At the season four finals tonight: Apolo and Julianne were in first place with the judges, Joey and his partner Kym were in second, and Laila and Max in third place. Overall, the judges and I had the same criticism: where is the basic dance? The Joey cha-cha and Apolo paso double were simply not pure enough for any connoisseur of ballroom dancing. I wanted to see a great tango tonight, but no one went for that difficult dance. Round one: the Latin dance — goes to Laila. She was great in red dress and high heels.
The dancers were scolded — too theatrical chimed the judges.
The scolds reminded me of the advice I often give my own students: “Don’t over think or over do!” That seems to be a part of human nature — thus pulling back for perfection becomes key.
Finals night heated up with the freestyle round.
This is where Laila falls flat. She fell flat for two reasons: first the flat shoes, second the glitterati Michael Jackson style, instead of the elegance and sex appeal displayed in the semi-finals. I was looking for dancing on the ceiling, not on the floor. Laila did not deliver her best dance for the freestyle. Her Latin dance was much better.
Apolo’s break-dance freestyle was great and creative. They kept feet up in the air with kicks, lifts, and spins galore. The audience went wild. They took lessons from a break-dance expert and it paid off.
Joey’s disco dance closed the finals, but opened the door to a win.
It was the finals best dance of the night. The Donna Summer disco rendition was tremendous. The lifts were non-stop and deployed to a T. I watched it three times. That is what the judges most highly prize in the freestyle: did you wow me with surprise? Also, Joey showed something else — incorporating everything learned from his professional partner and the weeks spent in practice for Dancing With The Stars. Overall, finals night was full of technique, creativity, and energy — key to the freestyle routine. They reached for the electricity and the eclectic tonight.