Hey All! A new Chat with Emma Slater is taking place tomorrow, July 24, at 4pm EST. During the event, Emma will be answering fan questions, and talking about the upcoming season of Dancing With The Stars. If you’d like to participate, tune in to this link at Wizeo. Thanks to John for sending.
The professional dancers might be starting their negotiations (or have already according to some speculation on twitter) for Dancing With The Stars Season 19. Back in June, you made your Pro Wish List, but, I thought it might be fun to do them again just in case you’ve changed your mind some (like I have). So, with that said and the new season approaching soon, what are your last minute pro wishes for Dancing With the Stars Season 19? Pick only 12 (6 males and 6 females). You can name some alternatives if you like too. Let us know in comments!
Here is my last minute Pro Wish List:
Females: Sharna Burgess, Karina Smirnoff, Elena Samodanova, Cheryl Burke, Witney Carson, Peta Murgatroyd
Males: Derek Hough, Gleb Savchenko, Mark Ballas, Val Chmerkovksiy, Armen Way, Henry Byalikov
Alternates: Nika Kljun and Allison Holker. I love Tristan MacManus too, but, I know he can’t dance in the US version of Dancing With the Stars because he will be dancing in the UK instead this season.
So you’ve seen the results for the best guest judge voting – now onto the results for the crappiest song of the season!!!
“All of Me” by John Legend (Meryl’s foxtrot) – 2
“Girl” by Pharrell (Amy & Mark’s salsa) – 1
“Can’t Remember to Forget You” by Shakira feat. Rihanna (Nene’s Argentine tango) – 1
“Dare You” by Hardwell (Amy’s freestyle) – 1
“Islands in the Stream” by Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers (James’ rumba) – 1
Votes omitted due to failure to follow the format – 2
Courtney: The two songs I thought would garner the most votes, did – and while “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” probably didn’t do Charlie any favors…it actually started to grow on me after a second viewing Maybe it was just the enthusiasm with which he attacked it, but he made the most of a crummy song. The same cannot be said for “I Luh Ya Papi” – which the two couples dancing to clearly disliked as much as we did. It drives me nuts when J. Lo does songs like these – they just make her sound downright unintelligent, and make it seem like she’s trying to remind everyone that she’s hip and has chola street cred because she talks like this. The song is bad, no doubt – but I also don’t think Val or Maks really put their all into choreographing that duel, and thus the end result was even more lackluster. I have to roll my eyes a bit at “I Wan’na Be Like You”, because I really only added that because I saw so many Meryl fans griping about how “terrible a samba song” it was. Boo hoo, poor Princess Meryl gets saddled with one mediocre individual song the entire season – go ask Charlie how it feels to get screwed over every other week, with “Sail”, “Mo’ Money, Mo Problems”, “Wildest Moments”, etc. And James has more to gripe about with that gadawful “Gasolina” than Meryl dancing to a song from The Jungle Book. As for the write-ins? Once again hard for me to say that Meryl got screwed with her foxtrot song, because even though it wasn’t really a foxtrot, it was still one of the top 10 songs in the country at the time and the shippers (and judges) ate it right up. And anyone wanna make a bet that whoever wrote in “Dare You” was an insecure Meryl fan?
Heidi: I ain’t takin’ that bet, Courtney. Same kinda idiot who haunts Amy’s instagram to scream “Meryl and Maks!!” on every single photo that Amy posts. :::rolls eyes::: Must protect Princess Meryl at all costs!! My nickname is an inside joke…wish I could say the same for Meryl’s. But no…the pedestal is still very, very high. Meryl overcame so many obstacles on her path to victory…horrendous song choices…mean judges picking on the stellar choreography…oh, wait. ANYway, JLo was getting a lot of crap on the radio this morning for pretending to be “Jennie from the block” while staying in Manhattan. Apparently she gave 25k tickets to people in Brooklyn for her concert and half of them didn’t show up? With songs like “I luh Ya Papi” can anyone really blame them?? Yes, the song was bad (it got my vote)…but the choreographers did not help at ALL. Lord what a whimpy assed dance. The difference between “Mo Money, Mo Problems” and the “I Wan’na Be Like You” is also totally in the choreographer, IMO. Neither song is a REALLY terrible song choice (but Charlie definitely got the short end of the stick in this instance), but Sharna made the best of it while Maks couldn’t get past it. I can’t help thinking that if Derek or Mark had been handed Maks’ samba song (or JLo’s song), we would have seen some pretty creative choreography. Ah well.
