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DWTS Season 15, Week 1 – The Cheesecake Awards!!!!

Well kids, we’re back & snarky/juvenile/perverse/etc!  :-P And for those of you not accustomed to our particular brand of humor – consider yourself warned.  We swear, we get innuendo-y, we make fart jokes, and we call people out for being stupid on the show.  If you are hypersensitive/lack a sense of humor/are a prude/whatever, you probably should just skip this post altogether…and you sure as hell better not comment on it.  Because any Debbie Downers/Bobby Buzzkills lurking in the comments section will be deleted without a 2nd thought.  Consider this the party post – party poopers need not apply, because we have plenty of fellow freaks who love to party along with our special brand of humor.  Party on, Wayne ;-)

The “C U Next Tuesday” Award: Carrie Ann Inaba, for repeatedly calling out Tom for cutting her off

Courtney: We learned pretty quickly on Monday whether we’d get cool Carrie Ann or bitter, angry Carrie Ann this season – and I think she made it pretty clear it’s definitely the latter.  Look, CAI, I get it: your fairytale engagement didn’t result in a fairytale wedding, and you’re probably not too happy about that.  But did you really have to repeatedly heckle EMMY AWARD-WINNING HOST Tom Bergeron for cutting your commentary on Joey & Kym’s cha-cha off early? It was pretty obvious the show was moving at breakneck speed in order to fit everyone in, and I daresay that, being the EMMY AWARD -WINNING HOST of a LIVE reality tv show, Tom Bergeron knows a thing or two about effectively fitting into a time frame while still being entertaining – plus he probably had the Muppets upstairs screaming in his earpiece to move things along.  I highly doubt whatever long-winded critique you were going to offer up was all that insightful, CAI – it seldom is.  Yet your excessive self-importance forced you to interrupt things not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES to remind everyone that Tom cut you off – who’s the asshat now?

Heidi: My brother texted me during the show to call CAI names….then commented that her tampon is in sideways. :-)  Yes, that is my family…we tend toward gross at times. But also very apropos.  But seriously, don’t heckle The Berg, biotch. It’s not all about you. Hard to believe, I know.

Courtney: Looks like someone had a bad case of Emmy Envy.  :-P

The “Deeerrrrp” Award: Chelsie Hightower, for getting confused over the native languages of Brazil & South America; (dis)honorable mention – Val Chmerkovskiy, for not really knowing what Kelly did for a living

Courtney: “Wait…they speak Spanish in South America???” I’d like to think this was taken out of context, but from the puzzled look on Chelsie’s face…I doubt it was.  And by the earnest expression on Val’s face as he asked “Oh, you work in a hospital?”, I’m gonna venture a guess that “catching up on the soaps” is not on Val’s list of hobbies :-P

Heidi: Both were hilarious…but I was yelling at my TV, saying “Chelsie, STOP talking, yer makin’ it worse”, while laughing at her.  Val I thought was just endearing…and for Kelly, humbling. :-D

Couple’s Schtick That is Most Likely To Get Old VERY Quickly: Sabrina & Louis reminding everyone that Sabrina was voted in and this season is “all about redemption”; (dis)honorable mention for Derek’s short jokes and Kelly & Val’s pattycaking

Courtney: I just think the short jokes are corny :-P And I guess I would just rather see Kelly & Val doing something other than pattycaking…something more…intimate.  ;-) Maybe if they were playing pattycake with their face.  LOL :-P But the Sabrina & Louis “the viewers chose us to be here!” and “this is all about redemption because Sabrina left too early” poppycock is just beyond annoying at this point.  If that’s their big reason why people should vote for them – then they must not be that special, because every week that any of the couples is sticking around, is a week they are being “chosen” by the viewers, since they’re obviously getting votes.  And you want to talk about “redemption”? Gilles was narrowly beat out for the MBT by a mere 1%.  Joey & Kirstie are both 2nd place finishers; Bristol finished 3rd in her season, and was pretty unpopular.  Drew, Kelly, & Emmitt are all trying to prove that the earlier champions are every bit as good as the newer ones. I daresay any of the names I just mentioned have a greater hunger for “redemption” than a 7th place finisher who just couldn’t get the votes to stick around in season 5…and has been reminding us about it ever since.

Heidi: Eh, I don’t mind the short jokes and Derek usually recognizes the shelf life of  joke in general. (I have to say, though, that the harassment he got from one Shawn fan freak on Twitter was OTT – yo, Derek ain’t the one that looks bad here, nutjob!) Also didn’t mind the patty caking – was rather amazed by that, actually. Not sure I could do that without a shit ton of beer to relax me.  :-) But the Sabrina crap is in a whole other league from those other two because we’ve been hearing for YEARS about her (not) shocking elimination. Talk about drinking game potential. Get the fuck over it already! I’m about ready to stick a pen in my eye.  Guess what kids – you were voted in over Carson and Kyle, NOT the rest of the cast. You better hope like hell that Team Sabrina is a lot bigger than I suspect it is. Read more..

September 29, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS Season 15, Week 1 – Power Rankings

Eeee gad, I had forgotten how long it takes to offer up commentary on 13 couples as opposed to 11 or even 12 :-P Anywho! Hope you guys are still up to chat about the show (and the site has not crashed…again), because we’ve got a lot to talk about. Overall, I’m left with one big concern after watching tonight’s show: is the high level of competition pushing everyone just a bit too hard to stand out? Because there seemed to be an awful lot of over-dancing going on tonight, and the pros seemed to stuff as much choreography as they could into their routines.  The cha-cha’s seemed to fare much better with the judges than the foxtrots, but I actually think the foxtrots were more technically sound on the whole.  *shrug* Such is life with this show, where, to quote Kanye, sh*t is often pretty “cray”.  8-O Let’s get right into it, shall we?

