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Derek Hough Wins 2017 World Of Dance Award For “Kairos” Performance On Dancing With The Stars

Last night, Derek Hough won a 2017 World Of Dance Award for his choreography in the “Kairos” performance on Dancing With The Stars last season. Below are some photos of him on the Red Carpet. For more coverage, see Let’s hope he wins an Emmy Award next for this performance. Well done, Derek!

February 8, 2017 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

Laurie Hernandez “I Got This: To Gold and Beyond” -Book Review, Book Signing Guest Blog By Cathy

Cathy, one of our readers and guest bloggers to our Pure sites, went to Laurie Hernandez’s book signing in Ridgewood, NJ on January 22, 2017. She writes of her fun experience and about the book itself “I Got This: To Gold and Beyond” and how there are some similar parallels to the “Move Beyond: “Live On Tour” and Derek Hough. She also mentions how the book has some Dancing With The Stars mentions. Read on for lots more. If interested, you can purchase “I Got This: To Gold and Beyond” at Amazon. To purchase tickets to “Move Beyond: “Live On Tour”, go here. THANKS, Cathy!

“I Got This: To Gold and Beyond and MOVE BEYOND: Live on Tour…Laurie Hernández and Derek Hough both look, reach, and dream BEYOND!”
Laurie Hernández booksigning
Bookends ~ Ridgewood, NJ
January 22, 2017
Guest blog by Cathy

As soon as I received an email from Bookends Bookstore announcing that Laurie Hernández would be appearing there to do a booksigning for her new book on January 22, I knew I wanted to go and meet her! Olympic gold and silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics and DWTS S23 champion coming right to my backyard…what an awesome opportunity! Then when I saw the title of her new book, I Got This: To Gold and Beyond, I could see the common theme of *beyond* with both Laurie and Derek…To Gold and Beyond and MOVE BEYOND: Live on Tour! I was fascinated by this thought, so I was planning on mentioning this common thread to her when we spoke.

Bookends is an extremely popular bookstore where many celebrities hold booksignings. In fact, Derek had his first booksigning there back in August 2014, followed by Amy Purdy in ’15, and then Kym Johnson (along with Robert Herjavec!) in ’16. So attending this event with Laurie brought back many fond memories of Derek, Amy, and Kym being there, plus once you enter the store, there’s a constant reminder of all past authors who have had booksignings there with their names posted on the wall, categorized by year. What a super idea!

Laurie’s booksigning was scheduled to begin at 1pm and end…whenever!! I arrived at 10:30am, and as I waited inside the store, by 11am I was fortunate to see Laurie enter through the back door, accompanied by her parents, siblings, publicist, and crew. The line was starting to form outside in the parking lot, so after 11am I decided to join the line and wait outside. One of the staff periodically talked with us and kept us up to date regarding her schedule. He informed us that indeed Laurie had arrived and was upstairs signing the books…all 1,700 of them (!!)…for the awaiting crowd! Due to the massive crowd, in order to accommodate her taking photos with everyone, she was presigning the books so that we could just pick them up after meeting her. Made total sense!

It was a very friendly, gymnastics-oriented crowd…lots of young gymnasts sporting their team jackets. And considering the size of crowd, everything ran very smoothly, and it was all very well organized. Just before 1pm, the media started to arrive, and the line began to move. Each booksigning that I’ve attended at Bookends has been slightly different. Laurie’s booksigning was somewhat similar to Derek’s…with an enormous crowd of excited fans anxiously waiting outside!

Read more..

January 30, 2017 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

DWTS Premiere Date Set, Who’s Coming Back…and More Nick Viall Rumors

Whole lot to talk about in this interview with one of the executive producers of DWTS and Jessica Radloff of Glamour.  First, she drops a date of March 20th – something I don’t think we officially knew before now.  Then there’s this:

Season 24, especially, is going to be a big one. The show is celebrating its 400th episode, and producers are promising lots of nostalgia. “We will do something for it,” executive producer Joe Sungkur tells us. That’s not the only thing to look forward to: Sungkur also revealed that one fan favorite will definitely be back (though another will definitely not be returning). “As an overall for the season, we will bring back favorite themes, [inject] some new ideas, but also stick to what’s working so well. And we hope for romance in the air! Whenever there is romance, there’s a smile on our face.”

