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DWTS 14 End-of-Season Award Winners – Which Dance Was the Best?

Lesson Court learned from putting together these awards: perhaps the “other” option should be eliminated, starting with next season’s end-of-season awards :-P I got an insane number of write-in responses for the “best dance” and “celeb you most want to see on the all-star season” categories, and let’s just say it was no easy task weeding through all of the write-ins 8O I also learned that some people are too lazy (or inattentive) to click “read more” and vote in the other categories, and as a result we got almost double the number of votes for the “best dance” category than we did everything else.  I love our readers, but sometimes they drive me a little bit bonkers :-P

Other responses:

Donald & Peta’s freestyle – 23
Melissa, Maks, & Val’s samba trio – 10
Katherine & Mark’s Argentine tango – 8
Maria, Derek, & Henry’s samba trio – 4
Katherine & Mark’s jive – 4
Maria & Derek’s rumba – 3
Roshon & Chelsie’s freestyle – 3
Katherine & Mark’s freestyle – 3
Maria & Derek’s Viennese waltz – 3
Katherine, Mark, & Tristan’s cha-cha trio – 3
Sherri & Val’s foxtrot – 2
Team Paso Doble – 2
Maria & Derek’s Argentine tango – 2
Katherine & Mark’s 2nd paso doble – 2
William & Cheryl’s samba – 2
Gladys & Tristan’s cha-cha – 2
Tristan & Karina’s waltz demo – 1
Tristan & Chelsie’s DaD samba – 1
Melissa & Maks’ paso doble – 1
Katherine & Mark’s samba – 1
Roshon, Chelsie, & Sasha’s paso doble trio – 1

Courtney: Can’t say I’m too surprised at the results – the two that I predicted would do well ended up on top, and the rest got a small share of votes, likely from diehard fans of that particular couple.  I do think the jive trio was the dance of the season – the fact that they took a dance that was hard to do with only 2 people and managed to create something fun, energetic, and proper with 3 people was beyond impressive to me.  And the fact that they DIDN’T get a perfect 30 for it??? APPALLING.  I seriously think people don’t realize how HARD it is to lead 2 women – and Donald’s the only one that took on that challenge in his trio dance, and he KILLED IT.  I didn’t see Roshon or William trying to lead two ladies.  Maria & Derek’s paso was good – for this season.  I just can’t seem to get too excited about it, though, because it just wasn’t up-to-snuff with the paso choreography I’m used to seeing from Derek.  As for all the other responses – I think they all were those couples’ best dances, but probably not the best dance of the season.  Write-ins? It’s the usual smorgesbord of random dances, and I usually find myself shaking my head reading some of them, and saying “Really? You REALLY think that was the best dance?” But alas, different strokes for different folks.  :-) The only one I’m gonna comment on is Donald & Peta’s freestyle…and I guess Katherine & Mark’s, too.  I always shy away from including those as options in the “best dance of the season” category, because it seems that, unless a couple REALLY picks a dud, it’s a dance that most couples do well with, and the scoring is pretty inflated – it almost seems like too much of a gimme.  That said, I did really enjoy Donald’s freestyle – but I didn’t think the level of difficulty was as high as his jive trio was.  And I thought Katherine showed better endurance in her jive than in ther freestyle.

Vogue: Court, you took the words out of my head this time. My favorite dance of the season (and the dance I thought was the best) was Donald and Peta’s Jive trio. Donald’s fast leg and footwork amazed me at the time. So much so, I screamed to my husband in the other room to come watch (and we had to replay it after the show several times …which I don’t ever remember doing with him as long as I’ve been watching this show). Our mouths literally dropped to the floor especially when Donald jumped over the top of both girls. 8O A blow away for me as well was their Freestyle. I also loved their Paso Doble and Argentine Tango with the amusement ride twirl. Other stand out dances for me that I thought were the best were Derek and Maria’s Bollywood Trio dance and Paso Doble. Looking back now, I will remember Derek and Maria’s Bollywood Trio dance the most of their dances even though it probably wasn’t her best dance technically, but, it was different, so creative, theatrical, and entertaining. Another dance I have to give props too is also William and Cheryl’s Argentine Tango. I loved all the passion in that dance. William was so into his character and I loved his tails which is when he looked the sexiest in my opinion. :) Anyway, great poll and results!!

Heidi: Yeah, I agree with the top two – by a MILE. Say what you want about the “talent” this season, but Donald and Maria were the two most memorable. As for Derek’s choreography –  I think that Maria was one of his least naturally talented partners EVER (she’s in a club with Joanna and Shannon and wouldn’t have gone as far with ANYONE else), yet his dances with her were just as memorable as anything anyone else did. That’s quite an accomplishment for both of them. He has a way of doing that. He was really challenged with her – she wasn’t naturally talented and she was pretty injured the whole time.  Poor Derek though – he’s set his own bar too high. :-)  But the Bollywood Samba I also loved, and their rumba just because they were so into it.  As for the write ins?  Sad to say I don’t actually REMEMBER a lot of those dances. Most of Katherine’s dances have left my brain. Oddly, several of Willy’s I remember out of sheer disgust.  Someone wrote in DaD?? All I remember is Chelsie almost getting blown off a table. :-)

 

 *photo courtesy ABC/Adam Taylor

June 11, 2012 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 14 Week 10 – Power Rankings for the Finale

For a second there, I was sure this night was a complete wash…and then Donald reaffirmed my faith in humanity with one of the most adorable freestyles I’ve ever seen on the show :-D

Not a whole lot to say that most of you haven’t already said on Twitter – there was definite overscoring going on (William), and definite underscoring going on (Donald), but in the end, I doubt the scores are going to matter a ton…because this seems like it’s going to be the fanbase battle royale for the MBT.  And if the response I saw after one couple’s freestyle was any indicator – I think they’re a shoo-in for the MBT ;-) Let’s do things in reverse tonight, starting with who I’m predicting for the 3rd place finisher…

