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Dancing by the Numbers – DWTS Season 5 Retrospective!

Since they just aired season 5 on GSN, I figured I would do a little numbers retrospective – particularly because of the supposed “shocking” elimination of Sabrina and the horribly prolonged run of Marie Osmond.

I have to say, after watching Sabrina dance again, I have to agree with Len and Bruno when they commented on how she danced her foxtrot “too hard” – it was way too hard and she did miss a couple steps.  Combine that with the talent and/or name recognition of her competitors, then is it really a surprise? Perhaps so, since Jane had been in the bottom two the week before. But everyone but perhaps Helio and Mel B was much better known with the DWTS demographic than Sabrina was – and Mel B was a better dancer and Helio was a huge and charming personality. Anyway, at the end of the night, week 6, the scores looked like this:

The Judges Scores and Percentages

Place Celebrity Score Percentage
1. Mel B 30 16.67
2. Helio 28 15.56
3. Jennie 27 15.00
4. Cameron 25 13.89
4. Sabrina 25 13.89
6. Marie 23 12.78
7. Jane 22 12.22

Now, what these scores mean should be somewhat obvious to longtime readers of this series – Sabrina was not at the bottom of the leader board and, in fact, had a pretty decent lead on Marie and Jane and was tied with Cameron.  In order for Sabrina to be eliminated, the following had to happen:

–          She didn’t cover the spread of the dancers above her, AND;

–          Cameron got ONE more vote per million votes cast than her, AND:

–          Marie got 11,150 more votes per million votes cast than she did, AND;

–          Jane got 16,700 more votes per million votes cast than she did.

Now, conventional wisdom has always said that Sabrina fans got over confident or were sure she was safe. But look at those numbers. That’s  a good bit of overconfident and I’m not sure I believe it any longer. Marie’s faint was the week before, but there is no reason that Jane should go from a bottom two situation the week before to being safe at Sabrina’s expense the very next week.  She made up a pretty big deficit.  I’m inclined to believe that, like other lesser knowns before her, Sabrina didn’t have the fanbase that many believed. And we all know by now that great dancing isn’t always enough.  And in case you still don’t agree – Sabrina was the high scorer in 3 of the 5 previous weeks. The two weeks she wasn’t the high score, she was in second place. The instant she falls out of the top 2, she’s eliminated. Coincidence?? Read more..

July 5, 2012 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 is BACK on GSN Starting July 2nd!

Cross posted from Pure Derek  Hough…

DANCING WITH THE STARS, Season Five, will air Monday, July 2nd, Tuesday, July 3rd, and Wednesday July 4th in a special three-day marathon (all times Eastern):

 

  • ·        Monday, July 2nd, 8:30am to 3:00pm
  • ·        Tuesday, July 3rd, 9:00am to 3:00pm
  • ·        Wednesday, July 4th, 9:00am to 3:00pm

 

DANCING WITH THE STARS, Season Five, features a spectacular cast of celebrities from television, movies, music, sports, and fashion, each paired with a professional dancer:

 

Marie Osmond and Jonathan Roberts

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Karina Smirnoff

Mark Cuban and Kym Johnson

Mel B and Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Jane Seymour and Tony Dovolani

Wayne Newton and Cheryl Burke

Jennie Garth and Derek Hough

Hélio Castroneves and Julianne Hough

Josie Maran  and Alec Mazo

Albert Reed and Anna Trebunskaya                                               

Sabrina Bryan and Mark Ballas

Cameron Mathison and Edyta Sliwinska

 

June 16, 2012 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. :-)

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!

DWTS Celebrities: “What do you mean, I’m a Ringer?” Part 3

This is the 3rd and final part of the series where I take a look at the partners the pros have had and their “ringer” status. Part 1 discusses how I define a ringer – you can find it here —> I’m a Ringer?? Part 2 discusses the female pros and their partners and how I labeled them – I think it’s pretty clear that they’ve not been quite as blessed as the men. Reasons for that should be self evident – female celebrities are more likely to have some sort of dance experience, even if it is taking ballet or tap as a child.  NOTE: This was mostly written before the pairings were announced for Season 14 – those pairings certainly change the game for lots of pros. Lots of potential ringers on this season.

