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PureDWTS Discussion Post: Spencer Liff on the Choreography “Controversy”

I saw this the other day and kind of ignored it. Mainly because I don’t really consider it a “controversy” OR new information. But I’m bored – the dog days of summer and waiting for DWTS Fall Season news to break is getting old. Plus Vogue is on vaycay and me and Court have to try to fill the void. :-)

We’ve known that outside choreographers help for YEARS. Derek just mentioned it in a meet and greet the other day when asked about choreography. I don’t recall the context, but he said that he only used an outside choreographer for his and Shawn’s bhangra, but he knows that others do it more frequently….and he can always tell when outside help was used. He’s very observant, so that’s no surprise, plus he knows all of them very well. He apparently didn’t think it was a huge deal – and neither does Spencer Liff. Spencer makes some interesting points and seems to defend Witney (if she needs defending) pretty clearly. He says that outside “help” doesn’t have a right to the statue. What are you going to do? Count the steps that you contributed? What he seems to be saying – at the risk of putting words in his mouth – is that the contracted individual is responsible, is in charge and deserves the credit for that. What do you think?

Also, what I found interesting was that Spencer said he has “ghosted” on DWTS “many times” – this is intriguing, just cuz I’m nosey. :-) But the money comes out of the DWTS pros pocket when they get help, and it’s done away from the regular rehearsal spaces – and he says take your paycheck and keep your mouth shut. Very interesting conversation in the first five minutes of the video I’ve posted, below.

At the end of the day, Witney tried and gave full credit to her assistant and DWTS apparently tried as well. But the Academy has rules. Someone else mentioned in the video that the producers are limited to THREE nominees also, even if more producers were involved. Too bad. Those of you “helping” either need to stop helping without being contracted to the show, or suck it up and take the pay the DWTS pros give you.

Courtney: First off, a tip of the hat to Spencer – I’ve always found him to be one of the less “diva-ish” choreographers on SYTYCD, and while I may not have always been wowed by his choreography, I think he’s always done a good job of giving routines that are appropriate to the style he’s been assigned (unlike others, who seem to take “jazz” as an opportunity to do a contemporary routine).  I think he also did great job of explaining what’s what as it pertains to the nominations – it was very “Look here, guys – as someone who’s been nominated before, let me tell you that if you are ghosting on a routine, you are just that – a ghost.  Do not expect credit unless it was truly a collaborative effort – you don’t get to say ‘But I choreographed 20% of that!’ after the fact.  Your money is your compensation – take it and shut up.” Anyone else get the feeling he was a tad irked that some people were even trying to pull that stuff? 😉 Now, with that being said – I feel like him comparing his “assistants” on SYTYCD is maybe not a perfect analogy to what we think the situation has been at DWTS.  I’ve always gotten the impression that those “assisting” on SYTYCD were just helping the choreographer to show the routine to the couple they’re choreographing – they don’t actually contribute much, creativity-wise.  They’re just a body.  The impression I get from DWTS is that it’s one pro actively contributing to another pro’s work – giving advice on choreography.  But, I do agree with Spencer – it gets to be really tricky determining how much credit you give for a partial contribution by another pro. I look at a true collaboration as something akin to Derek & Chelsie’s acoustic paso back in season 10 – they agreed to work together and both were involved every step of the way, therefore a co-nomination was appropriate; but I get the feeling that the dances in question (presumably Witney’s, though I see the female pros are still dancing around naming names) were more like Witney getting somewhat into choreographing something and saying “Crap, I’ve hit a wall with this part.  Hey Sharna (or whoever), can you help me work through this part right here?” And then Sharna (or whoever) contributing something to a portion of the dance, and then walking away.  It wasn’t as if Pro A and Pro B started off choreographing from the beginning together; the concept of the dance was probably Witney’s idea, and the bulk of the spacing/set design/costume design/choreography was also hers. But anywho – the degree of entitlement being what it is amongst the pros at DWTS these days (as well as the degree of butthurt-ness), can’t say I’m surprised that some of the pros are basically scoffing at what has been standard operating procedure at the Academy for many years and feeling as though they are due some sort of credit.  Cause everybody is a winner and a special little snowflake that deserves an MBT, and Emmy nomination, and whatever his/her little heart desires – because FAIRNESS, guys. But yes, please do continue to throw shade at other pros for something that was likely out of their control, anyway – and then get indignant when fans try to guess just who you’re passive-aggressively tweeting about.  Such a good look :-) Funny how people think WE start “fan wars”…the pros are doing a fine job of it themselves… Read more..

