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..
So I was eating my lunch outside today (since it was the first day in quite some time that wasn’t rainy) with some coworkers, when the topic of my favorite DWTS contestant of all-time, Alfonso Ribeiro, came up. We had been talking about the celebrity golf tournament he was in this past weekend (Vogue reported on it here, if you haven’t seen it yet), and the fact that he did the Carlton, and I think I said “He’s probably the best male dancer they’ve ever had on the show!” To which another coworker replied “Nah, Corbin Bleu was the best dancer they’ve ever had on the show!” And of course, a debate commenced over who was the better technician, who was the better entertainer, who was more athletic, etc. etc. etc. We ended up agreeing to disagree, but it got me thinking: really & truly, out of the 20 seasons we’ve had – who is the best guy we’ve seen, and who’s the best girl?
I did a bit of a snap poll on Twitter, but I figured “Why not make it a bit more official?” and do an actual poll here? So below, I picked the most likely candidates for who would likely qualify for “best dancer” on DWTS – most would probably fall under the “ringer” category, but that’s kind of expected when we’re voting on dance skills alone. Keep in mind that it’s not about popularity, or how well-known they were when they did the show – just dance skills & presentation, period; and independent of any previous training they might have had – so no “Well so-and-so was better because they had no previous experience and were great and that’s what DWTS is all about!!!” Strictly voting on dance skills/showmanship alone, kids.
Obviously, I voted for Alfonso for the men – I think he was the most consistent of all the male ringers we’ve had, and also the best showman; I also think part of his appeal was that he was a really organic, natural mover that seemed to really get into the pocket of whatever dance was thrown his way, even if he had no previous experience with it. While I agreed with my coworker that Corbin was more athletic and likely had more refined technique than Alfonso, I think he wasn’t as much of a natural as Alfonso and had to work harder to appear at ease with the movement of some of the dances – which didn’t always work, and made him a lot less consistent throughout his season.
For the ladies, it wasn’t as cut-and-dry for me – my knee-jerk answer was Nicole, but then I remembered she had some ups-and-downs and some dances that she wasn’t naturally good at (her first rumba and her samba come to mind); then I thought of Meryl, but while her technique was usually flawless, I remember thinking she sometimes lacked in the showmanship department, and could be a timid mover at times. Then I thought of Kristi Yamaguchi, who was a strong dancer AND entertainer, but I remember thinking that she seemed to always have that skater’s “perma-smile” that made her look a tad cheesy at times. As surprising as this may be for some of you, I actually ended up picking Zendaya as the best female dancer we’ve seen on the show – for a lot of the same reasons I picked Alfonso: she was consistent, she was a showman, and she was a very NATURAL mover. Granted, I thought Val failed her in the choreography department on multiple occasions (which may have eventually prevented her from winning, I think), and I didn’t love every single dance; but I do think she probably had the best skill set to work with, and seemed the most comfortable out on the floor.
So what do YOU guys think? Vote in the polls below, and then tell us how you voted & why 🙂
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..
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!
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 😛 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..
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?!!
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 😯
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 😛
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. 🙂
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 😯 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:
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 😯
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.
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:
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..
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..