1.) Emmitt & Cheryl – Is anyone else having flashbacks to last season, when William & Cheryl could do absolutely no wrong in the judges eyes, no matter how badly they danced? 8-O Don’t get me wrong, I love Emmitt – probably one of the most lovable contestants ever to do the show, along with Warren Sapp & Donald Driver.  But REALLY, Len??? Best dance of the night?! I’m calling bullsh*t, because while Emmitt was very fun to watch and definitely got into the groove of it and didn’t miss any steps or get off-time, I daresay many other contestants had far more content and a higher level of difficulty…and they, too, were fun to watch.  And yet again, I saw Cheryl doing an awful lot moving around a stationary Emmitt – not as bad as a regular season, but still there.  *sigh* I thought it was odd that they got the pimp spot, and now after the gushing & overscoring (one of a few incidents of suspicious scoring tonight), my only theory is that they might want to keep Emmitt around in order to stand a hope & a prayer of competing with Monday Night Football, which consistently tops the ratings.  I highly doubt they’ll succeed, but they will likely die trying – and we’ll probably lose some stronger dancers as a result :-( I like Emmitt, and I liked this dance – but I already smell a rat.

2.) Gilles & Peta – A very well-danced, well-choreographed foxtrot – definitely the best of the night, and very pretty to watch. But was it REALLY a full 2 points better than the next highest-scoring foxtrot? Or either of the other foxtrots done by male contestants? I really don’t think so – I think Gilles may have benefitted from a more classic song and just a generally more calm demeanor, but I don’t really think he was leaps and bounds better than Shawn or even Drew’s foxtrots, and and I actually think Shawn’s had a far higher level of difficulty.  I’m also just feeling kinda lukewarm about Gilles at this point – some of the laid-back charm that made him so appealing in season 8 seems to have been replaced with this brooding intensity and extreme desire to win…which is actually off-putting.  No doubt Gilles is a great dancer and a great showman – but as of right now, I’m on the fence about whether or not he’s the full package of skill, charm, and entertainment worth of the MBT this time around.  However, I do think he may have a bit of a leg up in that he’s part of the ABC family – and thus the TPTB likely have a vested interest in keeping him around for awhile and drumming up publicity for his new project.  I anticipate we’ll see him around for awhile – even if his dancing isn’t quite up-to-snuff and he doesn’t loosen up.

3.) Apolo & Karina – I actually think these two came the closest to being the “full package” tonight – they were fun to watch, had great chemistry, and a good amount of skill in their routine.  And I do think Apolo has the right attitude about this season: he wants to work hard and do well, but he’s there to have fun, too.  Yes, there were a few stumbles – mainly due to “overdancing”, which is a problem just about everyone (with the exception of Pam, Bristol, & maybe Kirstie) had tonight.  Folks, when you push too hard and throw too much stuff into a routine to try and get noticed, it likely will backfire - and it seemed like with the costumes, lights, pulsating music and over-the-top dancing, there was just a tad too much going on in their cha-cha tonight.  I think they may have fared better with a little more subtlely to their choreography – but there really isn’t anything subtle about LMFAO or “Party Rock Anthem”, so I can’t really blame them for going that route.  I actually think Apolo’s Latin technique has improved since his original season, and he’s good and knowing where to place his weight in order to create Latin hip action.  Still a bit stiff in the hips, but I’m counting on Karina to help loosen them up this season – just like I’m counting on Apolo’s Olympic fanbase to carry him through to the finale.  I still think Apolo’s gonna walk away with the MBT this season, when all’s said & done…

4.) Shawn & Derek – One thing’s for sure: Shawn is definitely NOT the timid, well-mannered girl next door I remember from season 8! I actually found myself far more impressed by her dancing this time around – she seemed to let go of the constant desire for perfection in her movement that I seemed to see in season 8, and actually managed to let loose and really work on her performance quality a lot more.  This dance was punchy, energetic, and Shawn didn’t miss a bit – which is impressive, considering how much content this foxtrot had…almost too much content.  I’ve gotta say – I think of all the foxtrots tonight, Shawn & Derek were the most screwed right off the bat just because of their song.  It was this season’s “Easy Lover” – a song with a foxtrot rhythm so buried underneath a heavy drumline, vocals, and melody, that it forces the dancers to move at hyperspeed just to look like they’re actually keeping up.  Can you really blame them for having so much movement in their routine when the song is here, there, and everywhere – all at once? None of the other foxtrots tonight had songs that were nearly as difficult – which leads me to wonder if they were trying to either a) handicap Shawn a bit due to her Olympic fanbase, b) challenge Derek to create another incarnation of his 50′s paso doble/Psycho tango/”Material Girl” rumba, or c) all of the above.  Regardless of their motives as far as Shawn & Derek are concerned, I still think we’ll see these two in the finale – as long as wacky decisions like this made by TPTB don’t somehow ruin them :-(

