I confess: no one specifically asked this question, but some of you may have noticed that tend to get bit irritated whenever a female celeb or pro on the show opts to forgo the traditional heels in favor of boots, sneakers, or going barefoot. I thought I’d explain just why I get my knickers in such a twist over it
There are two primary reasons why heels are worn in both the Latin & ballroom dances: the first is aesthetic, and the other is technical. Aesthetically, the shoes are worn to give the the women’s legs a long, lean appearance – the neutral flesh tone of the fabric blends nicely with the skin, giving a nice, long, unbroken line; the heels themselves of course make the women look taller, which in turn enhances the illusion of long legs. You may have noticed that the women on the show don’t often wear colored dance shoes – that’s because a color that contrasts with the skin tends to “chop off” those nice long lines, and make the women’s legs look shorter. Why is it so important to have long legs? Because the longer your legs are, the nicer your lines are going to look, and the better technique you’re going to show – and the happier the judges are. :-)
From a technical aspect, the shoes actually help to ensure that the ladies are using the proper technique in their dances. Remember my post about heel & toe leads? Well the shoes that the ladies wear for Latin are specially balanced so that the ladies’ body weight is shifted over her toes – and remember, all the Latin dances move forward (and backward) with a toe lead. The ballroom shoes tend to keep the ladies’ body weight balanced evenly on her heels & toes, much like normal shoes, as all the steps in the ballroom dances move forward on the heel and backward on the toe – just like normal walking. The shoes alone can’t guarantee that a dancer will always have the right technique – but they certainly do help!
So let’s say a woman *cough*Lacey*cough* decides to forgo wearing the proper shoes while dancing, and instead wears something more flat-footed, like boots. In the Latin dances, it’s probably going to result in her legs looking very short & stubby, and her lines not as impressive. Case in point: Lance & Lacey’s cha-cha in season 7:
Or, in Hope’s case this past season, those boots just gave her a complete lack of hip action, and resulted in a very flat, boring rumba:
The effect is a bit less noticeable in the ballroom dances, since they move so similarly to natural walking movement, and I can’t really think of a time on the show that someone has danced a ballroom dance barefoot. However, I do remember Twitch & Kherington’s Viennese waltz routine from season 4 of SYTYCD, and I remember not being wild about them doing it barefoot, as it just looked somewhat “unfinished” and more like contemporary than real ballroom:
So there you have it – you be the judge. I personally think that all ballroom & Latin dances should be done in the proper footwear, and it’s only (semi)acceptable to go barefoot if you’re a pro doing a contemporary-ish pro dance. But what do you guys think?
As promised, I am excited to bring you the first installment of our season 4 “costume retrospective” with Randall Christensen, the costume designer for the show from seasons 2-12 of DWTS! You’re in for a real treat, guys – in this edition, Randall not only reveals his inspiration for each of the couples’ costumes, but also explains how the costume department at the studio came to be, some interesting challenges that posed by Heather’s weekly transcontinental traveling, and what you DIDN’T see in Joey & Kym’s disco costumes Read on!
Did you know that the DWTS costume department wasn’t always located in the same studio as the show itself? Randall explains how tough it was in the early days: “This season was the second season (and the last season) that we had a company in Burbank, CA make the costumes. A nightmare trying to get the couples over the hill into North Hollywood, with intensely congested traffic. I remember one fitting where Heather Mills was 2 hrs. late getting there, even though it was only about a 15 mile drive, due to traffic. That delayed fitting was the catalyst to our getting our own workroom (the very next season), which helped the cast and my crew TREMENDOUSLY! We gave up the Green Room and created our workroom right in the same bldg. as the show, 2 floors above the soundstage.” Can you imagine how stressful it was for both the costume personnel AND the couples to make that trek for the costumes??? And what kind of problems it posed when there were wardrobe malfunctions that needed a quick fix??? Thank goodness the powers that be recognized the need for an in-house costume department, and made the necessary accomodations
*photos courtesy AP/Chris Pizzello
Billy Ray & Karina’s costumes: “Karina’s “tie dyed” red/burgundy burn-out velvet was a great choice of fabrics/color for their first dance. Individual strands of bugle bead fringe accented her body movements. Billy Ray’s costume was kept simple for this first week.”
*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson
Ian & Cheryl’s costumes: “Cheryl’s costume had chrome “nail heads” and other silver hardware, giving a bit of an edgier look. We tied in Ian’s look with a chrome studded belt.”
*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson
Edyta’s costume: “Edyta always looks sensational in “just a little something” and this costume was no exception! The crystal encrusted petal bra and that voluminous Cuban style circular skirt was perfect for this first week’s costume! Love the tropical coral color too.”
*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson
Apolo & Julianne’s costumes: “Julianne’s red beaded fringe number was TONS of work to create, but oh-so-worth it! That skirt just did NOT stay still! And Apolo’s red bandana was a fun tribute to his signature look when competing in speed skating. I loved that he was comfortable (and confident enough) to wear a bit of red trim on his shirt – to tie in (not only his bandana, but also ) with Julianne. Apolo was an incredible athlete, and dedicated and determined to do whatever was needed to give him an edge. I’ve noticed (and appreciated ) that about all of the athletes that have been on the show.”
*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson
Joey & Kym’s costumes: “Kym Johnson/Joey Fatone – now here is one confident (and FUN) celebrity! Joey really wanted for us to trim the back of his vest with TWO WORDS – FAT and ONE. The producers didn’t want us to do that, so we went with his Fatone (one word) rhinestone encrusted on the back of his vest. And what a FUN costume for Kym – a tribute to the 70’s-80’s “ABBA” look. Smoking on Kym’s smoking body, don’t you think? Very fun, and a bit tongue-in-cheek.”
*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson
Laila’s costume: “Laila is such a phenomenally gorgeous woman, and one terrific athlete. Because she is so tall, and has quite the muscular body, I really wanted to make sure her femininity came through. In spite of all her muscles (fantastic biceps!!!!) Laila is ALL woman! This rust silk satin gown with crystal encrusted appliqué was soft yet sexy, and did that skirt ever soar when she moved! Of course standing over 6 ft. tall in heels certainly made for a dramatic silhouette, one which Maks could still certainly handle.”
*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson
Heather’s costume (and the special challenges it posed): “The first few weeks of pre production and the first couple of weeks of the live show posed quite a challenge for us and Heather. Because of the notoriety of Heather, we had to do so much secretively, so as to not alert the public as to her being on the show (during pre-production I was the only person on my staff who knew she was one of the celebrities – we had to keep it THAT hush, hush!). So consequently, we had a company in London create the first two weeks’ costumes for her, as she was training weekly in England (flying over to compete and then returning back to England). The company we used had been the costume makers for the UK version of DWTS (Strictly Come Dancing) and we are good friends, so I felt really comfortable having them take care of Heather. They travelled a great distance to give Heather her fittings. This gown was one of their creations and fitted Heather’s style and physique perfectly! I think that the biggest challenge was to find a dance shoe company that could/would make VEGAN dance shoes. Being a strict vegetarian, Heather was quite concerned about wearing dance shoes which always have leather suede soles, for proper traction on the dance floor. Thank goodness her assistant knew of a great shoe company that made several pairs for her to try out, rehearse in, and another set to perform in. And Heather was incredibly helpful, not to mention a total JOY to work with! I don’t know that I have ever had (before Heather or since) a person who got so excited on each and every design session. There were times when we were giggling and she was clapping and exclaiming how much fun this was. Heather was one of my most memorable celebrities that I have worked with, totally professional and very appreciative!”
*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson
Wow! I never realized what challenges the costume department had to overcome behind the scenes! But obviously, they handled them with such skill and perseverence that we never saw them. But it is fun to know behind-the-scenes tidbits like these…definitely makes the show more fun to watch, at least for me
Still need more DWTS costume goodness? You can always check out Randall’s website and Facebook page, and be sure to stay tuned here for more costume retrospectives from the man himself – we’ve got Randall’s take on the week 2 costumes coming at you later this week
What are some of the shows that stood out for you the most when you costumed them, and why? (i.e. certain theme nights, specific seasons, finales, etc.)
Randall Christensen: Movie/Broadway or TV night is always great fun. We get to step out of character even more. If you can dream it up, SOMEONE will wear it! Themed nights are always fun. Loved the Halloween show back several years ago. Edyta as Morticia Addams (The Addams Family), Monique Coleman/Louis van Amstel in their “Ghostbusters” tear away coveralls, to “slime” green…..great fun! Doing specific time periods are fun and challenging as well. Doing a retro ‘50’s Paso Doble for Nicole Scherzinger was one of the most challenging, as the Paso Doble is so serious and passionate, yet the ‘50’s inspired song just didn’t go…..but Derek is a genius with choreography, and we came up with a fun yet strong look for them both.
If you could pick any of the pros, past or present, on the show to be your assistant, who would it be and why?
RC: Hands down, Edyta Sliwinska would be a great co-designer. She has such an eye for style! Lacey Schwimmer has some really fun, “out there” and cutting edge ideas too.
What was the best part of your job on DWTS?
RC: Hands down, the best part of my job was the trust of the producers, and being able to create with such freedom. You just do NOT get that in the television industry, and that was the most rewarding thing I can imagine. Weekly, the most rewarding part of my job was when Harold Wheeler and orchestra start playing the overture, there’s not a week that went by that I was ALWAYS there, with shivers running down my spine. When those couples came down that stairway……truly a magical moment each and every week. I never missed that descending down the stairs at the top of the show – NEVER! Read more..
Chaz/Any dance from Chaz – 3 (Another one I’m tempted to throw out, because this seems a bit mean-spirited…and it doesn’t follow the directions)
Hope & Maks’ paso doble – 2
Elisabetta & Val’s cha-cha – 2
Ricki & Derek’s samba – 1
David & Kym’s rumba – 1
Ricki & Derek’s freestyle – 1
Rob & Cheryl’s samba – 1
Nancy & Tristan’s rumba – 1
Chaz & Lacey’s rumba – 1
Ricki & Derek’s paso doble – 1
Too many to list – 1
Courtney: Again, no big surprises here – looking back, I really do think Ron/Metta & Peta’s cha-cha was pretty hard to watch…and just kind of bizarre. Hope & Maks’ tango, while very “clunky”, didn’t seem as bad to me – she was at least trying, where I felt like Ron just said “f*ck it” and was out there just winging it. I have to give Nancy & Tristan’s jive a bit of a free pass, considering they got what I think could be the WORST jive song in the history of the show. Chynna had a brain fart – yes, it was hard to watch her crash & burn out there, but after seeing their encore performance during the finale, the dance itself didn’t seem quite so bad. I would say that Rob & Cheryl’s Viennese waltz the first week had the potential to be as bad as Ron’s cha-cha, but Cheryl is such a pro at this point, I think she managed to conceal more of Rob’s flaws with backleading than Peta did with Ron’s. JR & Karina’s cha-cha – yeah, it was a pretty hot mess, but I found that JR’s dancing in the finale was generally not up to snuff with the other stuff he had done all season…chalk it up to injury, I guess. David & Kym’s jive was another hot mess, but again – he at least looked like he was trying. It’s funny how effort can make or break a dance for me – a dance can be a hot mess, but I tend to cut it a bit of a break if I feel like the celeb is at least TRYING. Likewise, a dance can be pretty good, but if I feel like the celeb is not really trying or doesn’t really care (think Kate Gosselin) – I cannot bring myself to like it, no matter how great it may be. Rounding out the write in category, I’ve got to raise my eyebrows at some of the responses, unfortunately. Regardless of how one feels about Chaz’ life decisions, I don’t think all of Chaz’s dances were the worst ones this season, by any stretch – in fact, his cha-cha and samba were both pretty good, in my eyes. And regardless of how one feels about Ricki and/or Derek, I don’t think any of their dances came close to being the worst, either – I think they may have gotten excessive praise for a few of them, but I don’t think any of them are inherently bad. Hell, I was actually surprised that no one brought up their 80′s foxtrot – if any of their dances seemed even remotely qualified to be the worst of the season, it was that one…but again, I blame a crappy song and theme. It’s funny that people bring up Hope & Maks’ rumba – with all the drama that followed it that week, I think it may have colored some people’s opinions of that dance for the worse; however, I actually kinda liked it, because Hope actually seemed to let go and show some vulnerability that week. I just hated those damn flat boots she had to wear
Heidi: Heh. I forgot Ron was even on this past season, so it would be difficult for me to call him the “worst” – maybe being utterly forgotten is worse than being the worst. I always laugh when someone throws in Ricki and Derek for a “worst dance” category. She was not Derek’s best partner ever, but worst out of this group? LOL – I think a bit of envy is at play here. I will also freely admit that Maks’ and Hope’s behavior toward the end of the season completely colored my thoughts on their dancing and, frankly, them as people. But you know what? That is the risk you take when you persist in that type of behavior with no apologies. You have to own it. Be responsible for it. Like it or not, you’re on TELEVISION and what you do will have an impact on people, either positive or negative. Now, I’ve had a negative opinion on Maks before and he turned it (and me) around with Kirstie. He may be able to do it again. But how many times can one keep making the same mistake before they just get written off? So, at the end of the day, that is likely what you’re seeing in the number 2 ranking for Hope and Maks – unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your POV) I’m rarely alone in my opinions or reactions. I’m just not that unique. As for Tony and Chynna – I think people are very sympathetic with someone just blanking on someone and then feeling awful about it. Sympathy plays a huge part in this show, as we’ve said time and again. Plus, I think most people can see the difference between forgetting ones steps and being a “bad” dancer. I don’t think she got voted out for blanking, I just don’t think she had a fanbase to begin with and her previously good scores had been protecting her from elimination.
Vogue: Wow, I’m shocked to see Maks and Hope’s Tango scoring so high for worst dance? But, looking back at it again, I was quickly reminded of her “attitude” which was turning a lot of fans off at the time including myself. I also thought Tony and Chynna’s Tango would have scored higher as “worst dance”. In the end, I agree with who won in this catagory. Ron didn’t even seem to care and Peta seemed to have given up as well on him which I didn’t fault her a bit. If she comes back this next season, I really hope she gets a good partner. I’d really like to see her given a good chance to teach.
You guys voted…now it’s time to reveal your picks for the bests and worsts of season 13!
Other responses (keep in mind I am paraphrasing, as there were some…creatively-written responses ):
JR & Karina’s freestyle – 11
JR & Karina’s waltz – 7
Nancy & Tristan’s rumba – 4
JR & Karina’s rumba – 4
JR & Karina’s 1st jive – 4
Ricki & Derek’s rumba – 3
Ricki & Derek’s quickstep – 2
JR & Karina’s instant jive – 2
Rob & Cheryl’s tango – 1
Elisabetta & Val’s quickstep - 1
Ricki & Derek’s paso doble – 1
Ricki & Derek’s portion of the team paso doble – 1
Rob & Cheryl/JR & Karina’s instant samba – 1
Kristin & Mark’s samba – 1
Kristin & Mark’s quickstep – 1
JR & Karina’s “Vietnamese” waltz – 1 (I assume you meant “Viennese”? )
Chynna & Tony’s rumba – 1
Derek & Mark’s dance w/Charm – 1 (one of the results show dances)
Chaz & Lacey’s rumba – 1
Carson & Anna’s Vogue – 1
GET NANCY OFF THE STAGE – 1 (I have half a mind to toss this one out completely…)
None really impressed me to say they were the best – 1
Courtney: Can’t say I’m too surprised – choreographically, I think Ricki & Derek’s tango was really the strongest dance of the season, and the execution and performance value were there as well. It’s also a great example of how a less-than-desirable song/theme isn’t necessarily a death sentence, if put in the hands of a creative pro – in fact, a challenging song can often push a pro to really rise to the occasion and crank out something incredible. JR & Karina’s samba was fun & well-executed, but maybe not quite as creative; ditto for Rob & Cheryl’s samba. Gotta say – I was kind of rooting for Carson & Anna’s cha-cha. It has yet to get old for me Nancy & Tristan’s foxtrot and Hope & Maks’ quickstep were both fun & light, but I actually think Hope & Maks’ foxtrot was a stronger dance, both performance-wise and technique-wise…but I feel like it got overlooked because it was wedged between two weeks where Hope didn’t do so great. The quickstep happened during her “breakthrough” week, so I think it comparison it may have appeared better than it really was. Hope looked to me like she was holding on for dear life in the quickstep, but seemed much more at-ease during her foxtrot. I dunno…it is what it is. Other responses: I liked JR & Karina’s freestyle a lot, but for some reason (which I can’t really put my finger on), it’s lacking a certain something for me that would really qualify it as the best dance of the season. I have to raise my eyebrows a bit at the fact that 4 people (or rather, 4 different IP addresses ) really thought Nancy & Tristan’s rumba was the best dance of the season…I mean, the dirty glance Tristan tossed Carrie Ann’s way at the beginning was hot, but other than that…Nancy was kinda lifeless in that dance, at least for me. As I recall, the judges weren’t too keen on it, either.
Heidi: I think JR was up and down an awful lot for someone who won the show, actually – and their freestyle?? I know we discussed it at the time but I can’t put my finger on it either. There was nothing really technical in it beyond the one or two lifts – I always seem to prefer the freestyles that stick to a lot of ballroom moves but break all the rules in terms of lifts and hold – which explains why I am a Derek fan. He generally puts a lot of ballroom in his freestyles. Tristan and Nancy?? Just no. I liked them as a couple, and Tristan is a cutie – but the jury is still out on his choreo skills. Nothing I saw from them was “wow” – although I adored the Spamalot dance just cuz it was Spamalot. And I’ll give credit to Maks’ fans for being loyal at least. Best dance of the season? Nope. Their dances were just too awkward looking most of the time.
Vogue: I don’t think I’ll ever forget my jaw dropping during and after Ricki and Derek’s Psycho performance. I love it when that happens. I’m a huge fan of theatre-like dance productions anyway being a huge fan to Madonna and Lady Gaga. Derek covered all of his bases not only with the dance itself, but, with the costuming and the brilliant backdropping. This performance will go down as one of the ‘most memorable’ on Dancing With The Stars. I’ll never forget it. I also loved Maks and Hope’s Quickstep. I felt they were both finally starting to find their element with this dance. It was good to see her finally relaxing. Whatever the case, their Quickstep gets best costuming.
Keep watching in the coming weeks as we reveal more of the results of your voting!
Gotta say – going into tonight, I couldn’t recall a time I was THIS EXCITED to see a finale since maybe season 10. Nor have I ever felt this invested in the outcome of a season of the show as I am in this one…seriously guys, I might lose my faith in humanity if JR does not win. Fair warning.
Anywho – as much as I hoped this would be a good, clean, honest finale, there unfortunately seemed to be some shady business afoot. DEFINITE overscoring, and I think you all know who I’m referring to. Overall, the “last unlearned dance” round was pretty underwhelming & lackluster, and the freestyle round only slightly made up for it for me. But let’s get on with it, shall we? Gonna do things a little differently tonight – I’m gonna start with 3rd place and work my way up to the winner, and I’m going to try to guesstimate how things are going to pan out tomorrow night.
3rd place: Rob & Cheryl
As much as Rob may have endeared himself to me this season, methinks he wasn’t as good as his scores would lead us to believe this evening. The waltz was pleasant – if not a bit goofy. That whole “run towards one another and I’ll run around Cheryl as she spins” move made me chuckle a bit…my mom busted out laughing, and said “It looks like he’s going around the Maypole!” And I had to laugh too – because that’s exactly what it looked like. Some footwork & timing issues as well, but overall I wouldn’t say it was painful to watch…just…goofy. Now the freestyle. *sigh* I liked the idea of it, I really did. And I thought it was smart of Cheryl to go with something that seemed to play on Rob’s strengths. But that was by no means a 30-worthy routine. Seemed like Cheryl did most of the tough stuff (it was like Gilles’ freestyle all over again), and it just took too long to really go anywhere. Rob did the best he could with what he was given – little imp. Got a bit scared when he was spinning around with Cheryl on his shoulders, though – thought I was gonna have to use my physics minor to calculate tangential velocity as she flew across the room. I think Rob really likes going around in circles, hehe. Cute idea & choreography – but it was just lacking in content for me, and I don’t think I’m completely alone. So why, then, did the judges give it a 30? *shrugs* Who knows. Part of me thinks they might be trying to shake up the top 2 by displacing Ricki or JR; part of me thinks this could have been a strange strategy for spurring Ricki & JR fans to vote even harder. I honestly can’t give you a theory that’s 100% sound or reasonable. But I am gonna put my faith in humanity (god help me) and say that Rob will probably get 3rd in the favorite dance round tomorrow, and won’t get the points to overcome JR or Ricki. But it’s been nice seeing Rob evolve from kind of a douchebaggy guy to a goofy but kinda lovable guy that managed to emerge from the shadow of his harpies-er, sisters. Read more..
And the parade of song dittos just keeps on coming. Seriously, I find myself groaning aloud each week when I see the song list – “Ugh, that one AGAIN!” or “I feel like they just used that song!!!” But alas, at the very least, it makes throwing these posts together a cinch
Lotsa dittos this past week – the only ones who managed to make it through semi-unscathed by the reuse of songs that probably shouldn’t have been reused were Nancy, Hope, & David. Guess that was to be expected, though, since there aren’t too many songs that are both Halloweenish and suitable for ballroom!
Battle of Evanescence “Bring Me to Life”
As most of you already know, it was Evan & Anna’s paso doble song in season 10:
And then, this past week, it was the song for Team Paso Doble:
Court’s take: I have to say I was a bit shocked that they were reusing the music from a very memorable routine, and I gotta give this one to Evan & Anna. Both routines are great, and this song is damn near perfect for a very dramatic, intense paso doble – but compared to Evan & Anna, who were absolutely KILLING their routine, team paso doble was just kinda kicking it in the shins. And on a side note, it’s amazing what you notice when you watch these routines the 2nd or 3rd time around – Evan looks a lot better than I remembered him being at the time (guess a few seasons of subpar dancing will make you recognize REAL talent even more!), and Hope looks off-time in several parts of team paso. That cape section Evan did was SUPERB.
Battle of Rihanna’s “Disturbia”
Lance & Lacey had their tango to it in season 7, Lacey’s very first season on the show:
And it was Team Tango’s song this past week:
Court’s take: Why oh whyyyy did they pick this song to reuse for a tango??? I mean, the lyrics are edgy…but the beat is so clubby & dancey. Not edgy enough for a tango, IMO. But anyway. As overrated as I thought Lance & Lacey’s tango was at the time (and I still kinda do), it was better than team tango’s interpretation of the song. I liked how Lance & Lacey went the classy-edgy route, with the dark costuming and slight tweaks in choreo to make the dance feel “creepier”; in retrospect, it just seems like team tango was doing a regular tango in straightjackets and kinda let that be our only indicator that it was a scary Halloween tango. I will say this, though: I still think Lacey’s ballroom is horrid. You could drive a boat show between her & Lance…and that footwork? Yeesh. And as ho-hum as I felt about the team tango on the whole, I actually really liked JR & Karina’s section, upon second viewing. Liked that body wave move they did in reverse
Battle of Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams”
It was first used as Chad & Cheryl’s tango in season 10:
And then it was Ricki & Derek’s paso this week:
Court’s take: Considering that most of you probably didn’t remember that it was Chad & Cheryl’s tango, you’ll probably agree that Ricki & Derek had the better interpretation Chad & Cheryl were just a non-event to me – it was just a garden-variety example of their usual routine each week that season, with Chad just kinda walking through the steps while Cheryl danced circles around him. I think I remembered Cheryl’s dress more than the dance itself – that was during her sheer-skirted ballgown phase, and I remember the back being vaguely…thong-like. It may not have been the most compelling paso doble that Derek has ever choreographed, but for me it at least managed to take a step beyond the stereotypical Halloween schlock we saw this week. Plus I just kinda dig Little Red Riding Hood – my favorite Halloween costume everrrrrr.
Battle of Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters”
Monique & Louis had it as their cha-cha song during the first Halloween show back in season 3:
And JR & Karina got it as their tango this week:
Court’s take: This is almost a no-contest to me – Monique & Louis!!! The song was positively sucktastic as a tango and I think JR may have been 2nd only to Nancy in song screwage this week. Wayyyy too hard to keep timing. And let me just say this: I think Monique may be one of the most underrated contestants that’s ever been on this show, and I think Louis is capable of being every bit as creative as Derek, Maks, or Mark – when he has the right partner I loved this cha-cha – it was fun, cute, cheeky, creative, and yet still a proper cha-cha. And Monique is like the DWTS-conceived love child of Kyle Massey & Lil Kim – she was a sassy showgirl like Kim, with the skill & youthful appeal (and Disney pedigree) of Kyle. That girl could DANCE, too – kinda makes me wonder if she would have fared better (and possibly won) if she was in a less-competitive season.
Battle of “The Addams Family Theme”
Another gimme from the original Halloween episode in season 3, it was Joey & Edyta’s tango:
And Rob & Cheryl had it again this Halloween episode:
Court’s take: This is a little bit of a weird one for me, as I’m not particularly fond of “The Addams Family” as a tango – even though it has a strong tango beat, it just seems…hokey. And I think both guys had different strengths in their respective routines – Joey’s was definitely better from a technical standpoint, but I thought Rob played the character a bit better. I enjoyed both for different reasons. But overall – I just don’t ever want to hear this song again on DWTS!
Well kids, I’m afraid tonight was a prime example of how theme nights can really sabotage some (or most) of the couples – because I feel that almost every single couple was negatively impacted by their song assignments this week. Yes, it was kinda “fun” to have a Halloween week – but making the dancing suffer in order to fit theme? No thank you. But praise Jeebus, this week was the final theme week of the season – back to business as usual next week! Well, about as “as usual” as you can get when you’re thisclose to the finale
Thoughts on the team dances: I agree that team paso had the stronger routine of the two, however – I don’t think team tango was as terrible as everyone seemed to think it was. I think team tango was indeed better in their group sections – everyone managed to stay very in-synch, although there were a few spacing issues; team paso seemed a bit less in-synch when all 3 couples were on the floor at the same time, and it almost seemed like they tried to avoid a lot of synchronized work, which was probably a good idea. I was also a bit bothered by the fact that team paso seemed to have quite a few spots of what I like to call “empty space” in their dance – moments where, due to the phrasing of the music, they seemed like they were just waiting or stalling until the next accent or big move. I think team paso better captured the aggressive, haunting feel of both their music and their dance, but probably had the song with the more difficult rhythm; team tango had the song with the easier rhythm, but probably suffered due to the fact that it lacked a lot of the theatricality necessary for the tango. Team paso was leaps & bounds stronger in the individual sections – Ricki & Derek were their usual showstopping selves, Hope managed to keep up (although I could have done without such a long count of her on the floor while Maks kinda danced around her), and oh man – ROB. Rob was the MVP of team paso for me - he impressed the hell out of me with the way he kept up not only with Cheryl, but with Maks & Derek as well. I was shocked at how much better JR looked dancing the tango with his team than he did individually – guess it’s a testament to how a bad song can throw even the best dancers off their game. David seemed a bit wobbly, but was still looked decent to me; Nancy was clearly the weakest member of team tango, but man – she was out there giving it her all. Overall, I think the scoring was about right, and likely won’t cause a huge upset when all is said & done tomorrow night.
1.) Ricki & Derek – Alone at the top of the leaderboard once again, and she thankfully did pretty well on a night where everyone seemed to have a bit of a slump. I must say, I wasn’t completely wowed by her paso; I could kinda tell she wasn’t dancing full-out and seemed to be babying her rib, which I can’t really fault her for – I’ve bruised a couple ribs in the past and was in so much pain I could have sworn that I had collapsed a lung. I think Derek probably went a bit easier on her with the choreo as well, as it wasn’t exactly the same level of paso genius I’ve come to expect from him. But once again, when you’re working with a theme like Halloween – you’re kinda forced into thinking inside the box, because they’re expecting something spooky/scary/eerie/etc, and they want to see Halloween archetypes like werewolves, vampires, ghosts, etc. Add an injured partner on top of that, and you’re pretty limited in what you can do. Overall, though, a nice effort with a pretty good payoff for these two – I think it will be enough to keep them safe tomorrow night. Read more..
So at this time last season, I did a run-down of what we can expect in the final 4 weeks of the season. You guys seemed to like it, so I did it again And this time I’m spilling who’s on what team for the team dances! Read on…
A good mix of Latin and ballroom left for JR, and he’s fortunately gotten some of the harder dances (samba, Viennese waltz, jive) out of the way early. Not that I think it would really matter, give his popularity and skill , but it just reduces the likelihood of a potential “Ralphing” from the judges…that is, giving a celeb a cruelly low score on a dance that they struggled with but weren’t necessarily terrible at, in an effort to oust them. I guess my only concern for JR going into these last few weeks is the more aggressive dances – tango & paso doble, and moreso the latter. So far, he’s only had to be silly & energetic (jive, quickstep, foxtrot), sexy (samba), or romantic & vulnerable (Viennese waltz & rumba). We’ve yet to see a very aggressive JR – can he muster it? I think so, but at the same time, he just seems like such a nice guy. I could see the judges pulling a “well, the steps were there, but I didn’t feel the power and anger behind them” or some nonsense like that. Those frakkin’ asshats.
The one potential problem that jumps out at me immediately here is the samba – it’s problematic for just about everyone, but for whatever reason, it’s the one dance for which Derek’s choreo doesn’t always “wow!” me (although there have been very few sambas on this show that have actually wowed me), and that the judges seem to get particularly nitpicky about. “There wasn’t enough content”, “You guys weren’t in sync”, “Your footwork was messy”, yadda yadda yadda. I can just hear them bitching now If they’re going to attempt to set Ricki up for an “off” week again, I would almost bet they’re going to do it with the samba. I’m mildly concerned for her paso, for the simple reason that I just don’t see her being terribly aggressive; but thankfully, that’s a dance that Derek seems to thrive on, so it could work in her favor. Waltz & cha-cha? Easy dances – no biggie
Ummm, yikes. Samba is the obvious troublemaker here, and the jive is probably not going to do Nancy too many favors, either. One requires a fairly significant amount of technique (which I’m not sure she can muster); the other requires stamina, which I also have yet to see from Nancy. So far, she’s kinda lucked into getting much slower, easygoing dances; she hasn’t really had to haul ass in a dance, which is why I could also see the Viennese waltz being problematic. She just seems to move soooo slooooow sometimes…I’m having nightmarish visions of her losing time in both her Viennese waltz and jive in several places. And then there’s the tango. *sigh* We saw how well she did the first time she had an aggressive dance – her paso looked more like a leisurely stroll in the park than a bullfight. But who knows – maybe she can summon her inner tart for the tango, now that she’s shaken her stuff in the group dance But MacGrace fans, I’d buckle in for a rough few weeks ahead – because I think Nancy may have the toughest group of dances to deal with, out of the remaining couples
David & Kym – remaining dances: waltz, foxtrot, cha-cha, samba
The dreaded samba strikes again! I could see poor David stumbling through that one with a bit of a “deer in the headlights” look on his face – no doubt, he’d give it his best shot, but I’m not sure he’d succeed. He probably will be fine with the waltz & foxtrot, since he seems to be doing better with the ballroom dances; he could falter a bit with the cha-cha, since Latin hip action seems to evade him – but I daresay it wouldn’t be as hard on him as the samba. Honestly, if he can soldier through the samba, I think he could have a decent shot at the finale…if he keeps up the improvement we’ve seen from him in the past few weeks, and can avoid being…well, creepy.
