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Shannon Elizabeth Report: Week 4
After being told it didn't look like she was quite in control of her legs the first week, Shannon Elizabeth continues to improve her dancing and her scores to stick around for yet another week on Dancing with the Stars.
In fact, the Viennese waltz was her best dance yet, earning her the first 10 from Len Goodman of this Dancing with the Stars season.
In contrast to the slow waltz that most North Americans are familiar with, the Viennese waltz is faster paced and involves constant turning either in a clockwise (natural) or anti-clockwise (reverse) direction interspersed with non-rotating change steps to switch the direction of rotation.
Despite the faster pace, though, the dancers must still make it look like an easy, gliding dance, and Shannon Elizabeth achieved that nearly perfectly on Monday night.
In fact, Goodman said, "I think that, for me, this was the best dance I've seen tonight," with only one dancer of the nine left to go for Monday's performances.
It could very well have been a disaster of a week for the actress turned poker player as her partner suffered a serious injury last week. During a practice run before the results show last week, her partner injured his neck and could hardly practice at all leading up to Monday night.
Instead, he had to choreograph the dance and have Elizabeth practice with another partner. He was fit enough to perform on Monday, however, and their lack of practice together didn't show at all.
When all was said and done, she earned her best score so far with two nines and a 10 for a total of 28. That also put her just one point behind the two dancers tied for the lead this week at 29 points each - Kristi Yamaguchi and Jason Taylor.
It was enough to keep Elizabeth safe from elimination on Tuesday night, but Adam Corolla wasn't quite as lucky.
Here's how Carolla and the other celebrity dancers fared after a round of paso dobles and Viennese waltzes Monday:
After getting his best score ever for the tango last week, Carolla's scores dipped once again after an entertaining but not-so-well-danced paso doble. Len Goodman commented that Carolla is a lovable character whom you really want to do well, but he just doesn't have much natural dancing talent. Talent on a unicycle, on the other hand, he has plenty of. He started his dance on the unicycle and it was the smoothest part of his dance, while the rest ended up looking a little awkward. However, he makes noticeable improvements each week; it's just not enough to bring him up to the level of the rest of the pack.
Presley's scores took a tumble this week as well, mostly because she had a lift in her dance routine, which is one of Carrie Ann Inaba's pet peeves. The judges had to dock her a point for the lift even though she performed a very sensual and dramatic Viennese waltz. Her best asset, in addition to her natural ability, is her skill at portraying a character through her routine, which helps create a story for the audience.
The constant turning of the Viennese waltz made Matlin dizzy during rehearsals, but it didn't show on the dance floor. Her performance wasn't as smooth and effortless as past performances, but she took Inaba's breath away, and Goodman thought it was "very, very" good. While Matlin seemed to blow away the judges in the first couple weeks, she's now in danger of sagging to the bottom of the pack, even though her scores did improve a bit this week. Worse yet, she's at risk of losing the attention of the voting audience if she doesn't do something to stand out more.
The paso doble helped Mario show off a more macho and serious side. One of the best things about his past performances has been that he always looks like he's having fun. It wasn't as noticeable in the paso doble, where he had to maintain the intensity of the dance and not just the steps. Bruno Tonioli told him, "You were strong, powerful; I liked it very, very much." However, he got mixed reactions and scores from all three judges.
Marissa Jaret Winoker
Winoker finally got the approval of the judges, who've expected much better from the Broadway actress in her initial weeks. This time she contained her bubbliness (and perhaps her desperation to stay in the competition) and showed off the intensity of the paso doble instead. She was also given some difficult choreography to work with and pulled it off to finally gain good reviews from all three judges.
Cristian de la Fuente
De la Fuente continued to rise in the ranks of the celebrity dancers this week with a classic performance of the paso doble. Where other dancers have set the dance to more contemporary music, de la Fuente's partner chose classic music to highlight what was a very natural dance for the Chilean. Goodman thought the music might have been too powerful, but all the judges gave him credit for a very passionate, dramatic and convincing dance.
Yamaguchi was the first to take to the dance floor Monday, and her paso doble didn't disappoint as it had plenty of dramatics, plus her usual technical perfection. She had a couple of small flubs, but she definitely had more emotion this time around. Tonioli's response to the dance was "You really unleashed a harlot tonight." Meanwhile Goodman said she couldn't dance badly as far as he was concerned. It was enough to earn her the first 10s of the competition, with Goodman the only judge still leaving her with a nine.
Taylor's Viennese waltz had so much flow and depth of emotion in the performance that the judges even forgave him for an obvious stumble. "That was a wow of a waltz," Goodman commented. Tonioli put his more creative spin on that by telling Taylor, "You manage to make the Viennese waltz sexy, sensual, erotic. It was like a majestic swan intertwined into a mating ritual. I've never seen anything like it." The result was that Taylor was the second dancer awarded with some 10s on Monday, and the first to finally catch up to Yamaguchi on the score cards.
The remaining eight celebrities will be back on the dance floor Monday on Dancing with the Stars and the next elimination will take place on Tuesday. Come back Wednesday, April 16, to see if Shannon Elizabeth continues in the competition or if she'll be sent back to the poker tables.