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Dancing with the Stars – Winning Freestyles Through the Years, Part One

All the talk about freestyles actually had me go back and watch quite a few of the winners and losers to see what the couples have to live up to on Monday. It’s a rather daunting task, to create one that is really good and, just as important, MEMORABLE. If you subscribe to the Derek Hough school of thought, you want it to be remembered more than you want the MBT. Which of the couples will manage that Monday night?? A couple of them have really good track records, for sure. :-)

Season 1 – it’s rather shocking to watch season 1’s freestyles and remember that they did ACTUAL ballroom. You’ll note that once the Hough Ballas Crowd came along, the bar on the freestyles rose considerably. This one was not bad, considering the time frame, but there were a lot of mis-steps in it. Pay particular attention to the judges and how mellow they are and non-dramatic. This was before they became invested in being the stars of the show. Read more..

May 16, 2014 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. :-)

Apolo Ohno Discusses DWTS, Karina Smirnoff And Maksim Chmerkovskiy Rehearse For Forever Tango

Former all star of Dancing With The Stars Apolo Ohno was interviewed by Huff Post LIVE. He talks all about his current projects one of which includes reporting in the next Olympics. But, that’s not all! Apolo also talks all about his two journeys on Dancing With The Stars. He compares what it was like to dance with partners Julianne Hough (he knew she was a superstar the first time he saw her!) and Karina Smirnoff (LOL to her knowing how to “crack a whip”). Cute interview and he loved them both!



You can watch more of this interview at Huff Post LIVE! I loved Apolo on Dancing With The Stars. He indeed is in my top 10 celebrities to ever do Dancing With The Stars.

Also, don’t miss seeing some new pictures of Karina at Getty Images today as she works out for her return to Broadway in ‘Forever Tango’. So cute as always!!

UPDATE: Don’t miss seeing this Getty Images link. They have just posted new pictures of Karina and Maks rehearsing for “Forever Tango”! So cool!!! I so want to see this show!

June 28, 2013 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.

DWTS 16 Preliminary Power Rankings – Part II

So you read my predictions for who is going to be gone before the midpoint of the season.  Now it’s time for my predictions for who’s going to be sticking around longer…and who’s gonna win :-) Read on!

6.) Ingo & Kym – Not sure quite what to make of these two – they’re very likeable and seem to have great chemistry, Ingo seems willing to work hard and eager to do well, and Kym, as always, is a very patient, nurturing teacher that brings out the best in her partners.  But while everything seems pretty on the surface, I can’t shake the feeling that Ingo may be a bit…awkward.  The rehearsal video and the pix we’ve seen so far seem to reveal some “Ralph hands”, and Ingo himself has admitted that he’s not exactly a graceful guy.  I’m also seeing shades of him taking things just a little too seriously – and we’ve seen how being a little too serious and a little too desperate to do well can torpedo a couple’s chances of getting votes.  Now don’t get me wrong – compared to some of the couples on the bottom half of the list (namely D.L. & Cheryl, and possibly Sean & Peta), Ingo & Kym have a great connection and “taking things a little too seriously” is less of a problem than, say, having zero chemistry with your partner or having a partner that just doesn’t seem to give a hoot :-P I just don’t know that Ingo & Kym are going to coast through this season like Hines & Kym did.  Fanbase-wise? I’m inclined to say that Ingo will benefit somewhat from the “soap vote”, although likely not to the degree Kelly did – since Ingo’s character on GH seems to only be recurring at this point, I don’t know that he’ll have as many of the same impassioned fans that voted for Kelly, also voting for him.  We already know Kym is pretty well-loved, so her fanbase should help out somewhat…but I think overall, these two will probably be more on-par with the Cameron Mathison/Edyta partnership, rather than the Kelly/Val one.  There are just too many more popular celebs (likely with better dance skills) this season for a soap star to really have a hope and a prayer of making it to the finale, methinks. Read more..

March 17, 2013 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!

