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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!

DWTS 14 Week 5 Power Rankings

*yawn* Yeah, all in all, that’s kinda how I felt about Latin night – even with all of the hoopla surrounding some of the couples.  We were on tacky prop overload tonight, and it seemed like a lot of the couples resorted to gimmicks and fluff that, quite frankly, I don’t think they needed.  Seemed like there was an obvious attempt by the judges to shield some dancers from the duel, and to throw some dancers headlong into it.  Should be interesting to see if things shake out like they intend them to…

1.) William & Cheryl – These two are not in the #1 spot because they’re “that good” – they’re here because the level of blatant favoritism they’ve achieved has hit an all-time high level of absurdity.  Ankle injury? I’m beginning to think it was a complete fabrication, as they seemed to only quickly gloss over the legitimate details of it, and I didn’t see La Levy wincing in pain (a la JR during HIS Argentine tango last season) or moving any more limply than he usually does.  And speaking of a flaccid tango – guess they really gave those 29 points to Cheryl, who didn’t fail to deliver a tango that was 90% her dancing dramatically around her partner like a damn maypole (or stripper pole…) and 10% her partner actually…well, moving at all.  Seriously, I dare you all – go back and watch that tango in slow mo, and count how many steps Cheryl takes, and how many William takes.  I’m willing to bet the ratio is AT LEAST 2:1.  To give a 29 to a tango where the man barely moves, and the stunts are pretty bland? That’s a damn insult to people who actually deserved their score more, like Katherine.  Was William bad? No, but I can’t really say he was good, either, considering he barely moved. So I guess my congrats go to the judges, who have backslid into blind worship of “the hottest piece of ass the show has ever had”.  Makes me sick just typing it… Read more..

April 16, 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 4 Power Rankings

After tonight, I’m kinda left thinking that “Rock Week” should have been abandoned after the disaster that was “Rock Week” in season 11.  There were a few standouts that I thoroughly enjoyed, but for the most part, the performances ranged from “meh” to just painful to watch…and I have to say, I think rock music is a bit of a punishment for these couples.  Why? Because rock music seems to embody all that is raw & wild – and yet, they have to do these dances with such control & precision.  Of course some of them are going to lose some performance quality – they’re going to look like they’re in slo-mo compared to the music!

One positive to come out of tonight, though: the judges seemed to finally start cracking down and scoring seriously.  Still a bit of overscoring going on, but I think they’ve finally taken off the rose (or vagina) colored glasses and started seeing some of the couples’ weaknesses.  Let’s hope it works to eliminate the couples in a fair fashion!

1.) Donald & Peta - And in week 4, we finally get to see the potential this couple developed in weeks 1-3 really pay off :-D I could not stop smiling during Donald’s paso, which was the best of the night for me - you could tell he was having the time of his life out there, and his energy was electric.  Loved all the “rock” faces he was pulling – Jimmy Hendrix would be so proud! And in reality, his technique wasn’t too shabby either – paso really seemed to suit him, being the “hunky dunky” football player that he is ;-) And that crazy spin Donald threw Peta into at the end???!!! BRILLIANT.  I think this week just may have taken Donald from “dark horse” to “force to be reckoned with”.  I think this couple is doing everything right – they’re working hard, steadily improving, and maintaining a great chemistry that makes them really likeable.  Plus, I think Carrie Ann has a new crush now – and we know that can’t hurt.

2.) Maria & Derek – Broken foot? Psssh…just spray some Windex on it and walk it off.  That’s the Maria philosophy, and man – if that’s how she does a tango with a broken foot (and some healing ribs), then GIVE ME MORE, dammit! I definitely think Maria had the best tango of the night – clean & controlled, but still with enough impact to fit the song well and put on an entertaining performance.  I just get mesmerized watching the way she moves her torso – she just gets such a nice stretch through her upper body, and those arms just look GORGEOUS.  I know everyone talks about how Katherine’s posture is so awesome, but Maria’s definitely giving her a run for her money.

