Last week, head judge Len Goodman said he'd never give the NFL star a 9 (let alone a 10) if he doesn't get his pigeon toes under control, so the pro dancer spent a lot of this week's rehearsal time fancying-up her partner's footwork for this week's quickstep. The result: Jacoby and Karina's scores went down, and a team dance took them down another notch. Say what?
In our weekly check-in with Karina, we get the scoop on this week's Wonder-ful dances, the judges' critiques, and next week's sizzling theme.
For this week's dance to Stevie Wonder's "For Once In My Life," Jacoby and Karina's fancy footwork included some quickstepping in the audience aisle. While Karina said she didn't choose the song, she did say that it's impossible to go wrong with a song like the 1968 Motown hit. She also added, "One of the reasons I love this show… you get to dance live to Stevie Wonder." She called the experience "beyond believable."
But when it came to the judges, the pretty pro dancer was surprised by some of this week's comments.
"We've been listening to the judges every week, and every week, if they see a constructive criticism, they say, 'You want to work on this.' We take it to the studio to fix," she said. "Because they saw that, they will be looking for it, and it's going to be in the back of their minds… So we've been working on [Jacoby's] feet, and Len commented that his feet are getting a little better, and then we get a 7. So he kind of noticed that we worked on the things he wanted us to work on. And then we spent time on that, and we get a lower score."
One more thing the judges seemed to have missed: "No one even commented on the fact that we have a foot of distance between us," the pint-sized powerhouse said. She said it's close to impossible to remain connected on a dance like the quickstep with that kind of height difference. "We worked so hard on that, and no one even said anything about it," she said.
Speaking of constructive criticism, Karina thought Len Goodman's call-out of Andy Dick -- when he was critiquing another contestant -- was uncalled for. (The head judge told Sean Lowe that if his goal was to beat Andy's samba score, he needed to "set his standards higher.")
"It was unnecessary and inappropriate in a way," Karina said. "It belittles the other couple and the other celebrity for no reason. [The judges] should concentrate on the comments that will help the couple do better next week. It's not constructive; there's no benefit in that comment."
Taking one for the team
Karina and Jacoby teamed up with three other couples (Zendaya Coleman and Val Chmerkovskiy; Victor Ortiz and Lindsay Arnold; and Ingo Rademacher and Kym Johnson) for the season's first team dance, but the Team Paso score of 22 points didn't help their cause.
Despite the judges' harsh commentary (Bruno Tonioli said the group seemed out of sync, while Carrie Ann said it was "sloppy" and "kind of a mess"), Karina said, "It was one of the easiest teams to work with."
"In the beginning, the hardest thing is to come up with the concept … all the brainstorming," she said. Once they came up with their "Higher Ground" paso doble, Karina said the group was "spot on in sync" adding, "I think all four couples nailed it."
A sneak peek at next week
Next week's theme is Latin week, complete with all of the hottest Latin dances, Latin artists, and Latin songs. Karina has already picked her song (it's top secret!), and she let Jacoby pick out the colors for their costumes. She also revealed, "We can do lifts, which is really exciting, too!" She promises "a really cool idea, look, and concept."
Meanwhile, what's Karina and Jacoby's goal for the rest of the season? "To concentrate on having fun and dancing our hearts out," she said.
"Dancing With the Stars" Season 16 airs on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 PM ET on ABC.
More from this contributor:
- Arts & Entertainment
- Karina Smirnoff
- Jacoby Jones
- Len Goodman