Court’s DWTS Las Vegas Adventure (Live Show Review & Other Miscellanery)

As many of you know, I was in Las Vegas last weekend and had the pleasure of seeing the DWTS live show at the Tropicana – which, of course, I will review for you guys, since certain other individuals *cough*JOHN*cough* haven’t managed to write the 2nd half of their review of the premiere of said show ;-) This post could get a bit wordy, as I took quite a few notes (and just have a really good memory, to boot) and I’ll throw in a few other possibly-unrelated-to-DWTS details for context, as well as some general Vegas info, since some of you have asked about my trip - so if you’re only interested in my review of the show, feel free to skip the next few paragraphs.  And if you hate spoilers (i.e. you want to be COMPLETELY surprised when you see the show), I’d either just skip this post altogether or just read my overall take at the bottom - because I’m not holding back.  You’ve been warned ;-) And special thanks go to Heidi, for helpin’ a girl out with some picture merges that were driving me cray-cray :-P

So why was I in Vegas in the first place, you ask? My best friend Kendra is getting married at the end of July, and she wanted a bachelorette party for the ages – so naturally, we HAD to go Vegas :-) There were 12 of us altogether (11 rowdy bachelorettes and 1 gay bachelor, who I must say put us all to shame with how fabulously he was dressed the entire trip ;-)), and the majority of us stayed at the Flamingo, since we were able to get a great rate on standard rooms – with 4 girls to a room, it was only $82 total for each of us for 3 nights, which is pretty awesome for a well-known hotel on the strip that isn’t a total dive.  Overall, I wouldn’t say the Flamingo is a particularly special or ritzy hotel (if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d go with the Bellagio, Palazzo, or Venetian…but be prepared to shell out big $$$), but if you’re on a budget, it’s certainly more than sufficient – the rooms are clean and the decor is kitchy & cute (think 1960′s, Rat Pack, original Ocean’s Eleven – lots of dots, stripes, retro furniture, and of course, pink :-)).  I’m very into the nostalgia of Vegas, so the Flamingo appealed to me in that it was originally built by infamous mobster Bugsy Siegel, and legend has it that the actual motive behind his murder was to change the management of the Flamingo.  But anyway – if you’re in Vegas, I definitely recommend trying their Paradise Garden Buffet – it’s pretty affordable, as far as buffets in Vegas go, and is quite good…especially the brunch buffet.  Plus the views of their courtyard and flock of live flamingoes are gorgeous :-) Also at the Flamingo? Donny & Marie Osmond’s live show – I didn’t see it (no time, and honestly, not much of a desire), but I did see these in the lobby:

The one on the left is Donny’s costume from his freestyle with Kym in season 9, as well as his MBT (and yes, according to the guest services director that I asked, it is his real MBT – apparently he insisted it be put in the case with his costume); the one on the right is Marie’s dress from her quickstep with Jonathan in season 5 (and one of those freaky dolls she designs – guess they had to put SOMETHING there when they found out that Donny wanted to display his MBT, although I’m not sure why they didn’t display this doll instead).  I found Marie’s costume pretty unremarkable up close – for as fabulous as it looked on the show, upon further scrutiny, it’s really just a tan silk gown with some gems glued on; but Donny’s suit is very well-made and clearly took a lot of work.  Interesting how different the costumes look on tv vs. in person (more on that later).

I arrived in Vegas late Thursday night, spent most of the next day bumming around the hotel & pool, and then Friday night was the official bachelorette party – we all dressed up in purple dresses (Kendra picked that as her “bachelorette color”), rented a party bus and went and saw the Thunder from Down Under show at Excalibur.  For those of you unfamiliar, Thunder is a “male revue” – in other words, hunky dudes stripping down to their skivvies for the viewing pleasure of a bunch of rowdy women; pretty much the same as Chippendales, minus the bowtie & cuffs, and with the entire cast hailing from Australia.  I’m not going to go into detail about it here, but let’s just say the show is not for those with delicate sensibilities – you all know I’m not a prude, but even I was taken aback by some of the things I saw in that show. 8O After that, we did some clubbing (which, as a non-drinker and someone not fond of crowds or smoke, was not really my cup of tea), and then called it a night.  Bachelorette duties fulfilled :-)

