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DWTS Season 9 – Preliminary Power Rankings

Greetings all! I’m Courtney, and I’m super pumped that I’ll be doing this season’s power rankings.  Being that I’ve been an amateur ballroom dancer for the past 6 years, I tend to really get down to the “nitty gritty” of choreography and technique, but I’m also a sucker for an entertaining and likeable contestant, regardless of how good or bad they may have danced.  I’m definitely looking forward to see how things pan out this season (16 couples…wow!), and I look forward to seeing what you guys think as well :-)

Since we now know all of the celebs and all of their pro partners, I thought I would do a preliminary power ranking based solely on each celeb’s previous dance/athletic experience & overall likeability.  In addition, I have also taken into account their pro partner’s likeability and fan base, as the pro’s themselves have taken on an almost celeb status through the years, and many of them have almost as big a fan base as the celebs they teach (can you imagine how many teen voters tune into DWTS each week in the hopes that they might catch a glimpse of a bare-chested Mark or Derek?).  So without further ado, here they are…I’m curious to see what you guys think, so please, all feedback is appreciated!

1.) Mya & Dmitry Chaplin - Mya has, arguably, the most previous dance experience of any of this season’s celebs.  She had ballet & jazz training from the age of 2, and later picked up tap as well, and was good enough to land a spot performing with Savion Glover of the Dance Theater of Harlem (for those of you unfamiliar with him, he is to tap what Clint Eastwood is to Hollywood – a pretty big deal!).  She’s also fairly recognizable, as she’s a Grammy-winning recording artist and has had bit parts in a few movies (anyone remember her as Vern’s fiance in Shall We Dance?). And Mya is SEXY…I don’t see her as someone who would be timid on the dance floor. Dmitry also has a following of his own from his SYTYCD days, and now also has an Emmy nomination under his belt for the Argentine tango he choreographed for season 4 of SYTYCD.  For me, this is the couple to beat.

2.) Donny Osmond & Kym Johnson – Do I honestly think that Donny will outdance the 14 other couples in this competition? Absolutely not…but I think his fame alone (especially with female baby boomers) will make him a contender this season.  Granted, Donny has SOME dance experience from his years performing with The Osmonds, but I’m not sure it’s enough to outshine trained dancers like Debi or Aaron.  But think back to season 5, and the juggernaut that was Marie Osmond, who made it to the finals despite mediocre scores from the judges.  He also has an advantage in having Kym, who I find to be one of the more consistent & likeable pros on the show.  I don’t think these two have the “juice” to win the whole thing, but I definitely think they’ll be around for awhile.

3.) Debi Mazar & Maksim Chmerkovskiy - Little known fact: Debi began her career as a hip-hop B-girl in New York, and has appeared in 4 Madonna videos…so she is no stranger to dance.  She’s also appeared in quite a few movies, so she’s a fairly recognizable actress (another fun fact: She appeared in Beethoven’s 2nd with another season 9 celeb – Ashley Hamilton).  Debi is known for her roles as feisty, tough women, so that could be an advantage when it comes to aggressive dances like the paso doble & tango – however, it could also hurt her if she butts heads with her equally as feisty partner, Maks.  I see Maks as one of the more popular pros on the show (especially with the ladies), so I see this pair having some staying power.

4.) Mark Dacascos & Lacey Schwimmer – Ok, so maybe he isn’t a household name, but once people see him, the lightbulb comes on: “Ohhh, that Iron Chef guy!”.  You might also recognize him from martial arts films such as Cradle 2 The Grave, where he squared off with Jet Li. His expertise in martial arts could definitely be a strong advantage for him this season – I think he could be this season’s Gilles Marini, the lesser-known actor with a martial arts background that takes the competition by storm.  Did I mention he’s also pretty easy on the eyes? It’s never been a disadvantage in this competition (at least for the men) to be good-looking.  And he’s lucked into getting fan-fave Lacey as his partner, who I have found to have an almost cult-like following from both SYTYCD & the past two seasons of DWTS.  A hot combo, these two!

