Last week; we were shocked to see Jan Stephenson, a fit middle-aged dancer leave before the likes of Brynne Edelsten and Mark Occhilupo. Can we expect a similar result tonight, or will a weaker contestant be given their marching (or dancing) orders?
If you’re not here for the elimination, and are watching simply for the dancing, I respect you firstly, but I also want to tell you that there will be nine routines tonight that we can all sink our teeth into.
We are treated to a lengthy recap of last week’s events, including a reminder of how nice the judges were. Technically, I can’t see why this show has recap sections; it’s the same every week.
Daniel McPherson and Sonia Kruger open the show from the balcony and waste no time to introduce the nine performing couples for the night.
We have a chat to the contestants (well, Dan and Sonia do) with Sonia again showing her potential to actually host this show. No jokes go a long way for the usually cringe-worthy host. So now we are introduced to the judges and the hosts just drool at the mouths at these judges ‘personalities’.
After we are told Stan Walker and Jess Mauboy will be singing tonight; it’s already time for the first dance of the evening; Dan Ewing. Tonight he is dancing the Rumba; he has a lot more passion for this compared to the Samba he had to perform last week. Onto the performance and it starts off very elegantly. Dan is definitely implementing some of his acting skills in this as he seems very into the storyline of this dance. A note; the person singing the song for this dance, Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars; probably the worst job I’ve heard from the vocalists all season. The dance is quite something; I suspect great responses but they ended a little awkwardly so may pick up some flack. We go straight to the judges comments and Todd believes he is trapped between the steps. He thinks Dan can do the steps but must practice harder. He also needs to work on his emotions; he thinks Dan was just frowning. Helen picks up that Dan was trying to find the character in the dance but he needs to ‘heat’ up the dancing a little bit more. Joshua believes there is an awkwardness with Daniel’s dancing and his arms are just all over the place. Quickly before the break, yet another plug for the new drama Downton Abbey (I feel dirty just mentioning it in here) from Dan McPherson who believes it is just as scandalous and secretive as Dancing With The Stars. Yes, Daniel, and just like Dancing with the Stars, these scandals and secrets are completely fabricated!
After the break, we get the judges scores and he scores a 19, his worst score since week 2. But never mind, Samantha Armyatage is next with the Rumba.
I don’t know what to think of this dance; it doesn’t seem too rumba-ry. Also I’m finding Samantha very emotionless. She needs to drop the news anchor façade. There are a few good curls in there though and it ends with Samantha stumbling a bit. In her interview with Dan, we can see that Samantha is sick; she’s lost her voice. To the judges and Joshua thought it was too robotic and believes the performance is too mediocre for week four. He believes she isn’t taking on board anything the judges are saying. She disagrees. Todd thought it was dull and that Samantha isn’t committed to it; this comment brings some ahhh’s out of the audience. She needs to get her ‘ass’ on the stage and the audience don’t seem too happy. Samantha is visibly upset at this comment. Helen unfortunately agrees, she needs how to turn their words into actions and believes she brought her minimum to the stage.
From the judges; she scores an 11, the worst score for her for the season and makes her a contender for the worst score of the week for the second week running. As Sonia reads through some of the things Samantha had to do this week with her tonsillitis; Samantha really just wants to hurry her up. It’s not a great moment for Samantha, I sense. She does laugh about it after the scores are read.
Up next is one of the stronger members of this season; Damien Leith. After a quick recap on his less than impressive performance last week; we learn that this week, he is doing the quickstep.
During the week; he learns how to use an arcade machine (hang on, wasn’t it Occy that was meant to try this?) for dancing.
They are looking like a great couple tonight; there’s a lot of nice moves in there but it was slow at times for a quickstep. But with his facial expressions, Damien does get very much into the dance. This week; we even see a fun little solo from Leith that, well, is quite indescribable. Funny to watch, though. Helen thinks Damien is in the good books this week but he needs to improve his posture but for the first quickstep of the evening; he is the one to beat. Todd believes that unlike Samantha; his emotions made them look past his flaws and therefore highlights the importance of physical and facial expressions to optimise the routine. Joshua says he has the essence of a dancer and would pay to see the performance. Damien reveals that he did some Irish dancing at the age of nine (of course; being Irish and all!) before the judges score him a 27, his joint best for the season and 7 up from last week.
