'Dancing With the Stars': Carrie Ann Inaba blogs week 5

Dancingjudgescarrie_lHello again…

First of all, I wanted to thank you for the well wishes for my cat Shadow. I do want to share with you that this week he had an exceptionally good week with his health. I think the love and support you sent him really had a positive effect. His energy was better this week than it’s been in a while and his appetite is great..I think he may have even gained a few ounces. So once again, I thank you.

Okay, now, on to what you are all here for! Week 5 was quite a week!!! Another OUTSTANDING performance by Gilles and Cheryl. I think that Gilles does his homework with the movement and the character. And Cheryl does her work with him in the studio. His movements are powerful yet graceful. He really is quite a sight out there on the dance floor. It is a joy to watch someone bring out the authenticity of the dance the way he does. He is not afraid to immerse himself completely into the dance and the essence of it. There is pure commitment and there is a real connection between his dance performance and his passion. Yes, unfortunately, some of you heard his injury is acting up again and you are correct. I have heard the same thing. So, I hope that you will all send him your healing thoughts so that he will also have a speedy recovery and will not do further damage to his body. (This is a grueling process for these performers, both the dancers and their celebrity partners.)

Shawn Johnson was also wonderful this week with her partner Mark Ballas. Her VW was so sweet and pure. She looked like a little princess out there. I was noticing that Shawn really listens with an open ear to hear what the judges are saying. It’s so wonderful to see when the couples are really listening to our critiques. I’ll tell you that you can tell when they are listening and you can tell when they just want to take off their shoe and throw it at us. Shawn is of the first type. She really listens to us and graciously tries to take our notes back into the studio with Mark. I think this may come from her gymnastics background. All gymnasts are used to performing in front of judges. So they understand that feeling. Shawn is no stranger to being judged and I think that will help her go far in this competition.

Melissa and Tony did a really nice and dynamic routine this weekalso, but she lost her footing and stepped into her dress and rippedit. It was unfortunate to see because this could have been a stellarperformance if she had found her footing and not lost her balance inthe routine. However, it was quite good and she should be very proud ofherself for what she did bring to the dance floor and how she handledthe misstep.

What an special routine created by Derek for himself and Lil’ Kim. Theywere very good this week. Lil’ Kim was referring to something duringthe comments that was confusing everyone. Before the season starts, Itry to find a gift to give everyone of the contestants as a well wishbecause I know how hard it is to do this (but of course, the rewards ofdoing DWTS are also great both emotionally and physically). Idon’t actually give it to them in person, because we aren’t allowedmuch interaction with them and our schedules are so different fromtheirs, but i write them each a little "Good Luck card"
and my assistant puts it in their trailers at the start of the season.This year, I gave everyone Buddha Boards, which are these little ricepaper-like canvases that you can do calligraphy on, or paint pictureson with water. But they dry up and the board goes back to neutral andblank every time. It’s a stress reliever and a wonderful creative tool.So I thought with all the time they have in their trailers it could bea nice notepad and or stress reliever. Anyway, that is what she wasreferring to when I commented to her. I couldn’t hear her in the studiobecause it’s so loud in there with the audience cheering and booing theway they do. I had to ask Tom during commercial break what she said. Ithink she was saying that she was using it in reference to herdeveloping grace. I think Samantha thought she said, "Voodoo" and wastalking about dolls. That just goes to show you that it’s very excitingin the studio and it’s also
difficult to hear things because of all that energy swirling around!Anyway, Kim’s performance was quite ethereal…it wasn’t quiteperfection, but she’s on her way, it seems. We’ll have to see how shedoes next week with the dance she gets.

Okay, I finally wanted to comment on Steve-O. He has this wonderfulability to touch the audience. Tonight when he was announced as safe,the audience went crazy — in a good way. It seems he has become quitethe fan favorite. He is so endearing with his performances. There is aninnocence that comes across in his performance that resonates much morethan does the fake, "shiny on the outside, nothing on the inside"performances.