3rd place: Katherine & Mark

Honestly, it were up to me, these two would be a definite 2nd place – but I’ve got a gut feeling that they may have gotten a little lost in the shuffle tonight, in between the judges’ golden boy and the charismatic dark horse.  I thought her paso was pretty damn good – she definitely danced with more assuredness and confidence than her first paso, and the choreo was clean, proper, and exciting.  My only complaint: it seemed to highlight Mark more than Kath, but I guess I can’t fault them too much, as paso is really the man’s dance…which just further drives the point home for me that the judges kinda screwed her a bit when they gave her the paso in the first place.  As for their freestyle – I have to commend Mark for returning to the tried-and-true formula for freestyle success: he picked something that was relevant to his celebrity, he made sure it was high-energy, and he included quite a bit of actual ballroom steps to please Len.  I think it would have been a strong competition for Donald, if only Kath hadn’t lost a bit of steam in the middle and gotten a bit stuck in the lifts.  But I liked the flapper theme, and thought Kath singing at the beginning was a great way to really make the routine relevant to her – I just wish Mark had toned it down a bit, so she could have actually made it all the way through the dance with the same high level of energy.  Ok, so they’ve got the high score – but it’s only one point more than the other 2, so it may as well be nothing…and I’m sorry, as gorgeous and talented as I think Kath is, I don’t think she can compete with the raging hormones of Willy’s fans or the magnetic personality that Donald’s fans are drawn to.  Like Ricki last season, who also had the high score after the first night of the finale (and also the first dance of the 2nd night), I think Kath may be relegated to 3rd :-( However, I would love to be wrong and have her take 2nd…provided it bumps Willy into 3rd ;-)

2nd place: William & Cheryl

I guess hoping that the overscoring would stop in the finale was wishful thinking, as I was not particularly wowed by either of Willy’s dances tonight…and the fault for that lies more with Cheryl than anyone else.  William didn’t mess up, and what he did in both of his dances was technically good – he even looked liked he was having fun, which was something I had yet to see from him this season.  But here’s the problem: the level of difficulty for both of his routines was pretty pathetic…and I genuinely feel sorry for the guy, because I think Cheryl really let him down with the choreography tonight.  Their cha-cha just felt like a recycled version of their first cha-cha, which wasn’t very impressive in terms of choreography – his hip action seemed better this time around, and he seemed more relaxed, but there was nothing particularly impactful or exciting about it.  He could have handled more – but Cheryl didn’t give it to him.  And I’m sorry, but if another contestant pulls a Miss Cleo and predicts exactly what you’ll do in your freestyle (Donald knows what’s up), then you’re probably a one-trick pony without much of an edge.  Sorry, but this freestyle was a cop-out – I’m all for picking something relevant to your partner, but this felt like nothing different than what I’ve been seeing the past 9 weeks: a bunch of gyrations, dips, ass shaking, and vaguely salsa-y moves.  Even the lifts were pretty elementary - William’s a muscular guy, and he could have handled more heavy lifting.  He didn’t mess up, and he seemed to have fun – but the choreography didn’t show me that he was really a great dancer. Overall, at the end of it, I was just kinda left saying “So what else is new?” But I’ve got a feeling that hormones will prevail tomorrow night, and at least carry William into the final two…with his complacent partner, who probably didn’t even bother choreographing anything truly innovative, because she knew they’d be overscored anyway – just like they’ve been all season.

The Winner: Donald & Peta

The last remaining couple untainted by the fishy overscoring of this season – and thankfully, I think they came across as the most likeable, as well :-D While I SOMEWHAT agreed with Len that their Argentine tango was a tad on the safe side, I still think it was underscored, given that William & Cheryl just regurgitated their first week cha-cha (which is probably the ultimate “safe” move), and the first go-round, Len bitched that their Argentine tango “lacked content”.  So they gave him more content…and now it’s “too safe?” Poor Donald just can’t win with Len.  Whatever.  Len sure couldn’t bitch & moan after that freestyle they did, though – it was EASILY the best of the night, as the energy was through the roof and stayed there the entire routine, and Donald totally pwned those lifts.  And really – who would have guessed that Donald would pull out the country card and get out there and line dance? That was fresh & unexpected – yet somehow still strangely relevant to Donald, as I think it really showed us how multi-talented he is…and a goofball, at that :-P I’ve got a good feeling about tomorrow night, that justice will somehow prevail and the grand plans of TPTB will be squashed by a legion of fed-up fans voting for the little Quickie That Could…suck it, Univision merger ;-)

So who do you guys think will walk away with the MBT tomorrow? And how do you think this “24 hour dance challenge” will turn out? If they don’t rank the routines (30, 28, 26), I’m totally predicting they cop-out and give all three of them 30′s, just like instant samba last season.  But aside from that…which returning stars are you most looking forward to seeing? I’m all about some Jack, Gladys, & Roshon, myself ;-)

May 21, 2012 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!

Court’s DWTS Las Vegas Adventure (Live Show Review & Other Miscellanery)

As many of you know, I was in Las Vegas last weekend and had the pleasure of seeing the DWTS live show at the Tropicana – which, of course, I will review for you guys, since certain other individuals *cough*JOHN*cough* haven’t managed to write the 2nd half of their review of the premiere of said show ;-) This post could get a bit wordy, as I took quite a few notes (and just have a really good memory, to boot) and I’ll throw in a few other possibly-unrelated-to-DWTS details for context, as well as some general Vegas info, since some of you have asked about my trip - so if you’re only interested in my review of the show, feel free to skip the next few paragraphs.  And if you hate spoilers (i.e. you want to be COMPLETELY surprised when you see the show), I’d either just skip this post altogether or just read my overall take at the bottom - because I’m not holding back.  You’ve been warned ;-) And special thanks go to Heidi, for helpin’ a girl out with some picture merges that were driving me cray-cray :-P

