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Dancing With the Stars: Season 6

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The Season 6 contestants:

01 Television personality Adam Carolla

02 Actor Christian de la Fuente

03 Actress Shannon Elizabeth

04 Actor Steve Guttenberg

05 Entertainer Penn Jillette

06 R&B singer Mario

07 Actress Marlee Matlin

08 Actress Priscilla Presley

09 Tennis player Monica Seles

10 Football player Jason Taylor

11 Actress Marissa Jaret Winokur

12 Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi

Kristi Yamaguchi would have to be the prohibitive favorite at this point . . .

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Because of her deafness, Ms. Matlin must be considered at a disadvantage as compared to the hearing dancers. I am really looking forward to seeing what strengths she uses to make up for this handicap. A girl in my daughter's ballet class was moderately deaf; a lovely dancer, she used vibrations to guide her through music. But her deafness is not as profound as Ms. Matlin's.

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I guess Ms. Matlin could be this season's Heather Mills. If she has a good partner/teacher, she may do very well.

I can conjure the faces of six of this year's "stars." I think that's a record! And, at least until I see their stuff, have a rooting interest in three of them.

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Because of her deafness, Ms. Matlin must be considered at a disadvantage as compared to the hearing dancers. I am really looking forward to seeing what strengths she uses to make up for this handicap. A girl in my daughter's ballet class was moderately deaf; a lovely dancer, she used vibrations to guide her through music. But her deafness is not as profound as Ms. Matlin's.

Ms. Matlin will be interesting. In the real ballroom/latin world, the deafness would not be the disability you might think it would. The dances are built around a rhythm not the music itself, so really you could set a metronome and the dancers would be able to perform. In true competitions, the dancers have no idea what music will be played, they only know the rhythm and approximate tempo. It's quite striking, actually to watch dancers rehearse, since there is often a dozen couples rehearsing in a single ballroom and obviously not all of them can play their music, so while a cha cha is playing on the sound system, couples will be rehearsing everything from V. Waltz to bolero and everything in-between.

I think that is especially true for a follow (usually the woman). As long as the couple as connection (that is, from a technique perspective, she is able to feel his center of gravity and frame and "read" his weight changes), she will be able to pick up the rhythm he is dancing to without hearing the music at all. As an aside, this is what follows have to do when the man has no ability to dance to the music playing. Otherwise, she risks injury. As Liz says in "Strictly Ballroom," "Where the man goes, the lady must follow!" For a while, my long-time coach was coaching a deaf dancer, and I don't recall her dancing being that strikingly different from anyone else's at that level and certainly better than average.

I don't know how quickly Ms. Matlin will be able to develop her connection and frame. Some people can pick up on it very quickly, others take a long time. It's not intuitive for everyone. But quite a few of the pros on DWTS are quite good at disguising it and other flaws which could be quite glaring otherwise. Jonathan Roberts in particular did a very good job with choreographing around Giselle Fernandez, who as far as I could tell had the frame of overcooked spaghetti and seemed totally rhythm deaf. Louis van Amstel all but picked up Lisa Rinna's feet and put them down again in the early weeks.

I think deaf leads (usually men) have a harder time, and from what I understand, they have to pick up the beats from the floor or vibrations. There is an excellent deaf man out of Virginia, as I recall though. He's quite exceptional and can lead with a partner and still stay both on rhythm and hit the accents of the music on the fly. Really amazing.

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From my limited experience of ballroom, I can attest to Sidwich's sense that connection can tell you a GREAT deal -- if your parrtner knows something, with a good connection you do too. We used to do an exercise where one of us danced with our eyes closed -- as a lead I remember the incredible new sense of security I felt when I realized that I could close my eyes and not see what I was dong and my partner could keep us from bumping into anybody, with slight unmisunderstandable shifts of weight. It led to a very floaty way of dancing.

Actually I learned to follow as well, in SF most of the Lindy hoppers worked to learn the other side, and guys did not necessarily lead nor did women necessarily follow. The curious thing about this is you can find that your partner is making you hear parts of the music you're not listening to -- the guitar line, the bass, the sax, or is really tuned in to the way the singer is toying with hte beat,. SO a good partner can do a lot of hte listening., and it could be either one.

And you can (depending) feel the bass in your solar plexus.

