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DWTS 15, Week 4 – Power Rankings

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

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

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

October 15, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS 15, Week 3 – Power Rankings

Well, it was a pretty loose definition of “Iconic Dance Week” – it was really more like “Pick an Iconic Dance with music you like and just reuse that” week.  There were gimmicks galore, and the judges giving quite possibly the MOST crack-addled scores I’ve ever seen – so basically, enough to give me a headache…which didn’t help other things going on in my household tonight.  Oh well…I’ll get on with it, so I can hopefully get it over with soon…

1.) Shawn & Derek – Rules be damned – I like this routine, dammit! And just as I suspected, Len backpedaled on his challenge to the couples to “push the envelope”, and docked them points for breaking hold…fickle much? Oh well – this was fun, high-energy, had a lot of great technique, and I thought Shawn & Derek appropriately fulfilled Len’s request to “show us thing we’ve never seen before”.  The trampolines enhanced the routine, rather than detracting from it – which is more than I can say for some of the other couples’ routines.  Overall, I think the judges must be getting a pretty decent share of votes, because the judges will gush about how great their routine is – and then will score is relatively harshly.  They must not be too afraid of her being a shock elim…but this crazy low-balling has GOT TO STOP before someone good is shockingly eliminated.

2.) Apolo & Karina – Best routine of the night for me, yet again – and yet again, GROSSLY underscored.  Seriously, WTF does Apolo have to do to get a decent score from the Three Stooges???  Balance a ball on his nose while doing the samba? Juggle flaming batons while holding Karina in a star lift? This is getting BEYOND ridiculous.  Apolo & Karina danced a foxtrot that was about as close to perfect as anyone got tonight – no fumbling, perfect timing, beautiful lines, smoldering chemistry, and an intriguing concept & choreography – and they got the same score as a crazy desperate guy that hung from the ceiling like Tinkerbell, a girl who dances about as delicately as a Mack truck, and a guy who almost dropped his partner.  Oh, and only 1/2 a point more than a guy who brought a donkey as a prop.  I feel like I’m taking crazy pills, people!!! Like Shawn, the only thing I can think of is that they are see Apolo as such a threat (between his dancing & his fanbase) that they’re trying to handicap him a bit by underscoring him.  I guess you can consider this my official endorsement of Apolo & Karina as the ones to beat this season – I’ll toss a few votes Drew & Helio’s way this week, but after they’re gone? It’s all Team OhYes for me… 8-)

3.) Kelly & Val – I gotta say – Kelly is doing FAR better than I would have expected.  Obviously the chemistry with Val is there ;-), but for the first half of the routine, I actually believed Kelly as a dancer – she was steady on her turns, was moving big, and had great musicality.  Then about halfway through the routine, reality kinda kicked in and Kelly seemed to lose focus – and that’s when some of the wobbling began.  I think she may have gotten a little dizzy trying to spot her turns (and it was actually a pretty damn good attempt), and never quite recovered from that – she seemed to get a little off-time and disoriented, and although she did a good job of soldiering on, she never seemed to regain the confidence and groove she had in the first half of the routine.  Overall, I liked it – but I think Kelly’s got some serious work to do before she actually deserves a 27.  I’m wondering if Kelly’s not quite generating the buzz they expected her to – and thus they’re trying to give her a leg up.  Guess I just can’t fathom how a routine that got that sloppy scored higher than the two best routines of the night for me.  I like Kelly, but that was overscored.

4.) Melissa & Tony – I do have to commend these two on one thing – they did a lot of basic samba steps, and also managed to pick a theme that didn’t seem to steal focus away from their actual dance.  And really, I liked the routine, overall – Melissa’s legs looked great, the energy was high, and I feel like it was a nice homage to JR’s samba.  However – Melissa still seems to move really softly to me.  She was shaking it – but she seemed to be shaking it GENTLY.  And her arms, while pretty, didn’t really seem that impactful.  So at the end of the day, I’m just kinda left without a whole lot to say about these two – other than the fact that they, too, were overscored, and maybe aren’t getting the love the judges feel they deserve…hence the cushy score to shield them a bit from elimination.  Another couple that I don’t really have any beef with – but I just can’t really get excited about, either.

5.) Sabrina & Louis – As expected, Sabrina hit every step with a sledgehammer in this paso doble – and I think she may have backslid in week 1 territory a bit, when she was hitting everything so hard that she actually got a little off-balance.  There were a couple steps that came out looking kind of wonky, and I don’t know if Sabrina just didn’t hit them right, or if they were just odd to begin with.  I was actually a little underwhelmed by the choreography, on the whole – Sabrina was hitting it hard and with a lot of attack, but the steps themselves were just…meh.  I feel like she could have handled something quite a bit more intricate, and instead Louis gave her stuff that just felt more kindergarten-y to me.  Relative to everyone else tonight, I actually think Sabrina was scored about right – and I think she ought to be safe from tomorrow’s double chop-chop. But Louis has got to reign in all that energy she dances with…ooh wee.

6.) Gilles & Peta – Now for a couple that I must CONDEMN instead of commend for their choice of theme – ok, was it just me, or did the bit with Gilles suspended above the dance floor have absolutely NOTHING to do with the tango that followed, and just kinda looked odd & out-of-place? It was a stunt for stunt’s sake – and I hate those.  Add to that the fact that the choreography of the tango was just kinda ho-hum & ordinary for me, and Gilles was just being kind of a d-bag again, and I’m left unimpressed by this one.  Gilles should be frustrated – with himself, because that desperation to win is seriously starting to mess with his actual dancing.  And he should be happy that the judges were feeling rather benevolent tonight, because I really would have given this routine more like a 23 or 24.  But I did see a glimmer of hope tonight: the dew seems to be wearing off the rose a bit where Gilles is concerned, for the judges.  They seemed less hesitant to critique him tonight than they did in weeks 1 & 2, and I think he may have realized he was getting a little carried away.  Or at least I hope he realized he was getting carried away…

7.) Kirstie & Maks – Sorry, but as highly amused as I was to see Maks doing the Mick Jagger chicken strut around the ballroom in some absurdly tight pants and a wig that would make the Beegees jealous, I found that the real star of this routine was Maks – which kind of defeated the purpose of the celeb being the focal point.  :-) Maybe Kirstie wanted it that way, perhaps to detract from the fact that she really wasn’t moving much at all – but I just kind of found the whole thing to be more style than substance.  I think part of the appeal of the original was that it was a terrible dance, but Carson did it with such gusto and personality that it became a showstopper.  This…was less of a train wreck, but felt a lot more low-energy, too.  They weren’t messing anything up, and everything was on-time…but it just felt half-assed to me.  Like they were dancing it for camera blocking instead of the actual performance.  Was it fun? Sure…but I was just left kinda wanting more.  Kirstie’s more than likely got the votes to survive tomorrow’s elimination, but I think she should really start focusing more on the content of her routines…because at this point, I feel like Bristol actually has more difficult steps than she does.  Yikes.

8.) Emmitt & Cheryl – For someone that came out as strong as he did the first week, I feel like the Emmitt we saw then has been replaced by a much lower-budget generic one…that hasn’t had the same zing the past two weeks.  I guess this routine was kind of fun to watch…in the same semi-trainwrecky way that Kirstie’s was.  But like Kirstie, I just feel like Emmitt’s not quite operating at 100% – he’s having fun, and he’s not really doing BAD, per se, but he’s also just not up to par with the likes of Shawn, Apolo, Sabrina, or even Gilles.  I think the troupe guys at the table in the background were more of a distraction than an enhancement, unfortuantely (expect to see them in the cheese…fer reals), and they actually seemed to be more energetic than Emmitt himself was.  But I did get kind of a kick out of the pencil slide he did at the end :-P Do I think Emmitt’s safe this week? Yeah.  Is he living up to the hype I saw about him in the pre-season? NO WAY.  He, like Kirstie, also needs to step it up if he wants to stand a chance up against the powerhouses this season. Charm will only take him so far!