So why was I in Vegas in the first place, you ask? My best friend Kendra is getting married at the end of July, and she wanted a bachelorette party for the ages – so naturally, we HAD to go Vegas :-) There were 12 of us altogether (11 rowdy bachelorettes and 1 gay bachelor, who I must say put us all to shame with how fabulously he was dressed the entire trip ;-)), and the majority of us stayed at the Flamingo, since we were able to get a great rate on standard rooms – with 4 girls to a room, it was only $82 total for each of us for 3 nights, which is pretty awesome for a well-known hotel on the strip that isn’t a total dive.  Overall, I wouldn’t say the Flamingo is a particularly special or ritzy hotel (if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d go with the Bellagio, Palazzo, or Venetian…but be prepared to shell out big $$$), but if you’re on a budget, it’s certainly more than sufficient – the rooms are clean and the decor is kitchy & cute (think 1960′s, Rat Pack, original Ocean’s Eleven – lots of dots, stripes, retro furniture, and of course, pink :-)).  I’m very into the nostalgia of Vegas, so the Flamingo appealed to me in that it was originally built by infamous mobster Bugsy Siegel, and legend has it that the actual motive behind his murder was to change the management of the Flamingo.  But anyway – if you’re in Vegas, I definitely recommend trying their Paradise Garden Buffet – it’s pretty affordable, as far as buffets in Vegas go, and is quite good…especially the brunch buffet.  Plus the views of their courtyard and flock of live flamingoes are gorgeous :-) Also at the Flamingo? Donny & Marie Osmond’s live show – I didn’t see it (no time, and honestly, not much of a desire), but I did see these in the lobby:

The one on the left is Donny’s costume from his freestyle with Kym in season 9, as well as his MBT (and yes, according to the guest services director that I asked, it is his real MBT – apparently he insisted it be put in the case with his costume); the one on the right is Marie’s dress from her quickstep with Jonathan in season 5 (and one of those freaky dolls she designs – guess they had to put SOMETHING there when they found out that Donny wanted to display his MBT, although I’m not sure why they didn’t display this doll instead).  I found Marie’s costume pretty unremarkable up close – for as fabulous as it looked on the show, upon further scrutiny, it’s really just a tan silk gown with some gems glued on; but Donny’s suit is very well-made and clearly took a lot of work.  Interesting how different the costumes look on tv vs. in person (more on that later). Read more..

May 19, 2012 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 14 Week 9 Power Rankings

Well kids, I’m back after a few days in Vegas, with a few fun stories to tell (be on the lookout for my review of the DWTS Live in Las Vegas show later this week!), but first, let me get back into the swing of things with this week’s power rankings – I’m gonna try and keep tonight’s kinda short, as I still seem to be suffering the effects of the time difference…or just burnout.  Vegas is tiring!

Overall, feeling a bit ho-hum about tonight – no truly stand-out performances; some overscoring going on across the board, likely to keep the margins close; and an overall lack of content in the bulk of the Latin dances (with the exception of Donald).  Not exactly the nail-biting semifinal I was hoping for, but thankfully, it was only 90 minutes, which may actually give me a chance to catch part of the Hawaii 5-0 finale or America’s Got Talent premiere before dozing off :-P

1.) Donald & Peta – After tonight, the only thing I feel fairly confident in saying is that Donald is a shoo-in for the finale, based on fanbase alone - and that’s even with the 2nd lowest score of the night.  I don’t think there has ever been a more LIKEABLE contestant to do the show – seriously, I grow to love Donald more and more every week.  And doggonit, some of the Pack FINALLY came out to support him tonight! Loved seeing Aaron Rodgers in the audience, cheering for “Quickie” :-) I liked his waltz, but didn’t love it – the music was throwing me a bit, as it actually seemed to make him look kind of off-time, even though he wasn’t.  His posture does seem to be improving, though, and he seemed to really connect to the emotion of the dance.  His samba was actually my favorite dance of the night – I think it was the only Latin dance tonight that truly had a lot of real content, and I loved that they opted to go a different route than the standard “shake your ass as much as you can, and we’ll just call it samba” route.  It had a storyline, it was different, and it was cute.  My only complaint? Donald seems to stutter a bit when getting back into hold from being out of hold – he seemed to miss a few hand leads with Peta, and she ended up finishing them herself.  Overall, I think they had a pretty damn good night, and I (knock on wood) don’t foresee any big problems with them making the finale.

2.) Maria & Derek – I’m surprised about these two for 2 reasons: despite some pretty bad injuries, they managed to crank out 2 dances that didn’t completely suck, and the judges didn’t lowball them.  If anything, I think they actually overscored them a bit – I don’t think their Argentine tango was even close to being as good as their paso doble, although the choreography was great and Maria didn’t mess any of it up; she just seemed to dance it very cautiously, though, and her legs looked pretty soft – kinda expected for a dance done on such broken feet, but I can’t really overlook it.  I did love the beginning of it, though, with just their feet visibile under the curtain…kind of a nice twist.  I wasn’t too keen on their jive, for the simple reason that there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of jive actually in it – again, likely an attempt to baby Maria’s injuries, but I can’t really give it a free pass.  Maria seemed extra cautious in this dance, as the actual jive steps she did didn’t really have much bounce to them.  Plus I’m just getting kinda sick and tired of that damn “Tightrope” song – they use it in the DWTS Vegas show, too, and I don’t really like it there, either.  Not really a fan of their jive, but I can’t say it was terrible, either – it was adequate. Overall, I think the judges were awfully kind to them tonight – I like them as a couple, but tonight wasn’t their A-game.  However, I think their high score (though still decently close to pretty much everyone else) will likely usher them into the finale, since going into this week I really saw Maria & Katherine duking it out for the 3rd spot in the finale (along with Donald & William) in terms of votes…and although I’m not so sure now that William has the finale all tied up, I do think Maria has done enough to make her untouchable to at least Katherine, which basically ensures she’s in the finale.  I think we’re in for another Hough freestyle – here’s hoping that Derek finds a way to work around their collective injuries and redeem himself a bit from his so-so freestyle with Ricki last season!