Rob & Cheryl – remaining dances: waltz, tango, quickstep, samba
Again, the big red flag here is the samba – somehow I don’t see Rob getting his hips moving like JR’s, or with as much energy. The samba, to me, is the dance that truly separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls – it’s hard, and as I said before, the judges seem uneccessarily nitpicky about it. However, I’ve also noticed that they might tear a samba apart in their critiques, but still give it a halfway-decent score. Maybe someday I’ll look at the scoring closer and see if they maybe cut breaks on the samba, points-wise. Anywho! I could see Rob really doing well at his remaining ballroom dances – from what I saw in his foxtrot, he seems to have a flare for the ballroom as opposed to the Latin. Quickstep could be a potential problem if he can’t come out of his shell a bit more, and he may need to intensify his blank stare in order to succeed in the tango…but I could see him having a shot at the finale, too. Interesting indeed.
Yet another couple who still has the pesky samba to contend with. Hell, at this rate, the samba could be the deciding factor in who gets that coveted 3rd spot in the finale – whoever manages to muddle through it alive could be a possible candidate! Haha. I know a lot of Hope fans have been saying “Just wait till she has the paso, she’s gonna be awesome!”, but I’m still skeptical – especially after watching her muscle her way through that tango. Yes, paso requires strength and aggression; but it’s still a dance, and it still requires some degree of finesse and restraint. Can she muster it? I’m not sure. Waltz could also be problematic, since it requires a grace I have yet to see from Hope – and because it’s so slow, any potential snafus are going to stick out like a sore thumb. Quickstep? Could go either way – if she’s able to let loose and have fun like she did in the foxtrot, I think she’ll do well; but if she goes stiff and tight like she did in the jive, it could be disasterous.
So what’s going on with the team dance? It’s this coming week (Week 7) and the teams are Ricki & Derek, Rob & Cheryl, and Hope & Maks vs. JR & Karina, David & Kym, and Nancy & Tristan. Ricki’s team is doing a paso doble; JR’s team is doing a tango. Heidi will reveal the songs in her “Who’s Dancing What?” post on Sunday. Now while I’m somewhat relieved that they’ve taken a break from the team cha-cha, I’m a bit concerned that this won’t necessarily be an evenly-matched face-off – the same two dances were the team dances in season 9, and team tango basically annihilated team paso. Then again, team tango also had Derek, who thus far is undefeated in the team dance, and choreographed a dynamite team paso in season 7. I’d say Kym is probably the 2nd most successful (2 team dance wins, and 1 tie), followed by Cheryl (2 wins, 1 loss). Quite possibly my biggest concern: the dynamic between the pros on team paso. Derek & Maks worked great together on the team Apolo cha-cha in season 11; but in light of some of the conflict this week, is it going to create any friction? I would hope not, but you never know. Will be interesting to see how Tristan fares in his first team dance, and on a team with his main squeeze, no less I’m tentatively saying team paso will take this one, just based on the pros on that team having previous experience.
What about the marathon dance? Sorry, not gonna be one this season. The group dance basically replaced it, which I’m actually kind of thankful for – the marathon dance seems to favor those with particularly high endurance, so I’m not sure Nancy, Chaz, or even Rob would have fared well in it. At least the group dance was just a fun little ditty that let us see the couples in a new light.
When are they gonna do the Argentine tango/salsa? Not 100% when, but they are coming. If I had to guess, I’d say they’re probably going to follow the pattern of last season, and they had these dances in weeks 8 & 9. And if my spidey sense is correct, some of the couples with only 1 Latin dance remaining (like Rob & Cheryl) COULD end up with salsa as their instant dance. Also in the vein of last season: for the couples who still have the standard tango remaining, they may end up doing the Argentine tango instead, and skipping the standard one altogether – that’s what happened with both Chelsea & Kirstie last season. However, if a couple has already done the standard tango, I’m thinking they’ll probably do Argentine tango as well – that’s how it played out with Hines. And then he ended up never doing the regular waltz. *shrug* Go fig.
Are they going to do the “Instant Dance” again? Yes, in week 8. And as always, it will be a Latin dance – so that week, the remaining couples will likely all do one regular ballroom dance, and then an instant Latin dance.
Do you know if the “Winner Take All” dance is coming back? Praise 8 lb 10 oz baby Jesus, it is NOT COMING BACK! Apparently it was wildy unpopular…can’t imagine why. *snicker* But I do like to think Heidi & I had something to do with its demise, since Heidi was the one that first noticed what a crock of crap it was, and I just basically shouted it to the heavens. But just because there isn’t a WTA dance, don’t assume that everything is going to be business as usual – I could see them rehashing the smackdown or medley dance, just to fill time and have something “different”.
Vogue here adding some video footage of the Teams practicing 4 hours after the Results show last night:
So the addition of the troupe this past season did have one unexpected positive effect: even more costume dittos! Which makes my job a bit easier And I’m noticing the costume department has a special affinity for red – lots & lots of sparkly, red, fringy, feathery stuff… Read more..