5.) Aaron Carter & Karina Smirnoff - About 11 years ago, during my awkward teenage years, I attended a Backstreet Boys concert where Aaron was the opening act.  I was amazed with the ease at which this kid was cartwheeling, handspringing, and flipping all over the stage…and he was only 10 at the time! Aaron’s got a background in gymnastics, as well as some hip-hop experience from his years as a pop act.  However, he also has a bit of a checkered past: troubles with substance abuse and the demise of several romantic relationships have made several tabloid covers, which may make him a bit less “likeable” to viewers.  But I could also see mom’s latching onto him as a sort of son-type figure, a la Cody Linley.  I think Karina is also one of the strongest female pros on the show, and has a knack for choreographing to showcase her partner’s strengths while hiding their weaknesses. These two could either be really good or really bad – I’m crossing my fingers it’s the former.

6.) Melissa Joan Hart & Mark Ballas – Could they have picked a more adorable, likeable gal to be on this season of DWTS? I find Melissa to be a prime example of a “girl next door” type – or rather the girl upstairs type, as she played on Clarissa Explains It All.  And she “bewitched” (pun intended) audiences for 7 seasons as a lovable teenager with magical powers on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.  I don’t know that she has any real dance experience, but, like Donny, I think she’ll be a contender based on star power alone.  And I think  reigning 2-time champ Mark has the chops (and the female following) to keep this pair going in the competition, regardless of the judge’s scores. These two also have an adorable moniker for their partnership – “Malarky”, which could help them to claim the spot as this season’s “cute” couple, much like Shawn & Mark last season.

7.) Joanna Krupa & Derek Hough – Models have generally not fared so well on the show.  And I’m afraid Joanna’s recent obscenity-laden tyrade against Terrell Owens on this summer’s reality show The Superstars could make her look a bit, er, “witchy” in the eyes of female viewers.  But the ladies love Derek Hough (ask Heidi!), and they want to keep him in the competition to watch him week after week.  Not only that, but I find Derek’s choreography to be very clever and entertaining (think last season’s “Jailhouse Rock” jive with Lil Kim), so this pair could get by on Derek’s skill & popularity alone.  They’re also both young & good-looking, which seems to be an advantage in romantic dances like the rumba & waltz.

8.) Kathy Ireland & Tony Dovolani – Echoing my sentiments above, models seem to really struggle on this show (remember first-round cast-offs Josie Maran & Paulina Porizkova?).  However, Kathy Ireland seems to be one of the world’s most recognizable supermodels, appearing in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue 13 years in a row, as well as owning a clothing line and writing 5 books.  I think her level of fame could keep her around for a little while.  Tony is a fairly experienced pro on the show, too, so maybe their collective “fame” will help carry them through week after week.  They’re also well matched in stature (she’s 5’10″; he’s over 6′), which actually makes more of a difference (especially in the smooth dances, such as the waltz & foxtrot) than you might think!

9.) Ashley Hamilton & Edyta Sliwinska – I had to really rack my brain to think of a movie that Ashley had been in – and all I came up with was Beethoven’s 2nd (he was Nicholle Tom’s sleazy boyfriend).  I did, however, remember his reputation as a bit of a partier, and his infamous 5-month marriage to Shannon Doherty.  Oh, and he’s season 2 celeb George Hamilton’s son.  I daresay Ashley might have a bit more to prove on the show given his iffy recognizability (on many messages boards I encountered, people thought he was a girl!), but he’s got Edyta, the only pro to be on all 9 seasons of the show, and they both are attractive individuals.  If Ashley really works hard, I could see him moving up in the ranks.

10.) Natalie Coughlin & Alec Mazo – Olympic athletes seem to really thrive on the show (think Shawn Johnson & Apolo Ohno), so I think Natalie might have a lot to prove.  But she is an athlete, so she may be able to withstand the grueling pace of the show.  She has Alec, who, despite having choreography that the judges like, always seems to blend into the background for me.  I fear that this pair might get lost in the shuffle, and may get forgotten by America when it comes time to vote. 

11.) Michael Irvin & Anna Demidova - I’m a bit indecisive about this couple: on one hand, Michael is a former NFL Hall-of-Famer, and NFL players have generally done well on the show – however, he is also no stranger to controversy, having a few brushes with the law throughout the years.  I fear that viewers might not like that, and may not vote as a result, even if he is quite good.  But he does have Anna, who proved herself during last year’s pro competition and was voted by America to be part of this season’s cast, so she’s got a following…she also seems to know how to bring out the best in her partner, as evidenced by her tango with Maurice Greene last season.  I have my fingers crossed with this pair as well – I would really like to see more of Anna.