Vogue: It’s so funny as when I first heard Charlie had “Sail” for a Paso Doble, I didn’t think it would work, but, it actually didn’t bother me. Give it up to Charlie and Sharna making the best of it….again as they did through out the season. Another song that just annoys me to no end anyway is “I Love Ya Pai”. I cringed through out Danica and Meryl’s Samba duel with that song. However, another song I didn’t like was “I Wanna Be Like You” for Meryl’s Samba. Awful song with a lack luster dance too. In the end, I voted for “I Wanna Be Like You” for the worst song.
What an amazingly classy guy. From TV Guide:
I had a gut feeling that Maks and Meryl were going to take it, and I said that to Amy, so we knew. Based on the packages and the tone and the way they put everything together, I had a feeling they were winning. I think everyone did. I’m so happy for them. It was well-deserved. Meryl is a beast and was so consistent all season long. I couldn’t be happier for Maks. I told Maks the night before, “I’m genuinely really happy for you and would love to see you win.” Obviously, I would be happy to see Amy win because of what she represents, but knowing Maks for such a long time and him having been part of the show for so long, truthfully, it was nice to see him experience the show it was meant to be experienced. All season, in a way, was about Maks’ journey, which was wonderful to watch. Being a friend of his and seeing that was great.
I really loved our freestyle. That was such a culmination of Amy’s story this season. When I heard the music we were going to use, it was perfect for what it stood for. It was, “I dare you to love / I dare you to cry / I dare you to run / I dare you to try / I dare you to fall / and lay on the ground / I dare you to feel / I dare you to be here now.”
That’s exactly what this entire season has been about for Amy and me: not being afraid and really going for it. I wanted that last note we hit to be positive and a challenge, and to dare people to try and see what happens. That’s what Amy’s been saying by what she’s been doing on the show. Everybody asks me, “Where do you get all your ideas?” It really comes from the music. Whatever pops into my head when I’m listening to something is how it starts. I just envisioned Amy spinning in the air, ascending and being transcendent of dance. I looked into the rope thing and I asked my friend, “Hey, is this possible?” He was like, “Yeah, it’ll take a couple weeks to teach her that.” And I was like, “Well, we have an hour.” And it’s all back muscles, which was what she was having problems with, so it was wild to see her up there. It was just incredible. And for her to let go and do it with one hand was awesome.
Well, that’s that, I guess - just go ahead and give
Maks Meryl her MBT and let’s be done with this. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a finale tip its hand as much as it did last night – it was made quite clear who they wanted to keep far away from the MBT (Candace), who they wanted to make the final two (Amy & Meryl), and who they ultimately want/need to win (Meryl & Maks…duh). I was rather disgusted that everyone (including Erin & the judges) seemed to jump on the ridiculous Meryl & Maks showmance bandwagon, but then again, I’m not at all surprised – I will forever remember season 18 as the season that DWTS decided to adopt the “tabloid sleaze” angle. It won’t be a pleasant memory.
And I know it’s not just me, as a jaded DWTS viewer/blogger, that was put off by last night’s show – the bf actually had a rare day off yesterday, after being tied up with a competition over the weekend, and he came over for dinner and decided to stay & watch the show. Those of you who follow me on Twitter got to hear some of his gems while watching the show last night – but for those who didn’t, I think this quote best sums up his feelings about the whole thing: “This is such a waste of my life right now.” He was appalled at the judging (“When did this bimbo ever do ballroom in her life???”), appalled at the teaching (he was especially taken aback by Mark forcefully moving Candace’s head during rehearsal – and he’s even friendly with Mark!), appalled at the choreography (“Why the hell is Maks doing contemporary? He’s a ballroom dancer!”), and was oddly disturbed by the fact that none of the pros seem to wear the proper footwear to teach in (“They could seriously hurt themselves…Argentine tango is not meant to be done in Nikes.”) He did seem rather impressed with one thing, though: how good Amy is, despite her disability. He didn’t even realize she was missing the entire lower portion of her leg until I explained her story – and then he was just floored.
