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DWTS 15, Week 8 – Power Rankings

Not a whole lot to say about tonight, other than that everything felt incredibly frantic as they rush, rush, rushed to fit 14 routines into 2 hours (which was no bueno, considering the ballroom round was drastically cut short and the danced seemed to be over before they even started), and that the judges did their usual wacky scoring (which really means nothing, considering how close the margins are).  Literally, guys, this is an even bigger battle of the fanbases this time, as there are even MORE points and even SMALLER margins than the week Sabrina got sent packing.  So if somebody’s not getting the votes – methinks they’re pretty much doomed.

1.) Shawn & Derek – They’ve got the 2nd highest point total from the past two weeks, and in perhaps an even bigger advantage – a bunch of pissed off fans.  Ok, so maybe there wasn’t a ton of samba in their trio – I still think there was enough there to warrant at least an 8, and it was still a wildly entertaining routine that actually evoked more of the excitment of a pro dance to me than just a regular dance with a celeb.  The way Len was acting, it was as if Derek & Mark had walked center stage and defecated or something…while Shawn watched.  And the whole “If you go home tomorrow night, don’t blame me, blame them!” comment? Was that REALLY necessary? Just felt like a low blow and not any sort of constructive criticism.  I really think Derek probably knew they were taking a risk and choreographed more of a crowd/audience-pleasing routine than a judge-pleasing routine, intentionally – it was a calculated risk, maybe to jump-start the fans into voting.  But I don’t think he was expecting Len to take it so personally.  As for their Viennese waltz – despite it being awfully short, I thought it was quite pretty and very fluid, and Shawn had some butter-smooth turns and showed a lot of emotion.  I think they’re probably the safest from the double elim tomorrow…seems like they’re getting a lot of votes and still pretty decent scores, in the great scheme of things.

2.) Emmitt & Cheryl – I find myself drawing a bit of a blank on his Viennese waltz, despite the fact that I have several notes written about it – “smooth & fluid, didn’t see the alleged mistake, not very high level of difficulty”.  I daresay that it probably left me lukewarm: no big problems, and pleasant to watch, but nothing particularly impactful or impressive.  Just as I said last week, I think the biggest problem I have with Emmitt at this point is just that he seems to have plateaued in terms of difficulty, and Cheryl really isn’t pushing him as hard as she should choreographically at this phase of the competition.  Most of the other couples are pulling out all the stops – but Emmitt & Cheryl seem to be sticking primarily to the “Do easy choreo and just charm everyone’s pants off!” method.  Their trio – ok, very cute, and I definitely enjoyed it more than I did Gilles’ trio….but 30? Really? I saw an awful lot of backleading & stationary ass-shaking going on…I think many other couples had much more difficult steps in their dances, and they did them with much more impressive execution.  I guess the judges were maybe judging more on entertainment value than level of difficulty and content (unless your name is Shawn, in which case it’s ALL about content).  I guess I’ve just kind of given up on trying to understand the judges’ motives at this point :-P Regardless, I think he’s likely safe tomorrow, but things could get dicey next week… Read more..

November 12, 2012 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!

Derek Hough Honored at the Emmy Choreographers Panel

Normally I don’t respond to petty complaints from fans when their favorite (who, ironically in this instance, is also MY favorite) isn’t getting the coverage on this site they think their favorite deserves. Come on, people. I also normally wouldn’t go backwards in time to pick something up that I neglected to cross post the first time around (I think – not even sure). But in this instance, I saw a tweet this morning that made me decide that I needed to go back to this topic. As a Derek fan, this actually brought a little tear to my eye. :-)

Back on November 1st, the Emmys had a program called “The Choreographers – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”. They had invited Derek but, prior to getting injured, he had a conflict. Once he got injured they added him back to the panel, which also included Nappytabs, Dancer/Fred Astaire’s Partner Barrie Chase, Robyn Astair, Marguerite Derricks, Keith Young, and Fred Tallakesen. Paula Abdul and Kenny Ortega were the hosts. Very nice words about Derek from Paula and Kenny (who told Derek that he would push his way to the front of the line to work with Derek on a Major Motion Picture). I’ve put just the Derek portion below, but if you want to watch the whole thing, which includes several clips of little seen Fred Astair dances – I never knew he had a TV show! – you can find it at the Emmy’s web page. It’s about an hour and a half long, but it’s pretty interesting.

November 10, 2012 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 15, Week 8: And the Trios Are…

The couples got to pick the 3rd members of their trio dances last night after the show, and they could chose between eliminated pros from this season, or any of the members of the troupe – apparently the “2nd celeb” idea got scrapped (thank you, 8 lb, 10 oz baby Jesus).  The couple with the lowest cumulative score got to pick first.  So without further adieu, here are your trios for week 8:

Kirstie & Maks + Tristan MacManus

Kelly & Val + Louis Van Amstel

Emmitt & Cheryl + Kym Johnson

Apolo & Karina + Sasha Farber

Melissa & Tony + Henry Byalikov

Gilles & Peta + Chelsie Hightower

Shawn & Derek + Mark Ballas

We don’t know everyone’s dance yet, but I can tell you at least one of the trios is a jive, and at least one is a salsa.  Personally, I think some of these choices were a little puzzling…not sure I would have picked the same people, myself.  What do you guys think? Discuss :-D

November 6, 2012 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!

