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Choreography on DWTS – What’s the Problem Here?

So, as may of our long time readers know, Courtney and I have been quite critical of the choreography done by Mandy Moore on DWTS. With the exception of a few numbers last year it seemed like it consisted of some combination of bumping and grinding – male and female. We even heard a rumor of a comment Derek made regarding a male pro dance last season…one that he was subsequently not a part of. While Derek is in his own league and may not be required to take part in pro dances any more (can you think of one where he was there the whole way through??), I think our source was solid at the time.

We’ve also been uber critical of some of the male pros choreography, namely…well all of them except Derek and Mark, really. Now, the childish reader likes to claim that’s just because we like Derek and Mark more. Well, yes, I do…but that’s not necessarily true of either Vogue or Courtney, and it doesn’t automatically mean that the choreography by those men is better than I claim. And if one of the men does something I like – I say so. But I think that much of it has been objectively less than stellar. The women fare much better…and I’m not sure why, except perhaps they get some outside help. Like WAY outside. Away from DWTS.

So you probably wonder what I’m getting at here. Well, I was watching the video that Vogue posted the other day – choreography for the TV Academy by Mandy Moore. It was FANTASTIC. She’s getting raves for La La Land (although I’ve seen a very few “derivative” comments – haven’t seen it yet myself) and she’s done some great stuff on SYTYCD. She’s more regularly great (with a few less great, but every pro has those) on SYTYCD than she has ever been on DWTS. Read more..

February 23, 2017 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Dancing With The Stars Mirror Ball Count Refresher

Do you need a refresher for how many Mirror Balls the Pros have won? If so, read below. It’s going to be interesting if we see a Pro win Mirror Ball #3 this season or if we will see a new Pro added to the “Mirror Ball One” category?

One Mirror Ball:
Alec Mazo – Won with Kelly Monaco in Season 1
Karina Smirnoff – Won with J.R. Martinez in Season 13
Tony Dovolani – Won with Melissa Rycroft in Season 15 (All Stars)
Maksim Chmerkovskiy – Won with Meryl Davis in Season 18
Witney Carson – Won with Alfonso Ribeiro in Season 19

Two Mirror Balls:
Cheryl Burke – Won with Drew Lachey in Season 2, Emmitt Smith in Season 3
Julianne Hough – Won with Apolo Anton Ohno in Season 4, Hélio Castroneves in Season 5
Mark Ballas – Won with Kristi Yamaguchi in Season 6, Shawn Johnson in Season 8
Kym Johnson – Won with Donny Osmond in Season 9, Hines Ward in Season 12
Peta Murgatroyd – Won with Donald Driver in Season 14, Nyle DiMarco in Season 22
Val Chmerkovskiy – Won with Rumor Willis in Season 20 , Laurie Hernandez in Season 23

6 Mirror Balls:
Derek Hough – Won with Brooke Burke in Season 7, Nicole Scherzinger in Season 10, Jennifer Grey in Season 11, Kellie Pickler in Season 16, Amber Riley in Season 17, Bindi Irwin in Season 21

I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

Dancing with the Stars Season 24 – PRO WATCH!!

It’s that time of year once again folks. There are other sites out there mimicking us, but none of them that I would bank on just yet.

Which means that we know Derek is out. Also, according to a Good Morning America announcement today, Maks and Peta are dancing. If you have something to contribute, PLEASE PROVIDE a SOURCE – by that I mean a link. We appreciate the help, but it needs to be sourced, otherwise it’s just a distraction. Thx.

ETA1: And Tony confirms he’s out for this season.  Not gonna lie, I’m disappointed – he was always so kind to his partners, moreso than some other pros that will likely get a spot…-Court-

ETA2: Witney and Sharna are confirmed per People Magazine as is Val…but I do wonder if they are making the same silly assumption that others do re: the poster. ~Heidi

ETA3: According to People, Jenna is OUT! ~ Vogue

ETA4: Vogue again. Gleb is IN again according to this interview. YAYYY! Can you tell I’m excited?! 🙂 Thanks to @GleekyZ for sending.