12.) Chuck Liddell & Anna Trebunskaya – Not gonna lie – Chuck scares me! He’s a very intimidating guy,but I guess that comes with the territory when you’re a mixed-martial arts champion.  So here’s my dilemma: the only precedents we have for professional “fighters” on the show are Evander Holyfield (the 2nd contestant voted out in season 1) and Floyd Mayweather (4th voted out in season 5) – and neither did exceedingly well.  I fear that Chuck may fall prey to the problem of being rather “heavy” on his feet – however, he is extremely strong (which helps with lifts & stunts), and is obviously no stranger to grueling training, so he may be able to push through and really improve week after week.  Anna has been out of the DWTS game since season 6 (due to the fact that she was one of the top ranked International Latin competitors in the country and was still competing as a pro - not an easy feat!), so she may not have quite as much of a following as some of the other pros…however, I think that at least some of Chucks MMA fans might tune in and vote for him, which could tip the scales in their favor.

13.) Louie Vito & Chelsie Hightower – Some of you are probably very shocked about my placement of this couple – let me explain.  I think these two may have a lot of work to do based solely on the fact that not many people outside of the extreme sports venue have heard of Louie Vito (to quote my mother, “Wasn’t he in The Godfather?”).  Looking back to previous seasons of DWTS, we can see that decent dancers are often voted out before their time simply because they don’t have the fan base to vote for them (I thought Ted McGinley in season 7 was great – but no one seemed to know who he was!) However, Louie is an athlete, so he is definitely not a stranger to getting physical, and Chelsie has some popularity from both her time on SYTYCD & last season of DWTS.  If these two hit the ground running the first week and keep up the good work, they could be around for awhile.

14.) Kelly Osbourne & Louis Van Amstel -  Oh Kelly…I sincerely hope your years as a foul-mouthed teen on The Osbournes and stint in rehab have not disgraced you in the eyes of the American public! While I adore Kelly’s quirky, edgy style and multiple tattoos, I don’t know that the rest of America will, and may not vote as a result.  However, Kelly has lost quite a bit of weight through diet and exercise in recent years, so she may surprise us all.  Louis has also been away from the pro role on DWTS since season 6, but he has definitely not fallen off the radar, performing in group numbers on the show & choreographing for the most recent season of SYTYCD.

15.) Macy Gray & Jonathan Roberts – Macy has been out of the spotlight for a few years now (her last album came out in 2007), and Jonathan has been as well (he returned last season after being absent since season 6, only to be voted out the first round).  I worry this could hinder them in votes, as well as the fact that Macy is not an athlete - I think having at least some experience in a sport (or any form of movement) seems to help when learning any kind of dance, so compared to a lot of her competition this season, Macy may be at a disadvantage.  She does, however, have an advantage in the fact that she is a mother of 3, which may endear her to the many moms that tune into the show. 

16.) Tom DeLay & Cheryl Burke – Poor, poor Cheryl Burke.  Someone had to take him on this season, and I guess she drew the short straw.  At 62, he is the oldest contestant this season (and a non-athlete), so he may not be able to keep up with young, athletic powerhouses like Louie & Natalie.  He’s also a former politician – a disgraced former politician.  I think that alone will make him hard for America to rally behind, and may be his undoing in this competition.  However, we have no precedents for politicians on the show, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the votes fall. I have a feeling that any chance of success this pair has this season will hinge upon Cheryl’s instruction and choreography.  She’s a two-time DWTS champ, and is known for her “tough love” approach to teaching, which seems to bring out the best in her partners…so if anyone can keep Tom in the competition, it’s Cheryl!

So there you have it…my initial predictions for this season’s 16 couples.  Who will end up on top and who will get stuck at the bottom of the heap? We’ll see!

August 26, 2009 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

The New Dancing with the Stars 2009 Dances

Okay well it seems as if there is some controversy over the new dances that are being added to the mix this year. So I decided to try and get some more information for those of us who aren’t familiar with these particular dances. The only one of these that falls into the list of “traditional” ballroom dance is the Bolero and it is in the American Rhythm category.

