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PureDWTS POLL: Best Male & Female Celeb Dancers in DWTS History?

So I was eating my lunch outside today (since it was the first day in quite some time that wasn’t rainy) with some coworkers, when the topic of my favorite DWTS contestant of all-time, Alfonso Ribeiro, came up.  We had been talking about the celebrity golf tournament he was in this past weekend (Vogue reported on it here, if you haven’t seen it yet), and the fact that he did the Carlton, and I think I said “He’s probably the best male dancer they’ve ever had on the show!” To which another coworker replied “Nah, Corbin Bleu was the best dancer they’ve ever had on the show!” And of course, a debate commenced over who was the better technician, who was the better entertainer, who was more athletic, etc. etc. etc.  We ended up agreeing to disagree, but it got me thinking: really & truly, out of the 20 seasons we’ve had – who is the best guy we’ve seen, and who’s the best girl?

I did a bit of a snap poll on Twitter, but I figured “Why not make it a bit more official?” and do an actual poll here? So below, I picked the most likely candidates for who would likely qualify for “best dancer” on DWTS – most would probably fall under the “ringer” category, but that’s kind of expected when we’re voting on dance skills alone.  Keep in mind that it’s not about popularity, or how well-known they were when they did the show – just dance skills & presentation, period; and independent of any previous training they might have had – so no “Well so-and-so was better because they had no previous experience and were great and that’s what DWTS is all about!!!” Strictly voting on dance skills/showmanship alone, kids.

Obviously, I voted for Alfonso for the men – I think he was the most consistent of all the male ringers we’ve had, and also the best showman; I also think part of his appeal was that he was a really organic, natural mover that seemed to really get into the pocket of whatever dance was thrown his way, even if he had no previous experience with it. While I agreed with my coworker that Corbin was more athletic and likely had more refined technique than Alfonso, I think he wasn’t as much of a natural as Alfonso and had to work harder to appear at ease with the movement of some of the dances – which didn’t always work, and made him a lot less consistent throughout his season.

For the ladies, it wasn’t as cut-and-dry for me – my knee-jerk answer was Nicole, but then I remembered she had some ups-and-downs and some dances that she wasn’t naturally good at (her first rumba and her samba come to mind); then I thought of Meryl, but while her technique was usually flawless, I remember thinking she sometimes lacked in the showmanship department, and could be a timid mover at times. Then I thought of Kristi Yamaguchi, who was a strong dancer AND entertainer, but I remember thinking that she seemed to always have that skater’s “perma-smile” that made her look a tad cheesy at times.  As surprising as this may be for some of you, I actually ended up picking Zendaya as the best female dancer we’ve seen on the show – for a lot of the same reasons I picked Alfonso: she was consistent, she was a showman, and she was a very NATURAL mover.  Granted, I thought Val failed her in the choreography department on multiple occasions (which may have eventually prevented her from winning, I think), and I didn’t love every single dance; but I do think she probably had the best skill set to work with, and seemed the most comfortable out on the floor.

So what do YOU guys think? Vote in the polls below, and then tell us how you voted & why :-)

July 20, 2015 I Written By

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

The 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

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 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. :-)

PureDWTS Season 20, The Finals – Power Rankings

Well,  that was a pleasant little finale night – not terribly exciting, but pleasant nonetheless :-) I found that, for the first time, all three of the freestyles felt a little bit…recycled to me.  They were still nice to watch, but none of them  jumped out at me as something totally fresh and never-before-seen.  I guess we’re reaching that point in the lifespan of the show where “it’s all been done”, but still – sometimes I miss that sense of wonder of the early seasons, when “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” was the most innovative freestyle ever, or when Apolo & Julianne danced “Bust a Move” blindfolded.  *sigh* It’s bittersweet.