5.) Kirstie & Maks – I was pretty unimpressed by this foxtrot – I’ll get that off my chest right off the bat.  Yes, they did get a bit of a crummy song FOR A FOXTROT (note me qualifying in caps, for all the Adele fans out there who are only selectively literate and likely inclined to attack me for *gasp!* disliking Adele), and that likely hindered them a bit – but I actually feel like Maks held back a bit with the choreo, and Kirstie felt a little heavy on her feet to me, compared to how I remembered her from season 12.  I think Kirstie probably could have handled a few more bells & whistles, because this felt a bit bland…seemed like a lot of foxtrot basic steps with a turn here & there.  But for what they lacked in choreography, they more than made up for in chemistry – these two are still a hoot to watch a year and a half later :-P And leave it to Kirstie to put the patented Bergeron ass pinch to shame by laying a long, hard kiss smack dab on The Berg’s pie hole.  Talk about stealing the show :-P Anywho, even if these two aren’t the judges’ darlings this season (and I don’t really think they were most of the time in season 12, either), I do think they have some longevity, between their collective fanbases and just how freakin’ fun they are to watch :-P

6.) Sabrina & Louis – Kids, remember my main complaint in The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate: Sabrina Bryan Edition? Anyone? Well, reader Melissa remembered that I pretty clearly stated that Sabrina danced wayyy too aggressively, and that everything she did seemed so hard-hitting.  And wouldn’t you know – the judges main complaint tonight was the exact same thing! Not much has changed in the 5 years since Sabrina originally did the show – she is still hitting every line so hard that’s almost unpleasant to watch, and she even seems to throw herself off-balance in trying so hard to punctuate every single step.  Yes, she’s a good dancer – but a great one? I don’t believe it yet, because to be a great one, she’d have to soften up her lines and incorporate more light & shade into her dancing: periods of punctuated movement juxtaposed with softer, more fluid movement in order to enhance the impact of both.  Right now, Sabrina is just “LIGHT!!! LIGHT!!! BRIGHTER LIGHT!!! EVEN BRIGHTER LIGHT!!!”, and I kinda had a feeling this would be something even Louis would struggle with: dimming Sabrina’s “light” in order to show her versatility.  I know Louis is probably out to prove something, and if he’s anything like he was in season 12, when he thought Kendra was the sh*t, he’s going to dive head-on into his bag of tricks and pull out every single flashy, impressive move he can in order to say “Look at me!!! Look at me!!! I AM AN AWESOME DANCER AND CHOREOGRAPHER!!!” And this cha-cha was unfortunately a prime example of both Sabrina AND Louis enabling each other’s choreographic problems – impressive choreography, yes, but I think I would have appreciated it more if every step wasn’t punching me in the face.  Can they soften things up? We’ll see – I still think they’ve got a few weeks in them, just due to scores.

7.) Kelly & Val – Kelly was the revelation of the evening for me…contrary to my initial worries, she ROCKED this cha-cha, and seriously made me wonder what she had been up in the past 7 years that created such a vast improvement in her dancing. I don’t know if it was anything she did (except maybe breaking up with her deadbeat boyfriend of 18 years), but I daresay the chemistry (and that should be spelled in all caps – CHEMISTRY) she has forged with Val has taken her from Bambi on ice to contender in no time flat.  Now I’m by no means one of those “crazy fangirl shippers” that I roll my eyes at on Twitter when they’re trying to fabricate romances between Hines & Kym/Bristol & Mark/Kirstie & Maks/etc., but with the amount of sexual tension I was sensing between these two? Get thee to a hotel…forthwith, my dears.  ;-) I thought Val was the calm, pragmatic, unflappable Chmerkovskiy – but the way I saw him all twitterpated in the celebraquarium when Kelly’s hair brushed his face? Or when he was spellbound by her tatas in rehearsal? Val has become one smitten kitten, I daresay – and I actually don’t see anything wrong with that, especially since it seems to be working well for their dancing.  I’ve never seen Kelly so confident, sexy, and fun-loving out on the floor – and I am excited to see more :-D

8.) Joey & Kym – I’m actually a little bit puzzled as to why they picked these two to kick off the show, as I thought Apolo & Karina’s cha-cha was far more impactful – but these two were fun nonetheless, and I can see that doing the Vegas show has paid off for Joey.  Very high-energy & fun – but, like many other celebs tonight, a little too hard-hitting.  Joey got a bit of excited puppy syndrome and may have proverbially peed on the floor, as he seemed to get a bit ahead of Kym at a few points and hit a few lines just a bit too enthusiastically.  It was a fun, well-executed routine – but as I predicted, Joey will probably have to work on refining & tidying up his movement, and becoming a bit lighter on his feet…because this felt a little messy.  He’s got showmanship for days, don’t get me wrong – but he seems to lack the refinement and laid-back charm that Apolo & Emmitt had in their cha-chas that likely got them better scores.  I still think Joey’s a contender, no doubt – but he’s gonna have to buckle down (and calm down) if he want to go toe-to-toe with Emmitt, Apolo, & Gilles.

9.) Bristol & Mark – Bristol actually surprised me a bit tonight – she seemed quite a bit more relaxed and confident than her initial cha-cha 2 years ago, and I daresay this cha-cha was an improvement for her.  At first I think I rolled my eyes a bit at how many of their “old standby” moves from season 11 Mark threw in – a lot of shimmying, hip twists, and hair flipping.  Then I realized it was probably a smart move on his part, in order to make Bristol feel more comfortable and familiar with the dance.  She’s still a pretty tentative mover, and likely not even in the same league as some of the other female contestants in terms of skill – but I do think that she’s better than before, and I do see potential for improvement.  For tonight, I was just glad to see her scored properly – no cushy 8′s or sympathy 9′s to make her feel better.  As cruel as it sounds, I think the judges created some pretty unrealistic expectations on Bristol’s part in season 11 by giving her such generous scores – by the end of the competition, she seemed to assume that she just deserved them outright, even if her dancing was clearly not up to snuff with the other competitors.  By starting out scoring realistically, I think they’ll nudge her to improve each week…the question is, can we rely on them to score her realistically week after week?

