Free DWTS Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on Dancing with the Stars sent straight to your email? Join hundreds of other DWTS fans who subscribe to Pure DWTS for FREE!

PureDWTS Season 18, Week 6 – What’s Left to Dance?

So we’re at the halfway point in the competition – 5 more weeks to go, and there’s still 8 couples left…seems like a lot, but I guess numerically it makes sense.  We’ve got party anthem night this coming Monday, Latin night the following Monday, and then who knows.  Will the guest judges cease once we hit week 8? Will the themes cease? When’s the team dance? What other funky sh*t are they gonna throw our way between now and the finale? :-P

I don’t have ALL of the answers, but I’ll try and paint the clearest picture I can of the remainder of the season.  Here’s the list of what the remaining couples have left to dance in the coming weeks – I’ve already removed their party anthem week dances, so consider this the remaining dances for Latin week onward. I’ve added a bit of my own commentary as well.  And because I’m nice, I did it both a list format AND a handy-dandy chart. :-) I have a question mark by the Viennese waltz (see why below) and I honestly doubt we’ll see anyone else doing the swing this season, but I went ahead and included it since we did see it from two couples already.

remainingdances

 Meryl & Maks – remaining regular dances: rumba, paso doble, jive, waltz, quickstep, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: contemporary, jazz, salsa

Kinda interesting how Meryl & Maks have basically done two of everything: two Latin dances, two ballroom dances, and two “other” dances – probably the most evenly divided-up of all the couples, and gives them the greatest variety of dances left to do heading into the second half of the competition. I don’t see her necessarily struggling technically with any of the dances she has left – but I do think some of the relentless shippers have built up their rumba so much in their heads that they’re going to be disappointed if they do anything short of making out on the dance floor. I also think Maks’ skills as a choreographer might make some of these styles questionable – I’m highly skeptical of how he’ll do with contemporary & jazz.  I’m also wondering if he’ll be able to resist the urge to waste time in their quickstep – that seems to be one dance where he seems to love throwing in long sections of running up and down the stairs or fiddling with props.

Charlie & Sharna – remaining regular dances: samba, paso doble, waltz, foxtrot,  quickstep, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: salsa, Argentine tango, swing

Charlie’s only burned through one ballroom dance so far, and I think he has the potential to really kill it with the ones he has left – if Sharna can choreograph some impactful routines.  Kinda glad he got rumba out of the way already, since he seems a tad uncomfortable with the really lovey-dovey dances; I think he’ll probably handle Argentine tango better, because it has such a strong technique component and it moves faster.  But I’m fully expecting rumba to crop up again for him as his “redemption dance”.  I’m hoping he can really summon some rage (does this kid even have an angry bone in his body? :-P ) for the paso doble, as that’s one dance that I see going completely against character for him.

James & Peta – remaining dances: cha-cha, samba, rumba, paso doble, waltz, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: jazz, Argentine tango, swing

Unlike a lot of the others, who have burned through almost all of their Latin dances, James has actually gotten all but one (maybe two) of the ballroom dances out of the way, and still has 4 Latin dances to work with – and considering he handled his salsa & jive pretty damn well, he could potentially ace the Latin dances he has left and really build some momentum headed into the finale.  I’m hoping Peta learned her lesson with the judges during switch week, and is able to choreograph a really by-the-book rumba for James;  maybe getting hosed during a week when nobody actually got sent home was a blessing in disguise for James.  I’m thinking his Argentine tango has the potential to make jaws drop – he’s proven he can handle complex choreography and can commit fully to the mood of each dance.

Amy & Derek – remaining regular dances: samba, rumba, paso doble, tango, foxtrot, quickstep, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: Argentine tango, jazz

I love Amy to bits, but YIKES – I worry that they got the majority of the dances that were going to be easier for her out of the way early, and now she’s stuck with the stuff that may prove pretty difficult on prostheses.  She’s probably going to struggle with tango,  since she can’t really pivot; I think quickstep & Viennese waltz could cause problems since they involve crossing one ankle over the other at some point; rumba will probably cause problems due to the hip action; she might actually be able to do samba decently, since she is actually able to bend her knees and has a strong core from which she can get the bounce, but pivoting steps like samba runs may be out of the question.  Argentine tango? I’m having nightmares of her getting her feet tangled up during one of the sequences of footwork.  I’m hoping Derek has got some serious tricks up his sleeve, because I think Amy’s going to really need them in the coming weeks.

