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S18: Meryl Davis: Ice Princess

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She's a gold medal winning ice dancer. This is apparently in NO WAY an advantage. Her initial partner is Maksim Chmerkovskiy

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Meryl (and Charlie, for that matter) may have a distinct advantage from the waist-up -- posture, arm and head movement, and facial expression, but from the waist-down, it's a completely different ballgame from Ice Dance.  The movements generated in the dance styles on ice require almost the opposite type of movement than dancing on a floor.  Where both of them may have problems is with hip movement, especially in Latin ballroom, because they are going to have to un-learn 17 years of training and muscle memory to get the movements correct.

I think Meryl has an excellent chance of winning with Maks, provided his choreography is up to snuff.  Granted, I've rarely watched this show, so this is my first season watching from start to finish, but from what I've gathered, he has had issues with his partners (understatement of the year) with the exception of Melanie B in the first season.  It will be interesting to see what he can do with a partner who not only understands dance, but also has the stamina and knows not only the discipline of training, is competitive by nature, and also has extensive experience with Russian coaches (Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband).

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Meryl was absolutely lovely in her foxtrot with Maks last night. Fluid and graceful. If the footwork has been a challenge, you wouldn't know it. She also looked more beautiful than I have seen her; normally i find a bit of an elvish vibe to her physicality. 

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Actual Disney Princess Meryl Davis better not get kicked off until AFTER Disney Week, whenever that is happening. (Week 6?) She has to be there for that!

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When I heard Meryl and Charlie were going to be doing DWTS this season, I hoped against hope that she'd be paired up with Val.  Now, she and Maks have done far better than I could have imagined and I sincerely love them together now, but tonight's Argentine Tango was a taste of what could have been.  Utterly outstanding.

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I also thought Meryl &Val's AT was a great dance- but for me, it was cold- not warm or sexy in the least. It made me wish even harder for Meryl & Maks to be allowed to dance an AT. With their chemistry I believe it would be amazing!

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She was outstanding! I love Val's AT choreography and he continues to impress. Happy they got paired up, as that was the one pairing I was hoping for in this switch up mess.

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I also thought Meryl &Val's AT was a great dance- but for me, it was cold- not warm or sexy in the least. It made me wish even harder for Meryl & Maks to be allowed to dance an AT. With their chemistry I believe it would be amazing!

With the music they had I don't think it could have possibly been sexy.  It was powerful and aggressive.  I think that is what Val was going for.  The last thing I wanted to see was a sexually charged AT given Meryl damn near made out with his brother last week....awkward.

Edited by RemoteControl88
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I thought the AT was sexy but not intentionally sexy if that makes sense. It just came off that way IMO. For a non traditional AT music I thought it was passionate and they displayed great chemistry.

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Doing Stars on Ice and DWTS at the same time is going to be tough.  I have no doubt they will handle it fine being well trained athletes.  Their dances might suffer when we start getting to 2 dances per night though.  But even not at their best....they will probably still be better than other folks.

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The SOI tour this year is way smaller than in previous Olympic years - IIRC, Evan Lysacek had to travel to more cities than Meryl and Charlie, plus back then, wasn't DWTS a two-night-a-week dealio?

After their performance in Florida last Sunday (which, incidentally, was the SOI tour stop that was filmed by NBC for a broadcast exhibition show later on this year), Meryl and Charlie (along with, I'm assuming, Maks and Peta) flew back to L.A. on a Gulfstream, so hopefully they were able to, if not stretch out and sleep, relax far more comfortably than they would have been on a commercial airliner.

