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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!

PureDWTS Season 17, Week 5 – Power Rankings

I’m currently resisting the urge to go poke obnoxious Christina fans on Instagram with a stick, because so many of them were swearing up and down that she was “the most popular person on this season”, and that anyone trying to say she came across snotty was “just jealous”, and that we all should “just wait – she’s gonna win the whole thing!” *snicker* Hate to say I told you so, kids, but – I told you so.  She was not connecting with viewers, and I think it was a direct result of what many of us perceived as a “I’m too good to be here” kind of attitude – and as a result, she was not getting very many votes AT ALL, to the point where she got painfully overscored and STILL couldn’t manage to stick around.  I highly recommend rereading Heidi’s numbers post from last week, as it paints a rather prophetic picture of what might have happened to send Christina home. 

It’s nights like last night that make me wonder if TPTB do skim Pure from time to time to keep their finger on the pulse of the viewers – because the whole “previous dance experience” bit and the nonsense about lift policing seem like they were plucked directly out of discussions here.  What’s next, guys? Humorous screen grabs? :-P

1/2.) TIE: Corbin & Karina and Amber & Derek – Last night was a bit of an odd night for the two frontrunners – both still had strong routines, but seemed to get picked apart by the judges a bit more.  Corbin & Karina’s foxtrot was a  bit odd for me – the music didn’t seem very foxtrot-ish, and I have to wonder if another style (maybe Viennese waltz) would have suited it better; consequently, I feel like both Corbin & Karina were struggling to make their dance actually fit the music, and while they didn’t overtly lose time, it felt like they may have been on the brink of it at a few times – heck, I even had a hard time keeping a steady foxtrot beat in this one.  Not my favorite dance they’ve done, but I think the whole “lift police” bit was just inane – but I LOVE that Tom actually kinda tried to hold her accountable for it by offering up a “playback” and the option to change her score…of course it didn’t end up working, but I kind of enjoy the fact that Carrie Ann actually had to own her capricious, petty lift-policing this time.  Perhaps she’ll be a bit more cautious about it in the future? ;-) As for Amber & Derek – I enjoyed the routine, except for the bit at the end with the mic, which I think would have played a lot better if it was actually Amber singing instead of just lip-syncing.  Len’s complaint about not enough “in-hold” moves? Really, Len, foxtrot on DWTS has really become more Broadway than foxtrot, and each season we see less and less work in-hold; I don’t think there was any less in-hold work in Amber & Derek’s foxtrot than there was in Nicole & Derek’s foxtrot in season 10, which got RAVE reviews.  But Len usually has to pull out a “7” paddle for Derek at least once a season, and it’s usually when Carrie Ann & Bruno are pulling out 9’s and 10’s…so I guess we got that out of the way early, eh? :-P

3.) Nicole & Sasha – This actually ended up being one of my favorite routines of the night – just  pure fun and pure “Snooki” :-) I just love the way these two work together – and while they may not be the best or most impressive couple on the floor, everything they do entertains me, and has a good energy to it.  Love that they have a bit of a “signature move” now – Nicole sticking her leg out and Sasha jumping over it.  I just think it’s a cute analogy to their partnership: Nicole’s always doing stuff to mess with Sasha, and he just laughs it off and keeps going. I don’t think they could have picked a better partner for Sasha – she meshes well with him, she’s tiny, and she can do some of the gymnastic-y stuff we know he loves :-) I’m hoping they’re getting the votes to stick around – because I think they’ve got the right attitude about this season.  They’re just working hard and having fun – they aren’t tunnel-visioning towards the MBT or trying too hard. 

4.) Bill & Emma – Not the best routine we’ve seen from Bill, but a very sweet, honest routine nonetheless :-) He seemed to have a few timing issues with the Viennese waltz, which I kind of expected, but he seemed to handle it well enough; I think he may have messed up a few steps, but god bless Emma, she was able to move with it and minimize the effect.  Overall, I think the routine was a sweet tribute to his wifey, and it brought back memories of Andy’s Viennese waltz for his daughter last season – both routines that weren’t technically perfect, but were just lovely for their message :-) I do think Bill is gaining some momentum in terms of votes, and has the potential to overtake some of the better (but less popular) dancers if he can continue to improve and entertain us (and not be a douchebag :-P).  Do I think he make the finale? Probably not.  But I still think he’s got at least a week or two left in him…which I’m totally fine with :-)