Can’t say I’m too surprised at anything the judges said or any of the scores they gave – still think they’re pulling for Rumer to win and have pretty much ensured that Noah won’t run away with the MBT, but I think Riker stands a decent chance at playing spoiler to the “Valenrue” pimping machine we’ve seen all season.  Will be interesting to see how things shake out tomorrow night, for sure. For tonight, I’m just thankful that I managed to get all of my phone  votes in already, and that the show was only an hour long – got a cheesecake to make and a new MAC eyeshadow palette I want to play with 😉

3rd place: Noah & Sharna

Had Noah not slightly bungled his redo Argentine tango, I think my rankings could have looked different tonight – but alas, by handicapping him 8 points behind both Rumer & Riker, I think he’s gonna have a pretty tough row to hoe in order to get any better than 3rd place – and that’s even though I think he’s getting a LOT of votes, still. I have to commend him, though – the commitment I saw from him in the first 20ish seconds of his Argentine tango was the most comfortable and in the zone as I’ve seen him all season…he was dialed in, no doubt.  I think he maybe got slightly off-time on one step, though, and it seemed to throw him a little off his game for the rest of the dance – a bit of a bobbled lift, and he also seemed to lose the confidence he started with.  Not sure I would have docked a whole 8  points for it, but I can’t say I was entirely surprised to see the judges take advantage of the chance to give him a bit of a handicap against Rumer & Riker by doling out straight 8’s.  His freestyle was lovely, though – and I was floored at how well he handled that star lift.  No bobbles there, and he only had 1 arm to support her! :-) Overall, I don’t think Noah placing 3rd is anything to be ashamed of – the dude overcame some pretty ridiculous odds to make it all this way, and I daresay he’s proven that he’s a decent dancer, PERIOD…and not just a decent dancer, for being an amputee.  And I’ve loved watching every step of the journey :-)

Runner-up: Rumer & Val

I think the fact that these two kinda went the safe route on a night when another couple (Riker & Allison) took more risks may ultimately relegate them to 2nd place.  Honestly, kinda shocked that the judges (or Rumer & Val, or whoever picked the redo dances) picked their foxtrot for them to redo – I wouldn’t exactly say that it was their most impactful dance, nor was it particularly well-executed or interesting to watch.  I found it kind of odd & flaily on premiere night…and I found it odd & flaily tonight, too.  Just…hmmm.  Also, food for thought: for last season’s redo dances, those who picked their week 1 dances to redo (Alfonso & Bethany) were required to add an extra 30 seconds of content in order to make the dances longer, since the week 1 routines are so short.  They didn’t make that requirement this week…why? Just something to contemplate.  As for their freestyle – eh. Felt like a garden-variety Argentine tango – and part of me wonders if they were just   so set on doing Argentine tango at some point (remember, they thought they had it last week for the judges’ choice!) that they just reworked their original routine a bit in order to turn it into some semblance of a freestyle. I get that Val was going for the “stripped-down, back to basics” look (hehe…where have I heard that before?), but in the process, I think they lost a bit of what makes the freestyle special: that knock-your-socks-off performance value.  This was nice to watch – but it didn’t leave me feeling forever changed or dazzled.

Winner: Riker & Allison

I think these two came into the finale with the right strategy: knock ’em dead with 2 showstopping dances.  God bless that pirate paso doble – I think Riker could have easily slayed any dance that Rumer may have redone with this  number…it was THAT good, and he was even more on-point doing it tonight. As I mentioned on Twitter – I kind of  love how committed Riker is to the character of Captain Jack.  When that costume goes on, he’s 100% Jack, and his technique is flawless.  And then the freestyle – it felt like a bit of a riff on Alfonso’s freestyle last season, but I loved that dance so much that this really felt like almost a sequel or a remix.  A really nice combination of the old and the  new, and Allison killed the choreo…even saw a few signature Twitch moves thrown in 😉 And that bit at the end with Riker dancing with the guys in the troupe? A few times, I thought I saw Derek up there – he’s got that same great quality of movement and sense of ease onstage that D has.  When it all boils down tomorrow night, I think Riker may have played all the right cards – because I think full-out and flashy won out against simple and stripped down tonight.