Let’s start with the Charleston. It was developed in the early 1920’s and it turns out that the Lindy Hop was developed from the Charleston. It can be danced in a partnership, in a group, or as a solo. Check out this website with instructions for the steps from the 20‘s. Also take a look at this dance with Lucille Ball and Ginger Rogers.

Next, let’s take a look at the Bolero. Originally from Spain, this is the only traditional ballroom dance. Wikipedia mentions that this dance is different from the other American Rhythm dances because it requires Cuban motion, the rise and fall of the waltz, as well as the contra body movement of the tango. The videos that I found on Youtube reminded me of the Rumba. What do you think?

Okay next on our list is the Lambada, the “Forbidden Dance.” From Brazil, a couple of the forerunners of this dance are the salsa and the merengue. It is very fast-paced. Everything that I’ve seen makes it look like this will be definitely be one of the sexiest, hottest dances of the season. There are some instructional videos on Youtube that you should check out but I wanted you to see a dance.

The last of the new dances is the two step. Now there are a few kinds of two step,
nightclub, country, and ballroom. To me these all of these seem a lot alike and remind me of the Foxtrot. This video is of Lacey’s father Buddy teaching the nightclub two step. I thought it would be fun to see where she got her moves

Okay so now that we know a little more about these dances let’s talk about them. Can the pros handle these? Well, I have a feeling Lacey will be able to do the two step since her father developed it. Now the question is will that give her an unfair advantage? I personally don’t think so. All of these dances contain steps and movements that are familiar to other dances used in previous seasons. The Charleston contains elements of the quickstep and may be a “kiss of death” dance like the quickstep seems to be. The Lambada may be too spicy to get votes from some people but may be a very memorable dance that draws a ton of votes…we’ll have to see. The others are a lot like other dances and that might be a vote killer too. If a couple does a Rumba one week and a Bolero the next…people might not vote thinking ‘this isn’t new, I just saw this.’

Now, I know that most of you are not looking forward to these new dances but now that we know a little more would you choose to keep any of them? I’m excited for the “Forbidden Dance” myself. I have to wonder though, will any of the older dances be replaced by the new ones? I loved all the dances from last season and don’t want to see them go-especially the Paso. In the end, I think that maybe these dances were added because there are SO MANY couples this season. Hate the added dances or love ‘em but it’s gonna be a great season. It’s time to get those dancing shoes on!

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Mirrorball Mayhem: Don’t forget to factor in the Alternative Demographic Factor

It’s an honor to be writing for PureDWTS.com! Having been a regular viewer and enormous fan of DWTS since the second season, and a constant viewer since season four, I have noted a number of trends that have occurred over the various seasons. And I’ve noted that often the biggest factor in viewer’s voting, one that has been a constant throughout each season, has been what I call the Alternate Demographic Factor.

The Alternate Demographic Factor, or ADF for short, aka the specialized fanbase, has decided a number of seasons. And it has a tendency to keep people around longer than they perhaps should.

Last season was a perfect example. Ty Murray made it to the finals, despite the fact that most people had no idea who he was, he was an incredibly stiff dancer, and to be blunt was just really bad about 60% of the time. When the season started, everyone said “Who?”, and “A rodeo guy? What kind of star is that?” and other various sundry things. But by the end of the season, his winning personality and genuine sweet charm had won him a whole new legion of fans. He came back week after week, hanging on over other people he really had no business beating, such as Li’l Kim. Why? Ty tapped into his natural fan base – his fans from the rodeo circuit. These fans saw Ty as their chance to make a mark and a breakthrough to a general audience base. And Ty was the perfect representative of their interests.

Who knew who Helio Castroneves was before his turn on the show? Racing fans – but almost no one else. And Helio and his partner Julianne Hough worked that fan base like never before. Again, his genuine sweetness and undeniable charm helped win over the dancing fans, and he eventually went on to capture the revered Mirrorball trophy as season five’s champion, beating out the people who most fans thought were sure to capture the title, Mel B and Maks.

Season eight also had a huge fanbase issue. Shawn Johnson was an underdog when she first joined the compettition, a 17 year old Olympic gold medal winner who was known for just two days of competition at the Bejing Olympics. But she had a huge fanbase, not just from the olympic fans, but general gymnastic fans, and a midwestern loyalty to Iowa’s favorite daughter. She upset expected champs Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke, and everyone was stunned and amazed, but given the olympic track record, they probably shouldn’t have been.

