” contestants get two pleasant surprises this week – loved ones come for a visit and someone gets a stay of execution.
Host Marissa Jaret Winokur is wearing a fantastic tri-colored dress tonight. She always looks good but I think this is the first time I’ve actively wanted something she’s worn. Want. Our judges on a sparkly clamshell are as always Mayte Garcia, Lisa Ann Walters, and Danny Teeson.
Rehearsal week welcomed surprise visits from the Final Four’s families, the challenge being to remain focused and resist the urge to slack in favor of quality time. Since there are two dances, like last week the order of the first round will be random while the second routines will reveal which contestants are in the Bottom Two.
80’s Themed Routines
1. Pinky & Mr. Lucky
Song: “Holiday” reminiscent of Madonna
When her two brothers showed up at a dance rehearsal, it took a second for her to react. She cried and hugged them and was generally stoked to have them around. Oh…their outfits. So good. I especially appreciate Mr. Lucky’s “Dwanye Wayne” flip sunglasses. Pinky’s flipping her hair around like a pro. The choreography was interesting as had a mix of 80’s dance elements, most notably some b-boy flavor. Pinky danced it very well, as expected, and lit up the stage. Mayte called it a great performance and fun. Lisa Ann simply noted that her body is streamlining. Danny thought it had the right moves and energy without being cliche.
Score: 9 (9-9-9)
2. Ruben & Hilary
Song: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” a la Pat Benatar
Ruben’s brother and his partner John were waiting for him when he came in the room. Ruben was immediately overcome by his emotions and hugged John, who’s recovering fine from his cancer treatments. The choreography is tres “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”/”Solid Gold.” There’s some extra pep in Ruben’s performance this week. Seeing that John is ok I’m sure was a real boost. Mayte noticed a bit of a choreography lapse at the beginning but enjoyed it overall. Lisa Ann felt it was a little careful but still liked it. Danny only partially agrees and gives Ruben credit for tackling new moves that he wouldn’t have been able to do a few weeks ago.
Score: 8.7 (9-8-9)
3. Alicia & Italo
Song: “Mickey” a la Toni Basil
Of course Alicia’s package starts with once again reminding us that she got the phone call home. Yes, I’m still peeved she didn’t give it to Ruben. At any rate, her mom and her sister visited her. Their costumes are of course cheerleader-y. While 80’s stuff is intrinsically campy when done now, there’s something a bit over the top about this number. Italo is generally very good with his choreography but I think this routine wasn’t quite up to par. I think he could’ve taken a little more advantage of the cheer elements. Otherwise, it was danced well enough and bonus points for a standing leg-stretch at the end. Mayte dug it and totally overscored her. Lisa Ann thought it was fun to watch. Danny liked it but there wasn’t quite enough content for him.
Score: 8.7 (10-8-8)
4. Shayla & Mario
Song: “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” a la Cyndi Lauper
They’re already in the studio when Shayla’s dad, who she runs and jumps on, and her boyfriend Brandon walk in. She was very excited to see them – so adorable. I think they have the most recognizable 80’s dances in the routine including The Snake, The Wop, and the Troop. Great choreography that was performed extremely well and with great stage presence. Mayte says she can tell she’s having fun and very focused. Lisa Ann said she gives it 100% every time and loved the turns. Danny called it the best of all the routines and loved all the Old School moves.
Score: 9.3 (10-9-9)
To fill out some time, we get a package of all the families and contestants meeting each other at a potluck. Each of the Final Four made a healthy version of a favorite dish – Ruben made a Caprese Salad, Shayla made Arroz Con Pollo, Alicia made wheat pasta with vegetables, and Pinky made what she calls “Strawberry Shortcake Surprise” (the surprise being that she made it). Towards the end of the meal, Marissa pops up to briefly meet everybody.