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Thanks, sidwich, for the detailed explanation of connection and frame. I'm looking forward to seeing Matlin's ballroom dances now. :) I don't watch DWTS all that much, preferring SYTYCD (I don't work nights during the summer), but I'm going to learn how to advance record on my new DVD player so I can come home late after work and watch it. :shake: Are all the dances in the ballroom style or do they do more contemporary sorts of dances, ala SYTYCD? If so, then those would be the difficult ones for Matlin. I'm remembering Wade's dances in particular.

I agree with others who've said that Yamaguchi may be the dancer to watch. I'm thrilled that she's doing this; I've been a big fan of hers ever since I saw her skate as a junior champion. Talk about work ethic! This woman is incredible.

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Oh, that's why there were no reports. Shows you how out of it I am. :)

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Notes on Men:

Cristian has some awfully big honking heel leads, which I'm suprised Len didn't mention since they're such a pet peeve of his. And the posture is not good. Cheryl has some work to do, although being kicked off early last year and getting some rest seems to have done her good. Her dancing has more energy than it has in a few seasons, although she could still brush up some of her technique.

Julianne really has her work cut out for her with Adam. He's really not coordinated at all (surprising for an ex-boxer), and he seems pretty rhythm deaf. I think Julianne was trying to will him back onto the beat, but it seemed to result more in the impression of a Great Dane dragging along a chihuahua. I feel like either she or Adam offended someone on the show for getting "Mellow Yellow" as music, and I'm not sure why she thought it was a good idea to wear a mumu for the foxtrot.

Jason is surprisingly unselfconscious about his height and I am very impressed by his coordination. He has long limbs but he can control them, which is unusual. I also like that he has very neat feet. They're not flopping all over the place. He's placing them well. For example, when he steps together, he actually puts his feet next to each other rather than in some random place that is kind of close together.

Mario is exceptional for a beginner, and Karina knows she is very lucky. Out of all of the seasons DWTS has been on in the U.S., Mario has by far the most intuitive sense of lead I've seen from any male celeb, including Drew, Emmitt, Mario 1.0, etc. He gets that the lead comes from the center and not from the arm, and that bodes very, very well for them in the future. They're already getting much more dynamic from their dancing than they other couples so far, and that is because they're able to use both of their body weights to generate power. He needs to work to control his knees. He's not achieving true straightening of his knees which is a problem in creating full range of movement in his hip action (as well as not being very pretty). But he's well on his way. He's the guy to beat on the men's side. As an aside, I would not have expected him to be such a fan of the show (and that's how I interpret his overly enthusiastic fawning on Karina). The producers hit the jackpot.

Kym is going to have a hard time just because Penn is so big. I don't think he's clumsy, but he has a lot of mass to move around the floor and control. Kym is one of the tallest female pros on the show, and Penn makes her look tiny.

Guttenberg is better than I thought he would be, and seems to be this year's bid for Jerry Springerdom, although he has the potential to be Ian Ziering as well (that is, enthused to the point of discomfort). Unfortunately, Anna is not nearly as good a teacher or choreographer as either Kym or Cheryl although probably a better dancer herself than Kym and Cheryl put together. I don't remember a whole lot of this routine other than it seemed to be one of Anna's better efforts from a choreography standpoint. I remember thinking one of the male celebs needed to learn to commit their weight rather than being caught flat-footed in the middle of movement and that might have been Guttenberg.

I had to be at something last night so I haven't had a chance to look at the women yet.

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Thanks, sidwich. I enjoyed reading that. Instructive, too.

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Miliosr Report - Week 1 - Night 1

General Thoughts

Loved the opening pro dance, especially the sequence with Derek and Mark.

Loved Len's tie. If you know who makes it, e-mail me.

The Scores

24pts Mario/Karina

22pts Jason/Edyta

21pts Christian/Cheryl

18pts Steve/Anna

16pts Penn/Kym

15pts Adam/Julianne

Couple-by-Couple

Penn/Kym (cha cha cha) -- An "A" (or "E") for entertainment value but I cannot see this couple advancing very far in the competition based on what I saw Monday night. He was game enough on the night but he has about as much finesse as Godzilla does destroying Tokyo.

Jason/Edyta (foxtrot) -- This, for me, was the (pleasant) surprise of the evening. For such a tall (6'5") man, he moved with great dexterity and displayed beautiful posture. And the fact that he is seriously gorgeous shouldn't cost him any votes in this competition.

Christian/Cheryl (cha cha cha) -- To my eye, nerves were a big (negative) factor for him. Also, his upper body was a complete mess. We'll see if Cheryl can fix that problem the way she (mostly) did with Drew.

