Free DWTS Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on Dancing with the Stars sent straight to your email? Join hundreds of other DWTS fans who subscribe to Pure DWTS for FREE!

PureDWTS Season 23 – All 24 Olympic Athletes Ever To Do DWTS, Ranked From Worst to Best

So with the Olympics in Rio drawing to a close this coming Sunday (and the pros starting to meet their partners later this week), there’s obviously been speculation that we’re going to see some Olympians on the show this season – seems like Ryan Lochte & Simone Biles are the two most talked-about when it comes to casting rumors.  Which got the Pure Angels thinking about all the previous Olympians we’ve seen on the show, and how well (or not well…) they did.  So why not take a look back at every Olympian (from both the summer AND winter games) that’s ever done DWTS, and see how they stack up?

The main rankings are mine, but Heidi, Vogue, & I all had slightly different rankings when it came to the top 10 – so you can see their individual top 10’s at the bottom.  I’ve included videos of a few of the dances we mention, to jog memories – lord knows ours needed jogging from time to time 😯

Interesting patterns? Gymnasts and skaters seemed to fare the best, and tennis players and boxers tended not to leave much of an impression on any the three of us.  I think we all universally agreed on at least the bottom 2 on the list – they were THAT bad 🙁 …Read more

August 16, 2016 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

PureDWTS Season 22, Week 1 – Power Rankings

Well, I’m gonna go out on a limb and predict that this season of DWTS will be won by…a dude. 😛 Yeah, that could be one of six individuals (but more realistically, probably 4), but after tonight, I daresay the bulk of this season’s talent rests with the men – don’t get me wrong, there are a few ladies with skills…but I think the men this season are closer to being the full package of skill, charm, and work ethic that it takes to win that MBT.

That being said – while the major narrative that TPTB seemed to want to push tonight was current NFL player vs. current NFL player, I found myself feeling a bit let-down with our two current football players; could have been the huge preseason hype surrounding them, but I was left feeling surprisingly “meh” by what I actually saw. Instead, I found my eye drawn to two other men that far eclipsed our NFL duo in terms of making a good impression.  As for the ladies – there’s some with real charm, and some with skill, and some that TPTB seem to have a vested interest in keeping around (cue side eye…), but when I’m left thinking about who really stood out in my mind tonight – I’m remembering a lot more guys than gals.

Other observations? The intro was cute, but seemed a little bit hodgepodge and not terribly cohesive; maybe I was just spoiled by how catchy & fun last season’s was. I also tip my hat to Erin tonight, as I think she was just what some of the contestants needed after a rough go of it with the judges – she was kind and gentle with those that maybe didn’t come out with such glowing reviews & scores.

Just a refresher, for those of you just joining us this season: the power rankings are a measure of how likely or unlikely I think a contestant is to get eliminated – it takes into account scores, fanbase, personality, memorability,  and whatever other factors I find that seem to influence voting behavior. It is NOT a ranking of “who danced the best”, so if you’re hear to complain that “so-and-so should be higher than such-and-such because they got a much higher score!” – you’re outta your element, Donnie. Now that we’ve got that outta the way… …Read more

March 22, 2016 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

PureDWTS Season 22: Court, Heidi, & Vogue’s First Impressions

So we’re still a week away from showtime, and not yet a week out from the cast announcement – and we’ve seen relatively little of the celebs rehearsing so far.  But like you guys, we Angels also get first impressions of the couples that start to shape our opinions over the season – so like so many of you have shared your early assessments, we thought we’d share ours as well 🙂

Courtney:

Who Stood Out At the Cast Announcement: I’ve said it multiple times already, but Wanya & Lindsay.  They were one of the few couples that seemed completely at ease with one another, and came out confident and ready to have fun.  That goes farther than you might think, coming right out of the gate – especially when so many of the other couples seemed very awkward & sedate at the announcement. As for who stood out in a not-so-good way – I’d have to say Mischa.  Could have just been nerves, but the impression I got from her was “I would rather be anywhere else in the world right now.” Artem came across very excited and pleasant, though, so I’m hoping he might be able to bring some of that out in her. …Read more