5. Alicia & Italo
Song: “Rehab” a la Amy Winehouse
Alicia brought her mother and sister to meet with nutrition consultant Meg Werner Moreta, MS RD because everything in the Cheat Cabinet are things readily available at her mom’s house. Now it seems mom will stop putting cheese on broccoli all the time. Alicia’s posture and hold is much, much improved this week. I think it helps that this is a smooth dance. Nice attitude, much better facial expressions, but it seemed a bit disconnected at times. I don’t know if it was the choreography or the camera work. Mayte compliments her on improving her carriage and extensions. Lisa Ann was stoked that she improved everything they asked her to last week. Danny could see her concentrating in hold and wanted them the cover the floor more but liked it overall.
Score: 8.7 (8-10-8) – This deserved a 10 way more than the 80’s number – 8.7 average for both dances
Weightloss: 2.66% (-5.9 lbs)
6. Shayla & Mario
Song: “Back To Black” a la Amy Winehouse
Shayla, her father, and her boyfriend also met with Meg. The issue at hand is that Brandon is an athlete and eats three-times what Shayla is allowed so she wants tips on how to handle that. In the number her arms extensions are great. The hold looks a little odd at times and I’m not sure why. Could be the camera angle, could be that she needs more tension. Overall she was floaty, had great facial expressions, and made it look easy. I could easily watch her dance for twice as long. Mayte said it was a pleasure to watch but gives the tip to push through her extensions. Lisa Ann found quite a few things wrong with it but at least told her how to improve. Danny wanted more energy and a better lean but enjoyed it.
Score: 8.3 (9-8-8) – 8.8 average for both dances
Weightloss: 2.48% (-4.5 lbs)
The Bottom Two
Pinky once again finds herself in the bottom and Ruben makes his first appearence. Shayla was .08 away from being safe.
1. Pinky & Mr. Lucky
Song: “Isn’t She Lovely” a la Stevie Wonder
She had her brothers try some of the exorcises they make her do and they weren’t having it. Pinky also challenged one of them to a treadmill race and won, much to her delight. This is a little awkward, less on Pinky’s part and more on Mr. Lucky’s since he’s clearly not a Ballroom dancer. She did very well though. The frame could’ve been much better but I can hardly fault her on that since it wasn’t great on both sides. Methinks she’s in trouble. Mayte loved her arms and enjoyed it. Lisa Ann says her attitude and arm extensions helped off-set her steps being a bit too small. Danny thought it was lovely but not easily recognizable as a Foxtrot.
Weightloss: 2.22% (-3.7 lbs)
2. Ruben & Hilary
Song: “Bubbly” a la Colbie Calliat
Ruben did a really good job leading, which is much harder than it seems. He had great extensions and moved with ease. Very, very pretty. Mayte called it beautiful and fluid. Lisa Ann says he’s the picture of elegance. Danny called it magic and wanted to see more.
Weightloss: 2.08% (-5.4 lbs) – he’s lost an amazing 59.8 pounds so far
Score: 10 (10-10-10) – He ran over an shook all the judges’ hands after he got his score – 9.4 average for both dances
Total: 11.48 which puts him at the top of the leaderboard once again
It’s down to Shayla and Pinky as to who’s going home. At least they have their families there to lessen the blow of being so close to the finals. Danny gave Pinky an 8, Mayte gave her a 7, and it’s up to Lisa Ann to break the news. After saying how much they’ve grown to love everyone and hate seeing anyone go home, Lisa Ann announces…that no one’s going home.
That’s right. All four will be moving on to the semi-finals next week and get a makeover for a Life & Style magazine photoshoot. I think that’s a great move to keep everyone around but, as Pinky would’ve been going home, I wonder if that was the plan all along or does someone in a high place just love her that much. She’s coated in Teflon – eliminations just don’t stick.
What did you think of the non-elimination? Did you get a hard case of the warm and fuzzies during the family reunions? Have a favorite number? Think the scoring still way wonky? Anything else you’d like to add?
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