Danica & Val – remaining regular dances: rumba, paso doble, waltz, tango, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: salsa, jazz, Argentine tango, swing

Danica is one big puzzle to me – I don’t think she technically struggles with any of the dances (she’s conveniently overcome her arm problem), but at the same time I don’t feel like she really masters any of the dances like Meryl & Charlie, either.  I think she may hit a snag with the rumba as she seems to obsess over dance steps, and rumba is one dance where you have to let go a bit and just let the emotion take over.  I don’t really  have a whole lot else to say about Danica – she’s not the best for me, but not the worst; and she’s not really leaving a very lasting impression on me, either way.  Bad? :-(

Candace & Mark – remaining regular dances: paso doble, waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: salsa, jazz, Argentine tango, swing

Thankfully, she’s gotten most of the Latin out of the way – she really only has paso doble & salsa left to contend with.  I think she’ll handle the ballroom better than the Latin, but I still worry that the judges are just gonna nitpick her to death like they did with her quickstep, because they’ve decided she’s disposable.  Will be interested to see if they let her do jazz at some point – with the season half over and the theme weeks winding down, I’m wondering if we’ll begin to see less jazz & contemporary.  I think she & Mark would knock the jazz out of the park – so if she does get to do it (maybe as a trio dance?) I think it has the potential to be a comeback for her.

NeNe & Tony – remaining dances: samba, paso doble, waltz, tango, quickstep, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: contemporary, Argentine tango, swing

Well NeNe’s burned through all but two of the Latin dances , and she has only managed to check one hardcore ballroom dance off the list…seems like there’s not a whole lot of flashy dances left for her to really sell.  And I’m not sure that samba & paso doble are going to be ones that she can really “wing it” with – samba’s heavy on the technique, and paso doble is heavy on the aggression.  IF she survives this week – and that’s a big IF – it looks like it’s gonna be a pretty bumpy road for her from here on out.

Drew & Cheryl - remaining dances: samba, rumba, paso doble, foxtrot, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: salsa, contemporary, jazz, Argentine tango, swing

I’m afraid things don’t look particularly easy for Drew, either – the dreaded samba is in the mix, as well as the nitpicky-on-technique rumba.  He only has one or two ballroom dances left, and oddly enough, he’s the only contestant left that hasn’t done at least one “extra” dance – he’s the only that has only done real competition dances so far.  Can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing – did I read somewhere that Cheryl’s not really fond of contemporary and/or jazz?

Other random thoughts…

Where the hell are the paso doble & the Viennese waltz??? Since paso doble has been included in every season since season 1, I highly doubt they’ve scrapped it as one of the regular dances this season – I’m guessing that the theme weeks thus far just have not really been conducive to the aggressive feel of the paso (think personal story week, Disney week, and party anthems week). We’ll probably have a pretty paso doble-heavy Latin week – for some couples, it’s one of only two Latin dances they even have left to do.  Now as for the Viennese waltz – we may or may not see it this season.  The fact that we haven’t seen a single one yet (while we have seen two standard waltzes) makes me wonder if they decided to cut this season down to just waltz, or maybe have the couples do only one type of waltz through the course of the season (either waltz OR Viennese waltz – not both).  They’ve done it in previous seasons – there’s been seasons with only the waltz, seasons with only the Viennese waltz, seasons where the couples did both, and seasons where they only did one or the other. Guess we’ll just have to wait & see what kind of season this is – I personally prefer the Viennese waltz, because I find it more exciting to watch, but obviously I’m not the one in charge (despite what some fringe fans seem to think)…

What about the team dances? I’m hearing week 7, which is Latin week – which means that the team dances will most likely be Latin dances (my money’s on either both teams doing cha-cha, or one team doing cha-cha and the other doing paso doble), and one team will have 3 couples while the other has 4.  They’ll most likely get picked immediately after Monday night’s show, and then go straight to rehearsal.  If they follow the scheme of previous seasons, then the two contestants with the highest cumulative score will serve as the team captains – as it stands right now, that’s Meryl (134 total points) and Charlie (131 total points) – but the scores they get Monday night could change that (I doubt it will, but the possibility is there).  They’ve also done a coin toss and allowed the winner to either get first pick on the song or the team members, but that could change this season, too.  I could go into great detail on all the things that could happen – but that’s best left to a “Team Dance Speculation” post coming up over the weekend ;-)

Are we going to see the trio dance again? Haven’t heard anything official, but I would assume so – it’s been too popular in the past 4 seasons to NOT do it.  I’m guessing week 8, and as always, it will be either a Latin dance or jazz.  I’m guessing they will still be able to pick from either a current troupe member (Sasha, Artem, Lindsay, or Jenna) or an eliminated pro from this season (Henry, Karina, Emma, Witney, or whichever pros are eliminated in weeks 6 & 7) as their third trio member.  No, I have no reason to believe that Tristan/Chelsie/Anna/Gleb/etc. will be available as choices for the trios…and yes, there are fans that still think it’s a legit possibility. 8-O

Anything else coming up? Again, no official word, but I would expect to see the supersized freestyles again (cause they sure seem to love supersizing!) and either an instant dance and/or 24-hour dance challenge during finale week.