Dorothy Hamill Chats About Her First Rehearsals For Dancing With The Stars, Costumes, Ice Skating, And More

The Chicago Sun Times has a great new interview up with Dorothy Hamill where she talks all about her new ice skating shows, but, she also discusses Dancing With The Stars and what her first rehearsals have been like. She also tells us what kind of coach Tristan MacManus is making and how skating and dancing are different….

Q.You are partnered with Tristan McManus. What kind of a coach is he? Tough love or laid-back?

DH: Tristan is patient, patient, patient! He’s a saint. I’ve never seen frustration on his face though we’ve only been training for three days. I know he’s gotta be frustrated, because I am.

Q.How similar are skating and ballroom dancing? Or are they worlds apart?

DH: The dancing is sorta similar to skating but dancing really isn’t about movement; it’s all about the rhythm. People think skating would translate very easily to dancing but it really doesn’t. Dancing is a lot of fun and not as dangerous as being on the ice. But I’m starting to feel like the hippo in “Fantasia” [Laughs] and that’s embarrassing and humiliating. I have the most incredible partner in Tristan, but I’m starting to think he has the worst partner in me. We’ll see.

Q. Did you study dance when you trained as a skater?

DH: I didn’t study dance. I had some ballet lessons because I needed it for posture and for my arms, mostly. My skating coach said I really needed it, from the belly button up, as opposed to the footwork. In skating, the shoes don’t move. In ballroom, your feet move in all sorts of ways. So it’s very different. The dancing is a different kind of physically demanding work.

Q. What has early training for “DWTS” been like? Is it all about the basic steps or do you jump right in and learn a dance right out of the gate?

DH: Well, after four steps I’m pretty much lost right now! But Tristan has been teaching me basic steps. And we just got our music for our first dance. It’s a contemporary dance. We started the choreography yesterday. We’ll be getting the music for our second dance soon. As for rehearsals, we’re only allowed right now to work four hours with a half hour break, for the first two weeks of competition. After that I guess we’re on our own in terms of how much time we choose to rehearse.

This is a fun take about the costumes and the dances she’s dreading the most….

Q. What’s your take on the “Dancing with the Stars” costumes, which can be very revealing and have often been compared to the sparkly costumes of professional skating?

DH: The costumes are very different, though I haven’t had a wardrobe fitting yet. They are very revealing, that’s true. I’m just hoping mine won’t be too revealing. I’m the oldest person on the show this season. That was a revelation! I just have to make sure they cover up as much as possible. But I am looking very forward to the spray tan on my legs! That will be fun. My legs are ice skaters’ legs. No tan in sight.

Q.Which dances are you dreading and which are you looking forward to the most?

DH: I’m intimidated by the Jive and the Quickstep, I think. The quickness and the rhythm of the steps of those dances as far as I’ve seen are very intimidating. In skating we get to glide. Interestingly, Kristi said the Fox Trot was the most difficult for her.

I’d be intimidated by those dances the most I think too. Great interview! Be sure you read it in full here.

UPDATE: And here is Tristan and Dorothy on ET in a rehearsal interview. So cute and I’m loving their moves. What do you think?!!

March 7, 2013 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.

DWTS 15 End-of-Season Awards: Which Couple Was the Most Mismatched?

Ok, it’s official: I’m probably going to eliminate the write-in category the next time we do these, because it seems like it got misunderstood & misused quite a bit this time.  HINT: if you wrote in several of “shawn n derrick!!!” dances for best dance, yet also wrote in “shawn n derrick!!!” for most mismatched couple, I’m going to assume you probably did not understand the question.  Oy 8-O

 mismatched15

Write-ins:

Bristol & Mark – 11

Shawn & Derek – 11

Kirstie & Maks – 6

Kelly & Val – 1

Melissa & Tony – 1

None – 1

Courtney: First things first: if you wrote in any of the three finalists in this category, this is me rolling my eyes at you, because I daresay Melissa & Tony, Shawn & Derek, and Kelly & Val were probably 3 of the MOST compatible partnerships this season – and obviously they did something right, or else they likely wouldn’t have made the finale.  Methinks there are likely some sour grapes over the outcome of this season coming from those writing any of those 3 couples in.  And yeah, Bristol & Mark were mismatched in season 11, and they were mismatched again this season…but honestly, does anyone really think Bristol would have fared better with any other pro? I’m not even sure Derek could have shined that turd.  As for non-written-in results – I’m not sure I agree that Pam & Tristan were the “most mismatched”, per se – I would argue that they seemed to get along well in their rehearsal package and in their pre & post-show press, but that Pam just wasn’t able to put in the necessary effort to hack it in the all-star season.  In retrospect, I actually think that Drew & Anna were terribly mismatched – and as a result, I think they didn’t go nearly as far as they should have, given their combined skill set.  From what I gathered from insider info about their rehearsals, Drew came into the all-star season with a “let’s have fun!” attitude, but Anna’s intensity and the pressure she was putting on him to get things perfect took its toll and by the end of his run, he was stressed out, anxious, and definitely not having fun anymore.  Unfortunately, as much as I love Anna, I think her intensity is the one thing that may be standing between her and an MBT – unlike Karina, who seems to have figured out how to balance being intense with having fun, I don’t know that Anna has figured out how to relax and enjoy the experience…and I think that may take a toll on her partners. As for Gilles & Peta – yeah, in the end, I think they ended up being a mismatch…but I blame that more on Gilles being a complete d-bag, and Peta just letting him get away with it.  :-) Apolo & Karina had some edgy moments, but overall I think they were well-matched; didn’t see enough of Helio & Chelsie to really make a judgement one way or another; and Sabrina & Louis were at about the same level of annoying perkiness, so I guess that means they were compatible :-P

Vogue: I voted for Peta and Gilles for “Most Mismatched”! When we first heard they were going to be teamed up, I thought, “Wow, this pairing is brilliant. We are really in for something special.” Both gave off a classy, ‘old Hollywood’ feel in all of their promos. I loved Gilles the first time he danced, so I was quite taken back with his ego from the get go. I felt sorry for Peta so much of the time. I got the feeling he didn’t trust her since she was more new to the scene and would have rathered had Cheryl as a partner. It was a disappoinment. I didn’t get a “mismatched” feeling from anyone else like I did with Peta and Gilles …and like Courtney, I blamed it on Gilles too.

Heidi: Again – don’t remember who I voted for. And I didn’t feel sorry for Peta at all – she fed his ego instead of reining it in.  I have to say that I agree with the Drew/Anna mismatch – that was just no fun at all. I don’t get why people think Pam and Tristan were mismatched. Because they went out first?? That’s a bit of a cop out – just because they were first out doesn’t mean that they were mismatched, just that she was the least skilled dancer who also had the fewest voters.  Saying that the most mismatched couple is the one that went out first is kinda like saying that the best dancer always wins. Ummm…no. :-)  Also, Courtney – I’ve noticed on PDH that people tend to not read real closely on these sorts of things. :-)

February 19, 2013 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 15 End-of-Season Awards: Which Celeb Improved the Most?

Ok, now that I’ve finally worked up the motivation to start revealing the results, I’m gonna do this a bit out-of-order – mainly because I simply don’t have the patience right now to tally up some of the awards with HUNDREDS of write-in votes 8-O This season has definitely made me question whether to even include write-ins as an option in the future.  But I digress – let’s start with an award where the results were pretty cut & dry:

mostimproved15

Write-ins:

Bristol – 6

Helio – 2

Kirstie – 1

None – 1

Courtney: No arguments here – prior to the start of the season, Kelly was one of the celebs that I thought would REALLLLLY struggle, given that she was probably the weakest of the DWTS returning champions, based on her performance in season 1.  Apparently Alec just didn’t know how to tap into her potential back then, because she was definitely one of the stronger dancers this season! Maybe Kelly just had time to mature between season 1 and season 15, maybe it helped to have a partner that she could really connect with (and wasn’t an “Iceman”) – whatever it was, she definitely impressed me this season, as did Val…makes me wonder if he could be the next great choreographer on the show in Derek’s absence.  I also feel a bit vindicated now, since I’ve always said that Alec probably wasn’t that great of a teacher – if he was truly that great, he would have been able to pull performances out of Kelly 8 years ago that were as good as some of the ones we saw in season 16.  I think Shawn & Apolo also improved, albeit not as drastically as Kelly; Melissa improved a little bit, as there didn’t seem to be quite as many cheerleader moves this time around; I think Sabrina stayed about the same; and Gilles got worse.  I’m guessing the 6 votes for Bristol came from 2 well-known Bristol trolls on different computers – because she was even trainwreckier this time than she was before 8-O

Vogue: I voted for Kelly as well in this category. From the beginning, she seemed intent on doing well and improving herself. She had something to prove and that she could dance with the best of them. Despite a busy ongoing schedule with General Hospital, she gave it her all and it showed with every week that passed. Both she and Val had a powerful passion. They couldn’t have been more suited for each other. He wanted to do well too and set a name for himself other than just being Mak’s little brother. She gave him the confidence to do that and they flew with it even with the odds stacked against them. I loved them and I too look forward to Val’s future on Dancing With The Stars.

Heidi: I actually don’t remember who I voted for in this category, but if I was voting now it would be for either Kelly or Shawn.  Kelly for all the reasons already stated – as much as the showmance made me nauseous by the end, she still ended up much better than her original season.  I also have high hopes for Val in terms of choreo – that he’s inspired by Derek and not, say, Tony. He is a musician, so he starts out ahead. He did a lot with Kelly and made her seem warmer than I suspect she might actually be. :-)  If he continues to look at what Derek did as cool and creative as opposed to “rule breaking”, he can be the next great choreographer on the show.  Take notes, Tony and Louis. As for Shawn, she was like a different dancer with Derek.  She inspired him to up his game and she was fearless – talk about two people who complimented each other.  Derek just pushed and pushed and pushed and got her to not only up her dancing, but her emotional connection to the dance.  Awesome.

February 14, 2013 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!

How to Fix DWTS – An Open Letter to Producers (Part 4)

This post is the 4th and final part of a series where I basically tell the producers of DWTS how they should change the show – it’s for their own good. :-)  This part is more to the audience, but also for the producers.  If you want to read parts 1, 2, and 3 you can find them here:

How to Fix DWTS Part 1

How to Fix DWTS Part 2

How to Fix DWTS Part 3

A reminder for those easily induced into righteous indignation – this is NOT about the various couples but about the JUDGES and the Producers – I’ve provided examples of problems that I remember from season to season. If you get your knickers in a twist about Melissa or Shawn or Mya or Nicole or Maria, I’m not going to waste time arguing with you, I’m going to call you names (maybe to myself, maybe publicly – we’ll see) and then ignore you. Keep it on topic.

————-

I’ve never been one to believe in a high degree of manipulation of the show via the packages. I mean, let’s face it – no one MADE Maks be an ass with half his partners. And I’ve had people who work on the show tell me that what you see is usually what you get. Not to mention that after many seasons on the show, these pros know if you give the producers exciting footage, they are going to USE it. So, don’t be stupid. Take up the song “The Camera’s really on me now” by Derek Hough and Nicole Scherzinger. And suck it up. I get that the job of the producers is to get ratings. You get ratings by getting people talking. Be it a showmance or a knock down drag out fight. If you’re not smart enough to realize that camera really is recording everything you do, then it’s on YOU.  Maks and Hope really WERE awful, Karina and Apolo (sadly) really were stressed out and boring, and Drew and Anna were indeed too intense and serious. Read more..

