I know a lot of our readers don’t always make it over to www.purederekhough.com to see all things Derek, so I figured that I would put a few MOVE highlights here; we post on all the other tours but we always do less for Derek because he’s covered so thoroughly on PDH. Derek and Jules fans are some amazing photographers, that’s for sure.
And no, it’s not solely just “sexism” from the judges/audience/viewers – stay with me.
Over the past 48 hours, I have rolled my eyes so hard over some of the complaints about the group dances that it’s a wonder they haven’t gotten stuck. The majority of the ridiculous comments seem to be coming from the disgruntled #TeamGirlGroup crowd, who seem eager to complain about “sexism” on the show. Yes, sexism is a problem on DWTS – a big one, and one that Heidi & I will attempt to tackle in a future post. But why the Team Girl Group fans are complaining, I’m not sure, because the girls got one point more than the guys did – last I checked, the “winner” of the team dance was determined by who got more points. So congrats – you won. Why are you so upset?
My guess is that they’re mad about Team Boy Band generally getting more positive feedback from both the judges and the viewers – to which I say “well, tough luck” because people disagreeing with you is kind of a fact of life. You’re never going to agree with everyone, all the time. But in the interest of turning this into a teaching moment, I’m going to indulge some of you and explain just what many of us found wrong with the girl’s dance, and what the boys team did right. Whether you choose to actually consider it is up to you – but I can tell you now that empty accusations of “sexism!!!” undermine the real instances of sexism we encounter on a daily basis; and within the context of DWTS, believe me – women in general (particularly the female pros) tend to get screwed on a regular basis.
First, let me lead with this: I do not blame the female celebs for any of the failures of their team dance, so if you’re trying to twist this into “You’re being mean to Normani!” or “You’re being really unfair to Heather!”, you’re putting up straw men, you’re gonna get called out, and you’re gonna look dumb. The onus is on the pros to create and choreograph a suitable routine to make their partners look good – and I feel like the male pros failed their partners. EPICALLY. I also don’t blame the judges, because for once, I think they were pretty on-the-money with their critiques and scores (I’ve written off the extra point as a sympathy point, given as a bit of an “oh boy, your pros really screwed you – here, have an extra point!” consolation prize) – I don’t think they were completely off-base in what they were saying. And actually, I don’t blame the powers that be, either – I actually think the girls got a much better set of songs to work with (including one sung by one of the girls on the team – ahem) that gave them a lot more creative potential than the songs that were given to the boys’ team. Really and truly, the stars were aligned for the girls to really slay the team dance – and then the male pros kinda shat all over the opportunity. …Read more
Anyone else missing Derek & Mark (and their choreography) something fierce right about now??? Because my god – if last night wasn’t an exercise in choreographic futility for some of our pros, then I don’t know what the hell it was. On top of that, the judges seemed eerily kind to just about everyone (except Nick, which we’ll get into later), which left me with this unpleasant sense of foreboding for most of the show – like I was waiting for something bad to happen, but I wasn’t sure what. Basically, the same feeling I had while watching the first 20 minutes of last season’s Game of Thrones finale – but thankfully, when it all played out, I felt less like Margaery & more like Cersei, because something that Heidi & I had be predicting would happen eventually, happened: Heather got outsted in a “shocking” (but not really, if you actually think about it) elimination. We had been saying she was the most likely candidate for the token “shock” elim this season, but I don’t think we were anticipating it happening this early on – I myself had her making it to at least week 7, I think. But when you take into account the turd of a routine her pro foist upon her last week, and the fact that most of the general viewing audience couldn’t really get past her basically being a professional dancer herself, she followed the basic formula for getting “Sabrina’d”: the minute a skilled dancer dips below a certain score threshold, they get sent home because they Just. Aren’t. Getting. The. Votes. If you want to see a breakdown of just how few votes Heather was getting (or rather, just how much better than Heather everyone else was doing), go reread Heidi’s Dancing By the Numbers. I wish I could say I was disappointed by a good dancer getting sent home before some less-skilled ones, but I made no secret of it that I never really found myself enjoying Heather’s performances – and it was a combination of lack of connection to the audience on her part, and just plain subpar choreography from Maks on the other. Add in the fact that Maks managed to find TWO ways to proverbially spit in Alan’s face last night, and I’m left saying “Toodles, Heather & Maks – don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!” Not gonna lie, though: part of me would love to see Alan as a pro next season, and have Maks left out in the cold – karma could be such a perfect bitch 😎
Which brings me to a few notes on demographics. I think I warned everyone a month ago that Chris, Erika, Heather, & Normani were the four most likely to struggle with fanbase issues this season – three of them are now gone. You Harmonizers still feeling so confident about Normani’s voting fanbase? I saw quite a few folks wringing hands after it was announced that everyone on the girls’ team was in jeopardy, and many of them seemed convinced that Nancy was the one headed home. You guys do realize that she aligns almost perfectly with the main viewing demographic of the show, right? A middle-aged Olympian with an inspiring backstory? Please help me understand why you thought a C-list-at-best, 30-something professional dancer from a 2-years-defunct teen tv show that was being given highly mediocre choreo by her partner was somehow going to outlast that Olympian, who so far has thrived and been given solid routines by her partner? It’s important to remember that sometimes, this show is about everything EXCEPT the dancing – in this case, the fact that Heather was already a great dancer didn’t matter to a lot of folks. If anything, it seemed to turn them off. They seemed to prefer Nancy’s journey to Heather’s already-professional polish. I also think Nancy has come off far more relatable and down-to-earth than Heather ever did on the show – and trust me when I say that can make a bigger difference than a few points, sometimes.