So what do you guys hope to see in the coming weeks? Who do you think has the right dances left to succeed this season – and who is screwed? And if you haven’t already, be sure to vote in Vogue’s new poll here! :-)

April 17, 2014 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 18, Week 6 – Party Anthem Week Song Predictions!!!

So next week promises to be either totally awesome or a complete trainwreck :-P Maybe a bit of both.  Should be interesting to see what they pick as “party anthems” considering some of the songs they picked for prom week in season 16 were pretty debatable as songs one might hear at the prom, so I won’t be shocked if we hear something like “Friday” by Rebecca Black this coming week as a “party anthem”.

So far, I have a few hunches: one is that they’re going to probably reuse some songs we’ve heard in the past, to save some time & money.  Second hunch? They won’t be able to resist using at least one LMFAO song, since Redfoo is the guest judge – question is, will somebody get it as their actual performance music, or will it be used for the pro dance? Third hunch: if these songs are considered “party anthems”, they’re probably pretty well-known and have been commercially successful at some point.  Below is a list I’ve compiled of songs used on the show in the past that might be considered “party anthems” – I’ve divided them up by the dance they correspond to, but that’s not to say that TPTB (in their infinite wisdom) will actually use them for the dances they’re intended for :-P I’ve bolded the ones that I have a strong feeling we’ll see again this week – and no, that’s not me hinting at a song spoiler, because I haven’t talked to Deep Throat yet this week.  Just purely a Court gut feeling. Don’t get it twisted, kids. ;-) I’ve also added a few that we haven’t seen on the show, that I just think might fit the bill – those are in blue. …Read more

April 15, 2014 I Written By

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

DWTS Season 18, Week 5 – Let’s Recap Tonight’s Show (Spoilers)

I’m back in the saddle again…oh, wait, that’s not a Disney song. I have a feeling this damn music is going to be stuck in my head for DAYS. :-)  Anyway, Heidi here, with the recap- as-I-feel-like-it method of blogging.

LOVED the opening number. Love. Made me happy.

Eight minutes into the show and we’ve already heard TWICE how Donny won. Once from him, once from either Erin or Tom.

I would have killed Len if he had picked on Drew for breaking hold. Pisses me OFF that their damn animation is probably dictating choreography.

Gee, Danica looked great in that preview for someone who isn’t a dancer. :::cough:::

Holy shit! Sorry john, but that’s all I can think of after Charlie’s dance. I’ll be pissed if he doesn’t get a ten or 3 – it was just a cane!

Danica’s dance was very cute! Yes, Len, she is a fantastic dance. She’s a ringer!

Okay, she was overscored, folks. Our news “story”.

I forgot to mention Cody in Jeopardy…if he’s safe tonight he will be for a while. Let’s talk riled Fanbase.

:::sob::: That was beautiful, Amy.

I really liked NeNe’s dance. Don’t know what to say about that package, but I guess Tony was honest.

I guess some fans don’t much care if they are perceived as soulless….I guess it’s good to have goals.

Wow. Great dance from James – first perfect score and he ain’t even the big ole ringer!

Meryl’s dance was well executed, but pretty uninspired compared to the rest of the dances of the night.

I wonder if NeNe’s going because they gave her such a great score.

So, Mark’s the crab? :-)

Donny: “me me me me”

I was kind of hope they would call Candace safe right there. That would have made it exciting.

And that shocking elimination we were all wondering about? Well it happened tonight. Although it wasn’t really that shocking. I kind of wondered if Candace had a good voting Fanbase. And to all of you wondering about teenybopper fans and guys with huge Twitter following? There’s your answer.;

April 14, 2014 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

PureDWTS Season 18, Week 4 – Power Rankings

Tonight’s episode of Sesame Street was brought to you by the phrases “these are the couples you chose!”, “keep it all in the family”, and “incestual”.  :-) I know I can’t be the only one that thought they were trying to drive the point home just a bit too hard that the couples we saw last night were the ones that we voted for – defensive much? Had they actually given Meryl to Derek (as the voters had), it would have created an entire cascade of partner changes that I think would have created an entirely different outcome last night.  But that’s neither here nor there – I guess I’m just sort of over the entire partner switch at this point. It’s over and done with, and it’s hard to dwell on what a turd the whole thing was when we’ve got Disney Week  next week :-)

I do feel the need to touch on the phrase “keep it all in the family!” though – on the surface, it seems innocuous enough, but I feel like it’s yet another barrier the Chmerkovskiy brothers (and Tony, to a lesser degree) put up between themselves and the other pros on the show.  I know they seem to have a sort of “us against the world” mentality, but more often than not, they themselves are the ones creating that environment.  “Keep it all in the family” says to me “I don’t trust the other pros.  I refuse to associate with the other pros.  I am better than the other pros. Don’t let the other pros near my partner…mine, mine, MINE!” It implies that the only family that matters is theirs – and the relationships with the other pros that they’ve cultivated over the years are worthless.  The Chmerkovskiys are a family, but so is DWTS – when the cards are down, the pros do look out for each other. I guess the reason I’m bringing it up is because I was rather surprised to hear Meryl repeat it in her package – I think it was probably just out of politeness to Val & Maks, but in the spirit of the switch (which so many of the other pros embraced with open arms – including Tony), it just seemed almost like self-segregation.