February 10, 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. :-)

How to Fix DWTS – An Open Letter to Producers (Part 3)

This post is part 3 of a new series where I basically tell the producers of DWTS how they should change the show – it’s for their own good. :-)  If you want to read parts 1 and 2, you can find them here:

How to Fix DWTS Part 1

How to Fix DWTS Part 2

 

A reminder for those easily induced into righteous indignation – this is NOT about the various couples but about the JUDGES and the Producers – I’ve provided examples of problems that I remember from season to season. If you get your knickers in a twist about Melissa or Shawn or Mya or Nicole or Maria, I’m not going to waste time arguing with you, I’m going to call you names (maybe to myself, maybe publicly – we’ll see) and then ignore you. Keep it on topic.  And by all means – if you remember other instances of fishiness, feel free to share. I can’t guarantee we will agree, but I would be interested to hear.

Dear DWTS Producers (cont.)

We’ve talked all about the stupid scoring methods the judges have, although not really touching on how much you producers influence that scoring. It’s really hard to say what is Len being an ass and what is producer directed underscoring with the goal of drama, making it a horse race or holding on to the contestants who grab viewers attention, albeit not necessarily actual votes.  Who’s doing it and their ultimate goal? Don’t know, kinda care, really wish you would CUT IT OUT. I think it’s obvious. One only has to compare how Len scored Shawn, Nicole and Mya to see a pretty distinct pattern. I didn’t look much farther than those three, initially, but after my last posting I had to look at another talented dancer, Jennifer Grey. Jennifer didn’t suffer from the same scoring bullshit as the other three ladies. Why? Well, my guess is that she wasn’t anywhere close to “guaranteed” win (in the producers and judges eyes, mind you) that the other ladies were. She was 50 years old at the time and had some rather serious medical issues – almost didn’t dance in the finale, if you recall. Falsely crapping on her dances would seem…well, heartless.  She started the show as the sympathetic character with a very nostalgic feel. The other pseudo ringer that season was Brandy – she learned to dance for a movie, like Jennifer, and went to a performing arts high school – like Jennifer. Keeping in mind that I haven’t seen her dances since her season aired, you will note that she was getting consistently beaten by Jennifer in scoring up until week 5, when she beat Jennifer. She also beat Jennifer in week 6, then tied her in weeks 7 and 8, before being eliminated. I’m tempted to say that she had the Len curse that season….but since I haven’t watched the dances in a while I can’t really make the call. Looks like it though.

Brooke and Kristi were the high scorers nearly every week they were on the show, season 5 was all over the place, and Gilles seemed destined to win season 8, which leads me to believe that this little game didn’t really start happening until after that season. Were they getting tired of sure things, even though Gilles ended up not winning? Decided to make the game more interesting? Totally pissed that Shawn won and Gilles/Melissa didn’t?  I wish they would quit it. It’s always nice to have excitement on a show, but not at the expense of reality. Read more..

January 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. :-)

How to Fix DWTS – An Open Letter to Producers (Part 2)

This post is part 2 of a new series where I basically tell the producers of DWTS how they should change the show. Cuz I’m bossy like that. :-)  If you want to read part 1, you can find it here —> How to Fix DWTS Part 1  A reminder for those easily induced into righteous indignation – this is NOT about the various couples but about the JUDGES and the Producers – I’ve provided examples of problems that I remember from season to season. If you get your knickers in a twist about Melissa or Shawn or Mya or Nicole or Maria, I’m not going to waste time arguing with you, I’m going to call you names (maybe to myself, maybe publicly – we’ll see) and then ignore you. Keep it on topic.

Dear DWTS Producers (cont.)

