Well Disney week went just as predicted, for the most part – overall, it was a pretty feel-good evening in terms of scores and critiques, (minus one or two puzzling comments here and there), and the rules seemed to be relaxed a bit; the animations dancing along the couples were not as intrusive as they were made to sound; Donny, of course, managed to make every critique all about himself instead of the dance he just saw; and Erin (who looked like she was going to the prom and her bff had done her hair & makeup and let her borrow a “super expensive” Claire’s rhinestone necklace) did not call a moratorium on obnoxious questions in honor of Disney week, and continues to bug. The opener was probably the best we’ve seen so far this season – tons of fun and a good use of the Disney songs they were actually able to clear (more on that later).
So what did we learn tonight? That if you give the impression of not really caring about being on DWTS, then the audience won’t really care about voting for you. Such is the case with Cody, our first “shocking” (but not really, when you think about it) elimination of the season – I think many of us had commented that he seemed rather blase about the whole experience, and just didn’t seem to be very invested or enthusiastic about learning the dances. I know many had assumed that he was getting “tons of votes” from his teenybopper fans, but once again, I reiterate: it’s not how a small (but vocal) minority is voting; it’s how the main demographic (middle-aged women) is voting that will determine long-term success on DWTS. I doubt Cody is too disappointed about getting sent home, though – his pride may be wounded, but I’m sure he will be right back to donning his genie pants and admiring his hair in the mirror while singing “Surfboard” to his supermodel girlfriend in no time. He got his exposure, he’s good to go – I just feel bad for Witney, who made a pretty damn good showing for her first outing as a pro and just suffered from having a partner that didn’t connect with viewers, despite her best efforts. Thank god for the switch-up – I think her week with Drew was just a taste of what she’s capable of as a pro. She’s got a thumbs-up from me if they want to bring her back as a pro next sesaon!
So now that we’re at the halfway point of the season, how are things looking, overall? Hate to say it, but I’m starting to get the William Levy-vibe from Meryl – somebody that the judges/PTB seem intent on jamming down my throat as the be-all, end-all, and someone who manages to avoid negative critiques altogether despite making technique mistakes that other couples get called out on in a heartbeat. I’m also still not quite sure what the deal is with Charlie – the judges seem to be much harder on him than Meryl, despite him not really being inferior to her in terms of skill; can’t decide if they’re setting him up for more of a “journey” arc or what. Danica seems like she might still be in the mix as a potential contender, but the judges seem to run hot & cold on her; James, however, has solidified his position as this season’s “dark horse” in a BIG way – I would be nervous if my name were Meryl, Charlie, or Danica, because James is HUNGRY for that MBT. Read more..
Bye-bye, gadawful switch week – helllloooo, Disney week! This may be the one good idea TPTB have had the entire season Sounds like a lot of you are pretty pumped about it – so why not get even more excited by compiling a song wish list and seeing if we might be able to predict what everyone might be dancing to, shall we?
Vogue & I came up with a list of the most popular Disney songs we could think of and divided them up by dance style – Deep Throat indicated that all the songs were probably going to be very well-known, so while I think it would be totes appropos to see Maks dancing to “Gaston” from Beauty & the Beast, it’s probably far more likely that he & Meryl have a song like “Beauty & the Beast” or “Be Our Guest”.
If you didn’t catch it yesterday, some of the couples revealed some clues about their dances in this media post Vogue posted yesterday. Some other clues, which I revealed on Twitter yesterday? Both Meryl & Charlie have eschewed the expected “Disney princess/prince” roles that some were hoping they’d assume this week, and are both going for “something different”. And because Peta is about as subtle as a sledgehammer (thanks, emojis) I’ll go ahead and throw out one song spoiler: James & Peta are, indeed, doing contemporary to “Let it Go” from Frozen. Happy Hump Day, kids Read more..
So now that we’ve seen everybody dance both their team dance & individual dance, I can finally start to get a snapshot of where things stand heading into week 6. As I promised in part I, I’ve really just taken my commentary on last night’s dances, copied & pasted it here, and added any additional notes I found pertinent to go along with my commentary on tonight’s dances. I know many of you have already read the spoilers we posted last night for tonight’s show, so there aren’t probably any huge revelations for you; for those that haven’t, I doubt there are any huge revelations for you, either…it became pretty clear to me that they put the stronger individual performances on Tuesday night and the weaker ones on Monday night, perhaps in an effort to increase viewership for Tuesday night’s show. As for the team dance – I think you guys can probably guess where I stand And the other thing that became quite evident after tonight? They are really doing their damndest to protect Gilles and ensure he sticks around. Gilles gets the high score of night 1; 3 of the 4 couples on night 2 get the same (2.5 points lower than Gilles’) score, and the one person that even comes close still falls .5 points short of Gilles, despite dancing one of the most beautiful waltzes I’ve ever seen on the show. The message is clear: protect the whiny, egotistical Frenchmen at all costs. Gag me.