The next day was kind of free for everyone to do what they wanted – the bulk of the group went to see Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian  (which will end its 6-year run there in September), but I had another show in mind: the Dancing with the Stars: Live in Las Vegas show at the Tropicana, which just opened at the end of April.  After a bit of deliberating, I sprang for the $144 VIP ticket, justifying the purchase to myself by saying “Hey, I haven’t wasted any money gambling or imbibing the entire time I’ve been here, and I could write a really awesome VIP review for Pure!” ;-) The show was at 8 pm on Saturday night, but since I could only buy the voucher for the show at the Flamingo box office, I had to go pick up my actual ticket to the show at the Tropicana box office before 7 pm.  I took a cab (which is surprisingly affordable in Vegas) and got there at about 6:30.  They let me pick which available table I wanted to sit at (the first two rows of VIP seating are small round tables that seat 4, right in front of the stage), and the box office gal recommended A22, so I said “Sure!”, got my ticket, and then found myself with about 45 minutes to just bum around the hotel before the doors to the theater opened at 7:30.  I actually think the Tropicana may be my favorite hotel I saw in Vegas – it was just renovated last year, so everything looks very clean & new, and the decor is very reminiscent of South Beach Miami, both modern & retro…lots of white marble, tropical patterned-carpet, white leather, linen upholstery, and wicker lounge chairs.  I could see it being a place where Ricky Riccardo may have stayed back in the 1950′s :-) I’ve been told there are some great, affordable room/show packages at the Tropicana, so if you’re contemplating catching the show while in Vegas and haven’t decided where to stay, I definitely recommend the Tropicana – it’s nice, has some tasty-looking restaurants, and it’s within walking distance of Mandalay Bay, Excalibur, the MGM Grand, & the Luxor.

The DWTS show is in the Tropicana theater, which is fairly small – it only seats about 500, so it gives the show more of an intimate feel, and I don’t really think there are any “bad” seats in it.  Outside the theater, they’ve put some of the costumes from previous seasons of the show on display – I recognized 3 of them off the bat: Brandy’s paso doble costume from season 11, Cheryl’s Viennese waltz costume from season 13, and Lacey’s pink costume from the Hanson pro dance in season 12.  They all have spotlights on them, so I had a bit of a hard time getting great pix, especially of Cheryl’s costume:

Just like Marie’s costume that is on display at the Flamingo, I found that many of the costumes look better from far away than they do up-close – the pants on Brandy’s costume are really no more than a basic pair of black leggings, and it looked like Lacey’s costume may have been a bit discolored due to long-term exposure to the spotlight.  A notable exception: Cheryl’s white & gold Viennese waltz dress.  As hideous as I find the overall design to be, the beadwork on it is just mind-blowing.  Thousands of sequins. Oddly enough, I also think I saw a blackjack dealer wearing the top Kym wore for she & Joey’s foxtrot…must be a costume free-for-all over in Vegas!

There is a DWTS little souvenir/boutique next to the theater, which is pretty tiny and only has a handful of items for purchase – namely t-shirts, programs, hoodies, paddles, and lanyards.  The girl working there seemed pretty bored (and to be honest, so was I) so I struck up a conversation…she turned out to be a wealth of information on the show.  Apparently they have already replaced 3 dancers since the show opened – not sure who, since many of the troupe members don’t really look like their picture in the program; but I did notice later on that Artem was absent from the cast, even though he was one of the featured pros (along with Anya) in the program.  Maybe he was only supposed to have a limited run on the show before returning to England for Strictly Come Dancing, maybe he was just sick, who knows – but he definitely wasn’t in the show the night I saw it.  The souvenir gal also told me that Kyle’s mom attends EVERY SINGLE SHOW, which I found to be totally adorable – that is one very dedicated mama! I asked the girl which of the cast members seemed to be the nicest or most popular with fans, and she said that Joey, Carson, and Tia get the most positive feedback – I tend to agree with the first 2, but more on that later ;-)