So dude just ADMITTED that they hope and pray (and plot and manipulate) to get some romance on the show. GAG me! This is a dance show! No more fauxmance!! Especially not if Val is one of the parties involved. He’s done enough damage with that routine. This pisses me off and we haven’t even gotten started yet. Anyway…

Speaking of romance, this season’s Bachelor—Nick Viall—may get the opportunity to show off his dance moves beyond his next one-on-one date. During my interview with the producers at ABC’s Television Critics Association winter press tour, the Wisconsin native dropped in our conversation and seemed to be very friendly with DWTS EPs Rob Wade, Deena Katz, and Sungkur. How friendly? Well, talks could already be happening (but more on that below).

Of course Nick was there, but I suspect this is just him sucking up and still trying to get a spot. He was there for the Bachelor and saw an opportunity. But you never know! All depends on how strong the rest of their cast is.

Looks like they’re hoping Julianne will be back and they’re working on her – but the very definitive “Derek will not be back.” is pretty hilarious. He blames it on MOVE, never mentions the competing dance show (of course) and is definitive TWICE. I suspect the urge to add the word “never” was hard for him to resist. 🙂 Mark might be back so there is hope for Ballas Fans.

Oh lord:

Last season, it was lovely to see Sasha [do what he did] with his creativity and the way he worked with Terra. I think Gleb did a phenomenal job with his creativity, and the dance of last season was the shower dance. Creatively, we had never done that before. As the season progressed, it was important that we had dancers push boundaries like that.

Um, hardly the dance of the season and yes, it has been done before. Both Derek and Val have used water (more than once!!) in their dances. Jaysus.

Courtney: Let me fix that for you, bruh – you misspelled “desperation” as “c-r-e-a-t-i-v-i-t-y”. I still maintain that the “shower dance” was the most overrated dance of the entire season – and if they really truly believe it was super-creative (and they might not, they could just be doing some serious bullshitting), then this show really is a dumpster fire. Oh, yay, “romance” – that sure doesn’t sound planned AT ALL, and I’m sure it will all unfold COMPLETELY ORGANICALLY WITHOUT ANY MANIPULATION WHATSOEVER!!! 😀 So a “fan favorite” will be back, eh? I’m hoping that’s Mark, just so the choreographic future of this show doesn’t rest solely on Lindsay & Sharna’s shoulders, although part of me wonders if they might actually be referring to Peta – which makes me groan a bit, because this woman birthed a baby just 8 days ago. As for Derek – hehehe. I caught a clip of him on ET a few weeks back where the interviewer asked him if he’d be back on DWTS next season, and he gave a bit of a wry laugh before saying “Ummm, no” and just leaving it at that. Definitely not the diplomatic tack he has taken in the past, and probably a good indicator that he’s washed his hands of DWTS once and for all…which we kinda already gathered from the way he’s quite publicly indicated he’s now on the NBC payroll. As for Nick – I don’t watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette/etc., so I don’t really know what this dude’s gig is…although I vaguely remember talk of him being a “villain” (or “Viall-in”…?) and some magazine asserting that he was well-endowed down yonder (which he probably paid them to say). Hasn’t he done like, three or four iterations of the Bachelor series by now? Is he trying to become a professional reality show contestant? Guess DWTS would be the next logical step there. Anywho, the other thing that sticks out is the word “nostalgia”, which concerns me a bit…haven’t we done a ton of reminiscing about previous seasons at this point? How many retooled versions of “Hey! Pachuco” do we really need? Or bumper dances by Alfonso, Kelly, & Meryl? Give Flo Henderson a nice tribute, and then be done with it. And where’s my damn Prince tribute?!!!

