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

PureDWTS Exclusive! An Interview with Randall Christensen, Part I

A few months back, we asked you guys to submit questions for Randall Christensen, the costume designer for DWTS from seasons 2-12.  Well now that the holidays are over and we’re starting to get back into the swing of things, we’re sharing Randall’s responses :-)

We’ve been lucky to get a chance to chat with Randall, since he has kept very busy since moving on from DWTS! He’s currently working a couture swimwear line with MiracleSuit (check out Vogue’s post on the Macy’s MiracleSuit fashion show last summer!), is working on a sportswear/ready to wear collection, and is still designing dancesport costumes for Randall Designs, Inc., his costume design company for the past 30 years.  Let’s see what this dancewear icon has to say in response to some of your burning questions :-)

At what age did you start designing?

Randall Christensen: I started designing for my professional partner and students back in the early ‘80’s, learning the craft with “hands on” experience.  I am self-taught.

Who were your mentors?

RC: My first mentor (and still most influential) was Bob Mackie.  He was designing for Carol Burnett as well as Cher for their (respective) shows.  I was a pre-teen and tried to NEVER miss a single one of their shows, as I was mesmerized by their costumes!

Seems like things at DWTS run on a pretty hectic timetable. Can you descibe what a typical week was like for you at DWTS?

RC: A typical week at DWTS starts new on Monday/Tuesday with new designs for each couple.  If we are lucky enough to get the music by Monday (instead of typically Tuesday) I try to get the couples up to the wardrobe department to discuss concepts for the next week’s costumes.  I only get 15-20 (30 mins. tops) to listen to the music, research ideas, discuss, design and finalize.  Then the entire show is shopped Wednesday by 5pm and delivered back to the studio, where I go over every women’s design with our cutter/fitter (the mens’ costumes are done off site, by our dance tailor in downtown Los Angeles).  The costumes are cut/sewn/preliminarily fitted on Thursday, then I have celebrity fittings all day Friday. My assistant helps on Saturday with the professional women’s fittings, they’re altered and ready for the final fitting on Sunday, after the couples do their blocking for the camera.  Adjustments are made and then are trimmed, beaded, crystallized and trimmed out to completion.  Monday morning is time to review each costume before setting them in the individual dressing rooms.  We have dress rehearsal only a few hours before we go LIVE on the east coast.  During that time any last minute adjustments are made and redelivered to the couples’ dressing rooms, sometimes just minutes before they’re to go to the top of the stairs for their walk down – live!  We have to design/shop/fit/finish each and every costume in 3.5 to 4 days!!  Whew!

What types of fabrics are the best for ballroom costumes?

RC: Thank goodness for stretch fabrics, jerseys, lycras, etc.!  These help the costume to be quite comfortable as well as flexible.  We can then get a terrific fit with little to no wrinkles in the fabric.  Chiffon (both silk and polyester) are great for the ballgown skirts, due to the wonderful movement.  Charmeuse satin is a terrific vintage type fabric, reminiscent of some of Ginger Rogers’ gowns.

Are there limitations, or can you work with pretty much anything?

RC: I push the limits every chance I get!  How else can you continue to come up with fresh ideas?  That being said, some fabrics are VERY challenging!  I try not to use brocades, as they are just to stiff and unforgiving for costumes.  Not to mention the fact that they do not flow at all!  I love using natural trims, for an organic vibe, still mixing in crystal rhinestones of course.  We have to have a sparkle on almost everything.

What is the most extravagant costume you’ve ever designed for the show, and who wore it?

RC: I would say the most extravagant costume would have to be Toni Braxton’s Marie Antoinette-inspired Viennese Waltz gown (complete with powdered blonde wig and all).  To be as authentic as possible, we went to a costume house and purchased a “cage” to make the silhouette as close to the look of the era as possible.  It was almost all completely sewn by hand, on the dress form as there is no way to get that wide cage (for the hips) on the sewing machine to work on.  Quite labor intense, but what a gorgeous look!  And still, we did it in just under 4 days……I still break out in a sweat thinking about that one!

*photo courtesy ABC/Kelsey McNeal

If you could only pick one DWTS costume as your “all-time favorite”, which would it be and why?

RC: Besides Toni Braxton’s Marie Antoinette gown, I would have to say Joanna Krupa’s “Futuristic Paso Doble.”  We pushed the limits (again) of what we could do in just 4 days.  The silver silk lame with electric lights (all wired into the dress) was sensational, but a nightmare to get done in such a short time.  We had a lighting specialist up from San Diego for 3 days just wiring the darn thing.

*photo courtesy of ABC

Everyone has regrets. Have you ever looked back at a costume you’ve designed for the show and thought “What was I thinking???” If so, which one & why?

RC: Oh, I’m sure we ALL have regrets, but I have to say, we have a really good track record if you consider that from concept to completion is 4 days maximum.  The discipline the couple has to have to stick with the original design, in spite of choreographing after the design is done, a procedure which is completely backwards! That being said, each and every week I look at the costumes, making mental notes as to what we could have done better, or what I would have done differently.  The beauty is I get another chance 4 days later.

Who have been your favorite celebs and/or pros to design for, and why?

RC: I count myself quite lucky to have such a great rapport with the pro dancers, and we have such fun with (and trust in) each other.  Our design sessions are quite intense and rewarding. I have enjoyed the trust that almost all of the celebrities have shown to me.  I honestly think that they put their trust in me (and their pro partner) due mainly to the fact that they are in such a foreign and vulnerable area.  They have not danced like this before, and really have to rely on our experience and expertise.  The trust that Susan Lucci, Jennifer Gray, Florence Henderson, Chelsea Kane and Kirstie Alley (to name a few) showed me was quite humbling and really rewarding!  This definitely impacts how wonderful their costumes showed on them.

Do you have an all-time favorite? 

RC:  I would have to say that as far as professional dancers, Edyta Sliwinska made ME look good!  I wish I could take credit for her beauty, but she came that way!!  That being said, I have to admit that Edyta was remarkably prepared each week, knew what looked good on her, and above all else, she left me to interpret her ideas and trusted me completely.  What a dream lady to work with!  Toni Braxton and Brandy both were appreciative, trusting and so lovely to design for.

What happens to the costumes after they’ve been worn?

RC: The celebrities have the option of purchasing any of their costumes, once the season is over.  Kristi Yamaguchi and Shawn Johnson purchased all of their costumes, along with several celebs. buying their favorite one(s).  We keep a great majority of the costumes from past seasons in a storage facility quite close to the studio.  We also keep a few on hand right in the workroom, in case we need a last minute “fix.”  We have NEVER had to use one of those yet!

We’ve noticed some get reused and others don’t. How do you decide which ones get reused?