*****

thewire.com is offering up their hilarious, Meryl-Centric, Hunger Games-esque take on each week.  Definitely worth a lookie-loo: 

1.  Why Meryl Davis Will Destroy This Year's DWTS Competition: http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2014/03/why-meryl-davis-will-destroy-years-dancing-stars-competition/358790/

2.  Meryl Davis Was Underscored:  http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2014/03/dancing-with-the-stars-meryl-davis-was-underscored/359284/

3.  Candace Cameron's Christianity Comes Out Of The Closet:  http://www.thewire.com/culture/2014/03/dancing-with-the-stars-candace-camerons-christianity-comes-out-of-the-closet/359546/

4.  No Country For Old Men Or Billy Dee Williams:  http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2014/04/dancing-with-the-stars-no-country-for-old-men-or-billy-dee-williams/359964/

Edited by OriginalCyn

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With the music they had I don't think it could have possibly been sexy.  It was powerful and aggressive.  I think that is what Val was going for.  The last thing I wanted to see was a sexually charged AT given Meryl damn near made out with his brother last week....awkward.

I think the dance was incredibly sexy because it was powerful and aggressive. Just because it wasn't overly sensual doesn't mean it wasn't sexy. And I think the music suited that. While I get that the song was somewhat non-traditional, I think that many viewers tune in more for the performance aspect than how strictly it adheres to what the accepted practices are. Would they know that the song isn't something that most people would think of using for an AT? Sure. Would they care? I don't really know. 

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TWoP lurker here, and so happy to have another place to read about my favorite shows!

OriginalCyn, thanks for those links. Very funny posts!

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Meryl telling Maks to "hold my hand" was a psychology lesson he needed to hear.  I know for her this experience is just a chance to have fun and do something different but I'm beginning to believe that this mirrorball trophy is Maks' gold medal.  She's got the grounding to calm him down and make him focus on the here and now rather than only seeing the end result. 

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It wasn't until this latest episode, and I don't know why it took this long for me to notice that it dawned on me how tiny she is.

She's super tiny. Wee is really the best way to describe her. I was able to meet both Meryl and Charlie following one of the SOI stops recently and they're basically exactly what you'd expect them to be... Except even smaller. I'd say their heights provided by the ISU are about accurate, but there's not an ounce of fat on them. I know that's to be expected considering that they're elite athletes who are currently coming out of a season where they were at the top of their physical game, but it's really striking when you encounter them in person. The other thing that's pretty fascinating to watch is how Meryl carries herself. She exudes this easy fluid grace off ice that is absolutely mesmerizing to watch and she's incredibly pretty in a really unique way. My mother had never found her particularly pretty (even going so far as to deem her strange looking) but when we left she couldn't stop talking about how pretty she was. Plus, they couldn't have been nicer. There wasn't a single moment that they even appeared like there was anywhere else they'd rather be. Even if I hadn't been fans of theirs to begin with, I would've been afterwards because they were that awesome to everyone they came in contact with. I always wonder if people are just getting a particularly kind edit on ths show and while I'm sure that they've probably had moments of frustration that we haven't seen, I'd be willing to put money on them being essentially exactly what is getting shown.
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According to Twitter, it was just posted that Meryl was dropped tonight during a group portion of SOI. She did skate afterward, the poster noted but no further info other than it seems to have been during a girls' group routine, not by Charlie.


Kristyn Burtt just tweeted about it, so should be more info to come from her. Apparently during some sorta lift during the girls' group portion.

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According to Twitter, it was just posted that Meryl was dropped tonight during a group portion of SOI. She did skate afterward, the poster noted but no further info other than it seems to have been during a girls' group routine, not by Charlie.

Kristyn Burtt just tweeted about it, so should be more info to come from her. Apparently during some sorta lift during the girls' group portion.

There's a small lift in Creep that she was apparently dropped during. The full number is here with the lift occurring around 2:50 mark. This isn't the video from tonight, but it'll give you an idea of the lift. Someone posted it on Tumblr earlier and remarked that Meryl appeared to be fine and might've even laughed following it. She went on the skate Scheherazade later with no issues.

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Speaking of the Creep number, does anyone know how Meryl was able to get out of wearing the tutu and leg warmers? I don't believe they singled anyone out like that in the Canadian SOI. I'm assuming it's because Meryl is queen supreme? :)

 

I'm super disappointed The Wire no longer has the DwtS Hunger Games articles, since her face when Charlie was getting his scores would have been perfect.