10.) Drew & Anna – It really pains me to put these two here, because I really had high hopes for them going into this season.  But Drew just seemed so damn tense out on the floor, and I think Anna may be pushing him a bit too hard in rehearsals – and it’s creating an uneasy dynamic between them that seems to spill out onto the dance floor.  There were parts of this foxtot that were really good – mainly the parts that stayed  in hold, in which I thought Drew had gorgeous posture and some clean, gliding feet.  Then there were parts that just kinda made me cringe – like those silly jumps Anna was having him do that he was just fumbling pitifully with (he should have asked Helio the jumping bean to give him some pointers ;-)).  I don’t know if it was just nerves from opening night, or just shaken confidence in being in such a competitive season – but I just felt bad for Drew tonight, because he just struck me as being petrified. I’m really hoping these two can learn to relax & have fun, because I do see a lot of potential in Drew – potential that could definitely be harnassed again.

11.) Melissa & Tony – I generally liked their foxtrot and I’m just in awe of Melissa’s ridiculously fit physique after having a baby, as well those crazy long, flexible legs of hers.  But I’m getting a bad gut feeling that these two may have gotten a little lost in the shuffle tonight – a moderate-to-good dance that may have been lowballed a bit in the scores, wedged between a pretty memorable, good dance (Apolo & Karina) and an astonishing train wreck (Pam & Tristan).  I loved the beginning part with Melissa showing off her mad stretching skills, and the more Broadway-y parts she & Tony did side by side.  But when they got in hold, I was actually a little taken aback by Melissa’s posture; something about it just seemed…wonky.  And just as I did in season 8, I once again found myself a bit annoyed by Melissa’s spaghetti arms – just a bit too soft for some of the moves she was trying to hit hard.  Generally, I liked it – but is it the first dance that pops into my head when I think about tonight? Definitely not – maybe not even the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th.  And that’s what has me worried.  I think she’ll be safe this week due to Pam’s trainwreckittude, but I would not be surprised if she was a “shock” elimination within the next few weeks.

12.) Helio & Chelsie – I like Helio, I really do – maybe it’s the Indycar fan in me, but I just find him to be so damn lovable.  But tonight? He was easily the weakest of the male contestants, and was maybe only slightly better than Kirstie in terms of content & execution of his dance.  I did see some posture & footwork issues, and I think he may have gotten a bit lost at a few points because I caught him looking a bit sheepish just kind of standing there awkwardly.  He also seems to want to stick his little Brazilian tushy out behind him when he’s dancing – which is unfortunately no bueno.  On the other hand, he was grinning like a kid in a candy store the whole time, and is actually pretty good at those kooky jumps Anna was having Drew try to do (Helio, help a brother out and give Drew some hopping lessons ;-)).  So it actually ended up being kind of a fun dance to watch, in a similar vein to Gavin’s wacky boat samba last season.  But I find myself kind of forgetting about these two – and I’m not sure Helio & Chelsie have the same endearing chemistry that Helio & Julianne had.  Are they safe this week? Probably – I hope.  But I’m skeptical about the next few…

13.) Pam & Tristan – Ohhhhh my.  I really wish I had something else to say other than “WTF was this???” I daresay this aimless, bizarre cha-cha was a prime example of how lack of practice time makes you stick out like a sore thumb – and both Pam & Tristan looked like they had just rolled out of bed with a hangover and were just shuffling through it (did I miss something? Was that intentional?) Even Tristan, who’s usually pretty energetic (and with women far older than Pam, no less!) seemed kinda apathetic about the whole thing.  Yeah, they were kinda screwed by their song, too, but that was the least of their problems.  Honestly, I will be very, very shocked if they’re able to stick around after that hot mess.  Love both of them – but that was just bad to the bone 8-O

So who do you guys think is going home tomorrow? And who are your favorites so far? :-)

September 24, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS 15 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Kirstie Alley Edition

We’re finally here! Premiere day at last :-) If you haven’t yet, go ahead and check out Heidi’s “Who’s Dancing What…And When?” post to get the low-down on the performance order tonight, the voting phone numbers, and possibly a few spoilers on the music some of the couples are dancing to ;-)

Today, I take on the final (and most recent) celeb on my series examining the highs & lows of the all-stars’ original seasons – Kirstie Alley.  And if you want to get all fancy and read all the previous editions before the premiere (overachiever ;-)), you can check them out here.

For Kirstie’s best dance, I picked her cha-cha:

And for her worst dance, I picked her jive:

I know some of you are thinking “But Kirstie’s cha-cha wasn’t even her highest-scoring dance!!!” But I have always thought of it as Kirstie & Maks’ magnum opus of season 12 – a dance that showcased not only Kirstie’s dance skills but also her incredible ability to entertain. She may not have been the best technician (but she certainly wasn’t the worst that season, either), but what she lacked in technique she more than made up for in performance – even in her worst dance, she still managed to stay entertaining & fun to watch.  And very theatrical :-) One thing that always astonished me about Kirstie in season 12 was that, despite acknowledging that she was overweight and out-of-shape, she always seemed so light on her feet and still moved with a ton of precision – it kinda reminded me of Warren Sapp, who was a BIIIIIIG man but who was often more graceful than some of the men half his size.  Just because you may not have the perfect body, does not mean your movement quality has to suffer :-)

However, there was one drawback to Kirstie’s physical condition that did seem to hinder her, and that I worry might still be a problem this season: endurance.  I think we all were dreading the week in season 12 that Kirstie got jive, because we had seen how winded she got doing much slower dances, such as the samba.  And unfortunately, I don’t think those fears were unfounded – Kirstie did seem to struggle with keeping up with the speed of the jive, and never seemed to really get the bounce in her step that makes jive so fun to watch.  The choreo probably wasn’t the best, either, but that’s one dance where I can’t really blame Maks for taking so long to get into the dance – if your partner has bad endurance and probably won’t make it through a full-lenth 1:30 routine, try to put as little jive into it as possible, and as many rests into it as will fit.  I know Kirstie’s in much better shape this time around, but is she going to be able to contend with seasoned athletes like Apolo, Emmitt, and Shawn? Or younger, more resilient contestants like Kelly & Melissa? I’m not so sure.  Thankfully, she will get jive out of the way early this time – so if she does struggle with it, she may still be safe. 