RC: We reuse costumes based on the producers’ requirements/suggestions, as well as our guest choreographers’ ideas.  Many times (most of the time) we re-work them so that their silhouettes more readily coordinate with each of the other dancers’ looks, for a more cohesive themed look. There is just not enough hours in the week to make ALL the costumes seen on Monday’s and Tuesday’s shows.  That said, we ALWAYS make something new for our couples for Monday’s show.  The pro numbers and (pro) group numbers may get previously worn costumes, but NEVER on celebs nor their partners for Monday’s competition!

*photo courtesy ABC/Adam Larkey

Do certain pros want specific kinds of alterations (i.e. shorter hems, lower necklines, mesh inserts, etc) on costumes that have been worn before by someone else?

RC: Again, it’s all about the overall theme/silhouette desired.  Our pro dancers do have their specific preferences, and if we could accommodate them, we most certainly would.  Some of those preferences are just going to be kept secret – no use spoiling the illusion……

Tune in later this week when we reveal part II of our exclusive interview…and Randall talks theme nights, panic attacks, and his love of princess seams (?) ;-) You won’t want to miss it!!!

January 9, 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!

PureDWTS Ask Courtney: What’s the Difference Between Jive/Lindy/Jitterbug/Charleston/etc.?

This is a very good question :-), but unfortunately one that required a bit of research on my part…so please bear with me as I give you guys a brief history/background of the swing dances.

First things first: all of the above dances are related, and evolved from one another, so that’s why they all look so similar to the naked eye.  Even I often have a hard time discerning between them, especially within the context of DWTS, where I think sometimes even the pros themselves aren’t quite sure about some of these dances – especially the Jitterbug & Lindy Hop. The lines between them are very blurred, because there’s often a lot of overlap in terms of steps, timing, & styling.

Charleston was the earliest of the swing dances, originating in the speakeasies during the 1920’s, and is usually associated with the “flappers”, who danced it alone or with each other to mock the “drys” – people who supported Prohibition.  At the time, it was considered to be a pretty provocative dance.  It has a bouncy feel to it, and the basic step does have the backward rock-step characteristic to almost all of the swing dances.  Here’s a good example of some other Charleston steps – note how it also has some twisting movements, high kicks, and very jazzy arm styling. The music was a swing beat, with perhaps a bit more of a ragtime feel than other swing styles to follow – think “Hot Honey Rag” from Chicago. These days, it more often lends steps to jive & quickstep, rather than being danced as its own, exclusive dance – my boyfriend’s studio doesn’t have an official Charleston syllabus (just not enough steps), but he does often incorporate Charleston steps into other dances.  One example many of you may have noticed is that funky leg flick that the pros often add to their quickstep routines – Mark does it at about the :55 mark of he & Chelsea’s quickstep.  Yep, Charleston moves fit Mark’s jimmie legs perfectly :-) Which is probably why he & Melissa’s Charleston in season 9 sticks out to me as the best representation of the dance on the show – it has the characteristic steps, and they stuck with the 1920’s flapper theme.

Out of the Charleston came the Lindy Hop, which had its heyday in the big band era of the late 1920’s-40’s. It was a product of the Harlem Renaissance, and was born in traditionally black clubs like The Savoy & Cotton Club in New York.  Its footwork was similar to the Charleston, but it had elements of other vernacular/folk dances (such as the cakewalk and Texas Tommy) and also included a breakaway/throwaway step, which allowed the couples dancing it to do more open work than in the Charleston.  It was also quite a bit more daring – when wealthy white patrons descended upon Harlem clubs to watch the black dancers, the dancers themselves upped the ante, and began doing increasingly more dangerous & eye-catching lifts, flips, and tricks (“air steps” or “aerials”) to entertain them.  This often resulted in the dancers being hired to perform or teach Lindy Hop to the patrons. I would say it’s definitely the “showiest” of all the swing dances, due to all the tricks that have come to be standard fare in the Lindy – and with the pros on DWTS, nothing seems to scream “Lindy!” more than some crazy lifts.  In terms of said lifts, I would say that Melissa & Tony’s Lindy in season 8 is the best example; but in terms of overall “feel” (and good use of basic steps), I’d say that Ty & Chelsie’s Lindy is the best example. Read more..

January 7, 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!

DWTS13 Freestyle Retrospective: The Top 10 Worst Freestyles in DWTS History

So every season, as we draw nearer & nearer to the finale, it seems like the question on everyone’s lips is “What are they gonna do for their freestyle?” We debate which pros are the stronger freestyle choreographers, which celebs can handle the lifts, who’s got the most dance skills, who is going to struggle, etc. So Heidi & I decided to tackle the big question: what makes a good DWTS freestyle?

While everyone may argue over what works and what doesn’t, with 12 seasons under our belts, we have enough historical data to see some patterns – and there are definitely some things that all good freestyles seem to have in common, and some things that the bad freestyles have in common. Today we’re starting with the worst – these are examples of what this season’s finalists should likely avoid, and of which they should probably try to do the opposite :-)

A little insight into how we arrived at this list: I made a list of my own, and then bumped it against a list Heidi made and we looked for similarities. I also asked for suggestions on Twitter, to see if my finger was on the pulse of the more dedicated viewing audience; I polled my co-workers (likely more representative of the average viewer than most of us lurking on the Net ;-)) as well to get their thoughts. Turns out, most of you guys came up with the same examples of good & bad – which is good, since it shows that opinions on freestyles seem to be pretty universal. But without further ado, I give you the top 10 WORST freestyles in DWTS history:

10.) Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas, season 12

Courtney: This was one that a lot of you seemed divided on – some of you loved it, some of you hated it. I ultimately decided to include it in the “worst” list because it seemed to have something in common with a lot of the other freestyles on this list: it wasn’t reflective of the celeb it was meant to showcase. Yes, it was high-energy, it was well-executed (for the most part), and it was entertaining – but what did it really have to do with Chelsea? While she managed to keep up with Mark fairly well and got through the choreography, I never really got the feeling that it was a routine she really felt connected to, or that she even would have picked for herself. It was as if she had given Mark carte blanche with the routine and he chose everything – the music, the costumes, the theme, etc., and Chelsea was just along for the ride. I think choosing an obscure song didn’t help, and the choreo seemed to showcase Mark more than Chelsea – the poor girl just seemed to be trying to keep her head above water. Add to that some bland costumes and a wardrobe malfunction, and you’ve got a freestyle that’s overall just “Meh.” Definitely not 30-worthy, IMO.

Heidi: Well, this one I would have put in “dishonorable mentions” but it’s almost in that pile anyway, at slot #10. :-) The problem here, like you say, was Chelsea wasn’t connected to it (and similar ideas appear throughout this post). Not only that, but the music didn’t really match the costumes and none of it matched the choreo. It seemed all mixed up to me. It had a latin flavor, yet they were doing a light hip hop type choreo (I don’t really know how else to explain that) and their costumes matched neither. Then – why the lights and the bike?? I feel like I missed something on this one. There was also a section where it seemed like they just went from one cool trick to the next. The best freestyles (including some of Mark’s) had a good bit of actual ballroom dancing thrown in in places. This one is just a bit weird for me.

9.) Evan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya, season 10

Heidi: PEOPLE, unless your pro is Dmitry – do NOT argue with them about choreography. At all. Geez. That said, this is another freestyle that was good on paper, but in execution just didn’t work for some reason. Clearly it worked in person, since the studio crowd loved it…but the dance didn’t seem to fit either Evan OR Footloose. When Derek did Grease with Brooke, there was a clear, but brief, homage to the movie. The dance went with the song and it worked perfectly for Brooke. When he did a song from Dirty Dancing with Jennifer – again, a subtle, brief homage to the movie and it worked for Jennifer because, of course – she was in the movie. I think by the time they get to the freestyle the pros are just drained and they forget to really tie it altogether – and if you pick an iconic song, you have to really tie it altogether so that the dancing fits the iconic song but also works for your partner. It seems like this dance doesn’t fit either. He didn’t dance it badly by any stretch, but neither did Gilles in their Flashdance freestyle. That doesn’t make it good.

Courtney: I was always a bit puzzled as to why they picked Footloose – did one of them really, really like the movie? Or was it just another easy, dance movie theme to go with? I think that’s the one big difference between a freestyle like Jennifer’s and a freestyle like Evan’s (or Mya’s, or Gilles’, or Stacy’s – see below) – relevance. Dirty Dancing was relevant to Jennifer; but was Footloose really relevant to Evan? I want a freestyle to basically sum up a partnership for me – I want it to feel like both the celeb & the pro connect to both the dance and each other, and for the routine to feel like a nice closure to their season together. For me, going with Footloose as their theme left more questions than answers. Ooh, and can I just say that I think bringing in an outside choreographer is the absolute kiss of death? It doesn’t see to mesh well with the chemistry the couple has forged over the course of the season, and usually leads to coupled being led dangerously out of their comfort zone. And both Evan & Anna seemed uncomfortable with this one – almost pained, at times. Read more..

November 16, 2011 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? Part XIV – The Pre-Season 13 Edition!

While you guys got to ooh, ahh, and discuss the official season 13 promo photos, I was busy trying to compile everything for WWIB – so you’ll have to forgive me if I’m a bit cranky in these critiques. :-) In reality, I actually started compiling pictures for this last week, after the first celebs tweeted pix of themselves at their respective shoots, but it still left a lot to do once they FINALLY released the pix today (3 days late, I might add…ahem, ABC, you listening? ;-)).  Anywho! As I was telling Heidi, there were definitely a few…odd things about this season’s promo photos.  So let’s get right to it, shall we?

Battle of the midnight blue, sparkly one-shoulder rumba dress: Anna’s pre-season 13 photo shoot with Carson vs. Anna’s rumba with Evan in season 10

Courtney: I was joking on Twitter that I bet Carson was the reason the promo photos were released later than usual – he must’ve been picky about he & Anna’s costumes ;-) From the look on Carson’s face, maybe he didn’t get his way – he looks pouty.  Then again, maybe it’s just extraordinarily awkward for him to be touching Anna “that way”…look at how awkwardly his hands are placed.  I worry that these 2 could struggle with really romantic dances like the rumba, if that’s what’s really going here.  Then again, Carson could take to the drama of the dances like a fish to water…but anyway! Love Anna, love this dress & the color of it, but I have to go with rumba Anna for this one, for reasons of hair alone – WTF were they trying to do with it in the photoshoot? Seems like they were torn between some Snooki-like bump in the back and loose waves in the front.  Ooh wee.  And can I just say, this dress is far too similar to the rumba dress she wore with Kurt in season 11 – when you’re dealing with various lighting conditions in photos, it’s hard to tell the 2 apart!

Heidi: Yep, I have to go with Rumba Anna too – and it was also about the hair for me too. :-)  I think we’re, like, mind-melding or something.  Poor Carson. His lack of experience with women may end up costing him.  I believe he did say that himself, did he not?

The winner: Rumba Anna!! It’s all in the hair.

Battle of the flowy, white, jeweled ballgown: Elisabetta’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Val vs. Chelsea’s foxtrot with Mark in season 12

Heidi: Do NOT understand the need to chop off the length on these gorgeous ballroom dresses. WHY?? This dress on Chelsea was so gorgeous, long and flowy – and it loses all it’s impact once it’s chopped off.  Gotta go with Chelsea for style….not to mention that I don’t find Val attractive so that kinda hurts Elisabetta’s chances with me. :-)

Courtney: I may have “hated” on Chelsea & Mark all last season (according to some readers…) but I have to say – this was my favorite dress Chelsea wore.  Thought it was simple, elegant, and age-appropriate.  And while I think Elisabetta looks STUNNING in it, I have to go with Chelsea here – the overall styling & very old Hollywood feel they gave her seems to suit the dress better. One funny note: did they catch Val trying to sniff Elisabetta’s hair? Because his face is half-covered by it, and he looks…guilty. ;-)

The winner:  Chelsea by a length.

Battle of the cranberry silk embroidered ballgown: Hope’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Maks vs. Jennifer’s tango with Derek in season 11

Courtney: Can’t remember who it was that called this the “red velvet cake” dress, but you’re totally on the money…and making me crave baked goods.  :-P Or maybe cranberry juice.  Anywho! We don’t see too many cranberry-hued costumes on the show – maybe because it feels like a very formal shade? Idk.  I love the embroidery on the sleeves & waist, and I always love open-backed dresses, but I have to say I think a bit of the magic of the original was lost when they shortened the dress – by shortening it, I think they were trying to make it feel more “Latin” than ballroom, but the color & styling of the bodice still scream “ballroom!” to me…so for that reason, I’m gonna go with Jennifer.  I prefer the dress long, and the pulled-back hair & matching lipstick complete the look.

Heidi: Again, the chopping up of a perfectly beautiful dress. Gotta go with Courtney and choose Jennifer.  Frankly, the dress just doesn’t look right shorter and Court pretty much summed up why. I do like Maks’ matching shirt though – that’s a nice touch.

Courtney: I think I figured out why exactly I don’t love the shortened version: it looks too much like a figure skating costume.  Slap some skates on Hope and she’s ready for Skating with the Stars. Why couldn’t they have put her in a different cranberry-colored Latin costume? Like maybe Audrina’s Argentine tango costume?

The winner: Red velvet cake is always a winner…but we prefer our pieces with some length to them.

Battle of the silver-fringed, jeweled Latin dress: Karina’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with JR vs. Chelsie’s pre-season 12 photoshoot vs. Chelsie’s cha-cha with Jake in season 10

Heidi: I love Karina’s bangs!  She looks very pretty.  But I think I’ll go with the middle Chelsie…I deduct points for the long black gloves as an accessory choice with this dress. I do not like the above-the-elbow gloves with the short latin dresses. Just don’t get that fashion choice at all. So, while middle Chelsie wins for me, Karina takes second and right Chelsie gets third place. :-)

Courtney: This was one of the many oddities I noticed with this season’s photo shoot pictures – why did Karina decide to reuse a dress that had already been worn for a promo pic? Let alone one that was just used LAST SEASON.  It may not seem like a big deal, but to my knowledge, no costume has ever gotten used in a promo shoot more than once, and since the promo photos are often the ones that linger the longest of any of the photos taken during a particular season, you’d think they’d try harder to make them more…unique.  It’s not like they don’t have a ton of costumes to choose from :-) But I digress once more.  Gotta stick with Chelsie on this one, because this doesn’t look like something Karina would design for herself – all the more reason I am befuddled as to why it was picked for her.

The winner: Chelsie still owns the battle of the silver fringe.

Battle of the cranberry corset-top, tulle-overlayed dress: Lacey’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Chaz vs. Lacey in the “Toxic” showdown with Val in season 11

Heidi: Gotta say, I think this one is a draw for me. I think it’s a rather silly dress to begin with, and while I like the red streaks in Lacey’s hair on the right, I despise those little chopped up gloves that she’s wearing. So….a tie. :-)  I will say though, that that lighting on the left-hand picture compliments the dress more – you can see all the detail work on it much better.

Courtney: Tee hee…my screen-capping skillz make me giggle sometimes ;-) If you’re wondering exactly what Lacey is doing in the photo on the right – I think she’s attempting to make some sort of come-hither gesture to Val and is failing.  :-P I can’t say I’m wild about this dress, but it does look very “Lacey-ish”.  I guess I prefer it in the “Toxic” number – the streaks in the hair & the edgy makeup seem to suit it better than the more plain makeup & hair they gave her in the pre-season photoshoot. Another observation: I know some people are saying “Oh, Chaz must not be that short after all – Lacey’s standing next to him wearing heels.” Well, he may actually be a bit taller than her, but I think they’re already employing a few tricks to help as well – Lacey’s standing further back than he is, which could alter the perspective; and it looks like Chaz’s hair is gelled straight up, and he may have a bit of a heel on his shoes.  Now let’s see if they have tricks to minimize the height difference between Peta & Ron, too…

The winner: Lacey…and no one else. :-P

Battle of the pearl-encrusted, cut-out tango dress: Kym’s Argentine tango with Hines in season 12 vs. Kym’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with David

Courtney: My favorite dress of season 12, PERIOD.  Love the racy cut-out sides, love the nude color, and ADORE the fact that Kym eschewed the cliched rhinestone coating and had it encrusted with pearls instead.  Love the dress in both pix, but I gotta go with photoshoot Kym – the loose, romantic waves they put in her hair seem to really sexify the dress.

Heidi: Ditto – I also like her partner on the right (cute!) and just her posture is better and works with the dress better.  Totally agree about the hair.  Doesn’t Kym choose this color for her photoshoots a lot?? It’s a color that really works on her.

The winner: Photoshoot Kym proves that pearls can be sexy. 

Battle of the black mesh, fringed & jeweled dress: Ricki’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Derek vs. Marissa’s 2nd rumba with Tony in season 6

Heidi: Mmmmm….Derek. :-)  I’ve got to send his trainer cookies or something for the work he’s done on Derek. He looks…bigger. Or in the words of his trainer…”jacked up”. All growed up. Oh. Dresses. Well, since I don’t like Marissa’s stockings, and I don’t like her hair…and, well, I don’t much like HER, I have to go with Ricki for better hair and a hunkier than ever partner. :-)

Courtney: Love that they’ve got 2 former Tracy Turnblad portrayers in the same dress :-) Seems like kind of a cool homage.  I don’t exactly love this dress, so it makes it hard for me to pick a winner.  Seems to look better with Ricki’s coloring, but that could just be a spray tan and some photoshoot lighting giving her a nice glow.  But wait – is Derek wearing a black shirt with brown pants? WTF???

Heidi: Derek’s wearing pants??  Oh…yes, it appears they are a different color. ;-) Seems to be an odd choice for him. Very out of the ordinary. Wonder why?

The winner: In the tale of two Tracy Turnblads, Ricki emerges victorious :-)

Battle of the brown fringed & jeweled Latin dress: Nancy’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Tristan vs. Kirstie’s 1st samba with Maks in season 12

Courtney: Nancy actually looks quite nice in this dress, methinks.  Perhaps even better than Kirstie.  She’s certainly got her tatas ready for battle! Gotta say – Nancy is pleasantly surprising me so far.  She seems like she’s actually excited to be doing this, and has set aside her courtroom aggression for the meantime.  And Tristan, good on ya – you look happy :-D

Heidi: Ah, we finally disagree on one. I have to go with Kirstie. I think she works this dress better just by nature of her hairstyle which is long and flowing rather than…helmut-y.  Yes, I am making up words as we go.

The winner: It serves both Nancy & Kirstie pretty well…so what can brown do for YOU? ;-)

Battle of the silver silk jeweled ballgown: Pam’s foxtrot with Damian in season 10 vs. Chynna’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Tony

Heidi: Chynna isn’t wearing this dress, the dress is wearing her.  Pam embodies what that dress was designed for – she owns it.  Even the elbow length gloves work with this dress and her hair…and her makeup.  Just gorgeous! And am I mis-remembering or is this another dress that was nearly full length and they’ve chopped it again??  Step AWAY from the scissors!

Courtney: Chynna has aged incredibly well, but the overall effect of this silver gown on her seems…bland.  She’s very pretty, yes, but there’s nothing about the picture that really jumps out at me – and I’m afraid that may be the theme for me with regards to Chynna & Tony this season :-( Whenever I’m rattling off the names of the couples, they always seem to be the ones I forget, maybe because there’s been relatively little media coverage of them.  Idk – maybe they’re deliberately flying under the radar so they can surprise everyone in week one.  Time will tell! But Pam, my little blonde bombshell of season 10 – she’s a total Marilyn in this one, down to the sex kitten hair, elbow-length gloves, and red lips.  *sigh* I miss Pam & Damian…

The winner: You don’t mess with Pam Anderson.

Battle of the black, lacey, fringey dress: Cheryl in the season 12 finale opening dance with Chris vs. Cheryl’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Rob

Courtney: This must be one of those generic dresses they always seem to have on-hand in order to fit a particular color scheme, because nothing about it was really triggering a “Eureka!” moment for me until someone mentioned that it could be Karina’s dress from the season 11 finale – of course it wasn’t, but it at least got me thinking along the lines of finale performances and that’s where I finally found this one.  It’s pretty, but unremarkable for me – Cheryl herself doesn’t even seem to be uber-excited to be wearing it in either picture.  I guess I’ll go with photoshoot Cheryl, because she’s at least smiling…although Rob still looks like kind of a putz to me.