Up to the dance floor next is Nick Bracks who didn’t impress the judges last week. This week he’s performing the Rumba and there’s a few problems with him trying to look sexy off the camera and be a man. The dance begins with a risky lift before they do something that makes Nick look like he’s having sex, not being sexy! But the performance is smooth with Nick getting his shirt off to the impressment of the crowd. His expressions are lacking in my opinion but I have no idea how the judges are going to take it. Helen is first; and the other judges think she needs a water to calm down (after Nick took his shirt off). She jokes, saying it was disgraceful how he took his shirt off like he did but if he thinks she’s going to give him an extra point for doing that his is absolutely… right. She has a few more pointers to hand out saying he’s utilising his arms more and he’s not ‘painting the fence’ anymore. He can improve his leg movements a bit but he’s on the right track. To Todd who thought it had a nice quality to it but wasn’t as fluid as he would’ve liked. Overall, he thought it was very light which was a positive. Joshua tells him that he is improving and that some of his moves were very tricky and he did pull them off. In the judging room, Sonia shows us a slightly unnecessary clip of Todd McKenney without his pants (but this time, it was legal!) before the judges score him a 21 (Todd telling Sonia Kruger to die in the process; a little harsh but funny). This is the underwear models best score for the season and 1 point up from last week.
Right before the break, Sonia is able to plug Downton Abbey for the second time tonight. Dancing with the Stars is notable for its many cross promotion plugs but usually they are for different shows. What is going on?!?
We return from a break and we are treated to our next dancer, Mark Occhilupo; this season’s ‘best performer’. This week he is given quickstep, making it his third ballroom routine. The dance begins and it seems much faster than Damien’s dance. Occy is still a little stiff and doesn’t really know what to do with any free hands. His expressions are monotonous and a little creepy (his tongue is sticking out a little for some reason). There’s a lot of chemistry but I’m not really a fan of this routine. I’m actually not a fan of Occy as a contestant either. To the judges and I can’t believe that Josh picked up on Mark’s tongue sticking out. I write this as I watch so any views I make above are not influenced by the judges thoughts; therefore the fact that Josh picked up on the same mundane detail I did makes me feel a little proud (J). Josh feels that the routine looks like he was practicing for a footy match and is looking for improvement from him. Helen calls him a likeable character but wonders why he can’t catch a beat but he can catch a wave. Helen, I think you’ll find surfing and dancing are two different things. She suggests taking his top off. Overall, she calls it chaotic. Todd suggests to get drunk or get the audience drunk to improve his chances. He tells him his choreography is in step, but his steps aren’t. Not overwhelmingly good raves, but will they improve on Samantha’s score? He ends up scoring a 15, one down from last week and he’s beaten Samantha by four points.
Up next is Haley whom last week was unable to shake her Barbie image however that was with the Argentine Tango. This week, she believes the Rumba she must perform is harder but as she has graduated from her degree, she has more time to concentrate on the choreography.
On the dance floor, and it starts off really well. A lot of passion, a lot of smooth moves, brilliant facial expressions. Haley is definitely encapsulating her dance with all the features I would expect her to put in it. And wow, there was this really good leg flick in it too, brilliant stuff. I would vote that the best dance of the evening personally. I’d also argue that she’s definitely dropped the Barbie façade. She looks like a natural born dancer. Brilliant; I’d, for the first time this season, recommend people who missed that to watch it online; fantastic. To the judges now and Todd wonders if her dance was even legal. He mentions that he wrote nothing down as he didn’t want to miss a second of it and thought it was unbelievable. Will we be seeing the first 10 of the competition? Best Todd comment of the year. Joshua says ‘goodbye ballroom Barbie, hello ballroom bombshell’. He does have some criticism, telling her to watch her legging. He also likes Aric’s tissue idea (I won’t explain too much, but it was a technique Aric used to help Haley with her foot work using tissues (look it up on Google)). Lastly is Helen who also likes the tissue idea and calls it the best rumba they have seen, ever! All of the elements were there; and I completely agree with Helen. She says she must compress and settle into the hip a little bit more though. In the green room, Sonia wonders why the sexy face is always so near to the annoyed face? Anyway moving on, and the judges score her a 28 with Todd giving out the first 10 of the season! What did I tell you?! She is absolutely ecstatic; Who wouldn’t be.
A few tweets come up on the screen before the ad break with many criticising the judges yet again.
After the break is Manu Feildel who is doing the quickstep which he calls ‘fast’… is that a good thing, Manu? On the floor and the routine begins with a bit of a quirky juggling act and the whole dance is well, quirky. I love the dress flicks his partner gives and Manu’s expressions are hilariously great. Like most quicksteps tonight; it seems a little slow; but there are definitely a lot of highlights in there, including a short solo by Feildel. They get a standing ovation from the crowd and it’s over to the judges but not before Daniel invites the viewers to go to the ‘dancing’ website for My Kitchen Rules auditions information. Two thoughts; 1; oh god, another cross promotion. Two, why the hell is MKR audition information on the Dancing with the Stars website?!? So Helen is first and called the routine appealing however he needs to pay attention to detail in the feet. He’s improving on his posture but he’s not too good.
