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S20: Riker Lynch: Gleeful Contestant

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From E:

Riker Lynch, a member of the band R5 and a former Warbler on Glee, is related to the Houghs, and admitted to E! News he feels a little bit of pressure living up to the family name.

"A little bit, it's kind of like trying to walk in their footsteps," he said of Derek and Julianne, who have both won DWTS several times. "I'm a little bit nervous because they've both been so good. But it's going to be fun!"
And even though he, you know, is related to Derek, Riker, 23, said he had no idea his cousin was returning for season 20. I just found out that Derek was coming back to the show live, so that's very exciting!"
Though he doesn't have any formal dance training, Riker is relying on some of his family genes to help him back it far in the competition, telling us, "I think I have a little bit of the dance genes from the Houghs, for sure!"

Keeping up with the Hough's indeed. 

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Though he doesn't have any formal dance training,

From an old interview:
Riker- Then eventually my mom got me and the rest of the family dance lessons and I started an actual glee club in Littleton, CO called Colorado Productions where I started to learn how to sing and act. I did that for almost 10 years and also started more serious dance lessons.
[snip]
Riker- We met him at a dance studio in California. At this time we literally had just started playing instruments and we found out he could play drums. So we asked him if he wanted to play drums in the band.

 

Rydel- When we moved out to L.A, we were training at a dance studio called the Rage, and Ratliff happened to be training there too!

We don't know what sort of dance Riker was studying, and training in hip hop (for example) doesn't mean someone's going to be a natural at ballroom, but lol @ how they're already trying to downplay any ringer associations. 

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Uggghhh every season there always seems to be that one contestant with the rabid, loud teen fanbase that drives me up a wall.  Looks like this year its Riker.  I rarely comment on Instagram pics but have you checked out the DWTS hashtag? Its bombarded with pics of Riker and Riker/Allison with these kids shipping them already. When I read a caption under one pic I saw that said something along the lines of "OMG look how beautiful they are together! Allison so loves him already! I'm shipping them so hard!" I cracked and had to let this child know that Allison is a happily married woman and mother. The response? Riker is so awesome she'll forget all about her family". Erggh.

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I know people will focus on the Hough connection, but Hough or not he's going to be the one with the teenybopper fanbase this season.  Why?  Because he's Disney and has that sort of young female following.  His brother stars on Ausin & Ally on Disney Channel and their band, R5, is signed to Hollywood Records (also associated with Disney) and therefore Disney heavily promotes their band all over the network and etc.  So he has fans of his band, his brother's fans, probably the fans of the people that watch his brother's tv show, and etc.

 

I assume he can dance, though if Allison figures out what to do with him or not I don't know.  Allison is the real wildcard here, but I think Riker will be in for the long haul. 

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A little birdie told me Riker will be gone before you can turn around!

What does that even mean?  Even if he can't dance or is an ass, he'll only be gone quickly if he tells his hordes of fangirls to not vote for him.  Anytime the DWTS instagram account posts a pic of anyone, all it is met with is a bunch of little fangirls demanding pics of Riker.

Edited by spanana
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I'm watching/listening to Riker and Alison's rehearsal now. Without seeing the video - HE SOUNDS JUST LIKE DEREK! We have two of them now... He seems like a nice kid, though. Alison is perpetually happy and smiley.

 

I'm REALLY not liking this whole "ask us questions on Twitter/Instagram" thing in between the dance practice, though. I was really hoping we could see them actually, you know, practice. Not take a few steps, and then grab their cell phones. I guess this is supposed to help us "get to know" them. 

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Something like about Riker so far always reminds me of this. But it might just be the hair. 

 

I caught the very tail end of that rehearsal - is Allison always that easily distracted? The amount of dancing vs. standing around talking about lots of random other things tipped very towards the latter. 

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I think a lot of the problem with the live rehearsal feeds is the pros don't want to show their actual first week routines, so then they are searching for other things to rehearse/do.  Allison said that today.  Kym said it.  Val said it.   It's going to be more of a problem as the season progresses since no pro is going to want to waste rehearsal time on unnecessary things.

 

They did a little bit of cha cha and jive and the kid is coordinated enough.  Riker said something that implied cha cha isn't their first week dance, so I'm guessing he has jive.  Jive will probably be a good dance for him.

 

Allison did ask him at one point if he will have a problem slicking his hair back or doing something with it for the more standard dances.  His response was "I thought I had to" and then they were talking about it, so at least he doesn't seem to have a problem with fixing his hair when needed.

