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PureDWTS: Questions We’re Tired of Answering, Volume II: The Emmy Edition

I wasn’t planning on writing another edition of “Questions We’re Tired of Answering” so soon after the first edition, but after the sh*tstorm I witnessed on Twitter in the past 36 hours since Derek & Julianne won an Emmy for their “Elastic Heart” routine with Tessandra Chavez, I felt it necessary to field some of the questions I’m seeing over and over again about the Emmy’s.

Before I get into it, though, let me just say this: I think a lot of these questions are stemming from the increase in “entitlement mentality” I’m seeing from a lot of the pros – and some of the fans are starting to buy into it.  Contrary to what some seem to believe, not every pro deserves a MBT, an Emmy nomination, an Emmy win, movie roles, Broadway gigs, book deals, endorsements, etc., simply by showing up and being a pro on DWTS.  That, in itself, is a privilege; things like MBT’s, Emmy’s, etc. are rewards for merit and hard work – not entitlements.  If a pro wants these things, to quote Britney Spears, “you better work, b*tch!”. Let’s try to keep that in mind…

Why does SYTYCD get so many more nominations than DWTS?

To understand this, you have to understand that there’s two components for success in the “Outstanding Choreography” category at the Emmys: the strength of the choreographic content, and the strength of how it was performed.  Therefore, you’re much more likely to get nominated if a) your choreography is strong, creative, and innovative, and b) you’ve got a skilled dancer performing it. Thus, it’s kind of easy to tell why it’s easier for SYTYCD routines to get nominated: all of them are performed by professional dancers, and because the choreographers (usually) aren’t limited to tailoring their choreography to the skills of their dancers, they can take more risks and do more off-the-wall stuff.  Choreography for DWTS, on the other hand, tends to be limited by the skill set of the celebrity – which affects what exactly the pros can include in the routine, and how well it gets performed on show night.  On top of those two factors, the Academy voters tend to be more from the contemporary style than from ballroom – and thus have a bit of a bias towards contemporary routines (of which there is usually quite a few on SYTYCD) and a bit of a bias against ballroom (which is the bulk of what we see on DWTS).  Most years, the best that DWTS can hope for is (1) nomination, against usually 4-5 from SYTYCD.  So for me to see some people complaining about [insert pro here] and [insert another pro here] not getting nominated as well, I feel like puking – cause the fact that DWTS was actually able to get TWO nominations this year is HUGE…whining about them not getting more is a tad greedy, I’m afraid.

Why wasn’t Sharna nominated for an Emmy for her choreography for Noah? It was awesome!!!

The explanation above kinda explains this one, too – Sharna likely didn’t get nominated because the routines she created for Noah were rather limited in their choreographic scope, and were not performed by a skilled dancer.  Let me repeat for good measure: it is incredibly hard to get nominated for a routine that isn’t performed by a dancer with a high level of skill.  It’s not impossible – Derek did get nominated last year for some of his choreography for Amy, who wasn’t quite as physically limited as Noah – but it’s certainly not probable. While the choreography Sharna did for Noah was great for someone as physically limited as him, I’m not sure it would stand up as great choreography for someone that was completely able-bodied.  Would you still be as wowed by choreography if, say, Alfonso danced the same routine? I doubt it.  Remember, when DWTS is up against dynamic routines danced by professional dancers on SYTYCD, they’ve gotta bring their A-game – solid routines danced by skilled dancers.  This explanation in particular seems to be one that Sharna & Noah fans just can’t seem to wrap their brain around – I’ve gone blue in the face explaining this one, only to have the people asking say “Well, I still think she should have been nominated. That choreography was incredible!” That’s great – their routines were awesome and Sharna did an incredible job showing what Noah could do.  No one can take that away from her. But just understand that it was incredible choreography FOR NOAH – not necessarily incredible choreography, period.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Why wasn’t Mark nominated for his choreography with Sadie and/or Willow?