I strongly recommend you read the first two parts before you comment – I don’t want to have to reiterate everything I wrote MONTHS ago. :-)  Also, be wise and don’t complain about the length, admit that you didn’t read it all, and then argue with me – that will just earn you scorn and an eye roll.  I know this is long – I considered breaking it into two parts, but then I figured it’s still long in two parts. People will either be interested or they won’t.  :::shrug:::  Also take note that I, personally, don’t care about ringers themselves. I think a season without them is deadly.  What I DO care about is hypocrisy, revisionist history and the fairy tales that some like to spread about who has had ringers and who hasn’t.

From where I sit, there are two types of ringers – and then there’s just being blessed. Fanbase ringer (ie. Donny Osmond, etc.) or Experience Ringer (Mel B, Nicole, Sabrina, etc.), and lucky get (Lalia, Brooke, Gilles, JR). Just because someone happens to be a great dancer doesn’t mean they are a ringer. When someone is blessed with a partner who can dance, it doesn’t mean they were handed a ringer. That particular argument is so illogical that it’s hard for me to take seriously. If they actually seriously auditioned people to be on this show by making them dance with a pro for an hour or two, it would be understandable. But they don’t stand people in a room with a pro dancer and then say, “wow, she’s got some moves, let’s give her to Maks” or “she sucks, lets give her to Tony.” It doesn’t work that way. If it did, they wouldn’t be able to get people on the show. And can you imagine a pro like Tony sticking around if that was the approach they took?

As it happens, and as many people connected to the show have reiterated, the process of how a pro gets a celebrity often has to do with height, personality, looks, chemistry and the cast as a whole…and this becomes obvious as the show progresses. They are actually quite good at matching people up. I would imagine they give this a lot of consideration as it impacts, or has the potential to impact, ratings.  You’re going to try to avoid having a bunch of pairings that make people go “eeewww” or get seriously pissed off. I think you need to limit that to one couple per season. Can you imagine what it would be like for every pro on a season to have a partnership similar to that of Hope and Maks??  I would want to stab my eyes out with a fork if they were ALL like that and there was no Carson/Anna or David/Kym. Seriously – think about it.  So, it may be good to have ONE Maks/Hope – gives people (me and Courtney) something to talk about, rant about, get passionate about, etc. (This is separate from a discussion of whether Maks finally went too far or not – I don’t think that’s what the producers intended.) Read more..

March 11, 2012 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 Rants & Raves – Why the Pros Should Count Their Blessings

This post started off far more “rant” than “rave”, but I opted to change the tone a bit, perhaps in hopes that the message would then be more easily swallowed :-) As many of you know, Edyta has recently been writing a series of blogs about her time on the show that have been rather…bitter. Vengeful.  Even malicious.  And it’s unfortunately colored many of our opinions of her for the worse – she even went so far as to block a reader who dared to make a comment expressing “disappointment” in Edyta’s choice to be so critical of the show that made her a household name.  That’s when it dawned on me: some of the pros seem to have forgotten what life was like BEFORE they were on Dancing with the Stars.

For those of you unfamiliar with the “real” world of ballroom, first things first: prior to 2005, when DWTS & SYTYCD hit the air, most ballroom dancers (even the world champions) led lives of relative obscurity.  They may have been well-known within the ballroom community (which is still relatively small), and may have even been what I like to call “ballroom famous” – a title that me & my teammates from my college ballroom dance team bestowed upon dancers that were particularly respected & admired in ballroom circles – but they most certainly weren’t household names, and they weren’t mobbed by fans in public.  In short – they were just like you and I.  Just average people with a not-so-average occupation.