Edited by mehtotheworld

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The writer, Alex Abad-Santos, was fired from The Wire, so that's why there have been no more Hunger Games articles.  (I miss them too!)  He was picked up by another online publication, and he said on twitter he'd try to publish more Hunger Games articles somewhere, but so far I haven't seen any. 

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The Voldesite is gleeful that Meryl was dropped. I hope she's not hurt. When I'm in my 50s, if I'm still spending all of my time obsessing over someone young enough to be my son and snarking on people who dare to have an opinion contrary to mine about a reality show, just take me out back and put me out of my misery please...

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Speaking of the Creep number, does anyone know how Meryl was able to get out of wearing the tutu and leg warmers? I don't believe they singled anyone out like that in the Canadian SOI. I'm assuming it's because Meryl is queen supreme? :)

Mostly that, I think. Maybe a little logistics of costume changes or what can be done in that tutu. There tends to be something on a pecking order and where Meryl (and Charlie) are the highest ranked/most well known they've kind of centered the show around them. It's not extreme or anything like that, just little things that make it clear who is at the top of the food chain.

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I really loved Meryl's non-traditional Rumba. I agree with Bruno that it was like watching a "play without words." I disagree with Carrie Ann ("I have to be fair by slighting favorite couples of fans who call me out for judging inconsistently") Innaba. This dance was not at all comparable to what Peta("It's so weird that I don't have to teach him anything, he already knows it all." Yeahright!) choreographed for Charlie Rumba. Maybe there was some fusion with some Contemporary content, but there were plenty of Edyta moves in Maks' routine. I think the only one I missed was the standing split where she rests her leg on her partner's shoulder which I don't think really fit the story they chose to portray. Len seemed reluctant to play the "not a Rumba," game; it really sounded like he didn't want to discredit himself by towing the party line (that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it).

 

I'm assuming that Maks took his inspiration from his interpretation of the song (that I don't know well enough to agree or disagree). I'm sure he was aware that the shippers were eager to see a traditionally passionate Rumba--perhaps the assigned song did not inspire him in that direction or maybe Meryl was eager to explore a different kind of high drama at some point in the journey and this song provided an opportunity for such.

 

Since I heard Meryl mention in her red carpet interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG4__QvMlgM&list=UUCcVQKtF8zHVQoTJt8NNMJA

that the only thing she would want to do differently is point her toes, I decided to look up what it means to have sickled feet.  I found this site which explains what it means: http://ballethub.com/sickling-ballet-what-why-how-to-avoid-it/

 

One of the most interesting quotes is the summation:

Sickling is sometimes tricky to self correct.  In beginners, it most commonly happens because, well, you’re a beginner there’s already so many things to think about!  After a while it can become easier, but always try to remind yourself about the shape of your foot.

 

For professional dancers, a sickled foot can sometimes be seen when they are trying to point their foot harder.  Since most feet are more naturally flexible going inwards, the foot starts to veer inwards and sickles.  Even at professional levels, a dancer will often still be thinking of the line of their feet in order to avoid sickling.

This seems to be an issue that is beyond the scope of this show to address. I really hope that Meryl does not take this too much to heart. Thankfully, they'll be dancing 

Viennese Waltz and Jive

which will allow them to focus on more traditional ballroom requirements.

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Speaking of the Creep number, does anyone know how Meryl was able to get out of wearing the tutu and leg warmers? I don't believe they singled anyone out like that in the Canadian SOI. I'm assuming it's because Meryl is queen supreme?

Could be.....I was having a hard time figuring out how the choreo fit with the song, so I thought after they dragged her out with the bars that maybe the different outfit was supposed to symbolize that she was the "creep" or maybe the others were lol

Re: Maks "non-traditional rhumba"

The mood and style of it reminded me a bit of the dance from Pink's "Try" video.

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Could be.....I was having a hard time figuring out how the choreo fit with the song, so I thought after they dragged her out with the bars that maybe the different outfit was supposed to symbolize that she was the "creep" or maybe the others were lol

Re: Maks "non-traditional rhumba"

The mood and style of it reminded me a bit of the dance from Pink's "Try" video.