DWTS 15, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Once again, I’m left with a week where these rankings are kind of a moot point, since no one is going home – so basically, take these as who I think would go home if there was actually an elimination tomorrow night.  But keep in mind that next week is a double elim, so those who don’t do so hot this week are going to have to really step their game up even more next week, because their chances of going home are even greater – and once again, the multitude of points from 4 different dances (the fusion & marathon dances this week, and a regular ballroom dance and Latin trio dance next week) is going to make the margins uber-close…even moreso than they were last week.  We’re going to have another fanbase battle royale on our hands…hope you guys have created more accounts to vote with!

Well, looks like the judges were back to hitting the wacky tobacky this week – although Carrie Ann seemed at least a bit more sober than those other two goobers.  Definite over and under-scoring going on, and I have to wonder if there are certain celebs that need a bit of protection…

1.) Shawn & Mark (Derek) -  For all the hoopla surrounding “Will Derek dance or not?”, I actually thought things turned out pretty damn good for Shawn this week – she FINALLY got that perfect 30, and I think Derek’s choreo for she & Mark was the epitome of what the judges were looking for in terms of a “fusion dance” (even if they didn’t specifically spell it out) - I literally could not count how many times they switched from tango to paso, paso to tango, and back again.  Derek delivered on his promise – he created a fusion where the two component dances melted together effortlessly, and you couldn’t tell where one ended and the other began.  And Shawn & Mark handled it beautifully – was nice to see shades of the unflappable Team Shark, but with the upgrade of Shawn’s maturity and some of Derek’s choreography.  As for the marathon dance – just as I expected, Shawn had the endurance of a Kenyan, and didn’t even seem to be getting winded, and I thought she and Mark had some great, flashy choreo that SHOULD have kept them around longer.  But as someone mentioned on Twitter (Will, maybe?), I think Mark may have gotten them tapped out when he went for the breakdancing move that left them separated for so long and Shawn…just kinda standing there.  Had he not done that move, I think they probably would have gone on to win the marathon, because they were showing no signs of fatigue.  C’est la vie.  I’m just happy that Shawn didn’t get low-balled by Len for once, and they’ve got a decent lead heading into week 8, for Derek’s return.

2.) Emmitt & Cheryl – These two are one big question mark for me.  I feel like Emmitt isn’t really doing enough to stand out amongst some of the other couples, but I also can’t shake the feeling that the judges just love him, and that he’s getting a LOT of votes.  The guy is charming, don’t get me wrong – and he’s not a bad dancer.  But I feel like he’s kinda plateaued, and the level of difficulty that he’s dancing at isn’t up-to-snuff with what the other couples are doing at this point.  I think their fusion dance illustrated this pretty well – it was better than I expected, and definitely cute and very “typical Emmitt”.  And therein lies the problem: I feel like I was seeing the exact same steps and overall mood that I’ve been seeing in the bulk of his dances this season.  There was no “upping the ante” in terms of difficulty, and we didn’t really see anything new from he & Cheryl in terms of character or mood of the dance.  I felt like I was watching a repeat of his samba a few weeks ago.  Was it a good effort, given their fusion and the song they got? Yes.  Did Emmitt dance it well? Sure.  But nothing really jumped out at me that said “This guy is a contender for the finale.” In the marathon dance, I thought they were cute, and doing just enough lifting and moving just slow enough that they didn’t exert themselves – I don’t feel like they were giving it 100%, though, and probably gone a bit harder and been a bit flashier and still been ok.  If there were an elim tomorrow, I’m fairly confident they’ll be safe.  But I think they’ll probably end up doing the jive as their trio dance next week, and I’m curious to see how Emmitt fares doing a fast dance where he has to remain in sync with not only Cheryl, but another person as well…I think his weaknesses could be on display.

3.) Kelly & Val – These two are also a bit of an enigma for me, since I can’t really tell whether the judges are going easy on her to keep her around, or don’t really care if she stays or goes…and the soap fanbase still remains untested, considering that EVERYONE beat Sabrina last week.  I generally like their fusion dance – was very cute and had appropriate amounts of both cha-cha and foxtrot in it, and I think Kelly’s cha-cha sections were actually much sharper and cleaner than Melissa’s.  But I wish Val would quit incorporating all of these spin sequences into Kelly’s routine – she’s good for the first 2 or 3, then I think she gets dizzy and tends to get off-balance…and thus, off-time.  I did see a few stutters after she finished the spins in this one.  He either needs to cut back on the spins, or teach her how to PROPERLY spot her turns.  Then we have the marathon…*sigh*.  I will say this: they did have some very fun, eye-catching tricks.  But I felt like that’s all they had – tricks.  Not many swing steps in between, and by the end, Kelly seemed to be getting pretty winded, and I saw quite a bit of them standing in place while Kelly caught her breath.  I want to see endurance in the marathon – not short bursts of energy with a lot of panting in between (which is probably how Gilles is in the boudoir – ZING! 8-O ).  If the elimination were this week, I would think they’d have enough of a bubble to stay safe - but I wonder if the tides will turn next week, as I think they’ll end up with the jive as their trio dance as well.  Kelly’s endurance sure didn’t impress me this week…and she’s gonna need even more next week.

