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The Top 5 Best First Week Foxtrots in DWTS History

This is a little later than I originally intended, but alas, life throws us curve balls from time to time :-) As promised, here are my top 5 first week foxtrots in DWTS history…maybe something we’ll see tomorrow night will bump one of these from the list! Or maybe it will make the worst list instead…8O But how ’bout some more foxtrot stats first?

*There is a 5-way tie for the pro that has done the most week 1 foxtrots: Maks, Tony, Jonathan, Edyta, & Mark have all done the foxtrot in the first week 3 times.

*The highest first-week foxtrot score ever given was 27 – it was given to Kristi & Mark in season 6.

*The average score for a week 1 foxtrot is 19.14. The score given most often in week 1? 18.

5.) Helio & Julianne, season 5

I just loved how cute these two were together – it also didn’t hurt that Helio had a good deal of natural talent :-) And in what you’ll see to be a recurring theme in this countdown, it was a very traditional foxtrot, which was comprised mainly of foxtrot steps with a little bit of jazzy open work thrown in.  There’s something to be said for staying in the box from time to time, kids!

4.) Laila & Maks, season 4

Another very natural mover – Laila just made everything look so EASY.  I think a lot of her appeal in her season was that sense of ease, and it really came in hand in a dance like the foxtrot, where everything is supposed to have a gliding, walk-in-the-park kind of feel.  Just the little bit of sass thrown in just made it perfect for week 1. Read more..

March 19, 2012 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

The Top 5 Worst First Week Foxtrots in DWTS History

So the other day, we counted down the top 10 worst first week cha-cha’s in DWTS history. As you can see, we only have a top 5 for this countdown – probably because there have only been 37 week 1 foxtrots in the history of the show, and the bulk of them are neither good nor bad…but just hard to remember :-P Only a handful have stuck out in my memory as notable – and those are the ones you are seeing :-) But first, some factoids for your enjoyment…

*The foxtrot has only been used as a week 1 dance in 7 seasons: seasons 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, & 12.  The other seasons have either had a waltz (seasons 1, 2, & 8) or a Viennese waltz (seasons 10, 11, 13) as the week 1 ballroom dance.  Season 9 had both the foxtrot and the Viennese waltz as first week ballroom dances.

*The lowest week 1 foxtrot score ever given was a 13 – it was given to Mike & Lacey in season 12.

*Besides the 3 newest pros (Val, Tristan, & Peta), the only pro this season that’s never done the foxtrot as a regular week 1 dance is Derek – unless you count the foxtrot relay in season 9 (I don’t, because it was only 30 seconds ;-)).

5.) TIE: Sara & Tony, season 3 and Leeza & Tony, season 4


Zzzzzzzz….uh, um, what? Sorry, fell asleep – thought I was watching paint dry, at the rate these foxtrots were moving! I’m not sure if these ladies thought they would shatter into a million pieces if they moved more than an inch or two, but there was just so little going on in these numbers – just some very slow strolling and painfully cautious turns.  The foxtrot is already a pretty simple dance, so it’s up to the pros and their celeb partners to inject some much-needed jazz into it to make it entertaining…and when they don’t, you get these sleepy, unremarkable foxtrots that I bet half of you probably didn’t remember.

4.) Rocco & Karina, season 7

Rocco seemed like a really nice guy, but he was pretty dorky on the dance floor :-P You could tell he was really trying as he bobbed and skipped and flailed his platter hands across the floor here, but he also had the “I feel like a massive tool” look on his face the whole time.  Granted, I think both he & Karina were nervous about her ankle injury earlier that day, but honestly – Rocco was just not a dancer.  Sorry, dude.. Read more..

March 14, 2012 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

The Top 10 Worst First Week Cha-Cha’s in DWTS History

Ahhhh, yes – the cha-cha.  The only first week dance that has remained the same in all 14 seasons of the show - they’ve often vacillated between the waltz, foxtrot, and Viennese waltz as the first week ballroom dance from season to season, but they’ve always had the cha-cha as a week 1 Latin dance.  That’s 75 regular week 1 cha-cha’s (I’m not counting the cha-cha relay from season 9 - the scoring is too funky) for me to run the stats on, to give us an idea of what we might expect in the coming week :-) So before I run down the list of the biggest “Oh god, that was baaaaaad!” week 1 cha-cha moments, here are a few interesting cha-cha stats:

*The lowest cha-cha score in DWTS history is 12 – and it’s a 3-way tie between Master P & Ashly, Tucker & Elena, and Jeff & Edyta.  Two of the couples were eliminated the first week of their respective seasons – and all 3 female pros are no longer on the show :-) (ok, that last one was probably not a direct cause of a bad cha-cha, but just an interesting coincidence ;-))

*Five former DWTS champions did cha-cha as their week 1 dance (Drew, Emmitt, Apolo, Brooke, & Hines).

*The pro who’s done the most week 1 cha-cha’s is Cheryl – she’s started 9 of her 12 seasons on the show with a cha-cha.

*A female celeb didn’t dance the cha-cha as a week 1 dance until season 5 – up until that point, the ladies had always done a ballroom dance the first week, and the men had always done cha-cha.

Now…without further ado…I give you the worst week 1 cha-cha’s in DWTS history :-) Season 14 celebs, pay attention! This is for your own good…do not try to emulate these routines!

10.) Clyde & Elena, season 4

I never got the feeling that Clyde was actually making a genuine effort during his season, really.  I think his handlers probably signed him up for the show just to get him some exposure, and it was never something Clyde really wanted to do – he just seemed to do the bare minimum each week and probably hoped to get voted off quickly. His whole “outrage” over Len pointing out that some couples weren’t practicing enough just really made me think that Clyde the Glide doth protest too much – he wasn’t putting in the hours and he knew it.  On top of the apathy, there was a huge height difference between he & Elena, and at 6’7″, he was generally just kinda ungainly…add that altogether and you’ve got a cha-cha that’s just kind of an awkward non-event.

9.) Billy Ray & Karina, season 4

I’m not sure who I feel worse for here – Billy Ray or Karina.  Billy Ray really was kind of ”a left-footed hillbilly from Kentucky” (his own words), and this cha-cha was a pretty hot mess.  I like to call this “drunk uncle at a wedding” dancing - some random grooving & flailing & forgotten footwork from Billy Ray while Karina did some cha-cha around him.   But I will say this – unlike Clyde, who had probably phoned it in before the season even started, I do think Billy Ray was giving it his all the entire season.  This poor guy REALLY wanted to do well for Karina, and he did put in the effort – but some people are just not natural dancers, and Billy Ray is unfortunately in that camp. Read more..

March 12, 2012 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS Season 14 – The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate, Part I

WARNING: If you came here to seriously bitch & moan about how so-and-so has an unfair advantage due to their previous dance experience and how you’re boycotting the show and yadda yadda yadda – look elsewhere :-) We’ve been doing this for a few seasons now, and here’s the gist: many of the celebs on the show have at least SOME dance experience coming into the show – be it good or bad…and often, comically bad.  Hence the quotations around the title – this is a very tongue-in-cheek post, kids.  ;-)

Today we’re gonna take a look at this season’s male celebs, and see just exactly how much hoofin’ they’ve done in the past and discuss what it might mean for them on the show – and we’ll probably point & laugh and generally act like teenage boys in our commentary. 8-)

First up, let’s take a look at Jack Wagner, who is perhaps best known as Frisco Jones from the soap opera General Hospital from 1984-95.  Jack’s also a musician, and this clip is montage of Frisco & his on-screen (and former off-screen!) love, Felicia, dancing to his song “Dancing in the Moonlight”:

Court: Ahhh, the magic of VHS recordings back in the 80s & 90s…such a crisp picture. :-) Overall, a lot of soap opera-y swaying, with a little bit of goofball pseudo-swing dancing and fake tango thrown in…although some of what he was doing looked like it could have almost been west coast swing.  Hmmm.  Think he could get Anna to recreate that fake tango he did with Felicia, complete with a beret and French mustache? :-P

Heidi: When are they going to start dancing? What?

Vogue: Wow, let Jack wine and dine me anytime. :mrgreen: But, seriously, if Jack can turn on the charm and romance as we see in the video above, can you imagine what his Waltz’s (or anything he dances to for that matter) are going to be like? *faints and fans myself*

The verdict: Only soap operas can make non-dancing look so..electrifying.

Now let’s take a look at Gavin DeGraw, who admittedly doesn’t do a whole lot of dancing, but rather “rhythmic swaying” during an impromptu version of Creedance Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” during a live show (skip to the 2:20 mark):

Heidi: Nice pack…um….yeah, he’s aright.

Vogue: Uh oh, watch out for a killer and wicked Samba if nothing else. 8O

Court: I don’t know about you guys, but when I get the uncontollable urge to sing Tina Turner songs, I doff my guitar and start dancing like a drunken gypsy.

The verdict: Just say no to random Tina Turner covers, kids.

Up next we have Donald Driver, who, like many NFL players, seems to have his own brand of “touchdown dance”:

Vogue: Who needs Victor Cruz when we’ve got this guy instead? SERIOUSLY!! The Cruz for the Driver!! :)

Court: Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle…he’s sexy & he knows it. That dance looks vaguely peacock-ish – like he’s showing us his fancy feathers.

Heidi: And the feathers are, like, really small cuz we only get a wiggle with a swing of about an inch and a half. :-)  Or would it be really big feathers and you only have to do a tiny wiggle to get lots of feather shaking?? :::confused:::

Courtney: It’s the latter, dear.  Peacocks’ feathers span out so far that it kinda makes them top-heavy - if they shake ‘em too hard, they fall over.  I’ve witnessed it ;-)

The verdict: Is Donald brave enough to let us see his peacock? ;-)

Our next contestant is this season’s resident heartthrob, William Levy, who is probably best known for being J. Lo’s man candy in her “I’m Into You” video.  But alas, some semi-rhythmic writhing on a beach doesn’t really count as “dancing”, so I found this clip, which appears to be from some telenovela – it’s completely in Spanish and it looks to have Russian or Greek subtitles (WTF?), but the basic gist appears to be that he and another beefcakey guy had their car break down on a dirt road, some other considerably less-beefcakey guy tried to fix it and failed, but thankfully a taxi full of middle-aged female tourists was driving by and stopped to offer assistance (and ogle the shirtless beefcakes)…and whilst fixing the car, the urge to dance hits William and he does a brief bit of salsa with one of the tourist ladies (1:39 mark):

Court: Telenovelas are funny :-P I have no idea what the hell they’re saying, but the minute I heard one of the tourists yell “Guapo!” and gesture towards the 2 shirtless men -  I knew it was on, senor.  Gotta say – William doesn’t look totally inept.  He’s probably done at least a little salsa & merengue in his day – kinda like JR.  But he’s also a model, so he’s probably more used to standing still that moving around.  I predict lots of posing and Cheryl dancing around him this season :-)

Heidi: He’s the one in the hat? Yeah…no fanbase in the US but it might not matter. :-) But he better be the second coming of Gilles. He had relatively little competition.

Vogue: I predict right now that William Levy will be one of the sexiest male dancers to have ever graced the Dancing With The Stars stage. What’s more, it will be a “natural” kind of sexy that he can’t help. He just has that “look” to melt hearts. If Cheryl can find a way to capitalize on that and make him into a dancer, watch out.

The verdict: William es un chico muy guapo! Mis pantalones estan en fuego!!!

We’ve saved the 2 strongest contenders for last.  First, let’s take a look at Roshon Fagen, who busts some pretty impressive moves at the end of a Radio Disney interview on the set of Shake it Up (2:00 mark):

And then Roshon assures us that he gets “Down on the Dance Flo” in this music video:

Heidi: Dude’s voice hasn’t even changed yet.  :-)  Also not impressed with his dancing here – mainly because someone was saying he’s a trained dancer. Trained in what kind of dancing, I have to ask.

Vogue: He’s young. He has lots of energy to burn. What’s more, he’s refreshing. I think Roshon is going to be a huge contender in this competition.

Court: Maybe formal hip-hop training? Idk…I don’t really know if there is such a thing. Ooh, that’s a hefty promise, Roshon – promising you get down on the dance floor? I hope you’re ready to deliver :-) Kid can certainly move, but can he translate that gyrating into a foxtrot? A waltz?

The verdict: Kid’s got potential…but can Chelsie harnass it?

Last but certainly not least, we have Jaleel White, who already seems to be the favorite to win this season for many of us.  Since Jaleel is best known from his days as Steve Urkel from Family Matters, I simply have to include a clip of his famous “Urkel dance” – which, surprise surprise, I cannot find an embedabble copy of him doing the original one on YouTube, so here he is doing it as Al’s date to the dance on Step By Step during a crossover episode (if you want to see the original, go here.) :

And more recently, here he is cutting a rug in Cee Lo Green’s “Cry Baby” video:

Vogue: I’m impressed. He’s got it all and a ‘smoothness” to boot. What’s more, I felt an automatic attraction with he and Kym during the cast announcement. This is going to be good. I’m really looking forward to these two.

Heidi:  Not bad, not bad. Lose the penis and dance with Derek and he’d be a ringer for sure!!

Courtney: I have to respect any man that played such a dork for so many years…and yet somehow seems uber-slick & smooth now :-) I’m actually kinda curious how much Jaleel is going to draw from his Urkel repertoire while on the show…I know he was really touchy about the whole Urkel thing for several years after Family Matters ended, because he was having a hard time finding roles because people couldn’t imagine him as anything other than Urkel.  Should be interesting to see if he pays homage to it, or avoids it completely.

The verdict: Do not underestimate the Urkel.

Stay tuned for our assessment of the female competitors later this week ;-)

February 29, 2012 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

PureDWTS Ask Courtney: Why Do Ladies Have to Wear Heels For Ballroom/Latin?

I confess: no one specifically asked this question, but some of you may have noticed that tend to get bit irritated whenever a female celeb or pro on the show opts to forgo the traditional heels in favor of boots, sneakers, or going barefoot.  I thought I’d explain just why I get my knickers in such a twist over it :-)

There are two primary reasons why heels are worn in both the Latin & ballroom dances: the first is aesthetic, and the other is technical. Aesthetically, the shoes are worn to give the the women’s legs a long, lean appearance – the neutral flesh tone of the fabric blends nicely with the skin, giving a nice, long, unbroken line; the heels themselves of course make the women look taller, which in turn enhances the illusion of long legs.  You may have noticed that the women on the show don’t often wear colored dance shoes – that’s because a color that contrasts with the skin tends to “chop off” those nice long lines, and make the women’s legs look shorter.  Why is it so important to have long legs? Because the longer your legs are, the nicer your lines are going to look, and the better technique you’re going to show – and the happier the judges are. :-)

From a technical aspect, the shoes actually help to ensure that the ladies are using the proper technique in their dances.  Remember my post about heel & toe leads? Well the shoes that the ladies wear for Latin are specially balanced so that the ladies’ body weight is shifted over her toes – and remember, all the Latin dances move forward (and backward) with a toe lead.  The ballroom shoes tend to keep the ladies’ body weight balanced evenly on her heels & toes, much like normal shoes, as all the steps in the ballroom dances move forward on the heel and backward on the toe – just like normal walking.  The shoes alone can’t guarantee that a dancer will always have the right technique – but they certainly do help!

So let’s say a woman *cough*Lacey*cough* decides to forgo wearing the proper shoes while dancing, and instead wears something more flat-footed, like boots.  In the Latin dances, it’s probably going to result in her legs looking very short & stubby, and her lines not as impressive.  Case in point: Lance & Lacey’s cha-cha in season 7:

Or, in Hope’s case this past season, those boots just gave her a complete lack of hip action, and resulted in a very flat, boring rumba:

 The effect is a bit less noticeable in the ballroom dances, since they move so similarly to natural walking movement, and I can’t really think of a time on the show that someone has danced a ballroom dance barefoot.  However, I do remember Twitch & Kherington’s Viennese waltz routine from season 4 of SYTYCD, and I remember not being wild about them doing it barefoot, as it just looked somewhat “unfinished” and more like contemporary than real ballroom:

 So there you have it – you be the judge.  I personally think that all ballroom & Latin dances should be done in the proper footwear, and it’s only (semi)acceptable to go barefoot if you’re a pro doing a contemporary-ish pro dance.  But what do you guys think? :-)

February 15, 2012 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

PureDWTS Ask Courtney: What’s the Difference Between Jive/Lindy/Jitterbug/Charleston/etc.?

This is a very good question :-), but unfortunately one that required a bit of research on my part…so please bear with me as I give you guys a brief history/background of the swing dances.

First things first: all of the above dances are related, and evolved from one another, so that’s why they all look so similar to the naked eye.  Even I often have a hard time discerning between them, especially within the context of DWTS, where I think sometimes even the pros themselves aren’t quite sure about some of these dances – especially the Jitterbug & Lindy Hop. The lines between them are very blurred, because there’s often a lot of overlap in terms of steps, timing, & styling.

Charleston was the earliest of the swing dances, originating in the speakeasies during the 1920′s, and is usually associated with the “flappers”, who danced it alone or with each other to mock the “drys” – people who supported Prohibition.  At the time, it was considered to be a pretty provocative dance.  It has a bouncy feel to it, and the basic step does have the backward rock-step characteristic to almost all of the swing dances.  Here’s a good example of some other Charleston steps – note how it also has some twisting movements, high kicks, and very jazzy arm styling. The music was a swing beat, with perhaps a bit more of a ragtime feel than other swing styles to follow – think “Hot Honey Rag” from Chicago. These days, it more often lends steps to jive & quickstep, rather than being danced as its own, exclusive dance – my boyfriend’s studio doesn’t have an official Charleston syllabus (just not enough steps), but he does often incorporate Charleston steps into other dances.  One example many of you may have noticed is that funky leg flick that the pros often add to their quickstep routines – Mark does it at about the :55 mark of he & Chelsea’s quickstep.  Yep, Charleston moves fit Mark’s jimmie legs perfectly :-) Which is probably why he & Melissa’s Charleston in season 9 sticks out to me as the best representation of the dance on the show – it has the characteristic steps, and they stuck with the 1920′s flapper theme.

Out of the Charleston came the Lindy Hop, which had its heyday in the big band era of the late 1920′s-40′s. It was a product of the Harlem Renaissance, and was born in traditionally black clubs like The Savoy & Cotton Club in New York.  Its footwork was similar to the Charleston, but it had elements of other vernacular/folk dances (such as the cakewalk and Texas Tommy) and also included a breakaway/throwaway step, which allowed the couples dancing it to do more open work than in the Charleston.  It was also quite a bit more daring – when wealthy white patrons descended upon Harlem clubs to watch the black dancers, the dancers themselves upped the ante, and began doing increasingly more dangerous & eye-catching lifts, flips, and tricks (“air steps” or “aerials”) to entertain them.  This often resulted in the dancers being hired to perform or teach Lindy Hop to the patrons. I would say it’s definitely the “showiest” of all the swing dances, due to all the tricks that have come to be standard fare in the Lindy – and with the pros on DWTS, nothing seems to scream “Lindy!” more than some crazy lifts.  In terms of said lifts, I would say that Melissa & Tony’s Lindy in season 8 is the best example; but in terms of overall “feel” (and good use of basic steps), I’d say that Ty & Chelsie’s Lindy is the best example. Read more..

January 7, 2012 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS13 Freestyle Retrospective: The Top 10 Worst Freestyles in DWTS History

So every season, as we draw nearer & nearer to the finale, it seems like the question on everyone’s lips is “What are they gonna do for their freestyle?” We debate which pros are the stronger freestyle choreographers, which celebs can handle the lifts, who’s got the most dance skills, who is going to struggle, etc. So Heidi & I decided to tackle the big question: what makes a good DWTS freestyle?

While everyone may argue over what works and what doesn’t, with 12 seasons under our belts, we have enough historical data to see some patterns – and there are definitely some things that all good freestyles seem to have in common, and some things that the bad freestyles have in common. Today we’re starting with the worst – these are examples of what this season’s finalists should likely avoid, and of which they should probably try to do the opposite :-)

A little insight into how we arrived at this list: I made a list of my own, and then bumped it against a list Heidi made and we looked for similarities. I also asked for suggestions on Twitter, to see if my finger was on the pulse of the more dedicated viewing audience; I polled my co-workers (likely more representative of the average viewer than most of us lurking on the Net ;-)) as well to get their thoughts. Turns out, most of you guys came up with the same examples of good & bad – which is good, since it shows that opinions on freestyles seem to be pretty universal. But without further ado, I give you the top 10 WORST freestyles in DWTS history:

10.) Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas, season 12

Courtney: This was one that a lot of you seemed divided on – some of you loved it, some of you hated it. I ultimately decided to include it in the “worst” list because it seemed to have something in common with a lot of the other freestyles on this list: it wasn’t reflective of the celeb it was meant to showcase. Yes, it was high-energy, it was well-executed (for the most part), and it was entertaining – but what did it really have to do with Chelsea? While she managed to keep up with Mark fairly well and got through the choreography, I never really got the feeling that it was a routine she really felt connected to, or that she even would have picked for herself. It was as if she had given Mark carte blanche with the routine and he chose everything – the music, the costumes, the theme, etc., and Chelsea was just along for the ride. I think choosing an obscure song didn’t help, and the choreo seemed to showcase Mark more than Chelsea – the poor girl just seemed to be trying to keep her head above water. Add to that some bland costumes and a wardrobe malfunction, and you’ve got a freestyle that’s overall just “Meh.” Definitely not 30-worthy, IMO.

Heidi: Well, this one I would have put in “dishonorable mentions” but it’s almost in that pile anyway, at slot #10. :-) The problem here, like you say, was Chelsea wasn’t connected to it (and similar ideas appear throughout this post). Not only that, but the music didn’t really match the costumes and none of it matched the choreo. It seemed all mixed up to me. It had a latin flavor, yet they were doing a light hip hop type choreo (I don’t really know how else to explain that) and their costumes matched neither. Then – why the lights and the bike?? I feel like I missed something on this one. There was also a section where it seemed like they just went from one cool trick to the next. The best freestyles (including some of Mark’s) had a good bit of actual ballroom dancing thrown in in places. This one is just a bit weird for me.

9.) Evan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya, season 10

Heidi: PEOPLE, unless your pro is Dmitry – do NOT argue with them about choreography. At all. Geez. That said, this is another freestyle that was good on paper, but in execution just didn’t work for some reason. Clearly it worked in person, since the studio crowd loved it…but the dance didn’t seem to fit either Evan OR Footloose. When Derek did Grease with Brooke, there was a clear, but brief, homage to the movie. The dance went with the song and it worked perfectly for Brooke. When he did a song from Dirty Dancing with Jennifer – again, a subtle, brief homage to the movie and it worked for Jennifer because, of course – she was in the movie. I think by the time they get to the freestyle the pros are just drained and they forget to really tie it altogether – and if you pick an iconic song, you have to really tie it altogether so that the dancing fits the iconic song but also works for your partner. It seems like this dance doesn’t fit either. He didn’t dance it badly by any stretch, but neither did Gilles in their Flashdance freestyle. That doesn’t make it good.

Courtney: I was always a bit puzzled as to why they picked Footloose – did one of them really, really like the movie? Or was it just another easy, dance movie theme to go with? I think that’s the one big difference between a freestyle like Jennifer’s and a freestyle like Evan’s (or Mya’s, or Gilles’, or Stacy’s – see below) – relevance. Dirty Dancing was relevant to Jennifer; but was Footloose really relevant to Evan? I want a freestyle to basically sum up a partnership for me – I want it to feel like both the celeb & the pro connect to both the dance and each other, and for the routine to feel like a nice closure to their season together. For me, going with Footloose as their theme left more questions than answers. Ooh, and can I just say that I think bringing in an outside choreographer is the absolute kiss of death? It doesn’t see to mesh well with the chemistry the couple has forged over the course of the season, and usually leads to coupled being led dangerously out of their comfort zone. And both Evan & Anna seemed uncomfortable with this one – almost pained, at times. Read more..

November 16, 2011 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS13 Who Danced it Better? Halloween Edition

And the parade of song dittos just keeps on coming.  :-) Seriously, I find myself groaning aloud each week when I see the song list – “Ugh, that one AGAIN!” or “I feel like they just used that song!!!” But alas, at the very least, it makes throwing these posts together a cinch ;-)

Lotsa dittos this past week – the only ones who managed to make it through semi-unscathed by the reuse of songs that probably shouldn’t have been reused were Nancy, Hope, & David.  Guess that was to be expected, though, since there aren’t too many songs that are both Halloweenish and suitable for ballroom!

Battle of Evanescence “Bring Me to Life”

As most of you already know, it was Evan & Anna’s paso doble song in season 10:

And then, this past week, it was the song for Team Paso Doble:

Court’s take: I have to say I was a bit shocked that they were reusing the music from a very memorable routine, and I gotta give this one to Evan & Anna.  Both routines are great, and this song is damn near perfect for a very dramatic, intense paso doble – but compared to Evan & Anna, who were absolutely KILLING their routine, team paso doble was just kinda kicking it in the shins.  :-) And on a side note, it’s amazing what you notice when you watch these routines the 2nd or 3rd time around – Evan looks a lot better than I remembered him being at the time (guess a few seasons of subpar dancing will make you recognize REAL talent even more!), and Hope looks off-time in several parts of team paso.  That cape section Evan did was SUPERB. 

Battle of Rihanna’s “Disturbia”

Lance & Lacey had their tango to it in season 7, Lacey’s very first season on the show:

 And it was Team Tango’s song this past week:

Court’s take: Why oh whyyyy did they pick this song to reuse for a tango??? I mean, the lyrics are edgy…but the beat is so clubby & dancey.  Not edgy enough for a tango, IMO.  But anyway.  As overrated as I thought Lance & Lacey’s tango was at the time (and I still kinda do), it was better than team tango’s interpretation of the song.  I liked how Lance & Lacey went the classy-edgy route, with the dark costuming and slight tweaks in choreo to make the dance feel “creepier”; in retrospect, it just seems like team tango was doing a regular tango in straightjackets and kinda let that be our only indicator that it was a scary Halloween tango.  I will say this, though: I still think Lacey’s ballroom is horrid.  You could drive a boat show between her & Lance…and that footwork? Yeesh.  And as ho-hum as I felt about the team tango on the whole, I actually really liked JR & Karina’s section, upon second viewing.  Liked that body wave move they did in reverse :-)

 Battle of Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams”

It was first used as Chad & Cheryl’s tango in season 10:

 And then it was Ricki & Derek’s paso this week:

 Court’s take: Considering that most of you probably didn’t remember that it was Chad & Cheryl’s tango, you’ll probably agree that Ricki & Derek had the better interpretation :-) Chad & Cheryl were just a non-event to me – it was just a garden-variety example of their usual routine each week that season, with Chad just kinda walking through the steps while Cheryl danced circles around him.  I think I remembered Cheryl’s dress more than the dance itself – that was during her sheer-skirted ballgown phase, and I remember the back being vaguely…thong-like.  :-P It may not have been the most compelling paso doble that Derek has ever choreographed, but for me it at least managed to take a step beyond the stereotypical Halloween schlock we saw this week.  Plus I just kinda dig Little Red Riding Hood – my favorite Halloween costume everrrrrr. ;-)

 Battle of Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters”

Monique & Louis had it as their cha-cha song during the first Halloween show back in season 3:

And JR & Karina got it as their tango this week:

 Court’s take: This is almost a no-contest to me – Monique & Louis!!! The song was positively sucktastic as a tango and I think JR may have been 2nd only to Nancy in song screwage this week.  Wayyyy too hard to keep timing.  And let me just say this: I think Monique may be one of the most underrated contestants that’s ever been on this show, and I think Louis is capable of being every bit as creative as Derek, Maks, or Mark – when he has the right partner :-) I loved this cha-cha – it was fun, cute, cheeky, creative, and yet still a proper cha-cha.  And Monique is like the DWTS-conceived love child of Kyle Massey & Lil Kim – she was a sassy showgirl like Kim, with the skill & youthful appeal (and Disney pedigree) of Kyle.  That girl could DANCE, too – kinda makes me wonder if she would have fared better (and possibly won) if she was in a less-competitive season. 

 Battle of “The Addams Family Theme”

Another gimme from the original Halloween episode in season 3, it was Joey & Edyta’s tango:

And Rob & Cheryl had it again this Halloween episode:

Court’s take: This is a little bit of a weird one for me, as I’m not particularly fond of “The Addams Family” as a tango – even though it has a strong tango beat, it just seems…hokey. :-) And I think both guys had different strengths in their respective routines – Joey’s was definitely better from a technical standpoint, but I thought Rob played the character a bit better.  I enjoyed both for different reasons.  But overall – I just don’t ever want to hear this song again on DWTS!

November 2, 2011 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS13 Who Danced it Better? The “Most Memorable Year” Edition

As many of you may have noticed, costumes aren’t the only things that get reused on DWTS – songs get recycled as well, sometimes ad infinitum! After oodles of requests from you guys for a feature like this, I’ve finally carved out the time to sit down and make it happen :-) Marianya actually used to do these posts awhile back – if you go to the search bar and type in “dance comparison”, you’ll see several editions she did for season 10.  Heidi & I are going to try and do it as well as she did, but you know us – if it doesn’t involve snark, we probably have the attention span of goldfish. :-)

Battle of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”

 This was actually the VERY FIRST song ever used on DWTS, when Joey McIntyre & Ashly Costa (née Delgrosso) danced their cha-cha to it back in season 1…

 After that, it didn’t pop until again until 10 seasons later, as the opening pro number for the 200th episode results show in season 11:

And of course, most recently, Kristin chose it as her ”most memorable year” song for her samba with Mark:

Court’s take: I was pleasantly surprised at how the band managed to tweak the beat to feel more “samba-y” for Kristin, but as much as she tried to shake her booty and flip her hair – she just didn’t manage to fully embody Beyonce’s swag. Loved Joey & Ashly’s attitude for their cha-cha, although in retrospect Joey was probably not as good as I thought he was back then – the standard of competition has definitely gone up in 13 seasons ;-) But for me the real standout was the 200th episode pro dance; loved the fact that we saw multiple styles in it (cha-cha, quickstep, a little bit of samba) as well as a TON of pros from the past coming, almost literally, out of the woodwork – all the usual suspects, as well as some rarer ones like Anna D., Corky, Ashly, & even Inna (remember her?) While they may have a bit of an unfair edge…gotta give it to the pros in this one.  That dance was HOT.

 Battle of No Doubt’s “It’s My Life”

 First, Louie Vito had it for his foxtrot with Chelsie in season 9:

 And of course, our favorite fashionista, Carson, tangoed to it with Anna for his “most memorable year” dance:

 Court’s take: Poor Louie never stood a chance against the fabulousity of Carson :-P Plus the song just feels better as a tango for me. 

 Battle of Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon”

 Fittingly, it was astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s foxtrot with Ashly in season 10…

 

And then Rob honored his late dad with the song when he foxtrotted with Cheryl to it this week:

 Court’s take: While I thought Buzz was adorable, his age kinda limited his range of motion – and by extension, the tempo of the music he danced to.  It just felt so slooooow.  I actually really enjoyed Rob’s – it was light and carefree, and Rob looked like he really connected to the song and enjoyed himself.

So whose renditions of these songs do YOU guys prefer? :-)

October 7, 2011 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

Dance of the Day: Pre-Movie Theme review of Movie Theme circa Season 10

I thought it would be a nice idea to take a look back at a prior Movie Theme night, to review all of the dances that night, just to give us a sampling of what we will be enjoying… or cringing… when we watch on Monday.

So, we are looking back at DWTS Season 10, Week 5, definitely a night that gave us some memorable dances…. Some GOOD memories, and some very bad memories, and some that we may not really want to relive, but what the hey, it’s fun…

Since the producers LOVE to challenge the Pros and Celebrities by giving a constant stream of themes, we’re sure to see more. If the theme is a repeat from a prior season, like this one, PLEASE let me know the season and week, it’ll make looking up the dances. Thanks!!

Nicole Scherzinger and Derek Hough Tango to the theme of Pretty Woman

Nicole and Derek scored a 9,9,10 for 29 out of 30 points. Derek is still in the competition, dancing with Ricki Lake. Read more..

October 6, 2011 I Written By

Just a typical, ordinary DWTS fan..