Speaking of week 6 – it is country week, and each couple is doing an individual unlearned dance and a group dance. The group dance will not be scored, except the couple that does the move that impresses the judges the most will get two bonus points – which is practically nothing, in the great scheme of things, since we’re taking all of the points from this week and all of the points from next week and adding them together. It’s gonna be a fanbase battle royale…hope you guys voted hard!
1.) Sabrina & Louis – I was skeptical about Sabrina being able to carry off such a soft, romantic dance, since she seems to hit everything so hard – but this was actually quite lovely. She showed a lot of control and some of her lines were just beautiful – at a couple moments, I honestly thought she would fit right in on a dance floor filled with American Smooth professionals. I even believed adoring looks she was giving Louis – and while I agree that vulnerability may not be Sabrina’s strong suit, I thought she absolutely showed it tonight in this waltz. Funny how you call her out on it, Carrie Ann, and then give her a 10 anyway. If you aren’t gonna nut up, then you gots to SHUT UP. Loved the theme, loved the choreography, loved the execution – and love that someone from Team Call Me Maybe was able to give Gilles a run for his money in the individual dance round
2.) Gilles & Peta – Well, guess I can’t really get too mad at the overscoring of this one, since it’s kind of become par for the course this season. I actually thought Gilles had some really nice lines in this rumba – he was actually extending both his arms and his legs nicely. But my big problem was that I still felt like Peta was doing all the work…and it got a little repetitive. To concur with Len, I got tired of the leg extensions and displays of flexibility really quickly, and it seemed to slow everything down just a little too much. It was a time-waster in an already shortened routine. It seemed like the first part (the a cappella part) was nice, and then once the crescendo hit with the instruments it was all overwrought emotion from there on out. I would have probably given it a 28, tops, because I felt like there just wasn’t as much content as there should have been. 29.5 is an awfully cushy score. Adding in after Tuesday night’s show: I wasn’t so upset about this score last night, but now I am, considering that Shawn & Derek did what I would consider to be a FAR superior rumba, both in terms of technique & performance, got reamed by the judges, and ended up 2.5 points less than Gilles. The pimping is obvious now, and TPTB (and Gilles himself) seem hellbent on changing the name of the show to “Dancing with Gilles Marini!…and some other people”. But I do feel a bit vindicated knowing that Gilles’ magnum opus of a team freestyle got called out for being a ridiculous mess and got 2.5 points less than Team Call Me Maybe…that really must chap his ass, as does the fact that Sabrina is now at the top of the leaderboard Read more..
Since the cast announcement, there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not some of this season’s cast members have an unfair advantage on the show due to having “previous dance experience”. So I took it upon myself to do a little digging around to see just who out of our 12 celebs is no stranger to the dance floor…and guess what? All of them have done a little dancing before…well, at least a very loose definition of dancing So why don’t we see how they all measure up, shall we? Let’s begin with the stars with the more obvious experience: Brandy, Florence, Jennifer, & the Hoff. Watch and discuss…
First up, we have Brandy, who starred in a revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella back in 1997. Here’s her big “dance number” – the song “Ten Minutes Ago”, where she croons with Paolo Montalban while doing some Viennese waltzing:
As for any experience she may have garnered in her music video days, here’s the most “dance-heavy” video of hers I could find – “Afrodisiac”:
Courtney: Ok, the first video is some pretty basic Viennese waltzing – natural turn, reverse turn, underarm turn, repeat. And Brandy & Paolo suspiciously disappear when the extras begin the heavy duty spinning & lifting. I mean, as far as an advantage – it may save Maks 15 mintues of practice time explaining what the Viennese waltz is and what the basic movement is. But other than that…nah. As for her video (and I think this goes for all of her videos in general) – Brandy does a lot of grooving and a little bit of basic choreo, but she leaves the hard stuff to her backup dancers. She may be able to inject the “sexy factor” into her dances, but I don’t think she’s going to have an edge in terms of technical skill.
Marianya: I remember when I first saw Brandy and Paolo dance in Cinderella I promised myself that I would learn how to do that. And then when I went to do it, it was the most basic steps in the repertoire… talk about disappointment. Also in regards to music videos or shows, Brandy was big in the 90s, but the 90s weren’t all that dance heavy for the female soloists… at least not until Britney Spears and Co. from the Mickey Mouse club took over the music world for a spell (turn of the millennium). So really in regards to prior dance experience, none… can she pick up choreo? Definitely, but that’s something that most anyone could do… the mere fact that she’s done choreo before just edges here out slightly…
Heidi: Who choreographed that Cinderella thing? Will they own up to it? Yeah, not a ringer, but I do think she has more of an advantage due to her relative youth and physical conditioning.
The verdict: Her basic knowledge of choreo may give her a SLIGHT advantage, but we think she’s going to have more of an edge from her young age & great body.
Now we’re onto Florence Henderson, who did some serious disco grooving back when she was on The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (unless you want to sit through some serious cheese, I recommend starting at the 2:24 mark to see Flo shake her groove thing ):
Marianya: I was watching this at work and was shaking my head a few times… man everyone was all over the place, it’s amazing. The steps are very basic that most anyone could pick up the choreo, I don’t think this could transcend into ballroom dancing. Plus it’s been a few decades for her… and she’s not getting any younger.
Courtney: The hustle portion is hysterical – at some point, every single one of them messes up. Again, some pretty elementary “jazz hands” type dancing…which even Flo fouls up a few times. And this was quite a few years ago – I don’t know that Flo is gonna be as lithe & nimble now as she was then.
Heidi: Didn’t I also read that Florence was also a Broadway baby? Yup, I did. I think, like Jennifer, that her age kind of equalizes any perceived benefit to having been in Oklahoma and South Pacific – but the advantage that doesn’t go away is the comfort in front of a live audience and doing a live performance. See, I think everyone has an advantage of some sort – it’s going to come down to who has the most.
The verdict: Her age will likely negate any edge she may have had from Broadway, but she may be more comfortable in front of a live audience than some of the other celebs…just don’t ask her to do the Hustle.
Here we have the celeb who has been accused of having the greatest amount of dance experience this season – Jennifer Grey. Now, due to the fine folks at Lionsgate Entertainment and their vigilant policing of any uploaded clips from Dirty Dancing, an embeddable copy of the famous “final dance” from the movie does not exist on the interwebs – so you can go watch it here.
Courtney: Ok, now while this iconic scene may be forever embedded in some folks’ minds as “fantastic dancing”, I think Marianya (and anyone else that has seen REAL mambo) will agree that this is pretty mediocre by most ballroom standards. Very stiff, very obviously choreographed. And again – quite a few years ago, and Jennifer has had some health problems since then, so even if she could remember these moves, there’s no guarantee that she’d be able to execute them.
Heidi: Interesting note about this dance: I read or saw a show on Patrick Swayze and they said this was the first dance filmed and they could only do ONE take because Patrick was having…was it back issues?? There was not a lot of takes on this dance, if the thing I saw was correct. It’s possible they were talking about “the lift” too. It’s been a while. That said – I think that most people are blinded by the romance of the moment, and miss the amateurish dancing. It’s a sweet movie – but it’s not truly about dancing.
Marianya: It’s funny when you see iconic dances in movies or television and you think “I wanna be able to do that” and when you actually start learning, it’s a whole different ball of wax. Now, Jennifer has studied dance growing up, but that was how many decades ago? Sure, she could pick up choreography… decades ago, but again, so can most anyone else. I think Jennifer would be slightly ahead of the game in the ballroom dances due to her dance studies growing up, but in regards to the latin dances the most is probably the basics in mambo, but that’s it… An edge? Not enough to win, but enough to score above average I’d say.
Courtney: Heidi, I’m glad you notice the amateurish dancing as well. I think it becomes especially obvious when you compare Patrick & Jennifer’s version to Cheryl & Tony’s version that they performed during season 2 – notice how much more fluid it looks when people who know how to actually dance mambo do it:
The verdict: She may have a slight advantage from her Dirty Dancing days, but that alone not going to be enough to take her all the way.
Last but not least, we’ve got David Hasselhoff. Now as one of the videos that Heidi posted earlier mentioned, David has a little bit of musical theater under his belt – he’s been in the Las Vegas production of The Producers, was the lead in Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway back in 2000, and played Billy Flynn in the London production of Chicago for 3 months back in 2004. Now while I’d love to showcase him dancing in one of these productions, I cannot find any videos of him in The Producers or Chicago, and Jekyll & Hyde is not a very dance-heavy musical. However, I do have something even better - the Hoff getting funky in the 1976 film Revenge of the Cheerleaders:
Courtney: *hysterically laughing* Wow, those cheerleaders were loving them some Hoff! Ok, that aside, I’m sure the Hoff has some rhythm, and I think the musical theater background has helped – but then again, if my knowledge of musicals serves me, Billy Flynn & Roger DeBris (his role in The Producers) aren’t known for being particularly difficult roles, dance-wise. Mainly a lot of jazz hands What I’m more concerned about – and I’ve said this before – is that the Hoff’s mind may be a bit rusty. Seriously- sometimes I think he’s got more than a few screws loose. So in spite of all this experience, I think he might have trouble remembering choreography (or even being able to pay attention when Kym is teaching it). What good is previous experience if you can’t remember it to draw from?
Marianya: Oh heaven help me. If that is what the Hoff is capable of then I foresee another Jerry Springer in the works. I saw the Hoff in the Jekyll & Hyde musical and there was no dancing in there. In fact the other parts that he has done in musical theatre were minimal if any dancing. So I don’t know if he could pick up choreo, ok he could pick up choreo but I don’t believe that he could do anything with it like Donny Osmond. He’ll ham it up, that’s for sure… but I think the buck will stop there.
Heidi: Oh my lord. What more can I say about that? I think The Hoff is going to do well on the show, but I don’t think it will be because of any perceived advantage.
The verdict:If he does well on the show, it sure as hell won’t be due to his Broadway experience – or the sizzling moves we see here!
So there you go – some food for thought for those of you who think that some of these celebs have an unfair advantage. But what about the other celebs this season, you ask? Oh boy – just you wait for part II…because you guys are gonna be blown away by some of the hoofing the other celebs have done in the past Did you sense the sarcasm there?