March 14, 2016 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

PureDWTS Season 21, Week 10 – Power Rankings

Fun fact: you can totally dominate an entire episode of DWTS with your antics, narrowly avoid elimination, and then turn around and withdraw 24 hours later – and somehow STILL get more attention once you’ve been eliminated than some contestants got all season long  😎 Yes, kids, this was the second installment of “The Tamar Show”, with Tom reminding us for nearly the entire first half of the show that we were going to get an update on Tamar – nevermind the fact that we had 4 celebs that were actually still competing on DWTS tonight, the people must know what’s been going on with Tamar!!! Yes, it sucks what happened, and despite my feelings about Tamar this season, I do wish her a speedy recovery – but the constant reminders of her last night? Just kinda did a disservice to Alek, Bindi, Carlos, & Nick.  If next Monday is the same way – so help me god, I just might commit seppuku with a plastic knife.

Also becoming tiresome to me? The fact that Carlos still seems like he’s trying to come up with sob stories each week to compete with Bindi, Nick, & Alek.  And they just sound totally disingenuous, on top of sounding a bit silly compared to the struggles of the other contestants remaining. Carlos says “I was depressed and addicted to weed!”; Nick can easily counter with  “Yeah, I was pretty heavy into alcohol, cocaine, X, and prescription painkillers for awhile…failed at rehab…got a heart condition…did I mention my sister died of a drug overdose a few years ago? But please, tell me more about your crippling weed addiction.” Carlos pulls out “I haven’t spoken to my mom in 4 years!” Bindi can say “How awful! My dad died in a freak accident when I was 8 – I just wish he was still here.” Meanwhile, Nick is over in the corner, waving his hands and going “Hey, anyone want to talk about how my parents only want my money, and how I’ve had to cut ties with them as a result?” Oh wait…Carlos says he “found Jesus!” Wonder what Alek has to say about that…”Gosh, I only just found a terrorist on a train, and beat the tar out of him to protect the lives of the other people said train. Shucks.” I guess my point is this: Carlos may not have a super-compelling story to tell, but that doesn’t mean I want to see him grasp at straws to try and out-sob story everyone else.  I probably would find him more likeable if I didn’t feel like he was constantly trying to one-up everyone else and just let his dancing do the talking.

As for the possible bomb Tom dropped at the end of the show about either Nick or Bindi having the lowest combined total – call me crazy, but I actually think there could have been some truth behind it. I just don’t see them lying about it – they could have very easily just called those two “in jeopardy” and not even mentioned anything about the lowest combined total, and the effect would have been the same.  But they DID actually say “one of you has the lowest combined total, but you’re not going home because Tamar is out.” I don’t believe for a minute that it’s Bindi that got the lowest combined total, considering everywhere I look, people are singing her praises – but Nick? He could be in some legit trouble with votes. Now while his fans assure me that the Backstreet Boys “are HUGE around the world!” and that he is “getting tons of votes”, I feel like this is a good opportunity to remind everyone of a central tenet of being successful on DWTS: international votes aren’t likely to help much if you don’t also win over the main viewing demographic of DWTS – middle-aged, conservative-leaning American women.  There hasn’t been a single DWTS champ that didn’t in some way appeal to that demographic, and in order to win, you HAVE to have them on your side. Is Nick appealing to that demographic? If so, is he making himself more appealing to that demographic than Bindi, Carlos, and Alek? Keep in mind that veterans (think J.R., Noah…and Alek) typically hold a lot of appeal for that demographic, as do those who are openly Christian (Sadie, Candace…and Carlos), and really anyone that is typically just bubbly and likable across the board (Kellie, and Bindi – particularly the latter, who seems to have enchanted just about everyone). Where do boyband members fit in? Only one has managed to win (Drew Lachey), and the rest have done ok-to-well, likely owing to their previous dance experience. One slight problem I see is this: Nick’s fans might still be a tad young to fit into the “middle aged” category – I was 13 when BSB posters covered my walls at the height of their popularity, and I’m 30 now…still 10 years shy of that “middle-aged” label. Part of me thinks his more casual fans might still be a tad young to be tuning into DWTS on the regular and actually voting – I know I’m really more of the exception than the norm.  You also have to take into account what happened last week – Nick kinda got upstaged by Tamar’s drama, and Carlos likely got a bit of a boost (not a huge one, but enough) in votes from Alexa’s fans that kicked their votes over to him.  Nick also dropped back down to getting mostly 9’s last week after getting a perfect score the previous week. When you take all of this into account – is it really all that far-fetched to think that maybe Nick really was the lowest combined total of votes & scores? Did his fans maybe get a bit complacent, thinking that so many people were voting for him that he would be ok if they maybe didn’t vote so hard a certain week? I just think back to Zendaya in season 16 – her fans were so sure that she was getting oodles of votes, yet she still managed to come up short in the end and Kellie took the MBT. Regardless of whether what Tom said last night was truth or a total fabrication, they likely did both Bindi & Nick a huge favor – I can only image the panic that ran through some fans at the revelation that their favorite was in danger, and the increased vigor with which they voted. Heck, even if you think Tom was lying…is that really a bluff you care to call?  😯 …Read more