Josh saw the shoulders come in and wants him to dance ‘way more out’. He liked the performance, nonetheless. He calls it pleasant but doesn’t think pleasant will win the game. Todd calls it great but thinks he needs to separate himself from the rest of the competitors and believes he can do this. To the green room and the judges scores. He gets a 24, three down from last week. Sonia makes an awkward segue to their website plug (which could be seen as a bit racist by some extremists) before the ad break.
It’s Lara Bingle’s turn now and we’re seeing another quickstep. Lara is excited by the prospect of doing the quickstep but appreciates its difficulty. And to begin, loving that wig. Lara’s dance is very good thanks very much in part to her partner who performs a versatile lift on the stage stairs flawlessly. It is definitely a fast dance and she performs some pretty neat moves in those heels. Lara brings a lot of emotion to the floor and is definitely giving it her all. Josh points out a wardrobe malfunction and called it messy and sloppy. There’s a moment where ti looks like he’s attacking Daniel, but it’s ok, him and Dan are ‘friends’. It doesn’t look like he liked the performance.
Helen didn’t like the performance either, saying that there is something missing. She wants more from Lara; what she is giving is not enough. I don’t agree with the comments so far, I thought it was a good performance. Todd calls it messy as well and looked ‘thrown together’ (they only had 24 hours to do it; so it kinda was). He hated the lift at the start; but I just loved it; it looked unique. He also mentions that if they (Lara and her partner, Carmello) doesn’t have the time for the competition, he should get out. I’m sorry, I don’t agree with the judges at all. They score a somewhat respectable 17, their worst score of the season down 7 points from last week.
Yet again, the third cross-promotion for Downton Abbey, this time complete with a sneak peak. I’m sorry, but this is unacceptable; one show should not get this much publicity through a show. Not even Ten, a ratings struggler, treats its audience like this. Pathetic, and now an ad break.
So as we return from the break; it is time for a performance from Jessica Mauboy, supported by Stan Walker. The song she sings I know is quite auto-tuned on the radio- or it sounds that way anyway. Either way, it sounds a bit bland on stage and Jessica looks really stiff. Stan looks a little darker than usual, like really dark! I don’t remember him being that brown, but he does such a great job; better than Jessica; much better.
Some more twitter comments (some more again that really compliment the show (ukk)) before our last performer of the night, Brynne Edelsten. We see a recap of last weeks events before we find out that Brynne Edelsten will be dancing the quickstep. A funny moment when Brynne wonders if they will accept her as a professional dancer on next year’s season. Brynne may have saved this show from utter destruction this year, so I’d recommend it. This week she is working on making her mum proud of her. It’s a tough dance, can she pull it off. Hmm… there are a few good bits; a few bad bits. It looks a little stiff and she seems to misplace her steps here and there, but her turns and expressions are good. She is definitely more confident. I wonder how this will go down. Part of me want the judges to go soft on her because her mother is here. Part of me knows that won’t happen. Todd is relieved that she smiled and wasn’t fearful. He tells her it took her half the routine before she got into the swing of things. He tells her she’s going to get a bad score, but in a nice way. Helen tells her that it was obvious that she struggled this week in relation to last week’s performance but it was good. Joshua tells her, her musicality needs work. He liked the fact that she looked like she enjoyed herself.
That’s it for the dancing, so if you’re here for the dancing, leave now because it’s chop, chop time after the break.
Oh, hang on, I forgot, Brynne’s score; and she got a 16 which is 3 worse than last week but there’s still Samantha and Occy below her so she’s relatively safe. So after the voting numbers are shown, Daniel McPherson and Sonia Kruger thank everyone.
But now for the all important elimination. Damien Leith is safe first before Hayley Bracken, Manu Feildel and Nick Bracks. Safe next is Lara Bingle, who last week was in the bottom two. Next safe is Brynne Edelsten before the final couple going through was announced to be Samantha Armyatage. A bit of good news there for the sickened news star. So in the bottom two is Dan Ewing and Mark Occhilupo. Occy, infamous for his 7 pointer in week 1, was not good enough to continue and has been eliminated from the show.
And with that; we are down to eight couples. This episode was quite hard to watch at times. While there were some doozies on the dance floor (including the first 10 score of the season), I think this episode has been let down by the constant Downton Abbey plugs, it was horrendous. I also don’t think Jessica Mauboy was the strongest guest star to grace the stage; you all may disagree with me, but just my view.
I do compliment the quick speed in which the hosts got into tonight’s show for, though, it was only a few moments before Dan took to the stage first. Overall, great dancers, ok judging, not so good plugging. Expect better next week.
Courtney’s Verdict: 7.0/10