Vogue: Finally, a premiere date! It’s been so quiet, I was beginning to think there wouldn’t be a Spring season. 😯 Anyway, I’m excited that they have half of the cast picked already. After what Miss Heidi and Vin posted in the first rumor post on him, I’m all on for Nick Vaill and he’s cute. 🙂 I’m excited for any returning Pros from last season….especially Gleb (sorry Rob, my fave dance of the season was not the shower dance! Are you serious? How can you say that with the level of creativity we saw in all the freestyle performances? Gleb’s other dances were more worthy. 😐 ). I really enjoyed Cheryl last season as well. I’m hoping Peta will dance, but, I bet she’ll want to stay home with baby Shai for a while longer before returning. I wouldn’t be surprised if she skipped the Fall season too. But, I agree on Sasha. He was phenomenal last season. I really hope Mark comes back. Without Derek coming back (lol to Rob not mentioning the real reason.), it will be nice to have his creativity added and I missed him. As for Theme Weeks, I’m not a fan for the most part…but, I LOVED “Cirque De Soul” week and hope they do it again. Here’s to the new season…..and to creative, well thought out choreography and, please, no MANIPULATING!! With “World Of Dance” premiering (and possibly at the same time at some point this Spring), Dancing With The Stars will really have to step up their game. Isn’t that right~ And Court…. amen to a Prince tribute!

January 12, 2017 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. :-)

HQ Photos Of Derek Hough And Julianne Hough Attending Golden Globes Post Show After Party

Dancing With The Stars Julianne and Derek Hough attended the 2017 InStyle And Warner Bros. 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards Post-Awards party last night. See Getty and Pure Derek Hough for even more photos. You can also watch Julianne getting ready in a video below (thanks to Jennie for the heads up).

January 9, 2017 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

BC Jean Talks Of Her Wedding Tango With DWTS Mark Ballas, More Stunning Wedding Photos

If you’d like to view more photos of Mark Ballas’ and BC Jean’s wedding, see The Knot News. They are stunning to say the least. You can also read more details on the wedding. Below BC talks of doing the Tango and gives some wedding advice….

The couple shared their first dance to Coldplay’s “Magic,” but surprised their guests by breaking into a tango halfway through the dreamy tune. (It was, after all, Mark Ballas’ wedding!) “No one has [really] seen me dance,” Jean continues. “I’ve never seen myself do the tango either, so it was fun to get a sexy little number in. Everyone’s faces were priceless.”

Ballas proposed to Jean on November 25, 2015. The pair loved the idea of marrying on their engagement anniversary, but with their busy schedules, the date was difficult to nail down. The day after they mailed out their wedding invitations, they found out they were moving to New York. “We thought we might have to change the date again, but we luckily made it all work out,” she says. “It seemed very symbolic for us, and we’re so happy we got to do it on November 25.”

Looking back, Jean has some personal wedding advice to share with The Knot readers. “Don’t blink; it goes by so fast,” she notes. “Incorporate all the things that are you. When you’re planning a wedding, there are so many people [who] love you and want to help… People want to give overwhelmingly.” In the end, says the bride, “Keeping it true to [yourselves] is very important.”

Lots more at The Knot News.

January 6, 2017 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

Sharna Burgess Talks James Hinchcliffe and DWTS in New Interview

This is a fun interview!  I loved her partnership with James – I wish they would have won. That would have been a nice way to end that season – Laurie’s a sweet girl, but that ending was quite predictable. Do love her answers to the questions I quote below – I agree on both.  I think Julianne was a bit OTT – understandable, as it’s TV.  Anyway – from 24 Hours Toronto, here’s a excerpt. Click the link to read the whole thing.

Was he a natural on the dance floor? (He was called the best amateur male dancer ever on the show by judge Julianne Hough.) I wouldn’t agree that he was a natural talent. He was just an incredibly hard worker. At the start of every week, I would joke about how awkward it was. On Friday or Saturday, the light at the end tunnel shone and it clicked for him. But what made James great was his work ethic. The fact that he would watch videos with me; [make] notes with me; go home; practise on his own; and then come back the next day even stronger than he was in rehearsals – that was James’ asset.

Do you and the other female dancers on DWTS feel like you get your due given how some of the male dancers – Derek, Mark, Val and Maks – have become big stars outside of the show? Yeah, absolutely I do. It’s tough with the boys. Predominantly, our audience is women. And the boys, they all are very pretty. They’re all very talented. And I get it: We’ve got some incredible strong male dancers on the show. But I do think the ladies, we hold our own. We’re a group of very talented, strong women that like to get out there and do the very, very best that we can. I think we’re much more nurturing than the boys – but I think that’s a female quality.