By that time, the doors to the theater had opened and I made my way to my seat – but not before dealing with not one, not two, but THREE different levels of ushers, who all insisted upon looking at my ticket and directing me to my seat.  Yep, pretty sure I understood where my seat was the first two times, brah – so I was mildly annoyed, but it did seem like they’re still working out some of the kinks in the overall production of the show.  My seat was at a table in the 2nd row on stage left, so I wasn’t more than probably 10 feet from the edge of the stage – so pretty close.  As people filtered in and found their seats, I noticed that the crowd definitely skews a bit older – the majority of the people were women or couples in their 50′s and above, which seems consistent with the demographics of the tv show.  Saw a few small children with their parents, and further back in the theater were a handful of people my age, so needless to say…I stuck out like a sore thumb, being a lone 20-something sitting in the VIP area with a bunch of people old enough to be my parents and grandparents :-)

I felt a bit less awkward when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dark-haired, snazzily-dressed guy my age dart out from the backstage area and climb into a VIP booth with a friendly-looking 40-something lady.  I immediately recognized him: it was DJ Guthrie, Lacey’s boyfriend, and the lady with whom he was sitting was none other than Kyle’s mom, Angel…just as the souvenir girl had said, she does indeed attend every show :-) I contemplated whether to go over and say hi or not, but ultimately decided against it, as I didn’t really know what I could say that didn’t sound creepy or dumb – “Hi DJ & Mrs. Massey! I write for a DWTS blog and I recognized you guys so I just thought I’d come over and say hi.  HI!” Plus, while I would have LOVED to have gotten a picture with them, cameras and recorders are STRICTLY forbidden inside the theater (and that’s the case with most Vegas shows – they were even meaner about it at Thunder!), even before the show, because they have a professional photographer walking around taking pictures and they want you to shell out $40 for it.  So unless you’ve got some snazzy spy camera, a la Jeremy Renner in Mission: Impossible, you can pretty much rule out taking any pictures of your own inside the theater.  Wuh wuh WUHHH :-( But thankfully, Zimbio has some awesome pictures from the premiere of the show, so you can kinda get a feel for what it’s like ;-)

Thankfully, at this point the usher directed 2 well-dressed, 20-something ladies to my table, so I didn’t feel like quite like the young cheese sitting alone :-P Now I just felt like the underdressed cheese, as I was wearing jeans and a cute top, while they were dressed to the nines in cocktail dresses & heels.  Sorry kids – just didn’t have it in me to don an itty-bitty dress and sky-high heels again, like I did the night before. Plus it was the only dress I brought to Vegas, and it smelled like smoke from the clubs.  Note to self (and any of my lady friends planning a trip to Vegas): pack more cocktail dresses next time, cause that seems to be the uniform for most clubs and shows.

At this point, a recording of Bruno’s voice played over the sound system, and it was a somewhat-humorous warning about not using cameras or recorders, or generating flashes of any kind during the show – at one point he said something like “I see you in the back, with the iPhone! Put it away, you rascal!” So now I was once again slightly irritated, as it pretty much ruled out me making notes on my iPhone of what songs were being used or who was in what numbers for later use in this post – but by the grace of God, I happen to have a very good memory, and decided that now would be a good time to test its limits :-) The lights went down, and the show began…