 

I don't know.  Riker didn't really bother me.  If anything Allison bothered me more as I just don't love her personality.  She's so overexcited and talking nonstop all the time.   I also think she should be telling him not to wear jeans to practice.  Then again, she's wearing jeans to practice.

 

As a side note, according to somebody that tracks it, the Riker/Allison live feed had the most viewers of any of the live feeds so far.  Not surprising since Riker has hordes of younger teen fans.

Edited by spanana
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So far he doesn't bother me personality wise, that's why the "Great job! Really great work here, you're nailing it...but something about your face..." keeps making me laugh. ;)  (I also just love Will Ferrell's delivery in that scene, "All I can do is take that in, and do my best version of whatever I think that might be.") 

 

Allison seems super sweet, but yes, very nonstop chatty. It's interesting, the not wanting to reveal the dances early - I wonder if the producers considered that as that much of a problem. Seems like they could drill them in fundamentals? 

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Either that or at some point the pros will start to care less about giving things away on camera.  If they are forced to do the feeds and they have five days to learn a dance, they are going to have to do what they are going to have to do.  The only pro that hasn't seemed to care about giving away details so far was Peta.

 

Also yes, I think Allison is a genuinely nice person.  She's just so perky and chatty that it can be a lot to take.  On the upside, she and Riker seem to be getting along fine.

 

Anyway, as long as Riker doesn't pull the too cool for school type of thing, I'm fine with him.  I'm not actively rooting for him, but I'm not going to automatically hate him for being a Hough cousin.

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Shucks, didn't check the schedule today!

ETA: Watched a little on Youtube. Pretty good dancing. Riker sounds so *young*....

Edited by Serendi

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I thought Riker was very laid back which works well since Allison is super hyper. I'm with Spanana...I like him and he moves well ....he seems like the anti - Cody so I don't mind him.  I'm not sure if I'm inspired enough to actually vote for him though.

 

I was mostly watching to see how Allison teaches.  My guess is that in the off season she learned entire routines for each dance style.  And will simply modify once she get's the music.  It seems like they have the jive for the 1st week and she didn't want to give that away so she was showing his cha cha...or maybe the cha cha is their 2nd week dance?  I don't know.

 

The majority of their session was a twitter Q&A....I started to wonder if that was on purpose to avoid on camera teaching or revealing the routine.

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I watched Riker and Allison's rehearsal today and I'm a little worried for them in terms of the long haul. I like Riker he seems focused and picks moves up really quickly. But what I noticed is that he needs a little bit of polish here and there in terms of arm, hand, leg, and foot placement. That little bit of finesse will turn him from a good mover to a great performer but at least in this livefeed Allison wasn't really giving that to him. She was just constantly throwing new moves at him - with very little instruction or correction. He had to stop several times and ask her where are you going? The fact that he could keep up and support her through some of lifts that he's never even done before speaks to his ability but he needs more than ability to make it beyond the first few rounds.

 

While I love Allison as a dancer and performer I think she's sort of a liability as a teacher. She doesn't seem to know the basics well enough herself to correct and ground him in them- the way the other pros have been doing with their students. She seems to be just going for the coolest and showiest moves and I'm not sure that will hack it in the long run. I hope I'm wrong and that maybe we're only seeing a random hour and that she's covering the other stuff in the "real" rehearsal time.

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I don't understand why the judges praised Riker and Allison's dance so much. That was some manic stuff. I did not enjoy watching it at all. Riker is much better than Allison's last partner and he stuck around for too long, so I think we will be seeing a lot of these two.

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I do not see how the judges could have even seen the dance with the audience all around the stage,  I did not like it because it was too frantic.

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I was watching some of Riker and Allison's latest livestream rehearsal where they are prepping their foxtrot. Val and Rumer came in at the end and were watching. It cuts off into Val and Rumer's livestream where you see Val giving Riker some tips about making his shoes not so slippery on the floor. It made me realize how much I would love it if Allison had conferred with someone like Val before putting together their foxtrot or had a lesson herself.

 

Riker has such potential. He has this really nice way of moving and even in their rehearsal you could tell he was starting to pick up subtleties like pointing his toes. What makes me concerned for him is that the choreography Allison's prepared for their dance was very pseudo-waltzy- if it could even be called that. It seemed like a few seconds in closed hold and the rest a lot of swaying kind of moves done separately. I wonder if she even knows what position she needs to be in to form a good frame with him. After watching Val's foxtrot with Rumer I noticed there is zero connection between Riker and Allison in the hip/upper leg area. I doubt she even knows the fundamentals well enough to instruct it. I'm thinking that they are going to get critiqued about it this week even though Riker is pretty much doing what Allison is instructing - which is this loose form contemporary dance version of what a foxtrot might be with no discernible ballroom steps.

