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PureDWTS Season 20, The Finals – Power Rankings

Well,  that was a pleasant little finale night – not terribly exciting, but pleasant nonetheless :-) I found that, for the first time, all three of the freestyles felt a little bit…recycled to me.  They were still nice to watch, but none of them  jumped out at me as something totally fresh and never-before-seen.  I guess we’re reaching that point in the lifespan of the show where “it’s all been done”, but still – sometimes I miss that sense of wonder of the early seasons, when “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” was the most innovative freestyle ever, or when Apolo & Julianne danced “Bust a Move” blindfolded.  *sigh* It’s bittersweet.

Can’t say I’m too surprised at anything the judges said or any of the scores they gave – still think they’re pulling for Rumer to win and have pretty much ensured that Noah won’t run away with the MBT, but I think Riker stands a decent chance at playing spoiler to the “Valenrue” pimping machine we’ve seen all season.  Will be interesting to see how things shake out tomorrow night, for sure. For tonight, I’m just thankful that I managed to get all of my phone  votes in already, and that the show was only an hour long – got a cheesecake to make and a new MAC eyeshadow palette I want to play with ;-)

3rd place: Noah & Sharna

Had Noah not slightly bungled his redo Argentine tango, I think my rankings could have looked different tonight – but alas, by handicapping him 8 points behind both Rumer & Riker, I think he’s gonna have a pretty tough row to hoe in order to get any better than 3rd place – and that’s even though I think he’s getting a LOT of votes, still. I have to commend him, though – the commitment I saw from him in the first 20ish seconds of his Argentine tango was the most comfortable and in the zone as I’ve seen him all season…he was dialed in, no doubt.  I think he maybe got slightly off-time on one step, though, and it seemed to throw him a little off his game for the rest of the dance – a bit of a bobbled lift, and he also seemed to lose the confidence he started with.  Not sure I would have docked a whole 8  points for it, but I can’t say I was entirely surprised to see the judges take advantage of the chance to give him a bit of a handicap against Rumer & Riker by doling out straight 8’s.  His freestyle was lovely, though – and I was floored at how well he handled that star lift.  No bobbles there, and he only had 1 arm to support her! :-) Overall, I don’t think Noah placing 3rd is anything to be ashamed of – the dude overcame some pretty ridiculous odds to make it all this way, and I daresay he’s proven that he’s a decent dancer, PERIOD…and not just a decent dancer, for being an amputee.  And I’ve loved watching every step of the journey :-)

Runner-up: Rumer & Val

I think the fact that these two kinda went the safe route on a night when another couple (Riker & Allison) took more risks may ultimately relegate them to 2nd place.  Honestly, kinda shocked that the judges (or Rumer & Val, or whoever picked the redo dances) picked their foxtrot for them to redo – I wouldn’t exactly say that it was their most impactful dance, nor was it particularly well-executed or interesting to watch.  I found it kind of odd & flaily on premiere night…and I found it odd & flaily tonight, too.  Just…hmmm.  Also, food for thought: for last season’s redo dances, those who picked their week 1 dances to redo (Alfonso & Bethany) were required to add an extra 30 seconds of content in order to make the dances longer, since the week 1 routines are so short.  They didn’t make that requirement this week…why? Just something to contemplate.  As for their freestyle – eh. Felt like a garden-variety Argentine tango – and part of me wonders if they were just   so set on doing Argentine tango at some point (remember, they thought they had it last week for the judges’ choice!) that they just reworked their original routine a bit in order to turn it into some semblance of a freestyle. I get that Val was going for the “stripped-down, back to basics” look (hehe…where have I heard that before?), but in the process, I think they lost a bit of what makes the freestyle special: that knock-your-socks-off performance value.  This was nice to watch – but it didn’t leave me feeling forever changed or dazzled.

Winner: Riker & Allison

I think these two came into the finale with the right strategy: knock ‘em dead with 2 showstopping dances.  God bless that pirate paso doble – I think Riker could have easily slayed any dance that Rumer may have redone with this  number…it was THAT good, and he was even more on-point doing it tonight. As I mentioned on Twitter – I kind of  love how committed Riker is to the character of Captain Jack.  When that costume goes on, he’s 100% Jack, and his technique is flawless.  And then the freestyle – it felt like a bit of a riff on Alfonso’s freestyle last season, but I loved that dance so much that this really felt like almost a sequel or a remix.  A really nice combination of the old and the  new, and Allison killed the choreo…even saw a few signature Twitch moves thrown in ;-) And that bit at the end with Riker dancing with the guys in the troupe? A few times, I thought I saw Derek up there – he’s got that same great quality of movement and sense of ease onstage that D has.  When it all boils down tomorrow night, I think Riker may have played all the right cards – because I think full-out and flashy won out against simple and stripped down tonight.