Chuck and Julianne had a mixed review and then tonight he said hewanted to make me get up and shout…it was a strange impression of mebut okay — let’s hope they can do it!

Lawrence Taylor and Edyta had a very difficult week with their PasoDoble. There is improvement according to Len and Bruno’s scores, but Iwould like to see a bit more from him as far as content goes. Sincehe’s back next week — which was a shocker (with no disrespectintended) — I hope he puts a bit more content into his performance.With the two-dance weeks coming up, it should be easy for them to doexactly that and add a bit more flair.

Ty fell back this week — but as he said tonight, let’s hope he bringsback my little dancer!!! But let’s move on to the biggest shocker ofthis week. David Alan Grier was eliminated.

What???!!! Oh and by the way, I know some of you were very happy tohave the "dance off" removed but as you can see, it was not forever.Last week we had a double elimination so we didn’t have the dance-off.This week we had a judges’ encore and a dance-off. So, I think theproducers are listening to the feedback and are really trying to findthe right balance for our loyal viewers. Trust me, our producers workvery hard at trying to keep the show fresh while keeping it familiar toour loyal audience. It is quite difficult to please everyone all thetime. But they are trying to make good choices that will keep our showfun and enjoyable to watch while remaining compelling with thecompetitive elements. I do go back and share with them your thoughts aswell, but the picture is big picture and they are the ones in charge. ;) And they are doing a great job.

So, back to DAG. Well once again, we prove that DWTS is also ademocracy. You all have a say and you spoke last night. But I wanted toremind people, especially David, that our audience — all of you whovote — don’t vote people off, they just vote different people to stayon. It’s not an "I want this person off" choice. It is rather thatpeople sometimes can’t vote for everyone they want to vote for, ormaybe they just didn’t think the person needed the votes. This is whenyou start to realize that no one is safe…this is when it starts toget even more exciting. It was sad to see my old, In Living Coloralumni go so quickly. I think he was just finding his stride with theshow…unfortunately, the stride came maybe too late. Anyway, DAG is abrilliant comedian. I’ve watched him in action and he is fabulous. Heis also an incredible thespian. And now we know he’s got greatextension. And has a beautiful arabesque. : )

Now, onto the question that has been raised many times. By the way,thank you for your questions. I love them. The pairings of thecelebrities with their partners. The answer is quite simple. Thepairing is left up to the producers’ discretion. It seems to me thatthe producers pair them up based on what they think will be the mostcompelling partnership — with two people who will complement andchallenge each other and will have the right balance. I think they do agreat job. Of course, they are also partnered up by height as well forthe reasons of the hold. I’m going to ask around though and see if Ican get more answers for you.

Demi Lovato did a nice performance with Benji Schwimmer dancing with anew partner…and doing his own choreography for his performance. He’ssuch a great talent out there with such fun energy — and for those ofyou who didn’t know, he is Lacey’s brother.

Le Reve was so poetic. My friend and old friend from myMadonna’s Girlie Show Tour days, Christopher Childers, is the directorof artistic coordination for the production — and was there supportingthe wonderful performance. The shaved heads of the performers addedsomething ominous to the performance that was so intriguing!

But — what about Etta James. STANDING OVATION one more time!! WOW.That was a special moment. I call that an "I can’t believe this is myjob" moment. I am so grateful for having a job that allows me thesemoments to see these incredible performers live and up close the way wedo. This performance by Etta James was an honor to witness. What anincredible voice she has.