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R what?

I have no idea who this person is.

I think he has a sibling who is/was in a Disney Channel non-animated show --people keep saying that anyway. He was also in Glee at some point. And he & his brothers (& I think a friend) are in a band called R5--I think 'cause they all have names starting with R & there are 5 in the band. Before he was on DWTS very few, if any, of us had ever heard of R5 before. Also, he's second cousins with Derek, Julianne & the Hough family. Edited by BW Manilowe
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For me, the hubub is the lying about it. He couldn't very well say, oh yes, I know Lindsay, Witney and Britany from the competition circuit, so instead he pretends he has no background whatsoever.

 

Continuing this from the episode thread, but I'd argue that competing againt some people for a month or two doesn't necessarily indicate knowing them.  He "knows" these people as well as you might know someone dancing against them once or twice when you are 11 or 12. 

 

Now if somebody straight up asks Riker if he ever competed and he says no, then he's a lying liar who lied.  At this point I don't think any of his so-called lies are that damning.  He mentioned not knowing what a foxtrot was, perhaps for comic effect, but he certainly didn't compete at standard during his very short abbreviated career.   I'm guessing it's more likely he doesn't see his past as that big a deal, especially when you consider all the many people with dance experience on this show that come before him.

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I for one don't have any concern for Riker's latin ballroom past- he clearly hasn't retained enough of it to give him any visible advantage. He didn't know to maintain a hip connection with Allison in their foxtrot. His frame wasn't that good. What he does have in spades is performance charisma and the ability to embody the essence of the type of dance and song he's given. And he does have an agility and ability to pick up choreography that comes from his hip hop/jazz dance training and also from his youth and natural athleticism. I'm not going to quibble about something he did over 8 years ago.

 

I'm just noticing that his and Allison's dances are the only ones that I've watched more than once after the episode has aired- and that's saying something. Besides Val and Rumer's first foxtrot and Patti and Artem's salsa I haven't re-watched any other dances except for Riker and Allison's - not even Nastia and Derek's. They strike a chord in me and I enjoy their performances. And that's what I'm looking forward to- I hope they stay in until the finals.

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He competed in Latin, not Standard dances so it's logical that his Standard dances aren't as good.  Still the Latin dances are more than half the dances on the show.  That is a lot of dances that have had years more preparation than Allison's teaching choreography. Heck he can probably teach her, which makes a mockery of the show's premise.

Edited by Andiethewestie
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It doesn't personally irk me too much because the whole show has always been manipulated BS and has never had much to do with "real, fair competition" anyway. But it is interesting that they're apparently so determined to keep Allison (presumably because they think she brings a different fanbase and they want her non-ballroom expertise to "enliven" the show) that they're willing to help her out to a point where they pair her with someone who has perhaps more ballroom training than her so a trainwreck like last season doesn't happen again.

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If Riker really had years and years of ballroom training then why didn't he compete for more than one season? Wouldn't he have stuck with it longer and have more results to show?

Also, yes the examples I pointed out were in the foxtrot a standard dance but in general he doesn't partner Allison in a way that makes me feel that he has retained anything he may have learned in his brief stint as a ballroom dancer. If anything he has more prowess in the side by side moves that most past contestants with some dance training have had.

I also think it's interesting that the producers brought Allison back this season. They must feel she brings a certain cache with her contemporary dance ability. Though if you think about it other dancers like Chelsea as well as troupe members Lindsay, Jenna, and Brittany have all had that cross training and a more solid ballroom base so I wonder why Allison? She does have an Emmy nod under her belt but it was a co-nomination with Derek. Someone else on the board mentioned that her true gift is as a contemporary dancer and less as a choreographer and I tend to agree. The choreography I've seen so far on Riker has been serviceable but the reason say last week's dance was so electric had less to do with her choreography and more to do with their combined performance energy together.

Hope she continues to learn by doing though. I can't wait for them to get contemporary that could be something special.

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Guest

I'm guessing they want Allison on for her choreography and maybe they'll be adding more contemporary dance as seasons go on.  Viewers are tired of the same old ballroom stuff after 19 seasons of so many of the same dancers' choreographing.  Derek's skills breathed life into the old nag once, I'm sure they'd like another rainmaker to get a few more years out of DWTS.  They seem to like Mandy Moore for this, too.  

