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PureDWTS Season 19, Week 6 – Power Rankings

I apologize for this being so ungodly late, but between all of the media and other posts we had going up earlier, a sh*tastic day at work, and some of you just generally driving me to drink, I decided that these rankings could wait a bit.  Side note: if you wanna talk about the team dances next week, go here; if you so desire to vote for the dance styles and songs that the couples are dancing in week 7 (I think), this post has directions.  I’m pretty partial to the idea of Tommy doing a Viennese waltz to “I’d Rather Go Blind”, but to each his own ;-)

After two hours of Pitbull the peanut-butter eating, Spanglish-speaking naked mole rat judging, I still have no idea was “DALE!!!” means.  Oh well – I guess when it all came down to it, he was a halfway decent judge; he saw right through the showmance front that Vajanel put up, and actually knew the names of a few salsa steps to compliment  Alfonso on.  Doesn’t mean I ever want to see him as a judge again, though ;-) But hey, Mr. Worldwide needed a plug for his gig hosting the American Music Awards, so I guess that’s why we got him this week…

…the judging seemed kinder this week, so I wonder if there was a huge backlash from some of the out-and-out cruelty we saw last week and the judges were told to ease up a bit.  Still think Alfonso & Sadie (and now Bethany) are getting nitpicked, while Janel, Antonio, & Tommy are getting babied a bit; Lea and Mike are a toss-up each week.  Will be  interesting  to see if the dynamic of the judging panel changes at all with Len back – wonder if we’ll start to see more complaints about “messin’ about”, and Julianne will suddenly become the “nice judge” now that Len the critic is back.

Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan – kinda stinks that he didn’t last longer, but if he had to get eliminated, at least he went out on a high note.  His jazz was probably his (and Allison’s) best dance yet.  Not sure Allison made a strong enough showing to warrant getting asked back as a pro again next season, but we shall see…

1.) Alfonso & Witney – Perhaps not the most “strictly salsa” salsa we’ve ever seen on the show, but I can’t blame Witney for sneaking in some hip-hop to play to Alfonso’s strengths.  Thought he could have used a bit more hip action, but then I have to wonder if Witney tried to keep the steps a bit tight & boxy in order to baby his groin injury.  Still a very enjoyable routine – there was some complex stuff in there, and Alfonso managed to stay on-time and in-step with Witney. He’s still the showman of this season, for sure – and with the way the crowd goes crazy after his dances, I think he’s gonna be around till the end. :-) Read more..

October 21, 2014 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 19, Week 5 – Power Rankings

And this is the week that the hammer drops and suddenly the judges are “over” some of the dance crushes they have had so far this season – particularly Julianne and her crush on Tommy.  Hate to say it, but you only have yourselves to blame, guys – when you gush over the same people doing the same rudimentary stuff week after week, you can’t expect them to improve…and then it’s kinda lame to suddenly say “I’m bored, I want more.” But in the same token, you also don’t have to be over-the-top mean – and I think they got that way with a few of the couples tonight.  They seemed to lose sight of the fact that these were NOT the regular pairings, which is a tough enough row to hoe, and on top of that, they were all doing these bizarre dance styles that none of them are extensively trained in.  Was this REALLY the best week to drop that hammer, stooges?

So I guess the asshattery from Julianne, Carrie Ann, and Bruno made me thankful for Jessie J, who at least seemed to try and find the positive in everyone’s routines while still giving a useful critique – she is a judge on The Voice UK, after all, so I think she felt obligated to be constructive.  Also quite impressed with her ability to not only sing live (!!!), but also do some dancing at the same time.  As I said on Twitter – it’s so rare to find singers that actually sing live and don’t just lip sync, let along singers that sing live and dance as well.  The only other singer I can think of off the the top of my head that also does both is Usher…so she’s in good company.

So I guess all this talk about the judges tonight brings me to pose this question to everyone: do we really need Len? Next week will be the 4th week out of 6 that Len hasn’t been at the judges’ table – and I’m not really noticing his absence.  I’m almost wondering, what with his sorta-kinda farewell speech on the finale last season, if he originally was not gonna come back at all this season – and TPTB somehow guilted him into doing a few shows just to maintain some consistency.

But anyway – no elim tonight, but there is one next week, based on last week’s votes, this week’s scores and votes, and next week’s scores.  As our longtime readers know, the more total points given out = the smaller the margins = the greater the likelihood of a “shocking” elimination.  It really becomes a battle of the fanbases – who’s getting the votes vs. who isn’t.  I don’t care if you’re at the bottom of the leaderboard – in a massive-points-dump-to-calculate-elimination scenario like this one, the playing field becomes a lot more level.  To give you an idea of what crazy sh*t could happen – Sabrina was voted off the all-star season in a week where she was only 1/2 point away from a perfect score…but the elim was based on multiple weeks of scores and votes.  Vote, vote, vote, kids – even if your favorite is in the lead.

1.) Alfonso & Cheryl (Witney) – Aaaaand we’re back to nitpicking Alfonso to death, I see – can’t let him get too confident now, can we PTB? Once again, he dances FLAWLESSLY – and in a style that’s totally different than anything we’ve seen from him so far. He nails the technique (those heel things he was doing at the beginning are insanely difficult – the bf actually got a hairline fracture attempting it during a showcase routine), he nails the drama (loved the dust – just that added drama every time he clapped his hands), and he nails the partnering…and all Carrie Ann and Bruno wanna talk about is the distance between his neck and his shoulder??? Seriously, you stooges – what’s the complaint gonna be next week? He’s moving his ears in a strange way when he’s dancing? His pupils are too dilated? He’s flaring his nostrils too much? Because this is getting ri-goddamn-diculous. I guess I see what they’re trying to do – trying to level the playing field, make it seem like Alfonso isn’t running away with this season (even though he really is), but there’s gonna reach a point when even the most dim viewers are gonna say “Ok, that’s just being petty.” And sorry, but 8’s for a dance that good are just ASSININE…especially when they specifically say Sadie missed a few steps in the beginning of her routine, and give her 9’s across the board. She earned her 9’s – but so did Alfonso. Oh well – at least he still gets THUNDEROUS applause after every dance he does. :-D Read more..