So what freestyles did you enjoy the most/least? And who do you guys think will win? :-)

May 18, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 9 – Power Rankings

First, a commendation:  I actually thought all of the judges did a great job with their respective couples, and was pleasantly surprised at how creative they all got.  Definitely would not mind if they brought back the judges’ choice dance, in its current format, to the show next season.  Second, another commendation: tonight felt like the first night in a long time where there wasn’t really a big agenda behind the scoring.  I don’t think anyone got absurdly praised, and I don’t think anyone got absurdly punished – granted, the high level of dancing we saw tonight was a pleasant anomaly, but this was the first time in awhile where I didn’t feel like the judges were being underhanded with scores or critiques. It all seemed to fit nicely.  :-)

Not a whole lot else to add – just can’t believe it’s now week 9 and I only have one more week of this stuff before we enter the off-season…and I make it my personal mission to find Sasha a partner for next season :-) Read more..

May 11, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Before I start in on everything else, I have to get this off my chest: poor Willow :-( Say what you will about “this is what happens when you put a 14-year-old on an adult show!” or “she should have prepared herself!”, but I think back to what a naive, insecure girl I was at 14, and I just cannot help but feel for her – she had done so well and seemed so excited to be there, only to be told “Sorry, not enough people like you enough to vote for you.  Bye-bye!” We knew a shocking elim was probably going to come at some point, what with the overlapping fanbases of some of the couples this season…I guess I had just hoped that it wouldn’t be HER. So please, if you have an ounce of compassion in you – please go tweet (or Instagram) some encouraging words to Willow – it’s tough enough to be a teenage girl in this world, let alone one who just got the rug pulled out from under her on national television.

As for the rest of the night – maybe I just got spoiled in previous seasons, with fun decade-themed dances like Nicole’s 50’s paso and Erin’s 80’s rumba (I still giggle at Maks in the Don Johnson costume!), but tonight felt like an “Eras Night” only in name: so many of the songs (and sets, and costumes) didn’t really seem to reflect the era they were meant to, so I guess I kinda said “Why even bother?” to some of it.  Oh well – probably yet another hastily-thrown-together theme to cover their asses when plans changed.  As for the judges – they’re still doing some fishy sh*t.  They’re just taking turns on who gets to play good cop, bad cop each week. Read more..

April 28, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Let’s play a game :-) It’s called “Who can come up with the most ridiculous, subjective, and flimsy critique for a dance that’s nearly flawless???” I’ll start!!!  “Nastia, your pupils were FAR too dilated while you were doing that tango – it made me feel like you were undressing me with your eyes!” Or how ’bout this? “Derek, the pleats on your pants weren’t sharp enough – and it really detracted from the dance for me.” YOUR TURN!!! I think you guys get the point I’m trying to make – some of the critiques have gotten so out of control that the judges really seem like they’re grasping at straws to appear superior and relevant.  Or they’re just trying to make sure that Nastia doesn’t get too confident, even though she is every bit as good as Rumer & Riker.  Whatever, guys – I guess just keep spinning the “Wheel O’ Excuses Why We Simply Can’t Just Tell Nastia She Did Well” back in your trailers to keep things colorful…and to keep the season’s agenda on-track.

Besides Nastia, I STILL feel like Robert is getting the short end of the stick from the judges and can’t do anything right in their eyes; and then there’s Chris, who looks downright miserable all the time, barely moves, and the judges just FAWN over him.  Here’s a bit of a “behind the scenes” scoop for you guys, free of charge: CHRIS DOES NOT WANT TO BE THERE.  Sure, it’s totally written all over his face whenever the camera pans to him, but just confirming it for you – the dude was legit disappointed that he didn’t get sent home last week.  And can you really blame him? He’s struggling hardcore each week, he’s butting heads with Witney, and I’m pretty sure he just wants to get back to the farm to have some wild hayloft sex with his Whitney.  Or something like that.  While I think it was Patti’s time to go either this week or next week, I still would have rather kept her over Chris – at least she was having fun, even if she wasn’t really doing a whole lot.  She was still entertaining. Read more..

April 21, 2015 I Written By

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

The Dancing Poetry Corner – Real and Reel Life Stories

Dancing Sarge In Charge

Joann Tresco of Hummelstown, PA, is a retired Pennsylvania Army National Guard Master Sergeant. He military career spanned 34 years.

Tresco had a love and passion for dance that translated into the next phase of her life. She traded her Army boots for dancing shoes. It is so exciting for her to become the Operations Manager for the dance studio she grew up with.