Scoring – to keep the “better” dancers over the “not so much” dancers.  “Better” being highly subjective. This is another common problem that many of us have seen on the show in the mid weeks of a season.  Say you have a dancer named Hope. She’s not a great dancer, but she’s explosive when paired with the bad boy of the ballroom – good for controversy and smack talk if not much else. Well, you want your show to be talked about and there are much more “disposable” celebrities on at the same time, so what do you do?? Well, of course, you pad Hope’s scores to give her just enough of a boost that she sticks around for a couple weeks, even if there are better dancers (such as Kristin, Chynna and even David – well, maybe not “better”  in David’s case, but certainly more charming) that are at risk of leaving. Ya gotta have your ratings, right?  Now, when all the disposable celebs are gone and you start scoring Hope for real, what happens?? Well, both Hope AND her fans and the rest of the audience are saying, “Wait a second. Last week I got a much better score for a dance that wasn’t as good as this one.”  And the conspiracy theories abound. And with good reason, right?  Hope’s not even the best example of this – I’m sure my readers can come up with good-ish dancers who were intentionally over scored just so they would stay longer than the really crappy dancers, only to start getting lower scores in the later weeks – so that the *great* dancers would survive.  It’s a vicious cycle.  Of course, they don’t always get worse scores in later weeks.  I have to wonder just how much protecting of Melissa was done early on for dancing that wasn’t that great.  She got a 37 (out of 40) on a Jitterbug in week 4 that had seriously messy lifts (the in and outs mainly) – one of which was almost a fall. It kinda makes me laugh cuz Shawn was picked on for “tricks” yet this dance was ALL tricks and any dancing there was was simplistic.  CAI, Len and Paula even called them on it and they still got a 37. She got a 27 the week before on a samba that was just too precious – and a 30 when they re-danced it and she did no better on it. Me thinks they were terribly afraid of Kirstie and Emmitt, early on, when it came to Melissa, and they were pulling a Maria late in the season (see below). Except for the very last one (maybe) her tangos and pasos were routinely over scored – so soft. :::shrug::: Hope and Melissa are far from the only examples. Maria was overscored on her Jive (if Shawn had danced that dance, Len would have decimated her), either to let her be eliminated with a high score (dangerous) or because they were hoping (strangely) that she could get past Donald, who they clearly didn’t care for much.  I always thought her salsa was overscored as well.  She was definitely a better dancer than many of the others in week three, when the salsa happened, but I imagine there was some doubt as to the strength of her fanbase.  The judges/producers seem to have so many goals, it’s hard to keep track of. One of them has to be making sure the better dancers with questionable fanbases make it to the end over the crap dancers who are popular. Read more..

December 17, 2012 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. :-)

How to Fix DWTS – An Open Letter to Producers (Part 1)

ETA: Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all those in Newtown, Connecticut tonight.

How to “Fix” DWTS – An Open Letter to the Producers. This is going to be a rather long series, judging by the length of part 1 by itself. :-)  I tried to do it all in one post but my Word version is already five pages long and I’m less than half way done. The below is the first two and a half pages. :-) Oh, and I give a LOT of examples that are just that – examples with names inserted. They may or may not be accurate.  The point is likely in bold – this isn’t about individual dancers but about judge’s and producer’s behavior in a more general sense.

Dear DWTS Producers,

You need lots of help, because a lot of people can now see the man behind the curtain. And he’s just a man, he ain’t no wizard.  So, I’m going to try to help you. You may not like what I have to say and you certainly don’t have to listen to what I say.  But I AM the average viewer (sort of) and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in my growing disgust with parts of how you run your show.  Disgust seems like too strong a word, but it was the first one that popped into my head, so we’re going with it. So…read on.

NUMBER ONE THING TO REMEMBER: Your viewers aren’t stupid. Except when they ARE. :-)

Most of the viewers of DWTS have been watching it long enough that they know a good Cha Cha from a stinky Cha Cha or a boring Cha Cha. So, when you give crap to someone like Shawn and Derek for a tractor and a cow, then rave over Kirstie Alley or (worse) Bristol Palin, a good chunk of your audience is rolling their eyes. And you lose a bit of credibility. They aren’t that stupid – trust me. Even the super Maks fans recognize that Kirstie isn’t at the same level as Shawn – just one example of dozens, of course. And for obvious reasons, not the least of which is age. But I skip ahead…

These very same viewers are sometimes easily manipulated by someone with a subtle (or even not so subtle) hand – especially when some of them are pre-disposed to buy into certain manipulations.  And most people are, in some respect. “Too much frippery” or “not enough content” or “not enough in hold” or “always breaking the rules” or “no chemistry” – all things that have been true and NOT true (often within the same SHOW) and often used against one dancer but not another – again, within the same show. But you make these claims often enough (true or not) and people start to believe it. Why do you think politicians continually say things that are easily disproven if one were to look them up?? Because they know that the average person is inclined to believe what a person who they feel is in a position of authority says, especially if they hear it a lot. Like LEN, for example.  People constantly regurgitate what they hear Len say, as if he’s never wrong. Of course, they think he’s wrong when he’s talking about THEIR favorite…but not everyone else’s. Then he’s spot on. Go figure. Odds are, if you think he’s wrong once he’s actually wrong when you think he’s right too.