So what has Kirstie been up to in the year & a half since her original season? She did sponsor a “100 Days of Dance” campaign for her organic food line, Organic Liasion, last summer.  Here’s a video of her dancing a Viennese waltz with “Johnny Boy”…I’m a bit partial to it for obvious reasons ;-):

Court’s verdict: Kirstie’s off-the-wall antics and showmanship could keep her in the competition for awhile – but she will need to work on endurance and her overall physical fitness in order to give some of the athletes a run for their money.

Thoughts on Kirstie?

I Written By

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

DWTS 15 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Shawn Johnson Edition

First off, a bit of an apology for my week-long hiatus from this series – between my 9-5 and the heinous betch that Who Wore it Better? turned out to be, I was pretty well spent by the time I got home each night last week…and let’s just say my creativity wasn’t exactly at its peak. But I’m back now, and going to try and finish the last 4 editions (and a few other items) before the premiere.  Procrastinators of the world, unite…tomorrow ;-)

For those of you playing catch up (or who missed the previous editions), you can just use the search box and type in “previous dance experience” – all of the previous editions should show up, newest to oldest.  I’m just too lazy to link to the 9 previous installments :-P

For Shawn’s best dance, I chose her cha-cha to “P.Y.T.”:

And for her worst dance, I picked her Lindy hop:

Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of Shawn’s dancing – don’t get me wrong, I think she’s a great role model for young girls and a sweetie pie to boot.  But rewatching all of her dances, I’m not just wowed by any of them – but thankfully, I’m not hugely let down by them, either.  I guess the best way I can sum up my opinion of Shawn in season 8 is this: she was a hard worker & a good natural mover who, for the most part, seemed to let Mark drive the bus – she always struck me as very pleasantly going along with whatever theme/choreography/costume/etc. Mark threw at her, without really adding any of her own input.  Disagree if you like, but I just felt like Shawn (maybe out of youth) was just a bit of a pushover that season – and consequently, I don’t think she ever really connected deeply with a lot of her routines.  It could be the gymnast in her, too – kind of a poker face to get through each event.  So I guess my primary hope for her this season is that she gets to give a bit more input into her routines, and can connect with them on a more personal level – and perhaps get a bit more mature with her choreo ;-) That said, I do think she is a good mover – she doesn’t seem to have any issues with timing or range of motion, and is one person that does seem to know exactly how to style her arms for each dance.  However, I think she may face a bit of the same problem that Drew will: she’s just so LITTLE.  At less than 5′, even moving with her full range of motion is probably not going to look as impressive and “big” as it will on someone willowy, like Melissa.  Even in “P.Y.T.”, which I consider to be the best combination of dance skill & performance quality we saw from Shawn in season 8, her legs just can’t seem to get that same eye-catching bending & straightening action that makes cha-cha so appealing when a person with longer legs does it.  I just hope Derek has some tricks up his sleeve that can help Shawn’s lines look as LONG as possible.  As for her worst dance – I actually have to kinda blame that one on Mark.  While I don’t think she really had any heinously bad dances on her season, I do think there were a few where Mark’s quest for eye-catching, creative choreo may not have showcased Shawn in the best way.  Their Lindy was a prime example – he seemed to rely too heavily on her gymnastic skills, and off-the-wall tricks to sell that one.  Too bad the judges weren’t buying it.  I hope that Derek knows better than to do that this season, but with the level of competition as high as it is, I worry that all the pros may feel the need to “up their game” to stick around – and it may not always pay off. 

Court’s verdict: If Shawn can mature a bit in her dancing and work on injecting some more of her personality into it (and Derek knows how to showcase her well), then she could be a contender. 

So what are your thoughts on Shawn?

September 18, 2012 I Written By

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

Dmitry Chaplin Choreographing for So You Think You Can Dance Finale

I debated even reporting on this, given that I am done with SYTYCD now that it has become a bona fide popularity contest and that least skilled dancer this season is probably going to win (and just as I feared, both ballroom girls were cut back-to-back just before the finale), but alas, it’s not Dmitry’s fault and he is part of the DWTS family – so here it is.  :-)

Dmitry tweeted that he is going to be choreographing for the upcoming performance finale next Tuesday:

Also choreographing on SYTYCD for next week and stressing about it lol. So please wish me luck!
@dmitry_ch
Dmitry Chaplin

Can’t blame Dmitry for being nervous – seems like the ballroom routines this season have had about a 50/50 chance of getting ripped apart by the judges…so much for debunking the blatant anti-ballroom bias on that show.  Dmitry may also be having flashbacks to last season, when Nigel picked apart the cha-cha Mark choreographed for the performance finale. Let’s hope Nigel isn’t looking forward to a repeat “My show is better than DWTS!” pro-roast this time around…

Anywho, I found this little interesting Dmitry ditty while nosing around YouTube – it’s Dmitry talking about the cha-cha he choreographed for Cole & Anya a few weeks ago, and I think he pretty much hits the nail on the head when talking about non-ballroomers trying to learn ballroom:

Anywho, everybody cross your fingers for Dmitry that he doesn’t become the next victim of Nigel the Ballroom Meatgrinder next week.  I just find it funny that he seems to think his show has so much more street cred than DWTS, due to the many dance styles they portray and all the Emmy nominations they amass – yet his show has turned into a complete popularity contest, while DWTS at least maintains some degree of integrity by making the results 50% scores and 50% votes. Enjoy those Emmy noms, Nigel – because with your ratings hitting an all-time low this summer, this may be your last hurrah.