ETA5: And in the first development this season that actually has me excited, an old favorite returns…yes kids, She of the Awesome Boobage is back…Kym 😀 -Court-

ETA6: Not sure on this, but, according to @DWTSGossip, Allison is out. I think I am going to cry if true. I love her. – Vogue

ETA7: Confirmed – Keo is back. Kinda thought he might be, since I think he was only set aside last season in order to bring Gleb back on board. -Court-

ETA8: Source confirms that Sasha, Lindsay, & Emma are all IN.  Doing some extreme vetting over here, folks…-Court-

ETA9: According to ET, Mark and Karina are out too. Dang. And to anyone thinking this site hates Mark, you couldn’t be more WRONG. ~ Vogue

ETA10: Not sure if anyone is really still watching this post, but it looks like Jenna is also out as a troupe member this season. To address some of the chatter on Twitter – no, we don’t know what Sasha’s talking about; no, we don’t know if Mark is back in as a surprise; no, we still don’t have a confirmation on Artem’s status. We’ll share if we get any updates…-Court-

Male Pros
Val – IN
Gleb – IN
Mark – OUT
Artem –
Derek – OUT
Sasha – IN
Maks – IN
Keo – IN

Female Pros
Sharna – IN
Kym – IN
Emma – IN
Witney – IN
Allison – OUT??
Lindsay – IN
Jenna – OUT
Cheryl – OUT
Peta – IN

Status of Former Pros
Tristan MacManus – No, appears to have sworn off TV dancing
Anna Trebunskaya – ??
Lacey Schwimmer – Unlikely
Louis Van Amstel – ?
Chelsie Hightower – ?
Corky Ballas – ?
Karina Smirnoff – OUT
Edyta Sliwinska – OUT (pregnant)
Tony Dovolani – OUT

The Troupe
Brittany Cherry – ??
Britt Stewart – ??
Alan Bersten – ??
Hayley Ebert – ??
Shannon Holtzapffel – ??
Dennis Jauch – ??
Kiril Kulish – ??
Jenna Johnson – OUT

February 21, 2017 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

DWTS Premiere Date Set, Who’s Coming Back…and More Nick Viall Rumors

Whole lot to talk about in this interview with one of the executive producers of DWTS and Jessica Radloff of Glamour.  First, she drops a date of March 20th – something I don’t think we officially knew before now.  Then there’s this:

Season 24, especially, is going to be a big one. The show is celebrating its 400th episode, and producers are promising lots of nostalgia. “We will do something for it,” executive producer Joe Sungkur tells us. That’s not the only thing to look forward to: Sungkur also revealed that one fan favorite will definitely be back (though another will definitely not be returning). “As an overall for the season, we will bring back favorite themes, [inject] some new ideas, but also stick to what’s working so well. And we hope for romance in the air! Whenever there is romance, there’s a smile on our face.”

So dude just ADMITTED that they hope and pray (and plot and manipulate) to get some romance on the show. GAG me! This is a dance show! No more fauxmance!! Especially not if Val is one of the parties involved. He’s done enough damage with that routine. This pisses me off and we haven’t even gotten started yet. Anyway…

Speaking of romance, this season’s Bachelor—Nick Viall—may get the opportunity to show off his dance moves beyond his next one-on-one date. During my interview with the producers at ABC’s Television Critics Association winter press tour, the Wisconsin native dropped in our conversation and seemed to be very friendly with DWTS EPs Rob Wade, Deena Katz, and Sungkur. How friendly? Well, talks could already be happening (but more on that below).

Of course Nick was there, but I suspect this is just him sucking up and still trying to get a spot. He was there for the Bachelor and saw an opportunity. But you never know! All depends on how strong the rest of their cast is.

Looks like they’re hoping Julianne will be back and they’re working on her – but the very definitive “Derek will not be back.” is pretty hilarious. He blames it on MOVE, never mentions the competing dance show (of course) and is definitive TWICE. I suspect the urge to add the word “never” was hard for him to resist. 🙂 Mark might be back so there is hope for Ballas Fans.

Oh lord:

Last season, it was lovely to see Sasha [do what he did] with his creativity and the way he worked with Terra. I think Gleb did a phenomenal job with his creativity, and the dance of last season was the shower dance. Creatively, we had never done that before. As the season progressed, it was important that we had dancers push boundaries like that.

Um, hardly the dance of the season and yes, it has been done before. Both Derek and Val have used water (more than once!!) in their dances. Jaysus.