I’m left feeling rather puzzled by the judges’ comments & scoring last night – there were certain couples that got raked across the coals that I didn’t think were that bad (Candace & Tony, Charlie & Peta), couples that got treated with kid gloves (and this is probably gonna get me in trouble, but Amy & Mark), and couples that just did not really register at all with the judges (Danica & Maks, Cody & Sharna). And apparently there was fallout backstage last night after the show – a source says that Peta was in tears and was being consoled by Charlie & Sharna, and Mark was allegedly overheard saying that he thinks he’s “as good as done” next week thanks to Tony (which I don’t agree with…at least not the reasoning).  Tough day at the office for those two :-(

On the upside, we got a pretty cute opening number (that was perhaps a little heavy on the “switch” theme, but whatever), and the Macy’s Stars of Dance segment returned triumphantly with a pretty cool flamenco-infused number by Derek, Artem, Sasha, Henry, Jon Platero, & the beast that is Kathryn McCormick.  I smell some potential Emmy fodder, if the Stars of Dance segments in the coming weeks measure up to the one we saw last night! Julianne also returned as a judge, to both cheers and jeers – and WTF was up with her eyebrows??? Somebody get Anastasia Soare on the phone, because somebody is using the wrong color pencil on Miss Hough…

Bear with me as I try not to repeat too much of the stuff I said in the live discussion post last night – guess I should have held back a bit for my power rankings :-P I went ahead and put the original pro partner names in parentheses here, as they will be the ones potentially at-risk to be eliminated next week. Read more..

April 8, 2014 I Written By

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

DWTS Season 18, Week 4 – Let’s Recap Tonight’s Show (Spoilers)

Heidi is otherwise occupied for the time being…so for now, you get me (Court).  Who’s ready to see this partner switch?

Cute opening number…maybe a little repetitive on the whole “switch” theme. That song takes me back to sorority recruitment 2005. Damn, Julianne’s hair is SHORT.

Candace & Tony actually seem like a good match, personality-wise. I think that dance suited them both well, and she actually handled it better than the last two dances we’ve seen from her.

Kinda surprised at Candace’s score. Thought she was a little low-balled. Wonder if this is gonna be one of those nights with lots of over & underscoring…

Wow. James & Cheryl must’ve found some chemistry after all – cause that was hot, both technically & from a showmanship perspective. He really may be a “dark horse” (pun intended ;-) )

Unrelated: isn’t that Oksana’s bf that was standing up by Cheryl’s throne? Jonathan Platero?

Erin, your voice makes me want to punch babies. Please stop with this inane showmance talk.

Drew & Witney were actually really cute – I think having a younger partner brought out the more playful side of Drew.

Hmmmm…beginning to wonder if they’ve decided that Candace is expendable, the way they’re scoring everyone else…

Pretty cool Stars of Dance performance from Derek & Co. Kathryn McCormick is a beast – probably only one of two female contemporary dancers that could have kept up with the ballroom boys…the other being Allison Holker.

Hmmm…Danica & Maks were interacting exactly the way we said they would: Maks saying “just do it” and Danica asking super-detailed questions. It was cute, but it seemed like an awful lot of time-wasting…and WTF was up with the wedge sneakers???

Charlie & Peta were nice to watch – if not a bit incestuous-looking, with their twinnie-looking hair. Thought I saw a lift, though…will Carrie Ann call them out?

Really glad Amy is going back to Derek next week – Mark tried, but I think Derek just knows better how to utilize Amy’s skills. On the upside – her ass looked hot. I’m envious :-)

Kinda left with mixed feelings about Cody & Sharna’s foxtrot – I think she did a good job of choreographing to his strengths, but his frame is still wonky and I feel like he doesn’t get very invested unless he can make the dance very “Cody”. Also, Cody & Sharna aren’t the first Aussies to dance together on DWTS – that would be Ingo & Kym on season 16. :-)

Now that may not have been the most difficult jazz routine, but it was PERFECT for NeNe and I thought going the Afro-jazz route was pretty clever. Was nice to see her let loose completely!

