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DWTS 15: Why I Hated the All-Star Season

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated…much to the chagrin of my detractors ;-)

Yes, I am back, after a rather prolonged post-season 15 hiatus. Part of it was due to a hectic year-end at work, part of it was due to other stuff, and part of it had to do with what I’m about to elaborate on in this post. Thanks to everyone who checked in on me on Twitter, and I can assure you I’m back full-time now :-)

Many of you have noticed that I tend to take a bit of a break from Pure after the end of each season – mainly due to the level of burnout we all seem to reach after being in full-on DWTS mode for 3 months straight while we’re covering each season. Generally, I just need a break – some time to appreciate other things in my life besides DWTS – and I’m back after a week or two. This time, though, I had a harder time getting back into the swing of being excited and inspired to write about DWTS – and for awhile, I couldn’t figure out why. Then I had a revelation…

…I HATED THE ALL-STAR SEASON.

There, I said it. I hated the all-star season, and I think it has now surpassed season 9 as my least favorite season of DWTS EVER. Reflecting on this past season, aside from a few standout performances (and all the great interactions I had with Pure readers :-)), I was hard-pressed to really feel nostalgic and pleased about it. In fact, what I tended to remember the most was all the frustration, chaos, and general feelings of “WTF is going on???” that I had while watching and blogging from week to week – and when I really got to thinking about it, I found that there were 5 key problems that left me feeling totally turned-off the all-star season. Without further ado, I give you those reasons… Read more..

February 13, 2013 I Written By

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

DWTS 15, Week 4 – Power Rankings

Well, this blasted non-ballroom (save for the mambo, and sorta-kinda the bolero) night played out just about like I thought it would: the hapless judges (aided and abbetted by the perpetually out-to-lunch Paula) kind of copped out on giving any seriously harsh scores, likely for the simple reason that they just didn’t know enough about the dances themselves to actually score properly.  The end result was some pretty general overscoring, and perhaps a tiny bit of relative underscoring.  But what worries me is that even though the spread may seem pretty big this week, more total points = smaller margins between points…meaning that it’s going to require fewer votes for those at the bottom to catch up with the rest of the pack.  And it makes me nervous for another “shock” elimination…but this time, I think it has the potential to be truly shocking.  8-O Let’s get on with it, shall we?

1.) Shawn & Derek – Best routine of the night, without a doubt – great, PROPER mambo choreography, and flawless execution.  I think these two may have had the toughest dance to contend with, for the simple reason that mambo has been done on the show before as a regular dance – and it has been done far more than any of the other dances on the list.  Add to that the constant pressure of the all-star season? If they had a bit of an off-week, I wouldn’t have blamed them.  But luckily, they absolutely KILLED this mambo – great tricks, a good amount of meat & potatoes choreography, and best of all – Shawn pulled off the “sassy” and sexy without a hitch, and looked great doing it.  :-) Very impressed with how she’s matured since her original season.  If I REALLY had to nitpick, I would say that it seemed like Shawn was sliding a little bit when coming out of her turns – very slight bobble, but it made me wonder if the floors tonight were a little slick – and could also be the cause of other snafus tonight.  Anyway, I think if they gave that hot mess of a Bollywood number that Gilles crapped out a 39.5, then this should have been a 42.  But Len, ever the fuddy-duddy, withheld that last half a point that would have put them at the top of the leaderboard.  Oh well – luckily it matters even less this week :-P

2.) Kelly & Val – Like almost all of their other dances this season, this came out far better than I would have anticipated – even if these two were kinda giving me the creeps with all of their brooding in the background all night.  :-P Was it truly “contemporary”? Meh…it had elements of contemporary, and it came far closer to contemporary than Emmitt did to bolero or Bristol did to rock ‘n’ roll.  But it was a pretty dance, and I do feel like they injected some emotion into it – which is really how contemporary came to be in the first place: ballet with emotion.  Kelly had some nice extensions and seemed to really connect to the dance…and really, Val did too, as much as he may have hated the style they got.  And he did get a few brownie points from me for calling Cheryl the b-word on national television, for all to hear :-P I think they may have gotten a little out-of-synch on the side-by-side sections, and I must confess that I didn’t really understand the purpose of the platform they climbed onto.  But overall, a very nice effort for a dance that neither party was particularly jazzed to have…and I’m sure we’ll be hearing buzz about this one for the rest of the week.  ;-) Read more..