Okay, a quick wrap up — I was at the USA Dance Nationals this weekendgiving out the Carrie Ann Inaba "Star Quality" Award — for those whohave that special something extra when they dance. Sometimes, it was agrace that seemed to be unmatched by any other — or that they hadincredible charisma and charm, and sometimes, they just took my breathaway. Judging by the way the audience reacted, we were often on thesame page with our choices. The category was created to giveencouragement to those who many not take home the medals based on thenormal standards of judging, but who had something that deserved somesort of accolade. And it was my honor to give out that award. Mycategory was outside the normal standards of judging and was quitedifficult to choose at times since I could only choose one winner ineach of the categories I judged. I saw some familiar faces — some ofthe kids who competed in the junior dance competitions we had inseasons past and Valentin Chmerkovskiy — Maksim’s brother who youmight remember from the "Billie Jean" performance a few seasons agowhere they danced in red, and when the Chmerkovskiy brothers dancedtogether in that incredible "dance-off" performance. He won the adultLatin competition with a new partner and will be competing for the U.S.in the international competition. The competition was wonderful andexciting and for all of you who haven’t seen a competition in person,you should try to get to one.

And on one final note, my mom was in the audience on Monday and Tuesday this week. It was special for me to have her there.

Well, that’s all for now and I hope you all have a wonderful week –have a safe and happy Easter as well…Thank you for writing yourthoughts…

See you next Monday —- LIVE!!!!!

Take Care,
Carrie Ann

Read more:
Annie Barrett’s ‘DWTS’ elimination recap
Carrie Ann’s previous blogs: Week 4, Week 3, Week 2

Comments (49 total) Add your comment
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  • Lorie

    Thanks for the blog.
    I was wondering if the rumors about Gilles’ injury acting up again were true. Sending lots of healing thoughts his way.
    I still can’t believe DAG got booted before LT. David tried so hard, and seemed to really want to stay as long as possible. What a shame!

  • Kathry

    I want to know how they choose who gets the dances each week. I would have thought they trade latin dance one week a different dance the next, but Gilles had two latin dances in a row. Don’t get me wrong he hit them out of the park, and I would love to see him do a rumba, but in a weird since of fairness I think he should have to try a bouncey ballroom like the jive.

  • Sharon

    My thoughts and Prayers for Gilles.I heard about it last week and heard that Cheryl cried, as it was hard for her to come up with the choreography that suites his ability due to the injuries he has.It must be tough for her too knowing they are the frontrunner right now and one single wrong move with his shoulder and it can cost them the whole competition.I wish him a speedy recovery.That is sad, he is in my opinion the best celebrity dancer that the show has ever had.He is a combination of charisma,techniques,power and entertainment.For the first time, the show has created a star in him.

  • Jenks

    Thanks, Carrie Ann. Since you mentioned that you take our feedback to the producers, here’s a suggestion: Please choose music that complements the dance!! This week’s music was just awful. Not one of the Paso Doble songs evoked the dramatic, Spanish mood of the dance. Most of the VW numbers were equally hideous. There have been questions on the boards about who chooses the music. I’d be interested to know. Whoever it is, they need to do a better job. Most of the music has been great this season — up until this week.

  • orville

    Actually, the tango is ballroom and the lindy hop was the Latin dance last week. But then, that means that Kim did ballroom two weeks in a row, so still a valid question. Maybe a better question is why are some seemingly Latin dances like the tango ballroom and some dances like the jive are technically Latin?
    My questions are–Any chance of getting Benji on as a regular? And is it just me or have there been a lot of mis-matches this season with the partners and the pros, at least as far as chemistry goes?

  • belski

    I feel for Cheryl though.Imagine the pressure to live up to the expectation and she knows she can only do so much with him…
    I just have to give Cheryl the credit she deserve with Gilles.He has been injured since the very start of the competition, but boy what a great job she’s been doing with him.
    I was very impressed with her choreos all season to date and her guidance makes the best out of him.It suites Gilles very well and it did put him in the spotlight big time.Kudos to both of them for not making any excuses for it.Thanks Carrie Ann for a very positive reviews as always.

