Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dancing with Hope - Round Five

This week, the USWNT #1 gets the tango. Unlike most Latin dance styles, this one does not get re-mastered in breakdancing. In several ways, this dance is akin to the Viennese waltz we saw in week one - only with a different "persona" to the show of it and different things going on with upper body positions. All in all, it's trickier than that waltz, which makes me wonder how well this is going to suit her. Let's find out...


Okay, it may get a little rough this week. Even so, Hope can just be glad The Distracter isn't grading here. That lil' thing does not boast a filter.

Let's start with the performance issues. Right off the top, before it even really starts... good grief, woman, throw that abandoned costumery well out of the way!! She left not one, but two obstacles on the floor. That's no good on a few different levels.

Secondly, and this is not her fault, but that song and costume business were like handicaps. Awful, wretched handicaps. Of course, when you think tango, you automatically think Bon Jovi. No? For crying out loud, producers. It's like they were trying to get her to stink it up once.

Sadly, she kinda obliged. There was something bugging me the entire way through their performance, really bugging me - but I could not put a finger on it. It took me four times watching to realize she kept slipping into the Viennese waltz positions. Then she'd catch herself and try to take a tango position, but not be able to find it. Slumping, for instance, is not a tango position. That's why the two judges were seeing the opposite problem; she was doing both errors, going back and forth between the two.

I'm also still missing that last layer of letting go to perform. It wasn't a bad bit, necessarily, but she still seems to be forcing it a little. Finally, her usually spotless footwork had a few spots this time. Nothing massive, just an extra step here or a clumsy hit there.

On the somewhat lonely plus side, she managed to hit all the big, showy moments out of the park. That wild leg toss and crazy forward dip to the floor were nailed in world class athlete manner.

This week, the judges each gave her an 8, raising her average score slightly to 22.4 per round - good enough to stand third among the remaining contestants. I am not going to be nearly as kind, though, throwing up the 5 card today. I might have been a point harsher were it not for the diabolical song assignment and, frankly, her partner did slump as well. She wasn't alone in this mess. Overall, her average grade from me is now just below 7, which means the judges are for the first time marking her higher than me for the whole competition.

And if that seems harsh, I'm expecting more as she goes. So far, it seems like we've plateaued. I'm still waiting for the breakout week. Next Monday, comes another challenge. I do not know the style for her dance, but as I understand it, there will also be some sort of group performance with all contestants. If so, that means two routines to learn - which could mean trouble.

Then again... this is Hope friggin' Solo. We've seen the "World Cup 2007 setback" dance, now let's see what follows.

- Greg Seltzer

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