancer/dance instructor I interviewed, commented that the instant dances are more like what professionals do in competitions. (The usual routines are what they would call “show dances” because they have props and a theme.) In a professional competition, Pueschel noted “we don’t know the music we are going to get. Everything we do is an improv performance.”

The “instant dance” Hines and Kym were assigned was a jive, and Hines found the prospect quite scary, because as he said, “How are you supposed to do a dance when you don’t even know the beat? I rely…on the music – hearing the vocals, hearing the beat, that’s how I dance…. Not having that, I don’t know how I’m going to get through it.”

Furthermore, he had a rather trying week in other ways, as he was handcuffed during a traffic stop when the officer determined the car he was riding in was stolen. However, it turned out to belong to the young lady in the driver’s seat, who had reported it stolen and neglected to report that she recovered it. (I don’t even want to know how you could manage that, or what was really going on.)

At any rate, there was no blame assignable to Ward, unless you want to say he shouldn’t have been out running around with a clearly absent-minded young woman at 2 in the morning when he had a Mirror Ball Trophy to compete for.

However, it didn’t appear to matter, as he nailed the instant dance as well as the standard routine (a foxtrot.)

Scores: Foxtrot: 9/9/10 “Instant” Jive: 9/9/8

As for Antonio, let’s see what the brain trust at DWTS came up with to up the ante. Hines’ statement about the difficulties of the instant dance makes me wonder whether, in deference to Nyle’s deafness, they will axe the it this season.  But enough speculation.

The evening began with individual dances. At the beginning of the evening Antonio and Sharna were told that they were “in danger.” In other words, their combination of judges’ scores and fan vote were one of the two lowest. Nice to hear just before you have to dance…

Antonio Brown: Viennese Waltz

Antonio shocked Sharna by showing up a half an hour before she did—all week. After the judges told him last week that his technique was lacking, he said “I’m going to have to home in on the details and really define my dancing and be on point.” This is all especially impressive in that he participated in OTAs as well.

They were assigned the Viennese Waltz, which gave Antonio trouble. Or at least the name did. He tried “Vietnamese” and other possible permutations of the name before finally getting it right.

After showing a scene in which Sharna corrected some things and said “These little things are what are going to make the difference between an 8 and a 10”, Antonio said: “There’s a lot of parallels between my football career and my Dancing With the Stars experience. I’ve been a sixth round pick, underdog, I love to be the guy that came from the bottom, and no one saw him coming.”

  • Bruno: Oh, so good to see my Antonio back! Dashing, classy, loving, romantic. I could really see that you paid a lot of attention to try to get the movements right, the footwork, attention to detail. You weren’t rushing too much… If you want, you can do it. You could—you CAN be top man!
  • Carrie AnnYou’re the last football player standing in this competition, and tonight, I was like, “football, WHAATTT.” This is a dancer in the house. You have learned to elongate your lines. This was an elegant expression of your soul. This was true dancing, Antonio. I can tell the difference from last week to this week. You’ve put in the time and it paid off. There was a bit of the shoulders (shrugged them upwards) – a tiny bit – you know, next week is the semi-finals, I’m still going to give pointers, but I’m so proud—that was amazing! Thank you for taking the notes.
  • Len: Well, you’ve lost your hold and your posture a little bit, but you’ve never lost your will to win. And I’ve gotta tell you, little things impress me. (Pointing at Sharna) You’ve worked on his footwork a lot [she interjected “a bunch”] because there was beautiful heel leads, going under the ball of the foot and all those natural turns. I tell you, that’s more yes than no, Antonio.

Scores: Waltz: 9/9/9 

Next up was the “Judge’s Challenge.” This turned out to be each judge getting together with two of the dance couples to prepare a routine that the audience could then vote on. First up was Team Bruno, who worked with Nyle, Peta, Jodie and Keo. The routine he came up with was an Argentine Tango to the Habeñera from “Carmen.” I’m jealous for Antonio—that would have been awesome. The two pairs were joined by two pairs of professional dancers for the routine.

They were followed by Team Len, who consisted of Ginger and Val and Wanya and Lindsey. He choreographed a samba for the group.

Finally was Team Carrie Ann, who worked with Paige and Mark and Antonio and Sharna. She said she chose them because she loved the athleticism both teams exhibited when they danced and wanted to create something really powerful. Antonio didn’t lose any time—he brought her a big bunch of yellow roses to thank her for “all the positivity.” Later Antonio said “Yellow flowers is for friendship, but if we get great scores, I may have to get her red ones.” Paige is a UFC fighter, and she and Antonio were assigned some pretty crazy lifts. (Part of each dance clearly had to be the two stars dancing together.)

Inaba added a lot of “production elements” (fog, water, etc.) which she admitted makes the dance ‘more dangerous.’ Great. The dance was a paso doble. It was pretty amazing, actually, including the crazy lifts of Antonio and Paige. The guys were shirtless, and Antonio is ripped. Check it out:

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 11.19.04 PM

All three teams received a total of 29. And interestingly, the two judges’ scores were always 10s. It was the viewer votes that only counted for a 9…

Individual dance scores here—all three teams got the exact same score.

  • Nyle and Peta: 10/9/10
  • Antonio and Sharna: 9/9/9
  • Jodie and Keo: 10/10/10 (They were eliminated.)
  • Paige and Mark: 10/10/10
  • Ginger and Val: 10/10/10
  • Wanya and Lindsey: 8/8/9

As you can see, at this point it’s still all about the viewer votes, so don’t forget to vote early and often. Next week will be a double elimination.

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