So what freestyles did you enjoy the most/least? And who do you guys think will win? :-)

May 18, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 9 – Power Rankings

First, a commendation:  I actually thought all of the judges did a great job with their respective couples, and was pleasantly surprised at how creative they all got.  Definitely would not mind if they brought back the judges’ choice dance, in its current format, to the show next season.  Second, another commendation: tonight felt like the first night in a long time where there wasn’t really a big agenda behind the scoring.  I don’t think anyone got absurdly praised, and I don’t think anyone got absurdly punished – granted, the high level of dancing we saw tonight was a pleasant anomaly, but this was the first time in awhile where I didn’t feel like the judges were being underhanded with scores or critiques. It all seemed to fit nicely.  :-)

Not a whole lot else to add – just can’t believe it’s now week 9 and I only have one more week of this stuff before we enter the off-season…and I make it my personal mission to find Sasha a partner for next season :-) Read more..

May 11, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 8 – Power Rankings

Not a whole lot to lead-in with – apologize that these didn’t come last night (I try to have the power rankings up before going to bed on Mondays with a results show the following day), but I had a cake to make and my icing gun broke and I kinda lost all my will to live…momentarily :-) Then I slept and I was ok.  Definite judges’ agenda last night, and it seemed to be “make sure Rumer makes it to week 9 AT ALL COSTS, and kinda try to shield Nastia & Riker while you’re at it – the rest are expendable”.  Len has completely lost all credibility for me at this point – just seems like he’s following the directions being fed to him by TPTB each week, even if it means contradicting himself.  Random epiphany I had while watching Robert’s samba trio: how cool would it be to have a pro samba to George Michael’s “Freedom ’90” with the pros playing female & male models? 😉

Also, a point of clarification on Nastia’s “meltdown” in their package: per Deep Throat, that occurred at the end of an 8-hour rehearsal, and Nastia was already planning on heading home – so yeah, she didn’t “walk out of rehearsal in anger”, as some are trying to spin it. Also interesting to note: sometimes the staff filming the rehearsals are encouraged to ask kinda inflammatory questions in order to amp up the drama when the pros and celebs are feeling tired, anxious, stressed, etc – so the frustration you saw from Nastia was more than likely her getting irritated by a needling cameraman, rather than with Derek. Felt that this required clarification, since some of Derek’s detractors seem to be having a field day on Twitter over Nastia’s “outburst”. Hehe – I’ll show you a REAL outburst. Just goes to show that the narrative of the show has gotten so out-of-control that you can’t trust the rehearsal packages anymore. Read more..

May 5, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Before I start in on everything else, I have to get this off my chest: poor Willow :-( Say what you will about “this is what happens when you put a 14-year-old on an adult show!” or “she should have prepared herself!”, but I think back to what a naive, insecure girl I was at 14, and I just cannot help but feel for her – she had done so well and seemed so excited to be there, only to be told “Sorry, not enough people like you enough to vote for you.  Bye-bye!” We knew a shocking elim was probably going to come at some point, what with the overlapping fanbases of some of the couples this season…I guess I had just hoped that it wouldn’t be HER. So please, if you have an ounce of compassion in you – please go tweet (or Instagram) some encouraging words to Willow – it’s tough enough to be a teenage girl in this world, let alone one who just got the rug pulled out from under her on national television.

As for the rest of the night – maybe I just got spoiled in previous seasons, with fun decade-themed dances like Nicole’s 50’s paso and Erin’s 80’s rumba (I still giggle at Maks in the Don Johnson costume!), but tonight felt like an “Eras Night” only in name: so many of the songs (and sets, and costumes) didn’t really seem to reflect the era they were meant to, so I guess I kinda said “Why even bother?” to some of it.  Oh well – probably yet another hastily-thrown-together theme to cover their asses when plans changed.  As for the judges – they’re still doing some fishy sh*t.  They’re just taking turns on who gets to play good cop, bad cop each week. Read more..