5.) Jack & Cheryl – I think Jack may be the most underappreciated dancer this season right now – if you really watch him as he dances, you’ll see that he actually GETS the concepts of rise & fall, and actually has a great frame. Cheryl also seems to have instilled in him the ability to really “be there” for his partner, as he seems like he’s never in danger of dropping her or mowing her over.  And man, this routine was just gorgeous to watch – both in terms of technique and feeling.  He certainly didn’t take the easy route with his song, either – the tempo changed quite a bit, so I find it really impressive that he managed to stay on-time. My only complaint? I feel like he’s getting shoved in crummy running order positions, and just seems to be getting lost in the shuffle – last night he was stuck between a ridiculously overscored routine (Christina) and a really, really bad one (Leah).  He’s neither at the top of the pack, nor the bottom; he’s just a pretty good dancer that is slowly improving. I don’t think he’s in danger of getting sent home – yet – but I just feel like I’m not hearing as much “buzz” about him as I am some of the other couples.  Hope he’s not getting forgotten!  

6.) Brant & Peta – It was the better contemporary routine of the night – but unfortunately, that was a pretty easy feat, considering how truly BAD Leah’s contemporary was :-( Generally, though, I thought Brant’s contemporary was pretty good – he handled what he was given well, and he did inject a good deal of emotion and conviction into his moves.  Thought it was a little lift-heavy, and a bit too flaily; but anymore, I’m just kind of “whatever” about contemporary routines on this show, since most of these pros don’t have the contemporary experience necessary to choreograph something great – they’re just flying by the seat of their pants, probably watching YouTube videos for inspiration, and trying to throw something together that their partner can handle while still somewhat-resembling a contemporary routine you might see on SYTYCD.  He seems to be back in favor with the judges, so barring any huge snafus next week, I think he ought to be ok.  He seems like a good kid – I’d definitely rather see him stick around than Leah or even Elizabeth.  Let’s just hope Peta resists the urge to “sex up” any more of his routines…

7.) Elizabeth & Val – After all the hype we saw for this jive throughout the show, I was thinking “This better be the best damn jive this show has ever seen!” Aaaaand…it wasn’t.  Sorry, but the whole SBTB, caffeine pill-throwback skit at the beginning just felt awkward and desperate, and like a waste of time – and I think Liz & Val may have mixed up their 90’s teen sitcoms, because I don’t recall Zack Morris ever climbing through Jessie’s bedroom window (that was a move credited to Sam from Clarissa Explains it All – duh ;-)). It only go worse from there – Liz’s little solo bit at the beginning felt like she got a little too excited and desperate, as she fell out of her pirouttes…and with her dance background, that’s one move I would expect her to EASILY nail.  The actual jive portion started out promising – she stayed on time, her flicks and kicks looked good, and I actually have to commend her on handling the simple spins (which are anything BUT simple) well; but after that, I think she lost some steam, as she seemed to struggle with picking her legs up quite as high and started looking a little winded.  Consequently, it looked like she may have lost time at a few points.  Overall, I admire her effort – but if she wants a hope and a prayer of making it to the finals, she is going to have to step up her game…because I think both Corbin & Amber danced circles around her last night.  The whole “in jeopardy” thing happening AGAIN also doesn’t seem to bode well for her…

8.) Leah & Tony – Ummm, wow.  I think we have our first nominee for “worst dance of season 17″ – because this was a real turd, folks.  I do not care that Tony “has never choreographed contemporary before” (not entirely true); I do not care that Leah is “not a dancer” (heard you the first 10 times, dear); I do not care about how well you did or didn’t “tell a story” (you took too long doing it, anyway) – this routine was just crap.  The cheesy bit with the marionette at the beginning was just that – cheesy – and it took too long to get going; the lifts didn’t feel so much like a part of the dance, as they did just moves that were arbitrarily thrown in “because contemporary!” – oh, and Leah looked heavy going up into them, and it seemed like she was stopping every other beat and just waiting to be lifted.  The ‘tude they were throwing the judges’ way when being called out on all of these things was just the icing on the cow pie for me – everything about this routine and Leah & Tony themselves just left kind of a bad taste in my mouth last night.  And I daresay Leah got a bit of a wake-up call standing up there with Christina last night – I hope she realizes that the sense of entitlement we’ve seen from her is not going to guarantee her safety (if anything, it might guarantee her elimination – she should go ask Christina), and I hope Tony realizes that he has got to kick his choreo up a notch…because they have an uphill battle to stick around next week, and I’m not sure it’s one that they’re going to easily win.