January 5, 2017 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. :-)

2016 Dancing With The Stars Christmas Roundup And A Special New Baby Announcement

Did you have a great Christmas, Everyone? We hope you had fun!! It looks like the cast of Dancing With The Stars had fun. Below are some social media photos ad videos with them all celebrating. Note how we even had a very special new baby announcement from Edyta Sliwinska. Awwwww….

The best Christmas gift ever:) We could not be happier! #babyontheway #babylove #kissesforthebaby

A photo posted by Edyta Sliwinska (@edytasliwinska) on

Merry Christmas!! Love, the McAllisters!☃️🎄🐶#cheesyphoto #iknow #butiloveit

A photo posted by Witney Carson McAllister (@witneycarson) on

So grateful to have this time at home with my family! 💕💕💕💕🎁🎁🎁🎄🎄❄️🎆 #Christmas

A video posted by karina_smirnoff (@karina_smirnoff) on

Gorgeous day with my loves ❤@elenasamodanova

A photo posted by Gleb Savchenko (@glebsavchenkoofficial) on

Merry Christmas 🎁🎄 @elenasamodanova

A photo posted by Gleb Savchenko (@glebsavchenkoofficial) on

Read more..

December 26, 2016 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

Dancing With The Stars Carrie Ann Inaba And Robb Derringer Engaged!

I think Carrie Ann has finally found “the one”. CONGRATULATIONS Carrie Ann! We couldn’t be happier for you! From People….

Carrie Ann Inaba and actor Robb Derringer are engaged, the couple tells PEOPLE exclusively.

Derringer, 49, proposed to the Dancing With the Stars judge on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the site of their first date — a secluded beach cove along the California coast — and the smitten pair shared one of the most romantic moments of their lives.

“Saturdays are special to us, because our first date was on a Saturday and we have celebrated with a toast, a visit to a beach, special date, a motorcycle adventure, or a road trip on every Saturday since,” Inaba, 48, tells PEOPLE. “So on Saturday, we returned to the place of our first date and got engaged at the same place we shared our spontaneous and magical first date.”

With the Pacific as a romantic backdrop, the former General Hospital actor proposed with a ring by designer Jean Dousset, and the couple celebrated their future.

“We shared our desire to commit to one another for life by beginning that journey in a very intimate and private way, just the two of us, alone on the beach with a bonfire, a bottle of Aubert Chardonnay and the majestic Pacific ocean that has always been an integral force in both our lives,” she says.

More at People.

December 14, 2016 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

Dancing With The Stars Julianne Hough And Derek Hough Announce New Tour (Ticket Information)

This morning on Good Morning America, Julianne and Derek Hough announced their new “Move Beyond Live On Tour” which will take place this Spring. Video below. For scheduling and ticket information, see this link (be patient as they add more cities and info). Exciting!!! Thanks to @idolxfactor1 for recording. For more interviews today with Derek and Julianne, see Pure Derek Hough.

I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.

PureDWTS Power Rankings Special – The Hairspray Live! Edition

Let it be known that this is the first time in PureDWTS history that my power rankings actually have nothing to do with DWTS 😛 But since some of you (bless your hearts and your desire to listen to me ramble on) requested it on Twitter, here it is – the first-ever non-DWTS edition of the power rankings!

So last night was Hairspray Live! on NBC – Vogue has spoiled all of us by and posted some post-show pix and media over at PDH if you want to check it out.  Overall, I liked the production – I didn’t love it, but I think a lot of that had to with the fact that I found myself mentally comparing it to the 2007 movie version of Hairspray quite a bit, and there were parts that I thought the movie did better, and parts that I thought the live show did better. This particular production seemed like it stayed more faithful to the play than the movie, although I did see them borrow from the movie at a few points, too.