October 14, 2014 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 19, Week 4 – Power Rankings

Color me NOT surprised that the “Raise Your Paddle!” thingie was a total clusterf*ck :-P I gave up after trying and failing to score both Janel & Jonathan…and  having my internet spin its wheels nonstop.  Ain’t nobody got time fo dat. Funny how almost all of the viewer scores basically echoed what the judges gave – kinda have to wonder if they just deferred to that when the server was so overloaded that hardly anybody was able to vote.  Hmmm.  How did you guys fare with the “Raise Your Paddle” voting? I would love to know if everybody had such as easy time as I had ;-)

So the partner switch is next week.  Wondering who got who? Go check out Heidi & I’s prediction post.  Sort-of (but not really) spoiler: nobody’s getting sent home next week, and the person  that gets sent home in week 6 will be calculated based on the scores and votes from weeks 4 & 5; so this ranking is kind of moot, and could totally change based on what happens next week.  But I’m gonna do it anyway :-P

Overall, feeling a bit let down by “most memorable year” week this season – not necessarily by the dances themselves (although there were some real stinkers), but just generally by how cold the judges came off.  Maybe it’s just me, but they seemed a bit more heartless than usual…in tears one minute, then just kinda beating up on the couples the next.  No me gusta.  But god bless Betsey for going out on the high note with such an adorable dedication to her daughter, and being the classy, easygoing gal that she is and thanking everyone for a great run.  You will be missed, you cutie you :-)

1.) Alfonso & Witney – *sighing as I cross yet another item off my DWTS Bucket List* So glad I get to rhapsodize about how fantastic Alfonso is and how nights like tonight are exactly WHY I HAVE WANTED HIM ON THIS SHOW FOR YEARS :-D Alfonso, if you’re reading this, I hope you realize just how much joy you brought to this frigid, jaded blogger’s heart tonight, as well as to the hearts of millions of Carlton Banks fans across America – and even if it might not have been your favorite or most memorable year, I can’t tell you how much it mean to us to see that dance :-) I had a craptacular day – woke up with a migraine, struggled to do office work from home, fumbled with blog stuff, and just generally felt defeated – but this dance brought TEARS to my eyes, with how happy it made me :-)  As always, the musicality was there – he didn’t waste a single beat, and made me appreciate accents in the music that I hadn’t even noticed before; and then the synchronicity – the way he was just locked in with Witney on some of that side-by-side work with a thing to behold – reminded me of Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers doing a big dance number.  And man, just the EASE with which he tackles every movement – he doesn’t just “do” the moves; he LIVES AND BREATHES them.  Just…aggggghh.  I can’t.  To quote Mini Alfonso from last week “Tens across the board.” 8-) Couldn’t have asked for a better dance.

2/3.) TIE: Sadie & Mark and Lea & Artem – The two pleasant surprises of the evening for me :-) First of all, I will reiterate: I am  SO GLAD that Sadie got Mark as her partner this season – I don’t know that any of the other male pros would have thrown caution to the wind and donned the Uncle Si beard and hunting gear with as much gusto as Mark, and his quirky choreography seems to suit Sadie well.  They just WORK together.  Thought their routine was both samba-appropriate and Sadie appropriate, and she handled the technique of the samba well – and it was just FUN to watch, and was a good use of Uncle Si, Willy, & Jase as props ;-) As for Lea – WOW.  That’s literally all I had written in my notes about her contemporary.  I think her performance was a turning point in the evening where everything went from “meh”, to “ok, NOW you have my attention!” Given her background, it makes sense that she would excel at contemporary; but given some rather subpar performances we’ve seen from her the past two weeks, I guess I wasn’t expecting a whole lot.  But she managed to handle the technique flawlessly, as well as connecting to the dance emotionally.  And seeing what I’ve seen of her possible fanbase in the switch-up voting – I now see her as a possible contender :-) Just hoping she can hold onto her momentum from this week and handle her next dance as handily and she did this one…

4.) Bethany & Derek – Could there have been more rumba content in this? Sure.  But do I think that they ever really set out to do a perfect, Len-pleasing rumba? No.  I think they achieved what they aimed for: to tell an inspirational story about overcoming bullying, and in that respect, they hit a bullseye.  I’m thinking going the more contemporary/rumba fusion route was a calculated risk, and while some of you might be moaning & groaning about “lack of content”, I doubt anyone can really argue that she was completely connected to the message & emotion of her routine, and for the first time so far this season, I feel like we really “saw” Bethany.  And ultimately, when it comes down to what we take away from this week and what we forget – I’m willing to bet a lot of viewers remember this routine over some with more content, but less emotion.

5.) Janel & Val – Basically the polar opposite of Bethany’s rumba: lots of content, but little emotional connection for me.  Sure, she did a lot of rumba, and she handled it pretty well (although I almost think there was a tad too much content – could have used a bit more light & shade), but I didn’t feel as emotionally shaken by her routine as some of the others we saw tonight.   Unfortunately not a whole lot else to say – other than  go read Heidi & I’s partnership prediction post, because there’s some interesting revelations in it about who may and may not be getting the votes…and Janel falls in the latter category.  Possible “surprise elim” fodder in the coming weeks?