So how do you guys feel about last night’s elimination? And who do you think is on the chopping block this coming week?

October 15, 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 4 – Power Rankings

 Overall, I think I enjoyed last night – liked that there wasn’t a particular theme, and everyone got a different dance, so as to avoid being compared against another couple.  Wasn’t particularly wild about the Ray Leeper-choreographed opening number – to quote Mama Spence, “That was a whole lot of nothing!” and goes to show that choreography created for ballroom dancers by non-ballroom dancers doesn’t always work well. 

I think Julianne actually ended up being a pretty fair judge – granted, I think it was decided before the show started that she was simply going to echo the same score that Carrie Ann & Bruno called out, but I still feel like she gave constructive criticism and didn’t put anyone down…which Len has a tendency to do on the regular.  Not gonna lie – I’m kinda glad it was Julianne judging instead of Len during the week that Bill & Emma did their samba ;-)

As lovely and inspirational as Valerie was, I do feel like it was her time to go – she seemed to be really struggling these past few weeks, and the poor woman is probably getting really tired.  But I’m SO glad we got to see her this season, and her foxtrot from week one is probably going to remain one of my favorites :-) And god love Tristan – there’s a pro that gives a whole new meaning to “being there” for your partner.  I don’t think there are too many male pros on this show that could handle both the physical and emotional strain that having a partner with terminal cancer can bring – and he handled it with such poise. 

 1.) Corbin & Karina – For all the ado about him dancing shirtless before last night’s show, he really wasn’t shirtless for long – and it actually did fit the routine, IMO.  After he and Karina stalked around each other and let the tension build, the shirt coming off was kind of a gesutre of “Ok, now I’m throwing my hat in the ring.  It’s ON!” and it worked with mood.  Anti-shirtless brigade, take note: this is an example of the correct way to go shirtless. :-) Really and truly, I thought this paso was fantastic – Corbin never missed a beat, he was invested in it, and contrary to what the judges said, I didn’t think “his hip-hop moves were creeping in”; I actually thought he was creatively styling some of his arm & hand gestures, which I’ll take any day over limp, apathetic, purposeless moves.  Anyone else think the judges were intentionally being REEEEEALLLLY nitpicky about this one? I’d say this worthy of at least one “10” – it was that good, kids.  And I know there’s been some talk from some here about “Ehhh, I kinda don’t like Corbin & Karina, they’re desperate, they’re trying too hard, etc. etc. etc.” I’ll just say this: if this routine was the result of their “desperation” and “trying too hard” – then more power to them. :-) Read more..

October 8, 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 3 – Power Rankings

Well apparently I missed the memo that Hollywood night was really “Gatsby Night”, as last night’s show seemed to borrow pretty heavily from the new movie…if Baz Luhrmann was going to be a guest judge this season, last night would have been a good night for him to do it! Overall, almost everyone did well and got a rather generous score from the judges – but the unfortunate downside to that is that we may have seen our first glimpse of the puppet strings from the men upstairs, as there was some suspicious overscoring going on that may or may not have contributed to Bill Nye’s exit.  Granted, I think it was his time to go, due both to his injury and the fact that he wasn’t really progressing at the same rate as his fellow contestants.  But Heidi’s numbers post should be exceptionally interesting this week…

…and once again, my rankings are about as clear as mud :-P I’m seriously having a hard time determining who is the most likely to get sent packing – I’m getting some “struggling with votes” vibes from a few of the couples, but nothing that screams “This person is going home next week!”; I’ve also got the added complication of anticipating the modus operandi of TPTB, who now have the power to influence the outcome since they know exactly how many points each couple needs to stick around.  A rather scary pall cast over an otherwise lovely season to watch, no? For that reason, I could see anyone in my bottom 5 potentially getting sent home – depending on how things go down next week.

