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PureDWTS Rants & Raves: To Lift or Not to Lift?

For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed me “getting up on my soapbox” the past few weeks regarding something that has been debated from several different angles around PureDWTS: lifts.  We’ve casually kicked around the pros & cons of them: do they enhance the routine, or are they just filler? Should they be required? Should they be prohibited? Are they safe? What exactly constitutes a lift, anyway? Well here it is, kids – the place where we can really get down to the nitty-gritty of lifts.

My sudden fixation with the topic started about 2 weeks ago, while watching a movie with my boyfriend (who, as many of you know, is a pro ballroom dancer/teacher).  He kept squirming around, trying to get comfortable, and failing.  Finally, getting annoyed with all his wiggling, I asked what was wrong.  “Oh, I just strained my neck a little bit doing a lift with one of my students today.  It’s just a little sore.” Seemed benign enough – minor soreness from doing a new lift.  But over the course of the next week, the pain intensified, to the point where he was unable to turn his head to the right AT ALL, and had to turn his whole body to face me when I was talking (which was actually kind of cool, since it made me think  he was just really listening to me intently ;-)) and had to institute a temporary ban on lifting at the dance studio. He iced it.  He put a heating pad on it.  He stretched it. He used a special neck pillow. He took some Tylenol. He went and got 3 massages in one week – all to little avail.  Things were starting to take their toll on both of us, as my bf was in too much pain to ride his motorcycle, sit upright for very long, or do any sort of vigorous activity. Finally, at the recommendation of one of his students (and me, as I had been HOUNDING him about it), he finally went to the chiropractor last Friday, and after taking one look at my bf’s x-ray, the chiropractor exclaimed “Ooh, no wonder you’ve been in pain – your C4 & C5 vertebrae are wayyyy out of alignment!” A few minutes with the TENS unit and some adjusting with the chiropractor later, he was FINALLY experiencing some relief.  That was a week ago – he’s been to the chiro a few more times since then, and he’s probably 85% better. But the no-lift rule at the studio still stands until he’s back to 100% and gets the all-clear from the chiropractor.

So the most obvious question brought up by my bf’s dilemma is “Are lifts safe?” The answer: no.  Read my lips: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “SAFE” LIFT. Sure, there are techniques to make them safer, and some are clearly safer than others, but all lifts are inherently dangerous, as there is always going to be the risk of injury from falling or being fallen on, as well as other sprains, strains, and even breaks from trying to correct a fall that is already in motion.  In fact, the very appeal of lifts is in the danger – the awe-spiring risk of doing them in the first place, and often the romantic notion of the delicate lady being in harm’s way, but protected by the strong arms of a handsome male lead.  No wonder all of my boyfriend’s students want lifts in their showcase routines! ;-)

Which brings up the next question: should they even be doing lifts in the first place? Obviously, it’s always going to be safer for a couple already experienced in lifting to be doing lifts (check out Eric Luna & Georgia Ambarian, the current world champions in the theater arts division), and it’s a downright TERRIBLE idea for two inexperienced individuals to start attempting them without the guidance and supervision of someone with experience (this is a good example of people that should NOT being doing lifts!).  But both my boyfriend’s predicament and that of the couples on DWTS is a bit more of a grey area – the situation where only half of the couple is experienced. In this particular case, I’m a firm believer that the more experienced member of the partnership is the one more likely to get hurt, regardless of gender.  Since they’re experienced, they’re going to be more likely to be hurt by the rookie mistakes of their partner, and more likely to try & protect their partner from harm…and possibly injure themselves as a result.  My boyfriend is a good example of this, as his neck injury was the result of him compensating for a student who couldn’t quite get the right leverage to get up onto his shoulder; Kym’s neck injury this past season is also a good example, as it was Hines who lost his balance and fell onto Kym, likely due to pure inexperience.  Toni Redpath (a former Australian ballroom champion & a frequent guest judge/choreographer on SYTYCD) did a great video blog a few weeks back (thanks for pointing this out, Evaine! Quite timely ;-)) which did a good job of explaining why lifts are allowed in ballroom routines on SYTYCD but not on DWTS – and the biggest reason was *drumroll* EXPERIENCE.  All the dancers on SYTYCD have some experience with dance, which makes the transition to lifting quite a bit smoother for them than a celebrity with zero dance experience. Not only does it make life a bit easier on the celebs, but it keeps the couples safer, too. 

