If Kelly & Val are the couple in “puppy love” this season…then Apolo & Karina are the couple most likely to be lusting after one another, methinks ;-P There’s simply too many “meoooooowwww” moments in this clip to list them all – trust me, you need to just watch…and giggle like a schoolgirl, like Karina. The couple hit up Access Hollywood yesterday to chat about their chemistry, their hip-hop routine, and…”man Kegels”??? 😯
Ok, you all know I’m not typically the type to swoon over the male pros/celebs on DWTS (the female pros? That’s another story 😉 ). But something about Apolo in this clip – and just in this season, in general – makes me want to climb all over him like a jungle gym. He’s definitely grown ‘n’ sexy, and has a wicked, saucy sense of humor that seems to make Karina melt like a popsicle on the 4th of July 😛 The hapless hosts just keep inadvertently asking some eyebrow-raising questions – and Apolo just keeps answering with zinger after zinger, without missing a beat. And Karina rolls with it just as well! After titillating us with innuendo about 50 Shades of Grey, “hooking up”, and who has more stamina, Apolo also talks about the differences between being partnered with Julianne vs. Karina (“She was only 18, we were not hooking up!”), and Gilles’ quest for the MBT (“He’s got his fangs out!”), and the two also chat briefly about their hip-hop routine this week – Karina says Apolo’s going to be choreographing some of it, and Apolo’s ready to “show everyone his hip-hop side”. I think I’m most excited for their routine next week – not only because Apolo seems really excited about it, but because they got an AWESOME song…which we will be spoiling at some point this weekend. Keep your eyes peeled 😎
The two also briefly weighed in on Drew & Helio’s somewhat surprising eliminations, and Bristol’s staying power…I kind of love their facial expressions when talking about Bristol :-P:
So who else is TeamOhYes? Or at least Team “I Wouldn’t Kick Apolo Out of Bed For Eating Crackers”? 😉
As many of you already know, Paula Abdul is going to be saddling up to the judges’ table as a guest judge next week. She took a moment to chat with Access Hollywood after the show Tuesday night about what we can expect from her as a judge:
First impression? Paula’s a little out of it, as always, and from the way she makes it sound, she’s probably going to be pretty lenient in her scoring, since she doesn’t really have a background in ballroom…although that won’t likely matter this coming week, as no one is really doing “real ballroom”, save for Shawn & Derek. As I said to someone on Twitter last night – “I bet they don’t even bother giving her any paddle lower than an 8.5!” Other predictions? Her critiques are probably going to be kinda awkward & rambling, and I’m betting Tom is going to have to cut her off at least once. Hope you’re armed with plenty of clever exit strategies, Berge 😉 Later in the interview, they also ask Paula what she thinks about the current season of X-Factor (with new judges Demi Lovato & Britney Spears – replacements for Paula & Nicole Scherzinger) and the feuding between judges Mariah Carey & Nicki Minaj on American Idol – both questions she politely dodges. 😛
For those of you who’ve expressed curiousity as to how the presence of an extra judge could affect the results this coming week, check out this “By the Numbers” post Heidi did back in week 7 of season 12 (“Ballroom Greats” week), when famed Latin dancer Donnie Burns was a guest judge. It pretty clearly illustrates how 3 judges vs. 4 judges can affect scoring. The biggest impact will be that the overall point total will increase – which will decrease the margins between points, and actually make it easier to cover the spread. So for those of you hoping for Bristol to get ousted – I wouldn’t get your hopes up But who knows…maybe Paula will be off her meds and really gouge Bristol’s score. A girl can dream 😀
Court here, filling in for the “Voguecationing” Vogue 😎 I know I’m not as good at these as she is, but I’m gonna give it the old college try in her absence! And just hope that she comes back to us soon We miss you, Vogue!!!
Making the rounds after their heartbreaking (and premature, IMO) double elimination last night, Drew & Anna and Helio & Chelsie chatted first with On the Red Carpet:
They also chatted with Access Hollywood about their early ouster. God love Helio, he has got to be one of the most gracious, positive people I think we’ve ever had on the show – he seems to be taking it all in stride and is just grateful for the opportunity to return. Drew seems to be taking it a little bit harder – even though I think he knew it was coming, doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt any less. Anna also seems to be pretty upset about it.