6.) Tommy & Peta – Oh, Tommy :-P Even when you’re screwing up, you’re still making me smile.  This was the first week I think we saw a few cracks forming in an otherwise pretty flawless run Tommy’s had so far – jive is unfortunately not a very laid-back dance, and so I guess I’m not totally surprised that Tommy seemed to get a bit off-time and winded.  But even when he was off-time and losing steam – it was still somehow fun to watch and kept me entertained.  Thought the choreography with the handcuffs was pretty clever, and as always, Tommy seemed to be enjoying himself thoroughly…and that’s all I can really ask for from him :-)

7.) Antonio & Cheryl – I think  this samba was the most unintentionally hilarious dance of the evening :-P Mama Spence and I were DYING watching the “look at me, I’m trying to be sexy but it’s really coming across as dorky” bopping down the stairs, the “ooh look at mah sexy body” rubbing on his own chest, and the “teehee, gymnastics r smexy” botched somersault. Oh wow…somebody get me a cold shower…cause I’ve overheated m’self cracking up! He handled the samba very slightly better than Jonathan, but that’s unfortunately not saying much – still a lot of stiffness and not much of a feel for the rhythm.  And worst of all – I still feel like I’m not connecting to him AT ALL.  He’s just not coming across as super-personable or relatable – he’s just kinda…there.  But people seem to be  voting for this guy, so I’m not sure that we’re getting rid of him anytime soon…but hey, if we get more unintentionally hilarious performances like this out of him, I might be able to tolerate him awhile longer :-P

8.) Michael & Emma – He may not be the best dancer, but dammit – I like him…and I think America does, too, because he’s still here.  Actually thought the judges were a tad harsh on what I would consider to be one of his stronger dances – it actually started off quite strong, and aside from a few fumbles in the middle, he kept up with it and didn’t do terribly.  Thought he had one of the more heart-rending stories of the night – you could definitely tell how much he misses Dale, and how his win at Daytona was a bit tarnished by the fact that Dale wasn’t able to share the thrill of victory with him.  And  dammit, Emma must be  doing something right – because he IS improving, even if it’s not by leaps & bounds.  Still think our buddy Mike has a few more weeks left in him…

9.) Jonathan & Allison – Hate to say it, but I think Allison may have screwed her partner on this one a bit, as well – and now that we’re in week 4 and I feel as though I’ve given Allison a fair shake to prove her worth as a ballroom choreographer, I feel as though I can say this: I don’t think this whole “Let’s take a contemporary dancer and let them teach ballroom!” philosophy is really working out on DWTS.  Because not only did I see Jonathan’s weaknesses in the samba tonight – I saw Allison’s, too.  Her technique was reminiscent of Lacey’s ballroom technique – it just kinda made me go “yikes”.  Not only that, but I agree with the judges that the dance was pretty repetitive and one-dimensional – lots of the same steps, repeated over and over, with a bunch of non-samba (hip-hop) peppered in.  No, Jonathan did not master the technique, and he was really, really stiff; but after looking at Allison – I have to wonder: could she even teach him the proper technique? I love Allison as a contemporary dancer; I love her when she’s collaborating with Derek; I love her as a person – but I’m not loving her as a pro on DWTS.  And unfortunately, I’m not sure that Jonathan could really afford to have another weak dance like his week 2 cha-cha.  It’s hard telling how this week’s votes/scores and next week’s are going to cobble together, but I do think there’s potential for a (slightly) shocking elim come week 6…and I think Jonathan might be a primo candidate.

Ok, so what are your thoughts on “most memorable  year” week? And what couples are you hoping to see in the switch next week? :-)

October 7, 2014 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 19, Week 3 – Power Rankings

Well, I guess the euphoria of having my dream contestant on DWTS would finally wear off – and this was the week that it happened.  What a three-ring circus of nitpicking, wonky scoring, and overall chaos.  From what I saw from the judges – crack is whack, and so is meth, heroin, and bath salts, apparently.  Julianne wins the “twatwaffle of the night” award, for generally just being a bit of a cranky b*tch – so in other words, she was filling in for Len.  Hooray.

Sorry, but the wrong person went home – Randy may not have been the best dancer, but he was not nearly as bad as the score he got last week OR this week…but hey, the judges need their scores & critiques justified, so they had to screw him somehow.  Absolutely no reason that he should have been forced to go first TWO weeks in a row, basically making a mad dash from the opening  number to the quickchange; and to add insult to injury, this week he had to do it after being told he was in jeopardy.  Classy, Wade. I just might have to spoil a bunch of sh*t early to get back at you…

…as for Kevin, I actually think he turned out being a pretty decent judge.  I liked that he didn’t seem like he was out to really critique anyone, and tried to see the positive in everyone’s routines.  Also enjoyed his humor, and thought it was kinda cool how he seemed genuinely moved by Bethany & Derek’s dance.  He can come back anytime and enthusiastically yell out scores ;-)

1.) TIE: Bethany & Derek and Janel & Val – So the first two perfect 40’s of the season.  I feel one was deserved; the other? Meh. Felt like an awful lot of emphasis was placed on Janel & Val’s struggles with switching the routine, there was a lot of futzing around at the beginning of the routine, and then the score was almost given as a consolation prize for putting up with the crap.  Sure, Janel handled what she was given decently well – she should, given her background – but a 40? For wiping Val’s abs with a towel? Sorry, not buying it.  But hey, they seem bound & determined to make Vajanel happen, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.  As for Bethany – I had been worried, after hearing that her ankle injury was still very much an issue; but thank the lord Derek was able to choreograph something that was true to Singin’ in the Rain while being feasible for her to execute.  God bless umbrella work that doesn’t go awry :-) And Bethany kept up, and for the first time, she really seemed 100% invested in the routine, which is what I’ve been wanting from her since the first week. I don’t see either going anywhere for awhile, but it should be interesting to see who fares better next week… Read more..