How bout a short poll: how many of you had heard the name “Tony Dovolani” prior to 2005? Now of those who had, how many of you HAVE NOT somehow been involved in the world of ballroom dance at some point in your life? If you fit both of the criteria above, then I applaud you – because prior to 2005, the only mainstream thing Tony had really done was a bit part in the American version of Shall We Dance?, and he was also credited as a choreographer in that film.  The fact that he actually got a few lines to say was pretty impressive, considering that, at that time, the biggest movie/tv role (besides choreographer) that most ballroom dancers could ever hope for was either dancing around in the background as an extra in a big dance scene, or maybe being a “dance double” for a particularly ungraceful actor (true story: the owner of my bf’s dance studio was Ben Affleck’s “foot double” in the movie Going All the Way – apparently Ben has 2 left feet!).  Dancers were lucky to even get credited as extras, let alone hope for a speaking part.  The widely held opinion with most casting directors was that “if you’re doing a dance movie, you’d better find actors that can dance…because you aren’t going to find dancers that can act!” It was a far, far cry from the starring movie roles that Julianne & Derek have been given in recent years, and the tv gigs that Maks (Bachelor Ukraine, Celebrity Ghost Stories), Cheryl & Louis (Suite Life of Zack & Cody), Edyta & Alec (CSI: NY), and Mark (Samantha Who?) were able to get due to their DWTS fame.

You know all those spiffy endorsement deals that so many of the pros on the show have gotten over the years, with their faces plastered over everything from shoes to hair extensions to diet pills to makeup to exercise tapes to dancewear? Yeah, pretty non-existent back in the pre-DWTS days – most competitive ballroom dancers were lucky if they could get a dance shoe or costume sponsor to help mitigate the exorbitant cost of competing.  And speaking of money – let’s just say they weren’t raking it in back then like they are now :-) Don’t get me wrong, some ballroom dancers make quite a good living for themselves just on coaching, choreographing, and doing exhibition performances, but it’s peanuts compared to what they’re rumored to make on the show (which I’ve heard reported as roughly $6k+ per week).  And can you really put a price on the exposure the show gives them??? Since the beginning of the show, how many of the pros have opened successful dance studios with their name plastered on it? So far, I count Cheryl, Karina, Chelsie, and Maks & Tony (with the new Dance with Me in CA).  For those who already had dance studios (like Jonathan & Anna), I can only imagine they started booking up faster after their appearance on the show – I know for a fact that Jonathan is now one of the most in-demand pro-am teachers in the country. 

How many pros have graced the covers of magazines since joining the cast of the show? Back in the day, the biggest magazine a ballroom dancer could hope to appear in was American Dancer, the bimonthly publication put out to its members by USA Dance – which, of course, was only sent to members.  All those invites to parties/award shows/premieres/charity benefits/etc? Probably wouldn’t happen to your average ballroom dancer. And how many pros can now count some pretty big celebrities amongst their friends…and sometimes exes? Without the platform of DWTS, Maks may never have met Kirstie, Derek may never have met Shannon, and Julianne may never have even been in the same room as Ryan Seacrest.  In the entertainment business, it really isn’t what you know, it’s who you know – and DWTS has supplied some primo connections for its pros. 