November 17, 2015 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

PureDWTS Season 18 Food For Thought & POLL: Is Danica This Season’s “Secret Ringer”?

Let me lead off with this: I don’t mind ringers.  Actually, I appreciate 2-3 in each season, for the simple reason that it ensures that we get to see some good dancing and that the bar is set high for the competition.  The show needs ringers just like it needs really bad dancers, and every skill level in between – it’s part of what makes DWTS work.  The ringers please those who just love great dancing, and the inexperienced dancers ensure we get to see some good growth arcs.

Now what I DO mind is when someone who has enough experience to be considered a ringer tries to insist that they aren’t – in our experience here at Pure, this certainly does not negate the fact that they do have a bit of an edge, and it also tends to rub some viewers the wrong way.  The viewers are not stupid – they know when their intelligence is being insulted by the machinations of the powers that be or a celeb that tries to downplay his/her experience level.  And they especially don’t like feeling like they’re being lied to.

So an interesting discussion came about when Vogue posted this video of Danica & Val’s first rehearsal yesterday. In it, Danica seems to give the impression that she’s new to this whole dancing thing – lots of giggling, clueless looks, and “Huh? What?” It’s what you’d normally expect during the first rehearsal with a celeb who’s never danced before – but considering that Danica has had some fairly extensive ballroom training, it kind of bugs.  We know for a fact that she’s taken lessons before – check out this clip of her on 20/20 back in 2008:

While working on Inspector Mom (the TV movie mentioned in the clip), she met Gocha Chertkoev, a Latin dance champion who was playing the role of a dance instructor.  Presumably, she started taking lessons with him, as that’s who we see her dancing with in the clip.  Some have argued that she “only took lessons for that movie”, and it was a “one-time thing” – but if that’s the case, then why is her picture plastered all over the newsletter from Gocha’s dance studio as recently as a year ago? And why is he plugging her book while she takes a cha-cha class?

danicabookplug

 

 danicachacha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Possibly worth noting: Gocha is also one of the judges on the Georgian version of DWTS, Tsekvaven Varskvlavebi.  Regardless, I get the feeling Danica’s lessons with Gocha weren’t just a one-time thing – they’ve more likely been ongoing.  She’s also had some dance training for another film, 21 and a Wake-Up, courtesy of Jamie Bayard (Lacey Schwimmer’s former swing partner, and of SYTYCD fame).  She talks about in more detail here, on this now-defunct post at her website. Yes, I’m aware it’s in code – that’s the only way to access it now that it’s been conveniently removed from her website (thank goodness for caching!).  You’ll see why in the excerpt below – pertinent parts in bold:

Says Danica, “I love to dance! I got hooked after learning to Tango for the TV Movie Inspector Mom: Kidnapped in 10 Easy Steps.”

Gocha Chertkoev and Shorena Gachechiladze are worldwide ballroom dance champions, and I was so lucky to be trained by them for the movie. I was a fan of Gocha’s from his TLC series, Ballroom Bootcamp. He was a real find – a great actor and dancer! Since then, I dance whenever I can — I love it! I’ve even trained with Jamie Bayard from So You Think You Can Dance”

“Perhaps I’ll end up dancing on stage or in front of the cameras again soon. I’ve been asked more than a few times about Dancing with the Stars, but I think I actually have a little too much professional training this stage. And that’s fine by me – I’m not sure I’d like the judges’ on-stage criticism very much!”

Sorry, but I’m having a harder and harder time buying the whole “I’m new at this!!!” act of their rehearsal video, and this interview that she herself posted presents some pretty damning evidence that she is, in fact, a ringer. The rehearsal video itself is a bit shady, too – my boyfriend (who has been teaching ballroom for 12 years) even remarked that “It’s almost like she’s trying too hard to act confused for the first half – she clearly has danced salsa before, she’s following him pretty easily.”  As for the second half of the video? “She’s already doing rumba walks with great hip action and transfer of weight, and she’s spotting turns like she’s been taught before.  No way Val could have taught her that in one short rehearsal.”

So what’s my beef? The fact that Danica has had some pretty extensive ballroom training is being conveniently swept under the rug, while Meryl & Charlie get raked across the coals for being “practically professional ballroom dancers already!” If you’re going to cry that “DWTS is for celebs with no dance experience!” (not true, but whatever floats your boat) and that it’s “unfair” that Meryl & Charlie get to be on the show this season – then it’s only fair that you call Danica out, too.  But for whatever reason, the two Olympians are the ones fielding most of the cries of foul from viewers, while Danica flies under the radar, with incriminating blog posts being quietly removed from her site and mentions of her previous dance experience being conveniently omitted from interviews.  And to what end? I like to think that Danica herself is too smart and too confident to let a few cries of “Ringer!! RINGER!!!” deter her from being open and honest about her dancing.  I’m leaning more towards someone from further up the chain at DWTS “gently encouraging” her to downplay her dance experience – it’s happened before.  Sabrina mentioned in an interview once that she was told by producers to “dumb down” her dancing during the first few weeks of her original season, in order to give the impression of a much more level playing field.  Sabrina (honest as a girl scout) didn’t comply, but it does set a precedent for what might be going on now with Danica – or it may even be someone from her own camp, such as a publicist, trying to paint a better picture of her client with regards to the show.

I guess overall, I’m just left feeling a bit…deceived by the whole thing.  I do not like having my intelligence insulted, and trying to pass Danica off as a beginner to me is insulting.  I’m left with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, as I did back in season 14 when Sherri Shepherd tried to downplay the fact that she took lessons at Maks & Val’s studio immediately prior to being cast on DWTS. In both Danica AND Sherri’s cases, I think the whole situation would be a lot better-received by fans had they just been honest about it from the get-go, instead of lying by omission, dodging questions, and dancing around the truth before finally coming clean.  Hiding things implies some sort of guilt on the part of the hider. 🙂  I actually really like her as a person, and I’m hoping that Danica, in the interest of full disclosure, is able to be open about her previous experience – I really don’t think being labeled a “ringer” is going to hurt her OR help her.  Ringers don’t always win, and they don’t always lose.  Unless, of course, they’re paired with Derek – in which case they ALWAYS win…cause “Ugh, Derek always gets all the good partners!!!”, y’all. 😉

So all of that being said…what do YOU guys think of Danica and her previous experience? Is she a ringer, or not a ringer?  Vote in our poll and weigh in down in the comments!

March 11, 2014 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

DWTS Season 16, Week 1 – Dancing by the Numbers!

Hello folks (Hi Cheryl!!!)! 🙂  It’s time once again to take a look at the numbers for a week of dancing. Of course, since there was no elimination this week, this is just an exercise to show you where the dancers stand going into week two. Is it possible for D.L. to overcome his extreme deficit? Well, I kinda doubt it, but you never know. Next Tuesday will either reveal that there are some seriously weak fanbases (by someone other than D.L. getting the boot), or it will reveal nothing at all.

Anyway, I think that the judges didn’t screw the pooch too badly this week, but there’s still plenty of time. What did I agree or disagree with? Well, I’m a proponent of a LOT more use of the 3 and 4 paddles in week 1 and they don’t seem to have that in them unless you don’t practice as much as you should. 😉 As much as I LOVED Wynonna, I think they were a bit kind to her – which is SOP for them when it comes to older, dance-challenged ladies.  I think Kellie got screwed by going first – also typical for these judges. There’s no way that Dorothy and Aly deserve the same score as her. That said, 21 is a good score for both, I’m just thinking that Kellie deserved a point or two higher.   Zendaya? Awesome. Loved the dance and I have high hopes for Val. That said, I think 24 was a bit of a stretch – but only by a point, really. The question on these ladies is – can Kellie keep it up (I think so), can Dorothy loosen up (I hope so) and can Aly ever even HOPE to match up to Shawn (doubt it). No, it’s not fair to compare her to All Stars Shawn – but if you think I’m the only person doing that, yer crazy. It’s how the brain works, whether you want it to or not.

LOVE Andy. Love him. I think he did a better dance that Wynonna did, actually. I certainly enjoyed him FAR more than the cheapo Foxtrot put on by Sean and Peta. What the hell was that, anyway?? But, since Sean is a member of the family, I expect him to be overscored right to the semi-finals. The imaginary scenario…

ABC Exec: :::cough::: Ahem. You know, Conrad, if Sean stays around until, oh, I dunno, week 8 or so, that would tie in perfectly with his and Catherine’s wedding, to air right after DWTS at 9 pm, that week. Whaddaya say?

Conrad: :::sigh::: I’ll see what I can do.

Expect nipples. Just sayin’. …Read more

March 20, 2013 I Written By

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

DWTS Season 14 Stats Class: Week 1 Predicted Scores

So here we are, the first week of the season and rumor has it that the celebs are going to be dancing either the gracefully upbeat Foxtrot or the fun and flirty Cha-Cha. So let’s get cooking and see what their scores could be.

What I’m going to do this season is different from previous seasons. I will post up the average score of the dance in a particular group/category and then average all three scores completely and round up or down based on intangibles and there you have the final predicted scores. Keep in mind that popularity, previous dance experience, etc are not taken into account… that is simply too many variables for me to attempt to follow for any season.

GAVIN DEGRAW
Dance: Foxtrot
Average Scores:
– Age: 19.435
– Occupation: 20.000
– Professional Partner: 21.000
Predicted Score: 20
Comments: With most of his scores being “middle of the road” the only thing going for him is his partner Karina. Her scores on the Foxtrot in the first third of the season on average is relatively higher than most pros. Should he be part of the middle of the pack… he may be alright for the week (considering the rabid fan base I’ve noticed thus far) but if he doesn’t shine either this week or next week, he could be in trouble for the casual viewer.

DONALD DRIVER
Dance: ChaCha
Average Scores:
– Age: 19.667
– Occupation: 19.143
– Professional Partner: 14.000
Predicted Score: 18
Comments: It’s always hard to tell how a celeb would do when they are paired with a relatively new pro. NFL players typically do better in the Foxtrot out of the gate as opposed to the ChaCha, so with a couple of strikes against him… NFL players could surprise the audience by sheer weight of their personality, he might be lucky here. However, when looking at the scores of NFL players in their 30s, they tend to hit above average (21.000)… so I almost feel that this score is rather low overall. …Read more

March 19, 2012 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) "I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour." and... 2) "Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much." So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point... =)

DWTS13 Chaz Bono On His Dancing Journey So Far, His Future Plans, & More (Video)

Jay Leno interviewed Chaz last night on the Tonight Show. He starts out by calling him the “Chazmanian Devil”. They review Chaz’s journey so far on Dancing With The Stars. Jay tries to point out that Chaz had a bad diet before starting the show and Chaz says it’s not true. He had the bad diet before getting clean and sober 7 years ago. Chaz also talks of his previous dance experience. He took tap and ballet when he was little and took performing arts in high school (oh no, here comes the ringer debate again 😯 😉 ). They talk of the transgender debate as well and how Chaz let’s the criticism roll off his back. Chaz discusses how he’d like to maybe act or even be a late night TV host after his gig on Dancing With The Stars is up (good idea. I’d love to see that happen too!). All this and more below.

TV Guide has a new interview up with Chaz today as well. He talks of how the “injury” talk has been blown out of proportion (I agree. I wish interviewers would stop going on and asking him about it as if Chaz is complaining when he’s not. He wouldn’t even talk of it if they didn’t ask). He also discusses the great cast and the fun he’s having. Below is a take of what it felt like being in the bottom two. He also comments how the Rumba is easier and rehearsals are going well. More at the link!

What was going through your mind when you were called safe and realized you weren’t in the actual bottom two?
Bono: I was just really happy. Both of us didn’t want to stop participating in this, so Lacey and I were just incredibly relieved. You hope that [your fans can save you]. Also, we were one point off three or four other couples, so it wasn’t like we were way below. We knew we definitely had a chance to go home, but hoped we wouldn’t. We were really thrilled the fans got us through.

You scored a 17 two weeks in a row. What are you working on to bump up that up next week?
Bono: Nothing in particular. We just want to do the best job we can. Every dance has its own technique and I think each of us contestants has our own strengths and weaknesses. [The rumba] will definitely be easier for me, physically, than the quickstep. It’s slower and there’s no skipping, and rehearsals are going well.

September 30, 2011 I Written By

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

DWTS11 Preliminary Power Rankings, Part II

So last week, I formulated who wouldn’t last past the midpoint of the competition in part I of my season 11 preliminary power ranking.  Today, I’ll reveal my top half – and who I think is going to walk away with that mirrorball trophy.  Enjoy & dicuss!

6.) Florence Henderson & Corky Ballas – I think these two could be interchangeable with Michael & Chelsie, depending on how memorable Florence can be.  No doubt Florence will likely be the better dancer – she’s had legit experience, plus the footage I’ve seen of her practicing so far looks reeeeaaally good.  She seems like a very focused, hard worker.  She’s also got the boon of being the oldest cast member, which seems to bring its own voting fanbase with it.  The one problem I think Flo might have is the comparisons she’s likely gonna get to Cloris, since that’s been Corky’s only other partner – and she and Cloris are NOTHING alike, besides their older age.  While part of Cloris’ appeal was her outrageous behavior, it’s something we’re not going to see out of Flo…like I’ve mentioned before, Flo is very demure and classy, and not the type to throw out off-color comments and innuendo.  As for Corky and his fanbase…that’s a little harder to predict.  He’s only been on the show once before, and it seemed like it was his partner’s outrageous behavior that kept them around so long.  I’m not sure if Mark’s (or Derek’s, for that matter) fans are gonna throw any votes his direction, or if he has enough of a fanbase of his own to really make a difference.  Regardless, I’m actually kind of excited for these two – it will be nice to see what a dynamite choreographer like Corky can really do with a partner that’s willing to work. 

5.) Kurt Warner & Anna Trebunskaya – Now Kurt could be the worst dancer in the competition this season, and I still don’t think he’d get sent home any sooner than week 6 or 7, just due to being a former NFL player (the worst any of them have done is 7th place).  On top of that, he’s the first quarterback we’ve ever had on the show, and the QB’s are typically the most well-known players on each team. But I think Kurt could actually be pretty good, if his work ethic during dance practice is anything like his work ethic on the football field.  And really – Kurt just seems like a genuinely good guy.  Comes from humble roots, evangelical Christian, family man, does a lot of charity work…I’m not sure there’s a more likeable guy in the competition.  He also seems to have a goofy side (see The Great Previous Dance Experience Debate, Part II), which always seems to balance nicely with a serious work ethic.  I think Anna has also beefed up her fanbase after having such a breakout season with Evan – people have warmed to her considerably, and she seems to have gotten a good deal more comfortable with her own choreography.  But while these two will likely be Mr. & Mrs. Congeniality this season, I don’t think Kurt necessarily has the dance chops (or the explosive personality) to make it to the semifinals.  

4.) David Hasselhoff & Kym Johnson – I’m saying this right now – I don’t think the Hoff is going to be a fantastic dancer.  Decent, maybe; but not great.  However, I do think he will be this season’s funny man, and that will take him farther than his dance skills will.  From the bit of media that I’ve seen so far with him in it, I’m having flashbacks of Donny in season 9 – the Hoff is definitely hamming it up.  Very chatty, cracking a lot of jokes, but seems enthusiastic…I do think he’ll make an honest effort, but I’m just not sure he’s got a ton of natural skill to pair it with.  But that’s ok, because if there’s one thing Kym is really good at, it’s taking an okay partner and giving them choreography that really lets them shine – I think that’s exactly what she did with Donny & Warren, and I’m sure that’s what she’ll do with David.  Plus Kym is quite possibly the most likeable female pro in the competition – mellow, sweet, and drop dead gorgeous.  I think they’ll look good together, and will likely be one of the couples out there that is truly enjoying themselves – it probably won’t trump some of the better-dancing couples, but I could see it taking them to the semifinal. 