September 30, 2014 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 19, Week 2 – Power Rankings

Well, the buzz from week 1 has worn off – and just as Deep Throat had predicted, seems like the overall performance level tonight was not as good as what we saw last week. Just about everyone seemed to struggle, and while last week seemed to garner a lot of praise for the boys, this week seemed to earn them some tough love from the judges, while the girls seemed to get praised, on the whole.  Not sure if that was deliberate or not, but I feel as though the judges are already getting a bit cockamamie – particularly Carrie Ann, who seemed to get progressively less coherent as the night wore on, and was only just barely able to conceal her disdain for young, attractive female contestants.

So next week sounds interesting – Movie Night, and you can check out Heidi’s live discussion post as well as PureDerekHough for a few early spoilers ;-)

1.) Bethany & Derek - Seems like Bethany is quickly becoming one of the most buzzed-about contestants on social media – hell, even Taylor Swift is tweeting about her! I also think that, despite her injury, they handled this foxtrot pretty well – they made it traditional enough that Len enjoyed it, but still “funky” enough to be crowd-pleasing. I still think she’s holding back a little (maybe it’s the injury, maybe it’s nerves) and we have yet to see her 100% in the dance, but I do think she’s got a lot more to show us, and ended up looking the best of any of the celebs this week.

2.) Alfonso & Witney - Ok, yes, I’m totally biased because I love Alfonso – but this guy didn’t exactly have an easy row to hoe this week: there was the pressure to deliver after his fantastic first week showing, a crummy song for a samba that was also wayyyyy too fast, and a young, new pro that is not yet used to the expectations that come with getting a very talented partner. I still say this was technically the strongest performance of the night, even though it wasn’t the highest-scoring; and I’m still astounded by Alfonso’s musicality and the way he doesn’t “waste” the music – he pays attention to every little beat and accent, and knows just how to move in order to express it. Thought the judges were a tad harsh – still think this was better than both Janel & Lea. But whatevs – they needed to level the playing field a bit after last week, and I guess saddling Alfonso with a tough song & dance was the way to do it.

3.) Sadie & Mark - A cute, very age (and Sadie)-appropriate jazz routine with a unique twist – I kinda dig that Mark was able to step out of his comfort zone and choreograph to a country song. Thought Sadie handled it well enough – maybe a bit unsure of herself at times, but overall her confidence really pleasantly surprised me. Love that she could roll her hips without fear. Seems pretty obvious to me that Carrie Ann is not a fan, but you know what? I know a lot of people that don’t particularly care for Carrie Ann, so that’s ok :-) Kinda felt bad for Sadie after she got her critiques – she seemed a bit disappointed. But I think she & Bethany are generating the most buzz amongst the female contestants, so I doubt she’s going anywhere anytime soon.

4.) Lea & Artem - Lea handled the jive much better than I thought she would, for sure – but c’mon. A 35??? The high score of the night, and only one point behind Alfonso’s showstopping jive last week? Even though Lea attacked it with zeal, I still saw some pretty major posture issues, some very limp kicks & flicks, and some definite loss of connection. I may have given it a 32, tops. Yeah, she’s got moves – but I don’t think she was as fantastic tonight as the judges made her out to be.

5.) Janel & Val - Second week in a row where I feel like these two got saddled with a song & dance that didn’t really give them the opportunity to show what they’re capable of. Mama Spence asked about 15 seconds in, “Is this a tango? It feels like a tango.” And sure enough, they were doing a foxtrot that was so staccato that it really did look much more like a tango. Janel handled it well enough, I guess, but there were a few minor bobbles where she lost a bit of balance. Again, I’m left with an overall feeling of “Ok, that was decent…but what else can you do?” Besides perpetuate fauxmances, of course. ;-)

6.) Randy & Karina - If Alfonso got a bit hosed this week, so did Randy – no way in HELL his cha-cha deserved the same score as trainwreck Tavis’! Sure, he wasn’t quite as fluid or at ease as he was last week, but hell, at least the guy remembered his choreography, and there was actual cha-cha in his cha-cha…he was a tad stiff, but so was Tavis, and Tavis managed to get off much more easily.  And then twatwaffle Carrie Ann starts whining about wanting Randy to be sexier, and then I lament that, by going first, Randy has gotten a bit low-balled in his score, and overall I’m left feeling a bit indignant on behalf of these two.  Randy’s still super charming and is (calmly) doing the best he can – he’s not having Tavis meltdowns, or whining like Antonio, or  beating himself up like Alfonso.  Give the guy a break, judges!

7.) Tommy & Peta –  Y’know, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think Tommy might be my favorite partner of Peta’s – and that’s saying something, considering I loved Donald Driver! But on the real, I kinda dig that he’s bringing out a more fun, light-hearted side of Peta – she doesn’t have to be the sex kitten when she’s around him, and she doesn’t have to push, push, push him to do great because he might be a contender (I doubt anyone thinks he’s gonna win the whole damn thing at this point :-) ) She seems to be genuinely enjoying this season, and she & Tommy just have a great rapport. And really, the Chonger does have rhythm – seems to have some musicality, and isn’t afraid to shake what he’s got (manboobs, apparently). Love that they’re still giving us dances that are fairly technically sound, while still hilarious to watch. Definitely hope they stick around for awhile.