1.) Corbin & Karina – I think Corbin had, by far, the highest level of difficulty in terms of choreography in his routine last night – and for what it’s worth, he actually handled it pretty well.  There seemed to be a few issues with wobbly frame, and I saw a couple “deer in the headlights” looks, but he kept up with the footwork decently well and delivered a great quickstep, reminiscent of the quickstep Karina did with Apolo a year ago.  But, like the quickstep she did with Apolo, this one didn’t seem to get the love it deserved – or rather, the love it did get was overshadowed by some suspicious overscoring of another couple.  It also confirmed a fear of mine that has been brewing since week one: that Corbin seems to thrive more in the Latin dances, and loses a bit of his sparkle in the ballroom dances.  He’s got a lot of room to improve, but last night was the first time I’ve seen him be less than confident on the floor – hopefully he can hit a groove with the next ballroom dance he gets.

2.) Amber & Derek – Judging from some of the comments I’m seeing on the show discussion post, seems like there’s a debate raging over who had more “Charleston content” in their routines last night – Amber or Christina.  To be honest, I don’t think either was bona fide Charleston – first off, there aren’t that many Charleston steps that exist; secondly, Amber’s music dictated that she do something more than just Charleston, and Christina had Mark’s tendency toward the theatric to contend with.  I would say Amber had more Charleston basics, but the overall mood, steps, and theme of Christina’s routine fit the Charleston better.  And at the end of the day, I’ll be honest: I didn’t particularly care for either one.  Amber unfortunately got saddled with a song that was really more hip-hop than Charleston, and with a ridiculously long intro that didn’t allow for much dancing – and the dancing she did do was just ok for me.  She seemed to hit a bit of a wall with the foot action of the Charleston (which isn’t easy – they ended up using a dance double for Tobey Maguire for a few scenes in Gatsby), but I will give her this: ever the showman, she sold the performance well…even if she wasn’t really nailing the steps.  Anyone else find it totally trippy that Len was the one that seemed to gush about this routine – and it was Bruno & Carrie Ann complaining about the content? :-P Read more..

October 1, 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 1 – Power Rankings

For the first time in several seasons, I find myself very pleasantly surprised by how good everyone looks on night 1 – and how much I like all of the couples (with the exception of one – and I blame that more on the celeb than the pro).  The judges are apparently still on crack (surprise, surprise) and have completely lost touch with the concept of a “middle ground” and seem to be scoring everyone absurdly high or absurdly low; and is anyone else kind of thrown by the judges’ table being on the OTHER side of the dance floor??? Just feels…wrong to me. Like trying to use a pair of left-handed scisscors.  :-P On with the rankings!

1.) Amber & Derek – I think Amber may be second only to Valerie in terms of likeability this season – she’s funny, enthusiastic, not afraid to poke fun at herself, and is proud of her “big booty” :-) She also has quite a bit of stage presence – she struck me as being the most comfortable out on the dancefloor last night, and seemed to really go for all the steps without any sort of timidness or hesitation.  Best cha-cha of the night? Sure.  But 27-worthy, in week 1? Eeeeek.  Seems like the judges were on a honeymoon last night (at least until Bill Nye danced) and I think they may have screwed themselves (and possibly Amber & Derek) when they whipped out those 9 paddles – now they’ve left themselves without much wiggle room to increase scores as the season progresses…and I’m afraid it may have set some unrealistic expectations for Amber & Derek in the weeks to come.  But for now, I think Amber is really safe, given her score and the legions of “Gleeks” that claim to be voting in the thousands. 

2.) Valerie & Tristan – I’m not sure there’s been another contestant in the history of the show that seems so deeply thankful and happy to be dancing :-) If you would have told me that the woman I saw foxtrotting with Tristan last night was suffering from terminal brain cancer, I wouldn’t have believed you – Valerie seemed to move with such ease and joy, she was actually better than some of her younger, more able-bodied competitors! I saw a few small issues with balance on turns, but it’s fortunately something that can be corrected with the right tutelage from Tristan.  I think we’re going to see Valerie stick around for awhile this season – not only because her story is so inspiring and brings hope to others suffering through cancer, but because she’s actually quite good…and I think she’ll only get better.  As Mama Spence said “I bet doing DWTS has added months to her life – people with something to live for tend to live longer!” :-)
Read more..

September 17, 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!