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PureDWTS – Dmitry Choreographs for Jenna & Kiki; Val Choreographs for Paul & Sydney on SYTYCD

So the live shows this season on So You Think You Can Dance started last night, and there was of course cross-over to DWTS – Jenna is back as an All-Star again, as is sometimes-DWTS-pro-dance-lurker/former MOVE cast member Paul Karmiryan; Dmitry is also choreographing again.  Additionally, Jenna has picked former DWTS troupe member Kiki Nyemchek as her partner this season, and Val has signed on to choreograph.

I was kinda shocked to see Kiki again – I didn’t realize he’s as young as he is (25 – I honestly thought he was already in his late 20’s five years ago), which means he was only 18 when he started in the DWTS troupe wayyyy back when; pretty sure he was a Fam hire. Judging from the comments on YouTube for their cha-cha, he still appears to be the pretty bland guy I remember from the troupe – the general sentiment seems to be that people preferred Jenna’s other partner and are disappointed that she picked Kiki over him:

Oof.  I see that Dmitry’s choreography hasn’t improved much – the song is awful, and the whole dance just felt like a non-event.  Couldn’t even tell you what Kiki did, as Jenna outdanced him the whole time. Paul & Sydney seemed to fare slightly (very slightly) better with Val’s choreography…

Oh look – the high kick is apparently a permanent thing now 😛 And there seemed to be a lot of stop-and-go, so no question – this is Val’s choreography, and this felt like a slight remix of Normani’s cha-cha…but less energetic. I will say I preferred it slightly to Dmitry’s cha-cha; but is it just me, or is Sydney…not all that great? She looks more like a contemporary or hip-hop dancer trying to do ballroom to me, than an actual ballroom dancer. She reminds me of that salsa dancer from several seasons ago (Cristina something, maybe?) that they tried to pass off as a ballroom dancer – just seems to lack polish & confidence in her movements.

Prediction: neither couple is likely to last long on SYTYCD, as is usually the trend – SYTYCD is just not particularly ballroom-friendly or ballroom-appreciative. Did any of you watch? What are your thoughts?

Be sure to check out Amanda’s review of last night’s show over at Pure SYTYCD.

August 8, 2017 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, 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. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 24, Week 5 – Power Rankings

Well, thank god that’s over – yes, kids, I actually hate Disney week. Sue me. The first time they did it (in season 18), it was cool; but each successive season got progressively less…magical, and more…of a chore to watch. I find that, out of all the theme weeks, it’s the one most likely to force the songs to fit the wrong dances, and to get so caught up in production value that the dance becomes a bit of an afterthought, and the costumes/sets/animations/etc. dominate. Much like my general opinion of Disney these days – just overwrought with commercialization. And I kinda felt that commercial aspect last night more than previous Disney nights – some of the dances felt more like advertisements for upcoming Disney movies, or promotion for lesser-known musicians. I guess when Disney owns ABC, this is to be expected – if it don’t make dollas, it don’t make sense, kids. But I did like the intro, because it was something different – and say what you will about Alfonso, but he has ALWAYS been there for the show when they need him, whether it’s filling in for Tom when his dad died, actually giving insightful critiques as a guest judge, or just being supportive and being in the audience week after week.  I feel like he really gets a bum rap sometimes, as well as the unfair label of being the biggest male ringer the show has ever had – but that’s a discussion for another place…

And now we move onto the “stay woke” segment of the rankings – because there was some serious manipulation going on last night, and you didn’t exactly have to be a rocket scientist to see it. There was gross underscoring, gross overscoring, vague criticism not really rooted in anything substantial, vague praise not really rooted in anything substantial, and strategic placement of people in jeopardy and in safety. The funny thing is, you can really tell that there’s new EP’s at the helm – Conrad & Rob were both a lot stealthier with this kinda stuff; with Joe & Ashley, it’s amateur hour. They’re the B-squad puppeteers that were thrust into lead roles as Muppets, but we can totally see their hands up the asses of some of the contestants.  If you haven’t yet read Heidi’s post about manipulation, you totally should – it’s eye-opening. So what do I make of all of it? I think David, Rashad, & Simone are probably running away with the bulk of the votes, Heather & Normani may not be getting as many as TPTB had anticipated they would, I don’t think they’ve decided what to do about Nancy yet, and Bonner & Nick are pretty disposable to them at this point. Will their machinations work? Not to the degree they’re hoping, I don’t think. Time will tell, and I get the impression that the viewers may be wisening up to the funny business – I know a lot of the readers here have.