3.) Katherine & Mark – I think we all knew that Katherine would eventually have an off-week, and this may have been it – I had a hard time believing that our graceful, gorgeous English rose would channel the aggression necessary to really attack this paso head-on.  But I had an interesting problem with her paso, that I didn’t really expect: I actually thought she was better OUT of hold this week, even though many of us have gushed over how great she is IN hold.  It was strange – every time she let go of Mark, the attitude and the sassiness seemed to come out, and I really believed her aggression…loved the stalking walks and cape work with her skirt.  But then she’d reach out and go back into hold with Mark, and seemed to lose a little bit of the magic…plus she seemed to fumble a bit more than usual when Mark brought her in and out of turns.  But for having an “off week”, this was still a pretty damn good paso – never missed steps, and did them all with conviction.  I just hope Mark gives her the chance to really shine on her own in the future, because she did seem to really enjoy her solo work.

4.) Roshon & Chelsie – Truth be told, I started to freak out a bit tonight by how much I found myself agreeing with Carrie Ann – and I agree with her wholeheartedly that Roshon is the best male dancer (in terms of technique!) this season.  I don’t think he’s quite mastered the same athleticism Donald dances with, or the charisma that Jaleel dances with, but I think he’s mastered the technique better than any of the other guys.  And his greatest asset may also be his greatest downfall: his flexibility.  I love how he manages to extend his arms and really move his legs with ease – but I do notice that sometimes he moves a little too fast and somehow gets his feet kinda tangled up, and there’s a bit of a hiccup when he tries to straighten them out.  But man, this kid is impressing me – I think he had the hardest dance to contend with, given that it was Rock week.  What the heck was he supposed to do with such a graceful, flowing dance when everyone else is stomping and kicking around in pasos, tangos, and jives? Granted, the song they gave him was BARELY a rock song (I’m of the opinion that, if you came from American Idol and your name is not Chris Daughtry, you are NOT a rock artist), but I feel like he really attacked the dance head on and gave quite a valiant effort – and the result was lovely.  Now here’s the problem: I have absolutely NO IDEA how he’s doing in terms of votes.  All we know for sure is that he hasn’t been in the bottom 2 so far, and he’s been getting good-ish scores…but is he getting the votes, too? I’m gonna guess that the points spread will keep him safe this week, but I think he’s still gotta appeal to the middle-aged female demographic in order to stick around for awhile. Read more..

April 9, 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 3 Power Rankings

Well thanks to the majority of tonight’s performances, I now have red, puffy eyes and a runny nose – and no, the show did not give me a rhinovirus :-) Even though I tell myself I’m not going to, I still get verklempt each season when personal story week rolls around, and end up a big, blubbering blob of hormones that is willing to overlook some pretty glaring technique errors and overall mediocrity & lack of content :-P

Tonight, however, I refuse to overlook to continual over/underscoring and favoritism by the judges, and what I felt to be a rather contrived display of emotion on one individual’s part.  Shall we get to it? :-)

1.) Katherine & Mark – I always find myself without a whole lot of notes on these two.  What more can I say, other than that she’s beautiful, a great dancer, and an overall likeable person? :-) Thought Katherine danced a lovely waltz, and it’s becoming clear to me that the ballroom dances are really going to be her forte, and perhaps the rumba as well – any dance where she can really show off that posture and those gorgeous arms.  Was there a lot of actual waltz steps in this one? Well, no, but on the whole, I don’t think anyone had a TON of real content and syllabus steps in their routines tonight…so I guess I really can’t fault anyone too much for that.  With the points spread being relatively close tonight, I can’t say for sure that ANYONE is truly safe…but I think Katherine is probably safe this week.  I think she is growing her fanbase, and seems to have kept Mark relatively calm this season.  I enjoy watching these two dance :-)