8.) Mike & Emma - There’s really not much point in critiquing Mike’s dancing – he’s bad. Like, REALLY bad – and his samba this week was no exception. Very little content, and he barely handled the little that he had with any sort of proficiency. But as I said last week, his appeal doesn’t lie in his dancing – it lies in his ability to say “f*ck it” and give it his best shot, and still maintain a sense of humor about things. THAT’S his not-so-secret weapon in this competition: charm. And y’know what? I’m ok with that – we have Alfonso, Janel, Lea, Bethany, & Sadie to give us the great dancing this season. There’s room for celebs like Mike & Tommy, who provide the comic relief :-) And that’s why I think he’s still got a few weeks left in him…

9.) Antonio & Cheryl - Antonio does SLIGHTLY better this week than he did last week, but something about him still just BUGS. I don’t know if it was the whining at Cheryl during the rehearsal, or the generally pained expression he gets when he’s dancing sometimes, but I just get the feeling that he’s not really having fun with the overall experience of DWTS, unlike Mike & Tommy. I guess it was a decent rumba – seemed like Cheryl was doing most of the work, though, and the chemistry between them seemed almost non-existent. Loved the song – that was about the only thing about this routine that I could stand up and shout about. Otherwise – just meh. Definitely fading into the woodwork for me.

10.) Jonathan & Allison - And Allison makes a rookie mistake: veering too far off the beaten path in choreography of very basic dances. Sorry, but this routine was all about Allison – and poor Jonathan was just there every now and then to offer her something to lean on, whilst literally fading into the background while wearing a black costume on a very dimly lit stage. Was it cool to see Allison dancing full-out? Sure. She’s a great dancer – but we already know that. I want to see her turn a non-dancer into a good dancer…and she really didn’t accomplish that in this case. Hopefully people continue to vote for them, so they have a second chance to impress…because if not, I think the former Mr. Aaron Samuels could be in some trouble in the coming weeks.

11.) Betsey & Tony - Awwww, could Betsey be any more stinkin’ adorable? Loved how excited she was about her hair, her makeup, and her costume. And thankfully, they opted not to do anything with props this week, and their foxtrot went off without a hitch. Sure, Betsey didn’t really knock it out of the park (and the choreography wasn’t very hard), but she kept up with it respectably, and seemed to be enjoying herself…which is more than I can say for some of the other couples this week. 8-O Don’t think she’s out of the danger zone, though, yet, and I would not be surprised to see her in the bottom 2 tomorrow night. But at least this week’s routine was an improvement on last week’s, and I think some people might throw her a few sympathy votes.

12.) Tavis & Sharna –  Deep Throat had mentioned that Tavis had little to no rehearsal time, and that it showed – and boy, did it. He was mechanically stomping around, clearly looking at Sharna in order to remember the choreography, and it didn’t look like he was having fun at all – plus he didn’t exactly get a flattering edit in his package, where he was throwing a bit of a tantrum about “complicated steps” and “having a meltdown” instead of just listening to his partner. Like Lolo last week, I think Tavis’ mouth may be the thing that ultimately does him in – he just does not know when to SHUT UP. He just keeps prattling on, harping on the same thing over and over again, and it ultimately screws him. I think the judges were very, very kind with his score, but I don’t know that it’s enough to keep him around another week. Seemed to get a bit lost in the shuffle, and didn’t exactly come across as Mr. Charming this week. If not him, then Betsey – but my gut is saying Tavis is leaving us tomorrow night.

So what are your thoughts on tonight’s show? Favorite? Least favorite? Who’s going home? And what are your predictions for next week? :-)

September 22, 2014 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 19, Week 1 – Power Rankings

Rob Wade, I tip my hat to you, sir…I haven’t enjoyed a first episode of the season this much in a LOOOOONGGGG time :-D  I may have been on the struggle bus in the moments leading up to the premiere, as I had to hunt for a live feed for the first time ever (of course the Colts would play their first Monday Night Football game since 2010 on DWTS premiere night, the year ABC took over MNF from NBC); but the bulk of tonight’s dances more than made up for it.  I quite literally agonized over most of my rankings – with the exception of maybe 2.5 dances that I would consider “not good”, I felt like everyone else really brought their A-game and delivered some solid routines.  This was HARD, guys!

Other random things I enjoyed? The fact that they’re putting a lot more emphasis on the pros’ professional experience, and rattling off various titles they’ve won over the years – I think we sometimes lose sight of the fact that the bulk of our pros are CHAMPIONS in what they do.  Also enjoyable? The fact that they cut the judges off if time was running tight 8-) Honestly, the bulk of what they say is just mindless prattling to me, so I’m more than thrilled that they opted to cut that out in favor of spending more time with the couples.

On with the rankings!

