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Dancing with the Stars: The Jeopardy Theory

Every season, readers get very confused by the concepts of “bottom two” versus “jeopardy”. If you don’t listen carefully to what Tom and Brooke (now Erin) say, it’s easy to get confused. If a couple is in the bottom two, it means that they, along with the eliminated couple, had the lowest combined score. The combined score is determined by viewer votes and judges scores. The formula is relatively simple: they take a couple’s score and divide it by the total points handed out on a given night to get their share of the judges scores. They do the same with the viewer votes; they divide a couple’s number of votes by the total number of votes cast and come up with their share of the votes. They then add the two numbers together; the couple with the lowest combined total is then sent home.  You can see many examples of this in my series of posts called “Dancing by the Numbers”.

When the show is airing, there are two ways of getting to an elimination, by putting three couples in jeopardy (oh, the drama) and then saving one, and then one of the remaining two goes home. And then there is the straight up identification of the “bottom two” couples. Tom will say “the bottom two” if this is the case. If neither Tom nor Brooke (now Erin) says “these are the bottom two” then we don’t actually know if the two people standing at the end are really the low combined score getters. There are multiple reasons why they like do this. The main reason, of course, is DRAMA. How they love their drama. They like to make the show exciting and if the low scorer was immediately sent home every week, what fun would that be? This past week, you’ll note that Tom and Erin made it clear that Cody and Witney were “not necessarily” the bottom two.

The question that is asked every season is: does “jeopardy” (aka, being the last couple called safe) have any real meaning for the couples put there??  The answer is yes, of course. The problem is determining what that meaning is at the time. That is very difficult to do, although we’ve gotten pretty good at figuring it out every season.  You always have to remember a few key things:

  • The producers want to keep the show exciting, and jeopardy is a part of that;
  • The producers often have a reason why they want to keep a particular couple around longer and motivating fan bases to vote harder can be accomplished by “jeopardy” if they think the votes are too low;
  • Drama, drama, drama!! How exciting is it when the high scorer of the night is standing next to the low scorer of the night and you don’t know who’s going to survive – and the producers fool you into thinking that the low person is for sure going home…and then they don’t?

Yeah, I don’t think it’s really that exciting at this point in the show’s history, but I’ve long said that the producers have lost touch with their audience. :-)

Now, since I’m the biggest nerd of a blogger on this site, I wondered if there was any kind of pattern to the “jeopardy” and the subsequent eliminations. So I made tables of seasons 11 through 17 to try and figure it out. Hindsight is 20/20 – but it can inform how you watch the show going forward.  The answer, as you may have guessed, is that yes there is something of a pattern. Sometimes. And it’s an easy one to see when you’re looking back – but still impossible to be sure of when you’re watching the show in real time. :-) That is unlikely to change. Read more..

March 26, 2014 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 15 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Kirstie Alley Edition

We’re finally here! Premiere day at last :-) If you haven’t yet, go ahead and check out Heidi’s “Who’s Dancing What…And When?” post to get the low-down on the performance order tonight, the voting phone numbers, and possibly a few spoilers on the music some of the couples are dancing to ;-)

Today, I take on the final (and most recent) celeb on my series examining the highs & lows of the all-stars’ original seasons – Kirstie Alley.  And if you want to get all fancy and read all the previous editions before the premiere (overachiever ;-)), you can check them out here.

For Kirstie’s best dance, I picked her cha-cha:

And for her worst dance, I picked her jive:

I know some of you are thinking “But Kirstie’s cha-cha wasn’t even her highest-scoring dance!!!” But I have always thought of it as Kirstie & Maks’ magnum opus of season 12 – a dance that showcased not only Kirstie’s dance skills but also her incredible ability to entertain. She may not have been the best technician (but she certainly wasn’t the worst that season, either), but what she lacked in technique she more than made up for in performance – even in her worst dance, she still managed to stay entertaining & fun to watch.  And very theatrical :-) One thing that always astonished me about Kirstie in season 12 was that, despite acknowledging that she was overweight and out-of-shape, she always seemed so light on her feet and still moved with a ton of precision – it kinda reminded me of Warren Sapp, who was a BIIIIIIG man but who was often more graceful than some of the men half his size.  Just because you may not have the perfect body, does not mean your movement quality has to suffer :-)

