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?
Let’s continue on with my analysis of this season’s contestants – today we move onto Melissa. Finally getting more into the ladies of this season! To check out any of my previous posts in the series, check out the Sabrina Bryan edition…there are links to the previous editions.
For Melissa’s best dance, I picked her samba – which I believe she performed about 3 times in a 2 week period:
For her worst dance, I picked her jive – which she never actually performed live, due to injury:
I think Melissa’s biggest asset could also be her biggest obstacle to overcome: her cheerleading background. It does give her a bit of an edge in terms of picking up choreography, having rhythm, and just having good movement quality – but I think it also tends to make her look a bit wishy-washy in terms of ballroom technique, judging from these videos. If my big complaint about Sabrina is that she hits everything too hard, my big complaint about Melissa is that she tends to hit everything a bit too softly and fluidly – perhaps even a bit generically. It’s the same problem I see with some of my friends who have gone on to dance for NBA & NFL teams: their movement takes on almost a robotic, inoffensive quality, which I guess does come in handy when dancing in sync with 30 other girls and no one is supposed to stand out. But blending into with everyone this season is definitely NOT something Melissa should be aiming for – so I think she’s going to need to sharpen up her steps and avoid any of the cheerleading “pitfalls”…are you listening too, Tony? Because I think the choreography is part of the problem, too. I can understand falling back on her high-kicking & piroutting skills the first week – poor thing only had a week to learn the waltz. But beyond that, I think Tony really should have avoided a ton of “cheerleader tricks” and really made Melissa focus on ballroom technique – and unfortunatley, I think the majority of their routines were less meat-and-potatoes ballroom and more “ok, you’re going to high-kick here, do a series of pirouttes there, and then do a split – and we’ll just shove some easy ballroom steps in between!”. I’m not saying he should totally abandon her obvious dance skills – I’m just saying he should probably figure out a better way to make them more “ballroom-y”. Some of the fundamental principles are the same – spotting turns, using your core to really elongate your limbs, etc. – and can be easily incorporated into a ballroom vocabulary. If she can do an underarm turn using the same principles she would use to do a piroutte – Melissa could have the best damn technique of any of the dancers on the show. But Tony MUST teach her how to apply it. Melissa IS a good jazz dancer – now she has got to become a good ballroom dancer.
Melissa’s injury also brings up an interesting point: how are injuries going to come into play this season? With the level of competition so high and all of the couples working harder than ever before to up their game, there’s bound to be injuries – the question is, who will be smart enough to avoid them, who will be able to work through them, and who will be sidelined by them? I’m inclined to think that those who got injured on their original season (Melissa, Gilles, & Pam all come to mind) may be at a greater risk to incur the same injuries – will they be able to work through them this time? Gilles’ performance in particular seemed to really suffer due to his shoulder injury. I think it will be interesting to see who is able to soldier through the pressure of this season, and whose injuries really affect their performance negatively.
Court’s verdict: Melissa’s a good dancer – but she needs to shake off the “cheerleader-yness” and focus on ballroom technique. Ditto for Tony – cut back on the high kicks & pirouttes and really drill that Latin technique into her.
So what do you guys think? Is Melissa a contender…or is she still stuck in cheerleader mode?
Let’s continue on our journey through this season’s couples today with a look at the fan-appointed 13th contestant – Sabrina Bryan. And if you want to refer to my previous editions of the series, check out the Helio Castroneves edition – there are links to all the previous posts at the top.
I picked Sabrina & Mark’s perfect-scoring paso doble as her best dance:
And as her worst dance, I picked her foxtrot, which was the dance that ultimately sent her home:
Echoing Len’s sentiments after Sabrina’s foxtrot, the thing that jumps out at me in both dances is that Sabrina just hits everything so HARD – which is sometimes good (in dances like the paso doble & tango), but can often be bad (in slower, more fluid dances like the foxtrot). The impact she gives each line & step seems to be a product of her hip-hop training from the Cheetah Girls, possibly mixed with some jazz/Broadway musical-style training. If having really sharp, flashy hands is considered “jazz hands”, then I think Sabrina might have an entire jazz body – which could be problematic. Obviously it’s a huge advantage in very aggressive dances like the paso doble (which is why I think her paso doble is her best dance), but when you’ve got a dance like the foxtrot that is supposed to be slick & fluid, and you’re hitting each line with the force of a sledgehammer – it’s time to dial back the aggression. If she can overcome that, she’s obviously got some good musicality and stage presence for Louis to work with…but the question is: will he know how best to utilize it? Even in Louis’ stronger seasons (like Kelly Osbourne’s), I find that he often doesn’t seem to know quite how to choreograph to his partner’s strengths and weaknesses – and even though Sabrina might be his strongest partner yet, it won’t mean anything if he doesn’t know how to tap into that talent.
So obviously, like Joey, one thing that may give Sabrina an edge in this season is the time she’s spent in the Vegas show prior to now – she’s been dancing for 3 months already. Will it help? Well…I’d say yes & no. I’ve said it before, but I think anyone that’s been doing any kind of onstage performing the past year or so will likely have a bit of an edge, just due to their performance skills not getting rusty. However, as with Joey, I think Sabrina spent a good deal of time in Vegas doing stuff that wasn’t “strictly ballroom” – she did quite a bit of more jazzy, hip-hop influenced stuff, and even her paso doble with Ryan DiLello felt a little watered down to me. Is Vegas really going to help when it comes to remembering the finer points of samba & foxtrot? Probably not. And you also have to keep in mind that Sabrina was doing the same routines, night after night – if they looked fabulous, it was because she had had weeks to perfect them. Will she be able to adjust to back to the breakneck pace of the tv show, where she only has a few days to learn a dance?
Court’s verdict: Sabrina’s got potential – she’s a good dancer and a good showman. But if she wants to be a contender, she needs to soften her lines, and make sure she’s “strictly ballroom” – no hip-hop or jazz infusion. And Louis will have to deliver some great choreography to really make her stand out.
What are your thoughts on Sabrina? Is this her season to win, or could it just be a repeat of season 5?
After a brief hiatus to accomodate all of the hoopla of the revealing of the 13th couple, I’m back with another edition of my series examining the highs and lows of our all-stars’ original seasons. As always, if you’re playing catch-up, check out the previous editions with Kelly Monaco, Emmitt Smith, Drew Lachey, Joey Fatone, & Apolo Ohno Today I take on season 5 winner, Helio Castroneves.
I picked his Mask-inspired quickstep as Helio’s best dance:
And for his worst dance, I chose he & Julianne’s bizarrely chilly rumba:
First, I feel like I have to get this off of my chest: I do not think Helio was the best dancer on his season, and I actually think he was one of the weaker champions we’ve had, in terms of dance skill. The one big advantage he had, though, was personality - in BUCKETLOADS. I think that’s ultimately what won him the MBT over Mel B. – while she herself was a big personality, I feel as though he managed to endear himself to viewers a bit more, and generated a stronger chemistry with Julianne than Mel maybe had with Maks. I think his quickstep is a perfect example of how his chemistry with Julianne & his personality carried him through to the end – he was just so FUN. Plus, he seemed to really excel at the ballroom dances, which seems to be an area in which even the best male contestants seem to falter. However, when you take a closer look at his quickstep, you’ll see that he sometimes tends to get so carried away with the character of the dance, that he loses a bit of the technique – a problem similar to Joey’s. And judging from he & Julianne’s rumba, in which he couldn’t really play a character, his weaker technique seemed to stick out like a sore thumb…and his chemistry with Julianne also suffered. To date, I still think it’s one of the strangest, least romantic rumbas we’ve ever seen on the show…and as I recall, the judges seemed kind of horrified by it. I think he & Chelsie are REALLY going to have to work on their chemistry, first and foremost, if they want to stick around – and if they can forge a good chemistry, then I think it’s on Chelsie to strike a balance between making Helio focus on technique, and still giving him the opportunity to be a showman. I do think they’re going to have to make a big splash, though, and they’re going to have to do it soon – because they’re kind of becoming this season’s “forgotten” couple for me: the couple that I always struggle to remember when I’m listing off all of the couples this season, because they haven’t yet made a huge impression on me.
Court’s verdict: I think Helio’s success this season is seriously going to hinge upon whether he’s able to really connect with Chelsie – and if she’s going to be able to choreograph to suit both his technical weaknesses and his strengths as a showman.
What’s your take on Helio? Is he going to struggle this season…or will he & Chelsie surprise us all?
For Apolo’s best dance, I picked his samba – which I still think is the best samba from a contestant that we’ve ever seen on DWTS:
For his worst dance, I picked the ill-advised Pulp Fiction jive he & Julianne did:
I think the most obvious advantage that jumps out at me when I watch these videos is chemistry – Apolo & Julianne had FANTASTIC chemistry, and I think that helped carry them through week after week. The question is: can he forge that same chemistry with Karina? If he can, then I think these two could be frontrunners this season. Apolo’s obviously got some natural rhythm and is comfortable moving his body, so Karina’s definitely got something to work with. However, Apolo’s Achilles’ heel (hehe) does seem to be really refined footwork – I saw instances in both his samba & his jive (ESPECIALLY his jive) where he just seems to put his feet wherever they feel comfortable, and the end result looks a bit confused and purposeless. POINT YOUR TOES, APOLO! I also think his showmanship could use a little work – Apolo mentions in samba rehearsals that he’s used to keeping a “poker face” in speed skating, so it’s hard for him to really use his face to emote. He did pretty well in season 4, but I still saw a few instances of “poker face” – especially if he wasn’t quite sure of what he was doing and was trying to regain his bearings…I noticed it in his jive, whenever he seemed to foul up. With such big personalities like Joey & Kirstie around this season, I think Apolo is going to have to really work on projecting a BIG personality on the floor – he’s got the range of motion, now he just needs the range of personality I also hope that Karina is able to strike a nice balance between dancing well and not outdancing Apolo – as much as I loved Julianne with Apolo, I do think there were times that she really outshined him, and I noticed it big time in their samba. I do think Karina is a pro that is able to find that right balance, though, so I think that’s an advantage.
Court’s verdict: Definitely one to watch, especially if he can forge a good chemistry with Karina & clean up his footwork – and if he can bring enough personality to the table to compete with big personalities like Joey & Kirstie
So what are your thoughts on Apolo? Does he have the juice to go all the way?
Parade.com has a great interview up with Drew Lachey. Not only is he excited to be reuniting with boy band 98 Degrees, he’s looking forward to another round of Dancing With The Stars. Read below for what he thinks about the competition and what he plans to do differently. More at the link including his thoughts about the differences between performers versus athletes, reuniting with his former band, and his parenting advise for his brother.
On his competition.
“Well, there are six champions and a lot of runner-ups. I’m glad I’m able to come back and prove to myself and everybody else that yes, the dancing and the talent have improved every season but season two can still hang! It’s going to be a lot of fun and I look forward to it. I think it will be looser at first until week one. Until they go, ‘oh snap! They brought it. I better step up my game!’ Once that happens, the gloves will come off and people will be competitive. Until that happens it’ll be pretty jovial and fun. We’ll see.”
What he’s going to do differently.
“For the most part I left it out there. There are a couple things I would have done differently like different costumes, different choreography. But I don’t do anything halfway and this season isn’t any different.”I’ve seen the seasons go by and I know what to expect a little bit more. In season 2, we were stil figuring out what the show was. They had a little costume room and now they like have a sweat shop. It takes up a whole floor. The show has expanded, the cast has expanded. Everything’s gotten bigger and better and shinier with more rhinestones. There’s going to be a learning curve but I feel confident with the knowledge from doing the show.”
On having new moves.
“There are certain things I can do physically that we didn’t quite take advantage of [on season two]. Not necessarily tricks but I’m more athletic than we took advantage of. Obviously the choreography is stepped up a lot. There are more dances. At that time, my wife was about to have a baby so I was all over the place. So it will be good to just be able to be t here and focus on what I have to do.”
On having Dancing on his mind 24/7.
“It’s weird, I listen to music in general and I go, ‘wow, that would make a really good salsa, or a really good Cha Cha.’ And I’m like, ‘what is wrong with you! stop thinking in those terms!’ Music is a huge part of my life so every song that I listen to, to have that be one of the first things, you want to get it out of your brain.”
Today I continue my series with season 4 runner-up Joey Fatone – for those who want to play catch-up, check out my previous editions featuring Kelly Monaco, Emmitt Smith, and Drew Lachey
For Joey’s best dance, I picked his 2nd jive to “Jump, Jive, & Wail”:
And for his worst dance, I picked his 2nd cha-cha to “Groove is in the Heart”:
Without a doubt, Joey sure has got the showmanship portion of dancing down pat – to this day, I still think he’s one of the most entertaining celebs that have ever graced the DWTS floor. And he moves big – he always seemed to do a really good job of using the entire floor and stretching each step to its limit. However, the big caveat that often comes with moving big is moving sloppy – and I think Joey, being a bigger guy, sometimes loses a bit of technique & precision in the process of “moving big”. I find it a bit interesting that he & Drew seem to have the opposite problem: Drew has the precision, but not the size & degree of motion; Joey has the size & degree of motion, but seems to lack the precision. And unfortunatley, when it comes down to it, I think the judges will (or at least SHOULD) favor precision & technique over size & impact. With strong technicians like Gilles in the competition, I think Joey’s going to have to work on really refining his movements, while not sacrificing the big entertainment value he brings to the stage. I’m also noticing another possible problem – and I actually think the fault lies more with Kym: some of their choreography in their original season seems to favor style over substance. I’m guessing that Kym was trying to really choreograph to Joey’s strengths as a showman, but upon close scrutiny, it seems like there’s a lot of “fluff” and not a whole lot of basic steps in some of their routines – I think they got called out for it big time in that 2nd cha-cha. They may have been able to get away with excess “fluff” in their original season, but with so many talented, strong technicians this season, I don’t think they’re going to have any choice but to buckle down and give Len some good meat-and-potatoes choreography.
So now comes the obvious question: how is his time in the Vegas show going to give him an edge this season? Well I think obvious benefit is just being in the “swing” of being onstage – as I said in my post about Drew, I think anyone who has been performing on stage within the last year or so is probably going to have a bit of advantage in that they are still in the groove of performing, and are likely feeling confident in their stage presence.. Given that Joey has actually been doing ballroom for the past few months in the DWTS Vegas show, too, I daresay he is a lot less rusty than some of the others who haven’t done any dancing since their initial seasons. In particular, he seems to have cleaned up his technique and become quite the lifter:
All in all, I think it will be a big advantage for Joey, given that it’s actually given him time to sharpen up his skills. But I do see a few possible drawbacks, the biggest of which being burnout – Joey has already been dancing for a little over 3 months straight in the Vegas show, and although he seems to have a bit of a break between when the Vegas show wrapped earlier this month and when rehearsals begin in the next week or so, I think its entirely possible he may just get exhausted by the middle of the season. We’ve seen how celebs meltdown after only a few weeks – can you imagine a few MONTHS? And keep in mind that the pace of the tv show is pretty breakneck compared to the Vegas show – Joey really just had to repeat the same routines night after night out there; now he’s gotta go back to learning & performing new ones (and performing them well!) in only a few days. Keep in mind, too, that the Vegas show is a lot less “strictly ballroom” than the show – there was quite a bit of hip-hop, jazz, disco, and other genres thrown in out there. It was what I like to call “watered-down ballroom” - and we all know that’s not Len’s cup of tea. Will Joey be able to make the transition?
Court’s verdict: Joey will definitely be one to watch this season, but he’s going to have to clean up his technique quite a bit if he wants to be a real contender. Kym is also going to have to focus on giving him routines with a lot of basic steps and without a ton of fluff, so they don’t get called out for lack of content. Overall, though, I see him lasting quite awhile, and possibly even making it to the finale
So what are your thoughts on Joey? Big contender, or overrated?