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Even for the ballroom dances, a lot of them seem to be fusion dances where there is a mixture of styles.  I think producers saw that Derek's and Mark's choreography was getting buzz so they wanted to bring in dancers that weren't pure ballroom dancers.  Val adapted well.  Sharna and Henry were always more than just ballroom dancers.  So I agree with missysays that there are dancers like Chelsea, Witney, Jenna, and Brittany that have cross-training as well as ballroom training.  Their studios, Center Stage and Vibe, are known for that.  Allison is from Dance Club.  They don't do ballroom but I will say that their dancers' jazz/contemporary technique is usually better than CS/Vibe because they concentrate on that instead of spreading it out among different genres.

 

Was Riker raised in Utah?  I'm just wondering since it was posted that he competed in a national competition in Provo.  I know that competition because it's held every year.  There are no requirements to compete in the Novice category.  You can compete after training for just a few months and dancing just three hours a week.  I know because my DD did that in her first year and her ballroom teacher is the Vibe's ballroom director.  He encourages everyone to compete because it's good experience.  My DD is actually a ballet/contemporary dancer so she adapted fast in comparison to somebody that never danced.  But her ballroom technique is definitely not going to be as good as somebody that concentrates on ballroom.

 

I'm guessing the same thing happened to Riker.  His sister and he already competed in jazz competitions (at least that's what I read on this forum) so they probably took an open ballroom class once/twice a week in the same studio (possibly Center Stage if he was raised in Utah).  The ballroom teacher encouraged them to compete because they were fast learners.  They tried it and decided it wasn't for them and so they only competed for two months.  I say this because I agree with others that his ballroom technique is not that great.  It's his performance quality and ability to pick up Allison's frentic choreography that makes his dances interesting.

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There's a big difference in being cross trained (Mark, Derek, Witney, etc) and being a contemporary dancer with a little ballroom knowledge (Allison).

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There's a big difference in being cross trained (Mark, Derek, Witney, etc) and being a contemporary dancer with a little ballroom knowledge (Allison).

Yes, there is which is why I don't understand why the producers had to hire Allison when they had other female cross-trained/ballroom dancers.

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His sister and he already competed in jazz competitions (at least that's what I read on this forum) so they probably took an open ballroom class once/twice a week in the same studio (possibly Center Stage if he was raised in Utah).

No, you can't just take an open class if you are competing.  You have to have taken syllabus work first through bronze, silver and gold.  Riker maybe rusty, but he definitely has technique that Allison never taught him. 

Edited by Andiethewestie
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There's a big difference in being cross trained (Mark, Derek, Witney, etc) and being a contemporary dancer with a little ballroom knowledge (Allison).

 

I think that's a little harsh. None of the girls on this show can hold a candle to Allison in the contemporary genre, even if they're "cross-trained"  they are ballroom girls first. As for why they want more contemporary and jazz dancers, the producers think that the only way to keep the show fresh is to bring other styles so that every week we get broadway style production numbers. Contemporary and jazz dancers are aplenty in LA. thus easier to cast.  

Edited by Andiethewestie

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It really isn't harsh at all. There's plenty of ballroom trained girls they could've cast (Anna, Chelsie, Jenna, etc), yet they casted Allison who has barely any ballroom training.

 

That's like if a math teacher taught Spanish because they learned a little but from Rosetta Stone.

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The only reason I'm sad the switch up seems to have been cancelled is that I wanted to see what one of our ballroom trained female pros could have done with Riker.  Allison is doing a serviceable job so far, but she's fairly limited as to what she can teach him.   I think his technique would be better if he was paired with someone else.

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The only reason I'm sad the switch up seems to have been cancelled is that I wanted to see what one of our ballroom trained female pros could have done with Riker.  Allison is doing a serviceable job so far, but she's fairly limited as to what she can teach him.   I think his technique would be better if he was paired with someone else.

Did you notice that during their live stream they only did a Q&A...no dancing.  I thought that was weird...but maybe they knew during the week the dance wasn't going so well.

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Did you notice that during their live stream they only did a Q&A...no dancing.  I thought that was weird...but maybe they knew during the week the dance wasn't going so well.

 

They danced in their first livestream this week.  I don't really think that was necessarily an indication of anything so much as they did two livestreams two days in a row.  But the way Riker was talking about the tango in the second one you could tell it didn't come as naturally to him as jive, salsa or even the foxtrot.  He seemed to determined to get it and he kept telling Allison he would get it by show night, but also kept saying it was the hardest dance he had ever done.   You could tell he was fairly frustrated with it. I think as we have fewer and fewer couples and some that are out of town and therefore don't do livestreams, we are going to get more and more of couples not dancing.  That is if the show forces them to do multiple streams a week.  

