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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!

PureDWTS Questionnaire Summer 2012: Answer With Your Thoughts On The Professional Dancers

It’s that time again for a new Pure Dancing With The Stars Questionnaire!! Our first edition is about the professional dancers which dance on the show. Looking back at Season 14, answer each question below to the best of your ability or for whatever comes to your mind first in the comments section. We plan to submit this post to ‘the powers that be’ of the show to let them know how you feel. So, make your voice heard, have fun, and let’s get started….

1. At this time, who is your favorite Female professional dancer on Dancing With The Stars? (try to narrow it down to only one, but, you can name a few honorable mentions if you like)

2. At this time, who is your favorite Male professional dancer on Dancing With The Stars? (try to narrow it down to only one, but, you can name a few honorable mentions if you like)

3. If you had to choose between the two top people you mentioned above, who would your favorite dancer be on Dancing With The Stars?

4. Who had the best Pro Dance(s) in Dancing With The Stars Season 14?

5. Which two pros would you like to see dance together in pro numbers for Dancing With The Stars Season 15?

6. From the pros on Dancing With The Stars currently, who needs a break the most?

7. From all the professional dancers who have left and/or who aren’t or haven’t been on the show, who would you like to see return?

Thanks All! You rock the dances too :) and we look forward to your submissions in the comments section. xx

June 14, 2012 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 Season 15: “All-Star” Season – Pick your Stars!

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!
Read more..

June 6, 2012 I Written By

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

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!
Read more..

I Written By

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

DWTS Season 15 – All Star Cast Wish List

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

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

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

Ready? GO!
Read more..

May 30, 2012 I Written By

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

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!

The Top 10 Worst First Week Cha-Cha’s in DWTS History

Ahhhh, yes – the cha-cha.  The only first week dance that has remained the same in all 14 seasons of the show – they’ve often vacillated between the waltz, foxtrot, and Viennese waltz as the first week ballroom dance from season to season, but they’ve always had the cha-cha as a week 1 Latin dance.  That’s 75 regular week 1 cha-cha’s (I’m not counting the cha-cha relay from season 9 – the scoring is too funky) for me to run the stats on, to give us an idea of what we might expect in the coming week :-) So before I run down the list of the biggest “Oh god, that was baaaaaad!” week 1 cha-cha moments, here are a few interesting cha-cha stats:

*The lowest cha-cha score in DWTS history is 12 – and it’s a 3-way tie between Master P & Ashly, Tucker & Elena, and Jeff & Edyta.  Two of the couples were eliminated the first week of their respective seasons – and all 3 female pros are no longer on the show :-) (ok, that last one was probably not a direct cause of a bad cha-cha, but just an interesting coincidence ;-))

*Five former DWTS champions did cha-cha as their week 1 dance (Drew, Emmitt, Apolo, Brooke, & Hines).

*The pro who’s done the most week 1 cha-cha’s is Cheryl – she’s started 9 of her 12 seasons on the show with a cha-cha.

*A female celeb didn’t dance the cha-cha as a week 1 dance until season 5 – up until that point, the ladies had always done a ballroom dance the first week, and the men had always done cha-cha.

Now…without further ado…I give you the worst week 1 cha-cha’s in DWTS history :-) Season 14 celebs, pay attention! This is for your own good…do not try to emulate these routines!

10.) Clyde & Elena, season 4

I never got the feeling that Clyde was actually making a genuine effort during his season, really.  I think his handlers probably signed him up for the show just to get him some exposure, and it was never something Clyde really wanted to do – he just seemed to do the bare minimum each week and probably hoped to get voted off quickly. His whole “outrage” over Len pointing out that some couples weren’t practicing enough just really made me think that Clyde the Glide doth protest too much – he wasn’t putting in the hours and he knew it.  On top of the apathy, there was a huge height difference between he & Elena, and at 6’7″, he was generally just kinda ungainly…add that altogether and you’ve got a cha-cha that’s just kind of an awkward non-event.

9.) Billy Ray & Karina, season 4

I’m not sure who I feel worse for here – Billy Ray or Karina.  Billy Ray really was kind of “a left-footed hillbilly from Kentucky” (his own words), and this cha-cha was a pretty hot mess.  I like to call this “drunk uncle at a wedding” dancing – some random grooving & flailing & forgotten footwork from Billy Ray while Karina did some cha-cha around him.   But I will say this – unlike Clyde, who had probably phoned it in before the season even started, I do think Billy Ray was giving it his all the entire season.  This poor guy REALLY wanted to do well for Karina, and he did put in the effort – but some people are just not natural dancers, and Billy Ray is unfortunately in that camp. Read more..

March 12, 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!