This week the Dancing With the Stars 2012 cast performed the most memorable moments of their lives in dance. For the Dancing With the Stars 14 cast, it is both an emotional and an awkward night as they share (and are judged on) their personal stories interpreted through dance.
Last year on Dancing With the Stars 2011, the winner of ‘personal story’ night was overwhelmingly obvious when war veteran J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff danced about the terrible injuries sustained by the soap opera star while serving in Iraq. The audience wept, the judges were moved and the scores for the night meant nothing. That was Martinez’s night, hands down.
This year on Dancing With the Stars 2012, the winner of the evening was quite so cut and dry. Of course, ‘personal story’ night on DWTS is always a hard one to judge. You want to be fair and keep the judgement to the actual skill of the performance, but it is hard not to judge the subject matter each celebrity contestant has chosen as well. In the end, I do think one couple stood out above the rest, and apparently the judges agreed.
The Dancing With the Stars 14 ‘personal story’ night is a tough one for the viewing audience and the judges to evaluate. For example, is hard to criticize a dance about the emotional and physical pain of Melissa Gilbert breaking her back in 2010, even if the choreography was less than stellar. Personal story night on Dancing With the Stars 2012 this week was full of a lot of performances like Gilbert’s that were moderately strong both in substance and in style.
As for the less successful dances of the evening, it doesn’t help a dance of moderate success when the emotional subject matter is something like Jaleel White believing the pivotal moment of his life was playing Steve Urkel’s alter ego, Stefan Urquelle, on Family Matters. If the story had been better, White might have managed to pull a somewhat higher judges score than a 25.
Still, sometimes you end up with both a strong, emotionally significant back story and a fabulously well performed dance — making it very easy to rank one of the couples in the top. That was certainly the case for Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas as they slow waltz through a tribute to the singer’s father, who died of lung cancer in 1996. The couple once again blew it out of the water this week with a fabulous performance.
The dance was beautiful and packed full of emotional substance, drawing tears to the eyes of contestants and judges. Bruno called it “Sensational” and I totally agree. Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas scored a well-deserved 29 out of 30 for their dance with a 10 from Carrie Ann Inaba, a 10 from Bruno Tonioli and a 9 from Len Goodman. Yes, Mark Ballas and Katherine Jenkins scored the first 10s of the Dancing With the Stars 2012 cast so far this season.
William Levyand Cheryl Burke also scored a 10 from Bruno Tonioli on Dancing With the Stars 14 with a salsa dedicated to Levy’s move to America in 1995 when his family was granted political asylum. I personally was a bit amused because although the story was good, the dancing was a bit flat and I can’t help but think this couple is getting a bit of “hottie” padding on their scores with a total of 28 from the judges.
Five rumbas and a smattering of waltzs, salsas and sambas later, I’m going to have to agree with the judges and call the best dance of the night for Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas. Personally, I think William Levy and Cheryl Burke didn’t really deserve their second place status. If I had been awarding the scores, I would have given runner-up place to Maria Menounos and Derek Hough for their extremely sensual rumba, even if the story about Menounous at 10 years old helping her Greek immigrant parents clean nightclubs was a little light (and not really fitting with the whole sex on a stick dance thing).
Five couples ended up only scoring 24 points out of 30 for the night: Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmerkovskiy; Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff; Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus; Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya; and Sherri Shepherd and Val Chmerkovskiy. Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff were in the bottom two last week and it looks like they could very well be facing the Dancing With the Stars 2012 elimination results again this week after the singer’s rather weak and boring ‘moved to New York to follow his dreams’ rumba.