July 31, 2015 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. :-)

America’s Ballroom Challenge is Back – Mary Murphy talks DWTS, Ballroom, and Derek and Julianne Hough

Mary Murphy’s not on So You Think You Can Dance anymore – she says there will be very little ballroom, which is a damn shame – but she’s talking America’s Ballroom Challenge. Honestly, one couple on SYTYCD attempted a Cha Cha the other night and butchered it badly – worse than some on DWTS – so maybe the change isn’t so bad. From Yahoo TV (thanks to Motisima):

“On So You Think You Can Dance, most of the time you’re seeing two people who have never ballroom danced, and it’s kind of all smoke and mirrors,” Murphy tells Yahoo TV. “Honestly, they can edit everything to get the best vantage of every step. And Dancing With the Stars is the same thing, too — you’re dancing with a celebrity, sometimes they have danced, sometimes no dance. For these people [on America’s Ballroom Challenge], dance is their life. They are professionals at the highest level. You will see the best of the best.”

RIDER: Derek Hough
“Julianne and Derek are about as good as you’re going to get,” Murphy said. “Derek, especially, I’ve been watching that kid since he was 7 years old. For me, the pinnacle was that Argentine Tango the other night [on Dancing With the Stars]. I just was so impressed with him. There was just such maturity about him. I feel like I’m seeing him as a young man now, as opposed to looking at him always as a kid.”

July 29, 2015 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 21 Gossip and Rumors – Amanda Bynes and Pippa Middleton

Keep in mind that the sources for this information are WAY less than reliable. LOL.  First up, from the UK, Pippa Middleton is apparently dying to be on DWTS with Derek as a partner. From The Hollywood Gossip:

As for Pippa’s boogying ambitions, the guard claims Kate’s younger sister desperately wants to appear on Dancing With the Stars, but her dream has repeatedly been shut down.

“She wants her sister’s fame, that’s for sure. I heard she’s desperate to be on Dancing with the Stars but the palace asked her to back off. They felt it would sully the image of her sister.

“Well, I tell you she did not care! She supposedly contacted Derek Hough somehow and he’s a big fan of the idea.”

We’ve also posted on Pippa a number of times, since she’s on Mark’s wish list of celebrity partners. Sorry Mark. :-) Next up, Amanda Bynes is supposedly in the running for this season of DWTS and she wants Derek or Mark. Oy veh. :-) From Hollywood Life:

In keeping with the good news, our sources tell us that Amanda is in the running to star on the upcoming season of Dancing With The Stars — that is, if she remains healthy enough to compete. “They want her! If she does it, she wants to dance with Derek [Hough], 30, or Mark [Ballas], 29,” a source tells HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY. “She is in very, very loose discussions and absolutely nothing has been set in stone but as long as she is mentally stable, she is basically a lock for the next season.”

Take all of this with a huge grain of salt as neither outlet has a stellar track record when it comes to DWTS. 😉

ETA: Vogue here. According to Amanda’s Attorney via Access Hollywood, she’s decided to return to college instead of doing Dancing With The Stars. Adding: Keep in mind though that the Access Hollywood article is 2 months old. You never know…anything could happen to change one’s mind in that time?

Amanda’s attorney also took the time to shoot down a TV project rumor surrounding his client.

“Amanda isn’t going to be on ‘Dancing with the Stars,'” Esquibias said.

“She’d like to return to college,” he explained, adding that Amanda has not matriculated anywhere yet.