I don’t want ths post to be a neverending soapbox of why DWTS is so great, so I’ll get to my point: as much as the pros may bitch & moan in the media about the show and how “unfair” or “fake” it is, at the end of the day I daresay their participation in it has done them far more good than harm – it has plucked many of them out of obscurity and opened doors to opportunities far beyond their imagination as young ballroom competitors.  Some (namely Julianne, Derek, Mark, Cheryl & Maks) have parlayed those opportunities into success better than others (namely Alec & Edyta), but even the latter has undoubtedly benefitted from having the show on their resume – Dance Temptation may not have taken off with someone less notable at the helm.  And fans, you can take something away from this too – you may complain about how the show has been so “unfair” or “biased against” [insert pro here] (which, of course, is pretty subjective), but I challenge you to imagine a life without that pro in it.  Would you rather watch Maks occasionally “take a beating” from the judges, or have never known him at all? Would you rather see Tony tough it out with such duds as Wendy Williams & Kate Gosselin, or have no idea who he is? I know many of you will probably argue “you can’t miss what you never knew to begin with”, but I’ve seen how this show brightens some of your lives, and what an important role some of the pros play in it.  They inspire you, entertain you, and can even motivate you to better your own life. Yes, sometimes this show is indeed “unfair”, “fake”, “scripted”, & “storyboarded”, and I’m not saying the viewers or the pros should accept every aspect of the show without complaint. But when it comes down to it, it still fulfills one crucial purpose in the lives of its pros: to share their love of dance with the world…and reap some sweet benefits while they’re at it ;-)

February 10, 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!

DWTS4: Randall’s Costume Retrospective, Week 3

Randall has been incredibly busy traveling lately, but he is still gracious enough to offer his insight on our favorite costumes from seasons past :-) Let’s see what he has to say about the tango & jive costumes from week 3 of season 4!

Apolo & Julianne’s costumes: “Definitely a LOT of fun paying tribute to Uma/John with a retro style costume.  Apolo looked great with his slick and shiny hair pulled back ala John Travolta.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson 

Billy Ray & Karina’s costumes: “Looking back at these photos, I don’t even recognize Billy Ray nor Karina!!!  I think that Billy Ray looks BEYOND dashing in his tango costume – sophisticated, masculine and definitely elegant.  And Karina! The upswept hairdo, and that magnificent gown…..killer looks for a good tango!  The sleeveless jacket for Billy Ray was great, as it minimized any raising of his shoulders, which is SO difficult to control when dancing a ballroom dance, especially the tango, which automatically creates tension in the shoulders.  Without suit sleeves, the softness of the shirt minimized any tenseness that may have occurred while dancing.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Laila’s costume: “The palazzo pants were a nice twist on the typical tango costume, and with Laila’s long legs, they really soared!  The snake/serpentine rhinestone trim along that (long and sexy) back in navy and hematite stones – stunning!  Laila has such a phenomenal physique that we wanted to showcase her beautiful shoulders, and went with a sports cut halter neckline.  What great shoulders, huh?”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson Read more..

February 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 4, Weeks 1 and 2 -The Cheesecake Awards (Retrospective??)

So, is it a retrospective when it’s a re-airing years later ?? I’m going with yes :-)  As I mentioned in an earlier post, we can’t promise that we will do these every week, and we can’t promise they will be as long as the regular Cheesecake Awards…but we can promise that we will try to be our obnoxious selves. :-)  On with the show…

The Bad Acid Trip Award: The old “kaleidescope” opening credits

Courtney: Soooooo glad they got rid of that cheesy nightmare – damn near gave me a grand mal seizure.

Heidi: I think I may have actually had a seizure every time it was on because I’m lacking in recall.

The “Trying Too Hard” Award: Brian Fortuna

Courtney:  Admittedly, I actually missed a good deal of this season when it was originally airing, since I was still in college, working, and too broke for TiVo :-P But what really struck me is that Brian (who I had all but forgotten about until that opening pro number in week 1) was just…too much.  The dude seemed like he was trying waaaayyyy too hard to make an impact and carve out a niche for himself on the show.  The face pulling, the exaggerated dance moves, the overgelled hair, the jewelry – just…no, dude.  He was like young Derek and Mark lite – but not as talented.  And quite possibly the best part of watching these old episodes years later? You already know that he ain’t going to be around for very long – kinda makes me wish I had a tin can phone system that could reach the past and tell him “Dude, you may as well dial it back about 5 notches…you’re not gonna be around much longer, anyway.  Don’t strain yourself.” :-P

Heidi: The thing that got me is what still gets me with Mark sometimes. The SMILE. Jesus dude. Almost constant, fake looking, very big smile.  Mark has that same glazed look from time to time where he would habitually have a smile on his face but it doesn’t seem to reach his eyes or he’s not really feeling it. It’s like perma-face or something. Hard to explain.  Brian does kinda look like Derek’s younger, squirrely, annoying brother.  The less attractive brother. But everyone knows that to be a Hough you have to have blond hair and blue eyes. :-)  Freakishly strong genes in that family.