So how am I going to parlay the power rankings into a pseudo-quasi review of the show? I’ve decided to look at the 11 main cast members and just analyze them (they’re really the only ones who had enough screen time for me to really judge).  I’m going to take into account how the character was handled within the context of the plot, as well as how that particular actor handled the role – and since nobody’s going home like on DWTS, just think of those at the top being the ones that handled it the best, and the ones at the bottom being the ones that fared the worst.  So away we go…

1-2.)  TIE: Derek Hough as Corny Collins and Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle Stubbs – I think these two are a prime example of what can be done when you take a relatively secondary character and just play THE SHIT out of it, to the point where you kinda steal the show from the main characters.  Surprising almost no one here (but likely quite a few folks who either didn’t know much about him, or people who were skeptical about him), Derek could not have impressed more as Corny – the dancing was there, the singing was there, and the acting was there.  I cannot recall another actor playing Corny that has been as athletic as Derek, and that likely helped a lot – Corny’s such a dynamic character, that you need someone that’s able to spin, pose, belt, pull faces, and point & wink without breaking a sweat and without getting winded.  That’s all that cross-training and stage experience coming into play 😉 While I actually found a lot of the choreography to be a bit kindergarten-y for D (but probably plenty difficult for everyone else), he was still dancing the crap out of it, and seemed to steal my eye in any scene where they had him doing any sort of dancing. Amber & Link may have been the “stars” of the Corny Collins show, but Corny himself was the one truly worth watching.  As for Jennifer – daaaaaaaaamn, girl. I think anyone who is able to bring not one, not two, but THREE cast members to tears while belting out “I Know Where I’ve Been” in a style that would make even Whitney Houston jealous deserves a standing ovation.  Maybelle is a character that doesn’t get a ton of screen time in the grand scheme of Hairspray Live! – but I’ll be damned if Jennifer didn’t make the most of every second she got on screen. I actually really liked how she played Maybelle more as a feisty young mother and business woman fighting for a better life for her kids, since most of the actresses that have played her seem to play her as a bit older, and more subdued & wise.  All I could think about after the show was how many roles on Broadway she would just SLAY – Big Mamma Morton in Chicago, Teen Angel in Grease, Justice in Rock of Ages, anything in Ain’t Misbehavin’, the list goes on. She’s got real chops when it comes to stage work, and I’d love to see her really establish herself on Broadway. If I had to give one of them the edge over the other, I’d probably say Jennifer because she had a bit more gravitas in her performance – Corny doesn’t have too much serious material to work with.  But both were standouts to me in a great way 🙂

3.) Kristin Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussel – This was once instance where I preferred the Hairspray Live! actor to the 2007 movie actor – I liked how Kristin played her a bit more zany and humorous, while I found Michelle Pfeiffer’s Velma to be a bit more…cold and serious.  She was also one of the few that seemed to have a good on-screen chemistry with those she was supposed to be playing off of – she did ok with Dove (which I think is more a result of Dove being a bit off her game), but I loved the banter she had with Derek on the Corny set…you can tell those two are good friends off-screen.  But chemistry goes a long way, and I actually was very entertained when I watched those two play off each other onscreen. Also liked that she got creative with the vocals – “Miss Baltimore Crabs” had me chuckling.  Kristin’s such a seasoned stage pro, though, that I didn’t expect anything else – killed it, and made me laugh 🙂

4.) Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad – To be fair, I feel like Edna is the role in Hairspray that usually stands the greatest likelihood of “stealing the show”, just by virtue of the novelty of it – it’s always played by a male actor in drag (with a LOT of padding), so right off the bat, the audience usually finds him/her hilarious. And Harvey was no exception – from Edna’s first line in that gruff, gravelly voice of his, I was entertained. But god bless Harvey, he makes one pretty hideous woman 😛 The makeup kinda reminded me of one of the makeover challenges on Rupaul’s Drag Race, where the queens are tasked with making over a regular guy into a drag queen in a limited amount of time – but it all just added to the overall campiness of the character, so it worked.  And I liked that he played Edna a bit louder and sassier than Travolta did in the 2007 version – I feel like Harvey’s Edna was a lot more “Baltimore”, while Travolta’s was more demure, quiet, and “Midwest”. Also loved the chemistry he had with Martin, and they both seemed to capture well the quirky affection Edna & Wilbur have for each other.  Good casting 🙂

5.) Ephraim Sykes as Seaweed Stubbs – I think Ephraim probably fared the best of the newcomers/unknown actors in this production – he’s another one that seems to be a triple threat (singer/dancer/actor) and didn’t struggle with onstage chemistry issues like several of the other newcomers.  He seemed to mesh well with Maybelle & Tracy, tried to vibe with Penny (but I blame the lack of spark more on Ariana), and stood out well in the dancing sections. Maybe didn’t stand out for me as much as, say, Lil Inez or Maybelle, but I was pleased nonetheless.  No complaints here 🙂