4.) Melissa & Tony - She may be at the top of the leaderboard this week, but it’s exactly that fact that makes me worry that the judges feel the need to protect her – could she have been the other half of the unknown bottom 2 with Sabrina last week? I’m really starting to wonder.  I liked their fusion dance, but I didn’t love it – I thought the tango part was far better than the cha-cha part, and the cha-cha part embodied what seems to be my biggest complaint about Melissa: that she still dances a bit too softly.  She’s had ballroom dances the past few weeks, and she seems to hit a bit harder in those (likely because she has Tony leading her), but not that I’ve seen her do Latin again, I’m reminded that she still tends to move kind of “pretty” and delicately, and she never really got a lot of punch in her cha-cha.  I do think the tango section was an improvement over her tango two weeks ago, though.  I think they were really overscored, though – I don’t think I saw enough impact from Melissa (or enough hard-hitting choreography from Tony) to really justify that 29, when I thought Emmitt, Apolo, and Kelly all performed better and got higher scores.  I like Melissa, I really do – and I do think she deserves to be in the finale.  But I can’t overlook some of the lingering problems she seems to have with her dancing, and I think the judges were very, very kind to her this week.  In the marathon dance, I think she got lucky that Mark kinda whiffed it for he & Shawn with that breakdance move, and that Kelly was rapidly running out of steam…because I’m not sure that she & Tony would have won the marathon dance otherwise.  I do think they had a good strategy, though – they paced themselves well and stuck with a lot of basics that were sure to please Len.  I don’t necessarily think they had the best tricks or the highest energy level, but in the end, endurance won out over flashiness, and I am glad they won…like I said, I have nothing against Melissa, or any of the other remaining Team CMM members :-) I’m curious to see what she gets as her trio dance next week – she’s still got rumba and paso left, and since I can’t really picture a rumba trio (kinky…), I’m guessing she’s got paso…which could be problematic, considering it’s the man’s dance.  Could this week’s high scores been an attempt to shield her from a possible fall next week?

5.) Apolo & Karina – I’m seriously going to have to run the numbers for whether certain running order positions get screwed in scores (ugh…my brain hurts just thinking about it), because I can only imagine the questions I’m going to get from Apolo fans wanting to know why he got low-balled for what I thought was one of the better dances of the night.  I don’t have a good answer for you, kids, because I haven’t run the numbers to determine whether going first means that you’re going to get low-balled in the scores.  I’ll admit, their fusion dance felt a bit frantic at times, and I saw a few minor bobbles, but overall, I really thought it was intense and entertaining – and that Apolo was really giving it 110%.  I’d definitely say it had a higher difficulty level than everyone except Shawn tonight – Karina didn’t hold back on the choreo, so I do have to give her credit there.  Seeing Apolo doff his shirt was an added bonus ;-) I have to wonder if wearing JR & Karina’s infamous “newsies” jive costumes was a bit of bad juju for Apolo & Karina in the marathon dance – because like the jive she & JR did a year ago, the judges didn’t seem too fond of Karina & Apolo’s moves in the marathon.  :-( Oh well.  I’m just glad they outlasted Gilles ;-) I would be slightly worried for them this week, but I think they have the potential to come back in a major way next week, considering they have another ballroom dance to do (and Apolo seems to thrive with those), and they’re probably going to end up doing a jive trio as well (it will be the week of a million jive trios!), and I think Karina has the potential to rock the choreography for it.  I’m not losing hope yet ;-)

6.) Gilles & Peta – In quite possibly the most crack-addled critiquing and scoring of the night, the judges lavished all kinds of praise over this nonsensical “fusion” dance - first of all, WHERE THE HELL WAS THE SAMBA???? I think I saw a few samba runs and maybe a roll or two at the beginning, and then these two knuckleheads spent the rest of the dance doing Argentine tango…and crappy Argentine tango, at that.  These two seemed to be moving in slow motion, compared to the music – wayyyy too much standing in place and relying on the impact of slow movement.  And sorry, but this was all on Peta – I just don’t think she’s a good Argentine tango choreographer, and knowing Gilles, he was probably so fixated on how much he wanted to do the Argentine tango (and how much he DIDN’T want to do the samba) that he convinced Peta to minimize the amount of samba and maximize the amount of time he could spend reliving his Argentine tango glory days of 3 1/2 years ago.  I would almost put money on it that it went down that way – and it’s for reasons such as those that I’m really starting to get flustered with Peta.  As I’ve said for awhile – I get the feeling that Gilles is driving the bus, and Peta’s just letting him, while periodically shaking her head in shame at his reckless driving.  She needs to put her foot down – both choreographically, and in terms of Gilles’ behavior.  Glad they got a bit of a wake-up call in the swing marathon, because I didn’t really see them doing a whole lot.  I’m wondering how he’s going to fare next week, because he’ll probably end up with paso doble as his trio dance – and while it is the man’s dance, he’s going to run the risk of getting upstaged if they pick another guy to be in their trio, and I’m not sure he could handle leading two ladies.  It shall be interesting to see…it shall also be interesting to see if he’s actually getting a ton of votes or not.  I’m not entirely convinced that he’ll even make it past next week…

