Heather Morris‘ regular partner on Dancing with the Stars, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, is still sidelined with a calf injury. But that wasn’t stopped her from moving up on the leaderboard and delivering great routines with her temporary replacement partner, troupe member Alan Bersten. And after their Tango inspired by Britney Spears, perhaps Alan is the best thing to happen to Heather.
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Alan danced with Heather in week 2, but since he filled in at the last minute following Maks’ injury, that Jive didn’t completely work as a partnership. This time Heather got to spend a full week rehearsing with Alan and their partnership and chemistry were electric, delivering a fantastic routine that received raves from the judges and a fantastic score that put them one point behind the leader, Normani Kordei.
The judges praised Heather for focusing more on ballroom and they specifically commented about her great chemistry with her new partner. I’ve been championing Alan to become a full-fledged pro partner for a while, but this seals the deal and perhaps he’s an even better partner for Heather than Maks.
First, Alan brings youth and vitality. He’s only 22, still young and hungry, and 15 years younger than Maks. Age does play a role on DWTS, with the demanding rehearsal schedule taking a toll on the dancers’ bodies.
Second, while I’m sure Alan has a busy professional and personal life, he’s more likely to be able to commit his entire focus to the show. Maks has his own tour, plus a newborn baby and a wedding to help plan. His priorities have likely shifted.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, Heather needs someone with personality. Maks has plenty of experience and knows how to dance. But Heather, as we all know, is a professional dancer. Sure, ballroom is a different kind of dancing, but she probably doesn’t need as much help with the technical aspects. Instead, the judges have pointed out that she needs to convey more personality in her routines. Alan can be a huge asset in that department.
We saw in the rehearsal footage that Heather called him a bit of a goofball, and that could be what she needs. Maks can be a little too serious at times, so adding a different kind of energy can only increase the number of tools in Heather’s arsenal.
Maks has proven himself to be a great partner over the years, winning with Meryl Davis and, more impressively, getting Kirstie Alley to second place. But Heather was on Glee and worked as a back-up dancer for Beyonce. Her strength is her youthful energy, and it’s not exactly something Maks can match at this point in his career.
Maks is older than the other male pros this season by a few years, and that gap gets even bigger when you compare him to the female pros like Witney and Lindsay, both in their early 20s. Maks said he’s going to try to get back into the ballroom for next week’s show, but I hope he takes his time to heal properly. The more we get to see of Alan the better, not just for us, but for Heather too.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.
(Image and video courtesy of ABC)