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April 30, 2014

Dancing With the Stars Season 18 Week 7 Recap: Latin Night


All the couples were ready to express their sexy selves in front of the Latin pop starRICKY MARTIN, who was our guest judge for the evening!

After a great opening act, Ricky Martin made his way to the stage and said, “I’m looking just for some amazing entertainment. That’s what I want. Passion, focus, and engaging…I want the people to feel engaged with the dancing. That’s what I want!

Is it me, or do the guest judges get better every week? I love Ricky Martin!

Danica McKellar and Valentin Chmerkovskiy were first to perform a Salsa for us!

During the beginning of rehearsals, Val said, “So, Meryl and Maks are also doing the Salsa, and I know a lot of people think she’s the front-runner, and that’s the couple to beat. But this is a great opportunity for us to challenge the best, because to be the best, you have to challenge the best.”

When Val spoke about the choreography this week, he said, “This routine is very, very sexy, and it’s very passionate. It goes from hot to cold, from fast to slow instantly. It’s all about speed. That’s the technique of the Salsa. Tricks, speed, action, action, action, action.”

Danica went on to say, “All the lifts we’re doing, you have to keep a really tight core to be safe.”

At that moment, viewers held their breath as they heard the snap of a bone, which turned out to be one of Danica’s ribs,  during one of the lifts. She left rehearsals and went to the hospital. When she called Val, she said, “It doesn’t look good. He said if it was anybody else, he said he would tell them to not do anything. Just stop. He said we can do our best to manage the pain…but you’re gonna reinjure it, like, if you keep doing stuff.”

Crying during her interview, Danica said through her tears, “It’s a fine line between being strong and toughing it out and being stupid. I really want to stay in the competition. So, I don’t, I don’t know, I don’t know where the balance is.”

It’s amazing how far these competitors will go to raise the bar to become better; however, sometimes it does unfortunately end with injury. This seemed to be the trend of the week as we saw Amy Purdy injure her back during her performance, and Maks and Meryl seemed to beat each other up a bit as well.

All for the good of the performance! That is what dedication is, but remember to always stop and check out any injuries before you proceed with any activity. Winning is important, but you will save yourself from further issues later on! Sorry, I don’t mean to preach!

Danica and Val’s Salsa seemed optimistic in the beginning, but we were able to see how the broken rib affected Danica’s dancing when she seemed more closed off during the performance.  She still fought through the pain and made it to the end of the routine.

Carrie Ann Inaba said, “Oh, I feel for you. Having a broken rib makes that dance one of the most difficult dances to do because it’s all about opening up the ribs, and I think you managed well. But for that kind of dance, you really have to get down and dirty, and I think because of your injury – and I really do think it’s your injury, because I’ve seen you let loose the last couple weeks – the injury stifled the movement and we needed a little bit more down and dirty and opening the chest, and I think it was a little under.”

Ricky Martin inquired, “I’m gonna ask, on behalf of the entire nation probably, I wanna know…How do you feel right now?

Danica answered, “Um, I mean it’s sore, but it’s okay.  You know, you fight through it and do your best.”

Ricky continued by saying, “Because it’s incredible…mad respect because someone else would have said ‘I’m gone. I’m out of here’, because that is extremely painful, so mad respect for that. You guys have an amazing chemistry…I love to see you guys together.  It’s really powerful what you bring to the stage and what you bring to the show. I wish you the best. You need to be here.

Len Goodman said, “Well, there was two sections of what I would consider Salsa. The rest was a bit sort of pop video-ish for me. It was a little bit careful.  I think that’s because of your rib and, of course, you did go wrong one time. But overall, you know, you’re injured, it’s difficult…Well done.”

Bruno Toniolo said, “I…actually, both of you I think you went for a very, very interesting concept, you know, the kind of ghetto fabulous Salsa from the hood. But, of course, you know, you’ve gotta get down too…thank you. But no, the fact is they’re all right. It’s impossible to gain that kind of feel if you’re not able to use all your assets to the full extent. And that makes you go wrong because you feel slightly insecure, but I’m sure you’re gonna be back, and I’m sure you’re gonna dazzle us again.”

When Danica and Val headed up to the balcony, Erin said, “Well, Ricky Martin did some of my job asking you how the rib felt.  What was the deciding factor in getting you back on the dance floor?”

Danica replied, “Um, when it first happened, I thought I wouldn’t be able to keep going.  I sent a tweet out to all my fans asking them for their love, and support, and prayers, and I got such a response back, and I swear I felt it and it really helped.  It meant a lot.”

Erin turns her attention to Val. “It’s amazing you were able to go out there and do that.  Val, when putting this dance together and trying to figure out how she could do it, what did you take into play th­­ere?”