Can’t say I’m terribly surprised that James just couldn’t make his way past Candace last night – I think he unfortunately had a bit of an unmemorable week last week, and Candace does seem to have some fervent fan support. Was left feeling rather puzzled by both of his dances last night – his tango felt a little bit chaotic & desperate (hello, kiss – guess everyone was trying to make a ploy for showmance votes last night), and his freestyle just felt…aimless. Guess we now know how Peta does with freestyles when she doesn’t have any outward assistance from other pros.
Gonna do things in reverse tonight – start with 3rd place and work up to the winner…
3rd place: Candace & Mark
I think the judges all but ensured that Candace will wind up in 3rd when the chips are down tonight – while I agree with most that she’s the weakest dancer left, I don’t think she’s as bad as some of the scores she was given last night. I guess I agree with her quickstep score – there still seemed to be a few frame and body contact issues, but really, it’s the finale – would it have killed them to give her just one 10? Or is she pulling in THAT many votes that they’re afraid she might overtake Amy or Darling Meryl? I just get the impression that Candace has been one variable that TPTB hadn’t planned on this season – she seems to have a lot more support than they thought she would, and that has led to some serious hosing over the weeks. As for her freestyle – I don’t think it was nearly as bad as being 8-worthy across the board. 9-worthy, maybe. I thought she connected well to the music and gave it a good effort - seemed like she was having fun out there. Sure, maybe she was a little clunky coming out of some of the lifts, but it didn’t detract from the performance THAT much. In the end, I’m left feeling a little torn on Candace: I feel bad for her, with some of the unnecessary hosing she’s gotten this season; but in the same token, I think she’s lucky to have gotten as far as she has, and should feel proud to be a finalist. I think she’s had great journey this season
Runner-up: Amy & Derek
If they gave the MBT to whoever overcame the greatest odds in order to end up in the finale, Amy & Derek would be a shoo-in, for sure. But unfortunately, there seems to be a different agenda at play this season, so I think the best these two can end up with is second place. Loved both of their routines last night – thought their salsa was a nice step-up from the one she did with Mark, and had plenty of content; and Derek STILL reigns supreme in the freestyle – I think the edge Derek has is that he’s better able to tell a story than some others with his choreography; I understood the theme and plot he was trying to convey with that routine, and he managed to still do some pretty awesome lifts and creative stuff in it. Thought the rope was genius at the end – kinda symbolized for me the journey Amy has taken on the show, and her ability to handle things that no one would ever guess she’s capable of. Of course the naysayers will claim there wasn’t enough content – what they fail to realize is that, just because she wasn’t necessarily on her feet for every single step, does not mean there “wasn’t content”; hell, I think doing that rope spin was far more difficult than any pirouette or pique Derek could have had her do on the ground. But whatever – these two have already won this season for me, and I daresay Amy has a bright future ahead
The winner: Meryl & Maks
Since the focus of this partnership all season long seems to be Maks (with Meryl as an accessory), I’ll respond in kind and make this critique about him, since I don’t think Meryl is the problem (other than the fact that she herself seems to have bought into the hype of “Maks has never won, Maks deserves to win” and is falling into step with it instead of actually standing up for herself). Meryl is going to dance whatever she’s given FLAWLESSLY. The problem is (and has been all season), that what Maks has given her has not been all that impressive. And I stand by that statement tonight, because even the redo Argentine tango he gave her (which I guess is his favorite dance) paled in comparison choreographically to what his lil bro gave her over a month ago for me. And here’s why: Maks seems to have a lot of “moments”, but isn’t quite adept at stringing them altogether to make a coherent routine. Val, on the other hand, seems to see the whole picture: he understands that a dance, like a story, needs a beginning, middle, and end, plus some fluid transitions to make it all flow together