Heidi: Blah. Boring. Both times. :-(  I think Rob IS a putz. It’s actually painful to have him in my DWTS List on twitter.

The winner: Zzzzz….oh, we were supposed to pick a winner? I guess photoshoot Cheryl…now let me sleep…zzzzzz

Battle of the gold lame/gold sequin romper: Kristin’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Mark vs. Julianne’s freestyle with Helio in season 5 vs. Karina’s pro dance to Selena Gomez with Derek in season 9

Courtney: WARNING: this is NOT the same costume.  Well, Kristin’s is not – I’m convinced they bought that nonsense on the clearance rack at Wet Seal…or bought it at a costume auction after Take Me Home Tonight wrapped (BTW, good movie for a few laughs – well worth the $1.08 the bf & I paid for it at the Redbox ;-)).  In other words – I hate that gold thing and I have no idea why they decided to put such a pretty girl in such a tacky costume when they clearly have a bajillion suitable leftover costumes at their disposal.  *stamps foot* Seriously…whyyyy? Even the the very similar gold sequin romper that Julianne & Karina both wore would be an improvement over this…thing. And don’t even get me started on Mark’s shoes…although, if they were going for the 80’s theme with their photoshoot, he does look vaguely like Duckie from Pretty In Pink…except Duckie is wicked awesome and Mark is just kinda bogus, dude. </80’sslang>

Heidi: Pretty sure they give the dancers a selection to choose from. Just sayin’.  This is one gawdawful dress that made me think trailer park Saturday night when I first saw it. Maybe that’s harsh…but didn’t gold lame dresses go out in the 90’s. Or the 70’s?  Or both?? I mean, really, at least that gawdawful romper (and you all know how I feel about that cut around the legs) IS a romper.  Kristen’s is a dress that is cut up to THERE.  Seriously? You’re going there on day 1? Also, you do realize that Mark got those damn shoes bedazzled don’t you? Because we couldn’t see them well enough as it is – because it is much more important that we see Mark’s feet than his partner’s.  Or…the dude is just tacky.  Are we picking a winner here? I go with Karina because she’s suffocating Derek with her hair. :-)  Helio is cool too though.

The winner: Helio & Karina. And perhaps Jon Cryer.

And a special note on Peta’s dress…

We tried, kids, we really tried…but we (and the many PureDWTS readers I solicited both here and on Twitter) were clueless about this feathered thing Peta is wearing.  I (Court) swear I’ve seen her wear it somewhere OUTSIDE the dance floor (either in the audience of DWTS or another premiere or something), but for the life of me, I cannot recall specifics.  I even asked Peta on Twitter – no response. If you have seen this dress before and can tell us where exactly, we’ll update this post and give you credit :-) But until then, here is some commentary from Heidi & I…

Heidi: What in the hell was Peta thinking?  From the psuedo dress to the pose it’s just all the way wrong.  I think it might actually be the pose that really caps it off.  It kinda looks like Ron is carrying his child in her swimsuit on his hip.  Or you could go slightly porno if you want, but I’m trying not to think about that.  This is actually a horrendous picture for me – such a gorgeous woman but how did she get to this pose in this outfit??

Courtney: I’m sorry, but this seriously seems like the worst of this batch of promo photos to me.  The pose is just totally weird – can you believe that Peta’s leg is actually hidden behind Ron’s back? Believe it – Peta confirmed it.  And this dress just feels odd to me – like they just took a tank top and slapped some feathers on the bottom.  And speaking of bottoms…I hate that Peta’s is just kinda hanging out in this pic.  Add to that the strange pouffy hair, and I’m just left thinking, “WTF???”

September 7, 2011 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!

DWTS13 Casting Rumors – The Typecasting of Season 13, Part II

 So with each hour closer to the cast announcement that we get, we seem to be getting more and more leaks of who’s in – the next 24 hours will definitely be the time to stay tuned to PureDWTS, as we’ll be posting any potential last minute leaks as soon as we hear them! I dunno about you guys, but I’m getting excited…so let’s take a look at who else we might expect to see, based on casting patterns ;-)

The Teen Idol

Previous examples: Joey McIntyre, Aaron Carter, Donny Osmond, Lance Bass, Mel B., Joey Fatone, Drew Lachey, Joey Lawrence, Ian Ziering, Cody Linley, Sabrina Bryan, Mario Lopez, Kyle Massey, Chelsea Kane, Romeo

Advantages: If sales of Tiger Beat are any indicator, the teenyboppers will come out in full force to support their favorite heartthrobs/idols.  Being young & good-lookin’ sure doesn’t hurt! Many also have the added advantage of having a decent dance background, especially if they were part of a musical act.

Disadvantages: Youth can also have its disadvantages – as in immaturity.  What some might call “youthful exuberance”, others might call “immaturity” or “attention deficit disorder” – poor Cody Linley had a hard time sitting still! Emotional immaturity (a la Aaron Carter’s post-rumba meltdown in the confessional) can be especially off-putting. They’ve also got to contend with the large middle-aged female contingent of viewers/voters – they far outnumber the young viewers likely to vote for them.

Possible candidates this season: Now that the Candace Cameron-Bure rumor seems to have died down, it looks like we’re going to be seeing former child starKim Richards, also of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fame…maybe she’s doing double-duty as the reality star this season, too!

The Host

Previous examples: Jerry Springer, Brooke Burke, Leeza Gibbons, Mario Lopez, Kenny Mayne, Lisa Rinna, Tucker Carlson, Mark Dacascos, Rocco DiSpirito, Erin Andrews, Wendy Williams, Mike Catherwood

Advantages: Being that they’ve been at the helm of their own shows, these guys usually have the media savvy & charisma to appeal to the masses, as well as the previous exposure & recognizability.  Most (not all!) are also decently attractive, which never seems to hurt (unless, of course, you’re a model – see previous post for explanation).

Disadvantages: Many hosts are only used to hosting – as in just sitting down & talking (or dodging the occasional punch, if you’re Springer), so the lack of movement experience problem seems to come into play. 

Possible candidates this season: I’ve started preparing myself to watch Nancy Grace try to hoof it this season, though I can’t say I’m even the tiniest bit excited about it.  Someone hosts I’d rather see? Craig Ferguson or Ricki Lake – the former is just hilarious, and the latter might actually be pretty good due to her Broadway background.

The Actor

Previous examples: John O’Hurley, Melissa Joan Hart, Steve Guttenburg, John Ratzenberger, Debi Mazar, Denise Richards, Ted McGinley, Shannon Elizabeth, Jennie Garth, Vivica Fox, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Shannen Doherty, Jennifer Grey, David Hasselhoff, Ralph Macchio, Kirstie Alley

Advantages: Being that their bread & butter is acting, most can usually nail the emotions of the dances. Bonus points if they’ve done any Broadway (like Winokur) because they have likely had dance experience.

