Dancing With the Stars 18.07 Review: “Latin Night”

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by Daniel Gilligan

Coming in on a cool Hispanic beat, welcome to another episode of Dancing With the Stars! Tonight it was Latin Night. The whole episode had a great party feel to it. I felt like I should have been conga’ing back after every commercial! In fact, I felt like that more than last week’s Party Anthem Night. The guest judge tonight? Ricky Martin. Like several of the judges in the past, he brought a new life and energy to the judge’s panel. No offense to Bruno but his shtick can get somewhat old. Ricky commented on the chemistry some of the couple’s had (He told Charlie and Sharna to “stay in the same zone” because they work well together) while talking about how viewers perceived certain couples. “I’ve been watching from the very beginning…” he started off several sentence letting the viewers know he was a judge that was just like them.

At this point, it’s well past the half-way point. The pairs are all tired, pushing their bodies to the edge and tonight it showed. Danica broke her rib during practice. Amy and Charlie got hurt during the episode, a hurt back and a knee respectively. Now, I’m not going to lie and say I’ve ever done something like this because I haven’t. I can tell you this though- while the actual energy loss can’t be seen on their face, you can almost tell by the way their bodies are moving that some of them definitely feel of the dance moves from the previous weeks.

Now, onto the dances! Seeing the dancer’s personal packages, you can tell how much some of them train for the show. Charlie & Sharna got 9’s across the board last week and now he wanted to get 10’s. He went out to get help from Meryl, who gets them. A lot. He put in extra time at the studio. He wanted to increase his score. Well, that idea went down the toilet as soon as the judges started talking. Len said he wouldn’t give them a ten because it “wasn’t special.” Carrie Ann said he “needed better finishing” after his moves. I felt so bad. All the guy wanted were some tens. Is that too much to ask? Only Ricky Martin was able to give it to him. He got a 36 out of 40. As for Candace & Mark, you saw some of her own personal insecurities come up. Out of their busy schedule, Mark and Candace go to a psychologist to try to figure out what’s up. I felt bad because there was Candace who was just trying to make sure everyone else was okay but failing to do it herself. This dance though, she made it work! All of the judges commented on it and Bruno even added, “Great legs!” She ended up pulling off a 35.

With the individual dances, the rest of the pairings scored as you would think they would. Amy & Derek danced the rumba with a score of 36. It was nice because even though she was missing her boyfriend because of the long hours of rehearsal, she actually looked happy dancing. With Danica & Maks, I’m not saying I’m rooting for them, but I have to admit that they’re always pushing forward. She had a broken rib tonight but still got onto the dance floor for a salsa. After being critiqued by the judge’s for lack of hip movement although could you blame her, she ended up with 33. Nene & Tony did the tango to a lovely score of 31. Carrie Ann did comment on “how far [she’s] come” from the beginning of the season. James & Peeta danced the samba to a score of 35. In their package, they dodged the question of whether they were dating or not. James did reply that he tries to keep it platonic on the dance floor but after seeing the outfit on Peeta, what little there was of it, I was shocked he was able to! Finally, Meryl & Maks had the salsa. This season shows what a great friendship the two of them have and how much they trust each other.  They got a 39 out of 40.

Tonight was the very first team dance of the season. The pairs split into two groups and danced to a Latin party song which was amazing! I was singing along in my seat. Team Vida had Charlie, James and Nene on it. While the dance did have a lot of high energy (Bruno commented that it was like an extra large tequila!) even I noticed that James and Charlie were out of sync and I know that if I see it then the judges see it too. Team Vida got a score of 35. Ricky did ask them to come on tour with him though so that was a plus. Team Loca had Candace, Meryl, Danica, and Amy on it. I found their dance curious because after her individual dance but before the team dance, Amy’s back started hurting so DWtS wouldn’t let her go through with the team dance. That’s fine. I wouldn’t want anyone to go on if they could be hurt. What DWtS did use in this case was the dress rehearsal footage taped previously. Now this footage isn’t live. There’s no pressure to the pairs because they think they’re going to have to do it again later. So we’re now comparing Team Vida’s live performance to Team Loca’s pre-taped performance? Granted, I’m not sure what I would’ve done. I can’t say they should’ve had a dance in case this happens because by the time Amy actually had the injury, it was too late to practice. Also, it could’ve been anyone who got hurt. Len did make of point of saying when he was watching the dress rehearsal footage how there was no pressure for them. Regardless, they got a 39 out of 40.

In the end, Nene and Tony were sent away from the dance floor tonight. Again, by this point in the competition, the viewers have gotten to know the contestant’s well enough that their personalities shine through. I thought it was very characteristic of Nene when, in her final remarks about her experience on the show, she was so proud of everyone and she’s “proud of Nene Leakes!” She should be. It takes a lot of balls to get up every day, practice for hours and hours, and then perform for the whole country. All of the contestants should be proud of themselves.

Well, that’s all for this episode. Next week, our guest judge is Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms. I thought Tom Bergeron was kidding when he said it the first time too.

P.S. I’m used to people “boo’ing” the judges when they make negative comments about the dances. That’s fine. What was weird was that Carrie Ann had one man intentionally singling her bad comments out. She even made a joke about it later in the episode asking, “Where’s my boo guy?” It just shows that the judges have a good sense of humor about the show too.

[Photo via ABC]

Paul Tassi is the Managing Editor of TVovermind and also manages the website Unrealitymag.com. He's contributed to major publications such as Forbes as well as BC Media Group properties.
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