July 24, 2015 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’ Rumer Willis to Play Roxie Hart on Broadway

Well done, Rumer!! From The Hollywood Reporter:

The actress and ‘Dancing with the Stars’ champ will make her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart, just before her father’s play begins previews this fall.

Rumer Willis is bound for Broadway.

The actress and Dancing with the Stars champ will make her Broadway debut in Chicago this fall. Her limited eight-week engagement at the Ambassador Theatre begins Aug. 18 and runs through Oct. 11.

July 16, 2015 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. :-)

The 2015 Emmy Nominations – How Did DWTS Do? Slightly Live Blog

Here’s our post from a few days ago, talking about what we thought might happen with the Choreography nominations. The reality is…

DWTS got EIGHT nominations total, two of which are choreography nominations.

DWTS is nominated for Outstanding Reality Program

More to come when all noms are posted….

TWO Nominations for Choreography
Derek Hough/Julianne Hough/Tessandra Chavez – Elastic Heart
Witney Carson – It’s Not Unusual/369/Sing With A Swing-Apache

There are only five nominees this year which echos Courtney’s thought that SYTYCD didn’t have a particularly strong year. I still maintain that Travis will win, and I did pretty well predicting what he would be nominated for.

Outstanding Host – Tom Bergeron

No shock to see Tom up there!

Outstanding Hairstyling – Dancing With The Stars • Episode 1907

Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety Series – Dancing With The Stars • Episode 1911A

Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety Special – Dancing With The Stars: 10th Anniversary Special

Outstanding Makeup For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special (Non-Prosthetic) – Dancing With The Stars • Episode 1907

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. :-)

The Emmy Nominations – Does DWTS have a Shot at the Choreography Statuette?

Or any other statue for that matter? :-)  (NOTE: Nominations are announced July 16th at 11:30 eastern) We tend to focus on the choreo nominations – mainly because it’s the one we care most about and it’s also the most difficult. So, do you think any of the DWTS pros will be nominated for an Emmy this year? Don’t forget those like Travis Wall who came on and choreographed dances.  If so, which dances will get a nomination? What dances do you WANT to see get a nomination? I think it will be a tough year to get a nomination, but if anyone from DWTS does it will likely be Derek or Mark or Sharna…or Travis. I have to review some videos to figure out my guesses. I’m not sure that anyone else had anything Emmy worthy. Here are the rules you need to know:

  • The eligibility period is June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2015. HOWEVER, because of submission requirements, it’s very possible that the last few weeks of Season 20 may not be eligible. It’s hard to say. All entries must be submitted by May 4th, but you can modify your entry until May 31st.  Meaning that if a choreographer has a better dance after May 4th, they can switch out one of the ones submitted on May 4th.  There is also normally a DVD submission deadline that falls after May 4th and they probably have to make that. Usually, I believe the last two to three weeks of the spring season don’t get submitted because of the DVD deadline. It has to be shown on TV and a DVD of that airing submitted. Obviously, because the show is live, if it hasn’t aired, it also can’t be recorded to DVD and submitted.
  • All that said…if Derek (for example) submitted three dances, he has until May 31st to substitute, so he could replace one dance with a later one if he liked it better – IF the DVD submission deadline is after the end of the season. We’re not sure.
  • The great news is that the previous yes/no vote for a nomination is now a numerical score – I think this increases the possibility of a nomination.
  • An individual achievement is typically only eligible for one nomination. That said, pros could be nominated alone AND as part of a team nomination – this is what happened a couple years ago when Derek was nominated solo and then with Allison Holker. BUT, if he has 10 great dances that he choreographed solo, he can only have ONE nomination and he has to narrow down his entry to three dances.
  • Finally, based on all of the above, DWTS Season 19 and most (or all) of Season 20 are eligible and last summers SYTYCD is eligible.