September 6, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS “Who Wore it Better?” – The Pre-Season 15 All-Star Edition, Part I!

This season, we opted to do things a bit differently – as we have with just about every other regular feature we do each season, since the format is a bit wacky, to say the least :-P First, we’ve divided WWIB into two parts – mainly to accomodate the fact that Kirstie & Maks’ and the 13th couple’s (who we now know to be Sabrina & Louis) promo photos have yet to be released, but also to buy us some time for the labor-intensive task of finding good pictures for some of these :-) Secondly, we’ve included the couples’ promo photos from their original seasons for comparison as well.  But as always, we’ve offered up our usual snark commentary on each of the costumes, for your enjoyment 8-)

Battle of the turquoise & black lace corset dress/Kelly & Alec vs. Kelly & Val:  Kelly & Alec’s season 1 promo pic vs. Kelly & Val’s season 15 promo pic vs. Edyta in the season 9 pro tango demo

Courtney: The Iceman cometh! Wow, even Alec’s promo pic screams “I have no emotions” to me.  And while Kelly is a bit better, I still wish she’d actually smile in her promo pics – the whole “smoldery non-smile” she does just seems like she’s trying too hard to me.  And I’m probably the only one that feels this way, judging from some of everyone’s initial comments on the promo photos, but I’m not really all that wild about Kelly & Val’s pic…you’ll see I’m not much of a fan of the couples that went the “smoldery” route with their promo pix.  As for the costume itself – gotta go with Edyta on this one.  Granted, it’s hard to hold a candle to Edyta in pretty much ANY costume, but I think I like it better with a lace skirt, as opposed to a fringed one.  And while I was cursing under my breath while putting this edition together about how BAD some of the costumes have gotten since Randall left, I thank my lucky stars we’re not still stuck with Designs to Shine, who costumed the first season. Can we say “tacky”? 8-O

Heidi: Val sez, “You…are sooo sexy.” To which Kelly sez, “You are sexy, but I am sleeping with my cousin’s best friend’s husband’s brother and am simply toying with you as a cover to hide our true looove….” That is my long winded way of saying, Kelly is a soap actress…they only do smolder.  Sometimes well, sometimes not – and Val is a huge step up from Alec in terms of emotion and Kelly has evolved to smoldering with her mouth *closed*. :-) The dress you ask? I go with Edyta sans fishnets.  Although I think it’s cuter in the shorter length.

The verdict: Just say no to soap opera smolder.  Read more..

August 28, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS 15 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Joey Fatone Edition

Today I continue my series with season 4 runner-up Joey Fatone – for those who want to play catch-up, check out my previous editions featuring Kelly Monaco, Emmitt Smith, and Drew Lachey :-)

For Joey’s best dance, I picked his 2nd jive to “Jump, Jive, & Wail”:

And for his worst dance, I picked his 2nd cha-cha to “Groove is in the Heart”:

Without a doubt, Joey sure has got the showmanship portion of dancing down pat – to this day, I  still think he’s one of the most entertaining celebs that have ever graced the DWTS floor.  And he moves big – he always seemed to do a really good job of using the entire floor and stretching each step to its limit. However, the big caveat that often comes with moving big is moving sloppy – and I think Joey, being a bigger guy, sometimes loses a bit of technique & precision in the process of “moving big”.  I find it a bit interesting that he & Drew seem to have the opposite problem: Drew has the precision, but not the size & degree of motion; Joey has the size & degree of motion, but seems to lack the precision.  And unfortunatley, when it comes down to it, I think the judges will (or at least SHOULD) favor precision & technique over size & impact.  With strong technicians like Gilles in the competition, I think Joey’s going to have to work on really refining his movements, while not sacrificing the big entertainment value he brings to the stage.  I’m also noticing another possible problem – and I actually think the fault lies more with Kym: some of their choreography in their original season seems to favor style over substance.  I’m guessing that Kym was trying to really choreograph to Joey’s strengths as a showman, but upon close scrutiny, it seems like there’s a lot of “fluff” and not a whole lot of basic steps in some of their routines – I think they got called out for it big time in that 2nd cha-cha.  They may have been able to get away with excess “fluff” in their original season, but with so many talented, strong technicians this season, I don’t think they’re going to have any choice but to buckle down and give Len some good meat-and-potatoes choreography.