Adam/Julianne (foxtrot) -- This just made me laugh (I'm not sure for good or for ill, though.) Adam's not quite at the Kenny Mayne/Tucker Carlson level but he's close enough that he could well be gone at the first elimination. Clearly, his survival will depend almost entirely on any pre-existing fan base he brings to the show.

Mario/Karina (cha cha cha) -- I didn't like this duo as much as I liked the Jason/Edyta pairing but they were strong on the night. He is a born performer, which should serve him in good stead over the course of the show.

Steve/Anna (foxtrot) -- Steve is this year's George Hamilton/Jerry Springer/John Ratzenberger. He will "act" the hell out of the dance but the actual dancing ability may well prove to be more modest.

No elimination this week. Everyone returns to dance again next week!

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Miliosr Report - Week 1 - Night 2

General Thoughts

Where have you gone Maksim Chermkovsky? Dancing With the Stars nation turns its lonely eyes to you!

The Scores

27pts Kristi/Mark

24pts Priscilla/Louis

22pts Marlee/Fabian

21pts Shannon/Derek

18pts Marissa/Tony

15pts Monica/Jonathan

Couple-by-Couple

Shannon/Derek (cha cha cha) -- While she has beautiful "showgirl-esque" legs, I felt that she was too tall for him and it threw everything off. Also, like Christian the night before, Shannon looked like she had a bad case of nerves. Not bad but middle-of-the-pack is always a dangerous place to be in the early going.

Monica/Jonathan (foxtrot) -- Oh dear. She looked SO stiff and awkward and uncomfortable on the night. You're heart bled for her because she was obviously nervous prior to and during the dance and you could tell she was mortified by the scores.

Marissa/Tony (cha cha cha) -- Hated it. For starters, we got the same old-same old Tony Dovalani no-content dance. But that wasn't the worst of it. No, the worst of it was his celebrity partner. Marissa accomplished something that I thought was an impossibility for this show -- she proved that you can actually be too overenthusiastic on Dancing With the Stars. Her overboisterous, know-no-top-to-go-over personality grated beyond all measure and detracted from the dance from beginning to end. And she forgot what she was doing at times.

Priscilla/Louis (foxtrot) -- After three so-so to bad dances, sixty-something Priscilla Presley finally got the evening in gear. Louis (the "good" Louis from Season 2 -- not the "bad" Louis from Season 3) choreographed a great, demanding routine for Priscilla and, for the most part, she managed to keep pace. Good for her for doing the death spiral! My only complaint with her was her inexpressive face which made the dance seem less exciting than it was. (I'll stop there as I don't want to run afoul of the moderators.)

Kristi/Mark (foxtrot) -- Beautiful and breathtaking. I'll leave it to sidwich to point out any technical flaws but, as a performance, it was spectacular.

Marlee/Fabian (cha cha cha) -- Not quite at the Kristi/Mark or Priscilla/Louis level but still very good. Marlee moves well, is dead sexy and has a delightful personality. I'm not so sold on her pro Fabian. He rubbed me the wrong way which might have hindered my enjoyment of this dance somewhat.

No elimination for the women either. Everyone's back next week!

After two nights of this show, I am exhausted. Like Miss Pittypat (or Belle Watling -- you pick which one I'm closer to) in Gone With the Wind, I'm taking to my bed until next week! :thumbsup:

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From my limited experience of ballroom, I can attest to Sidwich's sense that connection can tell you a GREAT deal -- if your parrtner knows something, with a good connection you do too. We used to do an exercise where one of us danced with our eyes closed -- as a lead I remember the incredible new sense of security I felt when I realized that I could close my eyes and not see what I was dong and my partner could keep us from bumping into anybody, with slight unmisunderstandable shifts of weight. It led to a very floaty way of dancing.

Just wanted to thank you, Paul, for that observation. And sidwich for provoking it. You both sparked a :lightbulb: experience for me concerning the art of partnering.

Miliosr, thanks for for beautiful descriptions and thoughtful evaluations of the dancers on this show.

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I never would have guessed that Kristi Yamaguchi could put me off. It wasn't her dancing -- she had the same high-style and subtlety that distinguished her skating. But her comments made no sense and tried to make skating and ballroom as different from each other as swimming and broadjump.

  • I never had to think about whether my leg was straight
  • It didn't matter if my foot wasn't pointed
  • I never had to connect with a partner.

The first two don't need comment. If the last one is true, how did she manage to win US pairs with Rudy Galindo?

C'mon, Kristi. You're too good for this.

Miliosr, I think it's okay to say that Priscilla's performance was distinguished by the complete immobility of her face, especially in comparison to some of the other newbies whose faces were the most mobile parts. :lightbulb: Frightening, wasn't it?

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  • I never had to think about whether my leg was straight
  • It didn't matter if my foot wasn't pointed
  • I never had to connect with a partner.

The first two don't need comment. If the last one is true, how did she manage to win US pairs with Rudy Galindo?

I thought the first two comments were strange, too, although I can somewhat understand what she was trying to say. Perhaps straight legs and a pointed foot came naturally to her that she never actually had to *think* about doing it and in figure skating these elements are of minuscule importance compared to their importance in ballroom dancing. A straight leg in a spiral is desirable, but it's not going to win you the gold (I can think of a couple Olympian skaters who got away with this). As for pointing the foot, in a skating boot one can only have so much flexibility--one need only flex and stretch the ankle.

As for the last comment, I have no idea... :lightbulb:

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I think Yamaguchi is going a little overboard with the comments regarding how difficult and different ballroom dancing and figure skating are. Most people are saying that she has an advantage over the others and I imagine that's an uncomfortable position to be in, but still its a little too much. That said, I thought she was lovely, elegant and smooth. Should be interesting to see how she does with Latin next week.

I also think that Shannon Elizabeth is too tall for Derek. Even last season I thought that he was given a too tall partner in Jennie Garth.

Pricilla Presley's dancing surprised me. Based on her demeaner throughout the men's competition Monday night she looked scared, stiff bewildered and completely out of it. But she did a lovely, slightly sexy and playful foxtrot. She's always been a beautiful woman who could be even more beautiful if she went for a more natural look. Using your face seems to be an important part of ballroom dancing and I hope she realizes it because I would like to see her dance some more.

I adore tennis so i was excited to Monica Seles on DWTS, however I think she will probably be the first female to go home next week. But I hopw they don't give up on tennis stars, I want to see Martina Navratilova next season!

As for the men, I'm really pulling for Penn to get better. He reminds me of Peter Boyle's Frankenstein in Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein dancing Putting On The Ritz. Large, goofy but kind of sweet. And Adam Corrolla we know this show can be cheesy but if you're going to agree to be on it you've got to reach down inside you and embrace the inner cheese-meister. Let go and have fun. :lightbulb:

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But her comments made no sense and tried to make skating and ballroom as different from each other as swimming and broadjump.

I never had to think about whether my leg was straight

It didn't matter if my foot wasn't pointed

I never had to connect with a partner.

Actually, her comments do make sense to me. I think what Yamaguchi is trying to express is a few of the technical points in ballroom dancing.

1. In International Latin and American Rhythm, there is a very fine coordination that occurs in the straightening of the knees as weight is transferred from foot to foot. For example, in Mambo (her dance next week), weight is accepted onto bent knee which gradually straightens until the free hip swings through. This, in very simplified terms, is what produces Cuban Motion. This will not occur if you do not bend your knees (Shannon Elizabeth), dance only on bent knees (Mario), or try to swing your hips independently of your knees (almost everyone).

In Ballroom, both International Standard and American Smooth, you virtually never fully straighten your knees.

I don't think Yamaguchi literally never thought about whether her leg was straight, but I don't know that figure skating demanded the microscopic attention to that coordination that solid beginner training in those areas does. In Ballroom and Latin, whether the leg is bent or straight and when it occurs matters a lot. Many beginners take a lot of time to really develop a conscious awareness of what they are doing with their knees.

2. I don't think figure skating boots allow for a true point of the foot. I noticed this when I was watching Sasha Cohen dancing in ballet slippers on the Stars on Ice tour this year. Her feet were flopping around like dead fish. She couldn't point her feet at all.

3. Connection is a technical term in ballroom and latin (and all of its partner dancing cousins) referring to the connection of the partners' respective centers of gravity, something she would not have had to develop in her pairs skating. The one really obvious problem I'm noticing with her is that she is letting her right arm go behind her in closed position. Mark has her holding her head and neck in a pretty good position and she's maintaining it well (something Sabrina had a hard time with in the beginning), but in doing, she's letting her right arm drag behind rather than lifting it up and towards her partner to help maintain her frame. I'm sure it's something Mark is going to point out to her on the tape.

