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DWTS 15 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Pam Anderson Edition

You know the drill by now, kids – go here if you want to see the previous editions of this series.  I’ve got 2 more editions to get through after this, and very little time to do it in before the premiere :-P

For Pam’s best dance, I picked her famous “9 to 5″ quickstep:

And for her worst dance, I picked her waltz:

I’ll be honest: I don’t think Pam is a GREAT dancer.  I’d even go so far as to say that, besides Kelly & Bristol, she is probably one of the weaker dancers this season.  But there is something about her that is just so FUN to watch – she may have been totally missing steps and getting off-time in that quickstep, but to see her bobbing around and smiling so big and having a great time doing it, I was mesmerized.  Ditto for any of her other dances – she got so into the character of her cha-cha, foxtrot, rumba, paso doble, and Argentine tango that it didn’t seem to matter as much to me if she was wobbling awkwardly or missing steps.  She was just fun to watch.  That’s not to say that I was completely able to overlook her snafus, though – on the whole, I really liked Pam, but she always struck me as a bit of a stiff mover, even though she was really quite flexible.  And when she wasn’t able to completely connect to the character of her dance (such as in her waltz), she seemed to look a bit aloof and lost.  Her waltz, while not technically bad, just felt bland and chilly to me.  I get the feeling that she’s someone whose performance hinges greatly upon playing a character – and if she can’t really play one, she’s just kinda…there.

Now unlike some of her cohorts this season, Pam has actually done something in the past year to hone her dance skills that I think may come in handy.  As Vogue (and reader Carlos) reported last summer, Pam competed on the Argentine version of DWTS,  Bailando por un Sueño, with Damian – here they are doing what looks to be a paso doble:

Granted, they did withdraw in week 4, but I still say that any contestant this season that has somehow managed to do some dancing within the last year or so (even better if they did more ballroom) is probably going to have at list a little bit of a leg up on those who haven’t danced at all since their original season.

Court’s verdict: Pam’s not the strongest dancer, but I do think she’s fun to watch – and that could keep her around for at least a little while.  Bonus points if she can connect well to both the dance and her partner.

What do you guys think of Pam? Is she going to stick around awhile…or be out early, as she was in the Argentine verison of the show?

 

September 19, 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!

DWTS “Who Wore it Better?” – The Pre-Season 15 All-Star Edition, Part I!

This season, we opted to do things a bit differently – as we have with just about every other regular feature we do each season, since the format is a bit wacky, to say the least :-P First, we’ve divided WWIB into two parts – mainly to accomodate the fact that Kirstie & Maks’ and the 13th couple’s (who we now know to be Sabrina & Louis) promo photos have yet to be released, but also to buy us some time for the labor-intensive task of finding good pictures for some of these :-) Secondly, we’ve included the couples’ promo photos from their original seasons for comparison as well.  But as always, we’ve offered up our usual snark commentary on each of the costumes, for your enjoyment 8-)

Battle of the turquoise & black lace corset dress/Kelly & Alec vs. Kelly & Val:  Kelly & Alec’s season 1 promo pic vs. Kelly & Val’s season 15 promo pic vs. Edyta in the season 9 pro tango demo

Courtney: The Iceman cometh! Wow, even Alec’s promo pic screams “I have no emotions” to me.  And while Kelly is a bit better, I still wish she’d actually smile in her promo pics – the whole “smoldery non-smile” she does just seems like she’s trying too hard to me.  And I’m probably the only one that feels this way, judging from some of everyone’s initial comments on the promo photos, but I’m not really all that wild about Kelly & Val’s pic…you’ll see I’m not much of a fan of the couples that went the “smoldery” route with their promo pix.  As for the costume itself – gotta go with Edyta on this one.  Granted, it’s hard to hold a candle to Edyta in pretty much ANY costume, but I think I like it better with a lace skirt, as opposed to a fringed one.  And while I was cursing under my breath while putting this edition together about how BAD some of the costumes have gotten since Randall left, I thank my lucky stars we’re not still stuck with Designs to Shine, who costumed the first season. Can we say “tacky”? 8-O

Heidi: Val sez, “You…are sooo sexy.” To which Kelly sez, “You are sexy, but I am sleeping with my cousin’s best friend’s husband’s brother and am simply toying with you as a cover to hide our true looove….” That is my long winded way of saying, Kelly is a soap actress…they only do smolder.  Sometimes well, sometimes not – and Val is a huge step up from Alec in terms of emotion and Kelly has evolved to smoldering with her mouth *closed*. :-) The dress you ask? I go with Edyta sans fishnets.  Although I think it’s cuter in the shorter length.

The verdict: Just say no to soap opera smolder.  Read more..

August 28, 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!

DWTS 15 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Emmitt Smith Edition

So last week, we took a look at Kelly Monaco’s best & worst dances from her original season.  Today, we’re gonna skip over Drew (he’s coming later – and there’s a good reason why ;-)) and move onto season 3, which Emmitt won with Cheryl – and he’s partnered with her again this season.  Let us reminisce…

For Emmitt’s best dance, I chose his mambo, which got a 29:

And for his worst dance, what else would I pick but the infamous, comically bad “Simply Irresistible” tango?:

Ok, is it just me, or is Emmitt kind of a “small” mover? I mean, he’s a big guy, but in both of his dances he strikes me as a bit cautious in the way he moves…I’ll admit I wasn’t a religious viewer back in season 3, but rewatching a lot of his stuff now, I have to think “Wow…and he won his season???”  Like Kelly & Drew, I think his big struggle is just going to be “catching up” to the rest of the contestants from more recent seasons – because the choreography, the energy level, and the overall performance value have all gotten A LOT tougher.  It’s also been 6 years since he last danced, and while 43 isn’t terribly old, it can sure feel that way for a former football player with 20 years of wear-and-tear on his body – he may find that it’s not as easy to move now as it was 6 years ago.  On the plus side, Emmitt’s got a fun personality on the floor – he seems like he has a great time out there, and isn’t afraid to cut loose and shake his stuff.  He’s also got a great personality, which never hurts. 

 Court’s verdict: Like Kelly, I think Emmitt’s biggest struggle is just going to be catching up to the caliber of competition the show has reached since his original season – and unfortunately, everyone this season (with the exception of Bristol) is a pretty decent dancer, so there’s not going to be a ton of bad dancers to burn through to shield Emmitt from elimination.  He and Cheryl are both going to have to step their game up – and he may find that he needs a bit more time to practice than some of the younger, more mobile contestants.  He’s got the personality factor working for him, but in order to stick around, he’s going to have to pair that personality with some more difficult choreography.  Will be interesting to see what he & Cheryl pull out!

So what do you, our PureDWTS readers, think of Emmitt this season? Will he repeat the success he had in season 3 – or be sent packing early?

August 14, 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!

DWTS Season 15: “All-Star” Season – Pick your Stars!

In case you missed it, last week I posted all the celebrities that have graced Dancing with the Stars with their presence and asked you – the reader – to choose your favorite star from every season. In that post you were only allowed to choose one celebrity per season.

Earlier this week there was a post asking you to pick six male and six female professional dancers that you would love to see back for Season 15. Since there were a lot of requests for the inclusion of the DWTS Troupe dancers, stick around for Friday to see what I have planned. But back to the celebrities:

I have compiled all the stars that have received the top votes in their respective seasons and put them all into two polls: Men and Women. Now you can pick up to twelve stars (up to six male and six female celebrities) that you would love to see come back for Season 15 of Dancing with the Stars.

Since the past several seasons have been twelve couples, I figured it would be best to see who you would choose for your Six Favorite Male Celebrities and Six Favorite Female Celebrities from across the seasons.

Note: I know it has been said that Mario Lopez is most likely not going to do Season 15 because he is too busy, but since this is just what the fans want… and he has been a popular celebrity, he’s still part of the poll. :)

Enjoy!
Read more..

June 6, 2012 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) "I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour." and... 2) "Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much." So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point... =)

DWTS Season 15: “All-Star” Season – Pick your Pros!

You didn’t think I’d forget about the professional dancers, now did you?

In case you’ve missed it… last week, there was a post with polls asking you – the reader – to choose one star per season that you’d love to see come back for the “All Star” Season of Dancing with the Stars (aka Season 15). There have been a lot of pros that have come and gone throughout the seasons, so now is your chance to pick the twelve pros that you’d love to see come back.

I have included pros that have only been on the show for one season, those that have left the show for greener pastures (Alec Mazo, Edyta Sliwinska and Julianne Hough). So anything goes here.

Why twelve professional dancers? For the past several seasons the show have had either eleven or twelve couples… so I figured this season should include twelve couples as well. :) I suppose we’ll see.

Enjoy!
Read more..

June 4, 2012 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) "I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour." and... 2) "Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much." So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point... =)

DWTS Season 15 – All Star Cast Wish List

So what I’m going to do is start with a series of polls: namely you get to choose who YOU want to see from every season of Dancing with the Stars from Season 1 all the way to Season 14. The polls will be up for a few days… and once the polls are closed I will personally draw up how the top celebrities did in their season in comparison to the averaged data from all the seasons.

At the end of all the chosen celebrities I will create a mock elimination post and hopefully by then we’ll know who would REALLY be cast and I will do attempt to do the same for the casted celebrities – hopefully – before the show starts in September again.

Excited? Well you better be… soon you’ll have an example in the form of Mario Lopez and later of Mel B since they are the only two that we know of that has been approached for the All-Star season. If they end up being top in the poll of their respective seasons, wonderful! If not, well then those are freebie posts for you ;-)

Ready? GO!
Read more..

May 30, 2012 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) "I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour." and... 2) "Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much." So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point... =)

DWTS Who Wore it Better? Part XV – The Pre-Season 14 Edition!

Yep, we’re back to talk fashion for yet another season’s promo pix :-) And kids, this batch was a bit of a challenge for even me – at least 3 brand-spanking new dresses that weren’t dittoed, some wacky alterations, weird lighting, and the fact that we don’t have pix of Cheryl & Katherine yet made this edition a little less fun and a little more frustrating.  But alas, it’s here now, so enjoy! And a very special thanks to our reader Manny, who graciously helped us out with the screen cap of Niecy, since Hulu only has season 13 available to stream and the DWTS website has taken down all of the photos from old seasons…grrrrr. *shakes fist at sky*

Battle of the gold, silver, super-sparkly jive dress: Kym’s pre-season 14 photo shoot vs. Kym’s jive with David in season 13

Heidi: I know I’m going to disagree with Court on this one – by choosing the photo shoot version. :-) I like the more asymmetrical hem and I like her hair better in that pic. But damn, Kym always looks amazing and she does stick to the similar color pallette much of the time.

Court: Kym has always known what looks good on her (everything) and what doesn’t (not much), but I love how she seems to stick to a lot of nude colors and just lets all the embellishments do the talking.  I remember thinking “Wowwwww…that’s soooo sparrrrrkllllllyyyy!” as she walked down the stairs last season in this number.  But alas, the magic is a bit lost in the whitewash of the photo shoot – so I’m gonna go with jive Kym on this one :-)

The winner: We love Kym in the nude (colors) :-)

Battle of the black lace turtleneck tango dress: Bristol’s Argentine tango with Mark in season 11 vs. Martina’s pre-season 14 photo shoot

Court: I think this may actually be the very first ditto of a Bristol costume we’ve ever seen! Although if you’ve seen one Bristol ditto, I think you’ve pretty much seen them all, as this girl wore A LOT of black lace in season 11 – a fact that made my searching though her costumes all the more confusing :-P But anyway…I gotta say, I’m not really wild about this costume on either woman.  It just seems kinda…dowdy.  But I guess if I had to pick, I’d actually pick Bristol – because I can at least tell it’s a tango costume with the way she’s styled & made up.  Martina…just kinda looks like she’s gesturing for no apparent reason.  But she looks damn good for her age! :-)

Heidi: I can’t pick…too distracted by Marky’s face in that picture. :-) The hell?  Okay, all kidding :::cough::: aside, I have to agree with Courtney. Martina looks fabulous, but Bristol is fully made up for this dress and she wears it pretty well.  I will say, very proud of Martina for going with a dress that is probably more daring on the bottom half than I would have expected.

The winner: Bristol takes this one because we can actually tell what she’s doing. Read more..

March 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!

DWTS Former Contestants – Where Are They Now? Nicole Scherzinger Edition

Yes, I know….everyone knows that Nicole is one of the judges on the X-Factor.  It’s common knowledge and lots of you watch the show. I’m not one who watches the show because I’m over singing competitions, especially those that include Simon Cowell. I only have room for AI and the Voice.

ANYWAY, the reason why I decided to pick up the “Where are they now” method of killing time between seasons is because I found this video from this past weekend of Nicole singing at the Royal Variety Show in London. Singing Opera…as in Christine from Phantom of the Opera.  When Nicole said she is a trained singer, she wasn’t kidding – she KILLED this.  No lip syncing, per one of her Phantoms. :-) Perhaps all future XF contestants should watch this and then not even try out if they can’t measure up. :-)  This lady is more than a singer from a girl band. :-) Of course, it helps if you just love musical theater and Phantom of the Opera. I actually get misty. ;-)

December 15, 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. :-)

New PureDWTS Segment: Ask Courtney

This is a feature I’ve contemplated doing for awhile, and I think now might be the right time, with one season over and the rumor mill not quite started up on the next.  For those of you that don’t know, I actually do have quite a bit of ballroom knowledge, as I’ve been dancing for about 9 years now and my boyfriend is actually a ballroom dance teacher.  Because of that, I’m probably better able to answer some of the more “technical” dance questions than the average viewer, and many of you have seen me get a bit more in-depth in analyzing the dances, in terms of technique and what have you. 

I’ve noticed that many of you seem to be getting more curious about the actual ballroom world, as well as how the rules of the actual ballroom world apply to DWTS (or, rather, how TPTB seem to TRY to apply them ;-)).  So this is the place where you can finally get answers to those burning questions about ballroom technique, certain rules, dance steps, etc. - I will do my best to give you guys thorough, relevant responses, and if there’s something I don’t know the answer to, I will defer to my boyfriend, who is a true expert on the subject :-) So if you are curious about a certain ballroom subject, feel free to post your questions in the comment section of this post, or tweet them to me @putuincespence, or you can email them to John and he can send ‘em my way.  Try to keep them fairly objective – things like “Why do ladies have to wear heels in ballroom?” or “What makes the jive so hard?”, rather than “Why does Derek stink at choreographing samba?” or “Why does Mark always wear spats?” :-P I’m not really equipped to handle subjective stuff like that, hehe. I’m going to try to answer a new question each week, at least until things start to pick up with the new season.   

So to kick off this inaugural “Ask Courtney” post, I thought I’d tackle a question I’ve seen quite a few of you ask in passing this season: Why can’t you break hold in the quickstep?

For those of you that didn’t know, quickstep is the only dance on DWTS in which the couples cannot break hold in the middle of the dance. To quote Len, they can do “a little bit at the beginning, and a little bit at the end” out of traditional dance hold, but they must remain in-hold for the majority of the dance.  Notorious violators of this rule? Mark & Shawn in their Aladdin quickstep, and Nicole & Derek in their sailor quickstep.  So why did they get in so much trouble???

The answer to this is a bit silly to me, because it’s one of the few ways that DWTS has attempted to adhere to actual ballroom dance rules – which I often find don’t really translate well to this show.  In “real world” ballroom, there are two styles: International style, which tends to be more strict and is more difficult; and American style, which is a bit more relaxed and open to interpretation.  With the ballroom dances, you can either do the International Standard style (in which the couple must remain in-hold the entire time) or the American Smooth style (where the couples are able to go in and out of hold as much as they like).  The International Standard dances are waltz, tango, foxtrot, quickstep, and Viennese waltz; the American Smooth dances are waltz, tango, foxtrot, and Viennese waltz.  You’ll notice there is no quickstep in the American Smooth style – it is only danced in the international style, thus the couples are forced to adhere to the international style, in which hold cannot be broken.  Since there is overlap in the other 4 styles, the DWTS pros can choose to dance either the American or International styles of the waltz, tango, foxtrot, and Viennese waltz – and most choose the American style, since it’s easier and allows for more creative freedom.  But even though they’re trying to adhere to “real” ballroom rules by forbidding the breaking of hold in the quickstep, they’re still not being completely true to the rule, since they’re allowing open work at the beginning & end.  In a real international standard quickstep (or any other international standard-style dance), the couple would only be allowed to walk a few feet towards each other to get into hold before dancing – any sort of open work at the beginning (i.e. Ricki & Derek’s tap sequence) is a huge no-no.  You have to be in-hold before you do ANY dancing in real quickstep.

So what do I suggest? Eliminate the silly “no breaking hold in quickstep” rule – it’s just a pointless vestige of the show’s often feeble attempts to mirror the real world of ballroom.  If you’re going to allow open work at the beginning and end of the dance (which I think is a good idea, as it’s more audience-pleasing than just getting straight into hold), you may as well allow it in the middle, just like all the other dances, because most viewers aren’t going to understand the reasoning behind forbidding it, anyway.

So what ballroom questions do you guys have? Lay ‘em on me, and I’ll do my best to get you answers :-)

December 11, 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 Freestyle Retrospective: The Top 10 Best Freestyles in DWTS History

So the other day, we counted down the top 10 worst freestyles in DWTS history, and re-lived some of the biggest stinkers we’ve seen in 12 seasons. Today we’ve saved the best for last: the showstoppers, the jaw-droppers, and the dynamite freestyles that have set the bar for all the freestyles to follow. :-)

Some patterns we’ve noticed: most of these routines are high-energy, use recognizable songs, and have either a theme or a general “feel” for the celebs to connect to. It’s a pattern that seems to work – let’s hope this season’s finalists stick to it!

Heidi’s Note: You’ll also note that you have a better shot of making this list if your name if Johnson, Hough, or Ballas.  Possibly Schwimmer – she’s one for two, isn’t she??

10. Kyle Massey & Lacey Schwimmer, season 11

Courtney: This is a good example of a hip-hop freestyle actually working out well – basically the polar opposite of Lacey’s ill-fated hip-hop freestyle with Lance. This time around, the song & theme fit her partner to a T – Kyle LOVED “Tootsie Roll”, and it really showed. Now while the choreo wasn’t really all that complicated, it was the fact that Kyle just milked each step for all its worth that really made it fun – I swear, I think the only more charismatic contestant to ever do the show is Carson. :-P Kyle had swaaaaaag, and was a true showman…and it didn’t hurt that he wasn’t too shabby a dancer, either.

Heidi: The thing that made this work was that it fit Kyle to a tee and he LOVED it. He was having the time of his life and he had the skills to pull off a hip hop routine. You combine that with some pretty clever choreography and you have a brilliant freestyle. He’d be much farther up on my list…but this is surprisingly hard to come up with and putting them in order? Impossible! Anyway, when I stand up off the couch and cheer, you know it’s good. And this one was also FUN in all caps. :-) Read more..

November 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!