IMO, because he focused a bit too much on production value…at the expense of choreographic content.  These past two seasons, Mark has choreographed a LOT of routines that were very set and costume-heavy…and it seemed to dominate those performances, to the detriment of the actual dancing being done.  His Halloween paso doble with Sadie kinda sticks out in my mind as a good example – I enjoyed it, but even I can admit that the OTT costuming and set kinda distracted from the actual dancing.  The set and costumes OVERWHELMED the dancing, rather than working with it.  Derek’s “Walking on Air” routine with Jamie Goodwin is a good example of the set working WITH the dance – the set itself was almost like a 3rd dancer, with all of the moves choreographed with it in mind.  Ditto for “Elastic Heart” – the set itself was actually choreographed into the dance.  I think if Mark would focus more on the choreography itself instead of the set & costumes, we might see more nominations for him in the future – especially if SYTYCD kicks the bucket after this season, which is looking evermore likely from their dismal ratings.

Why was Witney nominated??? IT WASN’T EVEN HER CHOREOGRAPHY!!!

This is me emphatically rolling my eyes.  To those of you still repeating this tripe started by a few disgruntled pros (and one rather scheisty-seeming outside choreographer) on Twitter/Instagram, please stop – we’ve already talked about it at-length here, but here it is again, once more, with feeling: if you don’t have a formally-written contract with an outside choreographer to help with a certain routine, the Academy will not give them co-choreographer credit in the event of a potential nomination.  Academy rules, fools. And judging from what SYTYCD choreographer Spencer Liff said in the link I posted above, ghost choreographers are well aware of this rule – so for this Alan dude (and most of “The Fam”) to suddenly be crying foul is kinda…d*ck.  If you’re of the camp that is trying to claim that she shouldn’t have been nominated because the choreography “just wasn’t that good”, hehe…ok.  Whatever you say.  Nevermind that it was choreographed for possibly the most skilled male celebrity that we’ve ever had on DWTS, and he KILLED IT – and the Academy agrees that the choreography was outstanding.  And then it gets even weirder – I’ve had more than a couple people try to write off the Carlton jazz routine because “it was derived from a dance that Witney didn’t choreograph”.  The fact that people are (probably pretending to be) genuinely upset that about 15 seconds of a nonsensical dance with TWO STEPS was used in the routine makes me not want to live on this planet anymore.  So, were you guys expecting her to give Alfonso credit for “the Carlton dance” or something? It ain’t even really his dance, either – he cites Courteney Cox & Eddie Murphy as his inspiration for it.  Should they have been given credit? Do you people now see how ridiculous you sound?  At this point, you may as well just admit that you just don’t like Witney…cause this is really reaching, kids.

Why wasn’t Allison nominated???

I have to kinda eye roll at this one, too, because it seems like some are drinking the “Allison was awesome on SYTYCD; therefore, by default, she is also awesome on DWTS” Kool-Aid.  For as stellar as Allison is as a contemporary dancer/choreographer, she is still a mediocre-at-best ballroom choreographer.  And again – the bulk of the routines on DWTS are still hardcore ballroom.  On top of that, her first season with Jonathan didn’t really have any standout routines, and some of her strongest routines with Ryker were a bit derivative (i.e. their paso – it was good, but how many Pirates of the Caribbean routines do you think the Academy has seen in the last 10 years?).  Maybe we’ll see some nominations for her once she steps up her ballroom game, but right now? Just not cutting the mustard as a ballroom choreographer yet, though she is improving.  She’s probably more likely to get nominated for any pro-dance collaborations she does – particularly if she does them with Derek.