6.) Shahadi Wright Joseph as Lil Inez Stubbs – If you told me to pick one character from the show to give more screen time to, you wouldn’t even have finished your sentence before I said “LIL INEZ!!!” enthusiastically.  That little girl was giving me LIFE last night – adorable, energetic, and dancing her little heart out in “You Can’t Stop the Beat” in her little yellow dress.  Seriously, go re-watch that number – she is out-dancing most of the adults.  So it was kinda disappointing that they opted not to give her more screen time, like they did in the 2007 movie – in that version (spoiler alert), she actually is the one that ends up winning Miss Teen Hairspray when Link pulls her out onto the dance floor during the broadcast, and she gets a ton of phone votes by people impressed by her dance moves. I would have loved to have seen that in this version, if only to see Shahadi dancing more – plus I feel like this version ends just a bit too perfectly for Tracy, who ends up with the boy, the scholarship, the Miss Teen Hairspray title, etc., when all that really mattered to her was integrating the Corny Collins show.  Shahadi went above and beyond with the little screen time she was given – I just wish we could have gotten more.  But I daresay that girl has got a bright future ahead of her – real star-power, that one.

7.) Martin Short as Wilbur Turnblad – I only have one kinda strange gripe about this one: I almost feel like Martin is too “cool” to play Wilbur.  The thing about Wilbur, Edna, & Tracy is that they’re all square pegs – none of them really fit in, except with each other, and their weirdness is what bonds them together and makes them a family.  I think that’s why Christopher Walken worked so well as Wilbur in the movie – he was quirky enough that he carried off the offbeat-joke-shop-owner-with-a-daughter-and-a-wife-who-don’t-quite-fit-in-too role off well.  Martin Short has just reached a point that he’s so charismatic and at-ease with his humor that he seems a bit too normal to play Wilbur – there just wasn’t enough quirk there for me, although I did love his chemistry with Harvey.  I think Ty Burrell would have made a great Wilbur – he’s got enough of that nerdy vibe for me to buy him in that role.  But Martin did well, and there’s very little he does that I don’t enjoy.

8.) Maddie Baillio as Tracy Turnblad – It could just be that Tracy is the type of role with very little variation from actress to actress (same overall “look”), but while I don’t think Maddie did BAD, I don’t think she really did anything that really set her apart from other Tracy’s (like Ricki Lake & Nikki Blonsky).  Vocals were good, dancing was ok (she looked maybe slightly better than Dove – so generally not terribly confident or at-ease on the floor), acting was alright.  I think she tried to establish chemistry with Link, but he was just so damn flat that it all kinda fell apart.  I’m left without a whole lot to say about Maddie – she did good, but I don’t think she did outstanding.  I will give her props for coming into a huge national production as a relative unknown and doing as well as she did, but when we think back to all the actresses that played Tracy, I’m not sure I’ll remember her name.

9.) Ariana Grande as Penny Pingleton – I will say this: of all the characters that had to sing while doing heavy choreography during the show, Ariana was one of the only two actors who were actually managing to do both without appearing winded or their singing suffering (the other being Derek).  I would venture a guess it’s because she’s a highly trained vocalist who has probably gotten quite a bit of instruction on breath control.  And yes, she was probably the second-most talented vocalist in the cast, after Jennifer, and she sounded great – had she only had to sing, she would probably be much higher on this list; but she did actually have a pretty substantial speaking role, and the acting we saw was…tepid. I feel like she basically just rehashed this character she did on SNL (which someone on Twitter told me was basically her character from Victorious, too) and seemed too busy being awkward that it actually sabotaged any chemistry she might have had with Seaweed; Ephraim was giving good chemistry and trying to vibe off of her, but it seemed like Ariana got so caught up in being weird that she almost seemed afraid of him.  I much preferred Amanda Bynes’ take on Penny in the 2007 movie, where she managed to be awkward and dowdy while still having a good, flirtatious chemistry with Seaweed.  She’s an ok dancer, but if I were her, I’d stick to singing for now, and leave the acting and dancing to someone else.