9.) Bristol & Mark – For as terrible as their rehearsal package was (and how dumb they were for picking the famed “futuristic paso doble” to recreate) – I actually don’t think this was the worst routine of the night, in terms of technique.  I think Kirstie & Emmitt (and maybe Helio) have that one covered.  When Bristol’s actually trying (and NOT breaking rules), she’s actually not bad – I felt like she moved more than both Kirstie & Emmitt, and with more conviction.  But man – after seeing that package, the mood on the dance floore between Bristol & Mark was positively CHILLING. As in “I don’t even want to look at you, get this f%$ker away from me!” chilling.  And unfortunately, I think that may have negated really any positives they had in terms of technique – even though they were chess pieces and were supposed to be at war, the mood didn’t feel warlike & aggressive to me…it felt sullen and detatched.  All that aside – I’m left a bit uncertain about how the big blowup is going to affect Bristol & Mark’s chances of surviving the elim…if it even affects it at all.   Part of me thinks it may actually garner some sympathy votes – part of me hopes it turned enough people off of Bristol completely, so that she tumbles into the bottom 2.  But I’m preparing myself to see her sullen face yet again next week – although I’m hoping that whoever picks her dance sticks her with jive.  Mwahahaha…

10.) Helio & Chelsie – Another couple that should thank their lucky stars that the judges were feeling benevolent tonight – although in the end, I doubt it’s going to matter much, since it’s a double elim tomorrow night and I’m pretty sure these two will make a repeat appearance in the bottom 2.  Helio’s a complete joy to watch – that big goofy grin as he’s bouncing around in his zoot suit just makes me all warm & fuzzy inside :-D But on a night where everyone was pulling out all sorts of bells & whistles & crazy choreo, is a “just ok” quickstep with pretty safe choreography (and a rather noticeable gaffe) going to be enough to keep him safe? I don’t know.  He might get a bit of a surge in votes from his appearance in the bottom 2 last week, but I’m not sure it will be enough to keep him out of the bottom 2.  I’m leaning towards no, and that makes me sad :-( But I think Helio has had the right attitude about this season – have as much fun as possible and don’t hone in too hard on the win.  You listening, Gilles?

12.) Drew & Anna – I think this is one couple that just kinda got dealt a crap hand this whole season – not much love from the judges, some chemistry issues, and just some bad logistics (running order, music, etc.) I think tonight was a bad night to go first – even though I generally enjoyed their cha-cha, and liked that they didn’t seem to let the props dominate it.  Drew did get a little bit sloppy at times, and I think he & Anna may have gotten out-of-sync on some of the open choreography, but I definitely like it more than at least 3 of the other routines I saw tonight.  But in the end, will it really matter? Doubtful, considering that 3 of the 4 couples comprising the bottom 2 in the first two weeks were “middle of the road” couples that did neither good nor bad – and tonight, Drew got kinda low-balled.  At this point, I think he may be a bit out of his element – and maybe it’s time for him to go.  I still think there are 2 (maybe 3) other contestants that should be leaving BEFORE him, but I’m getting to the point where I’d hope that his scores would be improving a bit more.  Oh well – it’s been fun, Drew.  You seem to have brought out a more laid-back Anna :-)

So what did you guys think of “Iconic Dances” night? Love it? Hate it? Who’s going home???

October 8, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS Season 15, Week 2 – Power Rankings

Oh jive/quickstep week – a week that usually has the potential to make me cringe and shake my head.  Unfortunately, this season was no different :-( The lines have been drawn, and the judges are making some pretty clear distinctions in their scoring – at the top we have the “chosen ones” who can do no wrong in the judges’ eyes (Gilles & Peta, Sabrina & Louis), then the good dancers that the judges seem to critique/score more harshly to give the impression of “wanting them to improve” (Shawn & Derek, Apolo & Karina, Melissa & Tony), the mediocre-to-good dancers that the judges seem reluctant to really critique/score harshly (Kelly & Val, Emmitt & Cheryl, Helio & Chelsie), the mediocre-to-bad dancers that don’t really get love from the judges but still get the votes to stay (Joey & Kym, Kirstie & Maks, Bristol & Mark)…and then you have Drew, whom I’m almost convinced the judges/TPTB don’t really give a rat’s ass whether he stays or goes.  All in all, this illustrious all-star season is beginning to leave a bad taste in my mouth – and we’ve still got 8 more weeks to go after tomorrow! And please tell me I’m not the only one that’s getting sick of seeing that damn 7.5 paddle…

1.) Gilles & Peta - As great of a dancer as Gilles may be, I just find myself getting rubbed the wrong way by some of his behavior so far this season – and I’m beginning to feel the same about Peta, too.  He complains about how injured he is and how much pain he’s in all week, then performs one of the most intense & forceful jives I’ve ever seen on the show – and then he has this bizarre, kinda choked-up “moment” up in the celebraquarium that just kinda left me going “Huh?” Not gonna lie – it was bordering on Jaleel levels of awkwardness.  While I do think he did a really good jive (notice I didn’t say “great”), I think Gilles may have caught a bit of the Sabrina Bug this week – every kick & flick just felt so HARD and deliberate.  And I’m not sure if it was just the fringe on her costume or what, but Peta seemed to be dancing extra forcefully, too – and as trivial as this may seem, I seriously hope the makeup team dials back the eyeliner next week, because it gives Peta this very harsh, glaring look when she’s not smiling widely. Anywho, these two seem like they’ve got several weeks of safety ahead of them, with the level of favoritism they seem to be getting from the judges & TPTB.  I guess I just hope Gilles can have some sort of breakthrough and regain some of the charm that made him so endearing in season 8…

2.) Shawn & Derek – This jive was pretty much everything I expected – cute, high-energy, clean, & entertaining.  Even though I had already gotten a bit of a heads-up that Shawn had much better endurance than Derek, I was still kinda impressed by how…not winded she was afterward.  Just sort of a “Meh…ain’t no thang!” look on her face :-P Now while I enjoyed the Hairspray theme and a lot of the choreography that went with it, I have to say – I found myself wanting a little more basic, in-hold jive content, a little bit less of the 60’s-y themed open choreography.  And I wonder if this may be a problem with pretty much everyone who goes for a themed routine this season – everyone feels so compelled to keep the bar high that they feel the need to throw in a lot of unique choreography.  I guess that’s one way in which I agreed with Len a bit in his critique – everything in this routine was satisfactory, but I don’t know that any of it really exceeded my expectations.  Guess I’m just hoping to be blown away during iconic dances week next week, since the couples have been instructed to “push the envelope”. I just hope Derek can “push the envelope” while still including a lot of basic choreography.

3.) Sabrina & Louis – In quite possibly the biggest judging gaffe of the night, Gilles & Peta’s biggest competition for “most off-putting” couple this season managed to walk away with the high score after doing a quickstep that, while good, left me confused.   I will give Sabrina credit for calming down quite a bit this week – there wasn’t nearly as much overdancing this time.  But I did notice a couple instances where she seemed to fight the urge to really hit things hard, and a couple flicks seemed to come out a bit harder than they probably should have.  My other big complaint? I felt like they stopped every 5 seconds for Sabrina to pose in a picture line!!! Talk about disrupting the flow of a dance – I liked what she did in-hold and she did have great posture, but it just felt so disjointed because Louis seemed to be throwing her into an oversway every other measure.  For that reason, I think she was grossly overscored – considering that Apolo had, IMO, much more difficult content, which he executed with far more finesse than Sabrina did her content.  And WTF was up with that beginning sequence when they came running in??? If it was accidental, they must really be in la-la land; if it was intentional, WTF?! But as I saw many of you saying, I feel like the fix is in – somebody with influence really wants Sabrina to stick around.  Which makes me wonder if maybe Sabrina isn’t exactly “killing it” in the votes department.  But I think time will tell, as we whittle down the weaker dancers… Read more..

October 1, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS Season 15, Week 1 – Power Rankings

Eeee gad, I had forgotten how long it takes to offer up commentary on 13 couples as opposed to 11 or even 12 :-P Anywho! Hope you guys are still up to chat about the show (and the site has not crashed…again), because we’ve got a lot to talk about. Overall, I’m left with one big concern after watching tonight’s show: is the high level of competition pushing everyone just a bit too hard to stand out? Because there seemed to be an awful lot of over-dancing going on tonight, and the pros seemed to stuff as much choreography as they could into their routines.  The cha-cha’s seemed to fare much better with the judges than the foxtrots, but I actually think the foxtrots were more technically sound on the whole.  *shrug* Such is life with this show, where, to quote Kanye, sh*t is often pretty “cray”.  8-O Let’s get right into it, shall we?

1.) Emmitt & Cheryl – Is anyone else having flashbacks to last season, when William & Cheryl could do absolutely no wrong in the judges eyes, no matter how badly they danced? 8-O Don’t get me wrong, I love Emmitt – probably one of the most lovable contestants ever to do the show, along with Warren Sapp & Donald Driver.  But REALLY, Len??? Best dance of the night?! I’m calling bullsh*t, because while Emmitt was very fun to watch and definitely got into the groove of it and didn’t miss any steps or get off-time, I daresay many other contestants had far more content and a higher level of difficulty…and they, too, were fun to watch.  And yet again, I saw Cheryl doing an awful lot moving around a stationary Emmitt – not as bad as a regular season, but still there.  *sigh* I thought it was odd that they got the pimp spot, and now after the gushing & overscoring (one of a few incidents of suspicious scoring tonight), my only theory is that they might want to keep Emmitt around in order to stand a hope & a prayer of competing with Monday Night Football, which consistently tops the ratings.  I highly doubt they’ll succeed, but they will likely die trying – and we’ll probably lose some stronger dancers as a result :-( I like Emmitt, and I liked this dance – but I already smell a rat.

2.) Gilles & Peta – A very well-danced, well-choreographed foxtrot – definitely the best of the night, and very pretty to watch. But was it REALLY a full 2 points better than the next highest-scoring foxtrot? Or either of the other foxtrots done by male contestants? I really don’t think so – I think Gilles may have benefitted from a more classic song and just a generally more calm demeanor, but I don’t really think he was leaps and bounds better than Shawn or even Drew’s foxtrots, and and I actually think Shawn’s had a far higher level of difficulty.  I’m also just feeling kinda lukewarm about Gilles at this point – some of the laid-back charm that made him so appealing in season 8 seems to have been replaced with this brooding intensity and extreme desire to win…which is actually off-putting.  No doubt Gilles is a great dancer and a great showman – but as of right now, I’m on the fence about whether or not he’s the full package of skill, charm, and entertainment worth of the MBT this time around.  However, I do think he may have a bit of a leg up in that he’s part of the ABC family – and thus the TPTB likely have a vested interest in keeping him around for awhile and drumming up publicity for his new project.  I anticipate we’ll see him around for awhile – even if his dancing isn’t quite up-to-snuff and he doesn’t loosen up.

3.) Apolo & Karina – I actually think these two came the closest to being the “full package” tonight – they were fun to watch, had great chemistry, and a good amount of skill in their routine.  And I do think Apolo has the right attitude about this season: he wants to work hard and do well, but he’s there to have fun, too.  Yes, there were a few stumbles – mainly due to “overdancing”, which is a problem just about everyone (with the exception of Pam, Bristol, & maybe Kirstie) had tonight.  Folks, when you push too hard and throw too much stuff into a routine to try and get noticed, it likely will backfire – and it seemed like with the costumes, lights, pulsating music and over-the-top dancing, there was just a tad too much going on in their cha-cha tonight.  I think they may have fared better with a little more subtlely to their choreography – but there really isn’t anything subtle about LMFAO or “Party Rock Anthem”, so I can’t really blame them for going that route.  I actually think Apolo’s Latin technique has improved since his original season, and he’s good and knowing where to place his weight in order to create Latin hip action.  Still a bit stiff in the hips, but I’m counting on Karina to help loosen them up this season – just like I’m counting on Apolo’s Olympic fanbase to carry him through to the finale.  I still think Apolo’s gonna walk away with the MBT this season, when all’s said & done…

4.) Shawn & Derek – One thing’s for sure: Shawn is definitely NOT the timid, well-mannered girl next door I remember from season 8! I actually found myself far more impressed by her dancing this time around – she seemed to let go of the constant desire for perfection in her movement that I seemed to see in season 8, and actually managed to let loose and really work on her performance quality a lot more.  This dance was punchy, energetic, and Shawn didn’t miss a bit – which is impressive, considering how much content this foxtrot had…almost too much content.  I’ve gotta say – I think of all the foxtrots tonight, Shawn & Derek were the most screwed right off the bat just because of their song.  It was this season’s “Easy Lover” – a song with a foxtrot rhythm so buried underneath a heavy drumline, vocals, and melody, that it forces the dancers to move at hyperspeed just to look like they’re actually keeping up.  Can you really blame them for having so much movement in their routine when the song is here, there, and everywhere – all at once? None of the other foxtrots tonight had songs that were nearly as difficult – which leads me to wonder if they were trying to either a) handicap Shawn a bit due to her Olympic fanbase, b) challenge Derek to create another incarnation of his 50’s paso doble/Psycho tango/”Material Girl” rumba, or c) all of the above.  Regardless of their motives as far as Shawn & Derek are concerned, I still think we’ll see these two in the finale – as long as wacky decisions like this made by TPTB don’t somehow ruin them :-(

5.) Kirstie & Maks – I was pretty unimpressed by this foxtrot – I’ll get that off my chest right off the bat.  Yes, they did get a bit of a crummy song FOR A FOXTROT (note me qualifying in caps, for all the Adele fans out there who are only selectively literate and likely inclined to attack me for *gasp!* disliking Adele), and that likely hindered them a bit – but I actually feel like Maks held back a bit with the choreo, and Kirstie felt a little heavy on her feet to me, compared to how I remembered her from season 12.  I think Kirstie probably could have handled a few more bells & whistles, because this felt a bit bland…seemed like a lot of foxtrot basic steps with a turn here & there.  But for what they lacked in choreography, they more than made up for in chemistry – these two are still a hoot to watch a year and a half later :-P And leave it to Kirstie to put the patented Bergeron ass pinch to shame by laying a long, hard kiss smack dab on The Berg’s pie hole.  Talk about stealing the show :-P Anywho, even if these two aren’t the judges’ darlings this season (and I don’t really think they were most of the time in season 12, either), I do think they have some longevity, between their collective fanbases and just how freakin’ fun they are to watch :-P

6.) Sabrina & Louis – Kids, remember my main complaint in The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate: Sabrina Bryan Edition? Anyone? Well, reader Melissa remembered that I pretty clearly stated that Sabrina danced wayyy too aggressively, and that everything she did seemed so hard-hitting.  And wouldn’t you know – the judges main complaint tonight was the exact same thing! Not much has changed in the 5 years since Sabrina originally did the show – she is still hitting every line so hard that’s almost unpleasant to watch, and she even seems to throw herself off-balance in trying so hard to punctuate every single step.  Yes, she’s a good dancer – but a great one? I don’t believe it yet, because to be a great one, she’d have to soften up her lines and incorporate more light & shade into her dancing: periods of punctuated movement juxtaposed with softer, more fluid movement in order to enhance the impact of both.  Right now, Sabrina is just “LIGHT!!! LIGHT!!! BRIGHTER LIGHT!!! EVEN BRIGHTER LIGHT!!!”, and I kinda had a feeling this would be something even Louis would struggle with: dimming Sabrina’s “light” in order to show her versatility.  I know Louis is probably out to prove something, and if he’s anything like he was in season 12, when he thought Kendra was the sh*t, he’s going to dive head-on into his bag of tricks and pull out every single flashy, impressive move he can in order to say “Look at me!!! Look at me!!! I AM AN AWESOME DANCER AND CHOREOGRAPHER!!!” And this cha-cha was unfortunately a prime example of both Sabrina AND Louis enabling each other’s choreographic problems – impressive choreography, yes, but I think I would have appreciated it more if every step wasn’t punching me in the face.  Can they soften things up? We’ll see – I still think they’ve got a few weeks in them, just due to scores.

7.) Kelly & Val – Kelly was the revelation of the evening for me…contrary to my initial worries, she ROCKED this cha-cha, and seriously made me wonder what she had been up in the past 7 years that created such a vast improvement in her dancing. I don’t know if it was anything she did (except maybe breaking up with her deadbeat boyfriend of 18 years), but I daresay the chemistry (and that should be spelled in all caps – CHEMISTRY) she has forged with Val has taken her from Bambi on ice to contender in no time flat.  Now I’m by no means one of those “crazy fangirl shippers” that I roll my eyes at on Twitter when they’re trying to fabricate romances between Hines & Kym/Bristol & Mark/Kirstie & Maks/etc., but with the amount of sexual tension I was sensing between these two? Get thee to a hotel…forthwith, my dears.  ;-) I thought Val was the calm, pragmatic, unflappable Chmerkovskiy – but the way I saw him all twitterpated in the celebraquarium when Kelly’s hair brushed his face? Or when he was spellbound by her tatas in rehearsal? Val has become one smitten kitten, I daresay – and I actually don’t see anything wrong with that, especially since it seems to be working well for their dancing.  I’ve never seen Kelly so confident, sexy, and fun-loving out on the floor – and I am excited to see more :-D

8.) Joey & Kym – I’m actually a little bit puzzled as to why they picked these two to kick off the show, as I thought Apolo & Karina’s cha-cha was far more impactful – but these two were fun nonetheless, and I can see that doing the Vegas show has paid off for Joey.  Very high-energy & fun – but, like many other celebs tonight, a little too hard-hitting.  Joey got a bit of excited puppy syndrome and may have proverbially peed on the floor, as he seemed to get a bit ahead of Kym at a few points and hit a few lines just a bit too enthusiastically.  It was a fun, well-executed routine – but as I predicted, Joey will probably have to work on refining & tidying up his movement, and becoming a bit lighter on his feet…because this felt a little messy.  He’s got showmanship for days, don’t get me wrong – but he seems to lack the refinement and laid-back charm that Apolo & Emmitt had in their cha-chas that likely got them better scores.  I still think Joey’s a contender, no doubt – but he’s gonna have to buckle down (and calm down) if he want to go toe-to-toe with Emmitt, Apolo, & Gilles.

9.) Bristol & Mark – Bristol actually surprised me a bit tonight – she seemed quite a bit more relaxed and confident than her initial cha-cha 2 years ago, and I daresay this cha-cha was an improvement for her.  At first I think I rolled my eyes a bit at how many of their “old standby” moves from season 11 Mark threw in – a lot of shimmying, hip twists, and hair flipping.  Then I realized it was probably a smart move on his part, in order to make Bristol feel more comfortable and familiar with the dance.  She’s still a pretty tentative mover, and likely not even in the same league as some of the other female contestants in terms of skill – but I do think that she’s better than before, and I do see potential for improvement.  For tonight, I was just glad to see her scored properly – no cushy 8’s or sympathy 9’s to make her feel better.  As cruel as it sounds, I think the judges created some pretty unrealistic expectations on Bristol’s part in season 11 by giving her such generous scores – by the end of the competition, she seemed to assume that she just deserved them outright, even if her dancing was clearly not up to snuff with the other competitors.  By starting out scoring realistically, I think they’ll nudge her to improve each week…the question is, can we rely on them to score her realistically week after week?

10.) Drew & Anna – It really pains me to put these two here, because I really had high hopes for them going into this season.  But Drew just seemed so damn tense out on the floor, and I think Anna may be pushing him a bit too hard in rehearsals – and it’s creating an uneasy dynamic between them that seems to spill out onto the dance floor.  There were parts of this foxtot that were really good – mainly the parts that stayed  in hold, in which I thought Drew had gorgeous posture and some clean, gliding feet.  Then there were parts that just kinda made me cringe – like those silly jumps Anna was having him do that he was just fumbling pitifully with (he should have asked Helio the jumping bean to give him some pointers ;-)).  I don’t know if it was just nerves from opening night, or just shaken confidence in being in such a competitive season – but I just felt bad for Drew tonight, because he just struck me as being petrified. I’m really hoping these two can learn to relax & have fun, because I do see a lot of potential in Drew – potential that could definitely be harnassed again.

11.) Melissa & Tony – I generally liked their foxtrot and I’m just in awe of Melissa’s ridiculously fit physique after having a baby, as well those crazy long, flexible legs of hers.  But I’m getting a bad gut feeling that these two may have gotten a little lost in the shuffle tonight – a moderate-to-good dance that may have been lowballed a bit in the scores, wedged between a pretty memorable, good dance (Apolo & Karina) and an astonishing train wreck (Pam & Tristan).  I loved the beginning part with Melissa showing off her mad stretching skills, and the more Broadway-y parts she & Tony did side by side.  But when they got in hold, I was actually a little taken aback by Melissa’s posture; something about it just seemed…wonky.  And just as I did in season 8, I once again found myself a bit annoyed by Melissa’s spaghetti arms – just a bit too soft for some of the moves she was trying to hit hard.  Generally, I liked it – but is it the first dance that pops into my head when I think about tonight? Definitely not – maybe not even the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th.  And that’s what has me worried.  I think she’ll be safe this week due to Pam’s trainwreckittude, but I would not be surprised if she was a “shock” elimination within the next few weeks.

12.) Helio & Chelsie – I like Helio, I really do – maybe it’s the Indycar fan in me, but I just find him to be so damn lovable.  But tonight? He was easily the weakest of the male contestants, and was maybe only slightly better than Kirstie in terms of content & execution of his dance.  I did see some posture & footwork issues, and I think he may have gotten a bit lost at a few points because I caught him looking a bit sheepish just kind of standing there awkwardly.  He also seems to want to stick his little Brazilian tushy out behind him when he’s dancing – which is unfortunately no bueno.  On the other hand, he was grinning like a kid in a candy store the whole time, and is actually pretty good at those kooky jumps Anna was having Drew try to do (Helio, help a brother out and give Drew some hopping lessons ;-)).  So it actually ended up being kind of a fun dance to watch, in a similar vein to Gavin’s wacky boat samba last season.  But I find myself kind of forgetting about these two – and I’m not sure Helio & Chelsie have the same endearing chemistry that Helio & Julianne had.  Are they safe this week? Probably – I hope.  But I’m skeptical about the next few…

13.) Pam & Tristan – Ohhhhh my.  I really wish I had something else to say other than “WTF was this???” I daresay this aimless, bizarre cha-cha was a prime example of how lack of practice time makes you stick out like a sore thumb – and both Pam & Tristan looked like they had just rolled out of bed with a hangover and were just shuffling through it (did I miss something? Was that intentional?) Even Tristan, who’s usually pretty energetic (and with women far older than Pam, no less!) seemed kinda apathetic about the whole thing.  Yeah, they were kinda screwed by their song, too, but that was the least of their problems.  Honestly, I will be very, very shocked if they’re able to stick around after that hot mess.  Love both of them – but that was just bad to the bone 8-O

So who do you guys think is going home tomorrow? And who are your favorites so far? :-)

September 24, 2012 I Written By

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

Dancing with the Stars Season 15: Predicted Eliminations w/o Professional Partners

So now that we know who most of the cast is I decided to whip up a quick breakdown of how the Season 15 cast would fare against one another now.

However, then I started thinking: How cool would it be to see how they would have fared against one another with the professional partners that they had before? Yes, I know that there are duplicates here and there but if you were able to clone those pros… how would the “All Star” cast fare? Well let’s find out!

CELEBRITY PROFESSIONAL ORIGINAL RANK NEW RANK
Apolo Anton Ohno Julianne Hough Winner Winner
Shawn Johnson Mark Ballas Winner 2nd
Drew Lachey Cheryl Burke Winner 3rd
Gilles Marini Cheryl Burke 2nd 4th
Hélio Castroneves Julianne Hough Winner 5th
Emmitt Smith Cheryl Burke Winner 6th
Joey Fatone Kym Johnson 2nd 7th
Bristol Palin Mark Ballas 3rd 8th
Kelley Monaco Alec Mazo Winner 9th
Melissa Rycroft Tony Dovolani 3rd 10th
Kirstie Alley Maksim Chmerkovskiy 2nd 11th
Pamela Anderson Damian Whitewood 6th 12th
VOTABLE CELEBRITIES
Sabrina Bryan Mark Ballas 7th 3rd (before Drew)
Carson Kressley Anna Trebunskaya 8th 12th (before Pamela)
Kyle Massey Lacey Schwimmer 2nd 4th (before Gilles)

An interesting breakdown to be sure… granted probably not accurate but what can you do? On the other hand this is with the assumption that everyone was with their original partner but that’s not going to happen, not by a long shot. So with the information that we do know about the celebrities (occupation, current age) how would they fare on the season? Read more..

