All eyes are on Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy on Dancing With the Stars Season 18 — and that makes for a sharp double-edged sword.
Maks returned to DWTS after a year off, and he knows he got a real contender in Olympic ice dancer Meryl. They've been given great odds to win and expectations are high. We thought their Week 1 Cha-Cha was underscored — not a single 9? — but the candid dance pros at AfterBuzz think M&M should’ve pushed themselves more.
"The thing is," longtime DWTS pro Anna Trebunskaya said on the show, "she is so fantastic and we expect so much from her that I feel like that Cha-Cha was a Cha-Cha — it was a proper Cha-Cha — but she's the one that we'll expect something more than just a Cha-Cha."
Even on the first week? Julz Tocker asked. "Doesn't matter," Anna said. "She's already a champion. She is coming from such a high." Suri Serano said, even though it’s only Week 1, she wishes Meryl had been paired with Derek Hough or Mark Ballas. AfterBuzz host Kristyn Burtt said not Derek — if Derek got Meryl, people would say it wasn’t fair and we'd hear the squawking about it all season.
Kristyn just wonders if Meryl has a journey, since she's starting so high and the show goes on for 10 weeks. Where does she go from here? Former DWTS pro Gleb Savchenko said, "Honestly, I think she's that good that Maks could've done a better job with her. And it's not about a journey because she's that good, she starts from here. I think what he should be concerned with is just doing his best every single week [to showcase her]." He did say the routine was entertaining to watch and there was a lot of Cha-Cha content, which he liked, rather than having a lot of Hip Hop or something and faking the Cha-Cha.
Still, whew! It’s a good thing Maks 2.0 is super calm or he might blow up at some of this criticism — especially the idea of Meryl getting another pro. Besides, Charlie White is the one who got triple 9s, starting at the top. Maybe the journey question should be for him. Anna did have some technical criticism for Charlie, and Kristyn said she thinks Charlie and Sharna are the couple to watch, but it seems like expectations are extra high for the combo of M&M.
Meryl is the one who got 8s, and the judges didn't give Meryl and Maks any constructive criticism on the premiere, so it was a little confusing to try to sleuth out what they were looking for. Carrie Ann Inaba blogged after the show that Meryl and Maks “have good chemistry and I think they were gave us a very strong performance. Her expression in her arms, her spins are untouchable… but it will be interesting to see how she develops. I really think she has room for improvement. She may have a strategy — she is a gold medalist after all — and momentum and timing are key in this competition, so we will have to wait to see how this unfolds."
Yep, we’re in wait-and-see mode. Next week Meryl and Maks have Swing, and we’ll have to see if they improve with the judges — and with Maks’s fellow pros!
For more thoughts from the pros, check out the full AfterBuzz show.
Source: AfterBuzz, Parade