The opening number was “Hip Hip, Chin Chin” by Club Des BelugasHiphip Chinchin - Night Over Rio - Latin Flavoured Lounge & Club Tunes, which was featured on the results show back in week 4 of this season.  It was sort of a samba/jazz/hip-hop/Vegas showgirl-y fusion number, which basically introduced the entire cast.  There are 5 celebs in the show (Carson Kressley, Joey Fatone, Sabrina Bryan, Kyle Massey, & Tia Carrere), 4 pros (Dmitry Chaplin, Lacey Schwimmer, Anya Garnis & Ryan DiLello – and yes, those last two were introduced to the audience as “pros” and not troupe members…interesting), and ten troupe members (Iveta Lukosiute, Anya Fuchs, Devorah Pashev, Janette Manrara, Irina Boubnovskaia, Jaymz Tuaileva, Armen Way, Alexander Andreev, Rumen Atanasov, & Brent Borbon).  And yes, as I mentioned before – definitely no Artem.  Sabrina came flying out onto the stage on a suspended swing, and there actually ended up being a handful of times when cast members were dangling above the stage during the duration of the show – sometimes it was cool, sometimes it was comical.  :-P

*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

After the cast had vacated the stage after the first number, out came Carson, resplendent in an enormous blue feather headdress which he claimed to have stolen from an “angry Lithuanian” (Iveta, who feigned anger and stormed out on the stage to retrieve her headdress), and a pair of fabulously bedazzled dance shoes.  No surprise, Carson is a FABULOUS emcee for the show – the jokes were nonstop.  Every time he found something on the stage (a stray feather, a rhinestone, part of Lacey’s weave – I’m serious), he’d excitedly pick it up, squeal “Ooh! A souvenir!!!” and run to the edge of the stage and hand it to an audience member, exclaiming “Here, put this in your scrapbook!” He also ventured out into the audience to talk to people, and latched onto an older gentlemen named James, who was there celebrating his 47th wedding anniversary with his wife.  Every so often, Carson would coyly wave and coo “Hi James! Are you having fun?” or somehow work him into another joke.  James was a very good sport about it :-) Overall, I don’t think they could have found a better host for the show than Carson…he’s PERFECT.

 

*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Since this post is already quite long, I guess I’ll just go through the musical numbers that followed and add some brief notes – keep in mind that this is all from memory, so I may have missed 1 or 2 songs…but overall, I feel pretty confident that I remembered everything ;-) Carson came on and said funny stuff in between some of the songs, and they also interspersed in montages of clips from the show itself (including the clip of all the female pros making fun of the male pros and their changing hairstyles from back in season 11, and blurbs of stuff that actually happened this season – the show is very much current).

2.) “You Should be Dancing” by the Bee GeesYou Should Be Dancing - Saturday Night Fever (The Original Movie Soundtrack) [Remastered] – cha-cha by Joey & Anya G.: Basically the same week 1 cha-cha he did with Kym in season 4, with a few lifts & tricks added for panache.  Anya is basically a “substitute Kym” in the show, as she dances a lot with Joey.  I see that Kym is going to be guest starring in the show next week, so I’m assuming she’ll temporarily take over dances like this one from Anya during her stint.


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

3.) “Shake Your Groove Thing” by Peaches & HerbShake Your Groove Thing - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Peaches & Herb – cha-cha by troupe: Pretty self-explanatory – it’s just some of the troupe members, clad in orange-y costumes, doing a cha-cha.  Poor Devorah was having a wardrobe malfunction during this dance, as her costume kept riding down in the back to reveal a black g-string - she was desperately trying to pull it back up every time she turned.  Proof that wardrobe malfunctions aren’t exclusive to the tv show :-)


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

4.) “Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)” by Gotan ProjectSanta Maria (Del Buen Ayre) - Shall We Dance? (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) – Argentine tango by Dmitry & Lacey: A bit strange to see Lacey doing Argentine tango, since she’s only ever done 1 while on the tv show – but surprisingly effective.  Also a bit strange? She wears her costume from her cha-cha with Chaz last season – which is decidedly un-tango-y.  *shrug* But Dmitry sizzles and plays the part of the tall dark stranger well. NOTE: Obviously the lineup (and wardrobe) have changed, as it looks like Lacey originally did the Argentine tango with Artem at the premiere, and in her rumba dress from season 11.