But Len and the judges are just part of the problem.  I’ve outlined several issues that I see with the show and how I think you could easily fix them.

Scoring – Dancers against each other or against themselves? Here at PureDWTS, we’ve raged over this issue season after season after season. There’s been a bit of arguing about it as well. Say you have two dancers…we’ll call them Bristol and Apolo. Bristol is a young woman with a questionable fanbase (and even more questionable work ethic) but definitely an attention getter, and she’s not a great dancer but not horrendous either. Apolo is very popular athlete, handsome, hard worker and a really good dancer.  Now, our esteemed judges, on week 1, give Bristol all 6.5’s while they give Apolo all 7.0’s – for the same dance style.  Um…okay. Anyone’s who’s seen them dance likely does not agree AT ALL with only a half point separation per judge, but okay. Let’s say it’s a fluke. Week 2 rolls around and Bristol gets an 18, while Apolo gets a 24.5 – AWESOME. Life is how it should be, to anyone who has watched this show for any length of time. But uh oh – Week 3. Bristol dances Paso to Living on Video (an iconic dance to all viewers) and gets 7.5’s across the board for a 22.5.  Apolo does a foxtrot and gets a 25.5. Hum. A 3-point difference between a guy like Apolo and Bristol in week 3. That’s it??It gets worse – it’s only 2.5 points in week 4.  Now, this isn’t even the most egregious example of this – I just picked those two because they were on last season. Luckily, Bristol got the boot in week 4. But in the past, better dancers have been eliminated because of the judges’ tendency to say “Oh, you’ve improved so much from your first week!!” to people who really aren’t that good to begin with. And since you started with 7’s (a ridiculous first week score – or it should be – for many or most couples) you’ve got no place to go but up. Of course, since you picked someone like Bristol for the all-star season in the first place is a whole other problem – ya kinda have to give her good scores to justify her presence on the season, eh? Anyway, the judges have a real problem with scoring someone based on how they’ve improved. Now, by itself, this might not seem like a huge problem. But you throw in a great dancer with a great fanbase who doesn’t live up to (likely too) high expectations?? They get scored MUCH harsher and you end up with a tiny spread between a great dancer and a mediocre/bad dancer.  How is that the viewers are the only ones who see how ridiculous this is?

The fix?? STOP IT. Stop ragging on the Shawns and Apolos of the cast, while praising the Bristols and perhaps your audience will start to take you seriously once again. Sure, it’s a light, fluffy dance show – but if your audience thinks you have NO credibility?? Yer still screwed.  You become as respected as Honey Boo Boo. Can’t help yourself?? Think it’s only fair to give the less fortunate a fighting chance??  Make a judge’s rule. Once you are past Week 4, the gloves come OFF and you judge the dancers against each other.  Of course, you’ll have to have real criteria that’s PUBLISHED so the fans can follow along…but we’ll get to that in a later part. :-) It would also help if you started LOWER. Hand out 4s and 5s…and even 3s. Then you have a place to go with the scores for the not great dancers who improve without making it look like you are punishing the good dancers for BETTER dancing.

Bottom Line: When you set the bar extremely high for dancers like Nicole, Mya, Shawn, Apolo, Brandy, Jennifer…the list goes on…just because you expect more from them, it is patently unfair. When the bar is lower for the bad dancers and result is a very small spread between the mediocre/bad and the good/great?? Shocking eliminations abound. AND your audience believes you might be rigging the show.

To be continued in Part 2….

December 14, 2012 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. :-)