There have been other demo factors as well. The seniors came out week after week for Cloris Leachman and kept her around much much MUCH longer than they should have; the boy band fans helped both Joey Fatone and Lance Bass make the finals (and genuine dancing talent didn’t hurt either); football fans have come out in droves to support Jason Taylor, Warren Sapp, and 3rd season champion Emmitt Smith, among others. I could go on and on about it, but I think you get my drift here…

Once again, despite the odds and the previous history lessons, the same things I heard last year about Ty Murray I’ve been hearing again since last week’s announcement about a number of this seasons competitors, but most notably two sports figures little known outside their respective sports. As they say, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and that’s exactly what’s happening, with many fans pooh-poohing the inclusion of UFC former champion Chuck Liddell and especially champion snowboarder Louie Vito in this year’s cast.

A disclaimer of sorts here – I have been advocating the inclusion of an extreme sports star on DWTS on our Popcorn N Roses website and Subject:CINEMA podcasts for over a year now, three seasons in DWTS time, and I have focused most of that attenion of Vito because I’m a huge fan of his and because he’d already interviewed for it last year. But I would have been happy with ANY extreme sports star, from skateboarders Bob Burnquist and Bucky Lasek to other snowboarders like Mike Goldschmidt, Danny Davis, Scotty Lago, and Shaun White to BMX champs like Dave Mirra, Anthony Napolitan, Garrett Reynolds, Daniel Dhers, and Jamie Bestwick. But I’m especially happy they went with Vito because he’s a charming, talented and funny guy who puts everything he has into whatever he does. He has a better-than-average shot at making the 2010 mens snowboard Olympic team, and as my wife says, he’s just so gosh-darned cute.

It’s evident that sports fans are especially rabid when it comes to voting for their guys and gals. As long as they don’t embarrass the sport, or don’t look terrible (Ty Murray aside) on the dance floor, their votes have been enough to bring them back week after week. Again, look to the fact that since the show started there have been over a dozen sports-oriented stars in the top four, and FIVE of them – more than HALF over 8 seasons – have been Champions – Emmitt Smith, Apolo Anton Ohno, Helio Castroneves, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Shawn Johnson. Three more were just narrowly beaten for the MirrorBall – Jerry Rice, Jason Taylor, and Warren Sapp. And three more have made the final four – Stacy Keibler, Lalia Ali, and Ty Murray. And consider this – only one Olympian hasn’t won; Misty May-Trainor had to bow out with an injury. Otherwise, I believe it was quite possible that she too would have at least made the final four.

It’s not all about popularity. Many of the stars who have danced on the show were not well known before they appeared except with an already existing fan base. And even those who were, and who were just average on the dance floor – think Marie Osmond, Ian Ziering, or Cameron Mathison – they were kept around by their existing fan base and the new fans they built from the regular DWTS viewers. Cameron and also Marissa Jaret Winoker weren’t terrific on the dance floor, but they had fun, they let the viewers know they were having fun, and that they REALLY wanted to stick around. And the fans delivered as long as they could. And they both made it longer than anyone thought they would, with Cameron getting fifth place his season, and Marissa making the semi-finals in hers.

Back to Louie Vito for a moment – from what I’ve read around the net in the past week, some people, a lot of them big DWTS fans, are already counting him out. But Louie is one of the most savvy extreme guys out there. He has a well oiled fan base thanks to his well designed website, he Twitters regularly, he has a huge mailing list, and has followings on Facebook and MySpace. And that doesn’t even count the many often rabidly loyal snowboarding fans, or fans of extreme sports in general. He is also known to throw everything he has at what he does, which is how he came to be one of the top snowboarders on the contest circuit. He has TV experience, hosting a couple of extreme-oriented tv shows and occasionally doing commentary. And he knows how to market himself. All of which could play a role in how long he lasts, particularly if he turns out to be actually passable as a dancer. Somehow, knowing Louie from being a fan of his for a long time, I have the feeling he’s going to surprise a LOT of people.