Meryl nailed that. ‘Nuff said. :-)

April 7, 2014 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

PureDWTS Season 18, Week 1 – Power Rankings

So season 18 – the season of “lots of big changes”, and I’m not so sure I’m liking them.  Right off the bat – skeptical about Erin as a cohost.  Seems like she isn’t about playing 2nd banana to Tom – felt like she was just waiting for her turn to talk, and was trying too hard to be clever and funny when asking her questions…which, by the way, were exactly what I worried they would be: pointed, uncomfortable, and at times, salacious.  Not sure if it’s her asking those questions (or somebody up in the booth feeding them to her), but I’m not liking the gossipy, almost tabloid-y direction the show is taking – suddenly, we have to know who’s dating who, and what their significant others think about their partners, and who stole who’s boyfriend in the past, etc.  Seemed especially evident when Erin was needling-er, interviewing Cody & Witney – didn’t really enjoy the tone of that one in particular, as it sounded to me like Erin was throwing some serious shade in Witney’s direction (“Well, I think you’re a distraction!”).  Just SHUT UP, Erin – I had my fill of you channeling Regina George back in season 10.  Remember: those who stir the sh*t pot should have to lick the spoon. ;-)

And then there’s the “rivalries” – ugh.  The three major ones that they seem to be pushing are Meryl vs. Charlie, Cody vs. James, and Candace vs. Danica.  And while Conrad may have referred to them as “healthy rivalries” in his press release – I would hardly call dredging up 20-year-old drama about stolen boyfriends to be “healthy”.  Are we sure the Muppets in the production office haven’t been replaced by high school girls? Because some of this stuff is seriously immature.  But hey, if they’re gonna continue pushing the rivalries – guess I’ll do a weekly scorecard of them, too, since these things seem to be UBER-IMPORTANT on DWTS these days.  But anyhow…shall I get on with the rankings? :-)

1.) Charlie & Sharna – Can’t say I’m too surprised here, as we had heard that Charlie’s routine was “REALLY good!” and we all kind of expected both he & Meryl to easily handle their routines.  Was pleasantly surprised at how well he handled the (pretty short) section of side-by-side contemporary choreography – he seems to really get the “pulse” of contemporary, and knows how to use his limbs properly.  He’s obviously SPECTACULAR doing lifts, and he handled the many ones Sharna threw at him without so much as a bobble…but that’s probably my one big critique of this routine: it was very, VERY lift-heavy.  Seemed like most of the routine was either prepping for a lift or doing the lift, as opposed to doing any separate steps.  Contemporary does NOT mean “do all sorts of lifts!” I would caution Sharna not to get tempted to throw every lift she knows into any routine in which it’s allowed, simply because her partner is quite possibly even a better lifter than Tony.  Beyond that, I really enjoyed it, and I’m excited to see what else this partnership can do. Read more..

March 18, 2014 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 17, Week 10 – Power Rankings Headed Into the Finale

I’m a happy girl for two reasons – most of you can probably guess the first: Bill & Emma made the finale :-) The second? Leah & Tony did NOT make the finale, which I find myself even more thankful for after witnessing yet another night of Leah dancing like she’s made of glass.  Did she do the steps and stay on-time? Sure.  But I wasn’t excited or entertained by her dancing, and the choreography she was given wasn’t exactly hard-hitting or particularly challenging…which is funny, because the way she & Tony were acting, you would think they were dancing at a Nicole Scherzinger level of difficulty.  But alas, the judges finally seemed to call attention to her cautious performances, and ultimately she got sent home.  Darn, guys – I know you are all as disappointed as I am that we won’t get to see J.Lo & Chelsea Handler in the audience again ;-)

As for Maks judging – I’d say he was definitely much better than Cher, but maybe not quite as constructive as Julianne.  Chalk it up to nervousness or whatnot, but he seemed to ramble a bit – then again, at least the rambling was mostly praise and support for the couple he was critiquing.  And much like Julianne & Cher, he tended not to rock the boat a whole lot in terms of scores – there were a couple deviations here and there, but I don’t think they’re going to matter much in the great scheme of things.  I know, Amber & Derek fans, you’re pissed about the “9″ he gave them for their jazz – but really, it’s one point amongst 350 that were given out last night, and her score was near-perfect.  Was it petty of him? Maybe.  But is it going to affect the outcome of the competition? Likely not.  I’m big into being selective about what I get upset about these days ;-)

On the whole, I think we got the best group of finalists we could ask for – we’ve got a high level of skill (Corbin), a high level of entertainment (Amber), a guy who’s really improved (Jack), and a funny guy that just seems to appeal to the masses (Bill).  There’s a little something for everybody, and I feel like all the couples left genuinely like each other and there’s not an ounce of bad blood between any of them, celeb or pro.  I’m calling this the “feel-good finale”, because it’s the first time in a long time (possibly EVER) that I don’t really care who wins – I’d be fine with any of the four walking away with the trophy.  Sure, I’d love to see Bill hoist that trophy, but I know that it’s not likely to happen, and I’m just thankful that he’s gotten this far :-)