3.) William & Cheryl – William seems to have worked on his posture in ballroom, but now I see his footwork suffering.  That tango looked more like a paso at times – a little too stompy or marchy, and once again, Cheryl seemed to be doing all of the work.  There was a lot of William standing in place and moving Cheryl from side-to-side…and the big drawback to that is that Cheryl tends to backlead, so she looks like she’s moving too dramatically for the amount of force William is leading her with.  If the guy looks like he’s not leading hard and the woman’s moving hard, it basically screams “she’s doing all the work”.  Not good.  Overall, it wasn’t a bad tango – he didn’t mess up and the character was there – but it wasn’t really great, either.  As for their samba – *sigh*.  Content, people – CONTENT!!! I’m honestly shocked that Len didn’t call them out for a lot of “messing about” and “excessive gyration” in this dance – I thought Donald’s had far more content and far better bounce.  This seemed to be more about ass-shaking and walking from place to place than actual samba steps…yet it got a 30.  *shrug* I gave up last week, so I’m not going to even try this week…guess they need William around for the finale in order to really drive this ABC merger home.  Due to scoring, I think William going home is probably not a HUGE possibility, but I also have to wonder if he’s a whole lot better off in the votes than Katherine - in terms of combined score, I think William might be the only one Katherine might have a chance of catching up to.  Will be intersting to see if she actually does it…

4.) Katherine & Mark – Oy…just not a whole lot to say about these two tonight that I haven’t already said in previous weeks.  I found their quickstep to be rather bland – not just in terms of entertainment, but for once I actually saw Katherine get a bit tentative & hesitant in her choreography.  Some of the bouncing around seemed awfully timid - like Maria’s jive.  There was nothing glaringly WRONG with their quickstep, but it just didn’t seem to make a ton of impact…it was ok, but not great or terribly memorable.  Sorry, but I thought their salsa was bizarre mess – another dance suffering from a noticeable lack of content, and Katherine seemed to be struggling to keep up – and whatever happened at the end that made her freak out just made me cringe, as it seemed like the final nail in the coffin for Katherine on an off-night.  She’s at the bottom of the leaderboard now, and I while the spread seems pretty close, I don’t think she has a prayer of beating Donald (the next person up) in votes, or Maria in combined score – the only person I could see her POSSIBLY catching up to in order to earn herself a spot in the finale is William, and I think ultimately his fans will come through and keep him in for the finale – which may leave Katherine out in the cold…which sucks because I do think she’s the strongest dancer left technically, but she also seems to lack connection to the dance and the audience.  Kinda stinks that she’d be eliminated this close to the finale, but hey – it happens every season, and the show still goes on.

So who you guys actually see moving onto the finale vs. who do you hope is moving onto the finale? ;-)

 

May 14, 2012 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 14 Week 7 Power Rankings

If there is one take-home point I want you guys to glean from this season, it’s that THEME WEEKS OFTEN SCREW THE COUPLES! No exception here – I think only two couples managed to churn out something worthwhile from the pieces of music they were given, and the rest either muddled through or failed miserably.  Consequently, I find myself cutting some breaks tonight, just due to some really bad music selections.  And let’s just say there was some “creative” storytelling going on this week…warriors & mannequins & vampires, oh my! 8O I am beyond relieved that it’s back to business as usual next week…no wacky themes to throw couples off their game.  So there’s also going to be no excuses for subpar performances…game on, kiddies ;-)

Thoughts on the team dances: I thought Team Tango (aka Team Tiny Hat :-P) was quite a bit better than Team Paso (aka Team No Shirt, No Problem ;-)).  I saw no timing issues or missteps on Team Tango – everything was in synch, and aside from a couple of small wobbles from Jaleel & Maria, I saw no glaring mistakes.  I also thought they had the more interesting floor patterns  – lots of visually-pleasing shapes and transitions.  I do think Derek was right in his claim that more couples = more interesting patterns.  It can be a good thing, if you can manage to get everyone in synch and on time…and I think that last thing is the real challenge.  I would hearby like to dub Roshon the MVP of Team Tango – the boy was a revelation tonight.  He came out with such determination and attack, and he KILLED his solo on Team Tango.  Zero mistakes, 100% commitment, 100% attack.  Bravo, Ro! Hell, I would even go so far as to say that he was the overall standout in terms of both teams – he was really the only one that made me sit up and go “WHOA!!! Where did that come from???!”  As for Team Paso – I thought they had the more exciting piece of music and had more theatricality and drama than Team Tango, but they suffered in terms of synchronization and just overall cleanliness of their choreography.  I kind of anticipated those two problems, as they had the added challenge of throwing in a lot of open work that Team Tango didn’t really have to worry about.  I loved the parts of the guys’ cape section that were actually in synch (which I must say is a pretty impressive feat), but the parts that were out of synch just kind of reminded me of my cousins playing Zorro as kids – it was a little chaotic. I could’ve done without the shirtlessness (more on that later), but I can’t say I’m surprised that they did it.  If I had to pick, I’d say Donald was the MVP of Team Paso – I loved how much control he showed in his solo, and his choreo was clean.  In the end, I’d say the scoring was just about right – I might have deducted a point from Team Paso, since the objective of the team dance for me is to stay in synch, first and foremost, and they seemed to struggle with that a bit more.

1.) Maria & Derek – I think these two were the only ones who managed to really OWN their individual dance tonight, and not get pwned by the song they were given.  I can’t say that I was wild about the vampire storyline (between Twilight, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, etc., I’m kinda over the whole vamp thing…), but they did make it work for them, and overall the choreography was clean, exciting, and a good representation of paso doble.  Did it deserve a 30? I think so…with all of the overscoring we’ve seen this season for dances that I thought were nowhere near as good as this paso (or at least had nowhere near as much content as this paso), I can’t say that I think the judges were too far off in giving it the first 30 of the season.  Given tonight’s spread, I think these two are safe.