seamlessly. Plus, Val did his thing with a far more difficult song, and with a partner that he had only worked with for a few days. And then there’s the freestyle: looks like Maks’ idea of being “creative” and doing something “never before seen on DWTS” involves creating a derivative, watered-down version of a winning freestyle from a year ago and acting as if it’s something brand-new and ground-breaking. I actually don’t even think this was choreographically as strong as their rumba from a few weeks ago – and that was barely a rumba. I think if he really wanted to showcase Meryl’s abilities, he would have shunned the ooey-gooey showmance-promoting route and choreographed something more upbeat and full of both lifts and energetic dance steps. Show us how versatile she really is, instead of rehashing what we’ve already seen from her. And for Pete’s sake, do something that actually seems to illustrate her journey on DWTS. Hell, at the beginning of the season, I had envisioned some wild, celebratory freestyle to “Gypsy” by Lady Gaga (which would have even appealed to the shippers on some level, while still nodding to all the traveling she & Maks have done together this season). So given what I just said, you’ll have to forgive me when I ask “So WHY does Maks ‘deserve to win’?” He’s struggled with choreography, he’s struggled with crafting routines that showcase his partner, and he’s struggled with his own behavior. “But Courtney, it’s not about Maks – it’s about MERYL!!!!” I’m sure some of you are going to cry – to which I say “She’s an Olympic gold medal ice dancer that hasn’t been truly challenged all season long. Should she win the MBT for (no pun intended) skating through the season without much of a struggle?” I look at all the tough stuff that Amy & Charlie in particular have had thrown at them throughout the season by their respective pros – and how they’ve struggled, and toiled, and still overcome those obstacles. There’s just no comparison for me. But everyone is going to vote how they’re going to vote (and that’s fine), and I think the die has already been cast that this was “Maks’ season” from the get-go – and everyone has just kind of fallen in line with that mindset. It will be a hollow win, though, IMO - and it’s one I’m sure we’re going to be hearing about for the next 5 years, a la Donny Osmond. But whatever helps Maks (and his fans) feel validated, I guess.
So there’s my two cents. What’s yours? Just as a side note: I still do post here at PureDWTS in the off-season, but with America’s Got Talent starting up next week, you’ll probably see more of me over at Pure AGT this summer. If you’re a fan of the show, come join us! We’re a small (but entertaining) group
Things I learned from last night’s show:
1.) Running prostheses are a beautiful thing.
2.) Bruno Mars, a half-Puerto-Rican, half-Filipino pop singer who has only been popular in the States for about the last 5 years, apparently meets the criteria to be considered an “American Icon”. Somewhere, Ronnie Van Zant is spinning in his grave (Freebird rumba FTW!)
3.) There will never be another Michael Jackson routine as good as Shawn & Mark’s “P.Y.T.” cha-cha in season 8.
4.) If you need to justify Ralphing a certain male contestant in order to ensure that your chosen one makes the finale, just make him do a samba to a Biggie Smalls song…and then tell him he’s not “funky” enough.
5.) When someone “brings out the best” in you, you hurl mic packs in fits of joy.
Yeah, last night was an odd night – there was the low-energy, less-skilled end of the spectrum (Candace & James) that was called safe right away, and then the actual contenders were kept in jeopardy till the end of the show and we ended up losing someone that many of us had pegged as the winner of season 18 back in March. Yep, just as we all feared – Charlie got Ralphed, and it breaks my heart…I found him far more fun and engaging than Meryl all season long, and I thought Charlie was Sharna’s best shot at the MBT so far (and probably ever). Charlie seemed to take it all in stride, but I think Sharna may be hurting for awhile – and I can’t blame her. She did everything in her power to make Charlie shine this season, but just kept getting smacked down by the judges for no good reason (other than to protect the Princess). I’m kinda hoping Karina sits down with her and gives her a pep talk, because she’s been there – and I’m hoping Sharna can return next season with a vengeance, and claim what should have been hers this season (just like Karina did with JR in season 13). Read more..