Courtney: Brian could be the weird cousin of the Hough family.  Kinda like cousin Oliver from The Brady Bunch…never did quite understand his purpose. Read more..

January 27, 2012 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. :-)

DWTS4 – Randall’s Costume Retrospective, Week 2

 First of all, thanks to all of you for such a great response on Randall’s Costume Retrospective from week 1 of season 4! Glad everyone is enjoying his commentary as much as I am :-D  Now let’s see what he has to say about the costumes from week 2, shall we?

Heather’s costume: “This black/green pants suit was created in England and was such a fun costume to dance the mambo.  The circular bell bottoms were flying all over the place, and accentuated all of the intricate footwork that Heather did.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Billy Ray & Karina’s costumes: Dancing to “Ring of Fire”, Billy Ray really wanted to pay tribute to Johnny Cash.  We embellished the back of his jacket with a completely rhinestone-encrusted guitar, quite the vintage country western look of that time period.  To this day it is one of my favorite men’s costumes.  And Karina’s costume had all those firey red rhinestones totally encrusting her bodice, along with that cute vintage June Carter Cash skirt, with a ballroom flare to it.  Quite the perfect couple coordinating their costumes with such a great song.”

*photos courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Ian & Cheryl’s costumes: Cheryl’s asymmetrical panel skirt w/slits really showed off some really cool Quicktep moves and Ian’s sleeveless jacket w/coordinating color shirt was a great finish to the couple’s look.  Cheryl’s costume was trimmed out in “Volcano” colored stones which has about 6 colors showing, depending on how the light hits it.  Cheryl has such a curvy and sexy body and this dress really capitalized on showing off her fantastic curves.”

*photos courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Apolo & Julianne’s costumes: Julianne’s pink quickstep gown is still such a memorable gown.  I still have people commenting on it, after all these years.  I think the combination of the fringe skirt overlayed on top of one layer of sheer silk chiffon was a first, and it really showed off some terrific choreography of Julianne’s.  I am so glad that Apolo was game to wear the gray tails suit, as it was a great look with Julianne’s pink.”

*photos courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

John & Edyta’s costumes: The shaded (emerald green to mint green) silk satin ballgown was quite nude for a ballgown look, but who else but Edyta pulls off such a look (consistently)?!  Even with the chiffon floater (bat wing), she was able to control it so that it didn’t get in John’s way when they were dancing (for the most part!).  And John looks sensational in his classic white tie and tails.”

*photos courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Kym’s costume: During the dress rehearsal, Kym stepped in the hemline of her gown, which meant that in the (less than 1 ½ hour) turn around from dress rehearsal to LIVE show time, we had to shorten the skirt a couple of inches – which meant that we had to RIP OFF yards and yards (!) of paillette beaded trim on the hemline, shorten the skirt about 2” and RESTITCH the beaded trim back on!  I have to say that we were literally sweating bullets trying to make that happen before we went live!  I still get a hot flash every time I think about that dress!” 

*photos courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Shandi’s costume: I sure wish I could take the credit for Shandi looking so INCREDIBLE, but honestly I have to say……she comes that way!  That’s the way she looks all of the time!  Tall and incredibly curvy and sexy.  I just did a little “window dressing” and called it a costume!  Wow!!

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Wow! Kym sure knows how to give Randall a heart attack, huh? ;-) Be sure to tune in next week when Randall gives his commentary on the costumes from weeks 3 & 4, which air this Saturday starting at 6 PM EST on GSN.  Need more Randall between now and then? Check out his website, or holler at him on his Facebook page :-)

January 25, 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!

DWTS4: Randall’s Costume Retrospective, Week 1

As promised, I am excited to bring you the first installment of our season 4 “costume retrospective” with Randall Christensen, the costume designer for the show from seasons 2-12 of DWTS! You’re in for a real treat, guys – in this edition, Randall not only reveals his inspiration for each of the couples’ costumes, but also explains how the costume department at the studio came to be, some interesting challenges that posed by Heather’s weekly transcontinental traveling, and what you DIDN’T see in Joey & Kym’s disco costumes ;-) Read on!

Did you know that the DWTS costume department wasn’t always located in the same studio as the show itself? Randall explains how tough it was in the early days: “This season was the second season (and the last season) that we had a company in Burbank, CA make the costumes.  A nightmare trying to get the couples over the hill into North Hollywood, with intensely congested traffic.  I remember one fitting where Heather Mills was 2 hrs. late getting there, even though it was only about a 15 mile drive, due to traffic.  That delayed fitting was the catalyst to our getting our own workroom (the very next season), which helped the cast and my crew TREMENDOUSLY!  We gave up the Green Room and created our workroom right in the same bldg. as the show, 2 floors above the soundstage.” Can you imagine how stressful it was for both the costume personnel AND the couples to make that trek for the costumes??? And what kind of problems it posed when there were wardrobe malfunctions that needed a quick fix??? Thank goodness the powers that be recognized the need for an in-house costume department, and made the necessary accomodations :-)

*photos courtesy AP/Chris Pizzello

Billy Ray & Karina’s costumes:Karina’s “tie dyed” red/burgundy burn-out velvet was a great choice of fabrics/color for their first dance.  Individual strands of bugle bead fringe accented her body movements.  Billy Ray’s costume was kept simple for this first week.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Ian & Cheryl’s costumes: Cheryl’s costume had chrome “nail heads” and other silver hardware, giving a bit of an edgier look.  We tied in Ian’s look with a chrome studded belt.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Edyta’s costume: Edyta always looks sensational in “just a little something” and this costume was no exception!  The crystal encrusted petal bra and that voluminous Cuban style circular skirt was perfect for this first week’s costume!  Love the tropical coral color too.

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Apolo & Julianne’s costumes: Julianne’s red beaded fringe number was TONS of work to create, but oh-so-worth it!  That skirt just did NOT stay still!   And Apolo’s red bandana was a fun tribute to his signature look when competing in speed skating.  I loved that he was comfortable (and confident enough) to wear a bit of red trim on his shirt – to tie in (not only his bandana, but also ) with Julianne.  Apolo was an incredible athlete, and dedicated and determined to do whatever was needed to give him an edge.  I’ve noticed (and appreciated ) that about all of the athletes that have been on the show.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Joey & Kym’s costumes: Kym Johnson/Joey Fatone – now here is one confident (and FUN) celebrity!  Joey really wanted for us to trim the back of his vest with TWO WORDS – FAT and ONE.  The producers didn’t want us to do that, so we went with his Fatone (one word) rhinestone encrusted on the back of his vest.  And what a FUN costume for Kym – a tribute to the 70’s-80’s “ABBA” look.  Smoking on Kym’s smoking body, don’t you think?  Very fun, and a bit tongue-in-cheek.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Laila’s costume: Laila is such a phenomenally gorgeous woman, and one terrific athlete.  Because she is so tall, and has quite the muscular body, I really wanted to make sure her femininity came through.  In spite of all her muscles (fantastic biceps!!!!) Laila is ALL woman!  This rust silk satin gown with crystal encrusted appliqué was soft yet sexy, and did that skirt ever soar when she moved!  Of course standing over 6 ft. tall in heels certainly made for a dramatic silhouette, one which Maks could still certainly handle.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Heather’s costume (and the special challenges it posed): The first few weeks of pre production and the first couple of weeks of the live show posed quite a challenge for us and Heather.  Because of the notoriety of Heather, we had to do so much secretively, so as to not alert the public as to her being on the show (during pre-production I was the only person on my staff who knew she was one of the celebrities – we had to keep it THAT hush, hush!).  So consequently, we had a company in London create the first two weeks’ costumes for her, as she was training weekly in England (flying over to compete and then returning back to England).  The company we used had been the costume makers for the UK version of DWTS (Strictly Come Dancing) and we are good friends, so I felt really comfortable having them take care of Heather.  They travelled a great distance to give Heather her fittings.  This gown was one of their creations and fitted Heather’s style and physique perfectly!  I think that the biggest challenge was to find a dance shoe company that could/would make VEGAN dance shoes.  Being a strict vegetarian, Heather was quite concerned about wearing dance shoes which always have leather suede soles, for proper traction on the dance floor.  Thank goodness her assistant knew of a great shoe company that made several pairs for her to try out, rehearse in, and another set to perform in.  And Heather was incredibly helpful, not to mention a total JOY to work with!  I don’t know that I have ever had (before Heather or since) a person who got so excited on each and every design session.  There were times when we were giggling and she was clapping and exclaiming how much fun this was.  Heather was one of my most memorable celebrities that I have worked with, totally professional and very appreciative!

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Wow! I never realized what challenges the costume department had to overcome behind the scenes! But obviously, they handled them with such skill and perseverence that we never saw them.  But it is fun to know behind-the-scenes tidbits like these…definitely makes the show more fun to watch, at least for me :-)

Still need more DWTS costume goodness? You can always check out Randall’s website and Facebook page, and be sure to stay tuned here for more costume retrospectives from the man himself – we’ve got Randall’s take on the week 2 costumes coming at you later this week ;-)

January 23, 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 Exclusive! An Interview with Randall Christensen, Part II

Last week, we gave you part one of our exclusive interview with Randall Christensen, the costume designer for season 2-12 of DWTS.  Now read on for more insight from the man behind the costumes…as well as some exciting news! :-D

What are some of the shows that stood out for you the most when you costumed them, and why? (i.e. certain theme nights, specific seasons, finales, etc.)

Randall Christensen:  Movie/Broadway or TV night is always great fun.  We get to step out of character even more.  If you can dream it up, SOMEONE will wear it!  Themed nights are always fun.  Loved the Halloween show back several years ago.  Edyta as Morticia Addams (The Addams Family), Monique Coleman/Louis van Amstel in their “Ghostbusters” tear away coveralls, to “slime” green…..great fun!  Doing specific time periods are fun and challenging as well.  Doing a retro ‘50’s Paso Doble for Nicole Scherzinger was one of the most challenging, as the Paso Doble is so serious and passionate, yet the ‘50’s inspired song just didn’t go…..but Derek is a genius with choreography, and we came up with a fun yet strong look for them both.

If you could pick any of the pros, past or present, on the show to be your assistant, who would it be and why?

RC:  Hands down, Edyta Sliwinska would be a great co-designer.  She has such an eye for style!  Lacey Schwimmer has some really fun, “out there” and cutting edge ideas too.

What was the best part of your job on DWTS?

RC:  Hands down, the best part of my job was the trust of the producers, and being able to create with such freedom.  You just do NOT get that in the television industry, and that was the most rewarding thing I can imagine.  Weekly, the most rewarding part of my job was when Harold Wheeler and orchestra start playing the overture, there’s not a week that went by that I was ALWAYS there, with shivers running down my spine.  When those couples came down that stairway……truly a magical moment each and every week.  I never missed that descending down the stairs at the top of the show – NEVER! Read more..

January 17, 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!