Charlie White and Sharna Burgess started Dancing With the Stars Season 18 at the top of the leaderboard with three 9s, but it’s been a bumpy road since then.

We just past Latin Night Week 7, and their Paso Doble got a 10 from guest judge Ricky Martin, 9s from Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli, and an 8 from Len Goodman. It’s not exactly the upward trajectory Charlie and Sharna wanted. They’ve expressed frustration about it, but for one reason or another, the ice dancer is just not connecting with all of the judges at the point in the competition where other couples are getting multiple 10s.

In her Parade blog dissecting the Latin Night dances, Carrie Ann weighed in on what Charlie needs to do to get a higher score.

“Charlie White, who is dying to get a 10, needs to take a moment and realize that a 10 is earned on this show,” Carrie Ann wrote (and did it come off a wee bit snippy to you, too?). “I think he has the potential to get a perfect score for sure! His artistry on the dance floor, the way he knows how to maneuver his partner, and use his weight and create warm soft shapes makes him a contender. However, he’s in the tough spot of being the performer who started the competition at the top. He started out great, so where does he go?  What he needs to realize is that this show is about growth and great dancing. He’s great, but we haven’t seen much improvement anywhere. He’s got to bring out something we haven’t seen yet, show us that he’s also growing as a performer.”

Carrie Ann said Charlie is “a bit too smooth and easygoing in his dances” and she needs more sharpness.

“I could watch him all day — so don’t take that the wrong way — he’s a beautiful dancer, but he’s a bit too lyrical. I’d like to see sharper edges in some of his movements. I want to see him be able to stop a movement once in a while instead of having all the movements continue as one movement. I want to see more light and shade, not all a beautiful shade of gray.”

She also added the hope that his knee will be OK, since he too suffered a little injury this week. No one is safe!

Do you agree with Carrie Ann that Charlie needs more light and shade? To some fans, the music has been letting Charlie and Sharna down, since it doesn’t always seem a good fit for the dance style. That’s something a lot of couples have to deal with, but it’s also not something they can always control.

It’s not like Charlie is getting terrible scores — although that 8 from Len was baffling, and it didn’t even come with constructive feedback — but it does seem like the judges nitpick him more than others. Do you agree with that, or do you think the criticism Charlie gets is exactly what he needs to reach that next level of perfection?

DWTS Season 18 airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Source: Parade