As for the rest of the show – Nick was an ok guest judge; seemed excited to be there and tried to give insightful critiques, but I think he came across a tad disingenuous at times. He also seemed like a bit of a yes-man, and had been fed a list of instructions on what to say and to whom (“Make sure you mention that Normani could win this whole thing! And don’t go easy on Nick V.!”) But I was pleased to see he gave Rashad a “10” when the other judges were whipping out 9’s – seemed to make up for Carrie Ann’s uncalled-for “7” last week. Opener seemed bland, like it was an afterthought – “Crap, what are we gonna do for the opener this week??? IDK, just…line everyone up or something…” Can’t say I missed Julianne too much – guess the Move Beyond tour didn’t leave any time for the “Ballroom is soooo different than what Heather does!” apology tour this week…and now Heather’s gone. Wuh wuh wuhhhhh. Read more..
We have full coverage on www.purederekhough.com of the tour which started in Akron on Wednesday and let me tell ya, the Hough’s have gone bigger than ever. It looks amazing!! I thought I would bring a little taste over here.
I'm blue, da be Dee da ba daa. . . . . . #theimaged #artofvisuals #aov #global_hotshotz #exklusive_shot #createexploretakesover #createexplore #visualsoflife #justgoshoot #stayandwander #mobilemag #heatercentral #portraitcentral #agameoftones #nikonnofilter #goshen #nikontop_ #derekhough #juliannehough #movebeyond #captureone #southbend #moveliveontour
Let’s get right to it, shall we? 🙂
Team Boy Band:
Rashad & Emma
David & Lindsay
Nick & Peta
Bonner & Sharna
Team Girl Group:
Normani & Val
Simone & Sasha
Heather & Maks
Nancy & Artem
The dances: Freestyles again.
The songs: Medleys again – Team Boy Band has a medley of the Jackson 5, New Kids on the Block (“The Right Stuff”), and One Direction; Team Girl Group has “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels, “No Scrubs” by TLC, and something by Fifth Harmony (of course).
The captains: No captains this time.
Source says: The female pros weren’t all that jazzed about the music at first, but it started to grow on them as they started to choreograph; the male celebs, however, were psyched and getting really into coming up with boy band moves to try out. To quote Deep Throat, “I’ve never seen a group of celebs so enthusiastic about the team dance!” Team Girl Group seemed a bit more subdued, and seemed to be letting the pros choreograph. To my knowledge, no – Heather was not helping choreograph.
Court’s thoughts: I think the men will probably take this one just based on enthusiasm alone – I tend to find if the group really LIKES their dance, they’re going to perform it better; just look at the differences from the team dances last season. I think team Girl Group’s choreo will likely be more difficult, but I don’t know that that’s necessarily a good thing if they aren’t all that jazzed about the dances they’re doing.
UPDATE: Added pictures…so far, @DancingABC has only posted pix of Team Boy Band. But I’ll be damned if this doesn’t look like a fun group…Peta looks the most excited we’ve seen her all season 🙂
UPDATE2: Vogue here and below are a few more photos and some of Team Girl Band too.
— Portal Harmony BR (@PHarmonyBR) April 19, 2017
— Lexus (@lindsayarnold_) April 19, 2017
Well, thank god that’s over – yes, kids, I actually hate Disney week. Sue me. The first time they did it (in season 18), it was cool; but each successive season got progressively less…magical, and more…of a chore to watch. I find that, out of all the theme weeks, it’s the one most likely to force the songs to fit the wrong dances, and to get so caught up in production value that the dance becomes a bit of an afterthought, and the costumes/sets/animations/etc. dominate. Much like my general opinion of Disney these days – just overwrought with commercialization. And I kinda felt that commercial aspect last night more than previous Disney nights – some of the dances felt more like advertisements for upcoming Disney movies, or promotion for lesser-known musicians. I guess when Disney owns ABC, this is to be expected – if it don’t make dollas, it don’t make sense, kids. But I did like the intro, because it was something different – and say what you will about Alfonso, but he has ALWAYS been there for the show when they need him, whether it’s filling in for Tom when his dad died, actually giving insightful critiques as a guest judge, or just being supportive and being in the audience week after week. I feel like he really gets a bum rap sometimes, as well as the unfair label of being the biggest male ringer the show has ever had – but that’s a discussion for another place…
And now we move onto the “stay woke” segment of the rankings – because there was some serious manipulation going on last night, and you didn’t exactly have to be a rocket scientist to see it. There was gross underscoring, gross overscoring, vague criticism not really rooted in anything substantial, vague praise not really rooted in anything substantial, and strategic placement of people in jeopardy and in safety. The funny thing is, you can really tell that there’s new EP’s at the helm – Conrad & Rob were both a lot stealthier with this kinda stuff; with Joe & Ashley, it’s amateur hour. They’re the B-squad puppeteers that were thrust into lead roles as Muppets, but we can totally see their hands up the asses of some of the contestants. If you haven’t yet read Heidi’s post about manipulation, you totally should – it’s eye-opening. So what do I make of all of it? I think David, Rashad, & Simone are probably running away with the bulk of the votes, Heather & Normani may not be getting as many as TPTB had anticipated they would, I don’t think they’ve decided what to do about Nancy yet, and Bonner & Nick are pretty disposable to them at this point. Will their machinations work? Not to the degree they’re hoping, I don’t think. Time will tell, and I get the impression that the viewers may be wisening up to the funny business – I know a lot of the readers here have.
So Erika left us…and I’m left without a ton to say other than “oh well…it is what it is.” Her elimination has been the LEAST disappointing one to me so far this season, mostly because I tended to forget her week after week – that kind of thing tends to happen when you basically do the same dance each week, with just a few tweaks. I enjoyed her Viennese waltz last night, and was glad we FINALLY got to see a different side of her (and she even showed vulnerability!) – but it was unfortunately too little, too late. Really hoping we don’t get another “look at how rich & sexy I am!” dance at the finale. Interesting to note: her exit left us with perfectly even numbers of men & women left for the girl groups vs. boy bands team dance next week. Coincidental or intentional? You decide. Read more..
So many things…so many interesting things to talk about this week 😉 As expected on pretty much every “most memorable year” night, tears were shed, and those who went with more of an emotional story stood out, while those who went the fun route tended to fade into the woodwork. I found the running order a bit interesting – two back-to-back rumbas to start off with; and source wasn’t 100% sure, but apparently after Sunday’s camera blocking, Rashad tentatively had the pimp spot, but there appeared to be some question as to when Normani would go, as Fifth Harmony apparently had some scheduling conflict (I’m guessing they couldn’t stay the whole time, since we didn’t see them again after they sang with Normani). Guess they switched the game up – although I actually think Rashad’s dance ended up being more impactful by NOT going last, as they seemed to give him a bit more time than they did Bonner; but not too much time, because like Mr. T & Simone, Rashad did not get a post-score interview with Erin. You notice a bit of a disturbing pattern here? 🙁
Of those who DID get an interview with Erin, three of the five male pros seemed to get diarrhea of the mouth, and ended up completely hogging the mic from their partners – Val kinda got patronizing, Maks was glibly trying to cast next season already, and Gleb…was busy babbling something about being sexy, so we barely heard from their ladies. Therefore, I tip my hat to the two remaining male pros for keeping the focus on their partners by remaining quiescent. Much ado about lifts, Carrie Ann – wonder what made you decide to enlighten us all with the definition, and then proceed to anxiously justify every lift you called out last night? *takes a sip of tea* Don’t worry, boo boo, that lift post is still coming 😉 I also think we continued to witness the narrative change last night – seems like we might be seeing Rashad & Simone (and their engaged partners, Emma & Sasha) take center stage now, with Normani, David, & Nancy all in the hunt for that third spot in the finals. Will TPTB let it ride? Time will tell.
Was very sad to see Mr. T go – was chatting with Deep Throat the other day, and they remarked that T was very much loved by everyone in the cast and crew: he was always making a point to say hello to everyone, and make sure they were doing well and having a good day. T was just genuinely GOOD PEOPLE, and I did enjoy seeing him on the show. But I do think he was beginning to get flustered with himself, and was probably ready to go – he had fun and tried hard, but I doubt he was going to improve much more if he had remained in the competition. Oh well – I look forward to a fun returning dance from him at the finale 🙂 Read more..
So Vegas week – I was predicting a “Cirque Du Soleil Week” redux, so my expectations were pretty low. I think that may have helped, because while I wasn’t blown away on the whole by the dances we saw last night, I also didn’t end up really hating any of them, either. Thank goodness for small miracles 🙂
Now that we’re three weeks in, I think the narrative for the season is taking shape – and I don’t think it’s necessarily what TPTB had intended/hoped for. I think the main problem they’re having is that the viewers as a whole seem to be eschewing the female ringers (particularly Ringy McRingerson herself, Heather) in favor of the ridiculously charming male contestants with no dance experience but a ton of heart (read: David & Rashad). Additionally, with Maks’ injury, Peta looking like a sleep-deprived zombie, and Val being jet-lagged, I think the original intent to make Maks, Peta, & Val the focal points of this season is kinda falling apart – and it seems like the better story might be a finale with the other engaged couple that hasn’t gotten a whole lotta respect until this season (Sasha & Emma), and an extremely talented pro that has made it to at least the semi-finals the last three seasons (Lindsay). Now because it still is very early, and I only trust TPTB as far as I can throw them (and I have little to no upper body strength), I wouldn’t put it past them to try and shock some life back into their original plan to prop up the C-bros plus Peta – but I’m beginning to wonder if they’re starting to see the writing on the wall as far as the viewers are concerned…that maybe the audience cares less about another MBT in the Dance with Me trophy case, and more about a likeable, entertaining celeb winning.
Other thoughts? The opening number was cute, but perhaps a tad sloppy; loved the showgirl costumes (even though the last traditional Vegas showgirl act took a final bow in February of last year – RIP, Jubilee!), but what were supposed to be bachelorette costumes looked more like prostitute costumes to me 😛 Julianne & Derek, as always, were a revelation – that dance felt like the sequel to the “Elastic Heart” routine, and I found myself really appreciating the elite quality of movement and artistry they both have. Kinda makes the regular routines we saw last night pale in comparison, but still worthwhile 🙂 Carrie Ann idiotically decided to resurrect the lift police, calling out everyone EXCEPT HEATHER. Coincidence? Doubt it. Charo getting eliminated? Slightly shocking, because I felt like they kinda padded her score last week while T got kinda hosed; but given the whole drama with her allegedly threatening to quit last week, and some of the backlash I saw on social media from her behavior, I guess it’s not a complete shock. Was she eliminated or did she leave on her own accord? You decide. Just kinda sucks that her best dance (and the strongest piece of choreo we’ve seen from Keo since Jodie’s season) came during the week she was eliminated. But I gotta give him major props for dealing with a pretty unruly partner – he’s definitely come a long way since his first season as a pro. Read more..
PureDWTS Conspiracy Theory – Have We Finally Figured Out What Happened with the Casting in Season 21???
It’s been a year and a half, but there’s been a little itch in the back of my brain that I haven’t quite been able to scratch: what exactly happened in season 21 that led to Artem sitting the season out? Especially after he was confirmed as a pro for the season, initially? Well, 18 months later, it appears we finally have enough information to piece together a cohesive theory for what went down. I’m finally getting to scratch that little itch 🙂
First off, a special thanks to Colleen for pointing out the line in Heather’s blog that set all of this in motion, because Heidi, Vogue, & myself often get so caught up in actually getting stuff posted for you guys that we don’t actually thoroughly process everything we read, especially if it’s a one-off sentence here and there. Also thanks to Laura & Kimmie for helping to locate the old Val tweets, and anyone who bounced ideas off me on Twitter after some of these tidbits came to light. So let’s dive right in… Read more..
Those who follow along with all the myriad things Derek is doing these days are well aware of his new music video, but those of you not tuned in may have missed it yesterday. Derek covers Breaking Benjamin’s Ashes of Eden. Choreography is by Rudy Abreu. You can read about the vocal surgery Derek had last year and the fear that went along with it at Entertainment Weekly.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This was your third time directing a music video — how was it different?
DEREK HOUGH: Yeah, yeah. The thing is with this video, for me personally, is last year I had surgery on my voice and I couldn’t speak for a month, which was really difficult. It was just an interesting time for me to sort of reflect and to be thoughtful… Not having a voice at all, like not even a whisper, not even like a murmur — absolutely nothing for a month… And I would listen a lot more. And it got me thinking about things about life, and about what’s out there, and is there something greater than us out there? So when I heard this song, and it’s a cover — it’s from a band called Breaking Benjamin — I just heard it and it really resonated with me. I don’t know, it just really spoke to me, it was really powerful, especially not having a voice, it kind of became my voice and questions through that song.
Here’s the video – gorgeous!