But let’s say experience is not an issue.  From a choreographic standpoint, should everybody be peppering lifts into their routines? I certainly don’t think so.  Heidi always brings up an interesting argument whenever someone starts comparing ballroom on SYTYCD to ballroom on DWTS and the subject of lifts comes up: when used in excess, lifts tend be a bit of a cop-out, choreographically. It can often let bad dancers get away with not really dancing, and results in a routine that is more “flash & trash” than meat-and-potatoes dance steps – and can end up looking NOTHING like the dance it’s meant to portray.  The best example of this that I can think of is Channing & Philip’s samba from season 6 of SYTYCD.  While not inherently “bad”, the routine only has a few basic samba steps in it, and the rest was a lot of shimmying and (rather clumsily-executed) lifts.  Of course the video cuts out before the judges give their commentary, but I distinctly remember Adam actually calling out the choreographers on this one for making the routine “too lifty”.  I feel like lifts can also interrupt the “flow” of a dance if not placed properly – for a lift to work choreographically, I think it has to have proper timing & musicality, and have very fluid transitions in & out of it.  Otherwise you end up with routines like Channing & Philip’s, which feels jerky & disjointed – “Look I’m doing samba, I’m doing samba, I’m doing samba…ooh now I’m stopping samba & doing a lift…aaaaaand I’m back to dancing samba…STOP! time for another lift-and more samba….” It’s just visually…displeasing. Now don’t get me wrong – a few well-placed, well-executed lifts can enhance a routine.  A great example is Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko’s samba showdance from the 2009 America’s Ballroom Challenge (does the move at 1:06 look familiar? Derek used it at the end of his samba with Nicole ;-)).  Only one lift, and they ended up winning the showdance category, over 5 other couples – most of whom had more lifts. IMHO, you don’t need lifts to make ANY routine on DWTS (including the freestyle) look good.  Derek had no choice but to come up with alternatives to lifts in season 11, when Jennifer made it clear from day 1 that her neck injury made lifting an impossibility – and they still managed to win, and create some very memorable routines while they were at it. Their lift-minimal Argentine tango still stands out to me as one of the best we’ve ever had on the show.

So the bf & I were talking about lifts at-length the other night, and he said something that stuck with me: “You know, DWTS is great for the attention it has brought to ballroom dancing & all, but it’s really left some people with an unrealistic idea of what ballroom is and isn’t.” He went on to explain that he gets new students in the studio who are frustrated upon finding out that they won’t be dancing eye-catching routines like the ones on TV right off the bat, and many of them seem more concerned with costumes & music than technique & solid choreography.  I can imagine it gets very frustrating for dance teachers like him – especially when the demand for flashy nuances like lifts necessitates them risking their own safety.  The format of DWTS has actually forced my bf’s studio to start doing more showcase routines with their students (as opposed to focusing on good technique for competition) – and as my bf puts it, “every single one of my ladies wants lifts in her routine – and if they think one of the other ladies has more/better lifts, they’ll ask for more.  It’s KILLING me!” And me as well, since he often comes home cranky & sore and barely able to move…let alone do other activities. ;-)

So I’ve said my piece with regards to lifts…what do you guys think? LAY IT ON ME :-D

August 9, 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!

DWTS Who Wore it Better? Part XII – More from Season 12

So the addition of the troupe this past season did have one unexpected positive effect: even more costume dittos! Which makes my job a bit easier ;-) And I’m noticing the costume department has a special affinity for red – lots & lots of sparkly, red, fringy, feathery stuff… Read more..

August 5, 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!

Former Dancing With The Stars Contestant & Legendary Austronaut Buzz Aldrin Filed For His Third Divorce

According to TMZ, Buss Aldrin, second man to walk on the moon, has filed for a divorce today from Lois Driggs Cannon who he married on Valentines Day in 1988. This will make this Buzz’s third divorce. As you all know, Buzz was partnered with Ashly DeGrosso on Dancing With The Stars in Season 10. Anyone remember them dancing the Cha Cha? I remember thinking this guy had so much guts at his age to do Dancing With The Stars. What’s more, he did it with honor and grace. As for Ashly, what a charmer too.

We at Pure DWTS would like to exend our best wishes out to this legendary astronaut and DWTS class act and hope he will be ok!!!

June 21, 2011 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 . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

DWTS Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris Dances

We all know that Brooke Burke was introduced to Dancing with the Stars world as a contestant on Season 7 before becoming co-host on Season 10.

Now that Samantha Harris is no longer co-host does that make her eligible to dance as a contestant on the show?