July 27, 2012 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) "I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour." and... 2) "Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much." So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point... =)

DWTS 14 Week 10 – Power Rankings for the Finale

For a second there, I was sure this night was a complete wash…and then Donald reaffirmed my faith in humanity with one of the most adorable freestyles I’ve ever seen on the show :-D

Not a whole lot to say that most of you haven’t already said on Twitter – there was definite overscoring going on (William), and definite underscoring going on (Donald), but in the end, I doubt the scores are going to matter a ton…because this seems like it’s going to be the fanbase battle royale for the MBT.  And if the response I saw after one couple’s freestyle was any indicator – I think they’re a shoo-in for the MBT ;-) Let’s do things in reverse tonight, starting with who I’m predicting for the 3rd place finisher…

3rd place: Katherine & Mark

Honestly, it were up to me, these two would be a definite 2nd place – but I’ve got a gut feeling that they may have gotten a little lost in the shuffle tonight, in between the judges’ golden boy and the charismatic dark horse.  I thought her paso was pretty damn good – she definitely danced with more assuredness and confidence than her first paso, and the choreo was clean, proper, and exciting.  My only complaint: it seemed to highlight Mark more than Kath, but I guess I can’t fault them too much, as paso is really the man’s dance…which just further drives the point home for me that the judges kinda screwed her a bit when they gave her the paso in the first place.  As for their freestyle – I have to commend Mark for returning to the tried-and-true formula for freestyle success: he picked something that was relevant to his celebrity, he made sure it was high-energy, and he included quite a bit of actual ballroom steps to please Len.  I think it would have been a strong competition for Donald, if only Kath hadn’t lost a bit of steam in the middle and gotten a bit stuck in the lifts.  But I liked the flapper theme, and thought Kath singing at the beginning was a great way to really make the routine relevant to her – I just wish Mark had toned it down a bit, so she could have actually made it all the way through the dance with the same high level of energy.  Ok, so they’ve got the high score – but it’s only one point more than the other 2, so it may as well be nothing…and I’m sorry, as gorgeous and talented as I think Kath is, I don’t think she can compete with the raging hormones of Willy’s fans or the magnetic personality that Donald’s fans are drawn to.  Like Ricki last season, who also had the high score after the first night of the finale (and also the first dance of the 2nd night), I think Kath may be relegated to 3rd :-( However, I would love to be wrong and have her take 2nd…provided it bumps Willy into 3rd ;-)

2nd place: William & Cheryl

I guess hoping that the overscoring would stop in the finale was wishful thinking, as I was not particularly wowed by either of Willy’s dances tonight…and the fault for that lies more with Cheryl than anyone else.  William didn’t mess up, and what he did in both of his dances was technically good – he even looked liked he was having fun, which was something I had yet to see from him this season.  But here’s the problem: the level of difficulty for both of his routines was pretty pathetic…and I genuinely feel sorry for the guy, because I think Cheryl really let him down with the choreography tonight.  Their cha-cha just felt like a recycled version of their first cha-cha, which wasn’t very impressive in terms of choreography – his hip action seemed better this time around, and he seemed more relaxed, but there was nothing particularly impactful or exciting about it.  He could have handled more – but Cheryl didn’t give it to him.  And I’m sorry, but if another contestant pulls a Miss Cleo and predicts exactly what you’ll do in your freestyle (Donald knows what’s up), then you’re probably a one-trick pony without much of an edge.  Sorry, but this freestyle was a cop-out – I’m all for picking something relevant to your partner, but this felt like nothing different than what I’ve been seeing the past 9 weeks: a bunch of gyrations, dips, ass shaking, and vaguely salsa-y moves.  Even the lifts were pretty elementary – William’s a muscular guy, and he could have handled more heavy lifting.  He didn’t mess up, and he seemed to have fun – but the choreography didn’t show me that he was really a great dancer. Overall, at the end of it, I was just kinda left saying “So what else is new?” But I’ve got a feeling that hormones will prevail tomorrow night, and at least carry William into the final two…with his complacent partner, who probably didn’t even bother choreographing anything truly innovative, because she knew they’d be overscored anyway – just like they’ve been all season.

The Winner: Donald & Peta

The last remaining couple untainted by the fishy overscoring of this season – and thankfully, I think they came across as the most likeable, as well :-D While I SOMEWHAT agreed with Len that their Argentine tango was a tad on the safe side, I still think it was underscored, given that William & Cheryl just regurgitated their first week cha-cha (which is probably the ultimate “safe” move), and the first go-round, Len bitched that their Argentine tango “lacked content”.  So they gave him more content…and now it’s “too safe?” Poor Donald just can’t win with Len.  Whatever.  Len sure couldn’t bitch & moan after that freestyle they did, though – it was EASILY the best of the night, as the energy was through the roof and stayed there the entire routine, and Donald totally pwned those lifts.  And really – who would have guessed that Donald would pull out the country card and get out there and line dance? That was fresh & unexpected – yet somehow still strangely relevant to Donald, as I think it really showed us how multi-talented he is…and a goofball, at that :-P I’ve got a good feeling about tomorrow night, that justice will somehow prevail and the grand plans of TPTB will be squashed by a legion of fed-up fans voting for the little Quickie That Could…suck it, Univision merger ;-)

So who do you guys think will walk away with the MBT tomorrow? And how do you think this “24 hour dance challenge” will turn out? If they don’t rank the routines (30, 28, 26), I’m totally predicting they cop-out and give all three of them 30’s, just like instant samba last season.  But aside from that…which returning stars are you most looking forward to seeing? I’m all about some Jack, Gladys, & Roshon, myself ;-)

May 21, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS 14 Week 9 Power Rankings

Well kids, I’m back after a few days in Vegas, with a few fun stories to tell (be on the lookout for my review of the DWTS Live in Las Vegas show later this week!), but first, let me get back into the swing of things with this week’s power rankings – I’m gonna try and keep tonight’s kinda short, as I still seem to be suffering the effects of the time difference…or just burnout.  Vegas is tiring!

Overall, feeling a bit ho-hum about tonight – no truly stand-out performances; some overscoring going on across the board, likely to keep the margins close; and an overall lack of content in the bulk of the Latin dances (with the exception of Donald).  Not exactly the nail-biting semifinal I was hoping for, but thankfully, it was only 90 minutes, which may actually give me a chance to catch part of the Hawaii 5-0 finale or America’s Got Talent premiere before dozing off :-P

1.) Donald & Peta – After tonight, the only thing I feel fairly confident in saying is that Donald is a shoo-in for the finale, based on fanbase alone – and that’s even with the 2nd lowest score of the night.  I don’t think there has ever been a more LIKEABLE contestant to do the show – seriously, I grow to love Donald more and more every week.  And doggonit, some of the Pack FINALLY came out to support him tonight! Loved seeing Aaron Rodgers in the audience, cheering for “Quickie” :-) I liked his waltz, but didn’t love it – the music was throwing me a bit, as it actually seemed to make him look kind of off-time, even though he wasn’t.  His posture does seem to be improving, though, and he seemed to really connect to the emotion of the dance.  His samba was actually my favorite dance of the night – I think it was the only Latin dance tonight that truly had a lot of real content, and I loved that they opted to go a different route than the standard “shake your ass as much as you can, and we’ll just call it samba” route.  It had a storyline, it was different, and it was cute.  My only complaint? Donald seems to stutter a bit when getting back into hold from being out of hold – he seemed to miss a few hand leads with Peta, and she ended up finishing them herself.  Overall, I think they had a pretty damn good night, and I (knock on wood) don’t foresee any big problems with them making the finale.

2.) Maria & Derek – I’m surprised about these two for 2 reasons: despite some pretty bad injuries, they managed to crank out 2 dances that didn’t completely suck, and the judges didn’t lowball them.  If anything, I think they actually overscored them a bit – I don’t think their Argentine tango was even close to being as good as their paso doble, although the choreography was great and Maria didn’t mess any of it up; she just seemed to dance it very cautiously, though, and her legs looked pretty soft – kinda expected for a dance done on such broken feet, but I can’t really overlook it.  I did love the beginning of it, though, with just their feet visibile under the curtain…kind of a nice twist.  I wasn’t too keen on their jive, for the simple reason that there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of jive actually in it – again, likely an attempt to baby Maria’s injuries, but I can’t really give it a free pass.  Maria seemed extra cautious in this dance, as the actual jive steps she did didn’t really have much bounce to them.  Plus I’m just getting kinda sick and tired of that damn “Tightrope” song – they use it in the DWTS Vegas show, too, and I don’t really like it there, either.  Not really a fan of their jive, but I can’t say it was terrible, either – it was adequate. Overall, I think the judges were awfully kind to them tonight – I like them as a couple, but tonight wasn’t their A-game.  However, I think their high score (though still decently close to pretty much everyone else) will likely usher them into the finale, since going into this week I really saw Maria & Katherine duking it out for the 3rd spot in the finale (along with Donald & William) in terms of votes…and although I’m not so sure now that William has the finale all tied up, I do think Maria has done enough to make her untouchable to at least Katherine, which basically ensures she’s in the finale.  I think we’re in for another Hough freestyle – here’s hoping that Derek finds a way to work around their collective injuries and redeem himself a bit from his so-so freestyle with Ricki last season!

3.) William & Cheryl – William seems to have worked on his posture in ballroom, but now I see his footwork suffering.  That tango looked more like a paso at times – a little too stompy or marchy, and once again, Cheryl seemed to be doing all of the work.  There was a lot of William standing in place and moving Cheryl from side-to-side…and the big drawback to that is that Cheryl tends to backlead, so she looks like she’s moving too dramatically for the amount of force William is leading her with.  If the guy looks like he’s not leading hard and the woman’s moving hard, it basically screams “she’s doing all the work”.  Not good.  Overall, it wasn’t a bad tango – he didn’t mess up and the character was there – but it wasn’t really great, either.  As for their samba – *sigh*.  Content, people – CONTENT!!! I’m honestly shocked that Len didn’t call them out for a lot of “messing about” and “excessive gyration” in this dance – I thought Donald’s had far more content and far better bounce.  This seemed to be more about ass-shaking and walking from place to place than actual samba steps…yet it got a 30.  *shrug* I gave up last week, so I’m not going to even try this week…guess they need William around for the finale in order to really drive this ABC merger home.  Due to scoring, I think William going home is probably not a HUGE possibility, but I also have to wonder if he’s a whole lot better off in the votes than Katherine – in terms of combined score, I think William might be the only one Katherine might have a chance of catching up to.  Will be intersting to see if she actually does it…

4.) Katherine & Mark – Oy…just not a whole lot to say about these two tonight that I haven’t already said in previous weeks.  I found their quickstep to be rather bland – not just in terms of entertainment, but for once I actually saw Katherine get a bit tentative & hesitant in her choreography.  Some of the bouncing around seemed awfully timid – like Maria’s jive.  There was nothing glaringly WRONG with their quickstep, but it just didn’t seem to make a ton of impact…it was ok, but not great or terribly memorable.  Sorry, but I thought their salsa was bizarre mess – another dance suffering from a noticeable lack of content, and Katherine seemed to be struggling to keep up – and whatever happened at the end that made her freak out just made me cringe, as it seemed like the final nail in the coffin for Katherine on an off-night.  She’s at the bottom of the leaderboard now, and I while the spread seems pretty close, I don’t think she has a prayer of beating Donald (the next person up) in votes, or Maria in combined score – the only person I could see her POSSIBLY catching up to in order to earn herself a spot in the finale is William, and I think ultimately his fans will come through and keep him in for the finale – which may leave Katherine out in the cold…which sucks because I do think she’s the strongest dancer left technically, but she also seems to lack connection to the dance and the audience.  Kinda stinks that she’d be eliminated this close to the finale, but hey – it happens every season, and the show still goes on.

So who you guys actually see moving onto the finale vs. who do you hope is moving onto the finale? ;-)

 

May 14, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS 14 Week 8 Power Rankings

A few things became abundantly clear to me in the midst of tonight’s show: the judges’ heads have been up William & Cheryl’s asses so long that their oxygen supply has been cut off (and brain damage has occured), Carrie Ann switches motives faster than most people blink, Maria & Derek should probably just knock boots and get it over with, Roshon is this season’s forgotten man, and Katherine’s dancing is about as exciting as eating dry white toast.  Let’s just get straight into it…

1.) William & Cheryl – The pimping of these two has just gotten so out of control that I don’t even know what to say anymore – it’s inane, ridiculous, and it’s putting me off this show entirely.  You guys wonder why I’m so far behind on the cheese? Because this season has left such a bad taste in my mouth, and 70% of it is because of these two and the lavish, undeserved praise they get.  But since me complaining about that does little to deter them, I guess I’ll focus on the dancing, which overall was not as stellar as the judges would have you believe.  That foxtrot? Ok, it wasn’t bad, but I’m still not seeing a whole lot of showmanship from William – the man looks like he’s constipated out there.  And Cheryl’s still doing a whole lot of dancing around him, rubbing herself on him, and generally doing some attention-whoring of Ballasesque proportions.  Go ahead and whine about how I “shouldn’t judge the celeb based on the choreo”, but when all he’s doing is standing there and occasionally gesturing, what the hell am I supposed to think? Am I supposed to just ASSUME he’s a great dancer, even though I don’t get to see it underneath all of his partner’s showboating? The dancing isn’t about William at all – it’s about Cheryl dancing around him.  And that was the story of their paso doble trio as well – it was the Cheryl Burke show, with special guest appearances by Tony Dovolani & William Levy.  There was a lot of walking from place to place, and William noticeably got off-time…although it was only mentioned in passing by one of the judges, while they absolutely HOSED Roshon for the same thing.  I give up.  There’s clearly an agenda in place that necessitates William sticking around as long as possible, and I don’t like it.  With any luck, this whole mess will completely blow up in the faces of TPTB…but my luck hasn’t been so great lately, so I’m not holding my breath.  These two will be safe tomorrow night…

2.) Donald & Peta – Thank GAWD for Donald! The man is the personification of what I want in a celeb on this show: he’s having fun, he’s working hard, and he’s giving us some legitimately GREAT performances.  Aside from Roshon’s foxtrot, this tango was the closest thing to perfection for me in the ballroom round tonight – Donald had the attack, and the way he was snapping his head and his feet was divine! I will say that he still seems to get a bit off-balance here and there, and it seems to happen when he gets a little too excited – hopefully he’ll gain a bit more control over some of his more dynamic movements.  I also have to tip my tiny top hat (which I’m still wearing from the team dances last week ;-)) to Peta, for coming up with some choreo that both pleases Len and is also pleasing to the eye – not an easy balance! And that trio dance? Wooooooooooooowwwww.  Just….WOW.  I think the trio idea overall kinda failed, but this was the one gem of the evening – I don’t think I could have asked for a better group than Donald, Peta, and Karina.  Both ladies rock at jive, and Donald impressed the hell out of me with the way he partnered TWO ladies.  You guys notice that neither of the other guys did that in their trio, right? Probably because it’s f*cking hard – something that doesn’t come naturally to a novice male ballroom dancer.  So he gets a ton of respect from me for handling two very vivacious ladies, and also for just delivering a totally FUN performance…props to all three of them for that.   I can only hope that Donald is growing on other people like he’s grown on me, because at this point, he’s the only one I see as a lock for the finale… Read more..

May 7, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS 14 Week 7 Power Rankings

If there is one take-home point I want you guys to glean from this season, it’s that THEME WEEKS OFTEN SCREW THE COUPLES! No exception here – I think only two couples managed to churn out something worthwhile from the pieces of music they were given, and the rest either muddled through or failed miserably.  Consequently, I find myself cutting some breaks tonight, just due to some really bad music selections.  And let’s just say there was some “creative” storytelling going on this week…warriors & mannequins & vampires, oh my! 8O I am beyond relieved that it’s back to business as usual next week…no wacky themes to throw couples off their game.  So there’s also going to be no excuses for subpar performances…game on, kiddies ;-)

Thoughts on the team dances: I thought Team Tango (aka Team Tiny Hat :-P) was quite a bit better than Team Paso (aka Team No Shirt, No Problem ;-)).  I saw no timing issues or missteps on Team Tango – everything was in synch, and aside from a couple of small wobbles from Jaleel & Maria, I saw no glaring mistakes.  I also thought they had the more interesting floor patterns  – lots of visually-pleasing shapes and transitions.  I do think Derek was right in his claim that more couples = more interesting patterns.  It can be a good thing, if you can manage to get everyone in synch and on time…and I think that last thing is the real challenge.  I would hearby like to dub Roshon the MVP of Team Tango – the boy was a revelation tonight.  He came out with such determination and attack, and he KILLED his solo on Team Tango.  Zero mistakes, 100% commitment, 100% attack.  Bravo, Ro! Hell, I would even go so far as to say that he was the overall standout in terms of both teams – he was really the only one that made me sit up and go “WHOA!!! Where did that come from???!”  As for Team Paso – I thought they had the more exciting piece of music and had more theatricality and drama than Team Tango, but they suffered in terms of synchronization and just overall cleanliness of their choreography.  I kind of anticipated those two problems, as they had the added challenge of throwing in a lot of open work that Team Tango didn’t really have to worry about.  I loved the parts of the guys’ cape section that were actually in synch (which I must say is a pretty impressive feat), but the parts that were out of synch just kind of reminded me of my cousins playing Zorro as kids – it was a little chaotic. I could’ve done without the shirtlessness (more on that later), but I can’t say I’m surprised that they did it.  If I had to pick, I’d say Donald was the MVP of Team Paso – I loved how much control he showed in his solo, and his choreo was clean.  In the end, I’d say the scoring was just about right – I might have deducted a point from Team Paso, since the objective of the team dance for me is to stay in synch, first and foremost, and they seemed to struggle with that a bit more.

