Sooooo…anyone else have an unpleasant sense of deja vu from season 14 after last night’s show? Cause I sure am…it’s only the names that have changed: William Levy has been replaced with Meryl, and Donald Driver has been replaced with Charlie. William/Meryl can do no wrong in the eyes of the judges, is bathed in praise, and gets free passes for doing things that other couples get called out on in a heartbeat; while poor Donald/Charlie busts his ass and delivers not only some stellar dances, but manages to keep a smile on his face – yet week after week, he’s nitpicked to death by the judges and looks (along with his partner) beyond hurt as it’s happening. I hated the whole situation two years ago, and I hate it again now – the blatant pimping and obvious hosing of some couples vs. others is making me check out of this season just a little bit more with each passing week. There’s only one glimmer of hope on the horizon: William, despite all the pimping on his season, was only able to eke out 3rd place…while Donald, the weekly redheaded stepchild in the eyes of the judges, ended up winning the whole thing. Just some food for thought… Read more..
My first team dance post was getting a bit lengthy…so I decided to carry on the discussion here I thought I’d take a look at several factors that may affect the outcome of the team dances – things that may affect scores and overall success on each of the teams. Join me, won’t you? And be sure to vote in the poll at the bottom!
Just as a reminder, the teams are:
Team Loca: Meryl & Maks, Danica & Val, Amy & Derek, Candace & Mark
Team Vida: Charlie & Sharna, James & Peta, NeNe & Tony
Pro Team Dance Experience:
Derek: 10 wins, 0 ties, 0 losses; average team dance score: 27.65
Mark: 2 wins, 2 losses, 1 tie; average team dance score: 24.6
Peta: 2 wins, 2 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 27
Maks: 2 wins, 3 losses, 1 tie; average team dance score: 25.5
Sharna: 1 win, 0 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 25
Tony: 1 win, 3 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 25.38
Val: 0 wins, 3 losses, 0 ties; average team dance score: 25.33
The writing is kinda on the wall with this one – Derek wins team dances, so he’s a real asset if he’s on your team. Peta may not have as many wins, but the teams she’s been on have pulled in high enough scores that her average team dance score is pretty high. Mark’s average team dance score may be a bit artificially low – it was hard to account for the 4th judges’ score in season 12, so I just removed it – that ended up throwing things off a bit.
Who’s got the edge: Team Loca
Number of couples:
Team Loca: 4 couples
Team Vida: 3 couples
We only have two precedents for this one – season 9 and season 14, and there are pros and cons for both. In season 9, Team Paso had 4 couples and Team Tango had 3; Team Tango beat Team Paso by 4 points, with Louis citing that having fewer couples was easier because there were “fewer egos” and it’s easier to get a smaller number of couples in synch. In season 14, Team Tango had 4 couples while Team Paso had 3 – Team Tango beat Team Paso by 1 point, and Derek said that having more couples allowed them to “create more cool patterns on the floor”. From what I’ve heard from Deep Throat so far, both teams are looking great – but it seems like Team Vida might be having an easier time with the synchronized group sections.
Who’s got the edge: Team Vida
This gets a bit tricky, as the team dances are freestyles once more and obviously, none of the current celebs have any experience with the freestyle yet. So which pros have experience with the freestyle?
Derek: 7 individual freestyles; 2 team freestyles
Mark: 5 individual freestyles; 0 team freestyles
Maks: 4 individual freestyles; 1 team freestyle
Tony: 3 individual freestyles; 2 team freestyles
Val: 2 individual freestyles; 2 team freestyles
Peta: 1 individual freestyle; 2 team freestyles
Sharna: 0 individual freestyles; 0 team freestyles
Even if they haven’t necessarily WON with every single freestyle they’ve done, I think it’s good for every pro to at least have some experience with the freestyle – and Team Loca has Team Vida beat in that respect.
Who’s got the edge: Team Loca
Team Loca: “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin
Team Vida: “The Cup of Life (La Copa de la Vida)” by Ricky Martin
This one is rather subjective, as it’s just a matter of opinion who got the “better” song. “Livin’ La Vida Loca” has been used once before, as Kendra & Louis’ samba in season 12; “The Cup of Life” has been used twice before – once as Melissa & Tony’s salsa in season 8, once as Maria & Derek’s salsa in season 14. Both songs are conducive to both a samba and a salsa beat; there are also certain sections of each that might work with paso doble & cha-cha. Personally, I think all of Ricky Martin’s stuff kinda starts to sound the same after awhile – so I don’t really think either one is better than the other.
