“I always have loved the samba. I love Latin music and Latin dancing. It goes back to when I was 10-years-old the first time I saw ‘West Side Story,'” said Justina Machado about how special her “Double Elimination Night” dance would be to her on “Dancing with the Stars.” She’s a Puerto Rican woman, so it was special for her to see Puerto Ricans on screen for the first time, especially Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for that film and would go on to play Machado’s mom on “One Day at a Time.” “Keep doing what you’re doing,” Moreno told her in a special video message. “You’re beautiful, you are brave, and you’re a dancer!” Watch Machado’s samba video above, and see what the judges had to say about it below.
Carrie Ann Inaba: “So good! You’re so fierce. What I love about you is the way you make us all feel when you dance because you’re having such a great time, you’re so loose. There was a tiny little stumble in there, what happened?” [Machado answers plainly, “Samba is a really hard dance.”] “It is a lot of fast footwork. You did it great with great energy. You lasted through the routine. I saw the stumble, but I didn’t see you favor it at all afterwards, so great job. Well done.”
Derek Hough: “First of all, you look beautiful tonight. And also dancing to that song [‘Magalenha’ by Sérgio Mendes featuring Carlinhos Brown] is sacred in the Latin community. So it’s a great dance, love the song. Also, I loved the samba rolls — I see you! — and the promenade runs, gorgeous. I would just say, watch your feet a little bit. You need to articulate the feet a little bit more, otherwise it looks flat-footed and we lose a little bit of that bounce that is needed in the samba. But you’re so fun to watch, you’re just awesome. “
Bruno Tonioli: “Look at her, my tangerine dream! I love watching you. You have such an exuberant, joyful presence. You make every hour feel like happy hour. What I was saying about the full monty, she gives the full monty every time! All the material that we require from a samba was there. A little bit more bounce, but I’m telling you, brilliant.”
Brilliant indeed. She received straight 9s from the judges for a total of 27 out of 30. That tied her for the top of the leaderboard with Johnny Weir and Nev Schulman after the first round. Weir and Schulman pulled ahead of her by one point after the Relay Dances round added to all their scores, but Machado was nevertheless safe from elimination, moving her forward into the top seven. What did you think of her routine?
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