That being said, she is benefitting hugely from her previous training, and many of the issues that I was wondering about that like the positioning of her feet seemed very minimal, probably from a combination of talent and hard work. I've seen ballroom dancers take up figure skating later in life (recreationally, not training for the Olympics) and they've done very well very well quickly, so there is definitely a significant overlap in skill sets.

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Actually, her comments do make sense to me. I think what Yamaguchi is trying to express is a few of the technical points in ballroom dancing.

I agree – I watched and I thought her remarks were very acute and helpful.

(There are important similarities between dancing and skating, but there are also major differences which tend to get slighted.)

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Notes on the other ladies:

Shannon is too tall for Derek. Derek is a respectable 5'10 or so, and Shannon looks like she's at least 5'8 which is 2-3 inches too tall for him. As noted above, Derek needs work with her on the coordination of her legs and using her feet. Right now, she looks like she's dancing on a pair of toothpicks. I found this routine strange in that Derek didn't choreograph much to a traditional chacha rhythm. I'm wondering if Shannon had a hard time with it.

Speaking of, I'm not sure why the producers paired Marisa with Tony, when Shannon needs a tall(er) partner and Marisa would probably be better off with a shorter one. Anyway, although I am not a fan of Tony's choreography or teaching at all, I don't think Tony choreographed a routine devoid of content. The part he performed had a decent number of set ups for Marisa to do cha cha content. She just didn't perform them, and considering Tony's always been deficient in teaching his DWTS students how to follow, he couldn't lead her through them. I also have to say that while I thought she was fabulous in "Hairspray!", about 30 seconds into her B-roll, I was strongly tempted to fastforward through her entire segment.

After watching Monica's B-roll, I was expecting total disaster of trainwreck proportions and honestly, it just wasn't that bad. There is a lot for them to work on, but there are some very nice points in it as well. Unlike most of the celebs, she does seem to have some awareness of her knees and feet. Jonathan can go overboard in the novelty themes of his DWTS routines sometimes, but he was very smart in giving her a prop to focus on because otherwise I think she may have stopped breathing altogether and passed out.

Priscilla Presley was also very nervous. Even though she starts out in a good position, by the end of this routine it's pretty ragged (which is common for beginners). She has very little control of her upper body, and with her anxiety, her shoulders are almost up to her ears by the end of her routine (Monica has the same problem).

Marlee does have a good sense of rhythm, actually a better sense than at least 2 or three other celebs and they can hear. She and Fabian are charming. Fabian is clearly working with her to develop her following skills as quickly as possible, but it looks like she has the weakest center out of all the ladies. Her hips release forward constantly in this routine which inhibits Fabian's ability to lead and her ability to follow. I see many stomach crunches in Marlee's future.

One thing I forgot to mention, the other thing I think Kristi and Mark had difficulty with is the pivots toward the end of the foxtrot. She really doesn't bend her knees and charge enough into the pivots, and to be fair to both of them, pivots are an advanced level move that most respectable coaches would not attempt with a beginner (too much rotation and coordination between partners). Personally, I'm not sure if things like pivots and oversways (dips) are worth it on a show like DWTS since the lay viewing audience really can't recognize how difficult they are.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by all the choreography by the pros so far. There are usually a number of routines which I find poorly designed i.e. lacking content, badly balanced in terms of skills used, inappropriate for a beginner, etc. I think all of the routines in week one were designed (if not executed) to show both open and closed work, different positions and a variety of skills.

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One more point regarding Kristi's comments about ice skating in relation to ballroom dancing.

Everyone on that sound stage knows what happened to Sabrina in Season 5. The perception at the time was that Sabrina, with her background in hip-hop dancing, had an unfair competitive advantage over the others. The thinking that has evolved from her mid-season ouster (wrongly, in my view) now holds that any celebrity with recent dance experience is in fact a ringer and is therefore in grave danger of being eliminated. One way to look at Kristi's comments is that they were an attempt to defuse the whole ringer problem from the get-go -- "Oh, ice skating and ballroom dancing are so dissimilar. Please don't vote me off!!!" [My interpretation of her meaning rather than her actual words.]

At the end of the day, I don't think she is in any danger of going anywhere anytime soon. She was the best celebrity over both nights and she has a hardcore fan base that will vote until the cows come home to keep her in the competition.

As for Priscilla, I doubt her expression is going to change much for the rest of the competition. However, I would like to see her lighten up some. As perky noted, she looked completely out-of-it backstage.

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One more point regarding Kristi's comments about ice skating in relation to ballroom dancing.