The following dance seems to indicate that she could do all right on the show. This is from Season 2, her professional partner was Jonathan Roberts… and they danced the Jive to Prince’s Delirious Prince - 1999 - Delirious.

Now I don’t know about that armpit smelling move… but I digress.

And of course Samantha wouldn’t have been persuaded to do this hadn’t Tom Bergeron jump in first… So here is Tom Bergeron dancing the Quickstep with Ashly DelGrosso (now Costa) to the song Get Happy made famous by Judy Garland Judy Garland - Judy Garland's Greatest Hits Live - Get Happy.

Tom’s so popular he could last a while… =)

And of course as a quick send off… Drew Lachey with Cheryl Burke as a fill-in during a results show episode when Gloria Estefan had to back out at the last minute due to family. This is their Ballroom Medley (it includes Foxtrot, Quickstep, Jive and West Coast) to Danke Schoen as sung by Season 5′s Wayne Newton Wayne Newton - The Capitol Collector's Series: Wayne Newton - Danke Schoen

September 6, 2010 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 – Did He REALLY Say That??? The Tony Dovolani Edition

Our Pros, Celebrities, Judges and Hosts often say things that perhaps, from a professional standpoint, they shouldn’t. Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re experiencing foot-in-mouth disease, sometimes they’re aggravating, sometimes it’s just none of their damn business. Courtney and I thought it would be fun to take some of these comments and discuss them, under the heading of “People say the Silliest Things”. Plus, some of us miss DWTS when it’s not on – this will be something to talk about. :-)

First up, Tony Dovolani, in People Magazine Online:

“I enjoyed every bit of last season — well, most of it, I mean,” Tony Dovolani, who partnered with controversial contestant Kate Gosselin last season, told PEOPLE at the ESPY Awards Wednesday in L.A. “Next season I would like to have a more able partner, someone who doesn’t have so many distractions in their life. The producers know how I feel.”

Heidi: Oh, Tony, there are many things wrong with this statement, if remotely accurate. First off, some pros were not fortunate enough to even get a partner, let alone one that you (hopefully inadvertently) imply is disabled. Complaining about Kate – no matter how horrible she was (and she was horrible – no mistake) probably seems like Paris Hilton complaining about her new house only having 5 bathrooms to people like Dmitry, Lacey, Kym and others. And you know what, Jonathan is only sporadically on this show and he ALWAYS has a worse partner than you’ve had. Geez, you were on the cover of freakin’ PEOPLE magazine!! Besides, even slight disses against a former partner, no matter how true, strikes me as very unprofessional – and saying “the producers know how I feel” sounds arrogant. Not to mention the producers probably remember that you just took Melissa Rycroft to the final two seasons ago – more than Jonathan can say.

And then we have this gem: E!’s Awful Truth

While dishing all the goss with the Dancing with the Stars crew recently, Tony had no problem telling it like it is about Jake Pavelka and Vienna Giardi’s recent “juvenile” break up: “It was such great TV I couldn’t help but watch,” Dovolani recently joked about Jake and Vienna’s ABC special. “Wow, wasn’t that a train wreck or what? My wife and I kept looking at each other like ‘Is this really happening’,” Dovolani reiterated. “But it was great TV. Thank you!”

Courtney: Ooh wee. Now while I agree wholeheartedly with our Albanian friend that the very public, very messy demise of Jake & Vienna rivaled some of the train-wreckery previously known only to various VH1 dating series (again, I reiterate: “Can we please get a poly-a-graph test here?!” only reinforces to me that Vienna should have been cast on Rock of Love XXVII instead of The Bachelor), Tony, honey, there are definitely things that could be said with a little more tact – or in this case, not at all. So much for the alleged camaraderie of the season 10 cast (which was tenous at best), and the reasonably classy reputation that the majority of the pros tend to keep in the media. It would honestly not surprise me in the slightest if some of the pros from this season were conveniently not able to participate next season due to “lack of celebrities to match well with” – if they can sit Kym out for a season for holding out for more money, I wouldn’t put it past the producers to punish some of the more mouthy pros by not asking them back for season 11. And without getting into detail, as far as relationships go – I don’t think most of the pros on the show are in any position to be giving out opinions on relationships – there’s been enough tabloid fodder about some of them (who shall remain nameless ;-) ) to make Jake & Vienna’s split look downright civil. Just sayin’…

Heidi: Isn’t it weird that the very YOUNGEST pro on the show is the one who has shown the most tact when asked about Jake and Vienna? Chelsie was asked a direct question and, from what I saw, left it at a “could see it coming” type thing. But Courtney…you left out the best (worst?) parts of this E! thing!!