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

5.) “O Fortuna” – by Carl OrffO Fortuna - Orff: Carmina Burana – paso doble by troupe: a very cool, dramatic paso doble, which started out with 3 of the female troupe members climbing out of a magic box like it was a clown car.  Obligatory red & black costumes, and a cape solo by the men at the end.

6.) “Good Golly Miss Molly” by Little RichardGood Golly Miss Molly - Greatest Gold Hits – jive by Kyle & Lacey: By far, my favorite number of the night (and still one of my favorite jives of all-time on the show) and it was the one number I was REALLY hoping they’d do, considering they had the good fortune of having both Kyle & Lacey in the cast.  It’s literally the exact same routine they did on the show (complete with the infamous crotch doily dress), with Kyle running through the audience and sliding onto the stage – and it’s still a show-stopper :-D Kyle has actually gotten even better at jive, and is really picking up his knees now – and still hamming it up.  At the end of it, I glanced over and saw Kyle’s mom on her feet, excitedly waving a “10″ paddle…awwww :-D


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

7.) “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny GoodmanSing, Sing, Sing - The Essential Benny Goodman (Remastered) – jive/Lindy/quickstep by troupe + Kyle, Lacey, & Sabrina: Kind of a West Side Story-esque swing-off, and they were all in 40′s-style clothing.  Bits of jive, Lindy, & quickstep in it.


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

8.) “So She Dances” by Josh GrobanSo She Dances - Awake – lyrical waltz by Ryan & Iveta: I’m a bit torn on this one.  Parts of it were absolutely gorgeous, other parts…kinda made me chuckle.  Iveta was suspended above the stage, flying around for parts of it, and because I was sitting so close, I could totally see the wire – which kinda made it hard to focus on her floating around, because it the wire was just so visibile.  I think I may have enjoyed it more from far away.

9.) “A Thousand Years” by Christina PerriA Thousand Years - The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Pt. 1 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Deluxe Version] – Viennese waltz by troupe: Gorgeous song, gorgeous Viennese waltz.  Was especially impressed by Janette, who came onto SYTYCD as just a salsa dancer, but is now a well-rounded ballroom dancer.  At the end, Carson came flying out onstage suspended in a harnass, and exclaimed that he was performing in “Cirque de So Gay”.  :-P He then proceeded to “get stuck”, and asked for Joey’s assistance…which of course got comically awkward when Carson ended up upside-down with his ass in Joey’s face…and then came the biggest comedic gem of the entire show: Joey mutters “Why do I feel like Lance Bass all of a sudden?” I LOL’d :-P


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

10.) “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by Mama CassDream a Little Dream of Me - The Mamas & The Papas: All the Leaves Are Brown - The Golden Era Collection – foxtrot by Tia & Dmitry: Tia is probably the cast member that you see the least of in the show – she only did this number and one other, and the finale.  I think I liked this routine better when she did it with Maks – this seemed a bit…sleepy.  Kinda sucks, but some of the slower numbers in the show got kinda lost between the more high-energy numbers.


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

11.) “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” by Marilyn MonroeDiamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend - The Magic of Marilyn – quickstep/jazz by Sabrina & male troupe: Not really much of a quickstep, so much as it is a very jazzy, Broadway-ish number.  But very cute nonetheless – Sabrina dons the famous hot pink strapless dress and a platinum blonde wig that Marilyn wore in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

12.) “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by ? – rumba by Dmitry & Anya G.: This was the same rumba they performed on the results show a few weeks ago. And no, I have no idea who sings the song - the original version is by The ShirellesWill You Still Love Me Tomorrow - The Shirelles: 20 Greatest Hits, and this is obviously an acoustic cover.  The closest version I can find is the Amy Winehouse oneWill You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (2011) - Lioness: Hidden Treasures, which I think is lovely. Dmitry is barefoot – which I no likey.  Especially since Anya has shoes on.  Either you both wear shoes or you both don’t wear shoes…don’t be wonky about it.  :-P


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

13.) “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5Moves Like Jagger (Studio Recording from – cha-cha by Carson & Iveta: Could they really get away with NOT using this one in the show? :-) It’s still hilarious seeing Carson strut around the stage like a chicken/Mick Jagger, and he’s still a comically bad dancer :-P Iveta actually makes a nice “substitute Anna” – both seem to have very similar personalities.