So far, we’ve taken a look at both Kelly Monaco & Emmitt Smith’s original seasons on DWTS. Today, we backtrack a bit to take a look at Drew’s original season
For Drew’s best dance, I waffled back & forth between he & Cheryl’s tango & paso doble…but I ultimately picked their famous “Thriller” paso doble, as I think it best shows off how Drew was the total package of skill & showmanship:
And while I noticed that Drew & Cheryl didn’t really have any truly terrible dances in their original season, per se, I ended up picking their week 1 cha-cha as their worst dance, because Drew looks a bit awkward and unsure of what to do with his hands:
Ohhh, how I DON’T miss the days before the show began broadcasting in HD Once again, I’m struck by the same thing I see when watching Emmitt & Kelly’s dances: the quality of dancing on the show has improved drastically since the first few seasons. Even though I think Drew was much better than Kelly & Emmitt from a technical perspective, I still think he’s going to be hard-pressed to match up with the skill of Joey or Gilles (two guys who didn’t even win their respective seasons), right out of the gate. I also think the choreography back then wasn’t as good as it is now – and that could prove problematic for all 3 of the early winners (Kelly, Drew, & Emmitt), as the pros have all stepped their game up quite a bit since those seasons. It could be a bit jarring for them to go from easily handling the choreography on their own seasons, to having to fight tooth and nail to just get a decent score each week of the all-star season, with the bar being raised so much. On the plus side, Drew seems to have a good deal of “attack” to his dancing – he isn’t hesitant or wishy-washy, and goes for everything 100%. Seems very confident out on the floor, and doesn’t seem to have any glaring timing issues. But man – I had forgotten how short Drew is. He moves “big” for his size, and does seem to extend his limbs impressively far, given his stature – but I’m picturing him next to the very willowy Gilles, who had quite possibly the most fantastic extension in his arms & legs of any guy I’ve ever seen on the show (except maybe Roshon, but I swear that boy was made of rubber!)…and I’m just imagining that poor Drew is just not going to measure up, no matter how far he stretches. Not his fault – but it’s unfortunately the hand he was dealt by nature. Part of me thinks he may have been physically better matched with Chelsie, since she would have given him an extra 2″ of leeway, but I do think he may actually have an advantage with Anna – these two seem to have really hit the ground running with “getting themselves out there” since the announcement of the cast. They are tweeting up a storm, have set up an official Facebook page which they are updating frequently with videos and pictures, and just seem to have forged a really great partnership – I seriously can’t stop smiling when I see these two!
So what, if anything, has Drew done since season 2 to keep his dance skills sharp? Well, he has been practicing for the 98 Degrees reunion tour, and they actually performed on the Today show yesterday:
Ok – admittedly, 98 Degrees was the boy band of the 1990′s that did the least amount of dancing…and the little they did do was pretty basic “work the mic, jazz square here, hand gesture there”-type stuff. But Drew actually seems to be taking this choreography, no matter how cheesy it looks, pretty seriously – he’s snapping his head nicely, making good eye contact, and staying on time. And as crazy as that sounds – I think that may actually be an unexpected advantage he has this season. I know everyone seems eager to point out that Joey being onstage in the Vegas show is huge advantage this season, and it is – but I would argue that really ANY contestant that has been onstage in some song & dance capactity within the last year or so has probably got an advantage. Gotta keep those performing skills sharp!
Court’s verdict: Drew is obviously going to have to step up his game quite a bit in order to compete with more recent contestants like Gilles – but he could be a bit of a dark horse this season, given his work ethic and the chemistry he has forged with Anna. He is probably the most skilled of the “early” champions, and if he’s willing to put in the effort (and Anna can give him some good choreography), he could give some of the favorites this season (Gilles, Joey, Shawn, etc.) a good run for their money. One to watch, for sure!
So what do you guys think of Drew? Possible dark horse…or a possible dud?
UPDATE: Thanks to @BeerBabeSuzi (an NKOTB friend of mine who also runs a fantastic 98 Degrees fan sitethat’s been around for 10 years!), here’s some video of 98 Degrees performing at the Mixtape Festival in Hershey, Pennsylvania over the weekend – and it looks like Drew has been practicing his Latin hips The song is “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)” and it starts at about the 2:50 mark. Check out Drew on the right, getting pretty into his dance moves