So now comes the obvious question: how is his time in the Vegas show going to give him an edge this season? Well I think obvious benefit is just being in the “swing” of being onstage – as I said in my post about Drew, I think anyone who has been performing on stage within the last year or so is probably going to have a bit of advantage in that they are still in the groove of performing, and are likely feeling confident in their stage presence..  Given that Joey has actually been doing ballroom for the past few months in the DWTS Vegas show, too, I daresay he is a lot less rusty than some of the others who haven’t done any dancing since their initial seasons.  In particular, he seems to have cleaned up his technique and become quite the lifter:

All in all, I think it will be a big advantage for Joey, given that it’s actually given him time to sharpen up his skills.  But I do see a few possible drawbacks, the biggest of which being burnout – Joey has already been dancing for a little over 3 months straight in the Vegas show, and although he seems to have a bit of a break between when the Vegas show wrapped earlier this month and when rehearsals begin in the next week or so, I think its entirely possible he may just get exhausted by the middle of the season.  We’ve seen how celebs meltdown after only a few weeks – can you imagine a few MONTHS? And keep in mind that the pace of the tv show is pretty breakneck compared to the Vegas show – Joey really just had to repeat the same routines night after night out there; now he’s gotta go back to learning & performing new ones (and performing them well!) in only a few days.  Keep in mind, too, that the Vegas show is a lot less “strictly ballroom” than the show – there was quite a bit of hip-hop, jazz, disco, and other genres thrown in out there.  It was what I like to call “watered-down ballroom” - and we all know that’s not Len’s cup of tea.  Will Joey be able to make the transition?

Court’s verdict: Joey will definitely be one to watch this season, but he’s going to have to clean up his technique quite a bit if he wants to be a real contender.  Kym is also going to have to focus on giving him routines with a lot of basic steps and without a ton of fluff, so they don’t get called out for lack of content.  Overall, though, I see him lasting quite awhile, and possibly even making it to the finale 8-)

So what are your thoughts on Joey? Big contender, or overrated?

August 21, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS 15 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Drew Lachey Edition

So far, we’ve taken a look at both Kelly Monaco & Emmitt Smith’s original seasons on DWTS.  Today, we backtrack a bit to take a look at Drew’s original season :-)

For Drew’s best dance, I waffled back & forth between he & Cheryl’s tango & paso doble…but I ultimately picked their famous “Thriller” paso doble, as I think it best shows off how Drew was the total package of skill & showmanship:

And while I noticed that Drew & Cheryl didn’t really have any truly terrible dances in their original season, per se, I ended up picking their week 1 cha-cha as their worst dance, because Drew looks a bit awkward and unsure of what to do with his hands:

Ohhh, how I DON’T miss the days before the show began broadcasting in HD :-P Once again, I’m struck by the same thing I see when watching Emmitt & Kelly’s dances: the quality of dancing on the show has improved drastically since the first few seasons. Even though I think Drew was much better than Kelly & Emmitt from a technical perspective, I still think he’s going to be hard-pressed to match up with the skill of Joey or Gilles (two guys who didn’t even win their respective seasons), right out of the gate.  I also think the choreography back then wasn’t as good as it is now – and that could prove problematic for all 3 of the early winners (Kelly, Drew, & Emmitt), as the pros have all stepped their game up quite a bit since those seasons.  It could be a bit jarring for them to go from easily handling the choreography on their own seasons, to having to fight tooth and nail to just get a decent score each week of the all-star season, with the bar being raised so much.  On the plus side, Drew seems to have a good deal of “attack” to his dancing – he isn’t hesitant or wishy-washy, and goes for everything 100%.  Seems very confident out on the floor, and doesn’t seem to have any glaring timing issues.  But man – I had forgotten how short Drew is.  He moves “big” for his size, and does seem to extend his limbs impressively far, given his stature – but I’m picturing him next to the very willowy Gilles, who had quite possibly the most fantastic extension in his arms & legs of any guy I’ve ever seen on the show (except maybe Roshon, but I swear that boy was made of rubber!)…and I’m just imagining that poor Drew is just not going to measure up, no matter how far he stretches.  Not his fault – but it’s unfortunately the hand he was dealt by nature.  Part of me thinks he may have been physically better matched with Chelsie, since she would have given him an extra 2″ of leeway, but I do think he may actually have an advantage with Anna – these two seem to have really hit the ground running with “getting themselves out there” since the announcement of the cast.  They are tweeting up a storm, have set up an official Facebook page which they are updating frequently with videos and pictures, and just seem to have forged a really great partnership – I seriously can’t stop smiling when I see these two!

So what, if anything, has Drew done since season 2 to keep his dance skills sharp? Well, he has been practicing for the 98 Degrees reunion tour, and they actually performed on the Today show yesterday:

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Ok – admittedly, 98 Degrees was the boy band of the 1990′s that did the least amount of dancing…and the little they did do was pretty basic “work the mic, jazz square here, hand gesture there”-type stuff.  But Drew actually seems to be taking this choreography, no matter how cheesy it looks, pretty seriously – he’s snapping his head nicely, making good eye contact, and staying on time.  And as crazy as that sounds – I think that may actually be an unexpected advantage he has this season.  I know everyone seems eager to point out that Joey being onstage in the Vegas show is huge advantage this season, and it is – but I would argue that really ANY contestant that has been onstage in some song & dance capactity within the last year or so has probably got an advantage.  Gotta keep those performing skills sharp!

Court’s verdict: Drew is obviously going to have to step up his game quite a bit in order to compete with more recent contestants like Gilles – but he could be a bit of a dark horse this season, given his work ethic and the chemistry he has forged with Anna.  He is probably the most skilled of the “early” champions, and if he’s willing to put in the effort (and Anna can give him some good choreography), he could give some of the favorites this season (Gilles, Joey, Shawn, etc.) a good run for their money.  One to watch, for sure!

So what do you guys think of Drew? Possible dark horse…or a possible dud?

UPDATE: Thanks to @BeerBabeSuzi (an NKOTB friend of mine who also runs a fantastic 98 Degrees fan site that’s been around for 10 years!), here’s some video of 98 Degrees performing at the Mixtape Festival in Hershey, Pennsylvania over the weekend – and it looks like Drew has been practicing his Latin hips ;-) The song is “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)” and it starts at about the 2:50 mark.  Check out Drew on the right, getting pretty into his dance moves ;-)

August 18, 2012 I Written By

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

Random DWTS Trivia – Old School Latin Dancing: Yes, They Actually Danced Liked THAT!

