Free DWTS Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on Dancing with the Stars sent straight to your email? Join hundreds of other DWTS fans who subscribe to Pure DWTS for FREE!

DWTS Season 14 Preliminary Power Rankings, Part I

It’s that time again, kids – time for my seasonal preliminary power rankings! For those of you unfamiliar, I do these after each performance show, and it’s basically a measure of how likely a couple is to stay vs. how likely they are to get sent home a particular week – the #1 spot is saved for the couple I think is the safest, and the bottom spot is who I’m predicting to get sent home.  Keep in mind that it is NOT simply a ranking based on scores – how boring would that be? For my rankings, I tend to take into account fanbase, scores, memorability, running order, demographics, the whole shebang.  And for this edition, I’m simply relying on what I know and have seen of the couples thus far – so here’s who I think will be the first to go, all the way up to who I think will make it to the middle of the season.  Enjoy!

12.) Katherine & Mark – I went back and forth over who I thought would be the first to go, but I think that ultimately, these two probably have the greatest hurdles to overcome in order to stick around and I’m not sure they’ve got the juice to do it.  There’s been painfully little media on these two – only the occasional candid tourist shot in London, and no official promo interviews.  The little rehearsal footage we’ve seen hasn’t really told us much, other than the fact that Katherine is probably decent but not fantastic.  And worst of all – Katherine is coming into this competition as a relative unknown, surrounded by quite a few sentimental favorites & big personalities who may be fanbase ringers. If there’s anyone that really & truly needs to be making a big splash right now, it’s Katherine – and we’ve seen next to nothing from her.  As for dance skills, she has the potential to be quite good, given what little concert & rehearsal footage I’ve seen of her.  She does have a natural rhythm, and she’s not terrible to look at – but keep in mind that dance skills really don’t mean sh*t if people aren’t motivated to vote for her.  She has Mark, which I would say is more of an advantage than a disadvantage, given his skill & popularity; however, even Mark is not immune to the dreaded early elimination, as we’ve seen with Kim, Shannen, & Kristin.  Could she blow us all away & have some staying power? Possibly, but she’s got a LOT of catching up to do in order to have a shot at keeping up with juggernauts like Jaleel, Melissa, Sherri, Maria, and Gladys.  And at this point – I’m afraid any exposure she’s gonna get is gonna be too little, too late :-(

11.) Gavin & Karina – I may be seeing things, but I had a bad feeling about this couple from the first time I saw them interact during the cast announcement – it seemed like a very strained, awkward encounter, and it made me seriously question if they were truly a well-matched couple.  Then I heard that Gavin was still going to be touring while doing the show, and I became even more skeptical. Then finally, I saw a video of them rehearsing – and now I’m pretty convinced that they aren’t going to last long.  The biggest issue I see here is commitment – I get the feeling Gavin is really only doing the show to promote his new album, and his true commitment lies not with the show itself, but his tour.  It’s very much like Michael Bolton all over again, for me – a currently touring musician who does a short stint on the show as a bit of self-promotion.  Don’t get me wrong, Gavin seems like a nice guy & all – I just don’t think his heart or his head are 100% in the game.  And with all the “squeezing in” they’ve had to do with their practice time, I’m not sure he’s going to have the skills to improve upon what I consider to be a pretty weak dance background.  Then, of course, you’ve got all the celebs this season who are likely quite a bit more popular than he is – a singer who was arguably more successful & well-known 5 years ago than he is now, vs. a soul legend, an iconic tv character, a well-established actress, and a talk show host with a big mouth? He’s either going to have to be a fabulous dancer from the get-go, or ridiculously charming, or both – because he’s up against some stiff competition for votes.