Yeah it reminded me of Try as well. Maybe that is the song Maks wanted? But Try is contemporary choreography :p

 

BTW Meryl has been accused of having toe pointing issues for years. It's one of the things people accuse Davis&White of having that make their ice dancing scores too high. It can make you cringe when a dancer has "poor feet". I like die sometimes watching Gymnastic Floor exercise and Bars because of the ugly toe point. Meryl is no way on that level though. She has lovely feet even if not perfect.

 

I do think she should have been in heels no matter what the story of the dance was supposed to be. But only because Contemporary should not be part of this show and has been a big scorer instead. 

 

But even with this dance having some contemporary elements, it moved across the floor beautifully (other rumbas this season have been done on a smaller section of the floor). I think a 29/30 is what it deserved to be honest. Len usually wants more traditional so a 9 from him is expected. CAI usually gives 10 to emotional dances like this one so her 9 was odder than ALM taking a point off for "bad feet". ALM shouldn't have even been on the show. 

Edited by tarotx
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CAI usually gives 10 to emotional dances like this one so her 9 was odder than ALM taking a point off for "bad feet". ALM shouldn't have even been on the show.

But given that ALM decided she was scoring a contemporary, she took two points off for bad feet. Which is really just more reasons to add to the list of why never again.

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It seems she took a point off for Meryl being the front runner and not being as good as ALM expected her to be. For reasons unknown ALM judged her as if she was judging at a real competition but didn't for some of the others. I think she also gave a point to Charlie and James for being male....

Edited by tarotx
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BTW Meryl has been accused of having toe pointing issues for years.

And her bent knees too.  It's kind of funny when people keep saying, "She could have easily fixed that!"  If it were easy for her to fix, she would have done so years ago.  It's not like her ice dance coaches didn't try, I'm sure.

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I do think she should have been in heels no matter what the story of the dance was supposed to be. But only because Contemporary should not be part of this show and has been a big scorer instead. 

I think the lack of heels was partially due to the toe problem. I know she's worn heels since then, but no way has the toe totally healed and it's possible she aggravated it and made it worse. Maks may have decided she'd be better off taking a break from the heels while she heals. Ha!

 

For me the toe injury is one more reason to hate the switch up. Since Misty, Maks has been careful about pacing his stars. Meryl didn't need to be pushed so hard physically week 4, especially since she was starting a skating tour as well. 

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For me the toe injury is one more reason to hate the switch up. Since Misty, Maks has been careful about pacing his stars. Meryl didn't need to be pushed so hard physically week 4, especially since she was starting a skating tour as well.

Have we even heard how she broke it? I know Tony said she did during switch week, but I don't recall seeing any information on how it happened. If we haven't, for all we know it could've happened outside of training and have nothing to do with how hard Val was or wasn't pushing her. I remember that both Meryl and Charlie were both in flip flops following SOI a few days after the switch up performances but I don't recall any kind of obvious injury to her toes (swelling, bruising, etc.) which does support what I've seen others saying about it being one of her small toes. It'd still be painful with the constant skating/heels thing, of course.
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We don't know exactly how the injury happened, but Maks heavily suggested it was from rehearsals. He jokingly mentioned it all in the Access Hollywood interview, but I think behind the jokes was the truth the Meryl came back scratched up, bruised, and with a purple toe and that was from her dancing with Val. I would guess Maks or Tony would have mentioned if the injury was from skating instead of dancing.

 

I also love that in the Access Hollywood interview Meryl says her favorite thing about dancing with Val was seeing the way Val works with Maks. That wasn't exactly high praise about her time during the switch up.

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I just say that because I've broken toes dancing and I've broken toes misjudging a step. I've actually done the latter more than the former, though I never did ballroom so who knows how applicable that experience is.

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Even if she didn't like working with him as much as Maks, I still think Val got the best dance out of her so far. I'm not surprise he injured her, though. It seemed like he pushed her too hard. I remember the Afterbuzz peeps said it could have been a Week 10 dance, and they'd all have loved it. But it was only Week 4...