Val said, “I didn’t, you know, I didn’t. I choreographed what we had, uh, we needed those tricks because I think lookin’ like this, she blows the roof off. And so, I didn’t really try to consolidate the choreography. I know she can pull it off, I know she’s strong, she is gonna fight and that’s it. And she doesn’t want me to simplify things, so . . . ”

For someone having to endure the pain of a broken rib, that performance was awesome.  It takes courage to get out there in front of millions knowing that you are physically being held back by an injury.  Good job, Danica!  We all applaud you.

Danica and Val received a combined score of 33! Watch their performance:

NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani were next on the floor to perform an Argentine Tango.

After NeNe expressed her excitement over still being in the competition alongside Olympians and experienced dancers, she shared with us a little bit about her alter ego!

She said, “I like to say that I have an alter ego from time to time. If you push, you can see her every now and then. Her name is NéNé.  In the Argentine Tango, I will give you a little bit of NeNe and NéNé. ”

We saw Tony add a few dancers to their routine to really bring out the NéNé in NeNe and add fun to their performance.

Before their Argentine Tango, Erin comes in with the breaking news that during the commercial break 90% of Twitter fans tweeted #DWTSShirtOff  in order to get Tony to show some skin! Well, he ripped off his shirt like a champ and was ready to get down and dirty with Miss Ne-Né!

NeNe is a born entertainer. I love watching her get right out there and fearlessly take the stage. Let’s see how the judges felt after their Argentine Tango!

Ricky was the first to comment.  “Was that NéNé or NeNe? Well, you know what I think?  I think, uh, before even the music started, you were getting ready. You were getting into character, and I appreciated that as a judge, because you were taking a minute for you, for you to become the character … You were floating on stage, you were just like glancing. You were like in character, your face, poker face…I loved it.”

Len said, “As always, you got right into character.  You came out and sold it. As I mentioned last week, you need to work on technique. The footwork and the leg action could have been a bit crisper, but as always, fun to watch.  Well done.”

Bruno said, “You definitely got the part! Welcome to the house of Ne-Né.  We are open all hours and always happy to please you! Oh yeah, you got that right! You’ve gotta work on those ganchos.  If you do another Argentine Tango, those ganchos, which is the hooks, have to be much sharper.”

Carrie Ann said, “What do I say?  I mean, that opening walk was a ten on its own.  Okay, that was just, I mean, you were living that moment. But, true, in general, the movements, they weren’t sharp enough.  There wasn’t a lot of dynamic between speed of motion, but I’m just so impressed with how far you’ve come in this competition. I see you dancing with your whole body and I know it feels good.”

When NeNe spoke to Erin, she said, “I’m very proud of myself.  I’ve come so far and I’m just very proud of me and Tony.”

NeNe and Tony received a combined score of 31.

VOTE FOR NENE AND TONY: CALL 1(800) 868-3401

Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy were last to perform, closing out the show with a fantastic Salsa.

While they were rehearsing, we saw a different side of Meryl. ‘A dirtier side’ seems to be the fitting description for her new persona!

Meryl said, “The depth of the sexuality involved in the Salsa…it’s different than anything I have experienced before.”

During his interview, Maks said, “I highly doubt that Meryl doesn’t really know how to get down and dirty. It’s in there, and you just need a switch. Just switch it on and it’s like a turbine. It just goes POW!”

Their performance was an exciting ride from start to finish.  Meryl gets better and better every week, and Maks knows exactly how to get her to perform to her highest ability.

Carrie Ann said, “Meryl, you blow me away! I thought that for sure, like, okay. Salsa…Meryl…maybe not the right match, but girl you continually surprise me. You came out here…once your legs started going, you turned into a whole different beast! You were so in your element and I had no idea this was your element. It was fantastic!”

Ricky said afterwards, “I’ve been seeing the whole show.  I love what you guys are doing. It gets better and better and better. You’re a pro, you’re an Olympian, you’re a pro. I don’t even know what to say. But it was intense.  Salsa? That was not Salsa.  It was amazing! It was fantastic!”

To our surprise, Len said,  “Well, you know, the thing is my feeling about Salsa, it’s the cool guy and it’s the hot chick, and I felt it got a little bit too involved with the whole production of it a little bit. You’re such a fantastic dancer, you don’t need anything. You can just come out and you can just perform, and I found it a little bit hectic throughout the whole thing. It was too full on. Well, it was!”

Bruno, out of his chair as usual, said, “Meryl, the leader of the gang with plenty of bang! Ricky, that girl, she bangs! She does bang! I’m telling you.  You can go down and dirty!  But then again, with Maks, who wouldn’t! But you know, but, a part of, no listen, seriously now, there is one serious point. You were dancing in front of six of the best professionals in the country and you held your own, and you always pulled focus of attention. I salute you my darling.”

After those reviews, they headed up to speak to Erin and she said, “I have to agree with Bruno. Held your own with some of the best dancers out there. My favorite part of your video package was Maks telling you to, uh, ‘go to the dirtiest place on earth to draw inspiration for your character.’  Where is that?”