3.) Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough – Looks like Heidi and I are in agreement on this one – Team Jenougher will probably make it to the finale, but just don’t quite have the juice to go all the way.  Like Heidi, I agree that Jennifer’s age and recent health issues will likely hinder this pair a bit; however, I do think she will be a sentimental fave with the voters, and they will come out to vote for her in big ways…even if she isn’t the greatest.  She does have a big advantage in having Derek; choreographically, I think he’s the strongest male pro and the one most likely to bring out the best in his partners.  He’s also got an uber-strong fanbase, and they’re smart about how they vote.  The only thing I can’t really predict is if there’s going to be any backlash from his win last season – I can’t decide if those that are still pissed about Nicole winning are going to refuse to vote for Derek now, even if they really do like what he’s doing with Jen.  Ditto for the same people that are clinging to the (flimsy) notion that Jennifer is a “professional dancer” and that DWTS is strictly for stars with “no dance experience” (keep dreaming) – are they gonna refuse to vote too, just on principle? By the same token, are they gonna refuse to vote for Brandy, Florence, & the Hoff too? I would like to think that in a season like this, with a fairly level playing field, that people wouldn’t try to concoct conspiracy theories like that – but there’s always some renegades.  That whole mess aside, I do think these two will be one of the stronger couples this season…but I’m not sure they’re going to have enough momentum to win. 

2.) Brandy & Maksim Chmerkovskiy – I’m sure there will be shock, awe, and outrage over this one, but when it comes down to it I just don’t think Brandy is going to be the stereotypical “pop-star ringer” that everyone is saying she is.  As we proved with the previous dance experience post, Brandy’s career has not been nearly as dance-heavy as, say, Nicole, Sabrina, or even Mel B’s.  And unlike Nicole & Sabrina, who were still in the high point of their careers when they did the show, Brandy’s been out of the spotlight for a little while now…aside from an album she released last year that flopped, and the reality show she has with her family on VH1 (which I’m not sure paints her in the best light), she hasn’t really been up to anything “big” in over 10 years.  I’m not sure how much of her original fanbase is still invested enough to come out and vote for her, which will likely cause her to rely heavily on pulling people in with great dancing.  And from what I’ve seen from the media so far – Brandy seems like a focused, hard worker, but doesn’t seem to be a natural when it comes to ballroom.  However, I do think she has an advantage in having Maks, who does have a large fanbase, and is a good choreographer – when he isn’t pissing off the judges or throwing fits (then again, like Heidi, I blame a lot of his less savory behavior last season on Erin, who seemed to bring out the worst in him, for whatever reason).  However, it is encouraging to see Maks & Brandy practicing and no tantrums being thrown by either party – the energy between them seems much more synergistic than it was between him and some of his other partners.  I daresay this will likely result in some really good, memorable routines.  However, when it comes down to it, I think they’re no match for… 

1.) Rick Fox & Cheryl Burke – Ok, pick your jaw up off the floor, and let me explain why I think these two could be the couple to beat this season.  First off, athletes generally do well (duh) – and pretty male athletes tend to do REALLY well (think Jason Taylor, Apolo Ohno, Helio Castroneves).  And when a pretty athlete teams up with a pretty female pro – watch out.  I have already said multiple times that I think these two are going to be this season’s most handsome couple.  Plus Cheryl is statistically the strongest female pro on the show – two wins, one 2nd place finish, one 3rd place finish, and 2 trips to the semi finals in her 9 seasons on the show – and she’s also one of the toughest, which Rick has said works well for him.  I also have a sneaking suspicion that Rick is not completely inept in the rhythm department – ex-wifey Vanessa Williams was a fantastic dancer, and I can’t imagine that a little bit of know-how didn’t rub off on him during their 5-year marriage.  Rick also has the boon of being a star not only from his basketball career, but also his acting career – he’s appeared on quite a few TV shows.  Both he and Cheryl seem to have pretty good-sized fanbases on their own, too, which gives them a bit of an edge over couples where the celeb isn’t as popular as the pro, and vice-versa.  Seems like this couple has a pretty good hand to play…but they do seem to be keeping their poker face up.  Not a whole lot of media leakage on these two, which makes me think that they’re really trying to play up the whole surprise factor when Rick turns out to be pretty damn good.  Cheryl seemed to do the same thing with Gilles, and look how he panned out.  But I daresay it will be interesting to see what these two have up their sleeves 😉