She is combining the best of both her worlds. Her military management skills have served her well in managing the dance studio and teaching dance. She takes a hands-on approach with the clients who have tripped the light fantastic on the studio ballroom floor.

The link will take you to a narrative and video of her inspiring story. Chuck Rhodes, the Out and About Reporter, WHTM, ABC27, Harrisburg, PA, takes you inside her new life. There is a link to look around the studio she is heavily involved with, PaDanceSport, Hummelstown, PA.

Tresco feels it is important for returning veterans to have the courage to stoke their own passions. She says anyone can make it work.

Tresco is a military success story and a success at this thing called life.

Dancing A Dream
Courage Through Dance

Written By Lois A Troutman, April 14, 2015

The affliction of cerebral palsy does not deter 14 year old Ellie Ritzman from her love of dance. In fact, she thrives on dancing at Dixie’s Dance Studio, Millerstown, PA. Being part of a dance team brings out Ellie’s personality. Making this more special for Ellie is she is dancing with her sister, Leah, and her friends.

Ellie’s mother, Dianne, felt this was something that could not happen. But, she helped Ellie follow her dreams. Read more..

April 15, 2015 I Written By

Resident DWTS Poet

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 5 – Power Rankings

First off, an apology: these are late, but I do (sort of) have good reason: I needed time to cool off after last night’s show (more on that later) and I actually got caught up talking to Deep Throat and just got too tired to start these last night (as I usually do).  Then after my truncated sleep schedule last night (no rest for the spoilers!), I just dragged all kinds of @$$ today and didn’t get around to finishing these until just now.  So I apologize – hope this is all still relevant and you guys haven’t completely moved onto Spring Break week ;-)

Overall, I enjoyed Disney night – this one felt a lot more well-prepared and planned out than the last, which felt a bit hastily thrown together.  Sorry to see Suzanne go – I do feel like she was really trying and wanted to be there, and maybe just got caught having a weak moment in rehearsal.  But if she didn’t go home this week, she certainly would either next week or during the double elim – just kinda stinks that she went out on a bit of a low note, forgetting almost half her routine.  And it started out so promising, too! Hopefully she can do it again on the finale results show :-) Read more..

April 14, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 4 – Power Rankings

Well, after shedding more tears than I intended to last night, I’m left feeling a tad uncertain about how things are shaking out these season.  Though Michael left on a high note with his best dance yet, he still seemed to get underscored relative to some of the other couples, and it just kinda makes me resent the fact that the judges nitpicked him to death week after week.  Though he seemed like he was at peace with getting eliminated, I still can think of at least 3 other celebs that should have gotten sent him before he did.  But moving right along…

…Len seemed unusually disgruntled last night, and the only people he seemed to really gush about were Robert & Willow.  He’s still not too fond of Riker or Nastia, but he seems like he turned on Rumer a bit this week, too.  Julianne seemed to love just about everyone, but did kinda surprise me when she told Robert he had the best technique of the men this season – perhaps trying to draw attention away from #RikerNotADancer and his suspiciously good technique? Tuned out when Carrie Ann & Bruno spoke, so I can’t really say anything about them.  The big announcement that the cast is touring again this summer? Meh.  If they think Melissa’s gonna be as big a draw as Alfonso, god love them. Oh, and if you didn’t hear already – the switch-up is cancelled, and we don’t know why.  *shrug* No skin off my back.  Is it Disney week yet??? :-D Read more..

April 7, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 3 – Power Rankings

Well, the warm fuzzies and pleasant surprises I had from the judging last week have left the building – and now we’ve moved on to the “completely inappropriate and actually rather offensive” stage of the competition, where every other thing out of the judges’ mouths seems to be insulting, irrelevant, or just plain mean.  Even after last week’s spiel about bullying, Charlotte got told she was stupid, and it was implied that Riker danced like a girl and Allison danced like a dude.  Oh, and Mike got nitpicked to death for the third week in a row.  “Do as I say, not as I do”, huh judges?

Bittersweet seeing Charlotte go.  I was glad she got to stick around for another week, and aside from the fact that her rumba didn’t have a whole lot of rumba, I still enjoyed it and thought it was her best dance yet; but I think Charlotte may have mentally checked out a bit after the nasty critiques she got in week 1, so it was probably time for her to go, anyway.  If nothing else, she looked FANTASTIC tonight – loved that color on her, and love big, tousled Brigette Bardot-inspired hair :-)

1.) Riker & Allison – Well, I already thought Riker was a contender after week 1 – but I think this week his real debut, because that salsa screamed “Yep, I’m here, and I’m hungry – take heed, Nastia & Rumer!” And despite Len hemming and hawing and trying to claim that Riker “isn’t the best dancer this season”, I daresay he’s certainly the best male contestant, and bested at least Nastia in terms of technique this week – so he’s quickly inching his way up to the top.  He never missed a beat in this salsa, which was actually the first piece of choreography I’ve seen from Allison on this  show that made me sit up and go “Ok, that was cool.”  And good lord, that girl can spin fast!  He sold it well, he made it his, and he kept time – if I had one complaint, it might be that he seemed a bit stiff in his hips and didn’t “flow” through the movements as fluidly as he could have, but I also partially blame Allison for that, simply because her choreography was a bit more staccato.  Overall, he nailed it, though. Read more..