10.) Dove Cameron as Amber Von Tussel – I had never heard of Dove prior to last night, and if someone hadn’t told me otherwise on Twitter, I would have guessed she was was primarily a singer that had little to no experience with acting or dancing, because she didn’t seem particularly confident in either one of those skills during the production.  Not much in the way of varying facial expressions, and seemed to be doing the dance moves pretty cautiously and timidly. Her interactions with other characters seemed a bit wooden, too – Kristin and Maddie were giving her plenty to work with, and Dove only seemed to kinda engage. Someone on Twitter mentioned that she may have been really nervous, because she’s usually quite a good performer, so I’m not sure what the deal was – she’s a very pretty girl, and she actually sounded great when singing (especially during “Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now”) but beyond that, I didn’t find anything about her performance to be remarkable.  Maybe she just needs to get used to live performances?

11.) Garrett Clayton as Link Larkin – Honest to god, I cannot think of a single memorable Link moment from last night’s show.  Perhaps it’s a combo of kinda robotic acting and a bit less of a front-and-center role than in the movie, but I almost feel like Link just got reduced to a stock character in this iteration of the musical – he was just there to kinda fill in the space of the dreamy male love interest for the female protagonist, and that’s about it. In the 2007 version of the movie (where Zac Efron played him), I feel like they at least made an effort to give Link more of his own identity – he was trying to become a rock star and had more performance numbers, you see him change his thinking about segregation, he makes a big move at the Miss Hairspray pageant that makes a statement, etc. In this version…he just seems to be following either Amber or Tracy around like a lost puppy, and there’s only a passing mention about him trying to get his “big break” on the Corny Collins Show. So to be fair – Garrett may not have had a ton of material to work with, but I found his acting to be unremarkable and kinda one-note. He just kinda seemed to be going through the motions, and didn’t really do anything to make the role his own.  And I’m not sure he could have had any less chemistry with Maddie if he tried – they felt more like two people on a mismatched blind date than teenagers in love.  Just…something really off about their vibe together.  I feel really bad saying that, considering they’re the two main characters, but I would argue that they had more screen time than the rest of the cast in order to establish chemistry…and they just couldn’t do it.

Other random thoughts about the show that don’t really fit anywhere else:

*Thinking through the celebrity cameos, I completely forgot about Rosie O’Donnell – probably because casting her as the slightly-butch gym teacher just seemed like wayyyy too much of a gimme. I would have rather had Ricki Lake play that role, instead of throwing a wig on her and shoving her in the background of one of the musical numbers to be forgotten.  Seeing her scold Tracy for her too-high hair could have been delightfully ironic 😉 Sean Hayes as Mr. Pinky? Didn’t even recognize him until 5 minutes after “Welcome to the 60’s” ended and it dawned on me. Would have rather seen Anderson Cooper play that one.

*Seemed like they were kinda rushing the curtain call and ended the show 5 minutes early…why? I have no idea, but it did make the ending feel a tad abrupt.

*The thing that has always bugged me about the original Hairspray script is the way that Penny’s mom has a sudden about-face in the finale about her daughter dating a “colored boy” and is suddenly thrilled to bits about it, after the very thought of such a thing nearly gives her the vapors earlier in the script.  While it’s a lovely (idealistic) notion to think of a family member letting go of a long-held prejudice simply because they see a loved one happy, it’s not realistic at all – I think that anyone that has grown up with a racist in their family can tell you that those tendencies don’t just change on a whim. I think the 2007 movie handled it more realistically – Penny’s mom sees her on TV, kissing Seaweed, and falls out of her chair in shock…and that’s it.  Better to leave it at that than either try to claim she suddenly came to accept it gracefully, or showing her dragging Penny home by her pigtails to beat her with a bible.

*Seemed like there were a few issues with the orchestra drowning out the vocals, particularly in “You Can’t Stop the Beat” and whatever the song was that Jennifer & Ariana sang during the curtain call.  I’m told that this was also an issue people noticed with Grease Live…maybe one of the caveats in filming on a huge back lot that has both indoor and outdoor sets? Hard to adjust orchestra volume?

So those are my thoughts…what are yours? Did you enjoy the show? Did you have a favorite character? What would you have done differently? Let’s hear it! 🙂

December 8, 2016 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, baker, 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. Follow me (and my dog!) on Twitter & Instagram: @putuincespence & @BirkinTheBulldog