“Honestly, not my worries,” Dovolani dished to us when we asked him what he thought of the recent Kate Plus 8 investigation. “I haven’t stayed in touch with her, she hasn’t stayed in touch with me. I needed a break and I got a break—which was awesome—with my family.”

Aside from persuading “Tone-dog” to team up with Lindsay Lohan on the next season of DWTS, the babe told us he’s had it with one group of so-called celebs allowed on the ABC hit.

“I think we’ve had enough Bachelors on our show,” T.D. ‘fessed.

As for whether he’s ready to give the boot to all reality TV celebs? He said the ban doesn’t have to go that far.

“As long as they have followers I guess they are stars.”

Heidi: Well, provided that Tony is accurately quoted here, I don’t really know what to say. Dude, it just seems to me that taking direct shots at the producers in public is not really the road to job security. I could be wrong – but this is a show that has 16 to 20 pros already in the stable and they’re likely to only go with 11 to 13 stars again. Do you want to take chances?? I mean, Derek is possibly out for Season 11 (who can tell, he may never leave the bedside of a certain malaria ridden, Brit pop princess), but as far as I can tell the rest of the gang is eager to dance with a star. As far as stars to match YOU, well, there’s Maks (who is being rather circumspect right now) and Dmitry. And I KNOW Dmitry wants back on the show. He’s tweeted as much. Dude, what ARE you doing?? Even if the producers don’t care, I’ve seen several articles about your comments with the word “me-ow” included, not to mention “thrown under the bus” and other indications that we’re not alone in thinking these weren’t the wisest words you’ve ever spoken.

July 18, 2010 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 – Emmy Nominations 2010!!

Dancing with the Stars leads the “reality” show nominations with 9. From Reality TV World:

Reality TV receives 54 Emmy Awards noms, ‘Dancing’ leads again

Leading the 2009-2010 reality TV Emmy Awards nomination field for the fourth consecutive year is ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, which received nine nominations from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences — one fewer than the reality record-setting 10 nominations it received last year.

CBS’ The Amazing Race was next with seven nominations — including one in the Outstanding Reality Competition category it has won every year since the Academy created it seven years ago. Just like each of the last three years, The Amazing Race will compete against American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway, and Top Chef for the award

Keoghan will compete against American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron, Project Runway host Heidi Klum, and Survivor host Jeff Probst in the category, which Probst has won both times it has been awarded since its 2008 creation.

The Amazing Race also received nods for cinematography, directing, picture editing, sound editing, and sound mixing while Dancing with the Stars also got nominations for hairstyling, lighting, makeup, sound mixing, and technical direction as well as a pair of choreography nods in which Derek Hough was nominated both individually and with Chelsie Hightower.

Derek was nominated with Chelsie for their acoustic Paso Doble in Season 10, and he was nominated individually for his futuristic Paso Doble with Joanna/Quickstep to ‘Anything Goes’ with Nicole. I have to read the rules, but I think the last two dances were a combined nomination – I guess you can submit up to 3. Mya Michaels, for example, has three dances listed under her nomination, but it appears to be only ONE nomination, not three. If I understand what I have read about the rules prior to the nominations being announced, you only can have two nominations if they are from different shows OR if one is part of a team, which is why Derek is nominated twice. Chelsie submitted their Paso as a team, then Derek submitted the Futuristic Paso and the Quickstep – hence, two nominations.

You can read all about the Emmys and see the full list of nominations at Emmy.com.

July 8, 2010 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 Season 10 – The Conspiracy

No, actually I don’t believe in a conspiracy, but lots of Evan and/or Erin fans do.  So, I’m going to attempt to debunk it, although I suspect that no amount of reason and/or logic and/or math will do that for disgruntled fans.

Erin fans, you’re out of luck. Unless you think the show is completely rigged, there is no way that Erin was “robbed” in the finale.  She was in second place after three dances and still Evan beat her into the final two. That’s simple votes, AND she was helped tremendously by the judges over scoring of her Samba.  I’m pretty much leaving her out of this discussion unless someone wants to argue with me about it.