Who’s got the edge: TIE
Average individual score:
Team Loca: 25.63
Team Vida: 25.11
This is kinda reaching, but since everyone on the same team gets the same score, it might be worthwhile to look at what their average individual score is as a team. Not a vast difference between them – I would not be surprised if whoever won this team dance won it by only 1 point.
Who’s got the edge: Slight edge to Team Loca…but not by much
COURT’S OVERALL THOUGHTS: On paper, everything seems to be stacked in Team Loca’s favor: they’ve got great choreographers, great dancers, and are getting along well. Apparently Val is even refreshed at how good it feels to work as a team But I just can’t shake the feeling that Team Loca is being set up to lose – seems like a lot of emphasis is being placed on the fact that Derek has NEVER lost, and according to our sources, Team Vida is looking really good. We’re also at the point in the season where any potential dark horses (namely James, and to a lesser degree, Charlie) could have a bit of a growth arc and surge into the lead. Gotta love storyboarding. If they aren’t deliberately setting Team Loca up to lose, I would imagine the teams are going to be very, very close in score.
So what are your thoughts? Who do you think has the edge…and who do you think will actually end up winning?
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 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 ). 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??? Read more..
It’s been a long ass day and I need sleep, so I’m just gonna get right to it…your teams for next week’s team dances are:
Team Meryl: Meryl & Maks, Danica & Val, Amy & Derek, and Candace & Mark
Team Charlie: Charlie & Sharna, James & Peta, NeNe & Tony
Yes, I know – please take a moment to lift your jaw off the floor as I did when I first heard the teams. I assure you, there’s a perfectly rational explanation…and her name is Saint Meryl the Peacemaker. Apparently Meryl won the coin toss and got to pick first – and the funny thing is, the pros did not have any say in who got picked for each team. Deep Throat insinuated that the pros may not have even been in the same room when the picking of the teams was happening…which I actually think is kind of cool. Kept some of the politics out of the team-picking. Anywho! Danica & Val were Meryl’s first pick, as that was who she “thought Maks would really want”. Then Charlie picked James & Peta (bromance!), and Meryl picked Amy & Derek. Charlie picked NeNe & Tony, and Meryl was left with Candace & Mark. Read more..
So if my spidey sense is correct, the teams for the team dances next week will probably get picked immediately after the show tonight, and they’ll head directly into rehearsal immediately after that – and there are a number of ways the teams could get divided up. Since so many of you were chomping at the bit to start discussing it in detail after my “What Left to Dance?” post – here’s a place to do just that.
First, a bit of an overview: the team captains have always been the two celebs who have the highest cumulative point total for the season, and they usually flip a coin to see who gets first pick (or, whoever wins the toss gets a choice between picking first or picking their song/dance first). Because the cumulative point total will ultimately determine the team captains, pay close attention to how Meryl, Charlie, & James are scored tonight – as of right now, Meryl is in the lead with 134 points; Charlie trails by 3 points at 131, and James is a mere 2 points behind him at 129. Based on how they’ve been scoring Meryl, I don’t see her getting bumped out of that top spot, so I would venture a guess that she will definitely be one of the team captains; however, if Charlie has an off-night (and James kills his quickstep), we could potentially see James bumping Charlie out of the #2 spot in order to go up against Meryl as the other team captain. Hell, I would even say there’s an outside chance (wayyyy outside chance) that Amy or Danica (particularly Danica) could swoop in and knock both Charlie & James down a notch and take that #2 spot, since they’re both tied at 128. But my gut tells me that TPTB are too in love with the idea of Meryl vs. Charlie, and so they’ll probably go out of their way to ensure that Charlie stays at #2…which may mean low-balling James and giving Charlie a pretty cushy score. Read more..
So we’re at the halfway point in the competition – 5 more weeks to go, and there’s still 8 couples left…seems like a lot, but I guess numerically it makes sense. We’ve got party anthem night this coming Monday, Latin night the following Monday, and then who knows. Will the guest judges cease once we hit week 8? Will the themes cease? When’s the team dance? What other funky sh*t are they gonna throw our way between now and the finale?