Everyone on that sound stage knows what happened to Sabrina in Season 5. The perception at the time was that Sabrina, with her background in hip-hop dancing, had an unfair competitive advantage over the others. The thinking that has evolved from her mid-season ouster (wrongly, in my view) now holds that any celebrity with recent dance experience is in fact a ringer and is therefore in grave danger of being eliminated. One way to look at Kristi's comments is that they were an attempt to defuse the whole ringer problem from the get-go -- "Oh, ice skating and ballroom dancing are so dissimilar. Please don't vote me off!!!" [My interpretation of her meaning rather than her actual words.]

A good point, miliosr. I think you may be on to something.

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I ran all the numbers in the run-up to tonight's double elimination round (one man/one woman):

Example: Couple/score from round 2/score from round 1/total score/total score as a percentage of total points awarded

Men

01 Mario/Karina 26 + 24 = 50 (20.8%)

02 Jason/Edyta 27 + 22 = 49 (20.3%)

03 Christian/Cheryl 20 + 21 = 41 (17.0%)

04 Adam/Julianne 19 + 15 = 34 (14.1%)

04 Steve/Anna 16 + 18 = 34 (14.1%)

06 Penn/Kym 17 + 16 = 33 (13.7%)

Women

01 Kristi/Mark 27 + 27 = 54 (20.9%)

02 Marlee/Fabian 24 + 22 = 46 (17.8%)

03 Priscilla/Louis 21 + 24 = 45 (17.4%)

03 Shannon/Derek 24 + 21 = 45 (17.4%)

05 Marissa/Tony 21 + 18 = 39 (15.1%)

06 Monica/Jonathan 15 + 15 = 30 (11.6%)

(Percentages for the women do not equal 100.0% due to rounding.)

Miliosr's picks for elimination: Monica for the women and Christian for the men

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One way to look at Kristi's comments is that they were an attempt to defuse the whole ringer problem from the get-go -- "Oh, ice skating and ballroom dancing are so dissimilar. Please don't vote me off!!!" [My interpretation of her meaning rather than her actual words.]

I think every "ringer" on the show has made similar comments. I remember at the time both Sabrina, Joey Fatone and Mario Lopez all made a number of comments about how ballroom dancing was nothing like [iNSERT PREVIOUS DANCE TRAINING HERE]. Personally, I'm not sure if those comments fuel the "ringer" fire anymore, but I think it's human nature to get defensive.

Interestingly, while I was watching Kristi doing her mambo on Monday night, I did note that a lot of the things in the earlier comments are actually very weak. The coordination of her knees is very off at times, she gets off rhythm, and she loses connection a number of times. Actually, every time Mark tries to lead a turn is a good demonstration of all three. She needs to learn to hold her core when the arm goes up for a turn. She's falling backward out of her turns.

To be fair to her, I don't think mambo is a great dance for Mark. I don't think many of the pros are much more than superficially familiar with Mambo (Tony and Fabian being the exceptions) since it's not a Latin dance most of them would compete and most of them received the bulk of their training outside of the U.S. Actual mambo content is rather low during most of the "mambos," although it's never pointed out because I don't think any of the judges can recognize it either. During most of the Steve/Anna mambo, I couldn't even watch Steve because I was distracted by the ginormous steps Anna kept taking throughout the dance. Mambo is a very "under you" dance, and I kept wanting to tell Anna to tighten it up.

Interestingly, Priscilla Presley is the only celeb I felt was really on her way to connecting her hips movement to the knees and feet. Although she's not the dancer Kristi is, her movement felt more "organic" and less contrived.

Random notes on other people:

I don't think Cristian has a posture problem per se. He can stand up straight, but he doesn't while he's dancing (vs. Drew Lachey who actually had a physical problem). I think he has a big problem with trying to look at his feet while he dances, and Cheryl needs to break him of that habit and get him to focus on lifting his center up. (That being said, I don't think he's going anywhere for a while. He should have enough fanbase to keep him until at least middle of the pack).

Jason is releasing his hip with the change of weight when he needs to hold it until the leg straightens. At the moment, he has reverse Cuban motion going.

Penn is afraid to walk into Kym. His feet are far apart but the steps are shallow which is the opposite of what you want (feet passing close by each other with deep steps).

Shannon's foxtrot is excellent for the first half, but falls apart in the second which is common. Maintaining the relative position while moving in and out of the figures is much of what is difficult with Ballroom dances. But great start for a beginner.

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