7.) Kirstie & Maks – I really hate to harp on these two TOO much, because I do think Kirstie did a wonderful thing by helping to arrange the convoy to NYC and they probably lost a good deal of practice time as a result – but I do think they really stumbled this week in the fusion dance.  The first half was actually quite good – I actually liked this quickstep better than the one they did a few weeks ago.  But the minute it came time to transition into samba…it all kinda fell apart :-( She lost time, there wasn’t any bounce…and I think she and Maks stopped having fun as soon as the samba kicked in.  And really, that’s when I really notice Kirstie & Maks’ shortcomings as a couple – when they stop having fun.  It’s their biggest asset, and once they lose it…I’m afraid there’s not much else to keep me interested.  But I do credit Kirstie for acknowledging that she just didn’t do well, rather than trying to make excuses for why her dancing wasn’t up to snuff (which is a move out of the Gilles playbook, by the way).  No big suprises in the marathon – they were the first out, and probably should have been.  Unfortunately, I think the end may be nigh for Team KStick – I think they’re probably going to end up with paso doble as their trio dance, and I don’t really see Kirstie knocking it out of the park…especially if Gilles and Melissa are doing it, too.  But who knows…stranger things have happened.  The person at the top of the leaderboard went home last week.

So what did you guys think of fusion night? If someone were to get eliminated tomorrow…who do you think it will be? And how do you think things will shake out next week?

November 5, 2012 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!

DWTS 15 – What’s Left to Dance?

So obviously, this season is beyond wacky – double eliminations, no eliminations, new dance styles, guest judges, the whole shebang.  And there have been quite a few questions about what dances are being done each week…while I don’t pretend to have a super-clear picture of how the rest of the season is going to unfold, I do have a little bit of info, and I think the bulk of our readers are smart enough to deduce a lot of things :-) So here’s my best (educated) guess at how the rest of the season will unfold – and keep in mind that, like other things this season, some of the stuff in this post has the potential to change.  The double elim’s were scheduled for weeks 4 & 6, and then were moved to weeks 3 & 8 without explanation.  It’s kind of a crap shoot, kids.

First things first: the question I’ve been seeing the most is “Will the couples be able to get through all of the 10 regular ballroom & Latin dances by the finale?” While I can’t say for sure, in all likelihood I doubt they will, given how many other extraneous dances they seem to be trying to fit into the schedule – unless they try and double or even triple up dances in some weeks, which I think is just asking for trouble.   So it’s entirely possible that you may not see Gilles doing a quickstep, or Shawn doing a samba, or Apolo doing a tango, etc. Sorry kids – don’t shoot the messenger.  So every couple has 5 regular dances still remaining - here they are, in no particular order.

ETA1: That’ll teach me not to look more carefully before hitting “post” ;-) I see now that Shawn & Derek ALSO have a fusion dance comprised of 2 dances they have yet to do, just like Gilles & Peta…while everyone else has done one of the dances in their fusion this season.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say there was a bit of pre-planning in who picked what…but I can’t imagine any way they could do that, judging from how sloppy & disorganized the selection process seemed to be.  Guess it’s all just a coincidence. 

ETA2: Since this seems to be just too difficult for some to process on their own, let me spell this out loud and clear: THERE ARE TWO DANCES NEXT WEEK.  TWOOOOO.  NOT THREE.  I know you saw Apolo’s tweet about 3 dances – the dude is referring to the fusion dance (which is ONE DANCE) as two dances, since it is two dances mashed together into one routine.  Then there is the swing marathon.  1 fusion dance + 1 marathon dance = 2 dances.  I can assure you, there is not some 3rd “secret dance” that the powers that be are going to spring on us at the last minute. Got it? Good, cause I’m done spoon feeding information to anyone that can’t be bothered to read this post.

ETA3: Small update – there will be one more dance this season (in week 9) that is a “new” style that the couples will pick for one another.  No, I don’t have the list.  Still not a peep about the Argentine tango – so at this point, I’m assuming we aren’t going to see it. 