1.) Maria & Derek – I think these two were the only ones who managed to really OWN their individual dance tonight, and not get pwned by the song they were given.  I can’t say that I was wild about the vampire storyline (between Twilight, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, etc., I’m kinda over the whole vamp thing…), but they did make it work for them, and overall the choreography was clean, exciting, and a good representation of paso doble.  Did it deserve a 30? I think so…with all of the overscoring we’ve seen this season for dances that I thought were nowhere near as good as this paso (or at least had nowhere near as much content as this paso), I can’t say that I think the judges were too far off in giving it the first 30 of the season.  Given tonight’s spread, I think these two are safe.

2.) Katherine & Mark – I’m told their rumba was Game of Thrones-inspired, but as someone who does not have premium cable (and whose regular cable it only intermittently available these days – thanks again, AT&T!), I actually thought it looked more gladiator or Roman-y.  Whatever it was – I’m afraid the costuming made Katherine look kinda out of her element, and although I thought her legs looked FANTASTIC and she was at least flirting with some nice hip action, I never felt 100% commitment from her, and the routine never felt super romantic or rumba-y to me.  It tiptoed near being a good rumba, but never really reached it – and Katherine had another week of “deer in the headlights” eyes from time to time, I’m afraid.  I also have to raise a bit of an eyebrow to some creative camera work I noticed – seemed like they changed the shot so you couldn’t see Kath’s legs whenever they went for a move that might possibly get called out as a lift.  Possibly a “if the viewers can’t see it, they can’t get mad at Carrie Ann for not calling them out on it!” strategy? Who knows…but it just seemed a bit fishy to me, especially given a few other things I noticed tonight.  Overall, I think these two are probably safe this week – but I’m starting to see some cracks in her facade.  She’s not as flawless as the judges initially thought, methinks…

3.) Donald & Peta – This was the only other couple I thought really handled their piece of music well tonight, and I thought their “royalty at court” kinda theme was a cute interpretation.  Although Donald gave it a valiant effort and I did see some really good moments (especially when he was out of hold), he did seem to have some footwork issues (a problem all of the VW’s this week seemed to have), and I thought I saw him get off time once or twice.  Then again, it was hard to tell whether someone was on or off-time this week, as so many of the pieces of music had some wacky tempo changes.  I wish Carrie Ann could have just praised them, instead of bringing up some non-issue about a lift that she herself didn’t see but thought might have been there anyway (seriously? WTF??? Just score what you saw and shut up about things you didn’t!), but I think the judges were about right in their scoring.  I think Donald’s pretty safe, but I think he still has some work to do on his ballroom frame if he wants a shot at the finals… Read more..

April 30, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS 14 Week 6 Power Rankings

Tonight is one of those nights where it physically HURTS to rank. Literally, I’ve got a headache, I’m tired, kinda cranky, and overall? Kinda sad…I may have ranted and raved on Twitter, but when it comes down to it, I care about this show, and to see it become such a 3-ring circus of blatant favoritism, calculated scoring, and machinations by the judges and folks in charge? I’m just really disappointed.

And unfortunately, I think the judges may have all but sealed the fate of at least one of the couples – and if there’s a double elimination like we’ve been hearing (and I’m pretty sure there will be – they’ve gotta whittle down to an even number of couples for the team dances next week), I’m fairly certain that we’re going to lose at least one really talented couple that doesn’t deserve to get sent home yet. And if by some miracle I’m wrong – then we’re probably still going to lose two big fan favorites. It sucks whatever way you cut it, I’m afraid. :-(

ETA: Yes, I know now that I added wrong, and Maria & Derek are tied with 30 points. Doesn’t change my rankings, but I acknowledge the error…too bad I’m too tired & the site is being too moody for me to fix it :-)

1.) Katherine & Mark – Let me start off by saying this: I don’t think Katherine’s a bad dancer. Technically, she’s quite good…lacks a bit in showmanship sometimes, I’m afraid, but she’s a good dancer and I do think she deserves to stick around. But WHY oh WHYYYYY did they insist on overscoring her so blatantly??? Her samba was cute and fun, and she never got off time or misstepped…but I also never really got the impression that she was 100% in the dance, and for the first time since week 1, I actually saw the “deer in the head lights” look in her eyes again, like she was constantly teetering on the brink of messing up. It actually reminded me a lot of Chelsea’s quickstep at this time last year – technically sound, and probably 70% there in terms of showmanship, but somehow a bit…cautious. Apprehensive. Safe. Mundane. Vanilla. Take your pick…all were terms I saw being tossed around on Twitter in reference to her samba, and I have to agree. I think our reader Will actually best summed it up: “It sorta made me think of a lovely, middle class, white couple trying to ‘get down & funky’.” It wasn’t bad, and it was a valiant effort – but it was a tad awkward. I would have thought more along the lines of a 26, definitely not a 29. As for the dance marathon – sorry, but I have to call complete bull on this one. I have nothing against Katherine, but the girl was barely moving out there – every time the camera panned to her, she seemed to stuttering a bit, and looking to Mark to tell her what exactly to do. IMO, the person that wins the marathon should be someone that is constantly dancing full-throttle, giving it 100%, and always moving…like Roshon. Not someone who can only eek out chunks and spurts of good dancing. My only theory for her almost-perfect score tonight? She’s just not getting the votes…and some of you can pooh-pooh me and call me a conspiracy theorist all you want, but I cannot in good conscience say that she cumulatively danced better than everyone else tonight, and deserved the scores she got. I think both of her other 29-scoring performances (her waltz and Argentine tango), were far superior to this samba. But apparently she needed shielding from the bottom two, and based on the spread I’m seeing, I think the judges succeeded in doing just that.

2.) Jaleel & Kym – Ok, I’ve gotta hand it to Jaleel – after a few kinda “off” weeks, I think he really redeemed himself this week – that cha-cha was high-energy, on-point, and entertaining. But 29-worthy??? Ai ai ai…these judges were trying to give me a coronary, I swear. It was the strongest performance of the night for me, but I don’t think I would have given it more than a 28, tops – still a little bit of wobbling & “happy feet” going on here and there, and I feel like he still kinda looks to Kym to give him a visual cue of what to do from time to time. As for the dance marathon – he & Kym seemed to be doing the same lift every time the camera panned to them, so based on that, I guess they did pretty good…but see, that’s the thing about the marathon that I absolutely HATE: the production staff is controlling what we get to see, so for all we know, Jaleel may have been killing it out there, while Katherine was just kicking it in the proverbial shins…but because the camera footage we saw was so limited, TPTB can claim plausible deniability, and say that Katherine was really the better dancer based on the entirety of her performance in the marathon. But of course, it’s an entirety we’ll never see, and we just have to trust that the judges made the right decision. Well I, for one, do not trust the judges :-) But alas, I can’t really say for sure whether or not Jaleel did fantastic in the marathon – but he did look like he was having a good time, and I thought what he & Kym were doing was at least more inspired than what Willy Boy & Cheryl were doing. So where does that leave Jaleel this week? Likely far from the bottom 2 or 3, given the spread, and the likely boost in votes he’ll get from being in the bottom 2 last week.