So Erika left us…and I’m left without a ton to say other than “oh well…it is what it is.” Her elimination has been the LEAST disappointing one to me so far this season, mostly because I tended to forget her week after week – that kind of thing tends to happen when you basically do the same dance each week, with just a few tweaks. I enjoyed her Viennese waltz last night, and was glad we FINALLY got to see a different side of her (and she even showed vulnerability!) – but it was unfortunately too little, too late. Really hoping we don’t get another “look at how rich & sexy I am!” dance at the finale. Interesting to note: her exit left us with perfectly even numbers of men & women left for the girl groups vs. boy bands team dance next week.  Coincidental or intentional? You decide. Read more..

April 18, 2017 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, 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. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 24, Week 4 – Power Rankings

So many things…so many interesting things to talk about this week 😉 As expected on pretty much every “most memorable year” night, tears were shed, and those who went with more of an emotional story stood out, while those who went the fun route tended to fade into the woodwork. I found the running order a bit interesting – two back-to-back rumbas to start off with; and source wasn’t 100% sure, but apparently after Sunday’s camera blocking, Rashad tentatively had the pimp spot, but there appeared to be some question as to when Normani would go, as Fifth Harmony apparently had some scheduling conflict (I’m guessing they couldn’t stay the whole time, since we didn’t see them again after they sang with Normani). Guess they switched the game up – although I actually think Rashad’s dance ended up being more impactful by NOT going last, as they seemed to give him a bit more time than they did Bonner; but not too much time, because like Mr. T & Simone, Rashad did not get a post-score interview with Erin. You notice a bit of a disturbing pattern here? 🙁

Of those who DID get an interview with Erin, three of the five male pros seemed to get diarrhea of the mouth, and ended up completely hogging the mic from their partners – Val kinda got patronizing, Maks was glibly trying to cast next season already, and Gleb…was busy babbling something about being sexy, so we barely heard from their ladies. Therefore, I tip my hat to the two remaining male pros for keeping the focus on their partners by remaining quiescent. Much ado about lifts, Carrie Ann – wonder what made you decide to enlighten us all with the definition, and then proceed to anxiously justify every lift you called out last night? *takes a sip of tea* Don’t worry, boo boo, that lift post is still coming 😉 I also think we continued to witness the narrative change last night – seems like we might be seeing Rashad & Simone (and their engaged partners, Emma & Sasha) take center stage now, with Normani, David, & Nancy all in the hunt for that third spot in the finals. Will TPTB let it ride? Time will tell.

Was very sad to see Mr. T go – was chatting with Deep Throat the other day, and they remarked that T was very much loved by everyone in the cast and crew: he was always making a point to say hello to everyone, and make sure they were doing well and having a good day. T was just genuinely GOOD PEOPLE, and I did enjoy seeing him on the show. But I do think he was beginning to get flustered with himself, and was probably ready to go – he had fun and tried hard, but I doubt he was going to improve much more if he had remained in the competition. Oh well – I look forward to a fun returning dance from him at the finale 🙂 Read more..

April 11, 2017 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, 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. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 24, Week 2 – Power Rankings

To begin, here is a list of things I’m totally over seeing/hearing about on DWTS this season:

1.) Explanations of how Heather doesn’t have an advantage due to being a professional dancer.
2.) Production/the judges trying to angle for a showmance between Bonner & Sharna.
3.) Len generally being cranky about anything that doesn’t fit a rigid set of standards, and scoring to “make a point” as a result.
4.) How tired Normani is/how jet-lagged she & Val are.
5.) Charo generally being unruly.