2.) Katherine & Mark – I’m told their rumba was Game of Thrones-inspired, but as someone who does not have premium cable (and whose regular cable it only intermittently available these days – thanks again, AT&T!), I actually thought it looked more gladiator or Roman-y.  Whatever it was – I’m afraid the costuming made Katherine look kinda out of her element, and although I thought her legs looked FANTASTIC and she was at least flirting with some nice hip action, I never felt 100% commitment from her, and the routine never felt super romantic or rumba-y to me.  It tiptoed near being a good rumba, but never really reached it – and Katherine had another week of “deer in the headlights” eyes from time to time, I’m afraid.  I also have to raise a bit of an eyebrow to some creative camera work I noticed – seemed like they changed the shot so you couldn’t see Kath’s legs whenever they went for a move that might possibly get called out as a lift.  Possibly a “if the viewers can’t see it, they can’t get mad at Carrie Ann for not calling them out on it!” strategy? Who knows…but it just seemed a bit fishy to me, especially given a few other things I noticed tonight.  Overall, I think these two are probably safe this week – but I’m starting to see some cracks in her facade.  She’s not as flawless as the judges initially thought, methinks…

3.) Donald & Peta – This was the only other couple I thought really handled their piece of music well tonight, and I thought their “royalty at court” kinda theme was a cute interpretation.  Although Donald gave it a valiant effort and I did see some really good moments (especially when he was out of hold), he did seem to have some footwork issues (a problem all of the VW’s this week seemed to have), and I thought I saw him get off time once or twice.  Then again, it was hard to tell whether someone was on or off-time this week, as so many of the pieces of music had some wacky tempo changes.  I wish Carrie Ann could have just praised them, instead of bringing up some non-issue about a lift that she herself didn’t see but thought might have been there anyway (seriously? WTF??? Just score what you saw and shut up about things you didn’t!), but I think the judges were about right in their scoring.  I think Donald’s pretty safe, but I think he still has some work to do on his ballroom frame if he wants a shot at the finals… Read more..

April 30, 2012 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 14 – What’s Left to Dance?

Well, we’ve reached the halfway point (sort of…) of the competition.  Only 7 of the 12 couples we started with remain, and each couple has 6 dances down and 6 more regular ones to go (not counting team dances, freestyles, etc.) in the 4 weeks left in the competition.  Now we get down to the nitty gritty and see what everyone is really made of…because starting next week, they all have to do 2 full-length dances per week.  So let’s take a look at what each of the couples has to contend with in the coming weeks, shall we?

First impressions: anyone who still has samba left to do is likely at a bit of a disadvantage, as that’s the dance that really seems to trip a lot of people up.  Those who are still waiting to do Argentine tango could have a slight edge, as it seems to be a dance that can really redeem a couple when done later in the competition. I think Donald & William are likely going to struggle a bit with their remaining ballroom dances; Jaleel, Maria, and Katherine are probably going to be a bit challenged by their remaining Latin dances; and Melissa & Roshon are probably going to struggle with just about everything, since they don’t seem to be in the judges’ favor.

Jaleel & Kym – remaining dances: paso doble, waltz, quickstep, Viennese waltz, salsa, Argentine tango

I’d say Jaleel actually has one of the better sets of remaining dances left to do – it’s a good mix of Latin & ballroom, and he still has both of his “extra” dances to burn through.  He seems stronger in the ballroom dances than in the Latin, so I don’t see waltz, quickstep, or Viennese waltz being a big problem; and I could see him really doing well in the paso doble, since he seems to have some anger issues he needs to work out :-).  He seems to have to intensity necessary for Argentine tango, but I have to say, I’m skeptical about how proficient he’s going to be at the salsa – he’s got the personality, but I’ve noticed that his footwork tends to suffer at the expense of his showmanship…especially on more energetic dances like jive & samba.

Donald & Peta – remaining dances: samba, jive, waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, salsa

I seriously love Donald, but I think he’s got his work cut out for him the next few weeks – he’s still got two of the more difficult Latin dances left to deal with, and since he still seems to be struggling a bit with ballroom posture & frame, I think the waltz, tango, and Viennese waltz are going to be a challenge.  I think he’ll have a blast with the salsa, though – I can just see the big ol’ grin on our “hunkey dunkey” football player now :-D I’m just a bit concerned with the judges – I think they’re warming to Donald, but I don’t think they’re as willing to overlook slight errors with him as they are with Katherine, William, or even Maria.  He’s gonna have to be on-point every week if he wants that “10 from Len”.

Maria & Derek – remaining dances: samba, paso doble, jive, waltz, Viennese waltz, Argentine tango

I really wish they had already gotten samba & jive out of the way earlier this season :-( Those are two dances I just don’t see Maria having an easy time with – no one really and truly nails the samba (and along with cha-cha, it’s Derek’s LEAST favorite dance to choreograph), and with the exception of Nicole, it seems like really willowy ladies seem to have trouble with the jive, as it takes more time & effort to get those long legs kicking & flicking properly.  She might struggle a bit with paso, but Derek is generally pretty good at choreographing paso doble to his partner’s strengths, so I don’t think it will be too problematic; waltz and Viennese waltz shouldn’t be a problem; and the Argentine tango could be their secret weapon – if there’s one dance that might win them the pimp spot, it’s this one, as Derek has choreographed some of the most dramatic Argentine tangos over the years.

Roshon & Chelsie – remaining dances: paso doble, jive, waltz, tango, foxtrot, Argentine tango

First things first: while I still think Roshon is technically the best dancer still left in the competition, the judges (Carrie Ann in particular) have made it pretty clear that they’re VERY eager to point out any mistakes he makes – so he’s going to have to be damn near perfect in every single one of these dances, if he wants to stick around.  He’s done pretty well with the ballroom dances he’s had so far, so I think waltz & foxtrot shouldn’t be a problem; he also has a bit of an edge in that he’s already done the jive in the dance duel (and gotten some critiques from the judges on it), so he knows what he needs to work on.  The potential problems I see? Paso doble, tango, and Argentine tango – all require a certain degree of maturity and masculinity to really pull of well, and as we saw with the rumba this week…Roshon seems to struggle a bit with being a manly-man. :-P

Katherine & Mark – remaining dances: cha-cha, rumba, tango, quickstep, Viennese waltz, salsa

Well, when you’re a pretty good dancer and the judges seem to fawn over your every move, it doesn’t seem like you’d really struggle with any remaining dances – and to some degree, I get the feeling Katherine’s gonna have it made from here on out.  However, I see cha-cha, rumba, and salsa sticking out as potentially weaker dances for her – all require a certain degree of sexiness to pull off successfully, and I still don’t think Katherine is really comfortable with being sexy & sassy.  Her samba was ok, but I never got the feeling that she was 100% committed (or comfortable) with it; and while I thought her Argentine tango was great in terms of technique, she seemed to have emotional commitment problems there as well.  Can she pull off the sexiness? We’ll see.  Given her really good track record with the ballroom dances, I think tango, quickstep, and Viennese waltz should be a cinch – provided that Mark can continue to be “good Mark” and avoid any gimmicks. Read more..