October 15, 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 15, Week 4: Anna Trebunskaya & Chelsie Hightower Explain This Week’s Dances

Nice to see that Anna & Chelsie haven’t completely moved onto other projects since being eliminated on Tuesday :-) They did a bit for DWTSRadio in which they briefly describe what we can expect to see this week in terms of dances – you can listen to it HERE.  I think they’re option #4, so you can toggle through – but don’t do like I did & get impatient and click too many times, because it will only let you “skip” so many times before it forces you to listen to the segments in order.  Grrrrr.

 

October 12, 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!

Dancing with the Stars 9 Week 4 Power Rankings

I have an annoucement to make.

Heidi is indisposed at the moment…she fainted (and subsequently hit her head) because Derek TOOK OFF HIS SHIRT.  ALL THE WAY OFF, PEOPLE!  And while my reaction may not have been as strong as Heidi’s, I will admit – it was nice to see a guy with his shirt completely off instead of hanging open or unbuttoned, as if to tease the female viewers (shame on them).  Been jonesin’ for that since Gilles’ paso last season…

…but I digress.  I dub tonight’s show as the “Lipstick Mark” show due to the fact that almost everyone felt compelled to leave their mark on their partner (sometimes more than once…I love you to bits, Louis Van  :-) ) Tonight was such a mixed bag, with 4 new dances, so it was hard to really make any other generalizations other than the lipstick marks.  Sorry :-) But I will say that those who got the lambada or the Charleston definitely had an advantage over those that got the 2-step or bolero…and let’s just say those that got bolero got ROYALLY screwed…

1.) Joanna & Derek - Derek may have singlehandedly shot himself (and Joanna, of course) to the top in viewer votes when he doffed his shirt.  But even if he hadn’t – that routine would have been commotion enough!  This is the routine that the hens in my office will be aflutter about tomorrow. The steps and execution of the lambada were good (if not a bit repetitive), but this week they brought the chemistry (man oh man! :-D ) that I have had yet to really feel from these two…definitely the sexiest dance of the night.  Heidi, you were definitely onto something when you said that Joanna really had an advantage in having Derek – because right now, it’s his overall likeability, innovative (and lusty!) choreography, and penchant for taking his clothes off that is probably keeping Joanna on right now.  Let’s face it: Joanna is good, and pretty, but not so much well-known…but sex sells, people.  SEX SELLS!

2.) Mya & Dmitry – I know, I know…everyone thinks Mya & Dmitry are boring.  But tonight I feel as though they had a breakthrough…I definitely felt the heat from Mya.  However, I think I’ve figured out where the disconnect happens in their chemistry – Dmitry.  I was getting all sorts of vibes off of Mya tonight, and almost none from him.  For me, he’s basically out there just doing choreography and showcasing Mya – which is what he’s supposed to do, but at least put some feeling into it! I have to say – Mya felt the most “authentic” to me in the lambada – I could totally picture her in a seedy nightclub in Rio, grinding away and dripping with sweat. Anyway, these two tied for the top spot, and got the coveted “money spot” (the last dance of the evening) – and they were oily.  REEEAAALLLLY oily.  I think the light reflecting off of Mya’s legs was supposed to inspire the viewers to vote…and they might, but even if they didn’t, I think their scores alone could carry them through.

3.) Donny & Kym – I almost feel like it’s pointless to really try and rate Donny on his dancing, because no matter what he does, I think he more or less has a first class seat straight to the finale…UGH.  Ok, I will admit that their Charleston was technically pretty good – Donny seemed to keep up with the intricate hand and foot work, and seemed to carry off the character of the waiter well (surprise, surprise). But – and there is a but (anyone catch the SYTYCD reference? ;-) ) – he did fall out of step at one point, and got called out for it.  So maybe the coddling from the judges is about to wear off and they’re going to start being harder on him…then again, his rabid female baby boomer fanbase will probably just rally that much harder to keep up his vote percentage up.  I could go on and on about things that I didn’t like about Donny tonight (or any night, really)…but there really is no point…he’s staying around for a long time…phooey. :-(

4.) Melissa & Mark – I am pleased as punch with Melissa tonight…she finally brought both the energy and the enthusiasm we all have been waiting for! I think she definitely had an advantage in having the Charleston, as Mark seems to really thrive in high-energy, goofy choreography.  They tied for the highest score, and I have a feeling they might get the encore tomorrow night (sorry Heidi, while I too would enjoy an encore of Derek & Joanna’s lambada, I have a feeling the FCC might veto that! haha ;-) ) The black and white during the beginning was fun (and memorable!), as was Mark’s mustache (as smarmy as it made him look).  They may have had a bit of a disadvantage in going so early in the show, but nevertheless, I don’t see these two going anywhere this week…

5.) Kelly & Louis – I adddoooorrrreeee these two.  So cute together – but rather than a romantic chemistry, it’s really more of a brother-sister chemistry, which is cute nonetheless ;-) While Kelly’s Charleston was not as high-energy as Melissa’s or crisp as Donny’s, she brought her own brand of sass to it, which always seems to work in her favor.  And Louis with that dreadful makeup…ai ai ai.  I can’t decide which was worse tonight – Louis’ makeup or Mark’s mustache. But people will remember it! Plus these two are just so doggone likeable even when they aren’t the center of attention (anyone else catch those two goofing off in the background while someone got their scores? ;-) ), that they’ll probably coast through this week and several more, because they seem to have the voters wrapped around their jazzy little Fosse fingers :-D

6.) Mark & Lacey – I’m starting to see glimmers of stage presence from Mark, and little bits of the wild Lacey choreography I love.  I think he seemed to take to the “swagger” of a cowboy fairly well, which made him more entertaining to watch.  And I have to give Lacey props – this was the most authentic, well-choreographed 2-step of the evening…not only that, but Mark seemed to keep up with it and do more than just walk around the room spinning the girl (although honestly…that’s pretty much all guys do in 2-step :-/).  Still not super memorable for me, but a dramatic improvement from last week (and prior weeks).  And they did pull out their highest score thus far…

7. ) Aaron & Karina – Oy. I think Aaron may be giving Donny a run for his money with the dramatic displays he’s pulling…except he doesn’t have as big a fanbase to keep him in.  This is the first week that Aaron has really been “off-putting” to me – I thought his crying over the rumba scores was over-the-top (only girls are allowed to cry on DWTS! DUH! ;-) ) and his overall “work, work, work” demeanor came across as stubborn and a bit whiney.  Their lambada wasn’t terrible – it just wasn’t great, or particularly memorable.  Not a whole lotta content – just Karina spinning and a bunch of tricks (although I will say that his tumbling pass in the opening was flawless…and it should be, for as big a deal as he made about it!).  I can definitely see him losing some votes this week due to last week’s meltdown, but then again, the opposite could happen – he could become memorable because of his dramatics. Guess it depends on whether his “off-putting” outweighs his charm or not…

8.) Natalie & Alec - May as well call this one rumba redux – felt like a recycled version of their rumba last week, just without the sheet and with a lot more glitter.  In her defense (and Alec’s as well), bolero was definitely the hardest of the 4 new dances, and I think having to do it the week after you did the rumba makes it hard for you to be memorable, as they are often so similar in timing and footwork (at least when done by amateurs), they’re nary indistinguishable.  I felt maybe a tad more chemistry between them (just a tad), but it was a valiant effort – Natalie has great legs, and moves beautifully.  And she’s still sweet as pie, even when she’s “frustrated” with Alec, and she did tie for the 3rd higest score of the night…the question is: will her smile and scores get her the votes?

10.) Louie & Chelsie – The only reason these two aren’t in my “danger zone” is that I think they may be able to ride the coattails of this whole “showmance” thing for a little while longer.  People are still abuzz about the rumba, and Chelsie tweeted some awfully chummy pix of the two of them at Disneyland over the weekend.  And if I were them, I would milk that for all its worth – cause this 2-step was pretty underwhelming, at least on Louie’s part.  Granted, Louie is good at doing tricks, and he always seems to stay on time and can actually keep his hands straight while spinning Chelsie (which is all this really was, anyway).  But he’s really starting to feel a bit “blah” to me in terms of showmanship…he just grins and walks through the dance.  And he definitely doesn’t have the mainstream fanbase of Donny or Melissa, or the judges’ scores in his favor – he’s basically slipping through on cuteness and showmanceyness (yah, I just said that) alone.  So Louie & Chelsie, if you happen to read this – SHOW-MANCE.  I don’t care if you hate each other – get caught walking hand-in-hand at the Grove, or kissing while sharing a milkshake, or something else cute and couple-y for people to talk about – it’s your only hope!!!

11.) Chuck & Anna – Oh Chuck, you big loveable teddy bear.  You can’t really dance for beans, but you’re just so darn huggable that I don’t even care.  Let’s face it: there’s not much to be said technically here: not a lot of content, mainly just Anna spinning around…probably the least authentic 2-step of the evening.  But I stand by my belief that Chuck would totally rock at doing lifts – didn’t even break a sweat.  The fluidity with which he hurled Anna up onto his shoulder…magnificent.  But I fear their days are numbered, and likeability will only trump bad dancing for so long (unless you’re an Osmond…*cough cough*).  So glad we got to see him do lifts, though! :-)

12.) Michael & Anna – No surprises here.  Although I do find it a bit funny that they got the hardest dance…almost as if production was trying to engineer who went home…hmmm…but anyway.  All this was was some flaily arms and some faux sexy times (which was really just kinda icky…although not as icky as Donny & Kym).  Just Anna doing the occasional dip and Michael trying in vain to look romantic. Epic fail.  I think the “I stink but I’m fun!” train has just run out of steam for these two…they already had one foot out the door last week.  And Anna was really a letdown for me this season – she was brilliant in the pro competition, and nothing on the actual show.  *sigh* I was really waiting for her to hit her groove…

So long, Michael & Anna…it’s been fun, but fun can only take you so far in this competition.  So now let’s hear what you guys think…feel free to agree or disagree, all opinions are welcome! And while you’re at it, someone might want to send Heidi some e-smelling salts…I hear she’s still passed out from tonight’s show ;-)

October 12, 2009 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 New Dancing with the Stars 2009 Dances

Okay well it seems as if there is some controversy over the new dances that are being added to the mix this year. So I decided to try and get some more information for those of us who aren’t familiar with these particular dances. The only one of these that falls into the list of “traditional” ballroom dance is the Bolero and it is in the American Rhythm category.

Let’s start with the Charleston. It was developed in the early 1920’s and it turns out that the Lindy Hop was developed from the Charleston. It can be danced in a partnership, in a group, or as a solo. Check out this website with instructions for the steps from the 20‘s. Also take a look at this dance with Lucille Ball and Ginger Rogers.

Next, let’s take a look at the Bolero. Originally from Spain, this is the only traditional ballroom dance. Wikipedia mentions that this dance is different from the other American Rhythm dances because it requires Cuban motion, the rise and fall of the waltz, as well as the contra body movement of the tango. The videos that I found on Youtube reminded me of the Rumba. What do you think?

Okay next on our list is the Lambada, the “Forbidden Dance.” From Brazil, a couple of the forerunners of this dance are the salsa and the merengue. It is very fast-paced. Everything that I’ve seen makes it look like this will be definitely be one of the sexiest, hottest dances of the season. There are some instructional videos on Youtube that you should check out but I wanted you to see a dance.

The last of the new dances is the two step. Now there are a few kinds of two step,
nightclub, country, and ballroom. To me these all of these seem a lot alike and remind me of the Foxtrot. This video is of Lacey’s father Buddy teaching the nightclub two step. I thought it would be fun to see where she got her moves

Okay so now that we know a little more about these dances let’s talk about them. Can the pros handle these? Well, I have a feeling Lacey will be able to do the two step since her father developed it. Now the question is will that give her an unfair advantage? I personally don’t think so. All of these dances contain steps and movements that are familiar to other dances used in previous seasons. The Charleston contains elements of the quickstep and may be a “kiss of death” dance like the quickstep seems to be. The Lambada may be too spicy to get votes from some people but may be a very memorable dance that draws a ton of votes…we’ll have to see. The others are a lot like other dances and that might be a vote killer too. If a couple does a Rumba one week and a Bolero the next…people might not vote thinking ‘this isn’t new, I just saw this.’

Now, I know that most of you are not looking forward to these new dances but now that we know a little more would you choose to keep any of them? I’m excited for the “Forbidden Dance” myself. I have to wonder though, will any of the older dances be replaced by the new ones? I loved all the dances from last season and don’t want to see them go-especially the Paso. In the end, I think that maybe these dances were added because there are SO MANY couples this season. Hate the added dances or love ‘em but it’s gonna be a great season. It’s time to get those dancing shoes on!

August 26, 2009 I Written By