ETA4: Looks like they scrapped the idea of having celebs as the 3rd member of the trio dances, and we’re back to using pros (and troupe members) - phew! Also looks like salsa has been thrown into the mix as a possible trio dance, and it’s been confirmed: back-to-back double elims in weeks 8 AND 9 8-O Start making those extra verified accounts, kids…

Gilles & Peta – remaining dances: samba, paso doble, waltz, quickstep, Viennese waltz

Ruh-roh! Gilles only has 2 “sexy” dances left for him to get overscored on, based solely on his sex appeal.  Then he’s got three of the pretty staunch ballroom dances to contend with – any bets on which of the 3 (or more) that he miraculously won’t get to this season? I could see him somehow dodging the waltz, since that seems to be a dance that has to be amazing in order for a couples to get votes. If there’s any dance I’d say Peta might struggle with choreographing, it’s the quickstep – for the simple reason that she’s only choreographed one so far on the show (for Donald) and I recall thinking it was a tad weak.

Shawn & Derek – remaining dances: samba, paso doble, waltz, tango, Viennese waltz

I think the fact that these two still have paso doble left bodes well for them – it’s a dance for which Derek almost always comes up with stellar choreography.  Viennese waltz will probably be a good one as well.  I do worry about the samba a bit, though, because it’s a dance that Derek has said is one of his least favorite to choreograph, and if I recall, it was one that Shawn got mixed reviews for on her original season.  I wonder if it would benefit them to use it as their trio dance. Read more..

October 31, 2012 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!

DWTS 15, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Well, that was interesting :-P I guess that’s with the overall feeling I’m left with after country week – there were some good dances, some not-so-good dances, and just some general weirdness.  I feel like we saw, quite possibly, the messiest group dance in the history of the show – as some of you saw me say on Twitter, I thought this looked like it was just thrown together this morning, and that no one really & truly knew the choreography.  The solos were an interesting mix of desperate, messy, ambitious, and silly…and at the end of it all, I’m left with the same theory that Heidi & I kicked around earlier today upon hearing about the “judges’ score only” elimination next week: that they’re trying to subtly nudge Kelly out this week so that they can send Kirstie packing next week with a clear conscience and without a ton of backlash.  But let’s get on with the rankings, shall we?

1.) Sabrina & Louis – I’ll admit, I really enjoyed this rumba. Sabrina is really starting to grow on me, and maybe a part of me empathized with her struggles with a drug-addicted ex-boyfriend – I myself am still reeling from uncle’s passing earlier this year, due to a drug overdose.  I guess I just understand how she could feel so hopeless and agonized in that situation – and I think it reflected in her dancing.  Loved the solo, which was a nice combination of hurt and joy.  I actually thought Sabrina’s legs looked pretty damn good in this dance, and she seemed to handle all the passes & turns with finesse.  There also seemed to be a nice balance of light & shade – the dramatic, fast passes & turns contrasted nicely with the slow portions where she took the time to finish her lines.  If I had to pick one flaw, though – I think there was a trick midway through the routine that didn’t seem to come off quite right, and it looked like Louis was just struggling to lift her butt off the floor.  For that reason, I would have probably given it a 29 – but overall, I liked it :-) I think she’s got a pretty decent cushion from elimination this week – at the top of the leaderboard, she’s a full 10 points ahead of Kelly.

2.) Apolo & Karina – FINALLY!!! A breakthrough performance that the judges finally recognize just how GOOD these two are.  Admittedly, I was skeptical (and rather pessimistic) heading into this week, because I hated the song they picked and I was prepared for the judges to just kinda nitpick them to death again.  But man – Apolo seems to really handle the ballroom dances with incredible ease, and I love the way he extends his arms.  And while I was worried the emotion in this one would be kind of over-the-top, I actually thought it had a good degree of restraint, and was more celebratory than sad.  Just a lovely dance :-) And if we’re going to split hairs about the two extra points from the group dance (which I don’t really feel like complaining about too much, because it literally only makes about a .33% difference…basically peanuts), I think Apolo & Karina were the only two that really seemed hungry for the extra points and seemed to cram as many cool tricks into their solo as humanly possible – for that reason alone, I probably would have given them the points, but again…it really doesn’t matter a whole lot this week.  I feel like these two finally have a good dance (and the 2nd highest point total) to keep them relevant – it’s nice to know they’re most likely safe tomorrow night ;-)

3.) Shawn & Derek – Very cute & Western-y, just as I was told it would be :-) And it was fun watching Shawn cut loose and play a sassy little Daisy Duke character in her solo.  But here’s the thing: I actually agree with Len that there was a little too much country, and I could have done with a bit more regular cha-cha steps.  However, I feel like if they were going to call Shawn & Derek out for “too much country western”, then they should have also called Melissa & Tony out for what felt like a TON of ballet in their Viennese waltz…and at the end of the night, it was still country night, so I felt like they did have an obligation to put a certain amount of country steps into that cha-cha.  So at the end, I guess I feel kind of ambivalent about the whole thing – not really Shawn’s best dance, but not her worst, and her song was wonky, and she was kind of injured.  I’m sure she’ll be ok this week, though - and for a few weeks to come.  Thought their solo in the country group dance could have been better and a bit more ambitious, but in the end, like I said – it really doesn’t matter a whole lot.  I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Derek comes up with for this mysterious “dance fusion” we’ve been hearing about – it sounds like something that’s definitely in his wheelhouse. Read more..