April 28, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Let’s play a game :-) It’s called “Who can come up with the most ridiculous, subjective, and flimsy critique for a dance that’s nearly flawless???” I’ll start!!!  “Nastia, your pupils were FAR too dilated while you were doing that tango – it made me feel like you were undressing me with your eyes!” Or how ’bout this? “Derek, the pleats on your pants weren’t sharp enough – and it really detracted from the dance for me.” YOUR TURN!!! I think you guys get the point I’m trying to make – some of the critiques have gotten so out of control that the judges really seem like they’re grasping at straws to appear superior and relevant.  Or they’re just trying to make sure that Nastia doesn’t get too confident, even though she is every bit as good as Rumer & Riker.  Whatever, guys – I guess just keep spinning the “Wheel O’ Excuses Why We Simply Can’t Just Tell Nastia She Did Well” back in your trailers to keep things colorful…and to keep the season’s agenda on-track.

Besides Nastia, I STILL feel like Robert is getting the short end of the stick from the judges and can’t do anything right in their eyes; and then there’s Chris, who looks downright miserable all the time, barely moves, and the judges just FAWN over him.  Here’s a bit of a “behind the scenes” scoop for you guys, free of charge: CHRIS DOES NOT WANT TO BE THERE.  Sure, it’s totally written all over his face whenever the camera pans to him, but just confirming it for you – the dude was legit disappointed that he didn’t get sent home last week.  And can you really blame him? He’s struggling hardcore each week, he’s butting heads with Witney, and I’m pretty sure he just wants to get back to the farm to have some wild hayloft sex with his Whitney.  Or something like that.  While I think it was Patti’s time to go either this week or next week, I still would have rather kept her over Chris – at least she was having fun, even if she wasn’t really doing a whole lot.  She was still entertaining. Read more..

April 21, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 5 – Power Rankings

First off, an apology: these are late, but I do (sort of) have good reason: I needed time to cool off after last night’s show (more on that later) and I actually got caught up talking to Deep Throat and just got too tired to start these last night (as I usually do).  Then after my truncated sleep schedule last night (no rest for the spoilers!), I just dragged all kinds of @$$ today and didn’t get around to finishing these until just now.  So I apologize – hope this is all still relevant and you guys haven’t completely moved onto Spring Break week 😉

Overall, I enjoyed Disney night – this one felt a lot more well-prepared and planned out than the last, which felt a bit hastily thrown together.  Sorry to see Suzanne go – I do feel like she was really trying and wanted to be there, and maybe just got caught having a weak moment in rehearsal.  But if she didn’t go home this week, she certainly would either next week or during the double elim – just kinda stinks that she went out on a bit of a low note, forgetting almost half her routine.  And it started out so promising, too! Hopefully she can do it again on the finale results show :-) Read more..

April 14, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 4 – Power Rankings

Well, after shedding more tears than I intended to last night, I’m left feeling a tad uncertain about how things are shaking out these season.  Though Michael left on a high note with his best dance yet, he still seemed to get underscored relative to some of the other couples, and it just kinda makes me resent the fact that the judges nitpicked him to death week after week.  Though he seemed like he was at peace with getting eliminated, I still can think of at least 3 other celebs that should have gotten sent him before he did.  But moving right along…

…Len seemed unusually disgruntled last night, and the only people he seemed to really gush about were Robert & Willow.  He’s still not too fond of Riker or Nastia, but he seems like he turned on Rumer a bit this week, too.  Julianne seemed to love just about everyone, but did kinda surprise me when she told Robert he had the best technique of the men this season – perhaps trying to draw attention away from #RikerNotADancer and his suspiciously good technique? Tuned out when Carrie Ann & Bruno spoke, so I can’t really say anything about them.  The big announcement that the cast is touring again this summer? Meh.  If they think Melissa’s gonna be as big a draw as Alfonso, god love them. Oh, and if you didn’t hear already – the switch-up is cancelled, and we don’t know why.  *shrug* No skin off my back.  Is it Disney week yet??? 😀 Read more..

April 7, 2015 I Written By

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