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

14.) “You Can Leave Your Hat On” by Joe CockerYou Can Leave Your Hat On - The Best of Joe Cocker – jazz by Tia & male troupe: This wasn’t really any particular ballroom dance, per se, and and it actually came after a little video blurb about the judges (and how cray-cray they are), so it started out with Tia and 2 of the guys from the troupe doing a lapdance-y kinda bit on the judges’ table.  I actually really liked it – just wish it was longer, because Tia was just starting to come out of her shell when it segued into the next number.


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

15.) “Luck Be a Lady” by Frank SinatraLuck Be a Lady - Nothing But the Best - The Frank Sinatra Collection (Remastered) – jive/Lindy/quickstep by troupe: an appropriately Vegas-y, casino-inspired number.  Like a lot of the other dances, it’s not strictly a ballroom or Latin number – it’s got quite a bit of jazz moves thrown in.


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

16.) “Beggin’” by MadconBeggin' - Beggin' - Single – cha-cha/hip-hop by Kyle & Lacey: I think they may have had a hard time clearing the music rights for some of the original routines from the show, because this cha-cha looked similar to their “My First Kiss” cha-cha with a little bit of tweaking to fit the music.  Seemed like a lot of hip-hoppy grooving before they launched into the actual cha-cha steps…but still, a very entertaining routine.


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

17.) “Vogue” by MadonnaVogue - Celebration (Deluxe Version) – Voguing number by Carson & male troupe: Funny intro to this one: Kyle was still laying on the stage after his cha-cha with Lacey when the intro music to “Vogue” started, and he got a scared look on his face and then as the guys started to descend down the staircase carrying Carson, he shook his head “Uh-uh” and scurried off the stage.  Basically, the same routine Carson did for the season 13 finale, just with the Vegas troupe instead of the tv show one.  Still very entertaining.  :-)


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

18.) “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis PresleyJailhouse Rock - The Essential Elvis Presley (Remastered) – jive by Joey & Anya G.: They segued into this one by having Anya march out onstage in a sexy cop uniform, and informing Carson & Joey that they were under arrest for the show being “too hot”.  It’s a cute, fun jive, and Joey’s technique is actually quite impressive – you can tell he has worked hard to really put on a good show.  Before any of you ask – no, it’s NOTHING like the “Jailhouse Rock” jive that Lil Kim & Derek did in season 8.  The only thing it has in common with Kim & Derek’s routine (besides the music) is Joey’s costume – it’s basically a larger version of Derek’s.  MUCH larger. :-P  Still a fun routine, though.


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

19.) “End of Time” by BeyonceEnd of Time - 4 – paso doble by Sabrina & Ryan: I think Sabrina was originally supposed to do this number with Artem, as he mentions in the Q&A part of the program that his favorite part of the show is “the number I do with Sabrina!”.  Since Artem is apparently no longer in the show, I think they upgraded Ryan from troupe member to “pro”, and hired on a new troupe member to replace Ryan (pretty sure it’s Brent Borbon, who did the new pro contest with Afton Delgrosso back in season 8 – I know he also used to be a cast member in Le Rêve at the Wynn, so he’s obviously got some Vegas show experience).  Anyway, Sabrina’s really good at paso, so it’s a great dance – just not wild about the song.