October 29, 2012 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!

DWTS 15, Week 5 Power Rankings – Part II

So now that we’ve seen everybody dance both their team dance & individual dance, I can finally start to get a snapshot of where things stand heading into week 6.  As I promised in part I, I’ve really just taken my commentary on last night’s dances, copied & pasted it here, and added any additional notes I found pertinent to go along with my commentary on tonight’s dances.  I know many of you have already read the spoilers we posted last night for tonight’s show, so there aren’t probably any huge revelations for you; for those that haven’t, I doubt there are any huge revelations for you, either…it became pretty clear to me that they put the stronger individual performances on Tuesday night and the weaker ones on Monday night, perhaps in an effort to increase viewership for Tuesday night’s show.  As for the team dance – I think you guys can probably guess where I stand ;-) And the other thing that became quite evident after tonight? They are really doing their damndest to protect Gilles and ensure he sticks around.  Gilles gets the high score of night 1; 3 of the 4 couples on night 2 get the same (2.5 points lower than Gilles’) score, and the one person that even comes close still falls .5 points short of Gilles, despite dancing one of the most beautiful waltzes I’ve ever seen on the show.  The message is clear: protect the whiny, egotistical Frenchmen at all costs.  Gag me.

Speaking of week 6 – it is country week, and each couple is doing an individual unlearned dance and a group dance.  The group dance will not be scored, except the couple that does the move that impresses the judges the most will get two bonus points – which is practically nothing, in the great scheme of things, since we’re taking all of the points from this week and all of the points from next week and adding them together.  It’s gonna be a fanbase battle royale…hope you guys voted hard!

1.) Sabrina & Louis – I was skeptical about Sabrina being able to carry off such a soft, romantic dance, since she seems to hit everything so hard – but this was actually quite lovely.  She showed a lot of control and some of her lines were just beautiful – at a couple moments, I honestly thought she would fit right in on a dance floor filled with American Smooth professionals.  I even believed adoring looks she was giving Louis – and while I agree that vulnerability may not be Sabrina’s strong suit, I thought she absolutely showed it tonight in this waltz.  Funny how you call her out on it, Carrie Ann, and then give her a 10 anyway.  If you aren’t gonna nut up, then you gots to SHUT UP.  Loved the theme, loved the choreography, loved the execution – and love that someone from Team Call Me Maybe was able to give Gilles a run for his money in the individual dance round :-)

2.) Gilles & Peta – Well, guess I can’t really get too mad at the overscoring of this one, since it’s kind of become par for the course this season.  I actually thought Gilles had some really nice lines in this rumba – he was actually extending both his arms and his legs nicely.  But my big problem was that I still felt like Peta was doing all the work…and it got a little repetitive.  To concur with Len, I got tired of the leg extensions and displays of flexibility really quickly, and it seemed to slow everything down just a little too much.  It was a time-waster in an already shortened routine.  It seemed like the first part (the a cappella part) was nice, and then once the crescendo hit with the instruments it was all overwrought emotion from there on out.  I would have probably given it a 28, tops, because I felt like there just wasn’t as much content as there should have been.  29.5 is an awfully cushy score. Adding in after Tuesday night’s show: I wasn’t so upset about this score last night, but now I am, considering that Shawn & Derek did what I would consider to be a FAR superior rumba, both in terms of technique & performance, got reamed by the judges, and ended up 2.5 points less than Gilles.  The pimping is obvious now, and TPTB (and Gilles himself) seem hellbent on changing the name of the show to “Dancing with Gilles Marini!…and some other people”.  But I do feel a bit vindicated knowing that Gilles’ magnum opus of a team freestyle got called out for being a ridiculous mess and got 2.5 points less than Team Call Me Maybe…that really must chap his ass, as does the fact that Sabrina is now at the top of the leaderboard ;-) Read more..

October 23, 2012 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!

DWTS 15, Week 5 – Power Rankings, Part I

So this no elim/split performance night sure does throw a wrench into the normal, everyday workings here at Pure :-P I realize that, since there is no elimination this week, it’s sort of pointless to try and predict who goes home – but the power rankings do allow for some interesting discussion, so we don’t want to just skip them altogether.  So just think of these as “theoretical power rankings” – who I would predict to go home if there actually was an elimination this week.  And since it’s split into two nights, this is what I’m going to do: tonight’s rankings are just for those that we saw dancing individually tonight (Gilles & Peta, Kelly & Val, Kirstie & Maks, Emmitt & Cheryl) - so if these were the only contestants left, who I would predict to go home out of the four.  I’ll also include some thoughts on Team “Call Me Maybe”. For tomorrow’s rankings, I will rank EVERYONE – and to save myself the work (and the redundancy) of commenting on every single couple again, I will probably just copy and paste my commentary from this post, and add any additional commentary I feel necessary after seeing tomorrow night’s couples dance.  Make sense? Good…because I’m not so sure I understand it myself :-P