2.) Donald & Peta – I don’t think they had the best routine of the night (or even the best rumba), but man – Donald is endearing himself to pretty much EVERYONE, myself included :-) I don’t think I’ve heard a single unkind word about the guy from any of the regulars here, and the fact that he has managed to go from dancing 3rd, to dancing 10th, to getting the pimp spot in 3 weeks tells me that he is proving to be a force to be reckoned with - he’s probably pulling in quite a few votes.  And I do see him improving each week – I love that he devotes himself 100% to his performance each week, and is a joy to watch, but the guy is legitimately improving as well…his arms, legs, hips, and posture have all gotten noticeably better with each week.  And I think if last season was any indicator, we shouldn’t underestimate the ones that slowly & steadily improve each week, as they’re the ones that could sneak into the finale out of nowhere…I think I’ve finally decided that he is indeed our dark horse this season :-) Watch out, Katherine, William, Jaleel, & Maria!

3.) William & Cheryl – Grrrr….I can’t believe we’re in week 3 and the over-the-top tongue bathing is still going! This was an ok-to-moderate salsa – I wouldn’t say it was stellar and I wouldn’t say it was bad, either.  But a 28??? C’mon, one point less than the top scorer, who did one of the best waltzes I’ve seen on the show to date???! I don’t get it…I just don’t get it.  William doesn’t miss steps, and he stays on time; but I also feel like he never truly gets into the dance, and always dances so apprehensively, like he’s afraid he might hurt himself.  Cheryl needs to take time out from her busy schedule of designing atrocious costumes from herself and actually bring him out of his shell a bit more, and work on his range of motion.  Luckily for them (and not so luckily for us), I don’t think they’re going anywhere anytime soon, with all the judges blindly worshipping his every step.  Ai ai ai. Read more..

April 2, 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 2 Power Rankings

First, a warning: I kinda phoned it in on these rankings.  For those of you not watching the drama of “U-Versegate” unfold on my Twitter, my tv & internet inexplicably crapped out right after Melissa & Maks danced – completely missed Jack & Gladys, & only saw part of Katherine before reader Nathan graciously sent me a link to an internet feed, which I could access at that point because my internet was back up.  Long story short – I read the U-Verse customer service rep the riot act, and I have a tech coming out tomorrow morning to figure out the problem, but at this point I’m just kinda ready to be done with tonight.  But a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone (jimmbboe, Will, Maria, @Team_MGMC, and of course Heidi!) who tracked down videos of the performances I missed – I don’t know what I would have done without you :-D

Well, overall, tonight kinda sucked ass :-P Wish I had a better way to put it, but there were very few moments that delighted me, and many that made me wish my internet had stayed disconnected.  Both ridiculous over & underscoring going on, and some blatant pimping & shady business going on involving a certain couple…oh, and by the way, if you’re a William & Cheryl fan that isn’t mature enough to handle differing opinions, do us both a favor and skip this post.  The “hold for moderation” list here at Pure is becoming more competitive than the VIP roster at Tao in Vegas – seems like some folks are just DYING to get on it ;-)

1/2.) TIE: Katherine & Mark and William & Cheryl – I think one of these couples deserves to be in the top spot; the other does not.  I shouldn’t have to tell you which is which :-) I do think Katherine has been the most consistent of the past two weeks, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well she’s done – I was definitely worried about tonight, thinking that she would be stuck being the reserved English rose that couldn’t let loose in the jive.  But she brought her A-game – and she not only looked like she was having fun, but she had the best jive technique of the night.  Very energetic, sharp, & clean.  And she actually did jive choreo, which is more than I can say for some of the couples doing jive tonight…ahem.  I thought she looked gorgeous, too – like a young Twiggy :-) As for the other couple that I have in the lead – the only reason I have them here is because TPTB and the judges seem bound & determined to jam him down our throats as the hottest dancer this season at every turn, and some folks seem to be buying into the hype.  I am not one of them – I thought his posture in his quickstep was atrocious (he was hunched over for most of it!), and he did loose his timing & footwork a few times…yet miraculously, no one seemed to point it out.  Hmmm.  And the guy still looks terrified to me when he’s dancing – like he’s afraid he might poop his pants. Once again, I reiterate – I’m sure William is a really nice guy.  But all of this shameless promotion of him I’m seeing from TPTB, the judges, and even his partner (who I’ve lost some respect for) just turns me off completely.  After the 3-ring publicity circus of the past 2 weeks, I would not even consider tossing a single vote in their direction this season.  But hey, that’s ok, since they seem to be bogarting Maria & Derek’s votes now…and yes, I’m totally calling shenanigans on that one.  Anywho…based on scores (and some creative promotion), I think these two ought to be safe from tomorrow’s elimination.