20.) “Tightrope” by Janelle MonaeTightrope - Friends With Benefits (Original Soundtrack) – contemporary/jazz/West Coast swing by Jaymz & Lacey: Admittedly, I hate this song, and I’m not a huge fan of Jaymz, for the simple reason that he can’t seem to decide whether he’s a ballroom dancer or a contemporary dancer (something he often got called out for when he was on So You Think You Can Dance), so overall I think I was left kind of “meh” by this number.  It’s got a VERY short section of West Coast swing, but the bulk of it seems to be Jaymz & Lacey doing a lot of contemporary/jazz moves.  It just feels more like a routine that you’d see in a SYTYCD live show than a DWTS one. Guess I’m more of a purist :-P

21.) “Push It” by Salt N PepaPush It - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Salt-N-Pepa – dance contest by Joey, Lacey, Kyle & audience members: At this point, the lights came up, and Joey, Lacey, & Kyle came out on stage and commanded the audience to stand up & start dancing, and they in turn picked 3 people from the audience to come up on stage for a dance contest.  Joey picked the comely brunette that was sitting at my table; Kyle picked a 20-something guy who barely spoke English; and Lacey actually managed to find Janette’s brother, Alejandro, in the audience, and claimed that she was going to “see if dance skills run in the family”.  Apparently they don’t, as it was the guy who barely spoke English that won the dance contest, which consisted of such titillating dance steps as the sprinkler, the cowboy, the shopping cart, etc. Kyle does the most hilarious sprinkler dance I’ve ever seen – he tries to be sexy, but he just looks mad, and his arms look like he’s doing karate.  Lacey gave him a thorough ribbing about it onstage :-P


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

22.) “Can’t Touch It” by Ricki-LeeCan't Touch It - Sex and the City 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – samba/jazz by entire cast: Kind of a samba, kinda just a lot of grooving – very similar to the opening number of the season 11 finale.  This time it’s Carson’s turn on the swing :-P


*source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

After the show, those of us with VIP tickets were told to sit tight for a bit, and about 15 minutes later some of the cast emerged on stage for pictures.  It was a pretty wham, bam, thank you, ma’am process – they lined us up, and when it was your turn, you hopped in the middle of the group of cast members, got your picture taken, and that was it – you might have gotten a second or two to tell Dmitry he was your favorite pro, or to tell Sabrina that you were so sad when she was eliminated – but it was definitely NOT a meet ‘n’ greet, as they claim in the advertisements.  The lady a few spots in front of me was trying to hug each of the cast members and have a a lengthy conversation with some of them, but she was quickly shoo’d along by the director and the security guard.  So basically, I only got a grand total of maybe 30 seconds with the group, but Joey was definitely the most outwardly friendly – he asked me what brought me to Vegas, and then told me to pass along congratulations to my friend when I told him I was there for a bachelorette party.  I also told Carson he was “totally fabulous” – and he said “Thank you, and so are your earrings!” (I was wearing dangly ones that night).  Sabrina & Dmitry were both kinda quiet but smiled politely; Lacey seemed a bit tired and ready to call it a night.  The troupe members just looked happy to be there.  :-) At one point, the photographer was having camera issues, and they all started singing & dancing along to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”Call Me Maybe - Call Me Maybe - Single, which was playing over the sound system.  They seem like a very fun group that gets along well – but they also seemed very tired from doing a 90 minute dance show, so I wasn’t too upset that I didn’t get time to really “meet” them.  Plus I was anxious to meet up with the rest of my group at Lavo, where we had gotten complimentary bottle service (woohoo!!!).

After getting our picture taken, the VIP ticketholders were all given a voucher for a gift bag at the souvenir shop, and told that our pictures would be ready for pickup in about 20 minutes.  The gift bag itself was a black tote bag with the Dancing with the Stars: Live in Las Vegas logo graphic on it – nothing particularly special, but it did come in handy on the airplane the next day, as I used it as a carry-on to hold my magazines & neck pillow.  Inside the tote bag was a VIP laminate (non-functional, of course), a program, and a “10″ paddle.  The program was pretty slim, but did have nice graphics and cute interviews with the cast, plus it helped jog my memory when I was furiously putting notes about the show into my phone post-show, while waiting for my picture to be ready.

