Dancing With The Stars: All Bets Are On Opera Girl! - Here's The Rankings Rankings and Commentary by RTVC Senior Staff Writer Joseph Braverman
March 28, 2012
Katharine Jenkins and Mark Ballas Current Ranking: 1         Previous Ranking: 10
Katherine had the best first two dances in the history of DWTS, bar none. She is the perfect dancer, able to balance sophistication in the Ballroom numbers while letting her freak flag fly in the Latin numbers. Her technique is superlative, her acting is extraordinary, and I love how she doesnít even know how great she is. About the only thing I am concerned about is her fan base, but she does have a great many twitter followers. Iím not sure the majority actually live in the U.S., but if they stick by her side, along with her great technique, my favorite of DWTS can very well win this season.
William Levy and Cheryl Burke Current Ranking: 2         Previous Ranking: 8
Cheryl and Latin men seem to be a recipe for success on DWTS. William Levy doesnít seem like an exception, and I can only imagine the older women at home going online or on their phone to max out their votes for this Latin heartthrob. I thought he was impressive the first week, but he fell short this week with a Quickstep that seemed more sloppy than refined. There are moments where I feel like William is above it all, and Iíd like to see him take this competition a bit more seriously. These are just small concerns, but none that could topple his huge steam heís be amassing the past two weeks that has catapulted him to the top of the rankings. Unless the judges turn on him, except William Levy to be with us for a long, long time.
Jaleel White and Kym Johnson Current Ranking: 3         Previous Ranking: 2
Jaleel was spectacular in the premiere episode, demonstrating solid lines and impressive footwork alongside his well established showmanship. He also seems to be very humble about the process, and I appreciate him not just banking on his wild Steve Urkel persona heís renowned for. This week his dancing seemed a bit sluggish, and really lacked in energy. The choreography was not Kymís best, and the whole routine felt a bit lackadaisical for my tastes. I wanted a bit more oomph and charge, and instead I got a meat and potatoes performance. Jaleel needs to ramp up his energy and technique if he wants a shot at the mirror ball trophy. However, he still has a very good shot at going to the end with a solid fan base and strong scores to match.
Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower Current Ranking: 4         Previous Ranking: 5
Aside from Sabrina Bryan, Disney kids always tend to go the distance. Roshon dances like a ringer, but I just wish he would understand his routines a bit more. Iím never sold on his character portrayal, and his bright smiles donít necessarily need to be the only facial expressions to sell a number. Sometimes dynamics works just as well, if not more so. His Quickstep was clean and sharp, but Chelsieís choreography didnít take as many risks as it could have with Roshonís talent. I felt like he was pandering to Len, and while that is very smart, it also may have made the performance a wee bit forgettable. Still, Roshon and Chelsie are likeable, albeit slightly cloying in a cutesy kind of way, and are destined to be on DWTS this season for a long time.
Sherri Shepard and Val Chmierkovsky Current Ranking: 5         Previous Ranking: 6
I love Sherriís energy, and thank god her dancing is just as lively because otherwise it could have been such a tragic mismatch. Sherri was over-scored this week, even as a fan Iíll admit to it, but she certainly was high on the entertainment value scale. Sherri needs to polish a bit of her moves, and I caution her not to fall into the gimmicky category. I hope Val doesnít approach there choreography in that manner, because Sherriís dancing skills are far better than distracting gimmickry. I do feel like Sherri will go further than most people would have anticipated, and I donít begrudge her for it, because sheís doing such a fantastic job.
Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd Current Ranking: 6         Previous Ranking: 9
Iím not sure Donald has enough fan or judge support to crack the top five, but heís definitely getting there. In fact, his Quickstep this week was my second favorite of the night after Katherineís Jive. I loved their choreography, how polished and sophisticated each finishing line was handled, and how he just played it straight and simple. Last week he may have gone too over the top with the hip-gyrations, and it was good to see that Donald cares about doing well in the competition. He needs to work on his connectivity with the audience, because he could be forgettable if he doesnít consistently shine, but heís making headway. Donald is certainly out of the cannon fodder region.