We all marvel over the slick, complex moves and lightening-fast turns & spins we see from the pros on DWTS.  But as I mentioned in my last trivia post about Len, the way Latin is danced now is a far cry from how it looked back in the days of yore – and without saying too much, let’s just say that Latin ballroom has changed for the better since the days of Len ;-)

What has stayed the same? The timing of the dances, and some of the original steps have been adapted slightly to be a bit more impressive and a bit less…hokey.  :-) What is different? Pretty much everything else.  Case in point? Believe it or not, below is a cha-cha from the 1972 World Latin Champions:

I don’t know about you, but I am thoroughly titillated by those sweet moves…and those hot costumes :-P Notice how bouncy and campy everything is. If you’re in need of some more entertainment, I recommend grabbing yourself an adult beverage and taking in this clip of the professional samba round from the old BBC show Come Dancing back in the 80′s:

 Still craving some sweet samba jazz hands? How bout a kinder, gentler paso doble? A throughly UN-romantic rumba, complete with elevator muzak, perhaps? Look no further, because 1979 World Latin Champions Alan & Hazel Fletcher have got you covered:

 Amazing how a powder blue, bedazzled jumpsuit that would make Liberace green with envy can make the paso doble look so…sissyish.  :-) You know something is truly cheesy when, years later (in 2007), a current professional Latin couple pokes fun at the old style in their show dance – and everyone, including the commentators, has a good hearty laugh, because they all realize how silly they looked back in their heydey :-D

 I hope you’ve enjoyed this little Hump Day “blast from the past” – so the next time you find yourself complaining about a routine on the show looking dumb/hokey/boring/etc., just think: it could be worse…they could all still be dancing like this ;-)

July 11, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS 14 End-of-Season Award Winners – Which Dance Was the Worst?

I think it’s safe to say that this one is pretty cut & dry :-P

Other responses:

Sherri & Val’s jive – 3
Maria & Derek’s jive – 2
William & Cheryl’s rumba – 1
William’s porn “dance” sequences - 1 (Normally I’d eliminate this one for ambiguity, but I’m curious – what’s a porn dance? :-P)
William & Cheryl’s finale cha-cha – 1
William & Cheryl’s quickstep - 1
William & Cheryl’s Argentine tango – 1
William & Cheryl’s paso doble – 1
Katherine & Mark’s 1st jive – 1
No bad ones – 1
NO comment – 1 (Then what do you call your write-in response?)

Courtney:  Poor Martina…she was kind of a shoo-in, methinks.  It was really kinda hard to watch that jive…she just got so awkwardly off-time and never really regained her footing, and you could tell she was really frustrated.  I don’t think that costume did her any favors, either – shame on you, Tony, for dressing your partner in a bedazzled tuna net! Mama Spence voted for William & Cheryl’s jive, because she loved watching the part where William tries to swing Cheryl around and her foot awkwardly thunks on the floor – repeatedly.  And she laughed heartily each time. :-) I think the worst part of that routine was that, by the end of it, I think William was to the point of “f*ck it” and just half-assed the last few bars.  As for the rest of the dances – I think a lot of them suffered because of bad song choice.  Unless you’re a pro who ROCKS at doing out-of-the-box-but-still-proper dances, you’re probably gonna get screwed by a bad song at least once per season.  The Shaft routine? Now that was just a hot mess. :-P And in a move that will probably surprise some of you, I’m actually gonna disagree with all the William write-ins - I actually never thought he was a bad dancer.  Far from it – dude had some natural talent.  But what turned me off is how much they were hyping him, and how oversexed his routines became.  But despite that, I still don’t think he had the worst dance of the season.  Even though I enjoy seeing Mama Spence crack up at his jive :-)

Vogue: As much as I hate to admit it, the voters in this Poll pegged it. Being I was a huge tennis fan of Martina’s, I was really hoping she’d stun the dance world like she did her tennis days back in the day. But, oiy,…as soon as I saw her costume for the Jive, I cringed and could foresee her fate. From there, it just got worse. I felt so sorry for her. It wasn’t like she was trying. Like Court, I blamed Tony for the costume. This dance was proof positive how a costume can set the tone. Even still, she was lagging in time. It was sad and painful to watch. She knew it was bad too. As for the other dances, I was shocked (yes, I am pathetic) to see Jaleel and Kym’s Shaft dance have the outcome it did. I wasn’t a fan to Jaleel all season, but, the Shaft dance actually made me smile and laugh. I liked how it kind of poked fun of him. It was so “him” too.

Heidi: How can you NOT blame Tony for the costume since he’s the one that repeatedly uses that type of costume on his partners? Take a look back at some of Melissa’s dances with him. At least it was better on her. I think Martina looked in the mirror and could no longer focus on dancing because of that horrible costume. Horrendous. Gawdawful. Worse than the dance even. As for William – yeah, he wasn’t a horrible dancer, but he was also not the best thing since Gilles like they promoted him – and I laugh every time I see that Jive too. :-)  Of course, it gave Cheryl something to blame and she ranted about that shoe to anyone who would listen for days afterward.  As for the other write ins – why take the time to write no comment or no bad ones?? And I also think that anyone who writes in Maria or Katherine is someone with an axe to grind. Disgruntled William fan? :-) Same goes for Sherri and Val’s dance, actually. Worst?? With Martina in the running? Right. 

*photo courtesy ABC/Adam Taylor

June 18, 2012 I Written By

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