September 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 21 – Questions We’re Tired of Answering, Volume I

Let me lead off with this: I love our readers. You make everything we do worthwhile, and inspire us to continue writing. We appreciate you…don’t forget that 🙂

That being said – sometimes some of you inadvertently (or intentionally) try to test the limits of our patience…and one way in which some individuals seem to do that is to repeatedly ask questions that we’ve already answered – repeatedly – without bothering to check if we’ve already answered it elsewhere first. I get it – we’ve got over 7 years of content here at Pure, and while we do our best to tag the posts so that it’s easier to find things later, sometimes the search bar doesn’t always pick up on some offhand comment that contained a piece of intel, or an explanation of why something happened in the comments section of a post. That being said – if you tune into a post where everyone is talking about “what happened with Henry” and you don’t know what they’re talking about…perhaps it’s a good idea to read a few comments upstream (or even reread the post itself) before you start asking someone to drop everything and fill you in 😉 Don’t be that guy that shows up to a party, butts into a conversation, and demands that everyone fill him in on what has been discussed so far so that he can feel important. Don’t be a needy, lazy reader, k?

All that said – I figured it would probably quiet a lot of inquiries if we started a series where we answered a lot of these popular questions all in one, easily-accessible area, so that we don’t tell the same stories over and over again. I’m sure this will end up being a multi-part series as the season wears on, so if you have any of those burning questions – send ’em our way through the “contact us” button at the top of the page, and we’ll try to answer them in a future installment. So without further ado, here’s the first batch of questions were are just sick to death of answering…this is the last time we’re answering them, so bookmark this page if you think you might forget!

1.) Why isn’t Henry on the show anymore????/What happened with Henry last season???

I’ve probably gotten at least 8 people asking this just in the last few days, and none of them seem willing to do me the courtesy of reading through the comments sections of multiple posts where I’ve explained what happened at-length. So for the FINAL TIME, here is the full story, from the beginning: Henry was tapped to assist Derek with Nastia last season, since Nastia would fly to L.A. from NY on Saturday (and Derek wouldn’t fly out until Sunday night, due to his Spring Spectacular gig) and would need someone to run through her routine with a few times, and then to do camera blocking with on Sunday. In short – Henry was basically just a stand-in for Derek for a few hours a week: not a choreographer, not a creative collaborator, just a stand-in to run through the week’s routine with Nastia. However, somewhere around week 3, when Nastia was doing the samba, Henry started to overstep his bounds a bit – he was trying to change Derek’s choreography as he was doing run-throughs with Nastia, he was confusing her by telling her things that contradicted what she had been taught by Derek, and probably worst of all: he was publicly trying to take a lot more credit for Nastia’s success than he was due. This was perhaps most evident on the week 3 episode of Afterbuzz last season, when Anna *eye roll* made a point of mentioning “how great” Henry had been doing with Nastia…as if he, not Derek, was Nastia’s real partner (and this, kids, is also a reason why I don’t particularly care for Anna anymore – she has had a tendency to take cheap shots at other pros for a few years now). Henry even made a point of referring to Nastia as “his little samba queen” in the same episode. So began the myth that Henry was the one doing all the work in Derek & Nastia’s partnership, and Derek was the big ol’ meanie taking all the credit from poor widdle Henry – and it was a myth that Derek’s detractors just LOVED to repeat, and it didn’t help that the rehearsal package Nastia & Derek got for their samba seemed to paint Derek as the cold taskmaster that was too busy to rehearse with his partner, and Henry as the caring co-collaborator that helped Nastia realize her full potential. In reality, Derek had spent 20+ hours rehearsing with Nastia that week, had choreographed the whole routine, and had Skyped with Nastia & Henry between shows on Saturday night to critique their rehearsals (all of this confirmed by our source). Henry spent about 3.5 hours just running through the routine with Nastia…but was willing to take all of the credit. Now Derek, who tends not to get his feathers too ruffled, was understandably a bit bothered by this, and asked the producers to just be “more honest” with the rehearsal packages, as the samba package was a very inaccurate representation of what went down that week (again, confirmed by our source).  In turn, the producers informed Henry that they would no longer be filming he & Nastia rehearsing together, since it was such a small amount of time compared to what she spent with Derek – and apparently Henry flipped out. Suddenly, he claimed that he didn’t want to help out with Nastia anymore, and was “too busy” with other projects anyway. And before you accuse us of fabricating this story – watch episode 7 of Afterbuzz last season, where Shirley Ballas corroborates it.  God I love Shirley 🙂 Anywho, god bless our favorite little left crab Sasha, who graciously stepped in and went on to be the best damn stand-in/temporary performance partner Nastia & Derek could have asked for the remainder of the season…and they all lived happily ever after, at least until the propaganda train completely plowed over Nastia in week 9, in a quest to get Rumer Val her his MBT. For Henry, the result was a not-so-happy ending – like most bosses with insubordinate employees, Rob & Co. likely disciplined him for his diva fit by sitting him out for a week or two after the blow-up, and he remained pretty scarce for the rest of season 20, only cropping up in a handful of routines (most notably, on the far right in Nastia’s Charleston…which she danced with Sasha 🙂 )  And then, when it came time to hire dancers for this season’s troupe, I’m guessing the diva fit was a bit of a black mark on Henry’s resume for the casting staff, and it suddenly became evident that they would rather hire employees that will actually do what they’re told, instead of throwing a tantrum when they’re asked to do something they don’t want to.  Like pretty much every other job on the planet 🙂 But don’t shed too many tears for poor Henry – he appears to be running a pretty successful escort service out of his Instagram account.  Sorry, did I hit anybody in the head with that shade I just threw? 🙂