Meryl replied, “No comment! No, I mean, this is definitely outside of my comfort zone, especially on, you know, live television and all. But, um, you know, Maks is an amazing teacher and we’ve developed a really great friendship as well, so he has a way of, you know, helping me feel comfortable and then…”

Erin cuts in and says, “and helping you find your dirty place apparently.”

Meryl and Maks brought out the dirty and Salsaed their way to a combined score of 39.


After all the individual dances were done, the show moved on to the team dances for the week. Remember that this score is added to each individual score of the competitors.

The first group was, “Team Vida” with Charlie as their captain.  It was made up of James and Peta, NeNe and Tony, and Charlie and Shana. They were to perform a Salsa to “La Copa De La Vida” by Ricky Martin.

They received a combined score of 35.  Not bad for a team dance! The judge’s responses were not bad either!

Ricky:  “Wow!  That was complicated and you made it look like if it was a walk in the park. Let’s go on the road. Can we just go on the road? Let’s do it! Let’s just go on the road.  Thank you so much.  It was beautiful. Thank you so much for all you did for that song.”

Len: “Well, to do two dances is tough and I’ve gotta say you coped brilliantly well.  You were together, it was tight. There was a lot of fun going on. Lot’s of action here, there, and everywhere. Well done to all of you.”

Bruno: “Talk about La Copa De La Vida. It was more like an extra large Tequila! You were flying. You were flying, and the energy was incredible! A couple of syncs problems.  You know, you have to be very, very careful on the group numbers to keep the sync at all times very precise, but I’m telling you, it was incredible fun.”

Carrie Ann: “The energy was fantastic and I loved the way you guys featured NeNe so much, you were working it.  But, um, but, yeah, the group dance is all about synchronization and I think that, um, Charlie and James, you guys were supposed to be bookends, but you were kind of great, but in your own little separate worlds.  So that’s the problem with the group dance, but I thought it was high energy! I’m waiting for my friend to boo!”

Next up was “Team Loca” who danced to “Livin La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin as well! The captain was none other than Miss Meryl with her partner Maks and they chose Danica and Val, Derek and Amy, and Candace and Mark to join their group.

Unfortunately, due to Amy Purdy’s injury earlier in the show, Team Loca was not able to perform the dance live in front of the judges.  Instead, the judges had to watch the dress rehearsal footage in order to give them their scores.

Although the performance wasn’t live, it made no difference at all because Team Loca blew the judges’ minds with their fantastic dance and received a combined score of 39!

See what they had to say!

Carrie Ann: “That was insane! I have never seen a tighter group performance ever and Amy, I wish you the best! I hope you are feeling better! That was so darn tight! Good Job!”

Ricky: “How can you put so many styles together in such a small time? How long it took you to put that together? Congratulations! Mad respect! You guys were outstanding! Superb!”

Len: “I tell you, it was fantastic. I’m telling you, I’ve gotta say watching the dress rehearsal footage is a little bit different…the pressure is off a little bit, you’re not coming out live. But what I saw on that screen was fantastic.”

Bruno: “Oh, I tell you that was a slick spectacular showstopper, and I have to say I really regret we don’t have a results show because this is worth a repeat performance.”

Both teams were amazing, and I’m not sure what else Dancing with the Stars can possibly throw at us at this point!

Watch the team performances here:

Now to the sad part of this post…we had to say goodbye to one of our Dance With Me Family teams.

NeNe Leaks and Tony Dovolani were eliminated this week. It was so heartbreaking to see them go, but at least we are still in the running to take home the Trophy!

NeNe’s last words were, “I’m so proud of myself and I hope that I have inspired women all over the world. This has been an amazing positive experience for me. I wanna just thank my husband and my children who are here supporting me every single week after week, all of my family, all of my friends, all of my fans, and I thank all of you judges who judged me every week. I am so proud of myself to stand here and compete with Olympians with no dance experience at all. I am proud of NeNe Leakes!”

Tony followed up and said, “I think, um, with all the different partners over the years that I’ve had, every single person has brought something different and NeNe definitely brought a wonderful, wonderful attitude. She had me laughing the entire time…Yes, she has had me naked more than anybody else!  But you know what? I gained a friend. All friendships go through troubled times, which we did, but we actually came out on top.”

So long NeNe and Tony! We will miss seeing that fire and spice on the dance floor!

Scores of Season 18 Episode 7

Amy & Derek

 36 / 39 / 75
James & Peta  35 / 35 / 70
Danica & Valentin  33 / 39 / 72
NeNe & Tony  31 / 35 / 66
Charlie & Sharna  36 / 35 / 71
Candace & Mark  35 / 39 / 74
Meryl & Maksim  39 / 39 / 78


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