PureDWTS Season 18, Week 6 – Power Rankings

So as predicted, the show took a few liberties with “party anthems” last night – I can’t speak for you guys, but I’ve never been drunk off my heiny at a frat party and gone “OMG!!! This is my JAAAAAMMMM!” while toasting my Keystone in the air to “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease.  But hey, that’s just me :-P I’m also not quite sure that “Feels So Close” is even popular enough to receive “anthem” status, but maybe at 29 I’m just getting too old to know what’s popular…

Anywho…so Redfoo (aka Berry Gordy’s baby boy) did about as well as a guest judge as we expected him to – he was there more for entertainment value, comic relief, and self-promotion more than any sort of constructive input on the dances, but I was oddly ok with the whole thing because I don’t think it really affected the scores or critiques for better or worse.  I’d much rather hear Redfoo’s incoherent analogies about crustaceans running in the sand and NeNe being an entrepreneur than Donny Osmond’s self-centered prattling (or worse yet – the hellfire which I imagine the insidious Abby Lee Miller will be raining down on Derek & Mark two weeks from now 8-O ).  I can’t imagine he’s up to a whole lot since LMFAO decided to go on hiatus a year and a half ago – I have a feeling that the call he got from TPTB went something like this: “So Redfoo, we want you as a guest judge on DWTS!” “Sounds cool, but what’s in it for me?” “$100 bucks, a sammich, and your own personalized set of neon zebra print paddles!” “I’M SO THERE!!! Let me just go tease my hair real quick…”

Kinda sad to see Drew go, but I think he was ready – seemed like he was getting really tired and burnt out, and hadn’t been able to recapture the magic of his switch week dance with Witney in these past two weeks with Cheryl.  Really & truly, I wish it had been NeNe – and I guess I’m hoping that the novelty of her is beginning to wear off and we might say goodbye to her next week.  She may be fun to watch, but at this point, I feel like she’s not really even picking up legitimate choreography – it’s just a lot of booty shaking and “NeNe-ing” around the floor and getting absurdly high scores, while others doing appropriate choreography (namely Candace & Charlie) just can’t seem to catch any breaks with the judges.  What gives???

1.) Meryl & Maks – Hmmmm.  Can’t decide if that rehearsal package was the real deal, or totally staged – the whole hand-holding thing just seemed a little to convenient for me, since they put it in their tango.  Even the temper tantrum from Maks felt a bit contrived, since I didn’t really see Meryl royally screwing up…his reaction to it was just a bit too strong for some relatively minute errors she was making.  And I guess I’m just not really understanding the purpose of it – was it to show this sort of “emotional growth” from them? Or were they pandering to the shippers and trying to reinforce the showmance rumors? Idk…but it all felt just odd to me.  Their tango was great – no doubt about that.  Meryl didn’t struggle with any of it, and I think this may have been the strongest choreography we’ve seen out of Maks this season.  I still feel like Meryl came off a bit icy in it – I think Charlie better embodied the passion of the tango in his own routine in week 2 – but I feel like she’s starting to open up a bit more to the audience.  I hated the song – how is that a party anthem? It’s barely a “something playing in the background while I’m balancing my checkbook” anthem.  Too calm.  But anyway, the judges gush, gush, gush, and Meryl’s back at the top of the leaderboard.  Too bad they don’t gush about Charlie the same way…

2.) Charlie & Sharna – I give up: what is Charlie doing so wrong that he can’t seem to get any love from the judges? I swear, that boy could go out there and dance like freaking Baryshnikov and still get nitpicked to death by the judges…and to what end? Is he just KILLING it in the votes and they feel as though they have to handicap him? For being saddled with a pretty sh*tastic cha cha song, I thought this routine was pretty damn good – it was proper cha-cha (with enough pseduo-hip-hop thrown in to fit the song) and I don’t feel like Charlie really struggled with any of it…and he sold it well.  And he seemed like he was having fun!!! I’m just drawing a blank as to why he only got four 9’s.  I guess he’s in the same boat this week as Meryl was last week – except I could understand why Meryl got four 9’s, yet the judges said nothing; I can’t understand why Charlie got four 9’s, but the judges were nitpicking anything they thought might stick.  Thought the blacklight portion was genius, and much harder than we can appreciate from just watching it on tv – black lights don’t really help you see well; they just highlight certain features that are black light reactive. I guess I’m hoping that they’re trying to set Charlie up for more of a “growth arc” and we’ll see his scores improve in the coming weeks, but part of me worries that TPTB might see him as a threat to Meryl winning and are trying to keep him from getting too close.  Poor guy (and Sharna!) – I just wish he would stop getting saddled with 9’s!

