I understand where you are coming from, but don't feel like that is entirely a fair statement if by "familiar" you mean working mechanical knowledge. Many of the pros on DWTS, for instance, were not trained in the U.S. and were accomplished enough to be teaching what they knew vs. needing to adopt a cater-to-all approach. (That said, if they've judged it and still aren't familiar with it characteristically, shame on them!)
But in these early seasons, the pros were much closer to classic competition choreography than American TV show choreography. If you watch Mario Lopez and Karina's first cha cha, you see how far the show has come. I should say that this was 2006, the same year Karina had been a Blackpool finalist.
They both wore plain black outfits...no sugar and spice added. They wouldn't have looked odd at all on a real Latin dance competition. We can't say the same of the outfits today.
The music wasn't one of those numbers you could ride on, like Apolo's LMFAO cha cha. The song was about 9 years old at the time.
The choreography was GREAT. It was pure cha cha. I saw lock steps (a lot), time steps, guapacha, foot changes, overturns, cuban breaks, new yorkers, ronde chasses. It's hard to see choreoraphy like that nowadays...I'm not implying that the celebrities can't handle it, but things have changed.
That would be Shania Twain's "Man, I feel like a woman"?
I'd post a link to the video, but....
Anyhow, I can fit a pretty slow cha cha into the basic beat, so I'm sure Gilles will come up with something. (although I'd probably do a West Coast if I had to pick SOMETHING to dance to it.)
So... that didn't go as badly as I thought. Short and sweet:
Loved Derek and Shawn. I really love how Derek handles quirky challenges.
Surprised by Maks and Kirstie (in a good way). Not sure how I feel about them getting extra credit for the group dance though.
Liked Gilles and Peta, his costume was distracting though.
Liked Sabrina's rumba, but not sold on the emotion. Seemed too heavy?
Melissa and Kelly did well, but aren't standing out enough for me still
Like Apolo and Karina but... 10s????
Emmitt didn't show anything noteworthy IMO. He's my pick to go home.
I can't decide if I'm dreading or really looking forward to next week's fusion dances. Could be really funny, could be really ugly. I'm sure Derek will come up with something good at least. I think once you've successfully choreographed a 1950's beach paso, you're good to go with almost anything.
I think the pros are specifically told to do their Viennese Waltzes, Waltzes and Foxtrots as "American" Style, while Tango and Quickstep are "International." Obviously liberties get taken regardless of which style they're supposed to be doing...