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What a lovely day! Blue skies, palm trees waving in the breeze, brilliant sun – San Diego!
9am this morning bodies already stretched out beside the pools, canon-balls into the hot-tub, outdoor terrace breakfast buffet filled with east-coast U.S.’ers still on home-time.
Thursday night dance AUGHGH! Not just Facebook-awesome – actual real awesome! The huge ballroom PACKED last night, all night till daybreak. Everyone says no contest – this was THE best Thursday Night ever – maybe the best late-nite dance in the history of human civilization. Craaaazy wonderful energy.
Everyone came in early this year – Wednesday, Tuesday even! – so the place is shaking with excitement and we haven’t even started yet. Spotted so far: crazy Aussies, bouncing Brazilians, proper French, pale English, US’ers from every state including some we’ve never heard of.
This is our favorite comp.
Someone called me last week – an event director – and I said yeah swingdiego best by a long shot why she asked what’s different?
And I launched into a no-punctuation rhapsody before realizing oops brain to mouth Houston we have a problem you’re talking to an event director! Hello! Did you ever think maybe you’re insulting the daylights out of her? Yeah but on second thought maybe she finds it useful? So maybe keep running your mouth? Oh nevmind your mouth has been running all this time anyway.
And this is what I heard myself saying which I agree with:
“The floors are great, the deejays are great, the judging panel is great carefully picked judging taken seriously here, weather is gorgeous, lying by the pool is great, schedule is great, every top pro and am dancer in the world is here, pro staff carefully picked and cared for, special needs of Allstars cared for, newbies welcomed and cared for, feels like quality, like a class act. Every detail. Everybody’s walking around dazed and happy.”
At the present moment we are dazed and happy either watching Pro-Ams or sunbathing by the pool. Tonite: the mega-uber Open Strictly and then the Champion Strictly! These are quite something. EVERYONE in the world out there on the floor. It’s a photographer videographer poet and artist’s dream scene. Surreal.
You can watch all weekend for free – ustream live-feed at:
Or pay $10 for four-hour segments on the ustream pay-per-view channel, here:
Both have chat features where you can talk with everyone else watching from around the world and let Bruce (that’s Bruce Gleason of thumbsup video, here filming the event) know when there are problems with the feed.
Great night so far: Masters JJ prelims and finals, Open strictly, and Champion/Allstar strictly. Before I run back down to the ballroom to dance until breakfast here are awards so far (minus pro-am strictlys which I didn’t catch, and Masters JJ which will be announced tomorrow):
Open Strictly (Advanced and below):
1st Place Kris Swearingen and Emmeline
2nd Kevin Kane and Shantal
3rd Cliff and Kara
4th Jesse Vos and Maddy
5th Reggie and Marina
1st Place Kyle and Jessica
2nd Kielbasa and Rutz
3rd Ben and Sarah
4th Maxence and Tatiana
5th Jordan and Virginie
Final comment: The Denver contingent is here and wow, Denver does a bad-ass Wobble.
Final-final comment: Bra mishap during Open Strictly resulting in bra sliding upwards off the intended body part. Horizontal double-boob becoming two happy free boobs with a bra riding above, right in front of our eyes. Very funny – thank you from those of us watching. You know who you are. I’ve heard so many funny bra stories through the years – one day we’ll have to tell some here.
First on the agenda for tomorrow morning: Qualifier for Classic at 11am. This is new this year, very cool. More on this tomorrow.
Now, down to dance!
From now on you get to say “We made Finals in Classic at SwingDiego.” If you make finals, that is. Which is what the Qualifier is – a Prelim for the routine divisions, SwingDiego’s newest innovation to manage the large numbers of entries in Classic and Showcase at this event. Bragging rights, and looks better on a resume than “we placed 12th.” If last year you placed top five you’re not required to do the Qualifier (although you can, if you want the opportunity to put the routine on the floor in front of cameras and a live audience.) The top 16 couples continue on to dance in Finals tonight.