Last season, no one I knew had any idea who the heck Gilles Marini was. By the end of the season, he was genuinely a STAR. IN fact, he was THE breakthrough star of the season. And the fans that the stars make while dancing also carry over to their natural fanbase after the exposure. For proof, look to the ratings for the Indianapolis 500- they had been declining steadily for several years, but suddenly took a jump from 4.7 in 2007 to a 5.1 in 2008, after Helio Castroneves won the Mirrorball the previous fall. Was it DWTS fans tuning in? Could be, could be…

All in all, if there’s anything that’s been proven over the past eight season, it’s that ANYONE can make it to the top four. And even the best known or well-loved can take an early fall, like Li’l Kim or Sabrina Bryan. It’s going to be up to the “Nobody knows them” stars – Vito, Liddell, Joanna Krupa, Natalie Coughlin and others – to prove they can make new fans. And that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Let the dancing commence! Oh, and one other thing…GO LOUIE!

August 25, 2009 I Written By

TC is the owner of the PNR Networks family of websites, including Popcorn N Roses (http://popcornnroses.com) and producer and co host of the popular film podcast Subject:CINEMA (http://subjectcinema.com). He is a rabid DWTS Fan, and he and S:C partner (and wife) Kim Brown will be launching a new podcast, Mirrorball Mayhem, for DWTS fans in the very near future.

Top 3 Things I Wish They’d Change on DWTS Season 9

1. Samantha
We’ll just get this one out of the way. It’s been said that she is one of those people that you either love or hate and I agree. I just think that it’s time to find someone who everyone can love…and who doesn’t annoy me. :)

2.The Extra Couples
Okay I know some people are probably excited about the extra celebs and that most of the pros will be featured…but I think that it’s just too much. I would think that it would be harder to get votes…of course I might be wrong.

3. Group Dances
I want to see more! I know there have been rumors (thanks to Heidi and the pros’ Tweets) about a group dance in week 1 and I hope so!  The reason that I personally like the group dances is that it gives me insight on which celebrity is the better dancer. Does this mean that I’ll vote for the best dancer? Not necessarily but I like to know if I voting for skill or popularity.

Now I want to know…what do you want to see changed this season? Do you like the celeb/pro pairings? Is there something you just really hate? Do you disagree with me? I can’t wait to hear from you!

I Written By

Paparazzi Video from Sunday, August 24th

Yes, I am a hypocrite. I confess. I don’t like a lot of things about the paparazzi but I have to give it up for the guys at PopTV – I saw a lot of their video when the Ballas Hough Band was playing the Grove last year and they always treated Derek and Mark (and any of the celebs and pro dancers who happened to be there) very well. Not obnoxious at all – relatively speaking. :-) Anyway, they got video yesterday of Jonathan, Maks, Tony, Mark and Derek coming out of the rehearsal studio. All well and good, but most of the video after those initial shots is of Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower. Two tiny little people, but both seem very, very sweet. You can almost hear the paps go “Whuh??” when Louie starts talking about snowboarding in New Zealand.  Anyway, seems like a sweet guy.

August 24, 2009 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Official Dancing with the Stars Seaon 9 Partners

Well, we knew that the official list of Dancing with the Stars season 9 partners was going to be announced today. However, it was completely anticlimactic, because we’d already told you about all the partners already. Mad props to Heidi and the other readers who were able to find all the DWTS season 9 partners before they announced it. Nice try ABC, but between twitter and the Paparazzi it couldn’t be suppressed.

For those that might have missed all of our postings about the DWTS season 9 partners, here’s the complete and official list of DWTS partners:

Natalie Coughlin with Alec Mazo
Mark Dacascos with Lacey Schwimmer
Tom DeLay with Cheryl Burke
Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff
Macy Gray with Jonathan Roberts
Ashley Hamilton with Edyta Sliwinska
Melissa Joan Hart with Mark Ballas
Kathy Ireland with Tony Dovolani
Michael Irvin with Anna Demidova
Joanna Krupa with Derek Hough
Chuck Liddell with Anna Trebunskaya
Debi Mazar with Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Mya with Dmitry Chaplin
Kelly Osbourne with Louis van Amstel
Donny Osmond with Kym Johnson
Louie Vito with Chelsie Hightower

Watch for our DWTS season 9 power rankings of all the partnerships coming very soon. The season is just around the corner!! We’ll also have a poll soon to let you vote for your favorite Dancing with the Stars season 9 couple.

