This week, the stars have to do an individual dance AND a group dance! I am always rooting for the group dances to be a total disaster, but they have kind of turned into the Soul Train style of dancing, where each couple takes a turn in the spotlight and then there is about five seconds of actual group dance. So that's disappointing. But could still be a disaster. Let's hope!
Once the couples are announced and have made their way down the stairs, Brooke and Tom introduce the guest judge for the week: six-time Latin champion Donny Burns. He's rather... flamboyant. Then we get a short clip package about how awesome he is, including the fact that he was undefeated in competitive dance for twenty years. All of the professional dancers are in awe of him. Donny takes his seat beside Carrie Ann as the fourth judge. Tom asks him what he really thinks about the show, and Donny says that "nobody does show business like you Americans." Is that... a compliment? It seems kind of back-handed. Len says that he's known Donny for forty-five years, and knew he was one of the greats when Len first saw him as a ten-year-old. I would much rather they have a guest judge like this that I've never heard of but who is well-respected in the dance world, than some celebrity who knows nothing about ballroom dance. Well done so far, show.
The team dances are up first. Chelsea and Hines are the team captains, since they have the highest scores so far. Hines chose Maks and Kirstie first, then Chelsea chose Ralph and Karina. Hines chose Kendra and Louis (probably to get Louis more than Kendra, one would imagine) so Chelsea ended up with Romeo and Chelsie. Both Chelsea/ies on one team. Could be confusing.
Cut to rehearsals for Chelsea's team. Ralph points out that Chelsea and Romeo are both young and have done the cha cha before, so he feels left out. Looks like Karina takes over most of the choreography, but Mark seems like the taskmaster in rehearsals. Romeo tries to ask a question and Chelsie tries to shush him because tempers are high. That was weird. Although I guess if Chelsie had the routine down, she figured she could help Romeo in their rehearsals and not bog the group down.
Their cha cha is to "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga. Their opening formation is good; I don't see any obvious problems. Romeo and Chelsie do their solo turn first and it's quite good. He's improved a lot and has definitely learned to perform to the crowd. Ralph and Karina are next and Ralph is still a bit overly intense to me, but at the end of their section he lets up a bit and looks better than he has in weeks. He just has to stop with that face. Mark and Chelsea finish it out, and Mark is overdancing even more than usual. He has a great partner; why does he need to pull focus like that? He even throws in a couple of Michael Jackson moves that don't fit the song or the dance, because he's an asshole. Their final group segment is good and the finish is amazing, but they haven't learned the Derek Hough lesson of group dances, which is that the crowd will go nuts if you all get in a line and do something down the floor in sync. Derek always added that to any of his group numbers and it always killed. The ending where Chelsie and Karina go flying across the floor and end up at opposite corners was pretty cool, though.
Judges? Len knows it is a challenge to learn the individual parts and then keep the group parts in sync. Bruno loves that they went all out, but they did lose sync as a result. Carrie Ann disagrees, and thought they did well in formation. She singles out Ralph for holding his own. Donny notes that Ralph fluffed some footwork, but it didn't affect the team formation. Okay, I know a friend told me that Ralph doesn't wear a wig, but he definitely has more hair this week than in previous weeks, so something is up. Scores: Donny 8, Carrie Ann 8, Len 7, and Bruno 7.
Now Team Hines is up to dance. In rehearsal, Louis reminds them it's all about formation, and while they may not have the youth of the other team, they have more butt. After their first group rehearsal, everyone is supposed to go work on their individual stuff. When they reconvene, turns out Maks and Kirstie don't have the solo down. Or even really started. And then Kendra farts during rehearsals. Classy. I mean, I love a good fart joke, but come on.
They start the routine and immediately get a little bit out of sync, to my eye. Another thing that bugs me, though it may have been purposeful, is that for two couples the male is on the left, and then Maks and Kirstie are reversed. Since the men are wearing brown and the women are wearing pink, it messes up the visual pattern. I don't know why they would do that.
Kendra and Louis have the first solo and it's fine. As long as Kendra can do her reconstituted stripper moves and shake her boobs, she'll be okay. Maks and Kirstie are next and you can kind of tell that she's unsure of some of the transitions and Maks is talking/leading her through them. She looks good though. Her legs look a lot slimmer than previous weeks. Hines and Kym go last, which was smart, because he is definitely the best. As they dance, you can see Kendra in the wings jumping around to the music and she looks better and more natural than she ever does on the floor. They reconvene as a group and they clearly have learned the Derek Hough rule (maybe it's actually the Louis rule?) about walking down the floor in sync, and the audience loves it. They do a lot of moves as a group in a circle, which is smart because it means they don't really have to be in sync. I think overall the other group's routine was more difficult, but it's better to do simpler moves and nail them, and I think they did, even dragging weak link Kendra along.