So somebody requested that I do an update to my first “What’s Left to Dance?” post, just to see what remaining dances the celebs have to do this season…or rather, which dances they might not get to at all :-( I can’t recall another season where the celebs have had so many of the dances left to do with so little of the competition remaining – and I can’t say I’m enjoying it. But before I get too far into it, here’s my handy-dandy chart, updated with everyone’s week 9 dances EXCEPT Amy & Derek (as they haven’t revealed theirs yet):
So now to address some questions that are bound to pop up…
What dances are Amy & Derek doing next week??? I don’t know. Haven’t heard anything official. But there is a conspicuous gap in one section of the chart, so I would not be shocked to see Amy doing samba, since she’s the only person left that hasn’t already done it/will be doing it next week (in Charlie’s case). Then again, maybe they think she’ll struggle with samba, and so they’ll give her paso doble instead…IDK. No clue about the other dance – I would guess that it’s a ballroom dance, since she still has four she hasn’t done yet, but then again, it could also be jazz. Who knows. I guess my official “prediction” is samba and foxtrot…but that’s all it is, a prediction. What do you think?
How many dances are they doing during finale week? And what kind? Again, I know nothing official, but obviously there will be a freestyle, and if Len griping about Charlie’s rumba in week 4 was any indicator, there will probably also be a redemption dance (a dance that the celeb didn’t do so well on the first time around, and could improve upon). There’s probably also going to be a relay dance of some sort (probably something everyone has done – I’m guessing cha-cha or samba) and maybe some sort of instant dance/24 hour challenge (for the three that advance after the first night – I’m guessing someone will get eliminated after the freestyles on night 1. Again, just educated guesses.
What about the trio dance??? AND THE PASO DOBLE???!!! I’m guessing the trio dance is kaput for this season, and I would be shocked if we saw another paso doble (unless Amy is doing it next week) since the finalists typically don’t do an unlearned dance in finale week (besides the freestyle). Yes, it sucks. I also doubt we’ll see another standard waltz or swing routine – seems like those were only brought in to fulfill specific purposes (Amy’s request to dance to a Cinderella song during Disney week, and Amy & Meryl saying they were most looking forward to doing swing in week 2). Basically, unless someone’s doing it next week – we probably won’t see it again this season. Sorry.
What do you think the couples will do as their redemption dance? I think it’s kind of a given that Charlie will get rumba, as Len made a point of saying it back in week 4. I would say that they’d saddle Amy with *cringe* waltz again, but I don’t see her being able to improve upon it that much – so I could see them letting her redo her cha-cha instead. Meryl will probably end up redoing rumba as well, which I’m sure will fit right into this Meryl vs. Charlie showdown they’ve been dancing towards all season. If Candace makes the finale – hehe, she’s got a lot of dances that she could improve upon, but I think for the sake of variety, they’ll pick quickstep for her…she’s got both potential and room to improve on that one. If James makes the finale (and I’m leaning towards it being either Candace OR James that join the other three in the finale), I could see them giving him quickstep as well. That way, they ensure they get at least one ballroom redemption dance.
Will the freestyles be supersized? Given that they’ve been “supersizing” some of the regular dances this season, I don’t think they’ll suddenly opt for austerity and simplicity in the freestyle round…hell, I think the freestyles this time could be super-dupersized. Let’s put it this way: it would not surprise me if the couples called in the entire cast of Game of Thrones, the entire roster of the Miami Heat (blech), and/or the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir to help with their freestyles at this point…it’s that out of control, kids.
Why are they leaving so many dances unlearned this season? I don’t know, but it kind of gives me a sad. If I had to speculate, I’d say they just got too wrapped up in theme nights and trying to accommodate other random aspects of this season ( i.e. Meryl & Charlie’s travel schedule, Amy’s prostheses’, certain pros’ weaknesses as a choreographer, etc.) that they had to tinker with the dances a bit – why they decided to basically scrap the paso doble, I really don’t know, as that is one dance that it seems like almost anyone could do, regardless of their level of skill or physical abilities…it’s all about selling the performance. So yeah…it’s a head-scratcher for me, too.
So there’s my thoughts on the remaining dances headed into the semifinals and finals. What are yours? What unanswered questions do you have about this season?