It’s only week 2, and already, all of the above items have been beaten like a dead horse. Time to find some new material, production.

Beyond all those low points, I’d rate last night about a 6/10 – not bad, per se, but still kinda bland in terms of what I’ve come to expect from DWTS.  Front half of the show was a pretty big snooze, and they seem to load the back hour with the stronger performances. One pleasant surprise: Rupaul himself in the audience, out of drag, and rooting for Charo. I daresay he’s probably wayyyy too big a get for DWTS (and given my recent talk about demographics, probably not someone who would be extraordinarily popular with the main viewing audience), but one can dream 🙂

Part of me is a tad sad to see Chris go – no, he wasn’t a great dancer, but he wanted to be there, and I had no idea he had such a serious injury.  Definitely explains a lot about why he disappeared from the public eye for awhile, and Witney sympathizing with him showed me a new, more mature side of her. At the very least, he went out on a high note, with a fun dance that he did decently well with. Maybe we can look forward to a more in-depth Night at the Roxbury-themed dance from him at the finale 😛 Read more..

March 28, 2017 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, 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. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 24, Week 1 – Power Rankings

And so begins another season 🙂 Admittedly, I found it hard to psych myself up for this season – I wasn’t really looking forward to it, after the 3-ring manipulation circus of last season, and didn’t really feel super-invested in any of the couples until last night.  While the talent this season seems almost unfairly stacked in favor of the female celebs, unfortunately for them, I think the guys may have actually ended up more enjoyable and memorable – perhaps the female pros see the writing on the wall, and know they’ve gotta compensate for a lack of experience by having their partners be really, really entertaining?

Generally, aside from maybe 3-4 dances last night, this felt like a pretty tame premiere – the first hour was kind of a bear to get through, as the energy really slipped before picking up around the 9 PM hour. Other observations? The opening number was cool and not something we had really seen yet, but the preponderance of Maks & Val was eyeroll-inducing – they’re really trying to drive the point home that these two are the “stars” this season, huh? I feel like we only saw quick snippets of the female pros, with those two idiots mugging shamelessly in between. The sexism of this show is blood-boiling, at times. Glad to see that the judges were kinda stingy with the scores for the first night, as this tends to stem a lot of potential b*tching from couples down the line who are given cushy scores for weeks before the judges get real and drop the hammer. Getting really tired of them reminding us in one breath that Heather danced backup for Beyonce, while in another launching into this big apology tour about how “different” ballroom is from what Heather does. The cognitive dissonance…it hurts.

Just as a refresher for the regulars and a quick explanation for the newbs, the power rankings are a ranking of who I think is the least likely to get eliminated next week (#1) to who is the most likely (#12). It takes into account how well they danced, how memorable they were, how big I think their voting fanbase is going to be, how big their pro’s fanbase is, how likeable they are, etc. Is it NOT a ranking of how well they danced or how high they scored, so if you’re here to piously tell me that “so-and-so should be higher than so-and-so because they got a better score”, prepare to be called out. Shall we begin? 🙂 Read more..

March 21, 2017 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, 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. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 23, Week 8 – Power Rankings

So for those just tuning in that may have missed the producers’ agenda that permeated last night’s episode, let me recap:

1.) Make sure you keep pushing for Jana to make the finals.

2.) DO NOT LET DEREK ANYWHERE NEAR THE FINALS!!!

3.) Create an emotional redemption arc for Laurie, complete with Val crying his eyes out on camera.

4.) Milk the drama of Sharna’s injury, but let Jenna have the spotlight tonight…we need her to happen!!!

5.) Keep Calvin in the running for the finals, but he needs to take a back seat to the others tonight.