Edited by spanana

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Spanana - thanks that explains it. I didn't know they had an earlier rehearsal.  I was watching their 2nd live stream was getting so annoyed.  I was like, " Are we really just watching you guys eat your lunch?"  I kept checking back waiting for them to dance and it didn't happen

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They have another livestream today.  I think for whatever reason Riker/Allison must be signing up for more livestreams than some of the other couples.  So sometimes they dance and sometimes they don't.  But yes, the last one was an hour of watching them eat lunch and chat with viewers.  Also Rumer he came in and chatted for a bit.

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I wasn't crazy about Riker when he first appeared, but I've come to admire his dedication and enjoy his playfulness. But after last night, I'm a fan. He managed a spot-on "Captain Jack" and then delivered a strong dance that held my attention throughout.

 

I think he may make final four, and I'm growing comfortable with that.

 

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I wasn't crazy about Riker when he first appeared, but I've come to admire his dedication and enjoy his playfulness. But after last night, I'm a fan. He managed a spot-on "Captain Jack" and then delivered a strong dance that held my attention throughout.

 

I think he may make final four, and I'm growing comfortable with that.

 

 

I agree. As much as I am over Derek, and wasn't sure I would like yet another "Hough" on DWTS, I am totally enjoying Riker. I think I am a little in love with him :D Hope he makes it to the finals.

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I find him completely watchable. He has enough stage presence to make the most out of what he is given, especially with his very long linear body type. 

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I just cant warm to a guy who never disclosed his dance background.

I'm curious to see if Riker makes the finals, if his package will mention his ballroom training (complete with photos of little Riker and sis in costume) and the few competitions they entered. Should be interesting.

 

Having said this, I'm in Riker's corner and all my votes go to this kid.

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I used to watch this show primarily for Derek and Val, as they are such strong dancers and innovative choreographers. However I find myself bored by both of them this season, and the dances I watch again and again are Riker and Allison's! And last season I couldn't stand Allison! What is happening to me??

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Riker has been great for Allison. I have to admit, Allison is doing better this season but I'm still not completely on board with her. Let's see what she does with Jazz this coming week. I want Riker in the finals and would really like to see him win but I'm not sure he can pull off the win with Nastia and Rumer as his competition. 

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I just hope that it's Riker, Rumer, and Nastia in the finals.  Those are the three best dancers left.  However, I'm worried that Riker will have Willow's problem where his younger fans don't vote.

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I wonder about Riker's fans - I think they said R5 had gotten some success in South America, which makes me wonder if he's got a chunk of fans that aren't that engaged with an American TV show. I can't tell how popular they are here, not being in touch with the teen set, but it seems okay but not huge? His brother seems to have the most notariety from his Disney channel shows.

But then I've seen comments that make it seem like he's won over some DWTS faithfuls who didn't know who he was before the show, so that's good for him. I hope he pulls through. The only people I know who watch the Bachelor do so to make fun of it, and I still don't get the Robert appeal, so I'm a bad judge of those two's staying power. I would hope they're the double.

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I just watched week rehearsal of Riker and Allison's contemporary on DWTS All Access. It is hilarious to see these two in action. Allison has an unconventional style of teaching lifts which you will see if you watch the rehearsal........

 

https://youtu.be/l6IvR01V-G0

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I had a chance to watch Riker, Allison, and Julianne's tango a few times, and some thoughts came to mind.

 

First of all, it really did a world of good for Julianne personally. I wasn't watching the show back when she was a pro, and all I know about her is the disastrous dance with the male pros last season (where Val almost dropped her at the end). Watching this tango, I could see the fire in her as a competitor and the gorgeous lines as a dancer.

 

Second, if the package is to be believed (50/50 chance), Riker and Allison asked her to join them. I think it did a disservice to Allison, as I had felt like she was getting better at the ballroom dances but seeing her next to Julianne she really paled in comparison.

 

Third, whoever thought of the hat gimmick was on the wrong track. Even if Allison hadn't dropped it, it didn't really add anything to the routine and the chances of a bobble were high. All moving props on this show (canes, umbrellas, hats) remind me of what Mr. Knightley said in Emma about surprises: “The pleasure is never enhanced and the inconvenience is considerable.”

 

The only thing that redeemed the routine was the pirouette that Allison did on the E/E flat repetition (the most easily identifiable measure in the song) as the melody started up again; it really fit the music well.

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