1.) Alfonso & Witney – First of all, a bit of a dorky confession: I may have teared up just a TINY bit watching Alfonso’s jive :-P Alfonso has been my dream contestant for several years now, and watching him out there just KILLING it and the crowd going nuts felt to me like Heidi probably did watching Derek win his Emmy: I was just so daggone happy for the guy.  It was kind of a dream come true, and he looked like he was having so much fun – so if you’re reading this, Alfonso – thanks for letting me live vicariously through you :-) But anyway! As I said on Twitter – still any naysayers out there that think Alfonso isn’t the one to beat this season? 8-) He is just a consummate performer – he was 100% invested in the dance, his technique was as close to perfect as any of the jives tonight, and he really sold the performance.  I won’t dwell too much, but I’m EXTREMELY excited to see what we’re gonna get from these two in the coming weeks…and I’m glad Alfonso seemed to let go & enjoy himself.  Best night I’ve had since finding out he was going to be on the show :-D

2.) Bethany & Derek – One of many pleasant surprises of the evening – and prior to tonight, I had only maybe seen one or two clips of Bethany, so I wasn’t sure quite what to expect; was impressed by how grounded and mature she acts for being only 18.  Was also impressed by how well she handled the jive technique – I agree with Julianne that jive really is kind of cruel in week 1, but Bethany seemed to get the hang of the bounce and did a great job of extending her legs.  I will agree with Carrie Ann, though, too, and say that there were a few points where she seemed to lose a bit of steam – chalk it up to exhaustion or first night jitters, but overall, I think she did a great job and has both room for improvement and some nice momentum for the season.  Plus, she shares a name with my lil sister, so that’s got to be some kind of good karma ;-) Read more..

September 15, 2014 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 18, The Finale – Power Rankings

Well, that’s that, I guess – just go ahead and give Maks Meryl her MBT and let’s be done with this.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a finale tip its hand as much as it did last night – it was made quite clear who they wanted to keep far away from the MBT (Candace), who they wanted to make the final two (Amy & Meryl), and who they ultimately want/need to win (Meryl & Maks…duh).  I was rather disgusted that everyone (including Erin & the judges) seemed to jump on the ridiculous Meryl & Maks showmance bandwagon, but then again, I’m not at all surprised – I will forever remember season 18 as the season that DWTS decided to adopt the “tabloid sleaze” angle.  It won’t be a pleasant memory.

And I know it’s not just me, as a jaded DWTS viewer/blogger, that was put off by last night’s show – the bf actually had a rare day off yesterday, after being tied up with a competition over the weekend, and he came over for dinner and decided to stay & watch the show.  Those of you who follow me on Twitter got to hear some of his gems while watching the show last night – but for those who didn’t, I think this quote best sums up his feelings about the whole thing: “This is such a waste of my life right now.” He was appalled at the judging (“When did this bimbo ever do ballroom in her life???”), appalled at the teaching (he was especially taken aback by Mark forcefully moving Candace’s head during rehearsal – and he’s even friendly with Mark!), appalled at the choreography (“Why the hell is Maks doing contemporary? He’s a ballroom dancer!”), and was oddly disturbed by the fact that none of the pros seem to wear the proper footwear to teach in (“They could seriously hurt themselves…Argentine tango is not meant to be done in Nikes.”) He did seem rather impressed with one thing, though: how good Amy is, despite her disability.  He didn’t even realize she was missing the entire lower portion of her leg until I explained her story – and then he was just floored.

Can’t say I’m terribly surprised that James just couldn’t make his way past Candace last night – I think he unfortunately had a bit of an unmemorable week last week, and Candace does seem to have some fervent fan support.  Was left feeling rather puzzled by both of his dances last night – his tango felt a little bit chaotic & desperate (hello, kiss – guess everyone was trying to make a ploy for showmance votes last night), and his freestyle just felt…aimless.  Guess we now know how Peta does with freestyles when she doesn’t have any outward assistance from other pros.

Gonna do things in reverse tonight – start with 3rd place and work up to the winner…

3rd place: Candace & Mark

I think the judges all but ensured that Candace will wind up in 3rd when the chips are down tonight – while I agree with most that she’s the weakest dancer left, I don’t think she’s as bad as some of the scores she was given last night.  I guess I agree with her quickstep score – there still seemed to be a few frame and body contact issues, but really, it’s the finale – would it have killed them to give her just one 10? Or is she pulling in THAT many votes that they’re afraid she might overtake Amy or Darling Meryl? I just get the impression that Candace has been one variable that TPTB hadn’t planned on this season – she seems to have a lot more support than they thought she would, and that has led to some serious hosing over the weeks.  As for her freestyle – I don’t think it was nearly as bad as being 8-worthy across the board.  9-worthy, maybe.  I thought she connected well to the music and gave it a good effort – seemed like she was having fun out there.  Sure, maybe she was a little clunky coming out of some of the lifts, but it didn’t detract from the performance THAT much.  In the end, I’m left feeling a little torn on Candace: I feel bad for her, with some of the unnecessary hosing she’s gotten this season; but in the same token, I think she’s lucky to have gotten as far as she has, and should feel proud to be a finalist.  I think she’s had great journey this season :-)

Runner-up: Amy & Derek

If they gave the MBT to whoever overcame the greatest odds in order to end up in the finale, Amy & Derek would be a shoo-in, for sure.  But unfortunately, there seems to be a different agenda at play this season, so I think the best these two can end up with is second place.  Loved both of their routines last night – thought their salsa was a nice step-up from the one she did with Mark, and had plenty of content; and Derek STILL reigns supreme in the freestyle – I think the edge Derek has is that he’s better able to tell a story than some others with his choreography; I understood the theme and plot he was trying to convey with that routine, and he managed to still do some pretty awesome lifts and creative stuff in it.  Thought the rope was genius at the end – kinda symbolized for me the journey Amy has taken on the show, and her ability to handle things that no one would ever guess she’s capable of.  Of course the naysayers will claim there wasn’t enough content – what they fail to realize is that, just because she wasn’t necessarily on her feet for every single step, does not mean there “wasn’t content”; hell, I think doing that rope spin was far more difficult than any pirouette or pique Derek could have had her do on the ground.  But whatever – these two have already won this season for me, and I daresay Amy has a bright future ahead :-)

The winner: Meryl & Maks

Since the focus of this partnership all season long seems to be Maks (with Meryl as an accessory), I’ll respond in kind and make this critique about him, since I don’t think Meryl is the problem (other than the fact that she herself seems to have bought into the hype of “Maks has never won, Maks deserves to win” and is falling into step with it instead of actually standing up for herself).  Meryl is going to dance whatever she’s given FLAWLESSLY.  The problem is (and has been all season), that what Maks has given her has not been all that impressive.  And I stand by that statement tonight, because even the redo Argentine tango he gave her (which I guess is his favorite dance) paled in comparison choreographically to what his lil bro gave her over a month ago for me.  And here’s why: Maks seems to have a lot of “moments”, but isn’t quite adept at stringing them altogether to make a coherent routine.  Val, on the other hand, seems to see the whole picture: he understands that a dance, like a story, needs a beginning, middle, and end, plus some fluid transitions to make it all flow together seamlessly.  Plus, Val did his thing with a far more difficult song, and with a partner that he had only worked with for a few days.  And then there’s the freestyle: looks like Maks’ idea of being “creative” and doing something “never before seen on DWTS” involves creating a derivative, watered-down version of a winning freestyle from a year ago and acting as if it’s something brand-new and ground-breaking.  I actually don’t even think this was choreographically as strong as their rumba from a few weeks ago – and that was barely a rumba.  I think if he really wanted to showcase Meryl’s abilities, he would have shunned the ooey-gooey showmance-promoting route and choreographed something more upbeat and full of both lifts and energetic dance steps.  Show us how versatile she really is, instead of rehashing what we’ve already seen from her.  And for Pete’s sake, do something that actually seems to illustrate her journey on DWTS. Hell, at the beginning of the season, I had envisioned some wild, celebratory freestyle to “Gypsy” by Lady Gaga (which would have even appealed to the shippers on some level, while still nodding to all the traveling she & Maks have done together this season). So given what I just said, you’ll have to forgive me when I ask “So WHY does Maks ‘deserve to win’?” He’s struggled with choreography, he’s struggled with crafting routines that showcase his partner, and he’s struggled with his own behavior.  “But Courtney, it’s not about Maks – it’s about MERYL!!!!” I’m sure some of you are going to cry – to which I say “She’s an Olympic gold medal ice dancer that hasn’t been truly challenged all season long.  Should she win the MBT for (no pun intended) skating through the season without much of a struggle?” I look at all the tough stuff that Amy & Charlie in particular have had thrown at them throughout the season by their respective pros – and how they’ve struggled, and toiled, and still overcome those obstacles.  There’s just no comparison for me.  But everyone is going to vote how they’re going to vote (and that’s fine), and I think the die has already been cast that this was “Maks’ season” from the get-go – and everyone has just kind of fallen in line with that mindset.  It will be a hollow win, though, IMO – and it’s one I’m sure we’re going to be hearing about for the next 5 years, a la Donny Osmond.  But whatever helps Maks (and his fans) feel validated, I guess.

So there’s my two cents.  What’s yours? :-) Just as a side note: I still do post here at PureDWTS in the off-season, but with America’s Got Talent starting up next week, you’ll probably see more of me over at Pure AGT this summer.   If you’re a fan of the show, come join us! We’re a small (but entertaining) group ;-)

May 20, 2014 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 18, Week 8 – Power Rankings

Much ado about Abby Lee Miller – and honestly, for as bad as I thought she might be, I think she scores she gave were (for the most part) fair, even if she was nitpicking to death on any technique flubs she could find. It was as if the producers had told her “nitpick all you want, but you can’t give any score below an 8″. And a few of the scores seemed a bit too perfect, if you ask me – as if they had be predetermined, because some of the critiques were not matching the scores AT ALL. What I don’t think the producers had planned on, though, was Abby being a bit of a loose cannon – she said a few things that made me go “Ooh, pretty sure the producers didn’t want that broadcasted.” Watching rehearsals??? Pretty sure the judges have always vehemently denied that they do that…yet Abby admitted it like it was a commonplace thing. And then there was Abby sorta-kinda outing Danicanotadancer as a highly trained dancer…I had a good chuckle on that one…

…speaking of Danica, did anyone else get the impression that she was not all that upset about getting eliminated? Maybe she kinda had an idea that her number was up and had already made peace with it, maybe she is just exhausted and eager to get back to her son, maybe the tiff with Maks during duel rehearsal left a bad taste in her mouth…but I didn’t see the emotional display from her I thought we would see when she got eliminated. I was expecting Brandy & Elizabeth Berkeley-esque tears and displays of desperation, given how Type A Danica seems to be…was pleasantly surprised to see her so gracefully accept the whole thing. Maybe in the end, she was glad to have all that pressure off of her to do well…can’t say I blame her.  And this season more than ever, I see the difference between the Chmerkovskiy brothers: Val seems to “get it”, while I’m not sure Maks EVER will.  I think Val is starting to understand what it takes to do well on DWTS, and is developing a more clever, out-of-the-box, Derek-like attitude about things; Maks, on the other hand, seems like an old dog who can’t learn new tricks – and he’s hellbent on winning the show on HIS terms or he’s gonna die trying.  I’ve always felt like Val was the better choreographer, but now I feel like he’s also got the right mindset to win this show someday – and I think Maks is just too set in his ways to really get flexible enough to win (unless he gets a ton of help from the men upstairs).