The face-offs, just like the ones in season 21, were about as big of a sh*tshow as one could expect – mainly just a means to carry out the agenda of the moment, and pretend to give a sliver of power to the viewers so they can feel like part of the action.  I actually found myself profoundly relieved that James ended up with immunity – judging from his rehearsal package, it looked like he may have lost some rehearsal time learning the two face-off dances he hadn’t already done (jive & salsa), and I was very, very leery of him having to learn them from Jenna, whose teaching skills are…dubious, at best.  So the fact that he ended up not having to attempt them with someone that’s NOT his normal partner? Phew. And really, if they were going to give immunity to anyone, I would rather it be someone that was probably headed to the finale already (and not someone that genuinely needed a boost to stick around), so as to minimize rocking the boat too much – so in the grand scheme of things, I would have been fine with Laurie, James, or Calvin getting it, and oddly enough, they were the only three last night that ended up with perfect scores.

I think I mentioned last week that I was fairly certain that Ryan was on borrowed time – just couldn’t put my finger on when, exactly, the hammer was gonna drop.  Oddly enough, his tango last night was probably my favorite dance he did all season – the Cheryl Burke House of Pain method seemed to work, as he seemed more invested in that dance that any other one we saw from him all season.  It was fun to watch, but it was time for him to go – but overall, I’m actually glad he ended up doing the show, because I think I came out of it with a much better understanding of him.  He generally seems like a good guy, not the calculating type – but is simply too dumb to function sometimes, and that’s what gets him into trouble 😛 And then there were only 2 men, and I’m guessing they’re probably guaranteed a spot in the finals.  Which means we’re most likely gonna lose 2 ladies in the next 2 weeks… Read more..

November 1, 2016 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, 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. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 23, Week 6 – Power Rankings

DISCLAIMER: As I write this, I am currently under the influence of some new migraine meds that have the unfortunate side effect of making me very, very foggy – if my struggle to find the word “paint can opener” the other day at Sherwin Williams was any indicator, I’m definitely experiencing some aphasia; additionally, the fact that I put a carton of coconut milk in my purse and put my iPhone in the refrigerator while putting away groceries yesterday probably points to some general absentmindedness.  So forgive me if the words don’t come as easily today as they usually do – I’m told this passes after about the two week mark, so fingers crossed…

…and perhaps it is the effects of the medication, or perhaps not, but I’m left feeling a bit unsure of what to make of last night’s show.  I guess I should have known by about the 20 minute mark that things had already gone completely off the rails – we had Pitbull prematurely scoring (and then being completely late scoring the rest of the night, and having a suspiciously hard time with those paddles), Erin making painfully obvious double entendres about Ryan’s “facials”, and Ryan trying to make black light paint a thing, but having it look more like sunburn art. Then there was that pinata that Erin was curiously insistent that everyone hit, but only appeared to be filled with glitter.  Go fig…but perhaps more peculiar was the scoring, which at times left me wondering what exactly the agenda really was.  Part of me thinks TPTB may be falling out of love with Laurie (or may at least be seeing that she may not actually be a sure thing for the win), they seem suddenly obsessed with Jana (after appearing to be rather lukewarm about her thus far this season), they seemed to very slightly ease up on their “underscore Calvin at all costs” edict of the past several weeks, they seemed to finally drop the hammer on Terra (after heaping sometimes over-the-top praise on her the first few weeks of the season), and they seem to kick their praise of James into overdrive (which even I, as a James fan, can agree was a bit too much).  Are they trying to shape their ideal finale? Or are they even taking it a step further, and shifting gears from gunning for a Laurie win…to gunning for a James win? I think it will be very, very interesting to see how things go once Len is back on the panel next week…when daddy’s away, the other three stooges seem to play; but when he’s back, they seem to get back to business.

Wish I could say I was sad to see Amber leave, but I got the impression that she really wasn’t having much fun anymore, and that she never really got comfortable being on the show – so I don’t think she was all that disappointed to go, either. I think Maks collected his paycheck and is happy to be back to being a stay-at-home-dad-to-be. I didn’t see too many fans outrageously upset, either – Amber’s exit was minimally disruptive. I’ll admit – at one point in the show, I told myself I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed if Jana left instead of Amber, but in the end, I guess I’m partially glad the former stayed, because I think Gleb is more of an asset to Marilu’s team dance than Maks ever would have been.  Speaking of which – if you haven’t yet, check out our team dance spoiler post, if for no other reason than to justify my waking up at 2 AM to reveal the teams 😛 Read more..

