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PureDWTS Season 20, The Finals – Power Rankings

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

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

3rd place: Noah & Sharna

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

Runner-up: Rumer & Val

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

Winner: Riker & Allison

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

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

May 18, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 9 – Power Rankings

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

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

May 11, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 8 – Power Rankings

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

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

May 5, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 7 – Power Rankings

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

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

April 28, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 6 – Power Rankings

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

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

April 21, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 5 – Power Rankings

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

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

April 14, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 4 – Power Rankings

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

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

April 7, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 3 – Power Rankings

Well, the warm fuzzies and pleasant surprises I had from the judging last week have left the building – and now we’ve moved on to the “completely inappropriate and actually rather offensive” stage of the competition, where every other thing out of the judges’ mouths seems to be insulting, irrelevant, or just plain mean.  Even after last week’s spiel about bullying, Charlotte got told she was stupid, and it was implied that Riker danced like a girl and Allison danced like a dude.  Oh, and Mike got nitpicked to death for the third week in a row.  “Do as I say, not as I do”, huh judges?

Bittersweet seeing Charlotte go.  I was glad she got to stick around for another week, and aside from the fact that her rumba didn’t have a whole lot of rumba, I still enjoyed it and thought it was her best dance yet; but I think Charlotte may have mentally checked out a bit after the nasty critiques she got in week 1, so it was probably time for her to go, anyway.  If nothing else, she looked FANTASTIC tonight – loved that color on her, and love big, tousled Brigette Bardot-inspired hair :-)

1.) Riker & Allison – Well, I already thought Riker was a contender after week 1 – but I think this week his real debut, because that salsa screamed “Yep, I’m here, and I’m hungry – take heed, Nastia & Rumer!” And despite Len hemming and hawing and trying to claim that Riker “isn’t the best dancer this season”, I daresay he’s certainly the best male contestant, and bested at least Nastia in terms of technique this week – so he’s quickly inching his way up to the top.  He never missed a beat in this salsa, which was actually the first piece of choreography I’ve seen from Allison on this  show that made me sit up and go “Ok, that was cool.”  And good lord, that girl can spin fast!  He sold it well, he made it his, and he kept time – if I had one complaint, it might be that he seemed a bit stiff in his hips and didn’t “flow” through the movements as fluidly as he could have, but I also partially blame Allison for that, simply because her choreography was a bit more staccato.  Overall, he nailed it, though. Read more..

March 31, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 2 – Power Rankings

Pleasantly surprised this  week – not only with the scoring and the judging, but with the fact that, for the 2nd week in a row, there were no “phone-ins”: every last couple came out and gave it their all, even if it didn’t quite pan out the way they planned (sorry, Chris).  Judging seemed pretty consistent and the scores seemed to match the critiques – one would think this should happen EVERY week, but it’s becoming more and more of a rarity these days…so for tonight, I am happy :-) But that could change next week…

Somewhat sad to see Redfoo & Emma go, but I’ll just leave it at this: I think staying in the competition would have potentially been quite stressful on both of them, as I think they may have forgotten to have fun a few times in rehearsal this week.  Ultimately, though, Foo went out on a pretty high note – he was definitely the most improved from last week to this week, and he did show some serious potential…although I think he probably would have struggled just to get the votes week after week, because I just don’t see too many middle-aged, conservative-leaning housewives being huge LMFAO fans 😎

1.) Nastia & Derek – I think Rumer & Val may have gotten a bit of a gut check after watching this dance – they ain’t the only ones who want that trophy :-) This was a great, almost technically-perfect rumba – Nastia’s got the lines and the feet and the arms and the posture and the extension.  Here’s the problem I have: she seems to have a lot of walls up, and the chemistry between she & Derek was almost non-existent.  I guess the best way I could describe her facial expressions is “girl who has never been kissed and doesn’t quite know whether to close her eyes or keep them open” :-) And another observation: I think Nastia may be an unfortunate sufferer of “resting bitch face” – I think her neutral face is just so serious and calm that it may come across as a tad standoffish…and I wish I had some advice for her on that, but some people just aren’t as smiley as others.  Maybe stand in front of a mirror and practice smiling? I dunno 😛 Hoping Derek can work with her on emotional connection, because the technique is there – she just needs to get a tad more vulnerable. Read more..