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The mood and style of it reminded me a bit of the dance from Pink's "Try" video.

OMG! I recently streamed Pink's concert on Netflix and I was thinking that the pas de deux that she choreographed during "Try" would be the perfect inspiration for a M&M freestyle. She was able to incorporate a counter lever-like lift that is reminiscent of some of the lifts done by Ice Dancers. I don't know the video you mentioned, but the song is terrific and it would be quite a coup if DWTS could get Tessanne Chin to sing her version from The Voice (since they air at the same time). LOL, can you tell that I'm a little too invested in this show in general and specifically this team?

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Meryl and Charlie's main rivals -- Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada -- are currently skating to "Try" in the Canadian version of Stars on Ice, so they'd probably want to steer clear of it, unfortunately.

 

Here's an early look at Meryl and Maks's jive courtesy of the Team USA website. It was filmed on Wednesday. 

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I don't know if anyone else has seen this, but apparently Abby is now saying that Meryl is faking her toe injury. Since I don't remember hearing about it on the show I'm not sure what she would have to gain by faking an injury.

 

I think Abby is still just mad about what Maks said, she comments on that too in the article, and is still trying to get back at him by attacking Meryl. That woman is ridiculous.

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I think Abby Lee is attacking Meryl because Meryl is everything Abby Lee wants to be and never will.  Some people, when confronted with someone confident and successful, just want to take that person down.  She's wasting her time shooting arrows at the sun; Abby Lee can't do anything to Meryl.

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Tony said on GMA that Meryl's toe had been broken, and I doubt he was lying.  Meryl has not said anything about her toe or used it as an excuse, so ALM can frick off

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I've heard that both Tony and Maks have mentioned it in interviews. Meryl hasn't said anything that I know of, but being an elite athlete I don't think she would be the type to talk about it anyway. I'm pretty sure that if someone was going to fake an injury, either for sympathy or in order to be judged easier or something, then they would have mentioned it on the show at least once by now. I don't doubt that it's real and probably very painful, but Meryl has to be used to working through pain to have gotten to where she is now.

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Maks gave an interview to IceNetwork about working with Meryl: http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2014/05/09/74876590/

 

He's very effusive about her. 

 

Of course he is. He wants that trophy so bad it's seeping out of his pores, and she's his last real shot at getting it. If he needed to get down and lick her feet in the middle of Times Square, that's what he would do.

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The Voldesite is gleeful that Meryl was dropped. I hope she's not hurt. When I'm in my 50s, if I'm still spending all of my time obsessing over someone young enough to be my son and snarking on people who dare to have an opinion contrary to mine about a reality show, just take me out back and put me out of my misery please...

Is that really her age or is this a guess? By the content of that site (which I haven't gone to in nearly 3 weeks despite the temptation), I would have guessed 12 or 13.

Edited by bearcatfan
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Of course he is. He wants that trophy so bad it's seeping out of his pores, and she's his last real shot at getting it. If he needed to get down and lick her feet in the middle of Times Square, that's what he would do.

I suppose if this is what desperation sounds like:

After this week's discouraging scores, they are back at work for two new performances. Chmerkovskiy said the expectations that are put on Davis are a bit unreasonable, and despite being tired, she's giving 100 percent.

"Both dances have potential to be amazing," he said. "Meryl has already proven herself above and beyond. I don't think we need to prove anything to anybody. We need to go and enjoy and dance.

"I'm dreading that the show is almost over, whether we make the finale or not, because I won't get to dance with Meryl," he added. "If the show was 20 weeks, I would gladly accept it and continue experiencing this with such an incredible person."

then maybe Meryl's media training is rubbing off on him?

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I'm occasionally cynical when it comes to Maks and some of the things he does, but the sense of joy he and Meryl have when dancing together is coming through 100% in their recent dances.  You can tell the difference between a dance that's inspired and one that's attempting to point-grab and make the judges happy - like Charlie's paso.  He and Sharna admitted that was the big problem with it.