10.) Martina & Tony – Ok, I know a lot of you have been saying “Oooh, Martina’s gonna be so fierce this season! She was fierce on the tennis court!”, but I’m not quite sold on the idea that her talent on the court is going to translate seamlessly into success on DWTS.  A great work ethic is always an asset, but I think Martina is going to struggle quite a bit with the performance aspect of the show – in the few videos I’ve seen of her, she has an almost “zen” quality to her: very calm, collected, resolute, and confident.  But calm, collected, resolute, and confident are not exactly what you need when you’re doing the jive and should generally be acting like a cartoon character :-) And while I do praise her focus and “zen-ness”, the fact that Tony has a track record of having partners that tend to blend into the woodwork is a bit worrisome – if Martina doesn’t come out with both great & memorable dancing, I think she could be gone quicker than we expect.  I also wonder if she might be splitting votes with someone like Jaleel or Melissa, who were at the height of their fame at roughly the same time Martina was.  It seems like it could be a battle of the pop culture icons.  I think she has the potential to be a pretty good dancer, but a lot of it will hinge upon the choreography she’s given…and the impact she makes.. Read more..

March 13, 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 14 – The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate, Part II

So last Wednesday, we took a look at the male contestants’ dancing pasts.  Today we’ll take a look at the women, who are arguably less talented (and more comical) this season ;-)

First up, we have the much buzzed-about Sherri Shepherd, who, aside from possibly taking some lessons at Dance with Me prior to the start of this season, also busted some moves in a choreographed hip-hop number at her wedding reception:

Court: She’s not stellar, but she’s keeping up pretty well – and paired with the extra practice she’s gotten prior to the show, I’d say she has a pretty good foundation.  What’s funnier to me about this clip is Elizabeth Hasselbeck – poor girl sticks out like a sore thumb in line :-P

Heidi: Heh. When the women are dancing it’s like “Dancing with America’s Next Top Model” they are so stiff. Thank god for the men – they’re killin’ it. :-)

Vogue: I sure hope Big Bird isn’t around as he might want to steal the wedding bride? 8O

The verdict: Sherri may have some hip-hop moves, but it looks like Val’s got his work cut out for him!

Now let’s take a look at Maria Menounos, who got an impromptu belly dancing lesson during a segment on Access Hollywood:

Heidi: :::whines::: Derek gets ALL the dancers. She’s such a ringer.

Vogue: Hmmm, I’m afraid for Derek now a little. Is anyone else?

Courtney: I think this clip just reiterates for me that her biggest obstacle likely won’t be the dances themselves, but just getting over feeling like a goober when she dances – you can tell she feels totally silly here, and it makes her look even more ridiculous.

The verdict: D’s on goober patrol this season.

Up next, we have Katherine Jenkins, who did a number from Carmen during her arena tour that involved some dancing:

Vogue: She’s got some dance skills for sure. What’s more, girl knows about theatrics and how they work. Mark is theatrical in his dancing as well. He’s going to be in heaven with this one.

Court: If she can overcome the potential fanbase problems I could see her having, she could be pretty good – hell, this dance even looks vaguely paso doble-y.

Heidi: Okay, so why is no one screaming “ringer” over this one? The Opera Singer does some actual dancing. Then again, odds are that Mark won’t focus on her in the choreography so it won’t matter. :-D

The verdict: Opera or no opera – Katherine could actually be kinda good.

Let’s move on to Gladys Knight, who admitted during the cast announcement that the Pips “never let her dance”! So admittedly, there really aren’t any videos of Gladys dancing…but I will never turn down the opportunity to listen to the Empress of Soul herself belt out the song that made her famous – “Midnight Train to Georgia”:

Courtney: I doubt the Pips would have taught Gladys anything truly worthwhile that would help her on this show :-P I mean, side-tap, other side-tap, walk backwards, walk forwards, gesture with your arms.  I’m pretty sure an orangutan with ADD could probably do it.  But I’m nonetheless excited to see what Gladys has up her sleeve :-P

Heidi: Er, well, sure me too…keeping in mind this video is probably from 30 years ago. :-)

Vogue: When Gladys is finished with Dancing With The Stars, she’ll be able to trade places with her back up singers. Nice moves!!

The verdict: Gladys may not have learned much from the Pips, but she could still be a contender.

Up next, we have this season’s “tough cookie”, Martina Navratilova –  and I must admit, I think I found the perfect video for her :-) Why? It’s very ironic…just watch:

Heidi:I certainly admire the thought behind this video – Martina trying to keep people on the move and active. But dancing?? A bit stiff. But then, that comes with age, especially for top ranked athletes.

Vogue: Martina is going to be fierce. I have a feeling when she gets the hip movement down for a Samba, she won’t need a racquet to play tennis anymore. :)

Court: Ok, maybe I’m in the minority here, but I’m not sold on Martina being as fierce on the dance floor as she is on the tennis court.  And in this clip, she actually doesn’t seem all that enthralled by dance to me – you could replace “dance” with “colonoscopy” and it would make more sense for me :-P But she does seem to have the right philosophy – even if it was scripted.  But check out the dude in the background…he’s cracking me up!

The verdict: Not sure about Martina, but the dude in the background LOVES to dance!

Last up, we have Melissa Gilbert, who is best known for playing Laura “Half Pint” Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie.  Here’s a cute clip of the episode where she stole Nellie’s music box and danced to it in the hay loft…although I doubt it played Adele:

Vogue: I’m utterly speechless. At this point in time, I’d say Maks (like Derek) is in trouble as well. 8O

Court: Granted, this clip is older than the hills, and I’m not sure that pioneer girls really had a whole lot of slick moves to bust.  But it’s cute, and it’s the only remotely dance-related clip of Melissa I could find :-P

Heidi: Heh, this could be one of those times that growing older is helpful. ;-)

The verdict: With age comes wisdom. :-)

March 6, 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 14 – POLL: Does Sherri Have An Unfair Advantage?

Some of you may remember that Vogue spotted a picture of Sherri at Maks & Val’s studio a few months back on Twitter, which was then swiftly deleted, and there have been rumors swirling ever since about whether Sherri had been taking lessons for awhile prior to the DWTS cast announcement.  Lots of strong opinions on both sides of the issue, but we want to know what you guys think:

Where do I stand? I find that the thing that seems to bother me the most is the possibility that she was actually rehearsing with her future pro – I think part of the struggle most of the couples have early on is just developing chemistry and getting used to the way each one teaches/learns, since most of them are strangers, and of the ones that do already know each other, odds are they haven’t been under the circumstances that they are when they’re on the show.  If Sherri & Val have already gotten over that hurdle, I think that’s a big leg-up they have over the other couples – and if they’ve been practicing long enough, Sherri may already know the basics of some of the dances, and may even have some choreography.  If that’s the case, I feel like they’ve already gotten lord knows how many weeks of EXTRA rehearsal time in that the other couples haven’t – so while everyone else maybe be muddling through cha-cha basics and foxtrot timing, Sherri & Val might just be putting the finishing touches on their routine.  The only other precedent we have for a situation like this was back in season 9, when Donny admitted to taking ballroom lessons to prepare for his stint on the show – it annoyed me, but at the same time, he wasn’t taking lessons with his future pro. I think I’d be able to better tolerate Sherri taking lessons beforehand if I knew that she was doing it with someone that she wasn’t going to be paired with on the show. But let’s see how Vogue & Heidi feel, shall we?

Vogue: This whole thing makes me question if others have cheated before Sherri? No, we don’t have 100% proof that Sherri was taking lessons with Val that day, but, why the work out clothes (similar to the clothes Nancy wore), and why did they take the picture down which was the icing on the cake that told me that they knew they were in the wrong or trying to hide something? If this was the case, I think Sherri knew she was dancing or possibly going to dance this upcoming season. Granted, it would only be natural to want to learn how to dance (or better your dancing) if you knew you were going to be dancing in a major dance competition on television. I would bet others have done the same who knew they were going to dance too (ie: Donny). Is it unfair to the others who didn’t know they were going to dance, yes. At the same time, I think they know what they are getting into when they sign the dotted line being some of the celebrities might have some dance experience in their background and some may not. Another thing too… even if Sherri’s been practicing ahead of time and she can dance, she doesn’t have the “likable” factor in her corner which is just as important on this show to win. She also has some weight issues that will play a factor in coordination, stamina, and endurance. The other celebrities will have their plus and downsides too. In the end….and experience in dancing or not…all I really want to see on this show is some good dancing. So, part of me says, “Who cares Everyone? Just dance!!”

Heidi: Well, the point Court makes about chemistry and friendship is a huge one – that takes a while to establish and even if she’s been hanging at DWMS and NOT dancing, it’s still an unfair advantage. But come on – why delete the picture if everything was innocent and no shenanigans (aka dancing) were happening??  Why?  It would be SO easy to explain a picture, even though she was in work out clothes, if it was just a one-time, simple thing.  But, like in politics, it’s the cover up that always does the most damage.  Same is certainly true here – we would never be having this conversation if she hadn’t deleted the photo almost immediately.  What is MOST galling to me is that it’s a Chmerkovskiy that’s her partner – you remember, one of them took unfair (and ignorant) shots at Derek last season for appearing to side with the judges and having the nerve to get good partners the last few seasons.  That SAME pro has been incredibly blessed with partners of his own – he just can’t win with them for whatever reason.  If it wasn’t for that, this situation wouldn’t be nearly as annoying as it is.  Is it balls or ignorance that allows a situation like this one to occur AFTER being an asshole to a fellow profession who DOESN’T pick his partners (like Maks did) and was, frankly, speaking the truth when he said “we’ve been on the show for how many seasons now – nothing has changed”??? Was that sentence too long? ;-)  Seriously, it’s the hypocrisy and the apparently desperate need for a Chmerkovskiy to win at any cost that is bugging me.

Where do you guys stand? Do you think Sherri has somehow cheated a bit, or do you think she’s perfectly justified in taking lessons prior to the show? How, if at all, do yout think it will affect the outcome of the competition? Sound off! :-)

March 2, 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 14 – Make Your Team Name Suggestions!

Ok, so reminiscing about past team names and trying to come up with ones for this season’s couples in another thread just seemed to clarify for me “We need a separate post for this.” :-)

It’s pretty self-explanatory – we wanna hear your suggestions for this season’s team names.  Keep in mind that the team names USUALLY are a sort of portmanteau of the celeb & the pro’s names (“Evanna” for Evan & Anna, “Florky” for Florence & Corky, “Kanenball” for Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas), although they can also consist of nicknames (“Sugar & Spice” for Sugar Ray & Anna) or make no sense whatsoever (“Team Schmurgles” for Kyle & Lacey…still trying to figure that one out!).  And let’s avoid anything too vulgar – if you can’t say it on tv, there’s really not much of a point in saying it here :-)

Heidi mentioned something about tweeting a link to this post to all of the teams to help them brainstorm their names – so make ‘em good, guys, ’cause you never know if Maks, Kym, Tristan, etc. might be reading this! ;-) Keep in mind that this is the name that goes on the t-shirts that the couples tend to wear in rehearsal, around the studio, etc…so if they like your name, you’ll be seeing it everywhere.

ETA #1: We’ve compiled a list of names you guys have suggested for each couple thus far…keep ‘em coming, though! :-D

Just to refresh your memory, here’s a list of the couples again, along with some hints that may help you in creating your names:

Jack Wagner (best known for his role as Frisco Jones on General Hospital) & Anna Trebunskaya:

Team Friskaya

Team General Ginger

Team TrebunSco

Team Wagskaya

Team Jumping Jack

Gavin DeGraw (musician) & Karina Smirnoff:

Team KarDegraw

Team Gavina

Team DeGrawsome

Team DeSmirnoff

Team GKRhythm

Team GaRina

Team KaVin

Team Smirnoffin

Martina Navratilova (tennis player) & Tony Dovolani:

Team LovaLani

Team MarTony

Team Novratilani

Team Dovalova

Team NovDov

Team Tonnis

Team Narvaloni

Team Dovatina

Roshon Fegan (plays Ty Blue on the Disney Channel series Shake it Up) & Chelsie Hightower:

Team BlueTower

Team ShonTower

Team RoShel

Team Dancing Rosh

Team Roshie

Donald Driver (plays for the Green Bay Packers, writes childrens’ books about a character named Quickie) & Peta Murgatroyd:

Team PetaPackers

Team PetaPack

Team BayTroyd

Team Drivertroyd

Team DonaTroyd

Team Donapetia

Team Donaltroyd

Jaleel White (played Steve Urkel on Family Matters) & Kym Johnson:

Team UrKym

Team Leel-Kym

Team Kurkel

Team Did I Do That?

Team Kymeel

Melissa Gilbert (played Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie) & Maksim Chmerkovskiy:

Team Gilskiy

Team Ingallskiy

Team Half-Pintskiy

Team MGM

Team MaksPint

Team Prairie on a Stick

Team MeMak

Team MelMak

Team Maksy & Melly

Team Melliskiy

Maria Menouos (tv presenter for Access Hollywood & Extra) & Derek Hough:

Team MenHough

Team Marek

Team MariDer

Team Houghounos

William Levy (model, considered the “Mexican Brad Pitt”) & Cheryl Burke:

Team WilliBu

Team Levyl

Team WillChe

Team CheWill

Team WilBur

Team WillBurk

Sherri Shepherd (cohost from The View) & Val Chmerkovskiy:

Team EnWyCee

Team Sherkovskiy

Team Sherval

Team Valsherri

Team Shmear

Team Valeopard

Gladys Knight (singer, considered “The Empress of Soul”) & Tristan MacManus:

Team Lucky Pips

Team Gladys Knight & the Irish Pip

Team Knight Tristan

Team Lucky Knights

Team MacKnight

Team G&T

Team MacKnightus

Team Trips

Team Gladyator

Team GladMan

Team MidKnight Tryst

Katherine Jenkins (Welsh operatic soprano) & Mark Ballas:

Team Markins

Team Katnass

Team KatMar

Team KatBalls

Team Ballkins

I’ll go ahead and share two of my favorites :-) The first I actually have to credit @Lannatexasgal for coming up with, and it’s for Melissa & Maks – Team MelMak.  Reminds me of ALF :-D The 2nd I came up with this afternoon and it’s really super dumb…but you know how Gladys Knight performed with the Pips? Well for she & Tristan’s team name…how bout Gladys Knight & The Irish Pip? I know, point & laugh…it’s dumb. :-P

Now ready…set…NAME AWAY!!! 8-)

February 28, 2012 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS14 Casting Rumors – The Typecasting of Season 14, Part I

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m just ready for the cast announcement so we can get all of this speculating over & done with! But to help us get a handle on who might be in and out, let’s take a look at what combination of “casting types” we might get this season.

The Olympian

Previous examples: Kristi Yamaguchi, Shawn Johnson, Apolo Ohno, Natalie Coughlin, Misty May-Treanor, Maurice Greene, Louie Vito, Evan Lysacek, Hope Solo

Advantages: The winningest of the 12 types, their obvious advantage is their athleticism – you won’t see these guys struggling with strength or endurance moves.  In addition, the same tireless work ethic that helped them medal in the Olympics will likely carry them through the toils of the competition. They also seem to be adored by the masses, as many are seen as “hero” figures – which translates into a formidable voting fanbase.

Disadvantages: For those specializing in sports that are less “artistic” (i.e. swimming, running, volleyball), it might be a bit hard to really get into the character of the dance and truly perform to the crowd.  Previously incurred injuries (or the fear of incurring an injury that might hinder their participation in subsequent competitions in their sport, a la Misty May-Treanor) may also slow them down & limit their mobility.

Possible candidates this season: The only semi-legitmate Olympian prospect I think we’ve heard is Bruce Jenner – and I would like to think that TPTB would have mercy and not subject us to back-to-back seasons of Kardashians in the audience :-D

The Athlete

Previous examples: Chuck Liddell, Warren Sapp, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Helio Castroneves, Laila Ali, Floyd Mayweather, Ty Murray, Evander Holyfield, Jerry Rice, Clyde Drexler, Monica Seles, Jason Taylor, Lawrence Taylor, Chad Ochocinco, Kurt Warner, Rick Fox, Sugar Ray Leonard, Chris Jericho, Hines Ward, Ron Artest

Advantages: As with the Olympians, their athleticism & work ethic make them well-suited to the competition.  An edge they might have over their Olympic counterparts: sports like football, auto racing, & mixed martial arts tend to have a larger, more mainstream following than some of the Olympic sports.

Disadvantages: Again, a lack of “artistic” experience & previous injury (especially with the football players, who have really taken a beating over the years). Some of the more muscular athletes in hard-hitting sports may also have difficulty with the refined, precise moves of some of the dances.

Possible candidates this season: Vince Young tweeted that he had been asked to the do the show, then suspiciously deleted the tweet.  Guilty much? ;-) We’ve also heard Annika Sorenstam’s name in the mix.

Read more..

February 26, 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!