When I finally went to pick up my picture, I was a little miffed to see that the complimentary picture was only about 2.5″ X 3″ – so kinda puny.  The nice, high-def, big 9″ X 12″ framed picture would cost me an additional $40.  Thankfully, my picture ended up being a bit awkward, so I felt fine saying “No thanks” to the big picture and just sticking with the little one.  The couple celebrating their anniversary sprang for the $40 picture, as they had also included in the frame a picture of them smooching by the stage before the show – so cute.  Below is my pic – and no, I have no idea why I’m standing so awkwardly :-P

 *from left to right: Lacey, Jaymz, Sabrina, Joey, me, Carson, Dmitry, Iveta, Brent, Anya F., Armen

Court’s overall take on the show: If you’re a fan of the tv show, I’d say it’s definitely worth seeing – hell, even if you aren’t a particularly big fan of the show, I still stay it’s pretty entertaining.  There’s a good mix of old favorites from the show, as well as new routines, and the energy is great – you can tell the cast is really having a great time.  I didn’t notice anything particularly offensive or non-family friendly about the show – Carson cracks a few gay jokes, but I’d venture a guess that most of them would just go right over most kids’ heads…so I’d say it’s a pretty family-friendly show, and probably popular with kids who watch Disney. It also doesn’t go too late into the night, which is nice. Cost-wise, I’d say it’s one of the more afforable shows in Vegas – tickets start at just $40, and the $50 seats are actually decently close.  But unless you’ve got money burning a hole in your pocket and really, really want a picture with SOME of the cast (and from what I’ve gathered, it’s a random crap shoot which cast members come out for pictures on any given night) and will absolutely die without a commemorative tote bag, laminate, 10 paddle, AND a program (keep in mind that all of the items are available for purchase individually in the souvenir shop – programs are $20, and paddles are 2 for $5), I wouldn’t waste your money on the VIP seats, to be quite honest.  As I said before, there are really no bad seats in the theater, since it’s small, but I actually think I might have had a better view of the whole stage from a bit further back…and personally, I could have probably lived without a VIP laminate, tote bag, and “10″ paddle…I really just wanted the program.  Photo-op was a bit of a let-down, given that you don’t really get to talk to the cast, and the picture you get is tiny.  I say get tickets for one of the mid-level booths for $69 and save the rest of your money for drinks ;-)

Other non-DWTS related, Vegas miscellanery:

*As part of our bachelorette package, we all took a pole dancing class sponsored by Hypnotiq (the liquer) at Excalibur.  It was fun, but it tore up my upper body – I could barely lift my arms above my shoulders.  That made for an interesting time during the TSA security check at the airport…

*Funniest thing I saw the whole trip: two 20-something, Abercrombie-wearing Asian tourists trying to “make it rain” in the VIP section of The Bank (nightclub at Bellagio).  They kept handing stacks of $10 worth of singles (effectively “making it rain” usually necessitates a higher denomination – I would say at least $20 bills) to a rather inebriated blonde they had with them, but rather than making it rain one bill at a time (the correct way to do it), she would just toss the entire stack of bills up in the air like the Monopoly guy.  This happened 3 or 4 times before security told them to cut it out, because nobody was even trying to pick up all the money.  Moral of the story: $1 will get you just about nothing in Vegas. :-P

*Many of you have asked about my fabulous, double-platform, bejeweled gold heels that I was talking about on Twitter.  I did indeed wear them for the bachelorette party, but they only lasted about 3 hours before my dogs were barking and I switched to a pair of foldable flats.  6 1/2″ heels + moving sidewalks between Excalibur & Luxor = scariest moments of my life.  But man, they sure looked fabulous while they lasted – one of the Thunder guys even kissed my foot.  Ssssh…don’t tell my boyfriend. ;-)