March 24, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 1 – Power Rankings

Hmmmm.  I guess that’s the best way to sum up the feelings I’m left with after watching last night’s show…just “hmmmm”.  Ok, I guess I’ll go with the positives, first: loved the new opening credits.  Definitely an improvement from the trippy kaleidoscopic intros of years past, or the complete lack of opening credits the past few years.  I also thought all the celebs gave it their best shot – there were no D.L. Hughley’s or Master P’s that were out there not even trying.  Even if some of them kinda missed the mark – I applaud everyone for sticking with it and not phoning it in. The costuming was a positive, too – I actually found myself liking quite a bit of it (major props to Kym, Sharna, & Witney, who all looked spot-on last night!)

Aaaaand the negatives – I guess the big one for me was the scoring.  I’m happy to be wrong about the judges whipping out the “9” paddles in a fit of excitement; however, there still seemed to be quite a bit of disparity between the quality of dance I was seeing  and the scores being given for each dance.  Definite high & low-balling (we’ll get into that later).  Then there was the fact that somehow time got away from them, and they were left absolutely scrambling at the end of the show – to the point where I don’t think anyone had any time to do anything  but heap praise on Rumer and begin the “it’s Val’s season” narrative.  I like the season to develop its own narrative, thankyouverymuch…don’t need one to be pre-chosen for me. If they’re really THAT good, it will show – you don’t really need to drive the point home with OTT praise and subtle pimping.

1.) Rumer & Val – Just putting this out there: had Derek (or any other pro, really) performed this exact same routine, he would have gotten ripped a new one by not only the judges, but the viewers.  Yes, the song wasn’t very foxtrot-y, but at the same time, Val is not the only pro that has gotten saddled with a song that wasn’t exactly dance appropriate, and the others took their lumps when called out on non-dance-appropriate choreography.  While Rumer danced what she was given very well, I think they should both thank their lucky stars that there was so little time left in the show by the time they danced that Len didn’t get a chance to throw his usual “what was on the label wasn’t in the tin” lecture. Rumer did very, very well – but I have to wonder whether the narrative that seemed to be set up last night (“Rumer’s the one to beat! Val, this could be your season!”) is going to help her or hurt her in the long run.  With Nastia & Riker being every bit as good as Rumer (and Michael nipping at their heels), I think it’s going to be a good fight this season – just hope the storyboarding doesn’t get in the way. And just judging from some of the tension I saw in their rehearsal package – I’m predicting at least one of them storming out of rehearsal at some point this season.  Rumer seems like the type that isn’t going to take a whole lot of crap from her partner…which I kinda like. :-)

2.) Nastia & Derek – Unfortunately for Nastia, I think TPTB had already determined that Rumer was to be the “golden girl” of last night’s show, and consequently, Nastia was relegated to a lukewarm, middle-of-the-night running order and a pickier critique for a routine that was every bit as good as Rumer’s.  Had they switched the running order to Rumer in the middle and Nastia at the end – I think THIS would be the routine everyone would be gushing about.  Funny how much running order can play a role in how a routine is perceived.  Loved the energy level of this foxtrot, and the fact that it was a bona fide, Broadway-inspired foxtrot.  If I had one critique, it’s that Nastia did look like she adopted the stoic, almost blank-faced gymnast’s expression from time to time – and that’s a complaint I’ve had about every single gymnast they’ve had on the show.  So I guess showmanship is something she should work on, because the technique is there.  Demographics-wise, I think she may have the edge over Rumer – Olympic gymnast seems to trump “daughter of two Hollywood heavyweights” in terms of voter appeal, if we look at the history of the show.  Then again, if there are enough lemmings that buy into the “Val has never won, let him win!” philosophy that the show is already pushing, it could turn the precedent on its head.  Food for thought.

3.) Riker & Allison – After watching these two tonight, I’m predicting that I’m going to have a bit of a hard time with them this season.  Why? Because I actually feel like Riker might be more experienced in ballroom & Latin than Allison.  His jive technique is fantastic – he was kicking and flicking and bouncing at the skill level of an amateur Latin dancer competing at least at the silver syllabus level.  Allison, while not terrible, felt quite a bit heavier on her feet to me – and I feel like that’s really the dividing line between someone with some sort of mastery of jive vs. someone who’s still learning: the former can look incredibly light on their feet; the latter tends to look a bit more…deliberate.  I also thought Allison’s choreography was a tad repetitive – and I think I had similar complaints about her choreography for Jonathan last season.  I just still feel like she’s not on-par with the experience level of the other pros on the show – she needs a few more years of polish before I feel like she’ll even be in the same ballpark.  Riker? No major complaints here, other than the fact that needs need to wash his hair and stop trying to downplay his dance experience.  I still think the major sticking point in this pairing for me, though, is going to be Allison.

4.) Michael & Peta – Ok, Michael was pretty damn good – definitely better than Robert, who scored a full 2 points higher.  But man – why were the judges so damn fixated on his feet??? I get it, they need work – but for f*ck’s sake, it’s week 1.  I’m happy if they can just remember their doggone choreography and manage to at least look like they’re having some degree of fun while dancing it! I have to wonder if, like Redfoo, the judges decided that they needed to keep Michael’s score from getting too high – and so they decided to fixate on one rather minute facet of the routine and just really harp on it.  Saw some good hip action here, and he managed to actually keep up with Peta’s energy level – I think he’s got potential, for sure, and he seems like a REALLY hard worker, which I can appreciate.  I could see him being kind of a cross between Donald & Jacoby – a hard-working nice guy like the former, but with the showmanship and natural groove of the latter.  Michael gained a fan in me tonight. :-)

5.) Noah & Sharna – If I was in awe of Amy two seasons ago and how she was able to manage with two prosthetic legs, then my mind was absolutely blown last night with how Noah handled his cha-cha with a bionic knee and no left arm to lead with.  I also have to credit Sharna with coming up with some clever choreography to distract from the fact that Noah has no arm. I think the part I loved most was the fact that he & Sharna have such SYNERGY – they know how to make the most of their partnership, and how to compliment each other’s teaching/learning styles.  I think this is going to be a very good learning/growth experience for both of them – will definitely be interesting to see how they’re able to handle Noah’s new prosthetic arm.  I just hope that they’re able to get past the fact that Noah is an amputee and are able to appreciate him as a good dancer, period – not just “a good dancer, for being an amputee”.

6.) Willow & Mark – Like a lot of others, I’m left without a whole lot to say about these two – it was an odd, non-event cha-cha for me, unfortunately.  And I’m not even so sure that it was just because they went first – I think this dance probably would have gotten lost in the shuffle anywhere in the show. This just seemed uncharacteristically low-energy for Marc – even his week 1 cha-chas usually come out of the gate strong, but this choreography seemed to lack impact.  I’m not sure if he’s having to reign himself in due to Willow’s age or what, or he’s just trying not to overwhelm her, but I was left feeling pretty “meh” about the whole thing.  Willow isn’t BAD; but she’s definitely no Sadie, and I just think her lack of maturity making it hard for her to really sell the dance.  This, unfortunately, could be an ongoing problem this season – she just doesn’t have the experience necessary to really sell these dances convincingly.  I think Mark has his work cut out for him.

7.) Suzanne & Tony – Despite getting off-time and maybe coming across a bit timid, I think Suzanne actually showed some potential last night – the steps were there; they just need a little more panache behind them.  And like some of the other couples that probably fell victim to props and set-ups, I think the Thighmaster bit at the beginning wasted a little too much time and interrupted the momentum of the routine. I actually really like her and Tony together – and to Tony’s credit, he’s actually become kind of awesome the past few seasons, really embracing the idea of “the journey” on the show for his celeb and not focusing so much on “win, win, win”.  I actually think Suzanne could have some staying power this season, if she can shake of the nerves and not get caught up in any gimmicks that production might try to con her into – please, no more Thighmaster references.  Although Suzanne’s thighs do look FANTASTIC. :-)

8.) Patti & Artem – Given that I had heard that Patti was “really struggling” in rehearsals, I was actually pleasantly surprised that she managed to make it through her dance last night without any major struggles.  Granted, it was some verrrrrry basic choreography – “Walk-walk-walk-POSE! Walk-walk-walk-TURN!” as Mama Spence described it 😛 But she stayed on-time, she didn’t stumble all over her feet, and she sold the dance pretty well (aside from a few bewildered facial expressions).  I think the big struggle Artem is gonna have with Patti this season is just helping her to remember her choreography – as Patti reminded us multiple times last night, she’s 70 years old, and might not be quite as quick to pick up steps.  I don’t think she’ll necessarily be a contender this season, but I also don’t see her being absolutely terrible, either – as long as Artem doesn’t try to throw too much her at once.

9.) Robert & Kym – I’m wondering if there was a bit of a “Yay, Kym’s back!!!” kind of high at the judges table, because while I was thoroughly-entertained and enjoyed this cha-cha, I have to admit – it was overscored, especially with respect to Michael, who I thought had more difficult choreography and better mastery of it. I think the appeal of these two lies more in the fact that they’re so daggone nice and pleasant to watch interacting.  I doubt they’re going to be one of the huge contenders in terms of skill, but they could stick around for awhile as one of the “warm fuzzy” couples.  Can’t recall too much about Robert’s dancing – admittedly, I was more fixated on Kym and her rad costume – but I’m going to venture a guess that, like most of the other male competitors this year, his feet and his hip action probably need some work.  Guess I’ll just pay more attention next week :-)

10.) Chris & Witney – I think the way I described Chris on Twitter last night was “what he lacks in musicality, he more than makes up for in heart” – and it’s true: he may not be a natural dancer, but he works HARD.  And he actually didn’t do too shabby with this jive – sure, his feet could use some work, and the posture wasn’t stellar, but he still managed to stay on top of the beat and look like he was having fun. Thought the choreography was cute, and while I wasn’t a huge fan of the truck as a prop, I don’t think they relied too heavily on it.  Loved the country theme, too – Witney looked adorable.  Ultimately, though, I think he may get lost in the shuffle when the competition really heats up – and I’m having a hard time telling if the viewing demographic is suffering from Bachelor oversaturation or not.  Time will tell.

11.) Redfoo & Emma – Really kind of puzzled as to why this one got raked over the coals like he did – sure, there was quite a bit of “messin’ about” in his routine, but I think he stayed on-time and managed to churn out a pretty entertaining dance.  He was certainly better than Charlotte, so I felt like he was underscored relative to her; I also feel like he kept up better (and was more energetic) than Suzanne, so he should have been scored more on-par with her.  I’m not sure if they were trying to make an example of him as the “don’t be messin’ about too much!” poster child or what, but this score (and Michael’s) were the two biggest head-scratchers of the evening for me.  I think Foo should be ok next week, because Charlotte doesn’t seem to have much of a fanbase at all, but I kinda wonder just how many people are actually voting for Redfoo – seems like a demographic that doesn’t quite align with the main viewing demographic of the show.

12.) Charlotte & Keo – Ok, say what you will about “not liking Charlotte’s attitude” or “not liking how Keo acts around her” (both are legit complaints I’ve seen about them from those who’ve watched the rehearsals), but I have to give Charlotte credit for soldiering through and finishing her routine despite it going completely sideways early on, and then managing to avoid spectacularly self-destructing afterward, a la Lolo.  Sure, it was off-time, limp, and kinda awkward, but she suited up and showed up – and even if she would have actually done well, I think the writing was unfortunately on the wall for these two since day 1: they were bound to be an early out just due to lack of fanbase alone.  Oh well – hopefully Charlotte will get to redeem herself a bit with her dance next week and at least leave on a high note.  I really didn’t have any issues with her – call it “busty gal solidarity” or whatever, but I was kinda rooting for Charlotte on the inside :-)

So those are my thoughts on last night’s show – what are yours?

March 17, 2015 I Written By

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