Courtney: Let me fix that for you, bruh – you misspelled “desperation” as “c-r-e-a-t-i-v-i-t-y”. I still maintain that the “shower dance” was the most overrated dance of the entire season – and if they really truly believe it was super-creative (and they might not, they could just be doing some serious bullshitting), then this show really is a dumpster fire. Oh, yay, “romance” – that sure doesn’t sound planned AT ALL, and I’m sure it will all unfold COMPLETELY ORGANICALLY WITHOUT ANY MANIPULATION WHATSOEVER!!! 😀 So a “fan favorite” will be back, eh? I’m hoping that’s Mark, just so the choreographic future of this show doesn’t rest solely on Lindsay & Sharna’s shoulders, although part of me wonders if they might actually be referring to Peta – which makes me groan a bit, because this woman birthed a baby just 8 days ago. As for Derek – hehehe. I caught a clip of him on ET a few weeks back where the interviewer asked him if he’d be back on DWTS next season, and he gave a bit of a wry laugh before saying “Ummm, no” and just leaving it at that. Definitely not the diplomatic tack he has taken in the past, and probably a good indicator that he’s washed his hands of DWTS once and for all…which we kinda already gathered from the way he’s quite publicly indicated he’s now on the NBC payroll. As for Nick – I don’t watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette/etc., so I don’t really know what this dude’s gig is…although I vaguely remember talk of him being a “villain” (or “Viall-in”…?) and some magazine asserting that he was well-endowed down yonder (which he probably paid them to say). Hasn’t he done like, three or four iterations of the Bachelor series by now? Is he trying to become a professional reality show contestant? Guess DWTS would be the next logical step there. Anywho, the other thing that sticks out is the word “nostalgia”, which concerns me a bit…haven’t we done a ton of reminiscing about previous seasons at this point? How many retooled versions of “Hey! Pachuco” do we really need? Or bumper dances by Alfonso, Kelly, & Meryl? Give Flo Henderson a nice tribute, and then be done with it. And where’s my damn Prince tribute?!!!

Vogue: Finally, a premiere date! It’s been so quiet, I was beginning to think there wouldn’t be a Spring season. 😯 Anyway, I’m excited that they have half of the cast picked already. After what Miss Heidi and Vin posted in the first rumor post on him, I’m all on for Nick Vaill and he’s cute. 🙂 I’m excited for any returning Pros from last season….especially Gleb (sorry Rob, my fave dance of the season was not the shower dance! Are you serious? How can you say that with the level of creativity we saw in all the freestyle performances? Gleb’s other dances were more worthy. 😐 ). I really enjoyed Cheryl last season as well. I’m hoping Peta will dance, but, I bet she’ll want to stay home with baby Shai for a while longer before returning. I wouldn’t be surprised if she skipped the Fall season too. But, I agree on Sasha. He was phenomenal last season. I really hope Mark comes back. Without Derek coming back (lol to Rob not mentioning the real reason.), it will be nice to have his creativity added and I missed him. As for Theme Weeks, I’m not a fan for the most part…but, I LOVED “Cirque De Soul” week and hope they do it again. Here’s to the new season…..and to creative, well thought out choreography and, please, no MANIPULATING!! With “World Of Dance” premiering (and possibly at the same time at some point this Spring), Dancing With The Stars will really have to step up their game. Isn’t that right~ And Court…. amen to a Prince tribute!

January 12, 2017 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Sharna Burgess Talks James Hinchcliffe and DWTS in New Interview

This is a fun interview!  I loved her partnership with James – I wish they would have won. That would have been a nice way to end that season – Laurie’s a sweet girl, but that ending was quite predictable. Do love her answers to the questions I quote below – I agree on both.  I think Julianne was a bit OTT – understandable, as it’s TV.  Anyway – from 24 Hours Toronto, here’s a excerpt. Click the link to read the whole thing.

Was he a natural on the dance floor? (He was called the best amateur male dancer ever on the show by judge Julianne Hough.) I wouldn’t agree that he was a natural talent. He was just an incredibly hard worker. At the start of every week, I would joke about how awkward it was. On Friday or Saturday, the light at the end tunnel shone and it clicked for him. But what made James great was his work ethic. The fact that he would watch videos with me; [make] notes with me; go home; practise on his own; and then come back the next day even stronger than he was in rehearsals – that was James’ asset.

Do you and the other female dancers on DWTS feel like you get your due given how some of the male dancers – Derek, Mark, Val and Maks – have become big stars outside of the show? Yeah, absolutely I do. It’s tough with the boys. Predominantly, our audience is women. And the boys, they all are very pretty. They’re all very talented. And I get it: We’ve got some incredible strong male dancers on the show. But I do think the ladies, we hold our own. We’re a group of very talented, strong women that like to get out there and do the very, very best that we can. I think we’re much more nurturing than the boys – but I think that’s a female quality.



January 5, 2017 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

PureDWTS Power Rankings Special – The Hairspray Live! Edition

Let it be known that this is the first time in PureDWTS history that my power rankings actually have nothing to do with DWTS 😛 But since some of you (bless your hearts and your desire to listen to me ramble on) requested it on Twitter, here it is – the first-ever non-DWTS edition of the power rankings!

So last night was Hairspray Live! on NBC – Vogue has spoiled all of us by and posted some post-show pix and media over at PDH if you want to check it out.  Overall, I liked the production – I didn’t love it, but I think a lot of that had to with the fact that I found myself mentally comparing it to the 2007 movie version of Hairspray quite a bit, and there were parts that I thought the movie did better, and parts that I thought the live show did better. This particular production seemed like it stayed more faithful to the play than the movie, although I did see them borrow from the movie at a few points, too.

So how am I going to parlay the power rankings into a pseudo-quasi review of the show? I’ve decided to look at the 11 main cast members and just analyze them (they’re really the only ones who had enough screen time for me to really judge).  I’m going to take into account how the character was handled within the context of the plot, as well as how that particular actor handled the role – and since nobody’s going home like on DWTS, just think of those at the top being the ones that handled it the best, and the ones at the bottom being the ones that fared the worst.  So away we go…

1-2.)  TIE: Derek Hough as Corny Collins and Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle Stubbs – I think these two are a prime example of what can be done when you take a relatively secondary character and just play THE SHIT out of it, to the point where you kinda steal the show from the main characters.  Surprising almost no one here (but likely quite a few folks who either didn’t know much about him, or people who were skeptical about him), Derek could not have impressed more as Corny – the dancing was there, the singing was there, and the acting was there.  I cannot recall another actor playing Corny that has been as athletic as Derek, and that likely helped a lot – Corny’s such a dynamic character, that you need someone that’s able to spin, pose, belt, pull faces, and point & wink without breaking a sweat and without getting winded.  That’s all that cross-training and stage experience coming into play 😉 While I actually found a lot of the choreography to be a bit kindergarten-y for D (but probably plenty difficult for everyone else), he was still dancing the crap out of it, and seemed to steal my eye in any scene where they had him doing any sort of dancing. Amber & Link may have been the “stars” of the Corny Collins show, but Corny himself was the one truly worth watching.  As for Jennifer – daaaaaaaaamn, girl. I think anyone who is able to bring not one, not two, but THREE cast members to tears while belting out “I Know Where I’ve Been” in a style that would make even Whitney Houston jealous deserves a standing ovation.  Maybelle is a character that doesn’t get a ton of screen time in the grand scheme of Hairspray Live! – but I’ll be damned if Jennifer didn’t make the most of every second she got on screen. I actually really liked how she played Maybelle more as a feisty young mother and business woman fighting for a better life for her kids, since most of the actresses that have played her seem to play her as a bit older, and more subdued & wise.  All I could think about after the show was how many roles on Broadway she would just SLAY – Big Mamma Morton in Chicago, Teen Angel in Grease, Justice in Rock of Ages, anything in Ain’t Misbehavin’, the list goes on. She’s got real chops when it comes to stage work, and I’d love to see her really establish herself on Broadway. If I had to give one of them the edge over the other, I’d probably say Jennifer because she had a bit more gravitas in her performance – Corny doesn’t have too much serious material to work with.  But both were standouts to me in a great way 🙂

3.) Kristin Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussel – This was once instance where I preferred the Hairspray Live! actor to the 2007 movie actor – I liked how Kristin played her a bit more zany and humorous, while I found Michelle Pfeiffer’s Velma to be a bit more…cold and serious.  She was also one of the few that seemed to have a good on-screen chemistry with those she was supposed to be playing off of – she did ok with Dove (which I think is more a result of Dove being a bit off her game), but I loved the banter she had with Derek on the Corny set…you can tell those two are good friends off-screen.  But chemistry goes a long way, and I actually was very entertained when I watched those two play off each other onscreen. Also liked that she got creative with the vocals – “Miss Baltimore Crabs” had me chuckling.  Kristin’s such a seasoned stage pro, though, that I didn’t expect anything else – killed it, and made me laugh 🙂

4.) Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad – To be fair, I feel like Edna is the role in Hairspray that usually stands the greatest likelihood of “stealing the show”, just by virtue of the novelty of it – it’s always played by a male actor in drag (with a LOT of padding), so right off the bat, the audience usually finds him/her hilarious. And Harvey was no exception – from Edna’s first line in that gruff, gravelly voice of his, I was entertained. But god bless Harvey, he makes one pretty hideous woman 😛 The makeup kinda reminded me of one of the makeover challenges on Rupaul’s Drag Race, where the queens are tasked with making over a regular guy into a drag queen in a limited amount of time – but it all just added to the overall campiness of the character, so it worked.  And I liked that he played Edna a bit louder and sassier than Travolta did in the 2007 version – I feel like Harvey’s Edna was a lot more “Baltimore”, while Travolta’s was more demure, quiet, and “Midwest”. Also loved the chemistry he had with Martin, and they both seemed to capture well the quirky affection Edna & Wilbur have for each other.  Good casting 🙂

5.) Ephraim Sykes as Seaweed Stubbs – I think Ephraim probably fared the best of the newcomers/unknown actors in this production – he’s another one that seems to be a triple threat (singer/dancer/actor) and didn’t struggle with onstage chemistry issues like several of the other newcomers.  He seemed to mesh well with Maybelle & Tracy, tried to vibe with Penny (but I blame the lack of spark more on Ariana), and stood out well in the dancing sections. Maybe didn’t stand out for me as much as, say, Lil Inez or Maybelle, but I was pleased nonetheless.  No complaints here 🙂

6.) Shahadi Wright Joseph as Lil Inez Stubbs – If you told me to pick one character from the show to give more screen time to, you wouldn’t even have finished your sentence before I said “LIL INEZ!!!” enthusiastically.  That little girl was giving me LIFE last night – adorable, energetic, and dancing her little heart out in “You Can’t Stop the Beat” in her little yellow dress.  Seriously, go re-watch that number – she is out-dancing most of the adults.  So it was kinda disappointing that they opted not to give her more screen time, like they did in the 2007 movie – in that version (spoiler alert), she actually is the one that ends up winning Miss Teen Hairspray when Link pulls her out onto the dance floor during the broadcast, and she gets a ton of phone votes by people impressed by her dance moves. I would have loved to have seen that in this version, if only to see Shahadi dancing more – plus I feel like this version ends just a bit too perfectly for Tracy, who ends up with the boy, the scholarship, the Miss Teen Hairspray title, etc., when all that really mattered to her was integrating the Corny Collins show.  Shahadi went above and beyond with the little screen time she was given – I just wish we could have gotten more.  But I daresay that girl has got a bright future ahead of her – real star-power, that one.

7.) Martin Short as Wilbur Turnblad – I only have one kinda strange gripe about this one: I almost feel like Martin is too “cool” to play Wilbur.  The thing about Wilbur, Edna, & Tracy is that they’re all square pegs – none of them really fit in, except with each other, and their weirdness is what bonds them together and makes them a family.  I think that’s why Christopher Walken worked so well as Wilbur in the movie – he was quirky enough that he carried off the offbeat-joke-shop-owner-with-a-daughter-and-a-wife-who-don’t-quite-fit-in-too role off well.  Martin Short has just reached a point that he’s so charismatic and at-ease with his humor that he seems a bit too normal to play Wilbur – there just wasn’t enough quirk there for me, although I did love his chemistry with Harvey.  I think Ty Burrell would have made a great Wilbur – he’s got enough of that nerdy vibe for me to buy him in that role.  But Martin did well, and there’s very little he does that I don’t enjoy.

8.) Maddie Baillio as Tracy Turnblad – It could just be that Tracy is the type of role with very little variation from actress to actress (same overall “look”), but while I don’t think Maddie did BAD, I don’t think she really did anything that really set her apart from other Tracy’s (like Ricki Lake & Nikki Blonsky).  Vocals were good, dancing was ok (she looked maybe slightly better than Dove – so generally not terribly confident or at-ease on the floor), acting was alright.  I think she tried to establish chemistry with Link, but he was just so damn flat that it all kinda fell apart.  I’m left without a whole lot to say about Maddie – she did good, but I don’t think she did outstanding.  I will give her props for coming into a huge national production as a relative unknown and doing as well as she did, but when we think back to all the actresses that played Tracy, I’m not sure I’ll remember her name.

9.) Ariana Grande as Penny Pingleton – I will say this: of all the characters that had to sing while doing heavy choreography during the show, Ariana was one of the only two actors who were actually managing to do both without appearing winded or their singing suffering (the other being Derek).  I would venture a guess it’s because she’s a highly trained vocalist who has probably gotten quite a bit of instruction on breath control.  And yes, she was probably the second-most talented vocalist in the cast, after Jennifer, and she sounded great – had she only had to sing, she would probably be much higher on this list; but she did actually have a pretty substantial speaking role, and the acting we saw was…tepid. I feel like she basically just rehashed this character she did on SNL (which someone on Twitter told me was basically her character from Victorious, too) and seemed too busy being awkward that it actually sabotaged any chemistry she might have had with Seaweed; Ephraim was giving good chemistry and trying to vibe off of her, but it seemed like Ariana got so caught up in being weird that she almost seemed afraid of him.  I much preferred Amanda Bynes’ take on Penny in the 2007 movie, where she managed to be awkward and dowdy while still having a good, flirtatious chemistry with Seaweed.  She’s an ok dancer, but if I were her, I’d stick to singing for now, and leave the acting and dancing to someone else.

10.) Dove Cameron as Amber Von Tussel – I had never heard of Dove prior to last night, and if someone hadn’t told me otherwise on Twitter, I would have guessed she was was primarily a singer that had little to no experience with acting or dancing, because she didn’t seem particularly confident in either one of those skills during the production.  Not much in the way of varying facial expressions, and seemed to be doing the dance moves pretty cautiously and timidly. Her interactions with other characters seemed a bit wooden, too – Kristin and Maddie were giving her plenty to work with, and Dove only seemed to kinda engage. Someone on Twitter mentioned that she may have been really nervous, because she’s usually quite a good performer, so I’m not sure what the deal was – she’s a very pretty girl, and she actually sounded great when singing (especially during “Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now”) but beyond that, I didn’t find anything about her performance to be remarkable.  Maybe she just needs to get used to live performances?

11.) Garrett Clayton as Link Larkin – Honest to god, I cannot think of a single memorable Link moment from last night’s show.  Perhaps it’s a combo of kinda robotic acting and a bit less of a front-and-center role than in the movie, but I almost feel like Link just got reduced to a stock character in this iteration of the musical – he was just there to kinda fill in the space of the dreamy male love interest for the female protagonist, and that’s about it. In the 2007 version of the movie (where Zac Efron played him), I feel like they at least made an effort to give Link more of his own identity – he was trying to become a rock star and had more performance numbers, you see him change his thinking about segregation, he makes a big move at the Miss Hairspray pageant that makes a statement, etc. In this version…he just seems to be following either Amber or Tracy around like a lost puppy, and there’s only a passing mention about him trying to get his “big break” on the Corny Collins Show. So to be fair – Garrett may not have had a ton of material to work with, but I found his acting to be unremarkable and kinda one-note. He just kinda seemed to be going through the motions, and didn’t really do anything to make the role his own.  And I’m not sure he could have had any less chemistry with Maddie if he tried – they felt more like two people on a mismatched blind date than teenagers in love.  Just…something really off about their vibe together.  I feel really bad saying that, considering they’re the two main characters, but I would argue that they had more screen time than the rest of the cast in order to establish chemistry…and they just couldn’t do it.

Other random thoughts about the show that don’t really fit anywhere else:

*Thinking through the celebrity cameos, I completely forgot about Rosie O’Donnell – probably because casting her as the slightly-butch gym teacher just seemed like wayyyy too much of a gimme. I would have rather had Ricki Lake play that role, instead of throwing a wig on her and shoving her in the background of one of the musical numbers to be forgotten.  Seeing her scold Tracy for her too-high hair could have been delightfully ironic 😉 Sean Hayes as Mr. Pinky? Didn’t even recognize him until 5 minutes after “Welcome to the 60’s” ended and it dawned on me. Would have rather seen Anderson Cooper play that one.

*Seemed like they were kinda rushing the curtain call and ended the show 5 minutes early…why? I have no idea, but it did make the ending feel a tad abrupt.

*The thing that has always bugged me about the original Hairspray script is the way that Penny’s mom has a sudden about-face in the finale about her daughter dating a “colored boy” and is suddenly thrilled to bits about it, after the very thought of such a thing nearly gives her the vapors earlier in the script.  While it’s a lovely (idealistic) notion to think of a family member letting go of a long-held prejudice simply because they see a loved one happy, it’s not realistic at all – I think that anyone that has grown up with a racist in their family can tell you that those tendencies don’t just change on a whim. I think the 2007 movie handled it more realistically – Penny’s mom sees her on TV, kissing Seaweed, and falls out of her chair in shock…and that’s it.  Better to leave it at that than either try to claim she suddenly came to accept it gracefully, or showing her dragging Penny home by her pigtails to beat her with a bible.

*Seemed like there were a few issues with the orchestra drowning out the vocals, particularly in “You Can’t Stop the Beat” and whatever the song was that Jennifer & Ariana sang during the curtain call.  I’m told that this was also an issue people noticed with Grease Live…maybe one of the caveats in filming on a huge back lot that has both indoor and outdoor sets? Hard to adjust orchestra volume?

So those are my thoughts…what are yours? Did you enjoy the show? Did you have a favorite character? What would you have done differently? Let’s hear it! 🙂

December 8, 2016 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, 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. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 23, Final Power Rankings – Who Will Win?

And so we wrap up another season of this show – and I’ll be honest: I’m pretty ready for it to be over.  On top of the general fatigue of writing each season, I’ve also been dealing with some medical issues (namely, trying to find a suitable form of prophylaxis for my migraines), additional stress at my 9-5 (the FDA just loves to make my job harder!), dating (something I haven’t done in quite awhile), the election and its fallout (just…ugh), and just a general uptick in the level of aggression and vitriol from some fans of the show…which is not quite as balanced-out by some awesome discussion with very intelligent, engaging fans of the show as it used to be.  I used to be able to say “Yeah, there’s assholes, but they’re far outnumbered by the number of really awesome people that I interact with as part of the show!” But at the rate the show is going, what with alienating core demographics with their manipulations and machinations in favor of pursuing more “desirable” demographics, they’re losing more and more of those really intelligent fans…and they’re gaining thin-skinned, entitled twatwaffles that label anything they don’t agree with as “bullying” and have a tendency to deliberately misinterpret things they either don’t like or aren’t quite smart enough to full comprehend.  The quality of discussion has really gone downhill…and I’m left in a similar position to how I was post-All-Stars: should I still be blogging this show? Or is it time to move on? It will be food for thought for me in the off-season, no doubt.

But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy this season – most of this season’s cast (minus maybe one celeb and one pro – not necessarily paired together) has been awesome to watch, and I even found myself liking Rick, Vanilla, Terra and Ryan far more than I thought I would! For what it’s worth, they found themselves a pretty likeable crop of celebs this season – people I could really pull for.  And a wicked little part of me got a kick tonight out of seeing basically everyone taking the mickey out of Carrie Ann’s inane lift-policing on live TV tonight 😛 It’s actually extra-funny to me, considering that I now find myself blocked on Twitter by Carrie Ann for asking if the lift police were off-duty last week (and admittedly, it was one of my tamer tweets!). Also nice having Len back, although I’m not sure his presence made a ton of difference in critiques & scoring – it was maybe SLIGHTLY less off-the-wall than normal, and things do get a little gushy & hyperbolic in the finals, anyway.  Train’s performance was weird and basically sampled “Heart & Soul” the same way that Pitbull samples pretty much every song popular in the 80s: poorly. Also found myself scratching my head at the La-La-Land performance. Erin, honey, you need to brush up on your A Christmas Story references – Randy can’t put his arms DOWN in the snowsuit, not up.  Pssssh, next thing you know, she’ll be mispronouncing “fragile” – it’s “fra-gee-lay”.  Which, of course, means it’s from Italy 😉 Can you tell I’m a fan?

Perhaps most satisfying was FINALLY seeing Jana given the boot, even if we were forced to endure yet another whiny, pity-party rehearsal package where she & Gleb bemoaned the various crap hands they’ve been dealt this season, from her rib injury to his flu virus, before witnessing two pretty gimmicky dances that didn’t leave a lasting impression. Her tango looked like just about every other dance she and Gleb did this season – too rushed, too trick-laden, too time-waste-y, too dramatic, and too bereft of solid, basic steps or good use of the floor (that damn platform needs to go).  Gleb, honey, your body of work this season has got me very, very worried for the future of this show if you really and truly are supposed to be the “new Derek” – you’ve been a one-trick pony, and you’re gonna have to be a jack-of-all-trades if you want to fill D’s shoes.  I’ll just say that Jana’s freestyle felt like the dance equivalent of a pumpkin spice latte: something pretty cliched that the average basic bitch probably loved, but wasn’t refined enough to realize is actually utter crap. It was a garden-variety contemporary, complete with over-the-top, angsty expressions and wild, flailing gestures, and with a gimmicky prop thrown in with a questionable degree of success.  Those two wrapping each other up in that diaphonous piece of fabric kinda reminded me of playing that Halloween party game where you wrap your friends up in toilet paper to look like mummies – it made me laugh but I couldn’t take it seriously 😛 Kinda like some of the lifts, where Jana got so much of a running start that I thought for sure she was gonna go for a full-on star lift or even the famous Dirty Dancing lift…and then she went for something…not very dramatic.  ‘Twas weird.  But anyway – I think it may have clearly illustrated to viewers that Jana really didn’t belong in the finale in the first place, and was a bit out of her element…the other 3 finalists danced circles around her last night.  I tend to think both Marilu and Terra could have given us more entertaining finale dances than Jana did.  But I will applaud her for how complimentary she was to the other 3 finalists when she got eliminated – I think she even knew that she was a bit in over her head, making it to the finals. Read more..

November 22, 2016 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, 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. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

Julianne Hough Chats On The Dancing With The Stars Finals At The American Music Awards

Julianne Hough was interviewed on the AMA’s Red carpet tonight. She chats on the Finals of Dancing With The Stars. She looks gorgeous as always too.

November 20, 2016 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

DWTS Season 23, The Semi-Finals – Dancing by the Numbers!

I find myself asking the exact same question that I’ve asked for the last couple weeks – does extreme pimpage (raving judges, over scoring, positive/mush/sentimental editing) work on an audience? I think it’s very clear that the answer is yes. Why? Trump. Enough said. And if they didn’t know that it worked, they wouldn’t do it so much.

But you have to wonder where the tipping point is: when do they go so far that the general viewer sees the man behind the curtain?? I mean, this past week the thing with Laurie was just…disgusting. Leave the poor child and her family to deal with their grief without making a public spectacle of it – that’s just distasteful. The raving over Jana – come on. The first part of the season I forgot she was even on the show. Boring. When does the general audience wake up and say, “dang, they’re really pushing so and so HARD.” Read more..

November 17, 2016 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

PureDWTS Season 23, Week 10 – Power Rankings

It’s nights like last night that make me seriously question why I continue to watch DWTS, let alone write about it – because there was some seriously skeezy, very manipulative stuff going on, and the agenda could not have been more clear.  Someone on Twitter asked me last week how we get our predictions about who’s going home/how the judges are going to score/who’s going to get pimped or hosed correct so often – and last night I found myself seriously questioning whether it’s the fact that we’ve been doing this for 7 years now, and just sharpen our skills each season…or if the show has just gotten more and more obvious with their agenda, thereby just making it that much easier to predict what’s going to happen.  It’s a very disconcerting thought to be having…

…so while we’re on the topic of disconcerting things we saw last night, I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way and leave it up to you whether you continue to read after this point or not: I was very, very disappointed (and kinda disgusted) with how Laurie’s package about her grandmother’s death was handled. And before some of you turn your moral outrage to a fever pitch, know this: BEING DISAPPOINTED IN LAURIE’S PACKAGE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW LAURIE HANDLED HER GRIEF, AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH HOW THE PRODUCERS EXPLOITED IT. The very fact that I have to even preface this commentary with that makes me seriously weary of how emotionally unintelligent some DWTS fans have become, as I witnessed on Twitter last night, and does not give me a whole lot of hope for continued intelligent discussion in future seasons. But I found the way they chose to hone in on Laurie crying, lamenting the fact that she didn’t get one more trip home to see her grandma, and then playing the clip of her grandmother wishing her good luck at the end seemed like “emotion porn” – taking Laurie’s genuine grief and cobbling it together in such a way that it seemed extra devastating, and only seemed to rub Laurie’s face in her own sorrow.  It looked like Val didn’t warn her not to watch the package before their foxtrot, because she did seem very thrown-off by it, and a little choked up during her dance.  So many people feel the need to remind me each week that Laurie “is only 16”; so yes – given that, maybe it wasn’t in the best taste of the producers to create a package that could very easily have compounded the poor girl’s guilt about not getting to see her grandmother one more time. Also saw a lot of folks on Twitter justifying it with “well they did the same thing to Bindi” –  sorry, but Bindi’s father had been gone for 9 years when she did her season; Laurie’s grandmother passed away just a few days ago.  Big difference in the way one interprets grief immediately after a death and then several years after a death, and Derek at least had the forethought to warn Bindi not to listen to her packages, lest they affect her performance. Laurie kinda got thrown headlong into it – she handled it well, but am I alone in thinking that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t in the best taste to create a package that hinged upon Laurie’s guilt about not getting more time with her grandmother…and then kinda ambushing her with it? It is possible to create a package with a theme of remembrance that doesn’t victimize those grieving – we’ve seen this show do it. And given that I’ve had people forwarding me links to interviews this morning where Val has said that he actually knew about Laurie’s grandmother dying BEFORE she did and that the interview with her grandmother happened 10 weeks ago (and not last week, as the package led us to believe), makes me all the more weary of how the show handled the whole thing.  It stinks…bad.

Moving right along to another bone of contention from last night’s show – wonky/inconsistent/agenda-filled scoring/judging that was clearly meant to shield some while disadvantaging others.  James got nitpicked, so as to justify not tying Laurie with a perfect score; Calvin got severely low-balled, so as to keep him from getting too close to Jana; Laurie got treated with kid gloves; Jana got overly kind scores & critiques.  The judges copped out and gave everyone the same score on their trio, which basically just made the margins a bit smaller – something that I don’t think would have happened if Len had been there, and needless to say I cannot WAIT to have him back next week…although I have to wonder if he will just follow the company line and only award 9’s & 10’s.  We had already kinda gotten the feeling that Terra was a goner headed into this week, and the fact that they gave her a perfect 60 for the night was the final nail in the coffin, I’m afraid – Rob Wade got his ideal finale, which did not include a little person who was actually more technically proficient than at least one of the finalists.  Sad to see Terra go, because she was a good dancer and I got the impression she really was having fun on the show – but as with many sh*ttastic things that happen on this show these days, not entirely unexpected. Read more..

November 15, 2016 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, 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. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog