Yesterday, George Pennacchio visited the couples in rehearsals for the Dancing With The Stars Season 16 finale. As he says, they might be a little nervous, but “the countdown is on”. Below Derek & Kellie and Zendaya & Val speak a little about what to expect and you can see them dancing too (looking good!). Hopefully, we’ll get to see his interviews with Karina & Jacoby and Aly & Mark soon.
Awww, didn’t these two look fabulous at the Dancing With The Stars 300th Episode party (Good morning, Jim! ))?? Speaking of this team, there is a fun article at the Washington Post about Jacoby and him being the underdog to win Dancing With The Stars Season 16. However, he has some supporters who say don’t count Jacoby out just yet and why. Read this and see what you think. I love this and couldn’t agree more….
That makes Jones and his partner, professional ballroom dancer Karina Smirnoff, the underdogs. But like his scrappy football team, prone to heroic comebacks and close calls, Jones just might be able to pull it off. And he has some enthusiastic supporters back home who agree.
Fellow wide receiver Torrey Smith, a Stafford High School and University of Maryland graduate, flew to California along with his fiancée to watch Jones rhumba on Prom Night. “I think Jacoby and I might have just completed the first Chest Bump on #DWTS,” Smith tweeted.
First chest bump, maybe, although Jones is hardly the first football player to find success on the show. Retired running back Emmitt Smith won Season 3, and former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward took home the mirror ball in 2011. What’s different about Jones, however, is that he’s so much taller — 6-feet-2 and 220 pounds — and at 28, he’s still in his prime, football-wise.
On the show, judge Bruno Tonioli has called Jones “a stallion at the peak of his power” and praised his recent paso doble as straight out of a Quentin Tarantino film. The effusive Italian is given to hyperbole, but professional dancers are also impressed with what Jones has accomplished in just three months.
“He is just so amazing,” said Alicia Graf Mack, a Columbia native — and huge Ravens fan — who is a star in Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. “It’s always surprising to me when people who are so tall and big can move that quickly. That’s why [Jones] is the talent that he is for the Ravens. He has the power, but he can run quickly, and he has fast footwork.”
Graf Mack made a guest appearance on “Dancing With the Stars,” and is all for programs that bring dance to the masses, even if it’s just a minute and a half of choreography that’s mostly for show. In Jones’s case, there’s the added value of seeing a record-holding athlete say on national television that dance rehearsal is harder than football practice.
“To see a man like that move so gracefully, there’s a lot of value there,” Graf Mack said. “He sees dance as competitive and athletic, and not something that takes away from his masculinity, and that’s important.”
Whether that story line resonates with the people who pick up the phone and vote for their favorite dancer Monday night is another question, but Graf Mack is optimistic.
“There’s the appeal of seeing a guy who has never danced before,” she said. “The American public likes to see the underdog rise to the top. As we all know, Jacoby Jones knows how to perform in a clutch situation. I think my Ravens guy is going to come through, definitely.”
Pictures of Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff courtesy of Zimbio Pictures. You know where to go to find more.
Did you know the music for Mark and Aly’s Afro Jazz dance had to be edited 30 minutes before show time? It’s true. You can read all about it in Mark Ballas’ new blog at USA Today. He doesn’t give many hints about their upcoming finale dances on Dancing With The Stars except to say “it’s something new and different”. Here is more….
The Afro jazz number was a blast. I’ll let you in on a little secret: our music got edited again 30 minutes before the show. This resulted in my being stressed out over teaching Aly her transitions again. But she handled it so well and stayed completely calm when I was freaking out! Then she went out and nailed it, not missing a beat. I loved doing the Afro jazz and hope the show includes styles like that in future seasons.
Aly’s goal was to make the finals and we accomplished it. Of course, we would love to take it all the way. However, the only way to avoid cracking under pressure is just to be grateful we are here and enjoy the process. I want this final week to be the best experience for Aly.
I’m looking forward to the freestyle — it’s something new and different. But the freestyle is also hyped as the most important dance of the season. In my view, every dance is important. I want to hand in a great body of work, and I feel like we have done that.
Judge Bruno Tonioli breaks down the final four on Dancing With The Stars. He talks on each of their strengths and weaknesses. See if you don’t agree. Once again, he pretty much nails it.
ETA: Bruno also discussed the judges chemistry and the Final 4 with XFinity. Note how he thinks Aly has had the most interesting journey. He also comments on Andy Dick and how ultimately he shouldn’t have made the final which I’m not sure I agree with. Why can’t an “entertaining” person make the finale?
In fact, Bruno said he, Len, and Carrie Ann Inaba have a special chemistry that has lasted 16 seasons — unlike on other judge-revolving reality shows — “DWTS” has never replaced any judge on the original panel.
“I think you can not create chemistry,” he said. “It sounds good on paper at times, X, Y and Z doing this and that, but it is not guaranteed and a lot of times, a show loses a lot because it can not recreate some kind of original chemistry that was there initially. It’s something either you’ve got or you haven’t. Especially when you work [on] live [TV] and you’re unscripted to generate that quick-fire is actually not easy to do.”
Meanwhile, Bruno thinks “DWTS” has its perhaps strongest Final 4 ever in Jacoby Jones, Kellie Pickler, Aly Raisman, and Zendaya Coleman. According to Bruno, Olympic gymnast Aly has had the most interesting journey on the show this season. “She has become a performer. It’s wonderful to see a young girl who has discovered a new talent within herself and is growing so much.”
And he said of fan favorite Andy Dick, who exited the show earlier this season, “Andy brought incredible entertainment. I could watch him every week. Obviously, he wasn’t the best dancer, but he turned it on for the public and, of course, you respond to that.”
When asked if there should be a way for the more entertaining personalities to stay on the show longer, Bruno said no. “Ultimately, it has to be the best dancers to get to [the finale] because then you do a comedy show. There is no way you could have Andy in the final next to Zendaya.”
More at XFinity including Bruno’s thoughts on the new format and a “best of the worst” season.
Zendaya reflects in her new blog for Access Hollywood. She has some great memories from doing Dancing With The Stars one of which is Val and what he first said to her in the beginning which we’ll let you read below….
As I look back on this experience, I will take away many great memories. I remember when I first met Val and thought, he’s kinda short! lol But I hold Val in the highest of regard and I have learned so much from him. First and foremost is his dedication to his craft. Tuesday night for example, when everyone was at a party celebrating the 300th episode, he was at the gym cooking up our next routine! He is a perfectionist down to every movement and how you feel it from your core to your fingertips.
I remember one of the first things he said to me that has stuck with me throughout this competition: “I don’t want you to be good…I want you to be incredible.” He said that with such resolve that I knew he would give me all the knowledge, support and technique I needed to reach “incredible!” I have gained a trusted friend, brother and mentor in Val and I thank ABC and DWTS for having the foresight to pair us together.
More at Access Hollywood including a plug for what she has planned for the summer and what she experienced at a recent and touching visit to the Holocaust Museum.
Also, check out what a school in Brooklyn made for Val and Zendaya. So cute!
Hey All! Just a quick Update. Derek Hough’s birthday is today!!! If you’d like to be a part of an fun online birthday card for this humble and talented guy, head over to Pure Derek Hough and leave your comments in this post. While your visiting be sure to check the site over as Heidi has posted new photos, screencaps, interviews, and a mention on his summer plans as well. Must Read and See!!!!
Picture above courtesy of Zimbio Pictures.
Aly Raisman visited with Access Hollywood all about her dancing transformation on Dancing With The Stars. She feels like she’s transformed from a girl to a woman (this is so true, isn’t it?!). From all the dances, she thought the Rumba would be the hardest, but, she ended up loving it. Lots more below including talk of the Olympics and how we’ll see her in them in 2016.
Also, don’t miss reading a new interview with Aly at TV Guide. Below she talks of the finale dances….
The 24-Hour Challenge is for Tuesday. I’m assuming you’ll find out what you have after Monday.
Raisman: Yeah, so I absolutely no idea what’s going on until after the show Monday, so we’re literally not even thinking about that right now.
What do you have planned for your freestyle?
Raisman: We have a great song. The song doesn’t have any lyrics, but it’s a cool song that has an amazing beat. It’s a pump-up song. When you hear it, you want to start working out or dancing. It’s going to be a fun and energetic dance. It’s going to be another cardio routine for me.
Do you guys have a theme?
Raisman: Right now, no. it’s just a high-energy, fun dance.
You were part of Shawn [Johnson]‘s freestyle last season. Are you going to bring anyone in for yours?
Raisman: No, and definitely not the Fierce Five. I feel like when I started [the show], everyone was comparing me to Shawn, and we’re really different. I was so thankful that Shawn invited us to come on last season, but if I were to invite the rest of the Fierce Five on now, then that would be copying Shawn. And Mark always says, “Art stops where copying begins.”
Looks like 2 seasons in a row that someone who desperately wants to avoid the rumba gets their wish. From the ABC Press Release:
In the Monday’s two-hour performance show, the remaining couples will compete in three rounds of dance. In the first round, each couple will take on a new routine in a dance style that the judges would like to see again. In round two, the couples will be challenged to a Cha Cha relay, where each pair dances to a different section of the same song. In the last round — and one of the biggest competitive dances of the season — the couples take on a supersized freestyle featuring special effects, additional dancers and unexpected surprises.
On Tuesday, the entire celebrity cast returns, including Any Dick, Dorothy Hamill, D.L. Hughley, Wynonna Judd, Victor Ortiz, Ingo Rademacher, Sean Lowe and Lisa Vanderpump. The returning stars will perform a show-stopping opening number with the pro and troupe dancers. The show will feature music from Pitbull, who will perform his new single, “Hands Up,” and Wynonna will sing “I Want to Know What Love Is.” In addition, PSY will take to the stage with his latest hit, “Gentleman,” and Jessica Sanchez will sing her version of Pitbull’s “Feel This Moment.”
The fourth-place couple will be eliminated within the first hour of the show, and in a final element of the competition, the three remaining couples will perform a new routine in an “Instant Dance”– where they will tackle a style they know, but to music given to them for the first time live on television. This routine will be scored out of 30 and will round out the judges’ scores across both nights.
Discuss. Sounds pretty much like I predicted it would go. I can’t say who this is weighted in favor of – I think they all have advantages. But yeah, the complete absence of one unlearned dance stinks to high heaven. Very convenient.
Below is Afterbuzz’s hew Dancing with the Stars “after show” for Week 9. Kristyn Burtt breaks down the performances. Co-hosts Jake DuPree, Suri Serano, Anna Trebunskaya also join in to help and their special guest is pro dancer Henry Byalikov. It gets really interesting at the end when they discuss finale freestyles.
Kym Johnson has written a new blog for Life And Style Magazine thanking all of her fans for the ride this season. She also thanks her partner Ingo Rademacher. However the show isn’t over. As soon as they get back from New York City (they will be on LIVE with Kelly and Michael today), they are headed to rehearsals for next week’s show. Below is more including her plans for the summer. Note how she also has a soft spot for Kellie Pickler….
Our schedule still hasn’t slowed down one bit! After we get back to LA from NYC, we’re headed back to the dance floor for the live finale. When this is all over, I’m going to Australia for a week. I’m so excited to see my family. It’s going to be really nice and I can’t wait!
But before I can head Down Under, there’s still a DWTS finale and I’m trying to place my bets on a winning couple – but I just can’t! It’s going to be a really tough finals. The four couples that are remaining are all very good, so it’s going to be tight! I don’t know if anyone has an idea of who’s going to win. It’s a tough call, but it’s going to be great fun to watch. That’s all I can say.
Not only did last night’s episode make me realize how remarkable my journey with Ingo this season has been, but it also gave me an opportunity to reflect on my DWTS career thus far. Last night we celebrated the 300th episode and literally, everyone was there. It’s such an achievement and accomplishment.
I’ve had the most incredible experience doing this show and it’s brought me much happiness and success. There are just so many great moments and I feel lucky.
Words can’t express how grateful I am to have been a part of such an amazing season, with not only an amazing partner, but an amazing cast as well. Of course I’m going to miss Ingo, but I’m also going to miss talking with Kellie. She’s just adorable and so nice to be around. I’ve got a soft spot for her.
Don’t you just love Kym? Let’s hope we see her back on the show next season as a pro!! I think she’s one of the best dance teachers this show has. Would you agree?