March 31, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 20, Week 2 – Power Rankings

Pleasantly surprised this  week – not only with the scoring and the judging, but with the fact that, for the 2nd week in a row, there were no “phone-ins”: every last couple came out and gave it their all, even if it didn’t quite pan out the way they planned (sorry, Chris).  Judging seemed pretty consistent and the scores seemed to match the critiques – one would think this should happen EVERY week, but it’s becoming more and more of a rarity these days…so for tonight, I am happy :-) But that could change next week…

Somewhat sad to see Redfoo & Emma go, but I’ll just leave it at this: I think staying in the competition would have potentially been quite stressful on both of them, as I think they may have forgotten to have fun a few times in rehearsal this week.  Ultimately, though, Foo went out on a pretty high note – he was definitely the most improved from last week to this week, and he did show some serious potential…although I think he probably would have struggled just to get the votes week after week, because I just don’t see too many middle-aged, conservative-leaning housewives being huge LMFAO fans 8-)

1.) Nastia & Derek – I think Rumer & Val may have gotten a bit of a gut check after watching this dance – they ain’t the only ones who want that trophy :-) This was a great, almost technically-perfect rumba – Nastia’s got the lines and the feet and the arms and the posture and the extension.  Here’s the problem I have: she seems to have a lot of walls up, and the chemistry between she & Derek was almost non-existent.  I guess the best way I could describe her facial expressions is “girl who has never been kissed and doesn’t quite know whether to close her eyes or keep them open” :-) And another observation: I think Nastia may be an unfortunate sufferer of “resting bitch face” – I think her neutral face is just so serious and calm that it may come across as a tad standoffish…and I wish I had some advice for her on that, but some people just aren’t as smiley as others.  Maybe stand in front of a mirror and practice smiling? I dunno :-P Hoping Derek can work with her on emotional connection, because the technique is there – she just needs to get a tad more vulnerable. Read more..

March 24, 2015 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 19, Week 10 – Power Rankings

Several things that make me go “hmmmm” this week: the scores very much in a close cluster headed into finale week (74, 75, 76, 78), Sadie back to being low-balled a bit; the sudden repetition of the phrases “momentum”, “going all the way”, and “contender” with reference to Janel; the decision to bring back Maks for a visit; and the fact that Alfonso seems to be in some serious pain.  All are things that make me wonder about the finale, in a variety of ways…you’ll see why.

Tommy, Tommy, Tommy – it was great run, buddy, and you very much went out on a high note (no pun intended…ok, maybe a little bit).  Thought that the Chonger actually gave two very respectable performances tonight, and his rumba in particular was a lovely illustration of just why I appreciated him so damn much this season: he let us see a softer side of Peta.  I don’t think I’ve EVER seen her so emotionally attached to a partner, and it made her a lot more human and relatable for me – plus Tommy was just so daggone charming, and seemed to really embrace the experience of being on DWTS.

1.) Alfonso & Witney – Injury aside, I think we saw something out of Alfonso tonight that we maybe hadn’t noticed as much when he wasn’t injured: heart.  I loved seeing the fighting side of Fonz tonight – his technique may not have been as on-point as we’ve seen from him in the past (though by no means was it shoddy – even injured, the guy is still a revelation), but I think it just made it more obvious how hard he was trying and how much he really wants to be here and do well – so I appreciated both of his performances tonight, as well as Witney’s choreography.  She has been a revelation this season – really loving how she’s able to showcase her partner.  Also worth noting, I think – just how many (and how diverse) a group of celebs showed up in Alfonso’s “flashback” package to wish him well.  Rick Schroeder, Emmitt Smith, most of the cast of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and…Dan Quayle??? I like to think it just illustrates Fonz’s broad-spectrum appeal – and how beloved he is by so many because of both Carlton and Silver Spoons.   My only worry? That his injury may prevent his freestyle from being as truly epic as it could be, if his range of motion is limited – but I’m optimistic that he’s still going to wow us, and  he’s still got time to heal.  He’s still my pick to win ;-) Read more..

November 18, 2014 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!