I Written By

Better known as Charlie.

Top 5 Things I Can’t Wait to See on DWTS Season 9

A Note from John: This is the first post for Tabitha. So, we want to welcome Tabitha to the Pure DWTS family. As you’ll soon find from this post she’s a real fan of DWTS. Enjoy!

1. The Paso-Doble
This dance just gets me every time. It doesn’t matter if it’s performed great or if just stinks. It always gets my heart going pitter-patter. The passion, the anger, the “kill” at the end…definitely my favorite.

2. The New Dances (Charleston, Bolero, Lambada, and the Two-Step)
I’ve heard of all of these but I’m not completely familiar with most of these dances. I can’t wait to see what choreography the pros will come up with though.

3. The Costumes
Okay, I know that they can be a little strange sometimes but aren’t we all secretly waiting to see just how crazy and umm revealing they are? Is someone going to rip their shirt off or wear bright red silk or almost have a “wardrobe malfunction?” It’s part of the fun.

4. The Premiere
Nothing else compares to that first night…except maybe the Finale.

5. The First Celebrity to Be Voted Off
Not one of the pros or the celebrities want this…but it has to be someone. And let me say with 16 couples maybe it’s a good thing that they go.

Ok, what are you most excited to see on the next season of Dancing with the Stars?

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DWTS Season 9 – Entertainment News Coverage, Week of August 17 (cont.)

Oy veh – some interesting videos collected from Extra over the past week. But we have a guest appearance by Gilles!

On Paula Abdul, LaToya, Lou Ferrigno and 16 Contestants…..and Donny, of course.

Aaron showing his moves and talking about MJ, odds on winners, Iron Chef (Hmmmm….strangely hot :-), Kathy Ireland and Tom Delay:

Gilles early pick (which matches mine), early partner revelations, Aaron Carter and Tom DeLay:

August 23, 2009 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Who Will Win DWTS Season 9?

According to me. :-) For now. I reserve the right to adjust my predictions based on actual dance ability. My guesses are based on several factors:

  1. Fanbase, fanbase, fanbase
  2. Body
  3. Determination and Attitude
  4. Looks/Charm

When you get right down to it I think, personally, that Gilles Marini was the better dancer last season, but the tween fanbase (and the state of Iowa) were not to be denied.  This is NOT to say that Shawn isn’t a fine dancer – she certainly is, and she’s cute as a bug to boot.  She had all four factors in her favor, whereas Gilles wasn’t as strong in number 1.  Conversely, there’s Brooke Burke – NO fanbase going in, but she had 2, 3 and 4 going for her and a tremendous natural dance ability – but she also had no one going against her that had a huge fanbase combined with ability.  Then, look at Ty Murray – neither he nor Lil’ Kim had fanbases that overlapped with the “traditional” DWTS audience – meaning people who would VOTE – but both did really, really well. But, Lil Kim was the superior dancer whereas Ty became hugely popular over the course of the season because of his charming personality. I think lots of people loved Lil’ Kim too, but Ty was a charming force to be reckoned with. ;-)

This season? Well, is there any way to beat an Osmond named Donny?  I shudder to speak his sister’s name after that disasterous Doll Dance (and the fact that she bumped the more deserving Jennie and Derek), but Donny is arguably a better dancer – he’s been doing it since he was a little kid. And then there are those whispered rumors of him and Anna Trebunskaya and a studio. ;-)

Ah, Aaron Carter.  Again, a fanbase, albeit one that appears only larger than Derek Hough’s and Lacey Schwimmer’s (per twitter) by 15 percent. I don’t know if that speaks well to Derek and Lacey or poorly to Aaron. :-) While that may not signal a huge fanbase for a celeb, I have a feeling this guy can move and will connect with the Tween/Teen audience.  That’s a big deal.  I don’t know if that will be enough – Cody Linley made it to what? Fifth place? And how much of that was attributable to Julianne Hough?? So, I dunno.  I’m liking him for the final four, in any case.