Which brings me to the “I don’t care about anything she says” heard ’round the world.  *sigh* Do I agree with the sentiment? Yes.  Do I think Maks was just saying what the rest of us were thinking? Yes.  Do I think it was smart of him to say? Errrrr…yes and no.  As I mentioned on Twitter, I wish he would have waited until after their duel had been scored to say it – because saying it after their first dance meant that there was a target on his back for their second dance.  Abby Lee was a complete jerkwad, no doubt – but she was also a jerkwad holding the scoring paddles, and a vindictive jerkwad at that.  What’s to say that Abby might have given them a 9 on that samba instead of an 8, had Maks not said what he said after their rumba? Sure, it was only one point, but you just never know – and this is why I almost always think it’s a better idea for the pros to just bite their tongue when they get the urge to talk back to the judges.  You just never know what the consequences might be…and often, its their celebrity partner that’s paying the price.  At least Val was smart enough to wait until the scores for their second dance were already locked in before talking back to Abby… Read more..

May 6, 2014 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 18, Week 6 – Power Rankings

So as predicted, the show took a few liberties with “party anthems” last night – I can’t speak for you guys, but I’ve never been drunk off my heiny at a frat party and gone “OMG!!! This is my JAAAAAMMMM!” while toasting my Keystone in the air to “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease.  But hey, that’s just me :-P I’m also not quite sure that “Feels So Close” is even popular enough to receive “anthem” status, but maybe at 29 I’m just getting too old to know what’s popular…

Anywho…so Redfoo (aka Berry Gordy’s baby boy) did about as well as a guest judge as we expected him to – he was there more for entertainment value, comic relief, and self-promotion more than any sort of constructive input on the dances, but I was oddly ok with the whole thing because I don’t think it really affected the scores or critiques for better or worse.  I’d much rather hear Redfoo’s incoherent analogies about crustaceans running in the sand and NeNe being an entrepreneur than Donny Osmond’s self-centered prattling (or worse yet – the hellfire which I imagine the insidious Abby Lee Miller will be raining down on Derek & Mark two weeks from now 8-O ).  I can’t imagine he’s up to a whole lot since LMFAO decided to go on hiatus a year and a half ago – I have a feeling that the call he got from TPTB went something like this: “So Redfoo, we want you as a guest judge on DWTS!” “Sounds cool, but what’s in it for me?” “$100 bucks, a sammich, and your own personalized set of neon zebra print paddles!” “I’M SO THERE!!! Let me just go tease my hair real quick…”

Kinda sad to see Drew go, but I think he was ready – seemed like he was getting really tired and burnt out, and hadn’t been able to recapture the magic of his switch week dance with Witney in these past two weeks with Cheryl.  Really & truly, I wish it had been NeNe – and I guess I’m hoping that the novelty of her is beginning to wear off and we might say goodbye to her next week.  She may be fun to watch, but at this point, I feel like she’s not really even picking up legitimate choreography – it’s just a lot of booty shaking and “NeNe-ing” around the floor and getting absurdly high scores, while others doing appropriate choreography (namely Candace & Charlie) just can’t seem to catch any breaks with the judges.  What gives??? Read more..

April 22, 2014 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 18, Week 5 – Power Rankings

Well Disney week went just as predicted, for the most part – overall, it was a pretty feel-good evening in terms of scores and critiques, (minus one or two puzzling comments here and there), and the rules seemed to be relaxed a bit; the animations dancing along the couples were not as intrusive as they were made to sound; Donny, of course, managed to make every critique all about himself instead of the dance he just saw; and Erin (who looked like she was going to the prom and her bff had done her hair & makeup and let her borrow a “super expensive” Claire’s rhinestone necklace) did not call a moratorium on obnoxious questions in honor of Disney week, and continues to bug.  The opener was probably the best we’ve seen so far this season – tons of fun and a good use of the Disney songs they were actually able to clear (more on that later).

So what did we learn tonight? That if you give the impression of not really caring about being on DWTS, then the audience won’t really care about voting for you.  Such is the case with Cody, our first “shocking” (but not really, when you think about it) elimination of the season – I think many of us had commented that he seemed rather blase about the whole experience, and just didn’t seem to be very invested or enthusiastic about learning the dances.  I know many had assumed that he was getting “tons of votes” from his teenybopper fans, but once again, I reiterate: it’s not how a small (but vocal) minority is voting; it’s how the main demographic (middle-aged women) is voting that will determine long-term success on DWTS.  I doubt Cody is too disappointed about getting sent home, though – his pride may be wounded, but I’m sure he will be right back to donning his genie pants and admiring his hair in the mirror while singing “Surfboard” to his supermodel girlfriend in no time.  :-P He got his exposure, he’s good to go – I just feel bad for Witney, who made a pretty damn good showing for her first outing as a pro and just suffered from having a partner that didn’t connect with viewers, despite her best efforts.  Thank god for the switch-up – I think her week with Drew was just a taste of what she’s capable of as a pro. She’s got a thumbs-up from me if they want to bring her back as a pro next sesaon! ;-)

So now that we’re at the halfway point of the season, how are things looking, overall? Hate to say it, but I’m starting to get the William Levy-vibe from Meryl – somebody that the judges/PTB seem intent on jamming down my throat as the be-all, end-all, and someone who manages to avoid negative critiques altogether despite making technique mistakes that other couples get called out on in a heartbeat.  I’m also still not quite sure what the deal is with Charlie – the judges seem to be much harder on him than Meryl, despite him not really being inferior to her in terms of skill; can’t decide if they’re setting him up for more of a “journey” arc or what.  Danica seems like she  might still be in the mix as a potential contender, but the judges seem to run hot & cold on her; James, however, has solidified his position as this season’s “dark horse” in a BIG way – I would be nervous if my name were Meryl, Charlie, or Danica, because James is HUNGRY for that MBT. Read more..

April 15, 2014 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!