First off, a list of the common conspiracy theories floating around out there, compiled by my equally evil sidekick (or co-conspirator, if you prefer), Courtney:

“The judges pimped Nicole from the beginning.” What the hell kind of drugs are you folks on?? The Judges picked her apart every time she made the slightest of errors, while some of the other couples got away with glaring mistakes.  For example:

Week 1, Len told her she had “no footwork” and “lacked musicallity” which was absurd overcompensation. He gave her a 7.

Week 2, Len told her he was “ambivalent about the whole thing” and gave her an 8 while the other two gave her (well earned) tens.

Week 3 – Len, to put it simply, shredded them. Carrie Ann yelled about a lift (get over it already) and the broken hold.  I don’t complain about this week too much because Derek broke the rules and he knew he was breaking the rules, so they earned their criticism. But I have to agree with Carrie Ann and Bruno – other than the two rules, it was a freakin’ amazing, creative, brilliant dance. Len gave them a 6 – which was ridiculously underscored. Break two rules, deduct two points, not FOUR.

Week 4 – their least memorable dance of the season. It was about this time Nicole got VERY defensive about her relationship with Derek. It affected the dance – but the judges did not blindly pimp a less than stellar dance. All three judges were critical of various things and they ended up with a 50 out of 60.

Week 6 – Len says “ugly legs” which is a load of bull. He likes certain moves in his sambas and they didn’t have enough of THOSE moves, despite having other samba moves recognizable to this non-professional. There is a point when the under scoring to make it a race becomes obvious and stupid – this would be that week. Len gave her a 7. Seriously. If Len were really being critical in an even handed manner he would have given everyone else on the show that week 4s.

Now, it was very obvious what Len was doing – over compensating for the fact that she was a great dancer going in.  But what we’re talking about here is that some people actually believe that Nicole was pimped the whole way through – that the judges always loved her. Ridiculous. If Len was as hard on everyone, and as critical about certain moves and footwork, then no one else would have gotten above a 5 or a 6 – ever. But for as much as some complain about the show not being fair with Nicole on it, it’s also not fair that lesser dancers get better scores than they should when having much larger errors than Nicole ever had. But that’s the way the show rolls – I have to accept that Erin was absurdly over scored in the finale, and you conspiracy theorists have to accept that the show does bring on people with previous experience. Although, Erin and Evan also had previous experience – two strikes on them.

“Nicole is a professional dancer.” – Assuming this is true (which technically it isn’t) – Big fucking deal.  The best dancer doesn’t always win, and if they do – then people must actually like them. Someone on the US Weekly boards put it very well: “If 98% of the people on the ABC boards today were angry that Nicole won, then who were the ones voting for her enough to make her win?” Nicole is not the first, nor will she be the last, person with some dance experience to be on this show.  Hello, Mel B (Maks fans – he didn’t win then either), Willa Ford, Sabrina Bryan, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, Marie Osmond…even Kristi had dance training if i remember correctly. Remember that Donny actually took ballroom lessons BEFORE the show started for his Vegas act? That’s more than Nicole had. Now, let’s talk about Mya – where were you folks last season when someone who actually TEACHES dance was on the show. What, it’s okay because she didn’t win?? You mad now because a ringer similar to (but far less experienced than) Mya actually WON the show and beat the other ringers out?  Mya is the person with the most experience ever on the show. Nicole has no more experience than Mel B, Sabrina, Lance Bass…and really what we’re talking about here is experience learning choreography. NO one on the show has had actual ballroom training, to my knowledge, other than Donny Osmond. So why are people so pissed at Nicole REALLY? Because their favorite ringer and Olympic gold medalist, defied expectations and lost? Because he is an Olympic Gold Medalist, EVERYONE expected Evan to win – he’s the ringer of all ringers like Kristi was, moreso than Nicole. So why the outrage at Nicole? He was the one to beat. BUT I said it before and I’ll say it again – no previous gold medalist had a Nicole to deal with. Likeable AND talented – Gilles was a close as an Olympian had to a Nicole and he made some critical errors late in the season.  Heh – I guess this completely blows up the theory that “people” don’t like and won’t vote for people with previous experience. I’ve always said that was bull – people didn’t vote for Mya because they didn’t like her as much as they liked Donny. And we see evidence of that again this season – more people voted for Nicole because they liked her more AND she was a better dancer. Not to mention that the other two in the final three also had experience and, in a different season when Nicole wasn’t on, THEY would have been taking the ringer heat.