3.) Amy & Derek – Not to toot my own horn, but “beep beep” – because I totally guessed their jive song last week :-P And as I said on Twitter, I think this may have been the cutest routine I’ve ever seen Derek choreograph – loved the Wedding Crashers theme.  Sure, there were a few slip-ups – seemed like there was a problem with one of the dips and that set off a chain reaction that got several steps off-time, but considering that the routine was so cute and high-energy, it didn’t really detract for me personally. Amy seemed to really have fun with it, too, which was a nice change of pace after her struggles last week.  I know some viewers once again are up in arms about the score Amy got, but honestly – with the way they’re scoring Meryl & Danica, do you really think Amy stands a chance of actually winning?  I don’t.  God love her, she’s fun to watch and has this amazing energy – but unfortunately, I don’t think TPTB are gonna let her anywhere near the MBT.  That being said – I still think she’s got a few weeks left in her, as we weed out some of the weaker couples (namely NeNe).

4.) James & Peta – I had a feeling we might see a bit of a backslide from James this week – poor guy got saddled with a very un-partylike ballroom dance in a week where most everyone else was bopping around to Latin dances, and he was really the only one that had a decent chance of bumping Charlie out of the #2 spot in cumulative points to become a team captain.  I knew TPTB wouldn’t allow those 10 paddles to come out again this week.  Despite having a hard song, I felt like James gave it his best shot – he seemed a little stiff and a bit too bent in his knees, and as a result I don’t feel like he ever got 100% on top of the beat – it was as if he was just barely keeping up with it.  I have to wonder if Peta was told to break hold, knowing that it would cost them points, because I think she’s witnessed points being docked for broken hold enough to know that she shouldn’t do it – then again, maybe it was a calculated risk, and she was hoping they would score high enough on performance and technique that a slight deduction wouldn’t hurt them.  Still, I think James’ work ethic and his ability to throw himself headlong into any dance they give him is an asset, and he’s still got some mileage left in the coming weeks.

5.) Danica & Val – The judges sure do love to gush about Danica, huh? Kinda makes me wonder if she ain’t getting the votes.  As I’ve said in previous weeks, Danica’s not bad, per se – I’m just not left feeling super-enthusiastic about any of her dances.  Even her quickstep last week (while nearly flawless) just kinda left me feeling “meh”.  And I don’t really know what it is about her that’s making her fade into the woodwork for me – maybe it’s the fact that she never seems 100% at ease with any of the dances she’s doing? I think she did seem a little hesitant in her cha-cha last night – a couple times she seemed to look at Val as if to say “Am I doing this right?”, and got a tad wobbly on some of her turns as a result.  It was a cute routine and Danica didn’t do BAD – but I also don’t feel like she really nailed it.  Her samba was better for me.  But I will tip my hat to Val for the correct use of a wardrobe change – the skirt came off quickly & easily, and actually fit the choreography.  Just not really sure where Danica stands in terms of votes – the fact that she was in jeopardy this week makes me think she may be struggling with votes.

6.) NeNe & Tony – If I am at a loss as to why Charlie is getting such hell from the judges, I’m also at a loss as to why NeNe is getting such praise from them – there was little to no salsa in this salsa, and I felt like the bulk of this dance was just a lot of gyrating and ass-shaking from both NeNe & Tony.  Sure, she sells the gyrating well – but it’s still just gyrating, and not actual salsa.  And for the first time, I really noticed NeNe’s height…and it wasn’t a good thing.  There was one part where she went down to lunge her leg between Tony’s, and because she’s so tall, she could only go down so far and it ended up looking more like a bit of a stoop down to pick up trash on the floor…wasn’t exactly visually pleasing.  I just wish the judges would get real with her – quit gushing about choreography that doesn’t fit a dance and quit acting like NeNe just gyrating around is a-ok for every single dance.  Was  honestly expecting a lot more after her great foxtrot last week…but who knows where she currently stands with votes.  She wasn’t even in jeopardy last night! Ack…if this keeps up, she really needs to go home over Candace…

7.) Candace & Mark – Now I’ll be the first to admit that Candace does struggle out there on the floor – she seemed especially timid and unsure of herself last night, and I think that negatively affected her performance more than anything else.  But was she really one point WORSE than NeNe? Candace was, at the very least, doing proper cha-cha choreography, and not just gallivanting around the floor doing whatever she pleased.  I still can’t really figure out whether TPTB have decided that Candace is disposable, or if they’re just valuing entertainment more than technique and adherence to conventions of these dances this season.  Either way, I feel bad for Candace, because I do feel like she’s genuinely trying – just like Charlie & James, who also got kinda hosed this week.  I hate to say this, but I think Candace could be in genuine danger next week – and it makes me mad, when she’s actually trying while others (NeNe) just seem to be doing whatever the hell they want…

So what are your thoughts about party anthem week? Were the scores right? Did the right person go home?