 

The "not enough rumba" complaint was something I'm sure Maks could see coming from a mile away on their last dance.  He decided to go with what made him/them creatively happy.  He probably was hoping the judges would love the overall dance so much that they'd forgive it like they did to a certain extent with the foxtrot.

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I'm occasionally cynical when it comes to Maks and some of the things he does, but the sense of joy he and Meryl have when dancing together is coming through 100% in their recent dances.  You can tell the difference between a dance that's inspired and one that's attempting to point-grab and make the judges happy - like Charlie's paso.  He and Sharna admitted that was the big problem with it.

 

The "not enough rumba" complaint was something I'm sure Maks could see coming from a mile away on their last dance.  He decided to go with what made him/them creatively happy.  He probably was hoping the judges would love the overall dance so much that they'd forgive it like they did to a certain extent with the foxtrot.

Let's face it, the judges over look a lack of content a lot of the time. They tend not to reward routines that really push the star's ability and instead reward ones with entertainment value. It remains to be seen whether that was a good gamble for Maks with Meryl, but so far they got a great response to it online. If that translates to votes now and in the finale, then a few missed judges points this week won't matter. 

 

The tiger analogy in that Maks interview totally got me. I guess he likes thinking of himself as more of a tiger than a teddy bear. I would totally watch 20 weeks of these two dancing together. 

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Do I think he wants the trophy? Of course I do. They all want the trophy whether they talk about it or not. Do I think he knows that Meryl is his absolute best shot at winning the trophy since Mel B? Of course. If he didn't know that, I'd be questioning his intelligence. But having said all that, I don't think he is desperate for it and I suspect that at this point in the season, he also knows there is a real chance that they won't win it. Unless something super drastic happens and Meryl gets 5s for doing 3 flawless dances in the finale while the eventual winner gets all 10s for dances riddled with mistakes, I don't think he'll be THAT broken up about it. 

 

I think the combination of the time away plus finally getting his dream partner (someone with natural talent, tons of training and a coachable, non-argumentative personality) has given him some sort of zen moment. With the exception of his commentary about Abby Lee Miller, he's been mostly mum on the judges and the scoring. I think Bitsy is right that he expected some "not enough rumba" comments this week but felt like the dance was worth the risk. I think he is trying to use what Meryl is able to do to come up with dances he is proud of and that is what really matters to him this season. I think Erin even mentioned after the Foxtrot that he had been excited all day over that particular dance because he was liked it so much. 

 

I watched the Afterbuzz show this week and Shirley Ballas actually said something along the lines of how she knows so many people would be thrilled if he finally won after so much time on the show but she talked to him this week and he said he wasn't thinking about winning, just performing every week. It's one thing to say "I only care about performing well, not winning" to an interviewer, I tend to believe it more when it is said to a former coach and a person he's known for 15 years. 

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I love the article from IceNetwork.  I realize that Maks has given some people reason to be cynical about him on the show, but I think every word of what he said about Meryl in this interview was true. Whether their relationship is purely platonic or something more, he respects her not just as a dancer but as a person and I think he really has changed the way he behaves because of her influence.

 

I wanted to add this piece from the article: "Davis has sustained two dance-related injuries. She hurt her toe while rehearsing for the Argentine tango in week four. That healed, but she hurt another toe before Latin week. Chmerkovskiy said knowing she's in pain is devastating, but he's in awe of her ability to fight through it."

 

So, there were two injuries. It doesn't say Meryl's toe was broken, although I think that was how Tony characterized it on GMA. Meryl has never mentioned the injuries but I wonder if the choice of footwear, or lack thereof, for her Salsa on Latin week and the Rumba and Samba this week has something to do with that second injury she sustained before Latin week. Too bad if so, because ALM's obsession with Meryl's "horrendous" feet was the supposed reason for the 8. That being said, I also think bare feet fit the scene Meryl and Maks were portraying in the rumba, it may have also been an artistic choice.

 

 

.

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Guys this is the Meryl topic, I know Maks is her partner so some talk of him is inevitable but I'm going to start moving these over to his topic if the comments aren't actually about Meryl.

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