Davis flawless in foxtrot, White glorious in jiveOlympic dance champs celebrate best memories on 'DWTS' week three
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba said she burst into tears during Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy's foxtrot because "it was just so beautiful." There were four judges on the Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) panel for week three -- the guest judge was Good Morning America host Robin Roberts -- and Davis and Chmerkovskiy received three 10's and a 9.
The theme of the week was the most memorable year in the lives of the celebrity contestants. Davis chose to celebrate her 17-year journey with Charlie White that resulted in Olympic gold in Sochi, especially the final year in which they were totally focused on their goal.
When they first teamed up, Davis was so shy, it was difficult for her to look into White's eyes. There was no sign of shyness in Davis' romantic foxtrot with Chmerkovskiy, performed to the John Legend song "All of Me."
White and partner Sharna Burgess performed an incredible jive, which he said was inspired by the year 2010 when, after winning silver at the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, he and Davis dedicated themselves to achieving gold in Sochi. White and Burgess chose Pharrell's song "Happy" to celebrate the successful completion of the journey. He dedicated the dance to his parents and girlfriend, Tanith Belbin, for always being there for him.
In a creative twist, White began the jive backstage, dancing with members of the crew as well as the DWTS troupe -- Jenna Johnson, Lindsay Arnold, Sasha Farber and Artem Chigvintsev -- before joining Burgess on the ballroom floor.
"I haven't previously had a chance with a celebrity where I felt I could leave them to do their own thing for that long," Burgess said. "Charlie literally held the attention of the camera and everyone around him for about 30 seconds, which is absolutely not an easy thing.
"The jive itself was actually quite difficult for him at the beginning of the week," Burgess continued. "He was struggling with the rhythm, the technique, the footwork. It was definitely not an easy week for him.
"We also had to really work on Charlie engaging and looking into the camera. It's an uncomfortable feeling if you haven't done it before to try and look through the lens and almost feel like you're with the people watching at home. So, we had to do a lot of work on it."
When Burgess saw a video later, she was incredibly happy with White's performance.
Judge Len Goodman declared it "happy hour." They received four 9's.
In addition to teaching White how to engage with the camera, Burgess continues to teach him how to be a true ballroom dancer. It's often noted that in DWTS ballroom programs, such as tango or waltz, male celebrities don't always lead; rather, the female pros do what's referred to as "back leading."
Burgess is decisive that is not the case with White.
"Every week, it's something new for him to learn, and it's by no means easy for him," Burgess said. "His tango was absolutely phenomenal. … There were so many little things in that tango that he did, which technically were so sound and so wonderful that I couldn't be more proud of him.
"Charlie was definitely leading me in the tango every step of the way," she added. "We've worked on a lot of lead and follow."
Next week, all the celebrities will switch professional partners for the week as picked for them by the public on Twitter. They will return to their original partners for week five.
Burgess said she's a little disappointed not to be dancing with White this week because she loves teaching him and he's become a great friend. She's enjoying her new temporary partner and promises they'll show their best on Monday night.
"We still have another six weeks left," she said. "We have to go and enjoy it. I told Charlie, 'Whoever you dance with, they have something to offer you. … Embrace it. Have fun. Be amazing, and then come back to me.'"