“Nicole is a slut/whore/skank/etc. and was banging everyone on the set for votes.” – Hehe, this was actually my personal favorite.  If she were in fact doing this, she was banging the wrong individuals – she should have been making housecalls to every voting viewer in the nation, rather than “blowing Bruno good after the first show” (no joke – actual comment made on one comments section), which we know would have been as effective as trying to wash your hair with ranch dressing.  Courtney had an extremely pithy comment in here about the intelligence of people making this argument, but we will just leave it as – “this is a really stupid argument”.  ;-)

“Nicole was the chosen winner before the show had even started.” - Seriously, what would the producers have to gain by a) choosing a winner before the show even started, and b) choosing Nicole as that winner? If the uproar over her win is any indicator, her victory has probably done more harm than good to viewership.  There’s just no incentive in it for them…really people, c’mon on now – you’re reaching ;-)  Ya need a real motive for the producers to do this – they don’t have one, actually. If you’re going by ratings, then they would have kept Kate Gosselin longer than they did – and they sure didn’t try! They gave her the lowest scores possible and it was VIEWER VOTES that kept her around.  And can you build more buzz than by having Nicole eliminated early? I think not – look at Sabrina. Talk about buzz. I think the biggest indicator that the producers didn’t tell the judges who was ahead was Len himself saying that Nicole should win. Courtney made the point in the Cheesecake Awards that Len, like everyone else, was afraid that Evan (not the best dancer) would win, so he was making his feelings known in advance. Having seen Len bitch and moan about the best dancer NOT winning in previous seasons, I think he was prepared for the (late) conventional wisdom to prevail once again – the gold medalist wins. Everyone, including myself, underestimated dedicated Derek and Nicole fans. I think she may be the first pop singer to have a huge fanbase that was actually aware of HOW to vote to win.

I must say, just because someone is a great dancer, it does not mean that they’ve had more training than someone else. It just means they are more talented.  Brooke Burke. Gilles Marini. Those are two people (just off the top of my head) who were really good dancers who won (or should have won) who had no training at all.  Erin has had some degree of training as recently as college – she had to learn choreography, just like Nicole. Evan took ballet at least once a week and had a ballroom dancer, Mark Ballas, choreograph a routine for him on ice – gee, there must be some translation there, eh? All those gorgeous spins he can do on the floor – just magic?? Of course his skating training applies. Nicole? Like others before her, she could do a variety of dance moves required for pop singer – but she was also not trained in ballroom.  She was just a better dancer then Erin and Evan. Period. And to top it off, she had a very popular pro (whose popularity and sheer talent, like it or not, cannot be discounted) and she herself was very likable (to the masses – and no, the ABC Boards do NOT qualify as the masses) – it’s a winning formula.  Great dancer, good personality (ie not boring), great choreographer as a partner who is extremely popular in his own right. I hate to say it, but Evan did not have a very popular partner (as much as I’ve come to like her) and his own personality was rather dry at times – none of my friends liked him and none voted for him. And these are NOT Derek fangirls that I’m talking about. I’m talking former Gilles/Donny voters. Don’t get me wrong, I love Evan – it’s some of his fans who annoy me. If only they had a fraction of the class that Evan himself clearly possesses.

But let’s forget about all that stuff, even though it makes sense.  Let’s look at the actual numbers. I’ve heard so often that “Evan was robbed” let’s see if that’s even remotely true per the judges scores. Yes, they scored him lower than BOTH Erin and Nicole – but was that unfair? Did it cost him the competition? I predicted before the finale that the judges would go one of two ways: they would either cop out and give everyone the same basic score OR they would rank the dancers according to how they thought the results should be – in their opinion.  At first, it appeared they would go with the former; at the end of the first dance, there was only one point between them and at the end of the performance show, Erin and Nicole were tied with 55 points and Evan was ONLY 3 points behind at 52. Like it or not, three points ain’t nothing – it adds up to 1.8% difference between Evan and Erin/Nicole- peanuts, when you’re an Olympic Gold Medalist.  We can argue about if Evan was underscored (he was) or Erin was overscored (she was) – but I’m saying it doesn’t really matter in the end. Nicole was the best dancer and she was TIED with the worst dancer of the three going into the Finale, with Evan only 1.8% behind.