2.) Why isn’t Artem a pro this season???

The short answer? We, like you, have no idea – Artem was confirmed as a pro in mid-August, and then when it came time for the full cast announcement last week…he was gone. We’re working on hitting up some sources to see if they have heard anything, and all Artem has said is this.  But our theory is that Artem may have originally been paired with Tamar, and for whatever reason, the partner they had allocated for Val either didn’t end up signing or backed out at the last minute (Shay, perhaps, realizing that she really didn’t have time to do DWTS this season after all?) and they opted to give their returning champ Artem’s partner and Artem…was left out in the cold. Could explain why it took so long for Val to meet his partner (even though, from what I can tell, there was no prior commitment Tamar had that prevented him from meeting Tamar earlier), and why he was being melodramatic about not having a partner less than a week ago…perhaps he really didn’t think he had one. Anyone else have any (good) theories?

3.) Who is replacing Len???

No idea at this point.  We’ve heard murmurings about DWTS France somehow being involved, and we’ve got SCD South Africa head judge Michael Wentink acting awfully coy about his possible participation…and then yet other sources are claiming that there will not be a new permanent 4th judge, but a series of guest judges.  Court’s theory? Perhaps they’re tapping a judge from some of the international versions of DWTS each week to be guest judges.  But who knows…

4.) Who was Allison originally paired with?

This seems to be a point of contention – I was told by a source that, as of 8/24, all of the pros except Emma (who didn’t even know if she was going to be on the show or not until that day) either had already met their partners, or at least knew who they were. According the Kristyn, Allison was always guaranteed a partner (as I’m sure Val was as well – perks of being a finalist the previous season, I suppose), but hadn’t been specifically assigned one yet as they were still waiting for some celeb to sign on…so when it came out that Peta wasn’t going to be able to participate this season, Allison was still waiting on a partner and was available. What makes me wonder, though, was that the word on the street was that Lindsay was the one that was planned as Peta’s replacement as late as Monday afternoon – so how did Allison suddenly end up with Andy? And who was this mysterious partner they were waiting on for her? We may never know, as it seems like this season was a comedy of casting errors with multiple celebs that didn’t work out, partner switches, and last minute signings. My one thought is that Lindsay was supposed to be with Andy, but they signed Alek at the last minute and thought she was better suited to him than the “24-7 balls to the walls” attitude of Allison – which, after witnessing how absolutely bewildered poor Alek was at the announcement the other day, I guess I agree with…I think one hour with Allison would have left an Alek-shaped hole in the door of the rehearsal studio.  He’s probably better off with the much-calmer Lindsay, who has hopefully matured a bit since her first outing as a pro 2.5 years ago. But anyway – no idea if Allison was originally paired with someone or not, let alone who it was.  Sorry.