I don’t have ALL of the answers, but I’ll try and paint the clearest picture I can of the remainder of the season. Here’s the list of what the remaining couples have left to dance in the coming weeks – I’ve already removed their party anthem week dances, so consider this the remaining dances for Latin week onward. I’ve added a bit of my own commentary as well. And because I’m nice, I did it both a list format AND a handy-dandy chart. I have a question mark by the Viennese waltz (see why below) and I honestly doubt we’ll see anyone else doing the swing this season, but I went ahead and included it since we did see it from two couples already. Read more..
So next week promises to be either totally awesome or a complete trainwreck Maybe a bit of both. Should be interesting to see what they pick as “party anthems” considering some of the songs they picked for prom week in season 16 were pretty debatable as songs one might hear at the prom, so I won’t be shocked if we hear something like “Friday” by Rebecca Black this coming week as a “party anthem”.
So far, I have a few hunches: one is that they’re going to probably reuse some songs we’ve heard in the past, to save some time & money. Second hunch? They won’t be able to resist using at least one LMFAO song, since Redfoo is the guest judge – question is, will somebody get it as their actual performance music, or will it be used for the pro dance? Third hunch: if these songs are considered “party anthems”, they’re probably pretty well-known and have been commercially successful at some point. Below is a list I’ve compiled of songs used on the show in the past that might be considered “party anthems” – I’ve divided them up by the dance they correspond to, but that’s not to say that TPTB (in their infinite wisdom) will actually use them for the dances they’re intended for I’ve bolded the ones that I have a strong feeling we’ll see again this week – and no, that’s not me hinting at a song spoiler, because I haven’t talked to Deep Throat yet this week. Just purely a Court gut feeling. Don’t get it twisted, kids. I’ve also added a few that we haven’t seen on the show, that I just think might fit the bill – those are in blue. Read more..
Well Disney week went just as predicted, for the most part – overall, it was a pretty feel-good evening in terms of scores and critiques, (minus one or two puzzling comments here and there), and the rules seemed to be relaxed a bit; the animations dancing along the couples were not as intrusive as they were made to sound; Donny, of course, managed to make every critique all about himself instead of the dance he just saw; and Erin (who looked like she was going to the prom and her bff had done her hair & makeup and let her borrow a “super expensive” Claire’s rhinestone necklace) did not call a moratorium on obnoxious questions in honor of Disney week, and continues to bug. The opener was probably the best we’ve seen so far this season – tons of fun and a good use of the Disney songs they were actually able to clear (more on that later).
So what did we learn tonight? That if you give the impression of not really caring about being on DWTS, then the audience won’t really care about voting for you. Such is the case with Cody, our first “shocking” (but not really, when you think about it) elimination of the season – I think many of us had commented that he seemed rather blase about the whole experience, and just didn’t seem to be very invested or enthusiastic about learning the dances. I know many had assumed that he was getting “tons of votes” from his teenybopper fans, but once again, I reiterate: it’s not how a small (but vocal) minority is voting; it’s how the main demographic (middle-aged women) is voting that will determine long-term success on DWTS. I doubt Cody is too disappointed about getting sent home, though – his pride may be wounded, but I’m sure he will be right back to donning his genie pants and admiring his hair in the mirror while singing “Surfboard” to his supermodel girlfriend in no time. He got his exposure, he’s good to go – I just feel bad for Witney, who made a pretty damn good showing for her first outing as a pro and just suffered from having a partner that didn’t connect with viewers, despite her best efforts. Thank god for the switch-up – I think her week with Drew was just a taste of what she’s capable of as a pro. She’s got a thumbs-up from me if they want to bring her back as a pro next sesaon!
So now that we’re at the halfway point of the season, how are things looking, overall? Hate to say it, but I’m starting to get the William Levy-vibe from Meryl – somebody that the judges/PTB seem intent on jamming down my throat as the be-all, end-all, and someone who manages to avoid negative critiques altogether despite making technique mistakes that other couples get called out on in a heartbeat. I’m also still not quite sure what the deal is with Charlie – the judges seem to be much harder on him than Meryl, despite him not really being inferior to her in terms of skill; can’t decide if they’re setting him up for more of a “journey” arc or what. Danica seems like she might still be in the mix as a potential contender, but the judges seem to run hot & cold on her; James, however, has solidified his position as this season’s “dark horse” in a BIG way – I would be nervous if my name were Meryl, Charlie, or Danica, because James is HUNGRY for that MBT. Read more..
