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DWTS Celebrities: “What do you mean, I’m a Ringer?” Part 3

This is the 3rd and final part of the series where I take a look at the partners the pros have had and their “ringer” status. Part 1 discusses how I define a ringer – you can find it here —> I’m a Ringer?? Part 2 discusses the female pros and their partners and how I labeled them – I think it’s pretty clear that they’ve not been quite as blessed as the men. Reasons for that should be self evident – female celebrities are more likely to have some sort of dance experience, even if it is taking ballet or tap as a child.  NOTE: This was mostly written before the pairings were announced for Season 14 – those pairings certainly change the game for lots of pros. Lots of potential ringers on this season.

I strongly recommend you read the first two parts before you comment – I don’t want to have to reiterate everything I wrote MONTHS ago. :-)  Also, be wise and don’t complain about the length, admit that you didn’t read it all, and then argue with me – that will just earn you scorn and an eye roll.  I know this is long – I considered breaking it into two parts, but then I figured it’s still long in two parts. People will either be interested or they won’t.  :::shrug:::  Also take note that I, personally, don’t care about ringers themselves. I think a season without them is deadly.  What I DO care about is hypocrisy, revisionist history and the fairy tales that some like to spread about who has had ringers and who hasn’t.

From where I sit, there are two types of ringers – and then there’s just being blessed. Fanbase ringer (ie. Donny Osmond, etc.) or Experience Ringer (Mel B, Nicole, Sabrina, etc.), and lucky get (Lalia, Brooke, Gilles, JR). Just because someone happens to be a great dancer doesn’t mean they are a ringer. When someone is blessed with a partner who can dance, it doesn’t mean they were handed a ringer. That particular argument is so illogical that it’s hard for me to take seriously. If they actually seriously auditioned people to be on this show by making them dance with a pro for an hour or two, it would be understandable. But they don’t stand people in a room with a pro dancer and then say, “wow, she’s got some moves, let’s give her to Maks” or “she sucks, lets give her to Tony.” It doesn’t work that way. If it did, they wouldn’t be able to get people on the show. And can you imagine a pro like Tony sticking around if that was the approach they took?

As it happens, and as many people connected to the show have reiterated, the process of how a pro gets a celebrity often has to do with height, personality, looks, chemistry and the cast as a whole…and this becomes obvious as the show progresses. They are actually quite good at matching people up. I would imagine they give this a lot of consideration as it impacts, or has the potential to impact, ratings.  You’re going to try to avoid having a bunch of pairings that make people go “eeewww” or get seriously pissed off. I think you need to limit that to one couple per season. Can you imagine what it would be like for every pro on a season to have a partnership similar to that of Hope and Maks??  I would want to stab my eyes out with a fork if they were ALL like that and there was no Carson/Anna or David/Kym. Seriously – think about it.  So, it may be good to have ONE Maks/Hope – gives people (me and Courtney) something to talk about, rant about, get passionate about, etc. (This is separate from a discussion of whether Maks finally went too far or not – I don’t think that’s what the producers intended.) Read more..

March 11, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS Celebrities: “What do you mean, I’m a Ringer?” Part 2

This is Part 2 in what will likely be a 3-part series. If you want to read Part 1, you can find it here —> I’m a Ringer??

Well, let me tell you, researching these former contestants was not particularly enjoyable. But, I felt like some research had to go into this in order to try to be somewhat informed and to remove some of the subjectivity. Not all of it can be removed, but I tried.

How did I get my results?

For each celebrity who was *possibly* experienced or popular, I focused research on their web sites (if available), their Wiki pages, and YouTube videos.  Then there were google searches. Yikes.  If a celebrity was clearly not a ringer in any way shape or form (ie Football players, rodeo riders, race car drivers) I did not look into their background any further. I did spend some time on this, but since I have another job that takes my time, it’s possible I missed something. :-) BUT, just because you don’t agree with my rankings, it doesn’t mean I DID miss something. Just sayin’. :-)

Determining if someone is actually a fanbase ringer is rather difficult as well. My metric for that determination is: Is this person well known and well loved by the biggest DWTS demographic – that is women aged about 30 to 65. These are the people most likely to watch the show and vote.  Where it gets tricky is guys like Joey Lawrence and Ian Zeiring – it’s guys like this that caused me the most pain.  Why? Well, because my brain is saying, “Nah” but my gut is saying “Just because you’re not a fan doesn’t mean they don’t have sizable fanbases. :-) So, at the end of the day, I decided for my purposes that for them to be a fanbase ringer, it had to be OBVIOUS.  That is – if I know they’re super popular, then they probably really are.  If I don’t really know much about them….then they probably aren’t. I fit the demographic, after all. :-) Read more..

September 17, 2011 I Written By

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

Dancing with the Stars – History of the Judges Scores, Part 2

Part 2 in my series about the Judges Scoring History covers season 6 of Dancing with the Stars; the season of Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas (read Part 1 here). Prior to re-watching the season, I remembered it as a season in which Kristi dominated. I don’t think, anymore, that that is necessarily the case. She is still probably the biggest ringer the show has ever cast, when looking at it from a fanbase AND experience point of view, but she didn’t dominate the show in like I remember. I also never got the feeling – like I did with Nicole – that the judges were purposely underscoring her in order to make it look more like a horse race. In fact, I have very few gripes with the judging in this season, period.

Here were the scores from Week 5, onward:

Season 6 Weekly Scores (Part I)

Celebrity Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8
Kristi 29 (Rumba) 30 (Jive) 26 (V. Waltz) 29 (Quickstep)
28 (Cha Cha) 26 (Samba)
Jason 27 (Rumba) 24 (Cha Cha) 29 (Quickstep) 29 (Tango)
26 (Paso Doble) 23 (Samba)
Christian 23 (Rumba) 27 (Foxtrot) 25 (V. Waltz) 28 (Tango)
21 (Samba) 29 (Mambo)
Marissa 24 (Samba) 26 (V. Waltz) 27 (Tango) 25 (Foxtrot)
25 (Rumba) 25 (Mambo)
Mario 27 (Samba) 28 (Rumba) 24 (Foxtrot) 27 (V. Waltz)
27 (Mambo) 26 (Jive)
Shannon 23 (Samba) 24 (Rumba) 27 (Tango)
24 (Rumba)
Marlee 22 (Samba) 21 (Mambo)
Priscilla 21 (Rumba)

Season 6 Weekly Scores (Part II)

Celebrity Week 9 Week 10 Week Finale
Kristi 29 (Tango) 30 (Cha Cha) 30 (Jive)
28 (Jive) 30 (Freestyle)
Jason 28 (Foxtrot) 24 (Cha Cha) 30 (Quickstep)
27 (Paso Doble) 27 (Freestyle)
Christian 27 (V.Waltz) 26 (Cha Cha)
29 (Samba) 26 (Freestyle)
Marissa 26 (Quickstep)
26 (Rumba)

- Week 5 – The judges essentially raved about Mario and Kristi, while all the rest got constructive criticism. I think the judges gave Marissa an accurate score, but were quite harsh on Priscilla and Shannon. Both of them, in addition to Christian, were underscored, particularly when compared to Marissa. Christian, frankly, was robbed. They gave the encore to Kristi, but I was shocked to realize that, IMO, the best dance of the night belonged to Edyta and Jason.

- Week 6 – Here we see, again, a bit of over-scoring – Christian had been in the bottom 2 the previous week, so this week he gets raves on a dance that clearly seemed rushed to me. Again, Mario and Kristi get raves, and Marissa gets handled with kid gloves. Marissa isn’t a “bad” dancer, per se, but she isn’t as good as Shannon or Pricilla. I often think that if you dance better than the judges expect, you get better scores than people who danced better – if those people are expected to dance better. Follow me? Anyway, Mario would have gotten a higher score if not for the lift police. I don’t disagree with the judges and Shannon’s hips (she has none, lucky beyotch), but the words exchanged with Bruno were quite harsh – the look of utter shock on Shannon’s face was hard to look at and that shock is a likely catalyst for what comes later…but more on that later.

- Week 7 – This is the week where everyone has one good dance and one not so good dance. And that pretty much sums it up. I would say there’s a trend between this season and Season 5, but it can likely be chalked up to the first week with two whole dances. The only scoring that impressed me as off (other than Marissa) was Jason. As much as I loved him, I thought he was slightly overscored in his quickstep. I just don’t get the love affair they have with Marissa. I mean, she’s not a “bad” dancer, but I don’t think she’s always worthy of the scores she gets. I think she might be getting the “personality” score.

- Week 8 – A week later than Season 5, we hear the old mantra of “that was good, but not quite good enough for heading into the semi-finals. Marissa got it, as did Jason on his second dance. Christian did not get the talk, he actually got raves and this was the week after he tore his tendon in his arm. He actually did very well, but I thought that he was not as good as Mario who was scored lower. Kristi got her usual raves although she and Mario both got some flack for their second dances. Kristi because her Samba was “awkward and out of control” – and I absolutely agreed with that assessment. WAY too much stuff in that dance. Mario’s feet were apparently bad or “rough” – but still, better than Christian. While I agreed with Jason’s critiques, there is no way he was 3 points behind Kristi in the second dance. As for Marissa, she is far below the other dancers in terms of quality.

- Week 9 – Marissa gets a break (a little) on the scores, much like the semi-final ease up in Season 5. She still gets a good bit of criticism (lack of body content in hold, missed leap on the run), including the “It’s not a semi-final dance” for the second one. But her quickstep was pretty good, so I can see the improvement in score. On the other hand, Kristi, Christian and Jason all get basically rave reviews with minor critiques thrown in. Kristi got the “too hectic” from Len on her Tango (agreed) and the “hair out of sync” from Carrie Ann on her Jive (agreed) – which was really Mark out dancing her a bit, like he has a tendency to do with all his partners on Jive. Christian was “occasionally flatfooted” on his Viennese Waltz. I take it back, Jason was not critiqued at all and in my notes I have the words “slightly over rated” for his Paso Doble. That’s okay, because I have “underscored” next to his Foxtrot. :-)

This is a random note, but I noticed that Marissa got harder dances, while Kristi got dances that were perfect for her. The dances on this night were determined by “random draw” and I always wonder about those and if they are REALLY random. At the end of the night I also felt that Jason out danced Kristi, even though she beat him by two points.

- Week 10 – Jason and Christian are pretty much left in Kristi’s dust. She is the most consistent and technically superior of the three so that’s no big thing. Not much point in discussing the scoring, although I will say that Christian’s injury does catch up with him – I didn’t get the feeling there was underscoring going on to prop up Kristi. As for Jason – the Cha Cha was clearly not his dance, especially not in a “cha cha challenge” where they all dance to the same song one after the other. Not that Kristi needed propping. I predicted as soon as her name was announced that she would win. She’s *Kristi Yamaguchi* after all.

Season 6 Summary – On finale night, Christian is announced as 3rd place before there is anymore dancing. After that, both Kristi and Jason are given perfect 30’s – pretty safe, since Kristi is still 9 points ahead. I didn’t note whether I found Jason’s score to be valid or not, since it really didn’t matter at that point. No one is going to over come a 9 point lead against Kristi. That’s not to say the scores weren’t valid – they were. I had very few problems with how this season went down. No real surprises. No shocks. They did make a point, from time to time of saying that a dance wasn’t up to par for a given point in the season – which is how it should be.

Random Observations:

  • Christian and Jason’s bromance is the sweetest thing about this season.
  • Kristi wasn’t the phenom that I remember her to be. She’s very, VERY good, but I actually enjoyed Christian and Jason more, from an entertainment standpoint.
  • Week 8 this season was the first non-bottom 2 reveal.  I’m waiting to see what season they do away with it altogether and if it becomes obvious WHY they do it.
  • Len did his Master Class with the remaining couples in Week 9 – I had forgotten how hilarious he can be. This one ends with him in a limo with Kym. :-)
  • Mark DIDN’T have polka dots in Kristi’s 1st Jive costume other than her hair bow – yes, you know this is remarkable if you’ve been paying attention. He did succumb to the polka dots for their jive in the semis.
  • Derek hurts his neck, then gets food poisoning, then has a meltdown with Shannon the confessional – who was saying he’s never been challenged?? :-) Anyway, the meltdown – they apologized over and over and over and both seemed to regret it. Somehow, that got lost in the discussions of the subject well after the fact.
  • This season had one of the great Pro Dances that seem to have faded away in the seasons since.
  • February 27, 2011 I Written By

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

    DWTS Costumes…Sparkle and Shine!

    Hey Everyone! I’m a new blogger for DWTS so I thought I’d let you guys know what to expect from my blogs :) I will be blogging about the costumes featured on this season and the choreography/technique of the dances and how well (or not so well) each couple performed them! Now that we have that out of the way let me get started!

    I absolutely love the costumes that the celebs and pros wear on DWTS and I first wondered how all the costumes got sewn and fitted in time! I googled Randall Christensen, the head wardrobe designer, and found that he only has 3 1/2 days to get costumes made! This has got to be a crazy time during the first weeks of competition since there are so many couples! I also found this AMAZING youtube video interviewing Mr. Christensen about the process:

    To me, what makes are great costume is a combination of:

    • Is the material used appropriate for the dance style?
    • Is the costume suited for the celeb and pro as a couple?
    • Does the style of the costume match the style of the dance?
    • Are the sparkle and shine elements right on for the costume or not quite there?
    • Are the accessories perfect for the costume or are they to much or to little?
    • Overall, does the costume compliment the celebrity to showcase their dance strengths instead of their dance weaknesses.

    With that said…here are my top 5 favorite costumes and my top 5 train wrecks!

    TOP 5 FAVORITES (Season 4 – Present):

    1. Chelsie Hightower and Ty Murray: Season 8
      Chelsie Hightower and Ty Murray
    2. Cheryl Burke and Gilles Marini: Season 8
    3. Cheryl Burke and Gilles Marini

    4. Julianne Hough and Apolo Anton Ohno: Season 4
      Julianne Hough and Apolo Anton Ohno
    5. Cheryl Burke and Christian de la Fuenta: Season 6
      Cherly Burke and Christian de la Fuenta
    6. Brooke Burke and Derek Hough: Season 8
      Brooke Burke and Derek Hough

    TOP 5 TRAIN WRECKS (Season 4 – Present):

    1. Cheryl Burke and Wayne Newton: Season 5
      Cheryl Burke and Wayne Newton
    2. Marie Osmand and Johnathan Roberts: Season 5
      Marie Osmond and Johnathan Roberts
    3. Susan Lucci and Tony Dovolani: Season 7
      Susan Lucci and Tony Dovolani
    4. Julianne Hough and Chuck Wicks: Season 8
      Julianne Hough and Chuck Wicks
    5. Karina Smirnoff and Steve Wozniak: Season 8
      Karina Smirnoff and Steve Wozniak

    Now it’s your turn! What costumes stand out the most as favorites or train wrecks!

    August 27, 2009 I Written By