5.) Why was Brittany cut from the troupe?

She appears to actually be back now (I guess both Brittany and Lindsay should thank their lucky stars that Peta had to sit this season out – otherwise, Lindsay would not have been promoted and Brittany would still be without a job) Deep Throat speculates that it’s likely due to a perceived lack of maturity – since the troupe is basically the training ground for potential new pros, if they don’t think you’ll one day (soon) hack it as a pro…you’re out. Deep Throat noted that Brittany just didn’t quite seem mature enough to effectively handle teaching a celeb – so they likely thought it better to cut her loose instead of keeping her on for several seasons and never giving her a pro partner. Plus it made room for a potentially more effective troupe member – though judging from some of the murmurings I’m hearing about how Hayley is struggling with the Latin dances, I’m not sure she’s necessarily an “effective” replacement.

Got more burning questions? Submit them here and we might answer in a future installment.

September 8, 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!

Sharna Burgess Talks About an Exciting Opening Pro Routine and Pro Packages

Sharna got on Periscope yesterday and gave out some interesting tidbits about the show! I have two clips below, but if you want to follow Sharna on Periscope or see the whole thing, click the link. She looks just stunning – the hair and the eyes. Flawless.

This is just two small parts of the whole periscope – when it starts she’s talking about Derek, the rest you can figure out from there. Very excited about both DWTS-related things she talks about. 🙂


Sharna Periscope 1 by dereklvr1013


Sharna Periscope 2 by dereklvr1013

August 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. :-)

Allison Holker Talks DWTS to HNGN

Nice, in-depth interview with Allison by HNGN – of course I agree with her comments on the best pros on the show, but  I love what she says about being married and her daughter. 🙂  I also love how open and honest she is about having a partner with dance experience and how it helps. This is just a tiny bit of a very long interview. Click the link to read the whole thing – it’s a good read.

HNGN: When they announced that a few new dancers would be joining the show, nobody really knew that would be happening or if any new pros were coming on, it was kind of all of a sudden. Did it feel that way for you too?

AH: I feel like on the show, and this is just a personal feeling, it’s not a fact, I just feel like there hasn’t been a lot of new pros. Once they find someone that works, they stick to their crew and that is for the sole fact that it’s really just challenging for the pros, but in such a lovely way. Just being asked was a huge opportunity because they don’t do this often. That’s a huge honor. I really respect the show so much.

___

Do you think it helped that Riker had dancing experience in the past?

I definitely think so. There are certain things that really benefit on this show. I think the athletes have an advantage because they already know how to be agile in their bodies and they already know rhythm and the same for band members because they already know how to count music, so I was lucky that Riker was in a band. The most challenging thing you have to teach someone is how to learn dance. When you get those actors or you get the singers that don’t dance, sometimes it’s more challenging because you have to teach them what the levels are and how to learn the next step.

___

Does training start before “GMA” or right after?

Usually right after. You would hope before, but we try to keep it even as far as time so it’s not like someone has been working for a couple of weeks or something. They try to keep it pretty fair.

___

As for the pros, who do you find to be your biggest competition?

The best pro in my opinion is Derek Hough, but I feel blessed at the same time because whether he really knows it or not, Derek has always been a huge inspiration of mine and he’s one of the first people I ever started to choreograph with and I learned a lot from him. He inspires me all the time and he always pushes me. And also Mark, he is very very innovative and very very creative. You can feel that they get to know their partners so well and care about them so the celebrities themselves shine and you can see it and I really look up to both of them.

August 25, 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 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. :-)

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!