April 25, 2012 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 14 Week 5 Power Rankings

*yawn* Yeah, all in all, that’s kinda how I felt about Latin night – even with all of the hoopla surrounding some of the couples.  We were on tacky prop overload tonight, and it seemed like a lot of the couples resorted to gimmicks and fluff that, quite frankly, I don’t think they needed.  Seemed like there was an obvious attempt by the judges to shield some dancers from the duel, and to throw some dancers headlong into it.  Should be interesting to see if things shake out like they intend them to…

1.) William & Cheryl – These two are not in the #1 spot because they’re “that good” – they’re here because the level of blatant favoritism they’ve achieved has hit an all-time high level of absurdity.  Ankle injury? I’m beginning to think it was a complete fabrication, as they seemed to only quickly gloss over the legitimate details of it, and I didn’t see La Levy wincing in pain (a la JR during HIS Argentine tango last season) or moving any more limply than he usually does.  And speaking of a flaccid tango – guess they really gave those 29 points to Cheryl, who didn’t fail to deliver a tango that was 90% her dancing dramatically around her partner like a damn maypole (or stripper pole…) and 10% her partner actually…well, moving at all.  Seriously, I dare you all – go back and watch that tango in slow mo, and count how many steps Cheryl takes, and how many William takes.  I’m willing to bet the ratio is AT LEAST 2:1.  To give a 29 to a tango where the man barely moves, and the stunts are pretty bland? That’s a damn insult to people who actually deserved their score more, like Katherine.  Was William bad? No, but I can’t really say he was good, either, considering he barely moved. So I guess my congrats go to the judges, who have backslid into blind worship of “the hottest piece of ass the show has ever had”.  Makes me sick just typing it… Read more..

April 16, 2012 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 Who Wore it Better? Part XV – The Pre-Season 14 Edition!

Yep, we’re back to talk fashion for yet another season’s promo pix :-) And kids, this batch was a bit of a challenge for even me – at least 3 brand-spanking new dresses that weren’t dittoed, some wacky alterations, weird lighting, and the fact that we don’t have pix of Cheryl & Katherine yet made this edition a little less fun and a little more frustrating.  But alas, it’s here now, so enjoy! And a very special thanks to our reader Manny, who graciously helped us out with the screen cap of Niecy, since Hulu only has season 13 available to stream and the DWTS website has taken down all of the photos from old seasons…grrrrr. *shakes fist at sky*

Battle of the gold, silver, super-sparkly jive dress: Kym’s pre-season 14 photo shoot vs. Kym’s jive with David in season 13

Heidi: I know I’m going to disagree with Court on this one – by choosing the photo shoot version. :-) I like the more asymmetrical hem and I like her hair better in that pic. But damn, Kym always looks amazing and she does stick to the similar color pallette much of the time.

Court: Kym has always known what looks good on her (everything) and what doesn’t (not much), but I love how she seems to stick to a lot of nude colors and just lets all the embellishments do the talking.  I remember thinking “Wowwwww…that’s soooo sparrrrrkllllllyyyy!” as she walked down the stairs last season in this number.  But alas, the magic is a bit lost in the whitewash of the photo shoot – so I’m gonna go with jive Kym on this one :-)

The winner: We love Kym in the nude (colors) :-)

Battle of the black lace turtleneck tango dress: Bristol’s Argentine tango with Mark in season 11 vs. Martina’s pre-season 14 photo shoot

Court: I think this may actually be the very first ditto of a Bristol costume we’ve ever seen! Although if you’ve seen one Bristol ditto, I think you’ve pretty much seen them all, as this girl wore A LOT of black lace in season 11 – a fact that made my searching though her costumes all the more confusing :-P But anyway…I gotta say, I’m not really wild about this costume on either woman.  It just seems kinda…dowdy.  But I guess if I had to pick, I’d actually pick Bristol – because I can at least tell it’s a tango costume with the way she’s styled & made up.  Martina…just kinda looks like she’s gesturing for no apparent reason.  But she looks damn good for her age! :-)

Heidi: I can’t pick…too distracted by Marky’s face in that picture. :-) The hell?  Okay, all kidding :::cough::: aside, I have to agree with Courtney. Martina looks fabulous, but Bristol is fully made up for this dress and she wears it pretty well.  I will say, very proud of Martina for going with a dress that is probably more daring on the bottom half than I would have expected.

The winner: Bristol takes this one because we can actually tell what she’s doing. Read more..

March 9, 2012 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!

DWTS13 Week 9 Power Rankings

So I’m guessing the judges either got laid or did shots in between JR’s paso and Rob’s samba, because they rather inexplicably got very generous very quickly with the points 8O Definite overscoring of some parties going on tonight, although I don’t think there was so much underscoring – I thought most of the scores were right-on or kinda cushy. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, tonight’s episode of DWTS was brought to you by the reused song (if I remember correctly, all but the pasos and the cha-cha relay song were repeats) and patterned tights :-P

1.) Ricki & Derek – Ricki was (quite literally, in her samba costume) the judges’ golden girl tonight, and managed to deliver 3 very clean, well-executed dances.  Can’t say that the choreo in any of the 3 was particularly genius, but I think Derek was probably smart to keep the steps much simpler than the usual fare we see from him. Ricki’s been struggling the past few weeks, and I think it was wise to give her simple choreo that she could do well than really try to wow the judges with complex stuff.  Their samba was cute, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much content it had – I think samba is my least favorite dance on DWTS, and even Derek’s choreo doesn’t usually impress me because he seems to do a lot of side-by-side, open work as opposed to real samba steps.  But this actually had plenty of real samba! I liked the mood & execution of their Argentine tango, but felt a little let down by the choreo – again, I guess I’m just used to seeing dynamite A. tangos from Derek, so this felt a little…light.  Their cha-cha, too, was rather simple; but compared to Hope & JR, who both looked rather sloppy to me, Ricki’s clean-and-simple cha-cha really worked tonight.  Thankfully, there is a pretty good-sized points margin tonight, which should keep these two safe at the top of the leaderboard.  And I’m glad – I think they very much deserve a spot in the finale.  However, I don’t think they’re going to be able to go with “clean & simple” next week – with Rob busting major moves and JR likely on the road to recovery, they’re going to need to stand out.