However, there was one drawback to Kirstie’s physical condition that did seem to hinder her, and that I worry might still be a problem this season: endurance.  I think we all were dreading the week in season 12 that Kirstie got jive, because we had seen how winded she got doing much slower dances, such as the samba.  And unfortunately, I don’t think those fears were unfounded – Kirstie did seem to struggle with keeping up with the speed of the jive, and never seemed to really get the bounce in her step that makes jive so fun to watch.  The choreo probably wasn’t the best, either, but that’s one dance where I can’t really blame Maks for taking so long to get into the dance – if your partner has bad endurance and probably won’t make it through a full-lenth 1:30 routine, try to put as little jive into it as possible, and as many rests into it as will fit.  I know Kirstie’s in much better shape this time around, but is she going to be able to contend with seasoned athletes like Apolo, Emmitt, and Shawn? Or younger, more resilient contestants like Kelly & Melissa? I’m not so sure.  Thankfully, she will get jive out of the way early this time – so if she does struggle with it, she may still be safe. 

So what has Kirstie been up to in the year & a half since her original season? She did sponsor a “100 Days of Dance” campaign for her organic food line, Organic Liasion, last summer.  Here’s a video of her dancing a Viennese waltz with “Johnny Boy”…I’m a bit partial to it for obvious reasons ;-):

Court’s verdict: Kirstie’s off-the-wall antics and showmanship could keep her in the competition for awhile – but she will need to work on endurance and her overall physical fitness in order to give some of the athletes a run for their money.

Thoughts on Kirstie?

September 24, 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!
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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... =)

GSN Drops DWTS Reruns from Lineup

I realize this is super, super late, but I think we all got so swept up in the hustle & bustle of season 14 that no one really even noticed this – plus, it happened rather quietly, so I myself didn’t even notice until I was cleaning up my DVR yesterday and saw that there was nothing set up to record on GSN…but it piqued my interest, so I’m sharing it now, and thought I’d get your thoughts on it :-)

According to Buzzerblog, GSN dropped reruns of DWTS from its lineup starting April 16:

That didn’t last long, did it?  GSN’s most recent attempt at reality shows, exclusive off-network reruns of Dancing With the Stars, are on their way out.  The reruns of ABC’s popular dancing game show, which have proved to be anything but popular for GSN, are leaving the network’s schedule starting the week of April 16th.  GSN debuted the show on Saturday, January 21st.  The debut failed to crack the top 15 most watched shows.  First-run reruns averaged 304,000 viewers and has gone down hill since.  Most recent figures had the show down to 173,000 viewers on average.  Reruns of shows like Family Feud take its place.

I have to say, I’m a little surprised – granted, I was not expecting the reruns to get even a fraction of the ratings that the current seasons get, but with all the publicity they did back in January (and all the hype surrounding GSN buying the rights), I would have thought they would have at least gotten some bang for their buck in terms of ratings, from fans of the show…but 173k is downright meager, especially when you take into account that reruns of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? and Family Feud pull in upwards of 500k in viewers for GSN.  And when you take into account that DWTS was the lowest-rated show in a primetime slot on GSN the last week it aired (all the shows below it were in early AM slots, which aren’t expected to pull in a ton of viewers), that’s…pretty bad. I have to wonder if it was just PureDWTS fans that were tuning in, after all the free publicity we gave GSN during the big launch ;-)

So I guess my big question is, “What went wrong?” It did seem a little strange that they started off airing season 4, but then skipped ahead to season 12 – did the fact that season 12 only happened a year ago deter some viewers, who would have rather seen an older season? Or were the odds just stacked against them when they aired reruns concurrent with a new season? Or was there just never really a huge demand for DWTS reruns from the get-go? Who knows.  But I have to wonder if reruns might fare better now that they’ve announced that they’re doing an all-star season – perhaps there might be more a demand for reruns, so fans can relive the magic from the first time around? I do think it will be interesting to see what GSN’s next move is – they still own the rights to seasons 4-13, so if they wanted to start airing them again, they could – hell, I think they’d have better luck in a summer slot, anyway, plus they have the boon of the all-star season looming. But will they even bother, given how much of a failure their first attempts at reruns were? I don’t know that there’s really a demand on any other network for DWTS reruns, so I doubt they’d have an easy time selling off the rights to another network, other than BBC America (they own the rights to seasons 1-3, but have yet to actually do anything with them).  I’m just hoping we get at least some of the seasons back on Hulu, so I don’t have to scavenge & beg for pictures everytime I want to do an edition of “Who Wore It Better”? :-)

So what do you guys think of the whole situation? Are you upset that you won’t catch the reruns…or do you not really care? Do you think GSN should give it another shot…or try and sell the rights to the reruns as fast as they can?

June 4, 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 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!
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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!
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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... =)

The Top 5 Best First Week Foxtrots in DWTS History

This is a little later than I originally intended, but alas, life throws us curve balls from time to time :-) As promised, here are my top 5 first week foxtrots in DWTS history…maybe something we’ll see tomorrow night will bump one of these from the list! Or maybe it will make the worst list instead…8O But how ’bout some more foxtrot stats first?

*There is a 5-way tie for the pro that has done the most week 1 foxtrots: Maks, Tony, Jonathan, Edyta, & Mark have all done the foxtrot in the first week 3 times.

*The highest first-week foxtrot score ever given was 27 – it was given to Kristi & Mark in season 6.

*The average score for a week 1 foxtrot is 19.14. The score given most often in week 1? 18.

5.) Helio & Julianne, season 5

I just loved how cute these two were together – it also didn’t hurt that Helio had a good deal of natural talent :-) And in what you’ll see to be a recurring theme in this countdown, it was a very traditional foxtrot, which was comprised mainly of foxtrot steps with a little bit of jazzy open work thrown in.  There’s something to be said for staying in the box from time to time, kids!

4.) Laila & Maks, season 4

Another very natural mover – Laila just made everything look so EASY.  I think a lot of her appeal in her season was that sense of ease, and it really came in hand in a dance like the foxtrot, where everything is supposed to have a gliding, walk-in-the-park kind of feel.  Just the little bit of sass thrown in just made it perfect for week 1. Read more..

March 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!

The Top 5 Worst First Week Foxtrots in DWTS History

So the other day, we counted down the top 10 worst first week cha-cha’s in DWTS history. As you can see, we only have a top 5 for this countdown – probably because there have only been 37 week 1 foxtrots in the history of the show, and the bulk of them are neither good nor bad…but just hard to remember :-P Only a handful have stuck out in my memory as notable – and those are the ones you are seeing :-) But first, some factoids for your enjoyment…

*The foxtrot has only been used as a week 1 dance in 7 seasons: seasons 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, & 12.  The other seasons have either had a waltz (seasons 1, 2, & 8) or a Viennese waltz (seasons 10, 11, 13) as the week 1 ballroom dance.  Season 9 had both the foxtrot and the Viennese waltz as first week ballroom dances.

*The lowest week 1 foxtrot score ever given was a 13 – it was given to Mike & Lacey in season 12.

*Besides the 3 newest pros (Val, Tristan, & Peta), the only pro this season that’s never done the foxtrot as a regular week 1 dance is Derek – unless you count the foxtrot relay in season 9 (I don’t, because it was only 30 seconds ;-)).

5.) TIE: Sara & Tony, season 3 and Leeza & Tony, season 4


Zzzzzzzz….uh, um, what? Sorry, fell asleep – thought I was watching paint dry, at the rate these foxtrots were moving! I’m not sure if these ladies thought they would shatter into a million pieces if they moved more than an inch or two, but there was just so little going on in these numbers – just some very slow strolling and painfully cautious turns.  The foxtrot is already a pretty simple dance, so it’s up to the pros and their celeb partners to inject some much-needed jazz into it to make it entertaining…and when they don’t, you get these sleepy, unremarkable foxtrots that I bet half of you probably didn’t remember.

4.) Rocco & Karina, season 7

Rocco seemed like a really nice guy, but he was pretty dorky on the dance floor :-P You could tell he was really trying as he bobbed and skipped and flailed his platter hands across the floor here, but he also had the “I feel like a massive tool” look on his face the whole time.  Granted, I think both he & Karina were nervous about her ankle injury earlier that day, but honestly – Rocco was just not a dancer.  Sorry, dude.. Read more..

March 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 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!

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!