Disadvantages: For lack of a better term, many of them seem to be “has-beens” – actors that haven’t been particularly active in the mainstream in the past several years – or were never that big to begin with (can anyone else think of anything John O’Hurley has been in BESIDES Seinfeld?), making it harder for them to garner votes from a public who may not remember them. 

Possible candidates this season: I think it’s safe to say David Arquette is a lock.  There’s been a couple of murmurs about Henry Winkler as well, and I’m still wondering if Lorenzo Lamas is gonna crop up, after all the talking he did last season.

The Reality Star

Previous examples: Kim Kardashian, Kelly Osbourne, Melissa Rycroft, Steve-O, Holly Madison, Trista Sutter, Shanna Moakler, Kate Gosselin, Jake Pavelka, Audrina Patridge, The Situation

Advantages: Many have achieved pop culture icon status on their respective reality outlets, making them fairly recognizable.

Disadvantages: They may be memorable for the wrong reasons – people tended to remember things like Kim Kardashian’s sex tape more than her reality show when she was on DWTS, and people seemed more focused on Holly Madison’s split from Hef than her antics on The Girls Next Door.  Many can also come across as attention-hungry & talentless(*cough*JakePavelka*cough*) – reality TV is often looked down upon as a way to get famous without having any talent whatsoever. 

Possible candidates this season: We had the great Snooki scare of 2011 (which I doubt is going to amount to anything), but Rob Kardashian & Kristen Cavallari’s names are still being tossed around. 

The Singer:

Previous examples: Mya, Billy Ray Cyrus, Mario, Belinda Carlisle, Master P, Chuck Wicks, Sara Evans, Willa Ford, Monique Coleman, Toni Braxton, Macy Gray, Nicole Scherzinger

Advantages: As with the teen idols, many have had dance experience concurrent with their music careers. 

Disadvantages: Most seem to be committed solely to one genre of music (often R&B or country), making it hard to appeal to a wide fanbase.

Possible candidates this season: Christina Milian’s name has been said quite a bit, but we haven’t had any confirmation. But rumor has it Chynna Philips is definitely in. 

The Wild Card

Previous examples: Heather Mills, Tom DeLay, Mark Cuban, Steve Wozniak, Priscilla Presley, Buzz Aldrin, Bristol Palin

Advantages: The sheer novelty of having someone with such an off-the-beaten-path claim to fame (famous divorcee/widow, entrepreneur, disgraced politician, etc.) may be enough to have the public voting them – just to see what happens.  Being the “underdog” is a powerful thing…as we saw with Bristol last season!

Disadvantages: Due to their often dubious fame, people just may not have any clue who they are – I personally had to Google Mark Cuban’s name. There’s also the risk of backlash from some viewers who don’t think they’re “stars” per se, and shouldn’t even be on the show in the first place.

Possible candidates this season: I’d say our best bet is Chaz Bono

So we’re mere hours away from the official announcement, gang – who do you think is in and who do you think is just wishful thinking? Be sure to check back here for Heidi’s Casting Announcement Live Blog starting at 8 PM EST tomorrow night …she (and the rest of us) suffer through Bachelor Pad so you don’t have to! And make sure you’re following @puredwts & @tvblog on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates on who’s in!

August 28, 2011 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!

DWTS12 End of Season Award Winners – Which Dance Was the Worst?

John: To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy any of Wendy’s or Kirstie’s dances really. I enjoyed their humor and their one liners. I just wasn’t a fan of their dancing at all. Even Kendra was a disappointment (we should have had an award for that). However, Wendy definitely takes the cake for worst dancer this season. Can you say awkward?

Vogue: Yeah, I picked Wendy too. She was not very good. Plus, her attitude was poor and egotistical. Poor Tony. I really felt sorry for him. Wendy wasn’t as bad as Kate Gosselin, but, at times I had to kind of wonder?

Courtney: The fact that Wendy thought she was hot sh*t, coupled with some very (IMO) kindergarten choreography is what made this dance so bad. She was barely moving, yet with all the bravado she was throwing around both before & after the dance, you would have thought she danced like Nicole Scherzinger. The hair, the makeup, the dress, the choreo, the attitude – blech.  No wonder Wendy ran away with more than half the vote! Mike & Lacey’s foxtrot – ok, pretty bad, but it had a bit of a trainwreck appeal to it…and Mike was pretty damn lovable.  Kirstie & Maks’ jive wasn’t the strongest technically, but it did have a pretty strong entertainment quality.  I’m honestly surprised Kendra & Louis’ Viennese waltz didn’t get more votes – that was the dance that Kendra managed to somehow contort into some bizarre Mafia tribute, and she looked like a lost puppy the whole time.  Oh – and it’s also the week she said she didn’t care about elegance :-P I can’t really fault Ralph & Karina for their samba being tacky – what the hell are you supposed to do when you get “Sweet Home Alabama” as your music? But of course, the judges raked them across the coals for it – just like they did everything else this season. *sigh* I actually kinda liked Chelsea & Mark’s jive, but I agree that it was maybe a bit too “out there” to please the judges, and wasn’t proper jive technique; Romeo & Chelsie’s rumba was just a non-event. Perhaps the most interesting response in the write-in category: Chelsea & Mark’s freestyle.  It’s interesting because the freestyles are almost universally popular with fans – but I have to agree that this one was a dud, and will probably go down in DWTS history as one of the worst…it just felt like such a cop-out to me.  Just some routine that was thrown together, without any sort of connection to Chelsea.  Some other responses: Ralph & Karina’s salsa (ok, not their best, but I don’t think it was worse than a lot of the dances above!), “Hinds” freestyle (I’m gonna assume you mean “Hines” :-)), Wendy & Tony’s quickstep (I actually thought this one was the most tolerable of their 3 bad dances…), and “anything by Chelsea (OVERRATED)” lol.  While I think Chelsea was blatantly overscored more often than not, I did enjoy a few of her dances – namely her foxtrot & jive.  Overall, I think the right dance won this category – it was the combination of bad costuming, bad choreo, bad execution, and bad attitude that made this one a champion.  But are there REALLY any winners in this category? ;-)

Marianya: Do we REALLY have to pick? I mean, I would have thought it be pretty obvious. Wendy! Since the other bloggers have already said everything that needed to be said in regards to this celeb… all I’m going to say to TPTB is this: please be nicer next time, someone like her is an easy way to turn off the TV.

Heidi: Wendy…worst dancer, biggest diva. And that’s just cray-cray.  I quickly got to the point where I never wanted to see her face or hear her voice EVER again.  That bit on the finale – I almost had turn the channel. :-) I would have, if it weren’t for the cheesecake awards.  All for you people. ;-)

July 21, 2011 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 12 End of Season Award Winners – Which Couple Was the Best Dressed?

John: Impossible to decide between Kym, the blonde bombshell with the awesome accent, or the super model with the amazing accent. Does it really matter what they wear or who their partner is? Correct Answer: No.

Vogue: This was a toss up between Hines and Kim or Petra and Dimitry. Both couples always took my breath away. In the end, Kym and Hines got my vote. Not only does Kym have a knack for dancing and teaching, she knows just the right costumes to pull out and when for the most part. They aren’t too gawdy or in your face. They are never ugly or tasteless. They always match the dance which is really important in my opinion. Totally classy all the way.

Courtney: I’d like to say a little prayer of thanks & praise to Our Lady of the Awesome Boobage, because she easily ran away with this title, IMO :-D Seriously – Kym’s hair, makeup, and costumes were picture-perfect this season, and I think she did a great job of styling Hines well, too.  My favorites had to be her quickstep dress (quite possibly my favorite ballgown in the history of the show) and Argentine tango dress (who would have thought thousands of pearls could make a bigger statement than the cliched rhinestones?).  I think Kym’s biggest strength in styling both her & her partners is that she knows when to keep it simple – most of her popular costumes are very uncomplicated silhouttes, in flattering colors and textures that compliment the moves of the dances.  Wish some more of the female pros would take a page out of her book…you listening, Lacey & Karina? ;-) Petra was a vision in all of her costumes this season – but how couldn’t she be, when she’s such a vision on her own? And a sweetheart to boot…I have to admit, I really liked she & Dmitry together this season, despite thinking I would find them boring.  While I don’t think all of Kirstie’s costumes were terribly flattering (still trying to figure out her jive & waltz costumes…), I do think they were memorable and fit the dances well.  Thought some of Romeo & Chelsie’s costumes were just lovely – god I loved both their Fred & Ginger-inspired foxtrot costumes, and their Titanic-inspired waltz costumes! Rounding out the write-in category: Ralph & Karina (12), Chelsea & Mark (7), Chris & Cheryl (1), and “No one” (1). Ralph & Karina were kinda hit-or-miss for me – loved their foxtrot costumes, hated their salsa costumes, loved their rumba & waltz costumes, hated their paso doble & quickstep costumes.  Karina’s kinda all over the place for me, costume-wise.  Looks like Chelsea & Mark are a polarizing couple – people seemed to either really love or hate both their dancing & their costumes! She had a few good ones (foxtrot, cha-cha), but I’m afraid she was overshadowed by the ridiculous ones (paso doble, samba, freestyle). As for Chris & Cheryl – I didn’t really LOVE any of their costumes this season, but I didn’t really hate them, either.  They were just…there.

Marianya: Instead of saying “best dressed” I’ll instead say who I think didn’t annoy me with their costumes. In this case it would have to be Petra and Dmitry. However, if we’re measuring the entire course of the show, then of course Hines and Kym. :D

Heidi: In re-watching the various seasons, I’m continually in awe of the hot blond with the awesome boobage – and I ain’t talkin’ Derek. :-)  What I can’t figure is why Kym is so under the radar – I guess she’s second only to Derek in the lack of self promotion.  It’s like she goes into hiding between seasons…but this girl is just gorgeous!!  Inside and out. It’s safe to say I have a straight gurl crush. :-)  Seriously – two trophies, great record with her partners, gorgeous…and the best dance-face around.  Best example is her Team Paso with Warren – fierce.  Speaking of Paso Doble’s with Warren – that pleather ensemble and the Matrix tribute dance?? Awesome.  This season, I have to go with the quickstep dress -fantastic.   She’s my new favorite girl, easily.

July 19, 2011 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 12 End of Season Award Winners – Which Couple’s Elimination Was the Most Disappointing?

John: I had an odd season with no real emotional favorite (although, I did like Chelsea). However, Ralph was just a class act. Plus, I’m afraid Mr. Miyagi might come and kick my trash if I said otherwise.

Vogue: LOL JOHN!! Seriously, Ralph for me too!!! The judges finally had their way. I’ll never understand why they picked on him so? A total shame. He belonged in the Finals! I really enjoyed him and I was the happiest when he and Karina brought in an Oriental influence to some of their dances. Beautiful!!

Courtney: With the exception of maybe Kendra & Louis (who I still must applaud for a very classy exit), I was disappointed to see all of the above couples eliminated – but the sting was definitely the greatest with Ralph :-( Echoing Vogue’s sentiments, it was the last straw – the judges had finally gotten away with manipulating the outcome of the show.  And Ralph looked so heartbroken, even though I think he knew it was coming.  I think Ralph’s unceremonious ousting (and season-long abuse by the judges) will go down in DWTS history as the most unfair cut…even moreseo than Brandy, because this time around – only the judges are to blame.  I also got a little sad when Romeo was cut, just because he had grown so much in the duration of the season & seemed so humbled and thankful for the experience.  Chris was just so funny & charming (and he got dealt a crappy dance the week he was sent packing) that it hurt to see him go too; and Petra was just an absolute angel and seemed truly humbled by the experience.  Really and truly, with the exception of Wendy – I think all of this season’s eliminated contestants were very classy & gracious when they were eliminated.  Very impressive :-) Some write-ins: Kirstie & Maks (7), Mark & Chelsea (2), None (2), Mike & Lacey (1).  I never really count those who make it to the finale but don’t win as “eliminations”, but I could see how those could sting just as bad.  I liked Kirstie & I was glad to see her beat Chelsea, but I think deep down I know that there was no way she could bridge the points gap between her & Hines, thanks to the judges.  I felt bad for Chelsea (who I think was a bit of a pawn this season), but I can’t say I was disappointed to see her go – her very presence in the finale seemed unfair, and had she won – it would have been a very hollow win.  I didn’t hate the player – I hated the game.

Heidi: I don’t think the judges realize that manipulating someone into the finals doesn’t mean people are suddenly going to start voting for her. By that stage of the game, the voting is pretty set (for those doing the serious voting especially).  And if you’re not getting votes, it might be for a good reason, not an accident. Most have learned from Sabrina by now. For that reason alone, it was a shame that Ralph got the boot. But I agree with Courtney in that I was sad to see a lot of them go for a variety of reasons. But Ralph’s ouster just pissed me off. I have to think that the judges get in their heads the “good dancer” and “bad dancer” labels for each contestant and they can’t seem to bridge that when someone starts to improve and do well.

Marianya: Really? Really?! REALLY?!?! How do you choose? There were so many (ok, really only two in my book) disappointing eliminations, but one that I was definitely screaming and pouting about was Ralph and Karina the judges proverbial punching bag. I mean COME ON! The moment that TPTB allow people to call in and pick which dances they liked you have to expect the popularity vote, there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. **Sighs**

July 15, 2011 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!