2.) Rob & Cheryl – Gotta agree with some of you that the judges made it pretty clear tonight that they REALLY want Rob in the finale.  Some definite overscoring going on here – his samba, while cute, energetic, and much better than I was expecting out of him, was just  not 27-worthy.  25? Maybe.  But I LOVED that he looked like he was having so much fun out there! I also give him an E for effort, for attempting a barrel roll – it was stiff, but he gave it the ol’ USC try.  I was a bit more torn on his A. tango – it’s a dance that definitely seems to suit him well, and he was a good leading man with clean footwork.  But I don’t think he had as much content as JR, and was maybe not quite as invested as JR, either.  I will say that I think he probably had the best combination of content & execution in his cha-cha – Ricki may have had the better technique, but I think her choreo was bound to look a bit simple & boring next to some of the flashier stuff Cheryl gave Rob.  In the end, though, overscoring or not – I do think Rob belongs in the finale, based on his dancing.  He’s still somewhat lacking in the performance department for me, so he’ll really need to hone in on that if he makes it through to next week – and I think he will, given the margin of points.

3.) JR & Karina – I really felt bad for JR tonight – he seemed like he was in a good deal of pain after each dance, and I do think it negatively affected his performances.  I’m afraid I set my hopes too high for his paso – I was so excited about him having that song, that I felt a bit let down when he really didn’t knock it out of the park.  He wasn’t 100% in the dance like he usually is, and I gotta say – the choreo felt a bit repetitive to me, too.  LOVED his Argentine tango – I do have to credit Karina with not going too easy on him due to his injury.  She gave him a lot of difficult footwork and lifts to do, and I think of the 4 A. tangos tonight, his probably had the highest level of difficulty and the most content.  And he handled it well, for the most part – caught him wincing in pain a few times, but he still managed to give a pretty damn good performance.  It was just sooo fluid – where Rob & Hope seemed to have a few stops and stutters in between steps, JR didn’t.  His cha-cha was just ok – I think by that point, he had soldiered through about as much pain as he could have, and was just tired.  It seemed a little stiff, but again, I’m thinking that had more to do with his ankle than any lack of ability in the cha-cha.  If he can knock the samba out of the park, he can handle the cha-cha, no problem.  When it comes down to it, I definitely think JR belongs in the finale – he’s been consistently good all season long, yet has still managed to improve a bit each week as well.  Knock on wood, I think his fans alone will keep him safe this week, and he may also get a few sympathy votes due to what looked like a pretty painful injury.  His biggest hurdle heading into the finale will simply be healing – right now, his injury seems to be the most inhibiting of the remaining contestants.  Hopefully this is something that he can shake in the next 24-48 hours!

4.) Hope & Maks – Well, tonight was unfortunatley an example of how overscoring a couple earlier in the competition can lead to a rude awakening later on when the judges decide to get serious.  Hope stuck out like a sore thumb for me tonight – all 3 of her dances paled in comparison to those of the other 3 remaining contestants.  Her paso doble seemed to take forever to get started, and once she started moving, she seemed to get wobbly in her turns and ended up on the floor for several counts while Maks danced around her…again.  Did it feel like the team paso all over again to anyone else? Her Argentine tango was a bit better than I expected, but man – those KNEES. They’re always bent, even when she’s mid-lift! At one point, my mom even asked “Are her legs supposed to look like that?” If she had been doing a lindy or a jitterbug, it could have looked cool and flapper-esque; but in her tango, it just looked awkward.  I thought she made a decent effort in her cha-cha, but once again, it looked like she powered through it so hard that it looked awkward – those arms could be lethal weapons, the way she flings them out when she finishes a turn! I think the judges were spot-on in scoring her – I have to think to myself “What score would this have gotten at an earlier stage in the competition?” Part of the problem a year ago with Bristol was that I think she thought by making it to the semifinals & finals, she automatically deserved to be getting 9′s & 10′s…and I’m of the opinion that just because it’s the semifinals, does not mean the judges should just be throwing up the 9 & 10 paddles left & right. If it’s deserved? Absolutely.  But just because it’s a certain phase of the competition? No. Sorry Hope fans, but up against the 3 other couples tonight – Hope looked pretty amateurish to me, and it will only get worse in the finale.  She simply has not improved enough in 9 weeks to deserve a spot in the finale, IMO.  I want a finale that’s going to be as entertaining & competitive as possible – and for me, that’s going to be best achieved with Ricki, JR, & Rob as the finalists.

So we’re one step closer to the finale!!! Who do you guys want to see advancing this week? Who should go home? And is anyone else as excited about the Muppets as I am??? :-D

November 14, 2011 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 Rants & Raves: To Lift or Not to Lift?

For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed me “getting up on my soapbox” the past few weeks regarding something that has been debated from several different angles around PureDWTS: lifts.  We’ve casually kicked around the pros & cons of them: do they enhance the routine, or are they just filler? Should they be required? Should they be prohibited? Are they safe? What exactly constitutes a lift, anyway? Well here it is, kids – the place where we can really get down to the nitty-gritty of lifts.

My sudden fixation with the topic started about 2 weeks ago, while watching a movie with my boyfriend (who, as many of you know, is a pro ballroom dancer/teacher).  He kept squirming around, trying to get comfortable, and failing.  Finally, getting annoyed with all his wiggling, I asked what was wrong.  “Oh, I just strained my neck a little bit doing a lift with one of my students today.  It’s just a little sore.” Seemed benign enough – minor soreness from doing a new lift.  But over the course of the next week, the pain intensified, to the point where he was unable to turn his head to the right AT ALL, and had to turn his whole body to face me when I was talking (which was actually kind of cool, since it made me think  he was just really listening to me intently ;-)) and had to institute a temporary ban on lifting at the dance studio. He iced it.  He put a heating pad on it.  He stretched it. He used a special neck pillow. He took some Tylenol. He went and got 3 massages in one week – all to little avail.  Things were starting to take their toll on both of us, as my bf was in too much pain to ride his motorcycle, sit upright for very long, or do any sort of vigorous activity. Finally, at the recommendation of one of his students (and me, as I had been HOUNDING him about it), he finally went to the chiropractor last Friday, and after taking one look at my bf’s x-ray, the chiropractor exclaimed “Ooh, no wonder you’ve been in pain – your C4 & C5 vertebrae are wayyyy out of alignment!” A few minutes with the TENS unit and some adjusting with the chiropractor later, he was FINALLY experiencing some relief.  That was a week ago – he’s been to the chiro a few more times since then, and he’s probably 85% better. But the no-lift rule at the studio still stands until he’s back to 100% and gets the all-clear from the chiropractor.