Maria Menounos and Derek Hough Current Ranking: 7         Previous Ranking: 1
Maria isnít a bad dancer at all. If this were any other season, she would have easily cracked the top four. Unfortunately for Maria and her distinct love-it-or-hate-it laugh, this is the most competitive season yet with performers who simply are better technicians than her. Derek worked his magic on Maria by making her good this week, and the hold was so precise and close that I wonder whether it was Mariaís own natural doing or Derekís magical tricks at work. Regardless, Maria wasnít as much a disappointment this week as I found her to be in the premiere episode. She has regained her confidence, and really worked on her extensions and frame to eke out those well deserving high scores from the judges. I just worry she will go the way of Kristin Cavallari and Audrina Patridge Ė two great dancers but not so memorable. Maria has what neither Hills star had, and thatís Derek as a secret weapon of Death Star proportions.
Melissa Gilbert and Maksim Chmierkovsky Current Ranking: 8         Previous Ranking: 4
This may be the most undervalued couple of the season. Melissa has so much raw dancing potential that is marred by simple mistakes and her nerves. The shapes she makes with her body are pretty stunning, and her lines and footwork are good. Did I forget to mention that she tackles very difficult choreography from Maks this season? Some may want Maks to tone down the difficulty, but I hope Melissa pushes through and nails it because I have come to appreciate her. She is an underdog of sorts, and I want her to do well if only because the judges have given her the lowbrow treatment.
Gladys Knight and Tristan MacManus Current Ranking: 9         Previous Ranking: 7
Gladys is a living legend and a decent dancer, but this past week was boring enough to make me forget she even shared the stage with Otis Redding and James Brown like she explained during rehearsals. I love how light on her feet she is, but her attempt at a hold was uncomfortable to watch. It was more like she was gripping Tristan for dear life like an elderly walker. Was that too mean? Okay, maybe it was, but in all honesty I want Gladys to do well because I love her talent, love her as a singer, and did see some incredible potential in Week One. What she needs to do now is not be so precise that she turns into a robot. She needs to embrace her larger-than-life personality and not think about the steps, just make them come to life from the pure enjoyment of dancing in front of all her fans. This living legend could go further than we ever could have imagined, but boring performances like this weekís Quickstep will send her home faster than a midnight train to Georgia.
Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff Current Ranking: 10         Previous Ranking: 3
Gavin has this Adam Sandler vibe about him that both works and doesnít. I love the youthfulness he brings to the DWTS stage, but that bundle of energy clearly is more utilized than his dance ability, which I believe he has. He reminds me a lot of David Arquette, who also got so wrapped up in the fun factor of DWTS, that he lost his timing and technique through most of the season. Gavin is a great musician and singer, but as a dancer he needs a lot of work. This week was definitely an improvement over last weekís fairly awkward number, but I just feel like heís going to have to start taking things a bit more serious. Heís one of those guys who plays off his nervousness and lack of confidence with a joke or a laugh. America will see right through that, so Gavin, put on your game face and get cracking!
Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya Current Ranking: 11         Previous Ranking: 11
I honestly donít want Jack to go, but heís just the one contestant I canít imagine going further. I think his problem is that he tries too hard, and is too serious for his own good. I love passion more than anything, which is why I respect a perfectionist like Jack Wagner, but I can hear so many people out there thinking, ďLighten up, dude!Ē Jackís frustrations and moments where it seems like heís about to lose his temper will only alienate his fans. I loved the turnarounds and footwork during his Jive this week, but he barely kept up with the beat or the timing. He was too fast at some parts, too slow in others, and didnít really show as much confidence like he showed last week. I actually thought last week Jack was over-scored, and found his Jive a much stronger dance from a technical standpoint, but the judges seemed to disagree. I hope Jack can make it past next week, but his serious demeanor and imperfect dancing skills will most likely send him home next week on DWTS, and thatís a shame because this former Melrose Place star has the passion and determination to go far if given the chance.
Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani Finished 12th
And that is all for the week two rankings of DWTS Season 14. Tune in next week to see which celebrity jumps ahead of the pack, which one surprises, and which one tanks enough to make us shake our heads in utter embarrassment. I cannot wait. Can you?
Joseph Braverman is a 22 year old graduate with a Bachelors of Arts in Film and Digital Media from the University of Santa Cruz, California. Aside from being a Reality TV junky, he loves reading, watching films, and spending time with friends and family. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at Joseph@RealityTVCalendar.com.
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