Mya.  Lots of experience with choreography, already a good dancer. I don’t hate her for it – it simply means she can take direction. She’s somewhat tall and lean so she has a good body for it.  Her partner, Dmitry Chaplin, is Emmy nominated (along with Derek Hough), but that is for SYTYCD where they have a LOT more leeway in moves and such – he’s essentially an unknown quantity on this show, thanks to Holly Madison.  Decent sized fanbase for Mya, but do her fans overlap with those of Lil’Kim or DWTS?? She could easily get bumped by someone who has more fans – hard to say.

Melissa Joan Hart – five words: Two long-running TV Shows. She might not have the huge twitter following, but she’ll get the nostalgia vote.  Lots of people grew up on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.  I don’t think her likeability or her TV popularity will carry her to the final four without a strong dance ability – in any other season, with any other cast, maybe.  Not this time.

Kelly Osbourne amuses me. :-)  She has a tremendous following – but so did Kim Kardashian.  Kelly’s really going to have to dance well to last beyond the first couple weeks, IMO.  I don’t know what to make of producers pairing her with Louis. Combine that with the little factoid that he’s been choreographing for So You Think You Can Dance which starts up again in the fall and well….?

Mark Dacascos – the Iron Chef dude. I don’t know anything about his fanbase, but the guy can move.  I’m predicting this guy will be the Gilles of Season 9. I don’t need to say much more than that. Just watch one of the Extra videos that I posted earlier to see what I mean.

Natalie Coughlin. Again, what more do I have to say than Olympic Gold Medalist?? If it weren’t for a guy named Michael Phelps she’d probably be on cereal boxes. Heck, maybe she is anyway!!  Question is, will she be a Shawn or a Maurice??  I do believe the odds are in her favor.

As for the rest of the Cast -

I think that Tom DeLay and Macy Gray will be fighting to see who leaves first – that’s just my general impression of the bottom tier.  I also think the snowboarder Louie Vito is SO unknown that he will have to be Apollo Anto Ono’s twin brother right out of the gate in order to go far.  Every time I tell someone there’s a snowboarder in the cast they say “The red haired guy?!?!?”  Doesn’t bode well. 

Chuck Liddell?? Who? I’m sure he has fans, but do they watch DWTS? He will have to channel Ty Murray otherwise.

Kathy Ireland says she’s clumsy – is she being humble?  I any case, models don’t ordinarily do well, and neither do women of a certain age, sad to say. Hate that.

Speaking of models, Joanna Krupa is very beautiful, driven and really wants to do well. She has Derek Hough as a partner who successfully took another model to the final and won.  The first couple weeks will determine how she does in the competition. She has a hurdle or two to overcome, although I think the Superstars audience was so small that the impact may also be small. I also think she is far from alone in despising Terrell Owens. :-) As a relative unknown in this group of slightly better knowns she’s going to have to be good right away.

Ashley Hamiltion – total unknown. Also going to have to be good right away, although I doubt he’ll be the first to go either way.

That leaves us with Debi Mazar and Michael Irvin – either one of which could be a dark horse favorite; Michael because he’s a pro football player and they always do well and Debi because she has the build (and Maks) and I think people will like her. I know I do. ;-) She’s very striking looking in the rehearsal pictures.

My Final Four (for now):

Say it with me now – in NO particular order:
- Donny Osmond
- Natalie Coughlin
- Mark Dascascos
- Mya

Dark horses:
Aaron, Melissa, Joanna

I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

DWTS Season 9, Week 1…Group Dance????

Derek Twitter Group Dance

What the….? I would say – and I’m sure you all would as well – that Derek is referring to a Pro Dance. But there are a couple problems with that: first, they don’t need to rehearse a pro dance this far out; second, Joanna (Derek’s partner) made reference to a Foxtrot “relay” dance the other day:

Joanna twitter

First off, it bugs that Joanna and Derek got switched from their original Cha Cha to the Salsa, which I think is harder, but could be flashier. Secondly – 16 people and you’re going to have a group dance the first week?? I guess now we know how they’re going to fill two hours on Monday AND Tuesday with performances? Holy Moley that’s a lot of dancing. This has the potential to be a train wreck and not in a fun way. :-)

Am I alarmist? Is Derek confused? He has hit his head more than once, after all. ;-)

ETA: Well, Mark Ballas said he just got done rehearsing a Pro Dance. So, someone tell me what a “relay” dance is, and why the couples are all talking about two dances?

I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)