1.) Amber & Derek – I’m giving Amber a slight edge over Corbin this week, simply due to cleanliness – both of her routines were near flawlessly executed, with a lot of synchronization in her jazz in particular.  I really enjoyed it, although I knew right off the bat that at least one of the judges (likely Len) was going to bitch about “too much sitting down” – to be fair, the opening section, as cool as it was, was really more of a hip-hop/tutting section than it was jazz, and I think that’s why Len just couldn’t really process it…even if he did think it was as cool and visually stimulating as I found it to be.  But it was a clever way for Derek to keep Amber off those injured knees, so I appreciated it, and once they finished it they did move into some more traditional jazz choreography.  I thought their Viennese waltz was very pretty, if not a tad repetitive – but then again, I’d rather take well-executed & repetitive over the “barely moving, dancing on eggshells” vibe I got from Leah & Tony.  I still think these two will be one of the last two standing with Corbin, but I’m not really sure which direction the odds are going to tip in – I think it could hinge upon the freestyle.

2.) Corbin & Karina – Two potentially perfect routines from these two last night – but the first one seemed to suffer from “excited puppy syndrome” and I think they may have tried to jam-pack a little too much into their tango, as it seemed to get a little hectic & sloppy at times.  Loved the theme and mood – but the execution wasn’t quite there.  Several frame issues, a couple bobbles on some dips and and trick moves – I’m just hoping that they can resist the urge to pack too much into their freestyle, because I could see them having similar problems…and I think it really could come down to the freestyle this season.  Their rumba was much better, and I’m thinking the slower pace allowed Corbin to really focus more on the technique and overall performance, which was beautiful & haunting.  I love Karina’s rumbas :-) As I said before, I still think it’s going to come down to these two and Amber & Derek in the final two, and it may come down to who has the better freestyle – Amber may have the edge there by virtue of having Derek, but I think Corbin may have the edge in that he isn’t injured and can do a bit more than Amber.  Will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

3.) Jack & Cheryl – As I was watching Jack dance last night, I found myself saying “I’m gonna be really, really disappointed if this guy does not make the finale.” And this is coming from someone that has rooted for Bill all season long – after Jack had danced his 2nd dance, I had resigned myself to the fact that I probably was not going to get both Jack & Bill in the finale, and was ready to forego having Bill if it meant Jack could stay, because he really has had a lovely journey this season.  And the best part: Cheryl’s been there with him every step of the way.  I seriously think Jack was what the doctor ordered for Cheryl – seeing her in tears last night after dancing with him showed me that she’s got a newfound investment in the show, but also that she does have feelings…feelings that had been hard to see underneath a perceived indifference I saw from her the past few seasons.  But all that aside – I think Jack had a pretty good night last night.  While his jazz wasn’t my favorite (likely because Jack is just downright MAJESTIC in-hold, and this was predominantly open work), he still looked really invested in it, and I did enjoy some of the lifts.  His Argentine tango was the dance of the night for me – once again, Jack comes alive in-hold, and really seems to lead Cheryl; and those lifts were both creative and well-executed.  Even his footwork was looking sharp and on-point…and I loved every moment of it :-) I think Corbin & Amber probably have 1st and 2nd place on lock this time, but I’m hoping that Jack really gets the chance to wow us with a freestyle to pull out 3rd place. 

4.) Bill & Emma – What can I say about Bill & Emma that I haven’t already been saying all season? He just makes me smile when he dances :-) It’s not about technique or rhythm when I watch him dance – it’s all about how invested in the dance he is, despite any difficulties he’s having with the technical aspects of the dance.  Was his cha-cha off-time? Sure.  But it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of it.  I actually thought his Argentine tango was kinda impressive, though – he had some nice leg lines and handled the lifts and the character of the dance well, and I have to commend Emma for some Derek-esque cleverness in choreographing a good portion of the dance around a chair, since Bill was fighting with a groin injury. I’m both shocked and thankful that they made the finale (even though I know the Rioters are a force to be reckoned with ;-)), and I’m actually really looking forward to what Emma pulls out for a freestyle.  I think I read somewhere on Twitter last night that this is the first time since Lacey in season 7 that a first-time pro has made the finale – cool to see some new blood showing off their freestyle skills.  I doubt Bill & Emma can hope for much more than 4th place, but at least we get to see them dance one last time and they get to say they’re finalists :-)

So what did you guys think of last night’s show? Did the right people make it into the finale?

November 19, 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!

PureDWTS Season 17, Week 8 – Power Rankings

Did anyone else feel like the dances were a bit…I don’t know, MECHANICAL last night? Almost every dance I saw felt a bit wooden and robotic…like you could practically see the couples counting out the steps as they danced.  Once again, I’m going to chalk it up to all the couples feeling stressed and burnt out, which is unfortunate because I feel like several of them are forgetting that this is supposed to be fun.  Also mechanical? Cher as a judge, as more often than not she seemed like she was out to lunch and just threw in a generic comment and threw up the “9″ paddle when prompted (unless, of course, your name is Bill, in which case she managed to locate her “8″ paddle…convenient.) Say what you will about Julianne as a judge – but at least she was coherent in her critiques, and I understood why she gave the scores she did.  Cher? Not so much. 