DWTS12 End of Season Award Winners – Which Dance Was the Best?

John: I think I’m with the other 49 people that voted for other on this one. I just have a really hard time choosing a favorite dance. Too hard for me to compare a Cha Cha to a Quickstep to a Waltz to a Rumba. They’re all so different. I just love dance.

Courtney: It’s really interesting to me that what you guys voted as the best dance this season wasn’t one with particularly stunning choreography or flawless execution – granted, Kirstie was great in it, but I think the appeal was more in the entertainment value than anything else.  Compared to very technically impressive dances like Derek & Jennifer’s Argentine tango or Kyle & Lacey’s jive, Kirstie’s just sticks out as a fun, carefree, easygoing little ditty – which is totally fine with me :-) Kind of a nice change of pace.  Obviously it was well-received, since Kirstie & Maks have performed it at least a dozen times both on DWTS and on other shows! Haha.  I think Hines’ samba was probably stronger technically, but didn’t have quite as much sass as Kirstie’s cha-cha; I think Ralph’s quickstep & Romeo’s waltz were likely the strongest of the smooth dances, but still can’t trump the memorability of Kirstie’s dance.  Chelsea & Mark’s rumba – meh, it was dramatic, but I didn’t see anything that was insanely well-executed, and I think they were overscored; Kendra & Louis’ samba was just pure fun – little to no technique, but a lot of jiggle :-) Onto the other category – again, many of you answered with one name, like “Kendra”, “Chelsea”, or “Hines”, which tells me NOTHING about which dance was best, so your votes get thrown out; looks like Hines & Kym’s Argentine tango (3), Ralph & Karina’s foxtrot (2), Chelsea & Mark’s Viennese waltz (2), Ralph & Karina’s waltz (1), Chelsea & Mark’s slow waltz (1), Kirstie & Maks’ Argentine tango (1), Romeo & Chelsie’s paso doble (1), and Hines & Kym’s paso doble (1).  I agree that some of these are good, but compared to other dances, they seemed to get lost in the shuffle a bit.  Someone else just voted “MEEEEEE!!!!”, so I’m assuming either Mark or Lacey found their way here and are trying to pad their vote percentages ;-); and for whoever voted “there were no really good dances” – I agree with you to some degree.  The caliber of dancing this season was just not up to par with what we’ve seen in seasons past.  There’s something to be said for having ringers, kids…

Marianya: Can I plead the fifth? I’m afraid I can’t answer this one truthfully. I mean I understand why Kirstie & Maks’ first ChaCha is voted towards the top, but it wasn’t the best dance, it’s definitely one of the more memorable ones. Courtney does a great job explaining it. But the best? I don’t think there really was one, I mean I liked Chelsea & Mark Viennese Waltz to Harry Potter’s Hedwig Theme, but I’m a Harry Potter fan so meh. Yeah… memorable I could choose, but I don’t think there is anything that I could define as “the best”.

Vogue: Kirstie and Mak’s Cha Cha!! I don’t think I’ll ever forget that first night she danced and how she lit us all up. As much as many of us liked her, we weren’t expecting her to come out and dance the way she did. She was light on her feet. She was cheeky, flirtatious, and fun. Maks was clearly having a blast and we saw a change in him right from the get go. We knew we were in for something really special all Season with this dance and they didn’t fail us. It made the perfect statement in more ways than one. I loved almost all of Karina and Ralph’s dances as well. Romeo and Petra grew on me. As much as I could appreciate the creativity in Mark’s choreography, I was equally or more annoyed with his antics and ego.

Heidi: My initial response was “Meh”.  Just “meh”. I think this past season overall was not one that had any dancing that made me sit up and go “Wow, that was awesome” – but I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy it because I did. I enjoyed watching Hines, Kirstie, Ralph, Romeo – even Kendra provided limited entertainment value.  And Petra always made me go “Oh, she’s so pretty and nice.”  But I don’t think the dancing was up to par of, say, Season 10, where we had Nicole, Evan and Erin – the last two would have won this season handily, absent Nicole. There certainly is something to be said for ringers – better to have 3 like Season 10 than none at all.

July 14, 2011 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!

DWTS12 End of Season Award Winners – Which Celebrity Improved the Most Throughout the Season?

John: After seeing Master P, I wasn’t sure that Romeo would ever turn the corner and let himself go. I think he definitely deserves this award in my book.

Heidi: I also have to give it to Romeo, easily. Kirstie was more of an inverted bell curve – started out good, faltered a good bit, and then got better

Marianya: Romeo… I really grew to like him over the course of the season, I could have gotten used to him being around a bit longer…

Vogue: Yep, Romeo for me too! During the pre-show period and in the beginning, he seemed a little full of himself and I was beginning to get really annoyed when he didn’t want to wear the dance shoes or seemed too cool to get into it all. I didn’t think he’d last long even though you could feel and see a tiny spark there. Then suddenly, he started surprising us all. I loved how he bloomed in so many ways. It was pure joy and even magical watching him when he put the coolness aside and became a class act…..now that was COOL!

Courtney: No disagreement here! I loved watching Romeo really grow throughout the season.  I think the turning point was his foxtrot – that was the first time he seemed to really enjoy himself and took the quality of his dancing to a whole new level.  By the time he was eliminated, I daresay he was giving Chelsea, Kirstie, Hines & Ralph all a decent run for their money, technique-wise.  He also seemed to really grow as a person – he started off the cool cat that thought wearing dance shoes was lame; as the weeks went by, he shed the bravado and the facade and showed a vulnerability I don’t think anyone could’ve expected from him when the season started – except for my mom, who loved him from day 1…she’s got good intuition ;-).  Definitely a bright spot of this season for me! As for Kirstie – I kinda agree with Heidi that it wasn’t so much that she improved, but she started off good, kinda fell into a slump, and then recovered and was good again at the end.  Chris would probably be my 2nd place on this one – he started off pretty darn bad, then slowly improved before getting dealt a crappy hand (or rather, song & dance) the week he was eliminated.  Kendra improved a little bit the last 2 weeks or so that she was in the competition, but I don’t think it was a vast improvement; Petra stayed about the same for me the short time she was around.  Write-in responses: Ralph (6), Hines (5), Chelsea (3).  I don’t think Hines improved at all – he started off good and remained consistent the entire season.  Kinda the same deal with Chelsea – I think she was a good dancer the whole season through, but the ups & downs she had with the judges due to bad choreography choices on Mark’s part probably gave the false impression that she was improving. Big difference between getting good scores w/the judges (which are often skewed to fit their biases) and actually improving ;-) As for Ralph – I feel like it’s a bit of the same phenomenon: Ralph really started off good and ended pretty good with the smooth dances, and consistently did bad at the Latin dances…but the way the judges were all over the place with the scores, it often made it seem like he was doing far better (or worse) than he really was.

July 13, 2011 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!