3.) William & Cheryl – I’ve gotten to the point with these two where I don’t even want to say anything about them anymore, because I feel like I’m just repeating the same stuff over and over again, and there are still some Kool-Aid drinking wackos that refuse to believe any of it…but I do think I saw a glimmer of hope this week, because at least 2 of the judges seemed to be a bit more critical of these two this week. Yes, I will say that William had some pretty good hip action in his rumba – but once again, he barely moved out of place, and once again, Cheryl danced around him. Let me be clear: a dance where the man barely moves out of a 2-foot radius for the bulk of the dance is not something I can truly label as “good”. Yes, he was “there” for her, but beyond that, I don’t feel like he really did much. And I agree with Len – it got a little too raunchy. Hell, it’s been too raunchy for awhile now – I’m tired of the flash and trash and I want to see William truly DANCE. Want me to believe that he’s a legitmately good dancer who deserves such ridiculously high scores week after week? Then challenge Cheryl to not get all breathy in William’s face or rub herself all over him like a cat on a scratching post, and make her really TEACH him. As for the marathon? Pffft. Since when is sliding around on the floor with your shirt open “Motown”? Or even particularly creative? Once again…flash & trash. But he’s sufficiently shielded from the bottom 2 once again, so he lives to dance another week. But I daresay it won’t be a cakewalk to the finale for him…more on that later this week ;-)

4.) Donald & Peta – I doubt these two are in any big danger of going home this week (Donald’s just too damn lovable, and a good dancer!), but amidst all the “ado” surrounding Katherine, William, & Jaleel, I feel like Donald actually got a bit lost in the shuffle. His foxtrot was fun, clean, and entertaining, but maybe lacked a bit of the panache that made Katherine & Jaleel such standouts (and the fakey-fake hype that keeps William in the forefront). As for the marathon, I kinda had the same problem with Donald that I did with Jaleel – I just didn’t see much of him to judge on, and the parts I did see looked like the same sequence of steps repeated from his cha-cha. And I can’t really blame any of the pros for recycling choreo from their stars’ previous cha-chas…there was just too much going on this week, and there shouldn’t have been a marathon dance to begin with. So consequently, I think I was left just kinda content with Donald this week, rather than blown out of the water. Hope he gets a good dance next week, so he can slide back into the top spot…

5.) Melissa & Maks – I gotta say – Melissa actually really impressed me this week. This was the most relaxed I’ve ever seen her out on the floor, and as a result, I think her performance value & technique really improved. Very pretty, pleasant Viennese waltz. Did it blow me away? No, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. In the marathon? Once again, I’m limited by what they decided to show us, and while Melissa looked like she was having a lot of fun and really trying, I did catch a few moments where she & Maks looked like they were stalling for a second before busting their next move. As I said before, I like marathon dancers who are constantly moving, so based on that, I think these two should have gone out at least before Roshon, who I never saw stop moving. So where does that leave Melissa for tomorrow? Well she has yet to be in the bottom 2, while there are folks left who have been there before; and this week, she has a bit more of a points cushion than she’s had in previous weeks. While I do think she’ll be in the bottom 2 sooner rather than later (unless she suddenly starts getting 10’s), I think she’s safe this week, based on those below her.

6.) Maria & Derek – Like Donald & Peta, I think these two may have gotten a little lost in the shuffle this week, too, but unlike Donald & Peta, I’m a little nervous for these two. First off, I have to say – I think they got dealt a bit of a crap hand when they were the only couple that got Martha as their music. Now while I love Martha, I can’t lie – it was downright PAINFUL listening to her sing this week. Her voice is just not what it used to be, and she seemed to be really struggling tonight. Consequently, I actually think Maria & Derek could have been legitimately distracted when trying to dance to “Jimmy Mack” – hell, I know I was! At one point, when they were doing their choreography on the stairs and got a bit out of synch, it actually looked like Martha caught them off-guard…like they weren’t planning on her being that close, and consequently had to adjust their spacing to accomodate it. Aside from the minor synchronization snafu and just the overall poor quality of their music, I actually really liked their foxtrot – just a fun, pleasant walk in the park :-) Now as for the marathon…hmmmm. I actually have to agree with them being tapped out 2nd – Maria looked like she was dancing pretty cautiously, and they seemed to be doing the same sequence of cha-cha steps in hold over and over again. I haven’t done a very good job of keeping up with Twitter or any of the interviews Vogue has posted in the past few days (*guilty face*) due to my ongoing internet issues, but I guess Maria is still injured/sick? Which I guess could explain why she was so tentative in the marathon dance. Can’t say I blame her, if that was the case. But here’s the pickle they’re in: they’re currently wedged between the lowest scorer (Gladys) and the only previous appearance in the bottom 2 that is likely to show up there again this week (Roshon), and there’s a possible double elim this week – so if they eliminate the lowest combined scorer and make the next two couples duel, I think there’s a decent chance they could end up in the duel…unless they manage to overtake Melissa & Maks, the next couple up from Roshon. And I think it’s possible they could overtake Melissa & Maks…but it will depend on whose fanbase is more passionate. Both Derek & Maks have power voters, and as a tv host, Maria might appeal to the same demographic as Melissa – it could be a pretty even match. But my gut tells me that Melissa is likely gonna edge Maria out this week, and Maria will (dramatically, of course!) fall into the duel…after one kinda off-week. But I think she’ll ultimately be safe…

7.) Roshon & Chelsie – Ok, I give up: what exactly do the judges have against Roshon??? This poor kid got raked across the coals tonight for a rumba that I didn’t think was all that bad – on the contrary, I actually was really impressed with both his hip action and the gorgeous way he extended his arms. By far the strongest rumba of the night, even if there were “too many syncopations” (sorry, but I can’t blame Chelsie for throwing a lot of them in – that song was sooooo slow and boring). Underscored by at least 2 points, IMO…he should have gotten an 8 from Carrie Ann and a 9 from Bruno, based on their comments. Now the marathon – ugh. This guy was movin’ & shakin’ and busting all sorts of Motown moves while other couples seemed to just kinda muddle through – yet he still is the 3rd person tapped out. What gives??? Were they docking him because they weren’t doing lifts? Psssh…the fact that the got tapped out so quickly just further illustrates for me that the judges want him gone. And lord knows why, because I do think this kid can legitimately dance. But alas, I think the scoring probably did Team Rochee in this week – while he did manage to get a greater margin of votes last week to stay out of the bottom 2, I think he was bolstered by his appearance in the bottom 2 in the previous week (and Jaleel’s missteps the previous few weeks…), and likely won’t have that same boost this week to keep him safe. However, he’s still got an okayish margin over Gladys, but I think she’s got a decent amount of voters behind her, so I can’t really state with confidence which one will go straight home and which will end up in the duel – and once again, that is only if there is a double elim tomorrow night, and it plays out similarly to the double elim in season 9. I’ve waffled back & forth since the show ended about 2 hours ago, but I ultimately think Roshon will end up in the duel – and if it’s against Maria, it could be pretty close on who gets saved…as in 2 judges for one couple and one dissenting judge. But I just get the feeling that the judges are kinda done with Roshon, so it will ultimately be the other couple (probably Maria) that gets the stay of execution while Roshon is sent packing. Sad face :-(

8.) Gladys & Tristan – Gladys was just so stinkin’ cute tonight :-) She may not have had the strongest dance, and she may have forgotten a good chunk of her choreography…but she just looked like she was having so much fun, and was giving it an honest try. It was a very cute, very “Motown-appropriate” rumba – loved the little nods and “Pip skills” Tristan threw in. Marathon? Meh…I guess I can’t say I was too surprised she got tapped out first, as I think she’s the weakest dancer left in terms of physical limitations. Poor Gladys just can’t move at 67 the same way most of the other contestants move in their 20’s, 30’s, & 40’s – but man, she’s impressed the hell out of me, the way she’s come out every week and given each dancer her all, and done it with a smile. I think she’ll definitely be leaving on a high note, and will be a contestant I won’t soon forget :-)

*sigh* So waffling back & forth and some internet issues nothwithstanding, I think I’m going to lock my predicitions in as Gladys going straight home, and Roshon getting beat by Maria in the dance duel. But if it happens to be Melissa in the duel with Roshon? He may get a stay of execution. And if Roshon (and/or Gladys) manages to avoid the bottom 2 altogether? All bets are off :-P So what do you guys think?

April 23, 2012 I Written By

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