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DWTS 14 Preliminary Power Rankings, Part II

 Alright kids – so on Tuesday, I counted down my picks for the bottom half of this season, and heard some great feedback from you guys.  Now onto the top half…and my prediction for the winner! :-)

6.) Sherri & Val – Let me remind you guys that these rankings are certainly NOT a ranking of who is and isn’t my favorite, and really just who I think has staying power and who doesn’t.  That said, Sherri gets on my last nerve – and I know I’m not alone.  That right there could be her biggest obstacle this season: just completely turning people off with her loud, in-you-face personality.  I noticed many of you commented that you either put Sherri’s media clips on mute or didn’t watch them at all because Sherri was so annoying – can you imagine if that’s what she’s going to be like every week on DWTS? 8O If she manages to not turn off the viewing audience, she has a big advantage in that she gets more media exposure on a daily basis than any of the other cast members this season – she’s on a popular morning show on a major network.  And what demographic do you think that morning show really caters to? The same middle-aged female demographic that does the bulk of the viewing of DWTS.  Even if she can’t blatantly promote herself on The View for votes on DWTS, just the fact that she’s got daily exposure will keep her fresh in people’s minds.  She also seems to have had some…ahem…”preparation” prior to the start of this season.  She’s definitely moving better than the average celeb with 3 weeks of training already.  Will it really give her an edge in the long run? Probably not a huge one, as I’ve always been of the opinion that a naturally-talented dancer (like Jaleel or Roshon) will always have an easier time picking up dance moves & choreography than a better-prepared celeb that’s not so much of a natural mover. As for her pro – I think the jury’s still out on Val.  I don’t think we really got a good idea of what he’s capable of last season, so I think this time around will be the real test.  There’s also the potential vote splitting in play – that’s another factor that I’m not sure we got to see play out last season.  If both Val & Maks’ partners stick around for awhile, will vote splitting come into play? Could be an interesting variable in the competition.

5.) Donald & Peta – Seeing what I have of Donald in interviews & rehearsals so far, I daresay he might be the most determined celeb this season – he’s talking about reviewing rehearsal tapes, special diets, marathon practice sessions, the works! But the very thing that gives him an edge could also be his downfall: being overly determined.  As paradoxical as it sounds, being too determined can almost be as detrimental as not caring at all – I’ve found that couples who are desperate to win often reach a point where they put too much pressure on themselves and flame out…a good example is Aaron Carter.  Remember the post-rumba meltdown in the confessional? Too much pressure on yourself, dude. I think they can also turn viewers off, too – the stench of desperation is not a pleasant one, and viewers can totally tell when a celeb has stopped having fun and just entered the “wayyyyy too competitive” territory.  However, if he can strike a nice balance between being determined and also just enjoying himself, I think he could be a big force to be reckoned with – of the 3 other NFL players who did the show while they were currently playing for a team, the lowest any of them have placed is 4th.  Perhaps because they’re still in peak physical form? Athleticism has obviously proven to be a huge asset.  Then there’s the famous NFL fanbase – and in this case, he’s got a very unique one backing him: the “cheeseheads”, or Green Bay Packers fans.  A lot of people don’t know this, but the Packers are the only team in the NFL that is non-profit and publicly-owned – meaning that there isn’t some wealthy individual or corporate entity that claims ownership of the team.  As a result, the Packers have remained a very “small town”-type team, with a surprisingly large legion of fiercly loyal fans.  I’ve witnessed it firsthand, as many of the people in my office are originally from Wisconsin and the big talk of Donald waltzing away with the trophy began mere hours after the cast announcement (I actually have an official wager going with our GM…maybe I’ll go into further detail in another post ;-)).  In short – these are some WICKEDLY DEVOTED fans.  I would even say they could give the Steeler Nation a run for their money.  I’m definitely fascinated to see how it plays out :-) As for Peta…she, like Val, isn’t truly battle-tested, so we may finally get to see what she’s made of this season.  If Donald could strike the right balance of competitiveness & fun, if the cheeseheads can put together an efficient voting effort, and if Peta can create some great routines…these two could be a bit of a dark horse to win. Read more..

March 16, 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 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 Who Wore it Better? Part XV – The Pre-Season 14 Edition!

Yep, we’re back to talk fashion for yet another season’s promo pix :-) And kids, this batch was a bit of a challenge for even me – at least 3 brand-spanking new dresses that weren’t dittoed, some wacky alterations, weird lighting, and the fact that we don’t have pix of Cheryl & Katherine yet made this edition a little less fun and a little more frustrating.  But alas, it’s here now, so enjoy! And a very special thanks to our reader Manny, who graciously helped us out with the screen cap of Niecy, since Hulu only has season 13 available to stream and the DWTS website has taken down all of the photos from old seasons…grrrrr. *shakes fist at sky*

Battle of the gold, silver, super-sparkly jive dress: Kym’s pre-season 14 photo shoot vs. Kym’s jive with David in season 13

Heidi: I know I’m going to disagree with Court on this one – by choosing the photo shoot version. :-) I like the more asymmetrical hem and I like her hair better in that pic. But damn, Kym always looks amazing and she does stick to the similar color pallette much of the time.

Court: Kym has always known what looks good on her (everything) and what doesn’t (not much), but I love how she seems to stick to a lot of nude colors and just lets all the embellishments do the talking.  I remember thinking “Wowwwww…that’s soooo sparrrrrkllllllyyyy!” as she walked down the stairs last season in this number.  But alas, the magic is a bit lost in the whitewash of the photo shoot – so I’m gonna go with jive Kym on this one :-)

The winner: We love Kym in the nude (colors) :-)

Battle of the black lace turtleneck tango dress: Bristol’s Argentine tango with Mark in season 11 vs. Martina’s pre-season 14 photo shoot

Court: I think this may actually be the very first ditto of a Bristol costume we’ve ever seen! Although if you’ve seen one Bristol ditto, I think you’ve pretty much seen them all, as this girl wore A LOT of black lace in season 11 – a fact that made my searching though her costumes all the more confusing :-P But anyway…I gotta say, I’m not really wild about this costume on either woman.  It just seems kinda…dowdy.  But I guess if I had to pick, I’d actually pick Bristol – because I can at least tell it’s a tango costume with the way she’s styled & made up.  Martina…just kinda looks like she’s gesturing for no apparent reason.  But she looks damn good for her age! :-)

Heidi: I can’t pick…too distracted by Marky’s face in that picture. :-) The hell?  Okay, all kidding :::cough::: aside, I have to agree with Courtney. Martina looks fabulous, but Bristol is fully made up for this dress and she wears it pretty well.  I will say, very proud of Martina for going with a dress that is probably more daring on the bottom half than I would have expected.

The winner: Bristol takes this one because we can actually tell what she’s doing. Read more..

March 9, 2012 I Written By

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

Mark Ballas Autographed CD Giveaway – Courtesy of Mohegan Sun & PureDWTS!!!

Thought that might get you guys’ attention ;-) Yes, friends, the rumors are true: we have in our possession a copy of Mark Ballas’ album HurtLoveBox that is signed by none other than Mark himself! And we know there’s several of you out there that are probably just DYING to get your hands on it…

…so how can you win this fabulous prize? Well, we’re gonna make you guys work a little harder for it this time.  In order to enter, you’ve got to play “Impossible DWTS Trivia” – the questions will all be about Mark & DWTS, and you will be able to find all the answers somewhere on PureDWTS.com.  But you will have to do a little bit of digging ;-) Each correct answer will count as one entry into the contest, and the winner will be chosen randomly from all the entries – so the more questions you can answer correctly, the better your chances of winning. No good at trivia? NO WORRIES! There are other ways to enter, too.

So here’s what you have to do:
. Read more..

March 8, 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 I

WARNING: If you came here to seriously bitch & moan about how so-and-so has an unfair advantage due to their previous dance experience and how you’re boycotting the show and yadda yadda yadda – look elsewhere :-) We’ve been doing this for a few seasons now, and here’s the gist: many of the celebs on the show have at least SOME dance experience coming into the show – be it good or bad…and often, comically bad.  Hence the quotations around the title – this is a very tongue-in-cheek post, kids.  ;-)

Today we’re gonna take a look at this season’s male celebs, and see just exactly how much hoofin’ they’ve done in the past and discuss what it might mean for them on the show – and we’ll probably point & laugh and generally act like teenage boys in our commentary. 8-)

First up, let’s take a look at Jack Wagner, who is perhaps best known as Frisco Jones from the soap opera General Hospital from 1984-95.  Jack’s also a musician, and this clip is montage of Frisco & his on-screen (and former off-screen!) love, Felicia, dancing to his song “Dancing in the Moonlight”:

Court: Ahhh, the magic of VHS recordings back in the 80s & 90s…such a crisp picture. :-) Overall, a lot of soap opera-y swaying, with a little bit of goofball pseudo-swing dancing and fake tango thrown in…although some of what he was doing looked like it could have almost been west coast swing.  Hmmm.  Think he could get Anna to recreate that fake tango he did with Felicia, complete with a beret and French mustache? :-P

Heidi: When are they going to start dancing? What?

Vogue: Wow, let Jack wine and dine me anytime. :mrgreen: But, seriously, if Jack can turn on the charm and romance as we see in the video above, can you imagine what his Waltz’s (or anything he dances to for that matter) are going to be like? *faints and fans myself*

The verdict: Only soap operas can make non-dancing look so..electrifying.

Now let’s take a look at Gavin DeGraw, who admittedly doesn’t do a whole lot of dancing, but rather “rhythmic swaying” during an impromptu version of Creedance Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” during a live show (skip to the 2:20 mark):

Heidi: Nice pack…um….yeah, he’s aright.

Vogue: Uh oh, watch out for a killer and wicked Samba if nothing else. 8O

Court: I don’t know about you guys, but when I get the uncontollable urge to sing Tina Turner songs, I doff my guitar and start dancing like a drunken gypsy.

The verdict: Just say no to random Tina Turner covers, kids.

Up next we have Donald Driver, who, like many NFL players, seems to have his own brand of “touchdown dance”:

Vogue: Who needs Victor Cruz when we’ve got this guy instead? SERIOUSLY!! The Cruz for the Driver!! :)

Court: Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle…he’s sexy & he knows it. That dance looks vaguely peacock-ish – like he’s showing us his fancy feathers.

Heidi: And the feathers are, like, really small cuz we only get a wiggle with a swing of about an inch and a half. :-)  Or would it be really big feathers and you only have to do a tiny wiggle to get lots of feather shaking?? :::confused:::

Courtney: It’s the latter, dear.  Peacocks’ feathers span out so far that it kinda makes them top-heavy – if they shake ‘em too hard, they fall over.  I’ve witnessed it ;-)

The verdict: Is Donald brave enough to let us see his peacock? ;-)

Our next contestant is this season’s resident heartthrob, William Levy, who is probably best known for being J. Lo’s man candy in her “I’m Into You” video.  But alas, some semi-rhythmic writhing on a beach doesn’t really count as “dancing”, so I found this clip, which appears to be from some telenovela – it’s completely in Spanish and it looks to have Russian or Greek subtitles (WTF?), but the basic gist appears to be that he and another beefcakey guy had their car break down on a dirt road, some other considerably less-beefcakey guy tried to fix it and failed, but thankfully a taxi full of middle-aged female tourists was driving by and stopped to offer assistance (and ogle the shirtless beefcakes)…and whilst fixing the car, the urge to dance hits William and he does a brief bit of salsa with one of the tourist ladies (1:39 mark):

Court: Telenovelas are funny :-P I have no idea what the hell they’re saying, but the minute I heard one of the tourists yell “Guapo!” and gesture towards the 2 shirtless men –  I knew it was on, senor.  Gotta say – William doesn’t look totally inept.  He’s probably done at least a little salsa & merengue in his day – kinda like JR.  But he’s also a model, so he’s probably more used to standing still that moving around.  I predict lots of posing and Cheryl dancing around him this season :-)

Heidi: He’s the one in the hat? Yeah…no fanbase in the US but it might not matter. :-) But he better be the second coming of Gilles. He had relatively little competition.

Vogue: I predict right now that William Levy will be one of the sexiest male dancers to have ever graced the Dancing With The Stars stage. What’s more, it will be a “natural” kind of sexy that he can’t help. He just has that “look” to melt hearts. If Cheryl can find a way to capitalize on that and make him into a dancer, watch out.

The verdict: William es un chico muy guapo! Mis pantalones estan en fuego!!!

We’ve saved the 2 strongest contenders for last.  First, let’s take a look at Roshon Fagen, who busts some pretty impressive moves at the end of a Radio Disney interview on the set of Shake it Up (2:00 mark):

And then Roshon assures us that he gets “Down on the Dance Flo” in this music video:

Heidi: Dude’s voice hasn’t even changed yet.  :-)  Also not impressed with his dancing here – mainly because someone was saying he’s a trained dancer. Trained in what kind of dancing, I have to ask.

Vogue: He’s young. He has lots of energy to burn. What’s more, he’s refreshing. I think Roshon is going to be a huge contender in this competition.

Court: Maybe formal hip-hop training? Idk…I don’t really know if there is such a thing. Ooh, that’s a hefty promise, Roshon – promising you get down on the dance floor? I hope you’re ready to deliver :-) Kid can certainly move, but can he translate that gyrating into a foxtrot? A waltz?

The verdict: Kid’s got potential…but can Chelsie harnass it?

Last but certainly not least, we have Jaleel White, who already seems to be the favorite to win this season for many of us.  Since Jaleel is best known from his days as Steve Urkel from Family Matters, I simply have to include a clip of his famous “Urkel dance” – which, surprise surprise, I cannot find an embedabble copy of him doing the original one on YouTube, so here he is doing it as Al’s date to the dance on Step By Step during a crossover episode (if you want to see the original, go here.) :

And more recently, here he is cutting a rug in Cee Lo Green’s “Cry Baby” video:

Vogue: I’m impressed. He’s got it all and a ‘smoothness” to boot. What’s more, I felt an automatic attraction with he and Kym during the cast announcement. This is going to be good. I’m really looking forward to these two.

Heidi:  Not bad, not bad. Lose the penis and dance with Derek and he’d be a ringer for sure!!

Courtney: I have to respect any man that played such a dork for so many years…and yet somehow seems uber-slick & smooth now :-) I’m actually kinda curious how much Jaleel is going to draw from his Urkel repertoire while on the show…I know he was really touchy about the whole Urkel thing for several years after Family Matters ended, because he was having a hard time finding roles because people couldn’t imagine him as anything other than Urkel.  Should be interesting to see if he pays homage to it, or avoids it completely.

The verdict: Do not underestimate the Urkel.

Stay tuned for our assessment of the female competitors later this week ;-)

February 29, 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!