1.) Gilles & Peta – Well, guess I can’t really get too mad at the overscoring of this one, since it’s kind of become par for the course this season.  I actually thought Gilles had some really nice lines in this rumba – he was actually extending both his arms and his legs nicely.  But my big problem was that I still felt like Peta was doing all the work…and it got a little repetitive.  To concur with Len, I got tired of the leg extensions and displays of flexibility really quickly, and it seemed to slow everything down just a little too much.  It was a time-waster in an already shortened routine.  It seemed like the first part (the a cappella part) was nice, and then once the crescendo hit with the instruments it was all overwrought emotion from there on out.  I would have probably given it a 28, tops, because I felt like there just wasn’t as much content as there should have been.  29.5 is an awfully cushy score.

2.) Emmitt & Cheryl – Lack of hip action and excessive shimmying aside – I actually ended up really liking this routine :-) Probably my favorite individual routine of the night, as Emmitt just seemed to be having a ton of fun to a really cheesy song.  I got a little worried at the beginning when I saw Cheryl doing a lot of shimmying around Emmitt, thinking that this would be a repeat of their bolero where Cheryl just did a lot of dancing around him.  But once they got into the routine a little more, I thought he did a pretty good amount of moving himself, and there actually was a considerable amount of samba content in this routine (you listening, Val?) Could have done without the giant inflatable parrots, but hey, we can’t always get what we want ;-)

3.) Kirstie & Maks – Technically, I think it was the best routine Kirstie’s done so far this season, but I just ended up feeling kind of “meh” about it – probably because both Kirstie & Maks looked uncharacteristically cheerless in it.  Seriously, between the black costumes and their intense, focused expressions, I thought they were quickstepping at a funeral.  Did Mrs. Robinson die at the end of The Graduate? I’m confused :-P  Guess after I heard what song they were dancing to, I was expecting this dance to be as camp as Christmas – but it was just too tame.  I think she started off strong and had a good frame, and then maybe got a little bungled up on the bouncing sections, but overall I liked the choreography.  Just wish they would have remembered to have fun with it :-P If we were basing this week’s elim solely on this one dance, I’d say Kirstie should probably be a bit worried – but since she’s got the team dance (and next week’s dances) to give her a boost, I wouldn’t be too worried…yet.

4.) Kelly & Val – Anyone else think they may have phoned it in on this samba, given how stressed and busy they were showing Kelly to be in the reheasal package? :-( I don’t feel like Kelly or Val really got 100% into this routine, and for the first time since week 2, I saw Kelly get a little bit intimidated and unsure of herself out on the floor.  She also seemed a little wobbly, and I saw some funky arms & legs…a few “Bambi on Ice” moments.  I could have done without all of the touchy-feely-sexy-ooh-look-at-how-much-chemistry-we-have stuff at the beginning, and I would have liked a little more meat & potatoes samba in this samba, but that kinda goes without saying.  Len & I were surprisingly like-minded in regards to tonight’s show :-P But again, I have to wonder if Kelly & Val had a rough week between her work schedule and the team dance rehearsal, and maybe knew they were kind of half-assing it – because neither one looked very surprised or upset by the critiques or scores they got.  Perhaps they took a calculated risk in a week they knew wouldn’t matter too much? If I were Kelly, I would be slightly worried after this routine – for the simple reason that it seemed to really expose her weaknesses.

Thoughts on Team “Call Me Maybe”: As I said on Twitter, this routine was so stinkin’ cute :-) But with a song like that, can you go any other route except cute? :-P I thought the theme was genius: it fit the mood of the song perfectly, capitalized on the celebs strengths (3 girls with cheerleading skills and one guy that is just cool…and hot ;-) ), and made for some cute costumes and scenery.  Loved the stepping portion at the beginning with the guys; thought the group sections were a nice combination of freestyle moves and enough proper ballroom to please Len – they were also sufficiently synchronized, given that some of the moves (like the leap frog over their partners) are hard to really do 100% in synch.  I also thought the individual sections were nicely reflective of each partnership – Sabrina got to be sassy with Louis, Shawn & Derek got to be fun & cheesy, Melissa got to be “pretty” and move smoothly with Tony, and Apolo & Karina got to make up for their hip-hop mishap last week :-) At the end, I was left smiling and feeling proud of them – they could have gone totally crazy and gone for shock value rather than technique, but they managed to throw it a lot of real dancing along with a great deal of entertainment value.  I would be pissed at CAI giving them a half-point shy of a perfect 30, but we all know she’s saving her 10 paddle virginity for Team Gangnam Style this week.  :::eye roll::: Oh well – at least they can only hope to get a half point more than Shawn’s team, tops.  That’s good enough for me ;-)

So what did you guys think of tonight’s dances? Be sure to keep an eye out for any spoilers we might post about tomorrow night’s show…and avert your eyes accordingly, if you want to be surprised 8-)

October 22, 2012 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!