Bye-bye, gadawful switch week – helllloooo, Disney week! This may be the one good idea TPTB have had the entire season Sounds like a lot of you are pretty pumped about it – so why not get even more excited by compiling a song wish list and seeing if we might be able to predict what everyone might be dancing to, shall we?
Vogue & I came up with a list of the most popular Disney songs we could think of and divided them up by dance style – Deep Throat indicated that all the songs were probably going to be very well-known, so while I think it would be totes appropos to see Maks dancing to “Gaston” from Beauty & the Beast, it’s probably far more likely that he & Meryl have a song like “Beauty & the Beast” or “Be Our Guest”.
If you didn’t catch it yesterday, some of the couples revealed some clues about their dances in this media post Vogue posted yesterday. Some other clues, which I revealed on Twitter yesterday? Both Meryl & Charlie have eschewed the expected “Disney princess/prince” roles that some were hoping they’d assume this week, and are both going for “something different”. And because Peta is about as subtle as a sledgehammer (thanks, emojis) I’ll go ahead and throw out one song spoiler: James & Peta are, indeed, doing contemporary to “Let it Go” from Frozen. Happy Hump Day, kids
Tonight’s episode of Sesame Street was brought to you by the phrases “these are the couples you chose!”, “keep it all in the family”, and “incestual”. I know I can’t be the only one that thought they were trying to drive the point home just a bit too hard that the couples we saw last night were the ones that we voted for – defensive much? Had they actually given Meryl to Derek (as the voters had), it would have created an entire cascade of partner changes that I think would have created an entirely different outcome last night. But that’s neither here nor there – I guess I’m just sort of over the entire partner switch at this point. It’s over and done with, and it’s hard to dwell on what a turd the whole thing was when we’ve got Disney Week next week
I do feel the need to touch on the phrase “keep it all in the family!” though – on the surface, it seems innocuous enough, but I feel like it’s yet another barrier the Chmerkovskiy brothers (and Tony, to a lesser degree) put up between themselves and the other pros on the show. I know they seem to have a sort of “us against the world” mentality, but more often than not, they themselves are the ones creating that environment. “Keep it all in the family” says to me “I don’t trust the other pros. I refuse to associate with the other pros. I am better than the other pros. Don’t let the other pros near my partner…mine, mine, MINE!” It implies that the only family that matters is theirs – and the relationships with the other pros that they’ve cultivated over the years are worthless. The Chmerkovskiys are a family, but so is DWTS – when the cards are down, the pros do look out for each other. I guess the reason I’m bringing it up is because I was rather surprised to hear Meryl repeat it in her package – I think it was probably just out of politeness to Val & Maks, but in the spirit of the switch (which so many of the other pros embraced with open arms – including Tony), it just seemed almost like self-segregation.
I’m left feeling rather puzzled by the judges’ comments & scoring last night – there were certain couples that got raked across the coals that I didn’t think were that bad (Candace & Tony, Charlie & Peta), couples that got treated with kid gloves (and this is probably gonna get me in trouble, but Amy & Mark), and couples that just did not really register at all with the judges (Danica & Maks, Cody & Sharna). And apparently there was fallout backstage last night after the show – a source says that Peta was in tears and was being consoled by Charlie & Sharna, and Mark was allegedly overheard saying that he thinks he’s “as good as done” next week thanks to Tony (which I don’t agree with…at least not the reasoning). Tough day at the office for those two
On the upside, we got a pretty cute opening number (that was perhaps a little heavy on the “switch” theme, but whatever), and the Macy’s Stars of Dance segment returned triumphantly with a pretty cool flamenco-infused number by Derek, Artem, Sasha, Henry, Jon Platero, & the beast that is Kathryn McCormick. I smell some potential Emmy fodder, if the Stars of Dance segments in the coming weeks measure up to the one we saw last night! Julianne also returned as a judge, to both cheers and jeers – and WTF was up with her eyebrows??? Somebody get Anastasia Soare on the phone, because somebody is using the wrong color pencil on Miss Hough…
Bear with me as I try not to repeat too much of the stuff I said in the live discussion post last night – guess I should have held back a bit for my power rankings I went ahead and put the original pro partner names in parentheses here, as they will be the ones potentially at-risk to be eliminated next week. Read more..