Once again, we have a “shocking” elimination that isn’t all that shocking when you really think about it – I’m guessing that Brant’s fanbase, which seemed to be sustaining him sufficiently well since his bottom 2 scare early in the season, just finally gave out this week…with several people left who are likely pulling in a lot of votes, I think anyone with a “young” fanbase is probably in some degree of jeopardy, by comparison.  I guess all I can hope for at this point is that someone like Bill can somehow edge out an older fanbase like Leah’s…because that woman has GOT to go. 

1/2.) TIE: Corbin & Karina and Amber & Derek – Another not-quite-100% night for both couples, and due to the immunity challenge, there’s some trade-offs that seem to level the playing field between these two.  Corbin & Karina’s Argentine tango, while pretty good technically, just left me wanting a bit more emotionally – not sure if it was the strange song or the fact that these two were pressed for rehearsal time this week, but it just felt really cold and obligatory to me. Corbin seemed to be laser-focused on remembering his steps, and seemed to lose a bit of entertainment value as a result. Amber & Derek also had a strange song to contend with, and while I think they actually handled it well, the choreography just felt a little odd to me – like “rumba by numbers”, if you will, with a few sequences of Amber strutting around in a sassy fashion to fill it out.  Did the music necessitate it? Maybe.  But like Corbin’s Argentine tango, it just kinda left me wanting more, and it wasn’t Amber’s best dance.  Now here’s the kicker: while Amber may have gotten the immunity, Corbin actually got the 3 extra points that came with winning his dance-off against Liz.  Amber is still the cumulative points leader for the season – but with Corbin a mere 3 points behind her, one off-dance could shift the balance of power: say Corbin gets his first perfect 30 next week and Amber falters a bit a gets a 26.  That could mean the difference between picking first and picking second in the next challenge.  And as we’ve seen – that can mean the difference between getting a good song vs. a sh*tty song, or a good team vs. a sh*tty team.  It all adds up, kids… Read more..

November 5, 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!

PureDWTS Season 17, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Kind of a strange, low-energy night for me – I feel like everyone, across the board, had kind of a so-so night, and I think it’s due in part to the fact that two dances a week are really starting to wear on some of the couples.  I think I notice it more this season than any other season – some are dealing with injuries, some are dealing with strained partnerships, some are dealing with illnesses, and everyone seems to be feeling the pressure.

I think most of us can agree that it was not Nicole’s time to go home – however, I’m appalled at some of the sources of blame I’m seeing from those who are upset about it, and I place a lot of blame on the shoulders of TPTB for some really sh*tty scoring decisions.  Nicole got a very kind score for her samba – while it wasn’t bad, I certainly don’t think it was 27-worthy, as she seemed to struggle with timing and there was very little hip action.  So you can’t blame scores for her exit…although the judges likely screwed her over by overscoring just about everyone except Bill – it only served to make the margins smaller, which meant that someone below her needed even fewer votes to surpass her.  And this was ON TOP of the big points dump from last week, so the margins were itty bitty.  And sorry, but those of you upset about her going home – you were actually voting for her, right? Cause I’m finding that the biggest complainers about Nicole’s exit were people that didn’t bother to throw a single vote her way all season.  If you didn’t vote, you don’t get to bitch & moan, and you are part of the problem.  Snookole needed VOTES…and she didn’t get them.  Kinda how this show works…this isn’t really a revelation, kids.

And fair warning: I’m going to be prone to bouts of rantining this week, after some of the wanton idiocy and deductive reasoning leaps I witnessed after last night’s elimination.  I’m allergic to stupid, y’know ;-)

1/2.) TIE: Corbin & Karina and Amber & Derek – Just kind of an odd night from both of these couples – I don’t feel like either one was operating at peak performance levels.  I think Corbin & Karina coped as well as they could with a rather odd cha-cha song – seemed like there was a lot of what Len would call “frippery”, though…lotta side-by-side hip-hop sections, but I kinda blame the rhythm changes in the song for that.  Someone on Twitter remarked that Karina seemed stressed – and yes, I have to agree, and wonder if the constant pressure to make their routines better and better is beginning to wear on she & Corbin’s partnership.  Then there was Amber & Derek, who both had injuries to contend with – while I think they handled their paso doble well, I think Derek did kinda take the safe route on it; seemed like it wasn’t as daring or impactful as some of the other paso dobles we’ve seen from him.  Pleasant to watch, yes; super-innovative and exciting? Not really.  Let’s hope they can get back into good physical form so they can tackle more daring stuff.  Read more..

October 29, 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!