I’m gonna start my speculation by stating straight up – it will be very difficult for someone from DWTS to get a nomination this year, including Derek. There just wasn’t that much that stood out and, unfortunately, the dances have to be WAY better than anything seen on SYTYCD in order to get a nomination. Why? Well, Courtney and I have discussed this many times and the fact is that most dancers (and, hence, people voting on nominations) are going to be contemporary or perhaps Jazz/Broadway dancers. Most can’t do Ballroom and don’t care about ballroom. I’ve heard that they think Ballroom has no depth of feeling and is too technical (B.S. – of course they say that because they can’t DO it well). So technical that it can be passion-less. Again, utter B.S. But that is the sad fact of it. And of course, most of the time, the pros on DWTS are dancing with amateurs, while the choreographers on SYTYCD are choreographing for professional dancers. Like it or not, execution does matter.  Just look at some of the dances that were nominated the last two seasons. Read more..

July 12, 2015 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. :-)

Cheryl Burke Drops Out of the Miss USA Pageant Due to NBC’s Position on Donald Trump

The headline says it all, but here is Cheryl’s official statement. Go, girl!

MISS USA

In light of the recent statements made by Donald Trump and the subsequent decision by NBC to cut ties with Mr. Trump, I cannot in good conscience move forward with participating in this year’s Miss USA Pageant as its co-host. Effective today I have withdrawn from my duties with Miss USA. Although I will not be there in person, I wish all of the contestants much luck as I know how hard they’ve all been working over the last year to try and realize their dreams.

Variety has also picked up this story.

Burke’s departure comes on the same day that NBC would air an “American Ninja Warrior” special on the night it was originally scheduled to air Miss USA. The three-hour July 12 special will be the show’s second annual “USA vs. the World” extravaganza, in which top competitors from the hot Monday series “American Ninja Warrior” go head to head with competitors from Japan and Europe. Last year’s “USA vs. the World” special in mid-September delivered a potent 1.9 rating in adults 18-49 despite facing tough reality show competition, including the season premiere of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

June 30, 2015 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. :-)

Derek Hough talks “MOVE” and Dancing with the Stars

Derek spoke to the Miami Herald back before the tour started and they apparently just published it to coincide with MOVE arriving in Florida.

Derek Hough’s twist on a recent Season 20 Dancing With the Stars episode was the “Ouch!” heard ’round the country.

On April 20, while rehearsing for the 10th anniversary special edition of the ballroom dance competition show — Hough is its most winning pro — the 30-year-old Utah native broke a toe on his right foot after an errant kick. He then sprained the inside and the outside of his left ankle, and ended up with a bone bruise (the latter after tumbling down stairs while attending to his toe).

Bad break and bad timing. You could practically hear the accountants gasp.

Hough was in his customary race toward the finals with gymnast “star” partner Nastia Liukin (the couple finished in fourth place) and simultaneously starring in a New York Spring Spectacular dance show at Radio City Music Hall. He was also readying rehearsals for the second annual MOVE Live Tour with sister Julianne Hough (a judge on DWTS and actress).

MOVE — with both stars intact, he swears — cha-chas onto the Hard Rock Live stage Friday. “I learned the show in three days this year,” he says.

Hough is involved in every aspect of MOVE — choreographing the routines, dancing, singing and engaging in banter with his younger sis.

“I’m feeling much better, I’m getting strong,” Hough says on the phone during a break in rehearsals in Los Angeles as carpenters slam together painted sets, costumers run around and giant fans blow air around the Houghs.

For Hough, work is always a race against the clock. He wasn’t even supposed to be on the DWTS anniversary season due to the Radio City gig, but “I get passionate about challenges,” he says.

“It was outrageous traveling back and forth, rehearsing and doing two to three shows a day. Instead of scaring me it got me excited — let’s see if I can do this. But I’m a team player and very loyal person, and if I could make it work and be a part of that 10th anniversary, which was a milestone, I thought it important to be part of that.”

Jo Swafford took some amazing photos at the shows she went to in Texas. See purederekhough.com for more coverage of MOVE Live on Tour.