Much ado about Abby Lee Miller – and honestly, for as bad as I thought she might be, I think she scores she gave were (for the most part) fair, even if she was nitpicking to death on any technique flubs she could find. It was as if the producers had told her “nitpick all you want, but you can’t give any score below an 8″. And a few of the scores seemed a bit too perfect, if you ask me – as if they had be predetermined, because some of the critiques were not matching the scores AT ALL. What I don’t think the producers had planned on, though, was Abby being a bit of a loose cannon – she said a few things that made me go “Ooh, pretty sure the producers didn’t want that broadcasted.” Watching rehearsals??? Pretty sure the judges have always vehemently denied that they do that…yet Abby admitted it like it was a commonplace thing. And then there was Abby sorta-kinda outing Danicanotadancer as a highly trained dancer…I had a good chuckle on that one…
…speaking of Danica, did anyone else get the impression that she was not all that upset about getting eliminated? Maybe she kinda had an idea that her number was up and had already made peace with it, maybe she is just exhausted and eager to get back to her son, maybe the tiff with Maks during duel rehearsal left a bad taste in her mouth…but I didn’t see the emotional display from her I thought we would see when she got eliminated. I was expecting Brandy & Elizabeth Berkeley-esque tears and displays of desperation, given how Type A Danica seems to be…was pleasantly surprised to see her so gracefully accept the whole thing. Maybe in the end, she was glad to have all that pressure off of her to do well…can’t say I blame her. And this season more than ever, I see the difference between the Chmerkovskiy brothers: Val seems to “get it”, while I’m not sure Maks EVER will. I think Val is starting to understand what it takes to do well on DWTS, and is developing a more clever, out-of-the-box, Derek-like attitude about things; Maks, on the other hand, seems like an old dog who can’t learn new tricks – and he’s hellbent on winning the show on HIS terms or he’s gonna die trying. I’ve always felt like Val was the better choreographer, but now I feel like he’s also got the right mindset to win this show someday – and I think Maks is just too set in his ways to really get flexible enough to win (unless he gets a ton of help from the men upstairs).
Which brings me to the “I don’t care about anything she says” heard ’round the world. *sigh* Do I agree with the sentiment? Yes. Do I think Maks was just saying what the rest of us were thinking? Yes. Do I think it was smart of him to say? Errrrr…yes and no. As I mentioned on Twitter, I wish he would have waited until after their duel had been scored to say it – because saying it after their first dance meant that there was a target on his back for their second dance. Abby Lee was a complete jerkwad, no doubt – but she was also a jerkwad holding the scoring paddles, and a vindictive jerkwad at that. What’s to say that Abby might have given them a 9 on that samba instead of an 8, had Maks not said what he said after their rumba? Sure, it was only one point, but you just never know – and this is why I almost always think it’s a better idea for the pros to just bite their tongue when they get the urge to talk back to the judges. You just never know what the consequences might be…and often, its their celebrity partner that’s paying the price. At least Val was smart enough to wait until the scores for their second dance were already locked in before talking back to Abby… Read more..
Derek has his fingers in so many projects that it’s difficult to keep track of them all. This one is particularly cool. He’s working with Nappytabs making a video – at the request of the Academy – that is promoting choreography on TV. How I read it is that this effort is to get a peer group in the academy which will benefit all choreographers when it comes to the nominating and selecting of Emmy Award winners. From ArtsMeme – click the link to read the whole article and see all the photos.
Derek Hough, Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo (@Nappytabs), all Emmy-winning choreographers, advocated for the art of choreography-on-camera by appearing, at the invitation of the Television Academy, in a new video geared at strengthening the status of choreographers at the Academy.
The video, now under production by ATAS pros, strongly encourages qualified choreographers to join the Academy. In return, they’ll enjoy a slate of membership benefits, key among which will be the eventual creation of a choreographer’s “peer group,” a necessary vehicle by which dance experts can influence the vetting, nomination, and final voting for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography.
Admittedly, this came out of left field for me – I was almost certain they were going to be doing the trio dances this coming week. So imagine my surprise when, last night, Tom announced this elusive “duo dance” that will pair up two couples, have them dance on the floor at the same time (with their partners), and then just the celebs dance with each other (without their partners). And in true DWTS style – it seemed like most of the pros had no idea what it all was about, and they probably still don’t. Thanks, Conrad. Gotta love these little parting gifts he’s leaving…
So what do we here at Pure know so far? Well we know for sure that these are the duos, per Deep Throat: Read more..