DWTS 15, Week 4 – Power Rankings

Well, this blasted non-ballroom (save for the mambo, and sorta-kinda the bolero) night played out just about like I thought it would: the hapless judges (aided and abbetted by the perpetually out-to-lunch Paula) kind of copped out on giving any seriously harsh scores, likely for the simple reason that they just didn’t know enough about the dances themselves to actually score properly.  The end result was some pretty general overscoring, and perhaps a tiny bit of relative underscoring.  But what worries me is that even though the spread may seem pretty big this week, more total points = smaller margins between points…meaning that it’s going to require fewer votes for those at the bottom to catch up with the rest of the pack.  And it makes me nervous for another “shock” elimination…but this time, I think it has the potential to be truly shocking.  8-O Let’s get on with it, shall we?

1.) Shawn & Derek – Best routine of the night, without a doubt – great, PROPER mambo choreography, and flawless execution.  I think these two may have had the toughest dance to contend with, for the simple reason that mambo has been done on the show before as a regular dance – and it has been done far more than any of the other dances on the list.  Add to that the constant pressure of the all-star season? If they had a bit of an off-week, I wouldn’t have blamed them.  But luckily, they absolutely KILLED this mambo – great tricks, a good amount of meat & potatoes choreography, and best of all – Shawn pulled off the “sassy” and sexy without a hitch, and looked great doing it.  :-) Very impressed with how she’s matured since her original season.  If I REALLY had to nitpick, I would say that it seemed like Shawn was sliding a little bit when coming out of her turns – very slight bobble, but it made me wonder if the floors tonight were a little slick – and could also be the cause of other snafus tonight.  Anyway, I think if they gave that hot mess of a Bollywood number that Gilles crapped out a 39.5, then this should have been a 42.  But Len, ever the fuddy-duddy, withheld that last half a point that would have put them at the top of the leaderboard.  Oh well – luckily it matters even less this week :-P

2.) Kelly & Val – Like almost all of their other dances this season, this came out far better than I would have anticipated – even if these two were kinda giving me the creeps with all of their brooding in the background all night.  :-P Was it truly “contemporary”? Meh…it had elements of contemporary, and it came far closer to contemporary than Emmitt did to bolero or Bristol did to rock ‘n’ roll.  But it was a pretty dance, and I do feel like they injected some emotion into it – which is really how contemporary came to be in the first place: ballet with emotion.  Kelly had some nice extensions and seemed to really connect to the dance…and really, Val did too, as much as he may have hated the style they got.  And he did get a few brownie points from me for calling Cheryl the b-word on national television, for all to hear :-P I think they may have gotten a little out-of-synch on the side-by-side sections, and I must confess that I didn’t really understand the purpose of the platform they climbed onto.  But overall, a very nice effort for a dance that neither party was particularly jazzed to have…and I’m sure we’ll be hearing buzz about this one for the rest of the week.  ;-) Read more..

October 15, 2012 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!

DWTS All-Stars, Week 4: Apolo & Karina Bring the Heat (and Innuendo) to Access Hollywood

If Kelly & Val are the couple in “puppy love” this season…then Apolo & Karina are the couple most likely to be lusting after one another, methinks ;-P  There’s simply too many “meoooooowwww” moments in this clip to list them all – trust me, you need to just watch…and giggle like a schoolgirl, like Karina.  The couple hit up Access Hollywood yesterday to chat about their chemistry, their hip-hop routine, and…”man Kegels”??? 8-O

 Ok, you all know I’m not typically the type to swoon over the male pros/celebs on DWTS (the female pros? That’s another story ;-) ).  But something about Apolo in this clip – and just in this season, in general – makes me want to climb all over him like a jungle gym.  He’s definitely grown ‘n’ sexy, and has a wicked, saucy sense of humor that seems to make Karina melt like a popsicle on the 4th of July :-P The hapless hosts just keep inadvertently asking some eyebrow-raising questions – and Apolo just keeps answering with zinger after zinger, without missing a beat.  And Karina rolls with it just as well! After titillating us with innuendo about 50 Shades of Grey, “hooking up”, and who has more stamina, Apolo also talks about the differences between being partnered with Julianne vs. Karina (“She was only 18, we were not hooking up!”), and Gilles’ quest for the MBT (“He’s got his fangs out!”), and the two also chat briefly about their hip-hop routine this week – Karina says Apolo’s going to be choreographing some of it, and Apolo’s ready to “show everyone his hip-hop side”.  I think I’m most excited for their routine next week – not only because Apolo seems really excited about it, but because they got an AWESOME song…which we will be spoiling at some point this weekend.  Keep your eyes peeled 8-)

The two also briefly weighed in on Drew & Helio’s somewhat surprising eliminations, and Bristol’s staying power…I kind of love their facial expressions when talking about Bristol :-P:

So who else is TeamOhYes? Or at least Team “I Wouldn’t Kick Apolo Out of Bed For Eating Crackers”? ;-)

October 11, 2012 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!