June 21, 2015 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. :-)

Derek Hough Likely Back for DWTS Season 21

He’s breaking my heart here. He’s amazing for letting things roll off his back. Or perhaps he knows the manipulation and other crap but finds that to be less important than working with celebs and teaching them to dance. From News-Press.com:

As for “Dancing with the Stars,” Hough expects he’ll be returning next season to judge or to foxtrot with more fleet-footed celebrities.

“It’s likely next season,” he says. “I think I have one more left on my contract. We’ll see.”

He hopes it happens.

“I love the show,” he says. “The show’s amazing. I love every part of it… There’s really nothing like it.

“For me, as long as I have ideas and things to do on the show, I want to be a part of it.”

Derek says he’s loved meeting people and dancing with them on the hit ABC show.

“They’ve all impressed me, and they’ve all been fantastic,” he says. “But there have been some special ones, some special moments. You know, it’s just one of those moments where I look back and go, ‘Oh, wow, I can’t believe I did that!’

“It’s like with Kellie Pickler, when I did the freestyle with her (in 2013). It was just a special moment.”

Then again, he says, the show is full of special moments — including the sheer joy of teaching somebody how to dance.

“Any teacher can tell you that,” he says. “They’re nothing like showing somebody something and seeing that light go on in their eyes when they realize they can do it.

“When you’re giving and you’re sharing, it’s an amazing, fulfilling feeling. It’s great. It’s a wonderful thing.”

June 17, 2015 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 20, The Finale – Dancing by the Numbers

Well, there’s not much to discuss tonight, actually. Riker and Rumer are currently tied for first place, with Noah 8 points back. I full expect that Noah’s deficit will get larger after their dance tomorrow night which brings it down to Riker and Rumer. The scores??

Finale Table 1

When all is said and done, for Noah to win, he needs to get about 35,000 more votes per million votes cast than BOTH Riker and Rumer. Now, bigger deficits have been over come in the past, but never in the finale. I don’t think Noah makes it. Now, it’s possible he could take second place instead of third, for sure. But I don’t see him winning, as much as I would love that to happen.

That leaves us with Riker and Rumer. The margin is ONE vote. Will Riker pull it off? Well, he should. Seriously, how non-creative and unimaginative could Val get by simply doing a good Argentine Tango? For that reason alone he should lose. Like Riker’s freestyle or not, it was a risk, it was different, it was a FREESTYLE.

The problem that Riker has is that his fans seemed to be (like many younger fanbases) consumed with twitter and winning the encore dance. HUGE mistake, as I tried to tell them. Has anyone won the encore freestyle AND won the trophy?? I think Kellie might be the only one. The PLUS that Riker has is that Derek fans seemed to be pretty solidly behind him. That said – how likely are you to power vote for someone who isn’t your first choice? Not that likely. I’m sure he got lots of votes from them, but it’s unlikely to be Derek’s fanbase at full strength, especially since they’ve had a week to cool down.

Rumer? I really like this girl a lot, but her pro let her down. That as a freestyle was a total creative cop out and that’s a real shame. He played it very, very safe and I can’t believe none of the judges called him on it. Rumer’s plus said is that she’s been pimped to high heaven and a large percentage of the voting audience could be called sheeple. Add in all the bought and paid for media since the beginning of the show and Riker has an uphill battle.

At the end of the day, I can’t even make a prediction. It’s too close to call. I change my mind every five minutes.

What to look for….well, Riker winning the encore would be a bad sign, historically. Riker getting hosed on the third dance is an interesting sign. It could mean he had the votes. But the judges tend to score that dance after the voting on a level playing field. I don’t think, historically, that they want to change the outcome with their scores. Let’s just see if they still do. What has Rob Wade dictated they do?

I’m interested in seeing who wins. If Riker wins, it will be a hard fought battle by a good dancer with an uphill fight. If Rumer wins, it will be a highly pimped win by a great dancer with the worst choreography from a winner probably in the history of the show. Or at least the last 10 seasons or so, considering that the choreography game has been upped every season.

Until now.

May 19, 2015 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. :-)