October 18, 2016 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, 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. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

PureDWTS Season 23, Week 3 – Power Rankings

Well that was possibly the most breakneck speed episode of DWTS we’ve ever witnessed – trying to watch, tweet, and take notes proved to be pretty difficult when they were moving as quickly as they were, so if these are a tad late, I apologize…I may have had to rewind and rewatch.

As much of a cluster as we predicted the face-off dances to be, on the whole I wasn’t too disappointed – my expectations were set pretty low, and tonight’s show maybe slightly exceeded them.  With the exception of a select few dances, technique seemed to be sacrificed in favor of showmanship across the board, and I really only saw 3 couples who seemed like they were 100% in-the-zone when performing…the rest seemed to eke by with varying degrees of bewilderment. It is what it is – when you’ve gotta cram 12 dances into 1 hour, you’re bound to make sacrifices somewhere.  I will say that I really enjoyed not hearing as much meaningless blathering from the judges 😀

Just to recap how voting/eliminations work this week – those who won their dance-offs are safe from elimination tomorrow; those who lost are at risk of getting eliminated. So the rankings should really only be 6 couples this week – but I do want to at least touch on the ones who won their dance-offs, so I’m gonna do things a bit differently tonight. First set of rankings is for those who are actually eligible to be eliminated – with the #6 position being the one I think  is most likely to get the boot. The second set is just a ranking of how well the winners did.  Also threw in a general ranking of the face-offs and how well/not well I think they worked out. Read more..

September 26, 2016 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, 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. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog

DWTS Former Troupe Member Sonny Fredie Pedersen Premieres “Tyrna” Single And Video

I loved Sonny Fredie Pedersen’s last dance single “Cha Cha”. Well here he is with a follow up single and video called “Tyrna”. Note that Nika Kljun choreographed the video. You might remember her from the first Move Live On Tour. The kids are so talented in this video too. Check them out.

Download “Tryna”

September 23, 2016 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

PureDWTS Season 23, Week 2 – Power Rankings

I really do have kind of a love-hate relationship with TV weeks – and really, theme weeks in general.  They’ve brought us some really good dances, and they’ve brought us some pretty craptastic dances.  And a whole lotta awkward sh*t in between – this is what happens, kids, when you try to force a certain song to fit a certain dance, or try to force certain costuming to fit a certain dance, or a certain dance to fit a certain theme, etc. There was definitely some awkwardness last night that I would blame primarily on this week’s theme – I feel like Amber & Maks, Jake & Jenna, and Rob/Vanilla & Witney kinda got played by their assigned themes, while I commend Calvin & Lindsay and Babyface and Allison for making their theme work for them…particularly the latter, which I’ll get into more later. Also a lot of time wasting at the beginning of several of the dances, which seemed to be a pretty across-the-board thing, so I guess I can’t complain too much – although I will say some pros utilized the time wasting more than others.

And while I think the distraction of the protesters last week may have somewhat blurred any potential agenda by the judges, I felt like we really saw that agenda take shape awfully clearly this week: Laurie is the chosen one, and anyone that poses a threat to Laurie needs to be nitpicked, criticized, and underscored to protect her.  I think the only other celeb that escaped the judges unscathed besides Laurie was Terra, which is also somewhat problematic, which I will get into later; but why give a dance straight 8’s and then don’t explain ways in which it can be improved upon? If it’s truly perfect and you aren’t going to give any negative feedback, give it 10’s.  If you’re not giving it 10’s and you’re not offering up suggestions for improvement…something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.

Not sure if I’ll do another round of power rankings later tonight/early tomorrow or not (for next Monday’s elimination), as I’ve got some other things going on that are going to make the next 24 hours very, very busy for me, but for now…I guess take these as my predictions for who is going home tomorrow night, and I might just do an update tomorrow evening after we boot the first celeb. Read more..

September 20, 2016 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, 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. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog