Mark Ballas tells US Weekly that’s he’s definitely going to miss Dancing With The Stars, but, he’s still watching. He also explains the audition process for how he got the role of Frankie Valli in the last few months of the ‘Jersey Boys’ Broadway run.
“I went and auditioned, old school! I didn’t cut any lines!” Mark told Us. “I sent in my tapes like everyone else. The producers liked my tapes, so then I went to New York and auditioned, did the two-hour dance call, singing call, acting call. I did it all the way you’re meant to do it. And after my New York set of auditions, I was coming home and I was on the plane literally about to take off and I got the call!”
Although Ballas’ fans know him for his dance skills, what they might not know is that his background in musical theater is extensive too.
“A lot of people know me as a dancer, but for me, when I started entertaining, theater and music was where I started,” the pro hoofer said. “And I trained for it, I got a diploma in college for musical theater. I worked for years for that diploma and graduated with honors, so now I’m finally putting it to use!”
“For me it’s not a role that no matter if you have a fan base or not, you can’t fake it,” he added of his Broadway endeavor. “It’s a lot of singing, and it’s going to be great to be out there as an actor and a musician first.”
More at US Weekly. We miss you, Mark. Come back to us soon and have fun!
And this is the week that the hammer drops and suddenly the judges are “over” some of the dance crushes they have had so far this season – particularly Julianne and her crush on Tommy. Hate to say it, but you only have yourselves to blame, guys – when you gush over the same people doing the same rudimentary stuff week after week, you can’t expect them to improve…and then it’s kinda lame to suddenly say “I’m bored, I want more.” But in the same token, you also don’t have to be over-the-top mean – and I think they got that way with a few of the couples tonight. They seemed to lose sight of the fact that these were NOT the regular pairings, which is a tough enough row to hoe, and on top of that, they were all doing these bizarre dance styles that none of them are extensively trained in. Was this REALLY the best week to drop that hammer, stooges?
So I guess the asshattery from Julianne, Carrie Ann, and Bruno made me thankful for Jessie J, who at least seemed to try and find the positive in everyone’s routines while still giving a useful critique – she is a judge on The Voice UK, after all, so I think she felt obligated to be constructive. Also quite impressed with her ability to not only sing live (!!!), but also do some dancing at the same time. As I said on Twitter – it’s so rare to find singers that actually sing live and don’t just lip sync, let along singers that sing live and dance as well. The only other singer I can think of off the the top of my head that also does both is Usher…so she’s in good company.
So I guess all this talk about the judges tonight brings me to pose this question to everyone: do we really need Len? Next week will be the 4th week out of 6 that Len hasn’t been at the judges’ table – and I’m not really noticing his absence. I’m almost wondering, what with his sorta-kinda farewell speech on the finale last season, if he originally was not gonna come back at all this season – and TPTB somehow guilted him into doing a few shows just to maintain some consistency.
But anyway – no elim tonight, but there is one next week, based on last week’s votes, this week’s scores and votes, and next week’s scores. As our longtime readers know, the more total points given out = the smaller the margins = the greater the likelihood of a “shocking” elimination. It really becomes a battle of the fanbases – who’s getting the votes vs. who isn’t. I don’t care if you’re at the bottom of the leaderboard – in a massive-points-dump-to-calculate-elimination scenario like this one, the playing field becomes a lot more level. To give you an idea of what crazy sh*t could happen – Sabrina was voted off the all-star season in a week where she was only 1/2 point away from a perfect score…but the elim was based on multiple weeks of scores and votes. Vote, vote, vote, kids – even if your favorite is in the lead.
1.) Alfonso & Cheryl (Witney) – Aaaaand we’re back to nitpicking Alfonso to death, I see – can’t let him get too confident now, can we PTB? Once again, he dances FLAWLESSLY – and in a style that’s totally different than anything we’ve seen from him so far. He nails the technique (those heel things he was doing at the beginning are insanely difficult – the bf actually got a hairline fracture attempting it during a showcase routine), he nails the drama (loved the dust – just that added drama every time he clapped his hands), and he nails the partnering…and all Carrie Ann and Bruno wanna talk about is the distance between his neck and his shoulder??? Seriously, you stooges – what’s the complaint gonna be next week? He’s moving his ears in a strange way when he’s dancing? His pupils are too dilated? He’s flaring his nostrils too much? Because this is getting ri-goddamn-diculous. I guess I see what they’re trying to do – trying to level the playing field, make it seem like Alfonso isn’t running away with this season (even though he really is), but there’s gonna reach a point when even the most dim viewers are gonna say “Ok, that’s just being petty.” And sorry, but 8’s for a dance that good are just ASSININE…especially when they specifically say Sadie missed a few steps in the beginning of her routine, and give her 9’s across the board. She earned her 9’s – but so did Alfonso. Oh well – at least he still gets THUNDEROUS applause after every dance he does. 😀 Read more..
In a new interview that took place Friday night with Broadway World, Ricki discloses details about her upcoming projects, passions, and being a huge Broadway fan. In fact, Ricki would love to do Broadway someday and hopes her dancing on Dancing With The Stars will help her get a role.
RL: Oh, yeah. I am hoping to do Broadway someday. I mean – really. I am not a dancer – clearly, I am not a dancer – but, I am working really hard to make it look like I am. I am singer, though. So, if this leads to some opportunity onstage, I would love it.
Ricki also discusses the good times and the challenges of doing Dancing With The Stars. She also gives us a hint of what to expect of her and Derek’s dance tonight which includes tap dancing (you would not believe the happy dance twirl I just did after reading this and I about broke my neck! lol 🙂 )….
PC: How have you been enjoying your time on DANCING up until now?
RL: Well, I have to tell you: we just had this halfway point party and at the party people were just maniacs – they were throwing down on the dance floor!
PC: Well, given it’s a DANCING WITH THE STARS party, I’d expect no less.
RL: It was crazy! I mean, it was a bar, but people were cutting loose. It was really the crew that was doing it – there were the dancers, too – but the crew went crazy! I didn’t stay for too long because I had to dance the next day.
PC: How have you been handling all the responsibility and pressure inherent in the experience of doing this show?
RL: Oh, like, right now, I am racing home to get ready for the Chaz Bono event tonight. He is being honored and we are going. I am a lunatic – but, I am having a great time, at the same time, you know? [Laughs.]
PC: You must be stressed out.
RL: Yeah, it’s a lot – and, I have Derek beating me up. This week, in this dance, I am doing the quickstep and I am doing a little tap-dancing in it, too. It’s just exhausting. It takes so much out of me. Just doing it once, I am just sweating buckets.
Since the cast announcement, there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not some of this season’s cast members have an unfair advantage on the show due to having “previous dance experience”. So I took it upon myself to do a little digging around to see just who out of our 12 celebs is no stranger to the dance floor…and guess what? All of them have done a little dancing before…well, at least a very loose definition of dancing 😉 So why don’t we see how they all measure up, shall we? Let’s begin with the stars with the more obvious experience: Brandy, Florence, Jennifer, & the Hoff. Watch and discuss…
First up, we have Brandy, who starred in a revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella back in 1997. Here’s her big “dance number” – the song “Ten Minutes Ago”, where she croons with Paolo Montalban while doing some Viennese waltzing:
As for any experience she may have garnered in her music video days, here’s the most “dance-heavy” video of hers I could find – “Afrodisiac”:
Courtney: Ok, the first video is some pretty basic Viennese waltzing – natural turn, reverse turn, underarm turn, repeat. And Brandy & Paolo suspiciously disappear when the extras begin the heavy duty spinning & lifting. I mean, as far as an advantage – it may save Maks 15 mintues of practice time explaining what the Viennese waltz is and what the basic movement is. But other than that…nah. As for her video (and I think this goes for all of her videos in general) – Brandy does a lot of grooving and a little bit of basic choreo, but she leaves the hard stuff to her backup dancers. She may be able to inject the “sexy factor” into her dances, but I don’t think she’s going to have an edge in terms of technical skill.
Marianya: I remember when I first saw Brandy and Paolo dance in Cinderella I promised myself that I would learn how to do that. And then when I went to do it, it was the most basic steps in the repertoire… talk about disappointment. Also in regards to music videos or shows, Brandy was big in the 90s, but the 90s weren’t all that dance heavy for the female soloists… at least not until Britney Spears and Co. from the Mickey Mouse club took over the music world for a spell (turn of the millennium). So really in regards to prior dance experience, none… can she pick up choreo? Definitely, but that’s something that most anyone could do… the mere fact that she’s done choreo before just edges here out slightly…
Heidi: Who choreographed that Cinderella thing? Will they own up to it? 🙂 Yeah, not a ringer, but I do think she has more of an advantage due to her relative youth and physical conditioning.
The verdict: Her basic knowledge of choreo may give her a SLIGHT advantage, but we think she’s going to have more of an edge from her young age & great body.
Now we’re onto Florence Henderson, who did some serious disco grooving back when she was on The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (unless you want to sit through some serious cheese, I recommend starting at the 2:24 mark to see Flo shake her groove thing 😉 ):
Marianya: I was watching this at work and was shaking my head a few times… man everyone was all over the place, it’s amazing. The steps are very basic that most anyone could pick up the choreo, I don’t think this could transcend into ballroom dancing. Plus it’s been a few decades for her… and she’s not getting any younger.
Courtney: The hustle portion is hysterical – at some point, every single one of them messes up. Again, some pretty elementary “jazz hands” type dancing…which even Flo fouls up a few times. And this was quite a few years ago – I don’t know that Flo is gonna be as lithe & nimble now as she was then.
Heidi: Didn’t I also read that Florence was also a Broadway baby? Yup, I did. 🙂 I think, like Jennifer, that her age kind of equalizes any perceived benefit to having been in Oklahoma and South Pacific – but the advantage that doesn’t go away is the comfort in front of a live audience and doing a live performance. See, I think everyone has an advantage of some sort – it’s going to come down to who has the most.
The verdict: Her age will likely negate any edge she may have had from Broadway, but she may be more comfortable in front of a live audience than some of the other celebs…just don’t ask her to do the Hustle. 😉
Here we have the celeb who has been accused of having the greatest amount of dance experience this season – Jennifer Grey. Now, due to the fine folks at Lionsgate Entertainment and their vigilant policing of any uploaded clips from Dirty Dancing, an embeddable copy of the famous “final dance” from the movie does not exist on the interwebs – so you can go watch it here.
Courtney: Ok, now while this iconic scene may be forever embedded in some folks’ minds as “fantastic dancing”, I think Marianya (and anyone else that has seen REAL mambo) will agree that this is pretty mediocre by most ballroom standards. Very stiff, very obviously choreographed. And again – quite a few years ago, and Jennifer has had some health problems since then, so even if she could remember these moves, there’s no guarantee that she’d be able to execute them.
Heidi: Interesting note about this dance: I read or saw a show on Patrick Swayze and they said this was the first dance filmed and they could only do ONE take because Patrick was having…was it back issues?? There was not a lot of takes on this dance, if the thing I saw was correct. It’s possible they were talking about “the lift” too. It’s been a while. That said – I think that most people are blinded by the romance of the moment, and miss the amateurish dancing. It’s a sweet movie – but it’s not truly about dancing.
Marianya: It’s funny when you see iconic dances in movies or television and you think “I wanna be able to do that” and when you actually start learning, it’s a whole different ball of wax. Now, Jennifer has studied dance growing up, but that was how many decades ago? Sure, she could pick up choreography… decades ago, but again, so can most anyone else. I think Jennifer would be slightly ahead of the game in the ballroom dances due to her dance studies growing up, but in regards to the latin dances the most is probably the basics in mambo, but that’s it… An edge? Not enough to win, but enough to score above average I’d say.
Courtney: Heidi, I’m glad you notice the amateurish dancing as well. I think it becomes especially obvious when you compare Patrick & Jennifer’s version to Cheryl & Tony’s version that they performed during season 2 – notice how much more fluid it looks when people who know how to actually dance mambo do it:
The verdict: She may have a slight advantage from her Dirty Dancing days, but that alone not going to be enough to take her all the way.
Last but not least, we’ve got David Hasselhoff. Now as one of the videos that Heidi posted earlier mentioned, David has a little bit of musical theater under his belt – he’s been in the Las Vegas production of The Producers, was the lead in Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway back in 2000, and played Billy Flynn in the London production of Chicago for 3 months back in 2004. Now while I’d love to showcase him dancing in one of these productions, I cannot find any videos of him in The Producers or Chicago, and Jekyll & Hyde is not a very dance-heavy musical. However, I do have something even better – the Hoff getting funky in the 1976 film Revenge of the Cheerleaders:
Courtney: *hysterically laughing* Wow, those cheerleaders were loving them some Hoff! Ok, that aside, I’m sure the Hoff has some rhythm, and I think the musical theater background has helped – but then again, if my knowledge of musicals serves me, Billy Flynn & Roger DeBris (his role in The Producers) aren’t known for being particularly difficult roles, dance-wise. Mainly a lot of jazz hands 😛 What I’m more concerned about – and I’ve said this before – is that the Hoff’s mind may be a bit rusty. Seriously- sometimes I think he’s got more than a few screws loose. So in spite of all this experience, I think he might have trouble remembering choreography (or even being able to pay attention when Kym is teaching it). What good is previous experience if you can’t remember it to draw from?
Marianya: Oh heaven help me. If that is what the Hoff is capable of then I foresee another Jerry Springer in the works. I saw the Hoff in the Jekyll & Hyde musical and there was no dancing in there. In fact the other parts that he has done in musical theatre were minimal if any dancing. So I don’t know if he could pick up choreo, ok he could pick up choreo but I don’t believe that he could do anything with it like Donny Osmond. He’ll ham it up, that’s for sure… but I think the buck will stop there.
Heidi: Oh my lord. What more can I say about that? I think The Hoff is going to do well on the show, but I don’t think it will be because of any perceived advantage.
The verdict:If he does well on the show, it sure as hell won’t be due to his Broadway experience – or the sizzling moves we see here!
So there you go – some food for thought for those of you who think that some of these celebs have an unfair advantage. But what about the other celebs this season, you ask? Oh boy – just you wait for part II…because you guys are gonna be blown away by some of the hoofing the other celebs have done in the past 😉 Did you sense the sarcasm there?