So there you have it – I’ve laid out my predictions for this season’s couples, without any of them having actually set foot on the floor.  Definitely hoping for some surprises this season, since this is the most level the playing field has been in quite some time.  But what do you guys think? Am I onto something? Am I full of crap? SPEAK UP! 😀

September 15, 2010 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence

Derek Hough on “Ringers”

Very interesting interview with Derek – don’t let the title mislead you, he actually doesn’t back away AT ALL from Nicole’s previous dance experience.  In fact, I think even Derek detractors will have a tough time finding fault with what he has to say. But maybe I’m overly optimistic on that front. 🙂  Anyway, from the Seattle Post – TV Guide, a few excerpts:

TVGuide.com: Anna Trebunskaya says you’ve been busting in on her rehearsals with Evan Lysacek. Are you scoping out the competition?

Derek Hough: Totally! We’re constantly walking in, like, “So what’s going on, guys?” [Laughs] It’s funny because Nicole does this certain move in our Viennese waltz that kind of looks like ice skating, like gliding, so every time she does it, she goes, “It’s the Lysacek!” Everyone’s having a good time. She gets along with everybody and she’s enjoying herself. Nicole’s a really hard worker, but we’ve been playing hard as well too. She’s a huge goofball. I thought I was crazy and goofy, but she’s definitely outmatched me.

TVGuide.com: There seems to be at least one person every season with a performing or dance background that people label a “ringer.” Some say it’s Nicole this season. Does that bother you?
Hough:
For me, I don’t think it’s Nicole. I think it could be Evan. He performs choreography on ice. He’s like Baryshnikov on ice! Nicole is like, “Wait a minute. I’m a singer who just happens to do a few chest bumps and a few head rolls.” That’s what she compares her dancing to. But what’s so great about this season is that I don’t think there is a definite ringer. You’ve got lots of people who can be very good. Evan will be tough for so many different reasons. Chad [Ochocinco]’s got a great personality. We’ve learned in the past that people who’ve danced before don’t necessarily do well, let alone win. The show is so much more than just dancing. It’s about personality, it’s about story, it’s about charisma. Just look at Ty Murray.

TVGuide.com: How much has Nicole’s dance background helped?
Hough:
I hate when people say, “No, it’s a totally different monster. It doesn’t help at all.” That’s ridiculous. Of course it helps! I think what helps the most is her musicality. But it is very true that this is hard. People make it look easy, but that’s what’s so hard about it — making it look easy. It’s definitely a struggle, but I think her dance experience has allowed us to up the ante as far as choreography.


TVGuide.com: Who are you excited to see dance?
Hough:
I think Pamela Anderson is going to bring something good. She’s with Damian [Whitewood], the new guy, who’s going to bring new energy. Erin Andrews and Maks [Chmerkovskiy] should be something as well. I can’t wait to see Buzz [Aldrin]. Buzz is a little party animal. I went out twice last week and he was at both parties. He was kicking it right until the end. … This guy is a party animal and he’s 80 years old! He’s awesome. When he practices, he wears this shirt with this guy walking on the moon, and I said, “Is that you?” He said, “Yeah, it is, actually.” “Oh, wow!” [Laughs] People say that he’s a moonwalker, and he doesn’t like that. “No, I walked on the moon. I’ve actually walked on it.” It’s pretty funny because it’s true! You’re like, “Right, sorry. Duh. You’re a legend.”

March 19, 2010 I Written By

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