Also new this year: Earl and Parker’s elegant Saturday night Cocktail Party now occupies not one but *two* suites and balconies overlooking the pools and palm trees. Not to be missed – an elegant pre-party Southern California style.
Oh by the way – Thursday night didn’t just feel huge it actually was huge – 1,058 dancers on Thursday – that’s got to be a record for a Thursday-night Kickoff dance. Which was still rocking at 9am the next morning.
85 couples in Open Strictly Prelims yesterday afternoon. Three heats. Judges: Michael Norris, Deborah Szekely, Jessica, Melina, Kellese, Sharlot, and Chief Judge for the weekend: Sharlot’s Fiance.
Heat 1: “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” “Someone Like You,” and “Me You and The Music.”
Heat 2: “All Around The World (Lou Rawls version)” “More Than Words,” and “Dance Again”
Heat 3: “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” “Stitch by Stitch” and ‘Dip Out of the Club”
Semi-Finals 40 couples in two heats.
Heat 1: “Move Across The River,” and “Man In The Mirror”
Heat 2: “Spankin’ Leroy” and “Mr. Know-It-All”
1. Clint and Kara, “Moves Like Jagger” (great song to start off with – audience roared at that first whistle) WOW Kara! Girlfriend is throwing it all on the floor! What a great dance!
2. April Sakaluk and Edson Modesta (Brasil!), “I’m A Single Man”
3. Diego and Jessica (Brasil and Brasil!) “California Gurls”
4. JB and Sabrina “Give Me Everything”
5. Jesse and Maddy “DJ Got Us Falling In Love”
6. Reggie and Marina “Please Don’t Go”
7. Kris and Emmeline oops
8. Stefan and Anyssa “OMG”
9. Kevin and Shanti “Blow”
10. Ryan and Taylor “Strobe Lights”
11. Katia and Grigoriy “Dynamite” (Michael: “Is there a tongue doctor in the house? I need one” – WOW did he bungle their names. Michael gets the prize for the funniest mangling of names. I’d like a video of clips of Michael mispronouncing one name after another over the years. Priceless)
And the All-Skate to Sweet Home Chicago.
Damon, Lisa, Brent, Kellese, Cher, Michael Kielbasa, Chief Judge MarkTheMarine, and Bill Cameron as “Referee” (looking for violations, lifts, drops … )
1. Ben and Cameo
2. Clint and MacKenzie
3. Gerald and Robin (Calgary)
4. Sean and Courtney
5. Eddie and Helen
6. Reginald and Lara
7. Jake and Kara
8. Robert Royston and Deborah Szekely
… and the new routines (for us, anyway):
9. Abi Leggett and Stefan Schneider (US & Quebec) – “Glow” by Jack Zerby
10. Edson and Cyntia (Brasil) – “Smooth Criminial” by Michael Jackson
11. Kirill and Irina (Moscow) – “Till The Ocean Takes Us All” by The Car Empire
12. Kris and Rebecca – “Gold” by Kaile Goh
13. Maxence and Virginie (France) – “This Is How It Goes” by Missy Higgins
14. Dave Ward and Maria Ford (Canada) – “I’m Tore Down” by Clapton
15. Scott and Melina (Australia) – “Nothing’s Real But Love” by Rebecca Ferguson (may be the same routine they danced at the Open but if so it sure looked different to me)
16. Peter Fradley and Michelle Fletcher (London) – “Me Without You” by Loick Essien
Nine of these couples will not go on to Finals tonight.
So we’re glad we got up at the crack of dawn to watch or we would have missed all the great new stuff.
Not happy about the crack-of-dawn thing, however. I wolfed down the breakfast buffet and had to charge back up to the room leaving behind Genieboy hoisting Annie Hirsch by her right butt cheek – he insists he had to do this in order to make sure she didn’t fall but everyone watching nearly choked on their breakfast laughing at this – hoisting her teeny little self high up into the air to perch her on the seat of a unicycle which happened to be passing by on the terrace. Driven by a young guy with half of his hair magenta.
But we now have only an hour before Jack and Jills which begin with Champions so rushing rushing …
GORGEOUS weather today, like yesterday and the day before and the day before that.
In ballroom, typing with thumbs, Earl just announced Classic finalists:
Jordan and Tatiana,
Kyle and Sarah,
Robert and Deborah,
Jake and Kara,
Ben and Cameo,
Maxence and Virginie,
Sean and Courtney,
Kris and Rebecca,
Brennar and Torri,
Scott and Mel,
Ben and Rutz,
Brandi and Ronnie
Royston on the mic:
“We have a lot to do this morning. We have 785 girls in Novice … oh wait, there was a scratch? Okay make that 784 girls. Actually, everybody here in the ballroom is in Novice, right?”
“This next person is just from “France.” No city listed because they live all over the place in France.”
Skipping around the floor arm-in-arm with the first girl in the line – to complete silence since the DJ hadn’t cued the music up yet: “What a great song! This is my favorite song all weekend!”
Saturday’s Jack and Jill divisions were humongous. Competitors from all over the world! SwingDiego is the most International of all US events and the level of dance highest on the circuit. Novice division is so good it looks like Advanced circa 2003. This weekend we had Brazil (several tables full! So much laughing! What a lust for life!), France, Australia, Moscow, Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Singapore, Switzerland, Minnesota, Budapest, London, Japan, South Korea, and Rabat, Morocco!
And people on every continent watching live on u-stream (8,000 hits during Jack and Jills!) sending Royston text messages (often unrepeatable) to give him a hard time while he’s trying to emcee.
Louie playing show tunes during every interlude.
Judges: Martin, Damon, Lisa, Deborah, Phil Adams, Cher, Michael Norris, Bill Cameron, Michael Kielbasa, Melina, Mary Ann, Jessica, Brent, Kellese, Sharlot, and Chief Judge MarkTheMarine. (Louie played “Born In The USA” to announce the judges.)
Four heats of 40 couples in Novice Prelims. Prelims went to Semi’s (a little less huge) later that afternoon. Finals were on Sunday. Spotlight! Exciting to be alone in the middle of that huge floor, in front of the lights, cameras, and audience! Especially for new dancers!
Novice Winners: **
1 Richie Selby & Olga Usmanova
2 Justin Zadro & Kelly Reis
3 Cristiano Fialho & Nicole Dauvali
4 Joseph Gleason & Ahlam Bouabdallah
5 Daniel Silvedra & Laura Klipp
6 Matt Richey & Amber Heddleson
7 Alexis Frenot & Ann Wood
8 Jean-Philippe Rocchi & Phallon Tillis
9 Andre Silva & Elina Bodnya
10 Alfredo Melendez & Sophie Piranda
11 William Brown & Magalie Vergne
12 Rick Manderscheid & Luba Mikhailova
Intermediate Prelims three heats of 40 couples, went to semis, then Finals on Sunday. **
1 Roger Ferriera Batista & Terra Deva
2 Tze Yi Wee & Liza Hillman
3 Josh Williamson & Shantala Davis
4 Brandon Manning & Marina Nemkovskaya
5 Edson Modesto & Samia Amrani
6 David Guido & Marina Motronenko
7 TJ Bednash & Irina Puzanova
8 Grigory LeBedev & Alissia Bishop
9 Peter Elliott & Monica Garcia
10 James Cook & Jessica Greer
Advanced/Allstar (these divisions are combined at SwingDiego) Finalists:
1. Anyssa and Cliff to “Shaking My Head” … and wow! Anyssa! She is adorable!
2. Emmeline and Ben Clemons to “Domino” … and omg Emmeline! She is adorable!
3. Diego and Virginie to ooops forgot to write down the song because omgawd Virginie is way too adorable!
4. Estelle and Haider to “I’m Day Dreaming” and Estelle! She is so adorable!
5. JB and Sabrina to “You Make Me Feel So” Sabrina with that wild platinum hair she is adorable!
6. Kris and Chevy to “Turn Me On” and Chevy is way too adorable!
7. Stephen and Sam to “Who’s That Girl” and come on! Samantha? She is adorable!
8. Yuna and Carson to “Little Bad Girl” … Yunaaaaaa! She is so adorable!
9. Huge and Taylor to “Hit The Lights.” What can I say. Taylor is adorable.
10. Rome and Jessica to “Hangover.” Jessss-iiiiii-caaaaa omg! Adorrrrrrable!
Too bad wcs girls are so terribly unattractive.
And the placements were: **
1 Kristopher Swearingen & Chevy Slater
2 Diego Borges & Virginie Grondin
3 JB Brodie & Sabrina Paxmann
4 Stephen White & Samantha Fernandez
5 Ben Clemons & Emeline Rochefeuille
6 Clint Glasgow & Anyssa Olivares
7 Haider Khan & Estelle Bonnaire
8 Hugo Miguez & Taylor Harrell
9 Carson Brand & Yuna Davtyan
10 Rome Slater & Jessica Pachico
Masters Prelims two heats of 13 couples each. Masters was the only division where finals were Friday night. Spotlight.
1. Mike Glasgow and Julie to “She’s a Bad Mama Jama” by Carl Carlton
2. Peggy Allen and Wayne Brodd to “To Be Real” by Chaka Khan
3. Patrick and Jill to “Best of My Love”
4. Genieboy and Kelly Wentling to “Word Up”
5. Joe and Beverly to “Boogie Shoes”
6. Warren and Janet to “Rock With You”
7. Mike Heath and Patty to oops didn’t get it
8. Mike Gadberry and Pam to “Just Got Paid”
9. Chips and Laurie to “Dance Machine”
10. Gary and Sarah to “Lady Marmelade”
… and the placements were:
1 Joe Sparacio & Beverly Solazzo
2 Warren Pino & Janice Salmon
3 Mike Glasgow & Julie Epplett
4 Michael Heath & Patty Ingram
5 Chips Hough & Laurie Shafer
6 Mike Gadberry & Pamela Giles
7 Gary Thompson & Sarah Grusmark
8 Patrick Plagens & Jill Aversa
9 Wayne Brodd & Peggy Allen
10 Genieboy Collins & Kelly Wentling
** Couldn’t write fast enough to catch the names of prelim and semi contestants – sorry about that – I know many of you reading this would like to know who competed in prelims, who made semis, how your friends did – my suggestion at this point is to watch the ustream videos if you are able to get online …
Saturday Night! Showcase!
1. Myles and Tessa, “Rolling In The Deep” (I wrote about this routine at the Open: http://wp.me/p1qHTC-75). Entire ballroom jumped to their feet in a Standing Ovation.
2. Eddie and Elyse, “The Light”
3. Rebecca and Ben Hooten, “Little Bad Girl” (Description here: http://wp.me/p1qHTC-7c)
4. Cody and Tracy, “Dirty Bit”
5. The Roystons, “Edge of Glory”
6. The Toepels, “Animal”
7. Ronnie and Laureen, “Without You” so gorgeously clean, smooth, dramatic – they make sailing through the air look easier than standing still. Standing Ovation.
8. Scott Mehlberg and Marina Motronenko, “Higher”
9. Benji and Torri, HUGE HUMONGOUS Standing Ovation which just wouldn’t end. What a routine! With a new surprise! ( http://wp.me/p1qHTC-7c)
10. Luis and Jen, “Miracle”
11. Stephen and Sabrina “Somewhere With You” – great new routine, Sabrina in a white fur top! white chiffon half-skirt over white pants, blood-red lips. The two of them with their brilliant platinum hair – they’re a striking couple.
12. Greg and Lemery, “No Diggity” (http://wp.me/p1qHTC-7W)
… and the placements:
1 Benji Schwimmer & Torri Smith
2 Myles Munroe & Tessa Cunningham
3 Ronnie DeBenedetta & Laureen Baldovi-Mason
4 Gregory Scott & Lemery Rollins
5 Ben Hooten & Rebecca Ludwick
6 Robert Royston & Nicola Royston
7 Stephen White & Sabrina Paxmann
8 Eddie Valdez & Elise Valdez
9 Cody Melin & Tracey Melin
10 Luis Crespo & Jennifer Pasetes
11 Patrick Toepel & Lisa Toepel
12 Scott Mehlberg & Marina Motronenko
Saturday Night! Classic Finals!
Judges (for Classic as well as Showcase): Cher, Bill Cameron, Kellese, Sharlot, Damon, Brent, Jessica, Phil, Martin, and Mark as Chief Judge.
1. Jordan and Tatiana, “More” No matter how many times we watch them dance we are surprised again each time. Everything we love in other couples Jordan and Tatiana do but seem to do better, or bigger, or smaller, or where it gives contrast. Power, drama, wit, lines, shapes, speed. And it appears effortless. (Description here: http://wp.me/p1qHTC-8g)
2. Kyle and Sarah, “Seven Nation Army” and “We’re In Miami” New routine! First half to a GREAT bluesy version of this song is so smooth, clean,with enough swing content to please an entire playground “swing-set.” Second song starts and with it the jokes. So hard to do funny in a routine and even harder in west-coast than in other dances (like bouncy Lindy, for instance, which looks comedic even when it’s trying to be serious) but Kyle and Sarah pull it off. Kyle limps to limping lyrics, stands behind Sarah and turns himself using the sides of her head. They land facing each other on “What’s that now?” and stand there in silence, looking at us, making us wait for the punchline … on “I’m going in” Kyle reaches through her legs, grabs her hand and spins her around. Perfect timing, told like a good joke. They’re so smooth they make this very fast song look slow. Great routine.
3. Robert and Deborah, “Man In The Mirror”
4. Jake and Kara, “Do I Move You” (http://wp.me/p1qHTC-8d)
4. Ben and Cameo, “Fort Knox”
5. Maxence and Virginie, “This is How It Goes” Sexy sexy sexaaay. Feels very French: Complex, rich, dense choreography; austere and elegant; so understated an American might call it chilly – the opposite of broad Disney spectacle. Like they dance in black-and-white instead of color. Love how they load every movement by moving the opposite way first. Love their quick feet. Love their beauty.
6. Sean and Courtney, “Feelin’ So”
7. Kris and Rebecca, “Gold”
8. Brennar and Torri, “Sadly Beautiful” (description from Capital earlier this year: http://wp.me/p1qHTC-8g)
9. Melina and Scott, “Nothing’s Real But Love” yes, I wasn’t hallucinating, different routine than at the Open. Same marvelous coral and turquoise costumes (the two trending colors this spring – how did she know that in November?) but different song, different choreography entirely. These two look so happy together it’s just fun watching them. Love Melina’s force – how she punches a movement, finishes completely. Scott lifts her off the floor by a foot and a shoulder – that’s cool.
10. Ben and Melissa, “You and I” (http://wp.me/p1qHTC-8g)
11. Ronnie and Brandi, “It’s Not Impossible” (http://wp.me/p1qHTC-8g)
… and the placements:
1 Jordan Frisbee & Tatiana Mollmann
2 Kyle Redd & Sarah Vann Drake
3 Brennar Goree & Torri Smith
4 Ben Morris & Melissa Rutz
5 Ronnie DeBenedetta & Brandi Tobias
6 Sean Mckeever & Courtney Adair
7 Robert Royston & Deborah Szekely
8 Scott Stuart & Melina Ramirez-Stuart
9 Maxence Martin & Virginie Grondin
10 Jake Haning & Kara Frenzel
11 Ben McHenry & Cameo Cross
12 Kristopher Swearingen & Rebecca Ludwick
San Diego weather is GEEE-ORGY-USSSS so lotsa people came in early for the beaches, multiple pools and hot-tubs on the grounds nestled in amongst lavish rose bushes and perennials, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park (our friends saw a hilarious play there Thursday evening and say the female lead is me and Shoshi Kushnir combined (not sure Shoshi thinks that’s a compliment,) Lego Land, golf (the 27-hole championship Riverwalk Golf Club is on the grounds,) or wine tours. Friday morning we bumped into Alexis Pero and her mom (Alexis brought her mother AND her aunt in from Chicago to celebrate Mothers Day at SwingDiego! Isn’t that great?) – we instantly fell in love with Alexis’ enthusiastic mom with her great big laugh. She said what fun they had on the wine tour. “Did you get drunk?” we asked. “Oh no of course not. But we did get a little WET! HAHAHAHA.”
We like the hotel cause, well … Okay maybe we just like the weather. The hotel is okaaay. Sort of. The staff is okay sometimes. The place is understaffed so you don’t always get a response, or a polite response, or anything but a busy signal at the front desk. Security is a little on the psychotic side but that’s maybe understandable – two years ago they told us there’d been a series of incidents close enough to the resort (which backs up to a big mall – oooh we lerv this mall! – clothes, makeup, food) close enough to worry them so they’re trying to be careful to protect hotel guests. The hotel grounds are beautiful. We love our room with its two sinks (I get both – GB gets a 2″ strip of counter along the wall,) its Creepy-Staring-Girl (GB walked into the room and immediately hung a towel over her face,), tons of mirrors, and private balcony overlooking the pool. But we’ve always stayed in the Palm Tower and have heard the Regency Tower is not only a bit of a walk from the ballroom but the rooms are smallish, dingy-ish and motel-ish. There are also “bungalows” (we’d call them “garden apartments”) which we’ve been told are beautiful. These can be a walk from the ballroom but hey, you’re strolling down fragrant paths adorned with flowers big as elephants, in San Diego sunshine, so really what’s not to like about a little walk? Our friends say these bungalows are awesome if you don’t like people because you don’t have to see any all weekend.
I’ve written about the breakfast buffet before – it’s pretty bad. Okay it’s really bad. Overpriced and under-fooded. You get to eat outside on the terrace, though, which is beautiful. And of course you don’t have to do the buffet – you can order from the menu if you prefer, and the food is fine. There’s also a sit-down restaurant behind the main pool – fancy, but more expensive. We went Saturday night and they had a live lounge band and couples dancing on a small marble floor! Old couples. Really old. So old I’m not sure they were still alive. There’s also a smaller sports-bar-kind-of-place for burgers, also a steak-house famous in the area. And the mall I mentioned – “Fashion Mall” – has a food court and other restaurants. So there are plenty of options besides the breakfast buffet. And if you’re hungry during the competitions Parker and Earl provide a hot food bar right there in the ballroom so if you’re about to pass out from hunger you can crawl back there and revive yourself with a plateful of hot Chinese food. There’s a Whole Foods two miles away to which the hotel provides a free shuttle. So lots of food options.
Speaking of food, Patrick Dickerson has a brilliant system which he told me about at Capital (when I was complaining about the lack of food options there) and I’ve been meaning to mention it since. It is genius. Here’s what he does: He gets to the event, checks in, throws his luggage into his room, goes to the nearest Target and buys a $20 rice-maker and a Styrofoam ice chest. Then he goes to Whole Foods (cause he’s a health nut but you could go to any grocery store) and buys some chicken breasts, pieces of salmon, bag of rice, some fresh vegetables, maybe some oatmeal. Takes it back to the room, stores it all in the ice chest packed in ice from the hotel ice-machine. For dinner he throws some rice, a chicken breast and a vegetable in the rice-maker, gets in the shower and when he gets out his dinner is all done, machine turns itself off automatically when done. For breakfasts he has oatmeal and some fruit. He keeps the receipt for the rice-maker and when he checks out of the room leaves the machine with the receipt inside for housekeeping to either take home or return to Target for a refund. Healthy eating all weekend, clean, convenient, and inexpensive! I love it! By the way, Patrick has recently lost about 582 pounds – such an accomplishment! Almost nothing harder than losing weight. As we all know too well. Congratulations to Patrick!
Live music Friday (Danny Maika) and Sunday (Leify Greene) both nights at 2am … cool idea as long as it’s kept short, danceable, and is actual music as opposed to talking about your next gig, your evolution as a musician and your pet’s mother’s favorite maiden name.
Awesome lighting all weekend! The backdrop at SwingDiego can’t be beat – a work of art in itself in addition to providing a classy, elegant, moody, atmosphere for the room and a gorgeous background for videos and photography. Fiery red with silhouettes of dancers as if they’re dancing against the horizon in front of a setting sun. All the lighting all weekend was terrific. And wait till you hear about lighting for the Champion Jack and Jill final! OMG SUCH a cool idea AUGHGHGHGH!!!
Champion Strictly Final – the last comp on Friday night. Leaders picked a genre out of the basket.
1. Maxence and Tatiana picked “sweet soul” so their song was “Sittin’ On The Dock of The Bay”
2. Ben and Sarah (genre: “fresh off the charts”) danced to “Me You and The Music” – Ben as a very funny frantic robot
3. Sean and Torri (“formerly known as contemporary”) – “Pump It Up”
4. Jordan and Virginie (genre: “sin city hip hop”) – “What’s My Name”
5. Brennar and Alyssa (genre: “balls-to-the-wall blues”) – “Drinkin’ Wine Spody Ody”
6. Kyle and Jessica (genre: “slap yo mamma blues”) – “The Sky Is Crying” (so sexy every person in the ballroom had a cigarette afterwards)
7. Deborah and Scott (genre: “old skool with a k”) – “Shake Your Groove Thing”
8. Kielbasa and Rutz (genre: “rock it out”) – “Another One Bites The Dust”
9. Robert Royston and Brandi (genre: “slow groovin”) – “I’m Calling You” absolutely gorgeous dancing, mesmerizing, perfect
10. Brent and Kellese (genre: “moon walking”) – “Pretty Young Thing”
11. Sharlot and Michael Norris (genre: “country”) to “Honky Tonk Women” (The Rolling Stones a country band! Who knew!) Michael led a whip-tunnel and cowboy side-kicks complete with whoops and hollers. Spurs and boots were the only things missing from this dance. Felt almost like a waste of two formidable talents but funny and fun to watch nonetheless.
12. Pete and Courtney (genre: “classic swing”) – “Fly Me To The Moon”
And the final All-Skate to Pitbull’s “Back In Time” (genre: “Children’s Rhyming Songs.”) No just kidding.
I learned a lot during this division! I had no idea “hip-hop” means R&B, “blues” means beach music, and “classic swing” means Frank Sinatra. Cute idea though, and a great show. These people could do west-coast to a Johann Strauss Viennese waltz in “genre: rap music” and they’d be fantastic.
And the placements were:
1 Kyle Redd & Jessica Cox
2 Michael Kielbasa & Melissa Rutz
3 Ben Morris & Sarah Vann Drake
4 Maxence Martin & Tatiana Mollmann
5 Jordan Frisbee & Virginie Gronbin
6 Brennar Goree & Alyssa Glanville
7 Robert Royston & Brandi Tobias
8 Sean Mckeever & Torri Smith
9 Brent Key & Kellese Key
10 Scott Stuart & Deborah Székely
11 Michael Norris & Sharlot Bott
12 Pete Green & Courtney Adair
There were 27 couples earlier in the night in the Champion Strictly prelim – you can imagine what a show that was!
Oh and I forgot to mention: Open Strictly: 83 couples! Advanced/Allstar JJ Prelim: 69 followers, 62 leaders!
Total weekend registrations: 1,580 (or 1,581 depending on whether you talk to Parker or Earl.)