In case you missed the thousand or so references to it so far this season on Dancing with the Stars, Aly Raisman’s arc on the show is about how she’s going from innocent young girl in a leotard to sexy young woman in skimpy dance dresses. In other words — from Aly to Alexandra.
This week, Aly’s dance was the Argentine Tango, a huge crowd favorite. It’s an easy way for even bad dancers to look good, thanks to the quick, jerky movements and the permitted lifts — in particular, it’s easier for female celebrities since they get to be the ones twirled around and lifted, instead of the guy who has to do it.
This week’s segment begins with Aly and her pro partner Mark Ballas having the world’s most awkwardly staged conversation at a restaurant that serves no food. He tells her that the dance is all about sexuality and drama: “You have to be so seductive that you steal all my money,” he says.
The actual dance itself is solid (and, yes, features several big showy lifts), but doesn’t leave me hosing down my TV the way that past ATs have done (both Evan Lysacek and Gilles Marini destroyed their respective Argentine Tangos). Still, though, the judges’ comments play right into the narrative: Carrie Ann Inaba keeps talking about Aly’s “transformation,” while head judge Len Goodman liked that the dance had “mood and atmosphere.” She ended up with 29 out of 30 points again this week, coming tantalizingly close to a perfect score for the second week in a row.
Since Aly danced last, which online commenters lovingly refer to as “getting the pimp spot,” it seemed like the show was setting her up to have a big, dramatic, memorable number.
This week’s “Let’s See What Random Difficult Extra Task We Can Assign” winner was the triple dance. The celebrities got an extra pro dancer in the mix and had to work on a group dance instead of a pair one. Aly’s trio dance was the jive, a high-kicking peppy number that usually favors younger and more limber celebrities. Mark went with a flapper theme, with Aly in a fringed dress and the guys (Mark plus troupe member Henry, who sometimes subs in for injured dancers) in red vests and spats.
One of my biggest complaints about Mark’s choreography is that he over-features himself and overshadows his partner. However, having another guy in the dance neutralized Mark’s ability to show off, and the result was fantastic. Aly could have been a bit faster and more precise, but she looked awesome in the center of the floor with two guys competing for her attention. The dance was very “All That Jazz,” and it might be the best I’ve seen her look all season.
Overall, Aly ended up with a total of 56 points out of 60, safely assuring herself through to another week. This week’s loser/eliminatee was the most recent Bachelor, Sean Lowe, who should consider himself fortunate that he held on this long despite requesting on-air for “Jesus to do me a solid.”
Next week’s dance styles were suggested on Twitter, and Mark and Aly have Afro-Jazz, which should be … um… interesting.