PureDWTS Season 17, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Tonight’s episode of Sesame Street was brought to you by the words “bullsh*t” and “inconsistency”.  :-) By the time they lined the couples up for elimination with a mere 5 minutes remaining in the show, my blood was boiling – Len was an absolute terror tonight, the other two stooges were more or less his accomplices when it came to completely contradicting things that they have said in previous weeks (or even earlier in the evening).  Seems kinda obvious that they’ve been told they need to shield certain couples from excessive criticism, while piling it on others like it’s going out of style.  Len in particular has lost all credibility for me this season – he’s not the “strictly ballroom” judge he once was; now he seems to have a personal agenda, and that dictates his scores & critiques far more than any actual ballroom knowledge.  Can we ship him back overseas next week and bring in a guest judge? Pretty please? :-)

As I had kinda guessed, the switch-up dance challenge was a complete turd of an idea – and I think it was quite possibly the most ridiculous-looking thing we’ve seen them make these poor celebs do in 17 seasons.  My best guess is that, immediately following the aftermath of last week’s production Muppet voting snafu, they knew they were gonna  have to forego this week’s elimination, but needed something trivial to fill time…enter this nonsense.  God I hope this one gets permanently scrapped, cause I felt seriously embarassed for some of the couples out there…except for Bill & Emma, who seemed hip to the fact that this challenge was complete bullsh*t and just decided to have fun with it :-) Thrilled that nobody got eliminated – I was seriously scared for Bill by the end of the show.  But likely thanks to the Muppets, we get him for another week :-D

1.) Amber & Derek – I’m convinced now that there is nothing Derek can do this season to please Len – “there’s not enough content”.  “There’s too much content & it’s repetitive.” The guy is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t – and he seems to be the only one that Len picks apart for these reasons, and the only one that gets legitimately punished as opposed to just getting a warning (looking at YOU, Tony).  And the worst part: Amber just seems to be collateral damage to Len.  I actually thought this routine was a good example of samba – had a lot of textbook steps, it traveled around the room, and Derek took out a lot of the “frippery” that Len has been complaining about this season…and Amber handled it well! But Len has the nerve to whine about it being “repetitive”.  Ok Len, I’ll take the bait: maybe it was repetitive because THERE’S A FUCKING SYLLABUS OF STEPS THAT YOU CONSTANTLY HARP ON, and samba in particular is rather limited in the sequence of steps you can use to get around the room.  And dammit, every single routine is going to be repetitive to some degree – if you want a dance to look like it should, you’ve gotta use a lot of basic, characeristic steps.  Bill & Emma’s tango? Yep, repetition.  Brant & Peta’s tango? Repetitive.  Jack & Cheryl’s paso? Repetitive.  Nicole & Sasha’s foxtrot? Repetitive, repetitive, repetitive. And yet none of those other couples got scolded for it…hmmmm.  I guess my only explanation is that Amber is getting the votes she needs to stick around, so TPTB don’t feel the need to “shield” her from elimination like they do other couples – and maybe, to give the impression of this being a close race, Len feels the need to knock this couple down a few notches.

2.) Elizabeth & Val – Lizzy, Lizzy, Lizzy…I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually starting to feel a bit sorry for her.  This woman just seems like she’s DESPERATE to do well, and might emotionally shatter at any given moment.  By extension, I think I might actually be feeling a bit bad for Val, too, just because I’m not sure that he really knows how to handle it when Liz has a meltdown like she did during her rehearsal footage.  But anyway – I thought her cha-cha was actually pretty good, but I don’t think it was 30-worthy – as I said to someone on Twitter, I MIGHT have given it one “10″ as a courtesy, and then maybe two 9′s.  I will commend Val on the fact that he must really drill proper turn technique into his partners, because Elizabeth, like Zendaya & Kelly, seems to know how to properly spot her turns, and the result is pretty nice to look at.  Can’t say I was wild about Liz’ solo at the beginning, but I guess I understand why Val put it there – it utilizes her ballet & jazz training.  My only other complaint: like a lot of other routines we’ve seen from Val, it just seemed a little bit “stop-and-go”, which interrupted the overall flow of it.  But overall, I enjoyed it, and Liz seemed to handle it well.  The fact that it was given a perfect score, however, makes me wonder if the judges are attempting to shield Lizzy from a Christina Milian-esque ouster – and I wonder if they’ve decided that she MUST be in the finale.  I get that they want to have a strong finale of good dancers, but I think anymore, it’s not just about the dancing anymore…you’ve gotta connect with the audience and really entertain them, and that’s one area where I think Liz & Val could take a page out of Bill & Emma’s book. Liz & Val seem to be more inwardly-focused and taking the competition more seriously; I think Bill & Emma, while still wanting to do well, seem more focused on putting on a good show and really making things enjoyable for viewers.  If Liz could do both, I could see her being more of a contender. Read more..

October 22, 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!