The last stop of the evening was Jimmy Kimmel – by that point, I think everyone was getting a little tired & slap-happy and were just tryng to have fun 😛 :
UPDATE: You can check out Drew & Anna, Helio & Chelsie getting interviewed by Ann Romney on GMA this morninghere. I think the interview gets a little awkward & choppy due to the delay in the feed between NY & LA (and Ann just being kind of new at the whole interviewing thing), but Drew obviously has a bone to pick with the judges for their scores…can’t say I blame him.
I’m actually really sad to see these two go – they were two of the bright spots for me each week, even if they weren’t the best dancers, because I could tell they were working hard and having fun…unlike some others this season 😯
Ok guys, I’m gonna enlist your help – if you happen upon any other elimination interviews that I haven’t already posted, go ahead and post the LINK ONLY (don’t embed it, it makes the comments go all wonky) in the comments section and I will add it. I dunno how Vogue does it – I have a whole new appreciation for how thorough and comprehensive her coverage is. I can barely keep up! 😛
In his Access Hollywood interview from after Monday night’s show, Mark explained his reasons for “breaking hold” in he in Bristol’s quickstep – and he also insinuated that a few other couples also broke hold in their quicksteps this week, yet didn’t get called out by the judges. So it got me thinking: did the judges, indeed, turn a blind eye to some couples’ rule-breaking, while calling out others?
First, a little bit of background as to why breaking hold in quickstep is such a big deal. Earlier this year, I went into detail about it in one of my “Ask Courtney” posts – the basic gist is that quickstep is the only ballroom dance on DWTS that is only danced in the International Standard style, in which you cannot break hold at all, and they’ve carried that rule over to DWTS. I personally think it’s kind of a dumb rule, considering that DWTS is not a real ballroom competition (and never will be), and considering that you can break hold in the waltz, foxtrot, Viennese waltz, and sometimes tango (the last one is whole different debate). Read more..
We’re finally here! Premiere day at last If you haven’t yet, go ahead and check out Heidi’s “Who’s Dancing What…And When?” post to get the low-down on the performance order tonight, the voting phone numbers, and possibly a few spoilers on the music some of the couples are dancing to 😉
Today, I take on the final (and most recent) celeb on my series examining the highs & lows of the all-stars’ original seasons – Kirstie Alley. And if you want to get all fancy and read all the previous editions before the premiere (overachiever ;-)), you can check them out here.
For Kirstie’s best dance, I picked her cha-cha:
And for her worst dance, I picked her jive:
I know some of you are thinking “But Kirstie’s cha-cha wasn’t even her highest-scoring dance!!!” But I have always thought of it as Kirstie & Maks’ magnum opus of season 12 – a dance that showcased not only Kirstie’s dance skills but also her incredible ability to entertain. She may not have been the best technician (but she certainly wasn’t the worst that season, either), but what she lacked in technique she more than made up for in performance – even in her worst dance, she still managed to stay entertaining & fun to watch. And very theatrical One thing that always astonished me about Kirstie in season 12 was that, despite acknowledging that she was overweight and out-of-shape, she always seemed so light on her feet and still moved with a ton of precision – it kinda reminded me of Warren Sapp, who was a BIIIIIIG man but who was often more graceful than some of the men half his size. Just because you may not have the perfect body, does not mean your movement quality has to suffer
However, there was one drawback to Kirstie’s physical condition that did seem to hinder her, and that I worry might still be a problem this season: endurance. I think we all were dreading the week in season 12 that Kirstie got jive, because we had seen how winded she got doing much slower dances, such as the samba. And unfortunately, I don’t think those fears were unfounded – Kirstie did seem to struggle with keeping up with the speed of the jive, and never seemed to really get the bounce in her step that makes jive so fun to watch. The choreo probably wasn’t the best, either, but that’s one dance where I can’t really blame Maks for taking so long to get into the dance – if your partner has bad endurance and probably won’t make it through a full-lenth 1:30 routine, try to put as little jive into it as possible, and as many rests into it as will fit. I know Kirstie’s in much better shape this time around, but is she going to be able to contend with seasoned athletes like Apolo, Emmitt, and Shawn? Or younger, more resilient contestants like Kelly & Melissa? I’m not so sure. Thankfully, she will get jive out of the way early this time – so if she does struggle with it, she may still be safe.
So what has Kirstie been up to in the year & a half since her original season? She did sponsor a “100 Days of Dance” campaign for her organic food line, Organic Liasion, last summer. Here’s a video of her dancing a Viennese waltz with “Johnny Boy”…I’m a bit partial to it for obvious reasons ;-):
Court’s verdict: Kirstie’s off-the-wall antics and showmanship could keep her in the competition for awhile – but she will need to work on endurance and her overall physical fitness in order to give some of the athletes a run for their money.
We’re mere days away from the premiere of the all-star season – who’s getting pumped??? I find myself surprisingly excited about it, given that I was feeling pretty ho-hum about it only a few months back. Be sure to keep a close eye on Heidi’s “Who’s Dancing What” post – you never know when someone’s cha-cha song or dance order or phone number might pop up 😉 #justsayin
Anywho, if you’re feeling nostalgic, you can view all of the previous editions of this series here. Now buckle in, kids, because I’m about to tackle the ups and downs (but mainly just downs…) of the most polarizing contestant in DWTS history: Bristol Palin.
For Bristol’s best dance, I picked her tango:
As her worst dance, what else could I pick but that god-awful monkey suit jive?:
Ok, I will admit that Bristol is not the worst dancer we’ve ever seen on the show (I think’s a dubious honor reserved for Master P, with Kate Gosselin as the runner-up). On the contrary, I actually thought she was relatively good the first few weeks of the competition – I even threw a few votes her way in week 1. I think what ended up getting to me as the season wore on, though, was the fact that all the other contestants seemed to be improving by leaps & bounds…while Bristol just seemed to barely muddle through some of the dances, and hit a bit of a plateau in terms of improvement. To add insult to injury, we were losing MUCH better dancers each week that Bristol remained – and by the time the finale rolled around, Bristol seemed to have developed a sense of entitlement, and copped an attitude when she wasn’t getting the 9’s and 10’s she felt she deserved. In the end, she just left a bad taste in my mouth, even if some of her dancing really wasn’t all that bad. SOME. In rewatching a lot of Bristol’s dances, I noticed that she tended to do MUCH better when she was able to stay in-hold for the bulk of it – so most of the ballroom dances she did went quite a bit more smoothly than the Latin ones. I don’t know if Mark holding onto her and leading her so directly helped improve her confidence or what, but she moved a lot more cleanly & clearly in dances like the tango – no missed steps, she stayed on time, and had pretty good posture. And I blame Mark for the silly air guitar break in the middle 😛
On the other hand, in dances where she had to separate from Mark and do some of the dance on her own, she either barely muddled through or seemed to fall apart completely – case in point? The dreaded monkey suit jive. Right off the bat, she seemed to blank on a good 10-15 seconds of side-by-side jive choreo. Then, once the suit came off (and even that was pretty rough), she never seemed to get 100% into the groove of the dance, and always seemed like she was 1 step behind or ahead of Mark. And although we kind of expected it, based on her complete lack of experience in performing, Bristol wasn’t exactly the best at connecting with the character of a dance – and when she didn’t know what to do, she seemed to resort to an expression that reminded her of back home in Alaska: deer in the rifle sights 😉 Maybe this time around, she’ll be a bit more comfortable and will be able to let loose and have fun. Or not…who knows. I’m still of the opinion that she likely won’t last past the midpoint of the competition, this time around – she’s up against much better dancers with much bigger fanbases, and I daresay she’s lost a bit of that “single teen mom” appeal she had 2 years ago. Will be interesting to see what Mark is able to conjure up…
Court’s verdict: Probably the weakest all-around performer/dancer this season, and Mark needs to work on getting her performance value up to snuff…as well as making sure she knows her choreography and is confident enough to not forget it. She should probably also work on her media presence – she needs to be as likeable as possible if she wants to stand a chance against some of the more popular contestants.
For Pam’s best dance, I picked her famous “9 to 5” quickstep:
And for her worst dance, I picked her waltz:
I’ll be honest: I don’t think Pam is a GREAT dancer. I’d even go so far as to say that, besides Kelly & Bristol, she is probably one of the weaker dancers this season. But there is something about her that is just so FUN to watch – she may have been totally missing steps and getting off-time in that quickstep, but to see her bobbing around and smiling so big and having a great time doing it, I was mesmerized. Ditto for any of her other dances – she got so into the character of her cha-cha, foxtrot, rumba, paso doble, and Argentine tango that it didn’t seem to matter as much to me if she was wobbling awkwardly or missing steps. She was just fun to watch. That’s not to say that I was completely able to overlook her snafus, though – on the whole, I really liked Pam, but she always struck me as a bit of a stiff mover, even though she was really quite flexible. And when she wasn’t able to completely connect to the character of her dance (such as in her waltz), she seemed to look a bit aloof and lost. Her waltz, while not technically bad, just felt bland and chilly to me. I get the feeling that she’s someone whose performance hinges greatly upon playing a character – and if she can’t really play one, she’s just kinda…there.
Now unlike some of her cohorts this season, Pam has actually done something in the past year to hone her dance skills that I think may come in handy. As Vogue (and reader Carlos) reported last summer, Pam competed on the Argentine version of DWTS, Bailando por un Sueño, with Damian – here they are doing what looks to be a paso doble:
Granted, they did withdraw in week 4, but I still say that any contestant this season that has somehow managed to do some dancing within the last year or so (even better if they did more ballroom) is probably going to have at list a little bit of a leg up on those who haven’t danced at all since their original season.
Court’s verdict: Pam’s not the strongest dancer, but I do think she’s fun to watch – and that could keep her around for at least a little while. Bonus points if she can connect well to both the dance and her partner.
What do you guys think of Pam? Is she going to stick around awhile…or be out early, as she was in the Argentine verison of the show?
First off, a bit of an apology for my week-long hiatus from this series – between my 9-5 and the heinous betch that Who Wore it Better? turned out to be, I was pretty well spent by the time I got home each night last week…and let’s just say my creativity wasn’t exactly at its peak. But I’m back now, and going to try and finish the last 4 editions (and a few other items) before the premiere. Procrastinators of the world, unite…tomorrow 😉
For Shawn’s best dance, I chose her cha-cha to “P.Y.T.”:
And for her worst dance, I picked her Lindy hop:
Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of Shawn’s dancing – don’t get me wrong, I think she’s a great role model for young girls and a sweetie pie to boot. But rewatching all of her dances, I’m not just wowed by any of them – but thankfully, I’m not hugely let down by them, either. I guess the best way I can sum up my opinion of Shawn in season 8 is this: she was a hard worker & a good natural mover who, for the most part, seemed to let Mark drive the bus – she always struck me as very pleasantly going along with whatever theme/choreography/costume/etc. Mark threw at her, without really adding any of her own input. Disagree if you like, but I just felt like Shawn (maybe out of youth) was just a bit of a pushover that season – and consequently, I don’t think she ever really connected deeply with a lot of her routines. It could be the gymnast in her, too – kind of a poker face to get through each event. So I guess my primary hope for her this season is that she gets to give a bit more input into her routines, and can connect with them on a more personal level – and perhaps get a bit more mature with her choreo 😉 That said, I do think she is a good mover – she doesn’t seem to have any issues with timing or range of motion, and is one person that does seem to know exactly how to style her arms for each dance. However, I think she may face a bit of the same problem that Drew will: she’s just so LITTLE. At less than 5′, even moving with her full range of motion is probably not going to look as impressive and “big” as it will on someone willowy, like Melissa. Even in “P.Y.T.”, which I consider to be the best combination of dance skill & performance quality we saw from Shawn in season 8, her legs just can’t seem to get that same eye-catching bending & straightening action that makes cha-cha so appealing when a person with longer legs does it. I just hope Derek has some tricks up his sleeve that can help Shawn’s lines look as LONG as possible. As for her worst dance – I actually have to kinda blame that one on Mark. While I don’t think she really had any heinously bad dances on her season, I do think there were a few where Mark’s quest for eye-catching, creative choreo may not have showcased Shawn in the best way. Their Lindy was a prime example – he seemed to rely too heavily on her gymnastic skills, and off-the-wall tricks to sell that one. Too bad the judges weren’t buying it. I hope that Derek knows better than to do that this season, but with the level of competition as high as it is, I worry that all the pros may feel the need to “up their game” to stick around – and it may not always pay off.
Court’s verdict: If Shawn can mature a bit in her dancing and work on injecting some more of her personality into it (and Derek knows how to showcase her well), then she could be a contender.
You guys know the drill by now – check out the Melissa Rycroft edition and you can backtrack back to all the rest of the previous editions 😉 Today we finish up with this season’s guys by taking a look at Gilles…
I picked Gilles’ Argentine tango as his best dance:
And as his worst dance, I picked his jive:
No doubt, Gilles has got the full package (no pun intended…): he’s got the stage presence, he’s got great technique, and he’s got an amazing personality to boot. I still think his Argentine tango is one of the most impressive we’ve ever seen on the show – and that’s a big credit, considering season 8 was the first season that Argentine tango was performed on the show (and consequently, some of the pros were left a bit clueless as to what to do), and Gilles & Cheryl’s routine wasn’t particularly flashy or chock full of lifts, like so many we’ve seen in recent seasons. What made it great was it was a good, simple, well-executed routine in which they really focused on the character of the dance, rather than going for every flashy, impressive step they could find. I think almost all of Gilles’ routines are the perfect example of how you don’t need a bunch of flash & trash to get good scores – if you’re focused enough on the dance itself that you can make every step speak volumes. Gilles is a technician – and he’s a HUNGRY technician, who is highly motivated to do well this season. While I think every contestant is going to need some degree of “hunger” to do well this season, I fear that Gilles’ hunger could end up hurting him in the end – such is the case with his jive. I think it’s apparent from the rehearsal footage that Gilles was just not having an easy time with the jive, and it was really getting to him. I don’t think it helped much that Cheryl seemed to throw everything but the kitchen sink into this routine, and wasn’t exactly a nuturing partner when Gilles was really struggling – but what became apparent in the dance itself was that Gilles was just pushing himself too hard, and I really think it ended up causing him to falter. The guy that was always in rhythm and in the pocket was suddenly off-time missing steps, and worst of all? He didn’t look like he was enjoying himself anymore. The dance just became a Herculean task to complete. And I think that’s one possible hurdle Peta’s going to have to contend with this season – Gilles’ tendency to push himself so hard that he stops enjoying himself. Gilles seems more determined than ever to win this time around – and it’s bordering on Brandy Syndrome (being so desperate to win that it actually becomes off-putting). Being so intensely focused on the end goal can often result in couples losing sight of what’s important – having fun. A couple can dance a routine flawlessly, but if they look like they’re getting a root canal while they’re doing it? Fuggeddaboudit.
In some ways, I think Gilles getting Peta instead of Cheryl may actually be beneficial – I know I’ve expressed some skepticism about the whole Gilles/Peta partnership, but after watching Cheryl’s demeanor in she in Gilles’ rehearsal videos (and watching footage of Peta with Donald last season), I think Peta may actually be more effective in keeping Gilles’ feet on the ground and reminding him to enjoy himself. I almost think a repeat Gilles/Cheryl partnership would be so determined to win that the end result would be kind of scary-focused on the dance floor – and they’d lose a lot of the appeal they had the first time around. I just hope Peta doesn’t get excited puppy syndrome because she’s got such a skilled partner, and proverbially pee all over the dance floor by trying to cram as many impressive & difficult steps into their routines as possible. Not everyone can handle a Nicole Scherzinger-level of choreographic difficulty.
Court’s verdict: Unlike many of the other contestants this season, I think Gilles’ biggest struggle is just going to be letting loose and not taking himself too seriously. It’s going to be up to Peta to keep him on the right track and enjoying myself, while forging a good chemistry and not trying too hard to choreograph a bunch of crazy stuff to get the judges’ and viewers’ attention. QUALITY, not quantity.
Now let’s hear your thoughts on Gilles. Do you think he can finally nab the MBT with Peta…or will he flame out in the process?