3/4.) TIE: Maria & Derek and Jaleel & Kym – I’m gonna apologize in advance for multiple ties – but the scoring of these past 2 weeks just has me all discombulated and unsure of what to think 8O I’m still in disbelief that the judges honestly thought William & Cheryl’s quickstep was as good as Maria & Derek’s, which I found to be a bright spot in a dismal evening of routines.  It was fun, it was clean, and Maria is starting to relax – and when you take into account that Maria actually hurt herself pretty bad, I think it’s even more impressive that she was able to pull off such an entertaining routine.  I found her technique to be at least a point or 2 better than slouchy William.  As for Jaleel – I feel bad for the guy, because I feel like they got shafted worst of all by their song tonight.  That was one sh*tty jive song – can you blame them for looking a bit lackluster and low-energy when they have to dance a silly dance to a song that’s probably better suited to a rumba or waltz? I honestly wouldn’t have known what to do if tasked with doing jive to a song like that.  So while I think it wasn’t as impressive as his foxtrot last week, I honestly can’t fault him (or Kym, for that matter) for doing a bit of a lackluster routine.  Scoring-wise, I think they *should* be ok – but the spread is really funky this week.  I suggest everyone keep their eyes peeled for Heidi’s numbers post tomorrow…it should be…interesting. Read more..

March 26, 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 1 Power Rankings

Ummm, ok – so that was the most lovey-dovey first week of competition I’ve ever seen :-P And while that may seem like a good thing on the surface, keep in mind that the max score that they can give is a 30/30…and they already got disturbingly close to that tonight.  Food for thought.

That said, I have to admit – I don’t think anyone really and truly sucked tonight.  Not everyone was perfect, and there was some definite overscoring going on across the board, but overall, a very impressive effort from everyone.  And they all seem to love each other so freakin’ much :-D Should be interesting to see how things shake out next week!

1.) Jaleel & Kym – No big surprises here – Jaleel could possibly be the most natural mover I’ve ever seen on the show.  Everything he did just oozed with ease – the way he was getting in and out of hold, and transitioning through steps? SUBLIME.  And how he managed to still play to the crowd the whole time??? And stay connected to Kym???! Loved it…loved it…loved it.  But there’s still room for improvement – he seemed a tiny bit rushed at times (a problem a few male celebs seemed to have tonight), and while he never actually got off-time…he came close.  I’ll chalk it up to first week jitters this time, but I do think it’s something he’s going to have to watch in the future.  Overall, I’m very excited about what these two have to offer us this season :-)

NOTE: From here through 10th place, I’m pretty wishy-washy…not confident in my rankings AT ALL.  Be kind ;-)

2.) Gladys & Tristan – No, I absolutely do not think they were the 2nd best dancers of the night, but man – Gladys did about the most adorable cha-cha I think I’ve ever seen on the show :-P The gal can move well…and not just well for a 67-year-old.  She and Tristan both looked like they were having a ton of fun out there, and I was impressed at how well Gladys kept up with Tristan, especially on the open work.   She got a bit wobbly at times, and there were a few moments where I thought her arms and feet got a little wishy-washy, but this was far more than I was expecting out of our lil Empress of Soul! A word of caution to Tristan & Gladys fans, though: you ought to be ok this week, but be prepared to vote your fingers off in the coming weeks.  The “adorable sentimental favorite” factor will likely carry her through next week just fine, but there will come a time when the luster will have worn off the rose and she will either need to start scoring big or getting hoards of votes.  Chaz from last season comes to mind – everyone thought he was so “cute” and “unexpected” after week 1 last season…and then week 2 rolled around and he crashed & burned.  Just a warning ;-) On a side note – LOVED seeing all 3 Pips in the audience, clapping as hard as they possibly could for Gladys.  So sweet. :-) Read more..

March 19, 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 Preliminary Power Rankings, Part II

 Alright kids – so on Tuesday, I counted down my picks for the bottom half of this season, and heard some great feedback from you guys.  Now onto the top half…and my prediction for the winner! :-)

6.) Sherri & Val – Let me remind you guys that these rankings are certainly NOT a ranking of who is and isn’t my favorite, and really just who I think has staying power and who doesn’t.  That said, Sherri gets on my last nerve – and I know I’m not alone.  That right there could be her biggest obstacle this season: just completely turning people off with her loud, in-you-face personality.  I noticed many of you commented that you either put Sherri’s media clips on mute or didn’t watch them at all because Sherri was so annoying – can you imagine if that’s what she’s going to be like every week on DWTS? 8O If she manages to not turn off the viewing audience, she has a big advantage in that she gets more media exposure on a daily basis than any of the other cast members this season – she’s on a popular morning show on a major network.  And what demographic do you think that morning show really caters to? The same middle-aged female demographic that does the bulk of the viewing of DWTS.  Even if she can’t blatantly promote herself on The View for votes on DWTS, just the fact that she’s got daily exposure will keep her fresh in people’s minds.  She also seems to have had some…ahem…”preparation” prior to the start of this season.  She’s definitely moving better than the average celeb with 3 weeks of training already.  Will it really give her an edge in the long run? Probably not a huge one, as I’ve always been of the opinion that a naturally-talented dancer (like Jaleel or Roshon) will always have an easier time picking up dance moves & choreography than a better-prepared celeb that’s not so much of a natural mover. As for her pro – I think the jury’s still out on Val.  I don’t think we really got a good idea of what he’s capable of last season, so I think this time around will be the real test.  There’s also the potential vote splitting in play – that’s another factor that I’m not sure we got to see play out last season.  If both Val & Maks’ partners stick around for awhile, will vote splitting come into play? Could be an interesting variable in the competition.

5.) Donald & Peta – Seeing what I have of Donald in interviews & rehearsals so far, I daresay he might be the most determined celeb this season – he’s talking about reviewing rehearsal tapes, special diets, marathon practice sessions, the works! But the very thing that gives him an edge could also be his downfall: being overly determined.  As paradoxical as it sounds, being too determined can almost be as detrimental as not caring at all – I’ve found that couples who are desperate to win often reach a point where they put too much pressure on themselves and flame out…a good example is Aaron Carter.  Remember the post-rumba meltdown in the confessional? Too much pressure on yourself, dude. I think they can also turn viewers off, too – the stench of desperation is not a pleasant one, and viewers can totally tell when a celeb has stopped having fun and just entered the “wayyyyy too competitive” territory.  However, if he can strike a nice balance between being determined and also just enjoying himself, I think he could be a big force to be reckoned with – of the 3 other NFL players who did the show while they were currently playing for a team, the lowest any of them have placed is 4th.  Perhaps because they’re still in peak physical form? Athleticism has obviously proven to be a huge asset.  Then there’s the famous NFL fanbase – and in this case, he’s got a very unique one backing him: the “cheeseheads”, or Green Bay Packers fans.  A lot of people don’t know this, but the Packers are the only team in the NFL that is non-profit and publicly-owned – meaning that there isn’t some wealthy individual or corporate entity that claims ownership of the team.  As a result, the Packers have remained a very “small town”-type team, with a surprisingly large legion of fiercly loyal fans.  I’ve witnessed it firsthand, as many of the people in my office are originally from Wisconsin and the big talk of Donald waltzing away with the trophy began mere hours after the cast announcement (I actually have an official wager going with our GM…maybe I’ll go into further detail in another post ;-)).  In short – these are some WICKEDLY DEVOTED fans.  I would even say they could give the Steeler Nation a run for their money.  I’m definitely fascinated to see how it plays out :-) As for Peta…she, like Val, isn’t truly battle-tested, so we may finally get to see what she’s made of this season.  If Donald could strike the right balance of competitiveness & fun, if the cheeseheads can put together an efficient voting effort, and if Peta can create some great routines…these two could be a bit of a dark horse to win. Read more..

March 16, 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 14 Preliminary Power Rankings, Part I

It’s that time again, kids – time for my seasonal preliminary power rankings! For those of you unfamiliar, I do these after each performance show, and it’s basically a measure of how likely a couple is to stay vs. how likely they are to get sent home a particular week – the #1 spot is saved for the couple I think is the safest, and the bottom spot is who I’m predicting to get sent home.  Keep in mind that it is NOT simply a ranking based on scores – how boring would that be? For my rankings, I tend to take into account fanbase, scores, memorability, running order, demographics, the whole shebang.  And for this edition, I’m simply relying on what I know and have seen of the couples thus far – so here’s who I think will be the first to go, all the way up to who I think will make it to the middle of the season.  Enjoy!

12.) Katherine & Mark – I went back and forth over who I thought would be the first to go, but I think that ultimately, these two probably have the greatest hurdles to overcome in order to stick around and I’m not sure they’ve got the juice to do it.  There’s been painfully little media on these two – only the occasional candid tourist shot in London, and no official promo interviews.  The little rehearsal footage we’ve seen hasn’t really told us much, other than the fact that Katherine is probably decent but not fantastic.  And worst of all – Katherine is coming into this competition as a relative unknown, surrounded by quite a few sentimental favorites & big personalities who may be fanbase ringers. If there’s anyone that really & truly needs to be making a big splash right now, it’s Katherine – and we’ve seen next to nothing from her.  As for dance skills, she has the potential to be quite good, given what little concert & rehearsal footage I’ve seen of her.  She does have a natural rhythm, and she’s not terrible to look at – but keep in mind that dance skills really don’t mean sh*t if people aren’t motivated to vote for her.  She has Mark, which I would say is more of an advantage than a disadvantage, given his skill & popularity; however, even Mark is not immune to the dreaded early elimination, as we’ve seen with Kim, Shannen, & Kristin.  Could she blow us all away & have some staying power? Possibly, but she’s got a LOT of catching up to do in order to have a shot at keeping up with juggernauts like Jaleel, Melissa, Sherri, Maria, and Gladys.  And at this point – I’m afraid any exposure she’s gonna get is gonna be too little, too late :-(

11.) Gavin & Karina – I may be seeing things, but I had a bad feeling about this couple from the first time I saw them interact during the cast announcement – it seemed like a very strained, awkward encounter, and it made me seriously question if they were truly a well-matched couple.  Then I heard that Gavin was still going to be touring while doing the show, and I became even more skeptical. Then finally, I saw a video of them rehearsing – and now I’m pretty convinced that they aren’t going to last long.  The biggest issue I see here is commitment – I get the feeling Gavin is really only doing the show to promote his new album, and his true commitment lies not with the show itself, but his tour.  It’s very much like Michael Bolton all over again, for me – a currently touring musician who does a short stint on the show as a bit of self-promotion.  Don’t get me wrong, Gavin seems like a nice guy & all – I just don’t think his heart or his head are 100% in the game.  And with all the “squeezing in” they’ve had to do with their practice time, I’m not sure he’s going to have the skills to improve upon what I consider to be a pretty weak dance background.  Then, of course, you’ve got all the celebs this season who are likely quite a bit more popular than he is – a singer who was arguably more successful & well-known 5 years ago than he is now, vs. a soul legend, an iconic tv character, a well-established actress, and a talk show host with a big mouth? He’s either going to have to be a fabulous dancer from the get-go, or ridiculously charming, or both – because he’s up against some stiff competition for votes.

10.) Martina & Tony – Ok, I know a lot of you have been saying “Oooh, Martina’s gonna be so fierce this season! She was fierce on the tennis court!”, but I’m not quite sold on the idea that her talent on the court is going to translate seamlessly into success on DWTS.  A great work ethic is always an asset, but I think Martina is going to struggle quite a bit with the performance aspect of the show – in the few videos I’ve seen of her, she has an almost “zen” quality to her: very calm, collected, resolute, and confident.  But calm, collected, resolute, and confident are not exactly what you need when you’re doing the jive and should generally be acting like a cartoon character :-) And while I do praise her focus and “zen-ness”, the fact that Tony has a track record of having partners that tend to blend into the woodwork is a bit worrisome – if Martina doesn’t come out with both great & memorable dancing, I think she could be gone quicker than we expect.  I also wonder if she might be splitting votes with someone like Jaleel or Melissa, who were at the height of their fame at roughly the same time Martina was.  It seems like it could be a battle of the pop culture icons.  I think she has the potential to be a pretty good dancer, but a lot of it will hinge upon the choreography she’s given…and the impact she makes.. Read more..

March 13, 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!

DWTS13 Finale Week Power Rankings – Who Will Win?

Gotta say – going into tonight, I couldn’t recall a time I was THIS EXCITED to see a finale since maybe season 10.  Nor have I ever felt this invested in the outcome of a season of the show as I am in this one…seriously guys, I might lose my faith in humanity if JR does not win.  Fair warning. ;-)

Anywho – as much as I hoped this would be a good, clean, honest finale, there unfortunately seemed to be some shady business afoot.  DEFINITE overscoring, and I think you all know who I’m referring to.  Overall, the “last unlearned dance” round was pretty underwhelming & lackluster, and the freestyle round only slightly made up for it for me.  But let’s get on with it, shall we? Gonna do things a little differently tonight – I’m gonna start with 3rd place and work my way up to the winner, and I’m going to try to guesstimate how things are going to pan out tomorrow night.

3rd place: Rob & Cheryl

As much as Rob may have endeared himself to me this season, methinks he wasn’t as good as his scores would lead us to believe this evening.  The waltz was pleasant – if not a bit goofy.  That whole “run towards one another and I’ll run around Cheryl as she spins” move made me chuckle a bit…my mom busted out laughing, and said “It looks like he’s going around the Maypole!” And I had to laugh too – because that’s exactly what it looked like.  :-P Some footwork & timing issues as well, but overall I wouldn’t say it was painful to watch…just…goofy. :-) Now the freestyle.  *sigh* I liked the idea of it, I really did.  And I thought it was smart of Cheryl to go with something that seemed to play on Rob’s strengths.  But that was by no means a 30-worthy routine.  Seemed like Cheryl did most of the tough stuff (it was like Gilles’ freestyle all over again), and it just took too long to really go anywhere.  Rob did the best he could with what he was given – little imp.  Got a bit scared when he was spinning around with Cheryl on his shoulders, though – thought I was gonna have to use my physics minor to calculate tangential velocity as she flew across the room.  I think Rob really likes going around in circles, hehe. Cute idea &  choreography – but it was just lacking in content for me, and I don’t think I’m completely alone.  So why, then, did the judges give it a 30? *shrugs* Who knows.  Part of me thinks they might be trying to shake up the top 2 by displacing Ricki or JR; part of me thinks this could have been a strange strategy for spurring Ricki & JR fans to vote even harder.  I honestly can’t give you a theory that’s 100% sound or reasonable.  But I am gonna put my faith in humanity (god help me) and say that Rob will probably get 3rd in the favorite dance round tomorrow, and won’t get the points to overcome JR or Ricki.  But it’s been nice seeing Rob evolve from kind of a douchebaggy guy to a goofy but kinda lovable guy that managed to emerge from the shadow of his harpies-er, sisters. ;-) Read more..

November 21, 2011 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!