So the most obvious question brought up by my bf’s dilemma is “Are lifts safe?” The answer: no.  Read my lips: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “SAFE” LIFT. Sure, there are techniques to make them safer, and some are clearly safer than others, but all lifts are inherently dangerous, as there is always going to be the risk of injury from falling or being fallen on, as well as other sprains, strains, and even breaks from trying to correct a fall that is already in motion.  In fact, the very appeal of lifts is in the danger – the awe-spiring risk of doing them in the first place, and often the romantic notion of the delicate lady being in harm’s way, but protected by the strong arms of a handsome male lead.  No wonder all of my boyfriend’s students want lifts in their showcase routines! ;-)

Which brings up the next question: should they even be doing lifts in the first place? Obviously, it’s always going to be safer for a couple already experienced in lifting to be doing lifts (check out Eric Luna & Georgia Ambarian, the current world champions in the theater arts division), and it’s a downright TERRIBLE idea for two inexperienced individuals to start attempting them without the guidance and supervision of someone with experience (this is a good example of people that should NOT being doing lifts!).  But both my boyfriend’s predicament and that of the couples on DWTS is a bit more of a grey area – the situation where only half of the couple is experienced. In this particular case, I’m a firm believer that the more experienced member of the partnership is the one more likely to get hurt, regardless of gender.  Since they’re experienced, they’re going to be more likely to be hurt by the rookie mistakes of their partner, and more likely to try & protect their partner from harm…and possibly injure themselves as a result.  My boyfriend is a good example of this, as his neck injury was the result of him compensating for a student who couldn’t quite get the right leverage to get up onto his shoulder; Kym’s neck injury this past season is also a good example, as it was Hines who lost his balance and fell onto Kym, likely due to pure inexperience.  Toni Redpath (a former Australian ballroom champion & a frequent guest judge/choreographer on SYTYCD) did a great video blog a few weeks back (thanks for pointing this out, Evaine! Quite timely ;-)) which did a good job of explaining why lifts are allowed in ballroom routines on SYTYCD but not on DWTS – and the biggest reason was *drumroll* EXPERIENCE.  All the dancers on SYTYCD have some experience with dance, which makes the transition to lifting quite a bit smoother for them than a celebrity with zero dance experience. Not only does it make life a bit easier on the celebs, but it keeps the couples safer, too. 

But let’s say experience is not an issue.  From a choreographic standpoint, should everybody be peppering lifts into their routines? I certainly don’t think so.  Heidi always brings up an interesting argument whenever someone starts comparing ballroom on SYTYCD to ballroom on DWTS and the subject of lifts comes up: when used in excess, lifts tend be a bit of a cop-out, choreographically. It can often let bad dancers get away with not really dancing, and results in a routine that is more “flash & trash” than meat-and-potatoes dance steps – and can end up looking NOTHING like the dance it’s meant to portray.  The best example of this that I can think of is Channing & Philip’s samba from season 6 of SYTYCD.  While not inherently “bad”, the routine only has a few basic samba steps in it, and the rest was a lot of shimmying and (rather clumsily-executed) lifts.  Of course the video cuts out before the judges give their commentary, but I distinctly remember Adam actually calling out the choreographers on this one for making the routine “too lifty”.  I feel like lifts can also interrupt the “flow” of a dance if not placed properly – for a lift to work choreographically, I think it has to have proper timing & musicality, and have very fluid transitions in & out of it.  Otherwise you end up with routines like Channing & Philip’s, which feels jerky & disjointed – “Look I’m doing samba, I’m doing samba, I’m doing samba…ooh now I’m stopping samba & doing a lift…aaaaaand I’m back to dancing samba…STOP! time for another lift-and more samba….” It’s just visually…displeasing. Now don’t get me wrong – a few well-placed, well-executed lifts can enhance a routine.  A great example is Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko’s samba showdance from the 2009 America’s Ballroom Challenge (does the move at 1:06 look familiar? Derek used it at the end of his samba with Nicole ;-)).  Only one lift, and they ended up winning the showdance category, over 5 other couples – most of whom had more lifts. IMHO, you don’t need lifts to make ANY routine on DWTS (including the freestyle) look good.  Derek had no choice but to come up with alternatives to lifts in season 11, when Jennifer made it clear from day 1 that her neck injury made lifting an impossibility – and they still managed to win, and create some very memorable routines while they were at it. Their lift-minimal Argentine tango still stands out to me as one of the best we’ve ever had on the show.

So the bf & I were talking about lifts at-length the other night, and he said something that stuck with me: “You know, DWTS is great for the attention it has brought to ballroom dancing & all, but it’s really left some people with an unrealistic idea of what ballroom is and isn’t.” He went on to explain that he gets new students in the studio who are frustrated upon finding out that they won’t be dancing eye-catching routines like the ones on TV right off the bat, and many of them seem more concerned with costumes & music than technique & solid choreography.  I can imagine it gets very frustrating for dance teachers like him – especially when the demand for flashy nuances like lifts necessitates them risking their own safety.  The format of DWTS has actually forced my bf’s studio to start doing more showcase routines with their students (as opposed to focusing on good technique for competition) – and as my bf puts it, “every single one of my ladies wants lifts in her routine – and if they think one of the other ladies has more/better lifts, they’ll ask for more.  It’s KILLING me!” And me as well, since he often comes home cranky & sore and barely able to move…let alone do other activities. ;-)

So I’ve said my piece with regards to lifts…what do you guys think? LAY IT ON ME :-D

August 9, 2011 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!