  • Iya

    I disagree about Melissa.When she ripped her dress, it was at the very end of the routine.It was a very bad dance from them and totally overscored once again.I don’t know what Tony was thinking.Challenging your partner doesn’t mean you have to come up with super duper difficult choreography for your partners.It’s about a routine that suites your partner,something exciting and can move the audience.This couple as good as they are—-just don’t have that x factor at all on the dance floor.Flat and boring.Too bad that they get so many smpathy votes.They might end up winning the whole thing because of this.
    I just think that the top 3 this season are:Gilles,Shawn and Kim.
    Yes Carri Ann, can you please explain what is it with the music selection?I don’t think the people who r handling it isn’t doing a very good job at all.

  • Christine

    Thanks for the blog and explanation about how the couples get paired up.
    I hate to point out something negative, but I’m gonna have to agree with several other posters and say that the music this week was terrible. I know not every week can be perfect, but this week stood out as very difficult. I think everyone’s dances were affected by it.
    Do the “stars” ask to be on the show or are they approached by the producers?

  • Barb

    To all the Gilles and Cheryl Fans,we all have to vote.We don’t want another Sabrina in the making.Thinking they are safe with all the high scores they are getting.I’m afraid a huge chunk of their fans are not voting for that stated reason.Gilles and Cheryl deserve the trophy.Sorry CAI, but what’s up with Len giving them a 9 for their paso Doble?That was one of the best paso doble ever done on the show.I got chills watching it and i hardly get impressed by any means.But for two weeks in a row, i have been moved by this couple with their beautiful dancing.Why need to spoil that perfect moment for them?It would have been a historic moment for the show having the only couple to score a perfect 30 in a back to back week.I will die and never watch the show ever again if this couple don’t end up winning the trophy.They are by far the best, and head and shoulder above than everybody else.Gilles is in the league of his own.What makes it even better is,he is not a ringer like the others.

  • kovina11

    First, THANK YOU Carrie Ann for giving us dance junkies more background info on our favorite show. I’d love to ask a question about the choreography: do the pros really do ALL the choreography themselves? The routines are so amazing, week after week, and I know that sometimes the pros are dancing beyond what their specialties are. Lastly, for all you Gilles fans out there…go see the S** and the City movie if you haven’t seen it already! You will NOT be disappointed.

  • to orville

    the lindy hop is not latin…

  • Becky McFadden

    Thank you for writing a blog, because it enhances the DWTS season! My requests are simple: Ditch the Dance-Off, it is painful and time-wasting. We would rather see the best dances again–maybe the best of each type performed on Monday. My second request is to whomever chooses the music: no more weird stuff like Ty and Melissa had! These people are all amateurs and they need the traditional sounding tunes to give them a solid foundation.If the producers want to have experimental tunes for the paso or whatever, let the pros demonstrate how the dances can be done to the unexpected. The judges are wonderful, because they love and respect dancing and offer true critiques instead of idle comments. Thank you for that.

  • Katherine

    Carrie Ann,
    I think DWTS needs to be careful with trying to “freshen” up the show. We all know at some point, any show needs some more makeup or even a facelift BUT I don’t think having a dance off is the right way to go. The dance off almost seems like a punishment for two couples who are already nervous and really feel bad they were not an audience favorite.

  • mark

    hey carrie ann, what’s with that female singer on the show who wears all the absurd bejeweled headresses? does she truly think they’re attractive? yikes, talk about deluded! speaking of the singers, are they really singing live? i’ve always had a feeling they’re taped because we never see them actually singing and if they messed up live they could mess up the dancers in a major way, right? and my last singer question: why aren’t they ever named or interviewed? is it for fear they’ll somehow overshadow the dancers in some way? finally, tell samantha harris that in our house we’ve made a drinking game out of every time she says “of course” –which is about 58 times a show. man, is she lame.

  • birdsofafeather

    Carrie Ann, do not be innocent, yes a fan can vote in such a way as to vote someone off, example, Two lowest scores, and I want one of them to go home, I vote for the other lowest scorer so the one I want to go home has less votes! Think about it, it works folks! My friends and I do this many times.

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