So, Evan fans really poured it on since their guy was down, right? Well, not from what I hear. I heard what they said they did in terms of voting and it wasn’t what I would call “power voting”. I read how many times they voted and my thought was “amateurs”. ; -)  But internet fans aren’t going to win the show on their own – the average viewer has to vote too. Anyway…

So, the first dance on Finale night is a three way argentine tango. Again, I predicted that this was NOT a smart move on Erin/Maks part because a dance is more than just one lift and her dance didn’t have near the technical difficulty that Nicole’s did plus that lift was NOT clean the second time.  Maks should know that they typically reverse dance order from the first night which would mean Erin was going AFTER two better dancers.  And I can hear the bitching and moaning now: “but they changed the rules, they changed the scoring, they were ranked instead of all given the same chance at a 30″. Boo Hoo – they change the rules EVERY SEASON – where have you people been? I’ve been complaining about how they change the show every season on this very blog for three seasons now.  Frankly, I like this rule change. Another thing I’ve been complaining about for a while is how the judges wuss out and give everyone an automatic 30 (although they’ve been doing better last couple seasons) or 29 — whether they deserve it or not.  This rule change actually made them rank the contestants, which is what they SHOULD do – and is there anyone who sincerely believes that they were ranked incorrectly? Basically, there seem to be two choices in this instance – they are ranked or they are given wuss scores.  I can see some preferring the automatic 30, but I doubt if the situation was reversed you would be so quick to choose that option. If Evan were actually the better dancer, would you like Nicole getting that automatic 30? Doubtful. :-)

In any case, at this point Evan is 5 points behind Nicole. It’s at this point that Erin exits the competition – even though she is 1 point ahead of Evan. Was it a conspiracy against Evan that Erin had more points? Nah, the judges were trying to make it a horse race and it didn’t work. Erin just didn’t have the votes. Evan clearly did. Although he didn’t have to have many to beat Erin – approximately 4100 votes per 1 million votes cast. Evan versus Nicole? At this point, after three dances, he is only 2.03 percent behind her.

That brings us to the final dance. Can anyone seriously claim that Evan’s quickstep was better than Nicole’s Jive? Oh, I’m sure some will try. Nevermind, we’re talking percentages. After all four dances, Evan is 2.3 percent behind Nicole. Two. Point. Three. Peanuts.

But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Evan also got a 30 on his final dance.  That means the percentage changes back to 2.03 percent difference between the two of them.  So, essentially, those two points that Evan DIDN’T get means he has to get 0.271 percent more votes than he would have if he had scored a 30. Seriously – can anyone call that a conspiracy??

Let’s take it a step farther and assume that Evan was underscored on his Freestyle.  He got a 24, Nicole got a 27. I think that Nicole’s freestyle, even with the bobbled lift, was better and more entertaining than Evan’s. But let’s give him a 26 – we’ll assume that Len was his usual self and stuck with the 8. If Evan keeps the 30 I gave him in the last paragraph and he gets a 26 instead of a 24 on his freestyle (and all other scores remain the same), the percentage difference between him and Nicole is reduced to 0.97 percent. Easier for Evan to win with this percentage difference? Of course. But what this REALLY means is that the judges actual scoring increased the margin between Evan and Nicole by 1.06 percent. Did this make a difference? Highly doubtful. Come on, it’s 1.06 percent. If the 1.06 percent made a difference, that means that Nicole won by an extremely small margin. Listen to Tom’s script on Finale night. Did he say anything about how close it was at the end? Did he ramp up the excitement and suspense? No, not like he did when Shawn beat Gilles by less than 1 percent.  I don’t think it was even close, frankly. They didn’t really act like it was close.

Still think there was a conspiracy? Well, there’s no hope for you then. You should stop watching this show.

Think that the conspiracy was that Nicole was even on the show? She was destined to win? I have to ask – where have you been? If you’re going to eliminate anyone with previous experience, the entire top 3 would be cut out, in addition to Lil Kim, Lance Bass, Melissa Rycroft, Sabrina, Mya, Mel B..the list goes on. Where do you draw the line? Joanna danced until she was 11, should she be cut? If you lower the dance experience age that far, I wager there would be no female celebs on the show. And if you’re going to do that, then you have to eliminate anyone with a massive fanbase because of their unfair advantage – which eliminates Evan, Donny, Kristi, and Shawn, to name a few. Suck it up people – it’s a vastly entertaining show, but it’s in no way FAIR. And do you really want it to be if it means never seeing Evan, Kristi, Shawn, Donny, Nicole, Sabrina, Mel B, Lance Bass….any of them DANCE?  Not only would it be boring (and give me nothing to bitch about), but the ratings would plummet.

June 13, 2010 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 10 Evan & Anna Dance Comparison

Evan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya ended the season with five recycled dances:
- Two of them happen to be the Viennese Waltz: the first done on the Week 1 and the second one on Week 10
- Four of the Five dances are Ballroom dances (Viennese Waltz, Waltz and Quickstep)
- Two of the recycled songs were originally done by celebs in Season 8

Interesting stats for these songs…

So starting with the two Viennese Waltz’s:

The first song was I’ll Be by Edwin McCain Edwin McCain - Rhino Hi-Five: Edwin McCain - EP - I'll Be as originally done by Season 8′s Lil’ Kim and Derek Hough on Week 5.

And again on Season 10 Week 1 as done by Evan and Anna

The second Viennese Waltz was done to Billy Joel’s Piano Man Billy Joel - The Essential Billy Joel - Piano Man originally on Season 5 Week 4 by Jane Seymour and Tony Dovolani.

And of course on Season 10 Week 10 by Evan and Anna.

Read more..

June 2, 2010 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 10 Dance Comparison Erin & Maksim

Here it is the last couple of posts to signify the end of Season 10 of Dancing with the Stars and the long summer wait til Season 11! (Which from rumors is suppose to start on Sept 20th)

Anyway, below are the dance comparisons for Erin & Maksim with their only recycled song: a Jive to You Never Can Tell from Pulp Fiction Chuck Berry - Pulp Fiction (Music from the Motion Picture) - You Never Can Tell (1964 Single Version) [Mono].

This was first done by Season 4′s champion Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough on Week 3 (start on 1:38):

And here is Season 10′s Erin and Maksim as done on Week 5

May 31, 2010 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... =)

Dancing with the Stars 2010 Finale Music

Thanks to Marianya for putting together the list of all the music from the finale of Dancing with the Stars. I’m still stuck on the west coast waiting another hour before I get a chance to wait 2 hours until they announce the winner. However, it looks like Heidi will be publishing the winner soon for people to discuss the results. Until then, download some of the music from tonight’s show:

All Dancers and Celebs:
- Jive: The Pointer Sisters – I’m So Excited The Pointer Sisters - Now That's What I Call the 80s - I'm So Excited

Erin Andrews & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
- ChaCha: Dinah Washington – Relax Max Dinah Washington - The Swingin' Miss "D" - Relax Max

Nicole Scherzinger & Derek Hough
- Jive: Tina Turner – Proud Mary Tina Turner - All the Best: The Hits - Proud Mary

Evan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya
- Quickstep: Letters to Cleo – I Want You to Want Me Letters to Cleo - When Did We Do That? - I Want You to Want Me

Shannen Doherty & Mark Ballas / Aiden Turner & Edyta Sliwinska
- ChaCha: Gonzalez – Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet Gonzalez - Haven't Stopped - I Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet

Buzz Aldrin & Ashly Costa
- Paso Doble: Theme from Star Wars Imperial Force - Plug It In (Remixed Dance Trax) - Star Wars Theme

Jake Pavelka & Chelsie Hightower / Vienna Girardi & Dmitry Chaplin
- Viennese Waltz: Jeffrey Osborne – On the Wings of Love Jeffrey Osborne - Ultimate Collection: Jeffrey Osborne - On the Wings of Love

Purdue University
- ChaCha: The Pussycat Dolls – When I Grow Up The Pussycat Dolls - Doll Domination - When I Grow Up

Utah Valley University
- Samba: Bond – Gypsy Rhapsody Bond - Explosive - The Best of Bond (Bonus Track) - Gypsy Rhapsody

Kate Gosselin & Tony Dovolani
- Tango: Lady Gaga – Paparazzi Lady GaGa - The Fame Monster (Deluxe Version) - Paparazzi / Hustle: Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive Gloria Gaynor - Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive: The Anthology - I Will Survive

Pamela Anderson & Damian Whitewood assist Tony Dovolani & Dmitry Chaplin
- Mambo-ish: Etta James – I Just Wanna Make Love to You Etta James - Blues In the Night: The Early Show, Vol. 1 - I Just Wanna Make Love to You

Niecy Nash & Louis van Amstel assist Tony Dovolani & Dmitry Chaplin
- Samba-ish: Destiny’s Child – Bootylicious Destiny's Child - Survivor - Bootylicious

Entrance of the Finalists: Tomoyasu Hotei – Battle Without Honor Or Humanity Tomoyasu Hotei - Electric Samurai - Battle Without Honor or Humanity

Thanks for checking in each week to see all the DWTS music.

May 25, 2010 I Written By

Better known as Charlie.