A couple of seasons ago, I created a set of criteria with which to measure the benefits some dancers on DWTS have compared to the other dancers. That is, ringers versus non-ringers. I attempted to be as logical and scientific as possible, although it’s impossible to remove all subjectivity from the issue. But it’s far better than simply saying “so and so isn’t a ringer, IMO”. In your opinion? If your opinion is purely subjective with no effort at logical or rational thought, then what good is it??
No good at all, actually. The original series sprung from an effort to debunk the old, tired and stupid claim that the only reason Derek does well is because he gets all the good partners and no one else gets them. Utter BS, of course. It would be a good idea to read that series before starting this one as I can’t guarantee that I’ll include all the same rationale this second time around and I don’t take well to discussing a subject with someone who is so rude as to not read the blogs. Read more..
This is a fun piece. Former Olympians and Dancing With The Stars contestants Kristi Yamaguchi and Evan Lysacek chat about who they would like to see dance on the upcoming season of the show. Listen in and let us know what you think…
The Chicago Sun Times has a great new interview up with Dorothy Hamill where she talks all about her new ice skating shows, but, she also discusses Dancing With The Stars and what her first rehearsals have been like. She also tells us what kind of coach Tristan MacManus is making and how skating and dancing are different….
Q.You are partnered with Tristan McManus. What kind of a coach is he? Tough love or laid-back?
DH: Tristan is patient, patient, patient! He’s a saint. I’ve never seen frustration on his face though we’ve only been training for three days. I know he’s gotta be frustrated, because I am.
Q.How similar are skating and ballroom dancing? Or are they worlds apart?
DH: The dancing is sorta similar to skating but dancing really isn’t about movement; it’s all about the rhythm. People think skating would translate very easily to dancing but it really doesn’t. Dancing is a lot of fun and not as dangerous as being on the ice. But I’m starting to feel like the hippo in “Fantasia” [Laughs] and that’s embarrassing and humiliating. I have the most incredible partner in Tristan, but I’m starting to think he has the worst partner in me. We’ll see.
Q. Did you study dance when you trained as a skater?
DH: I didn’t study dance. I had some ballet lessons because I needed it for posture and for my arms, mostly. My skating coach said I really needed it, from the belly button up, as opposed to the footwork. In skating, the shoes don’t move. In ballroom, your feet move in all sorts of ways. So it’s very different. The dancing is a different kind of physically demanding work.
Q. What has early training for “DWTS” been like? Is it all about the basic steps or do you jump right in and learn a dance right out of the gate?
DH: Well, after four steps I’m pretty much lost right now! But Tristan has been teaching me basic steps. And we just got our music for our first dance. It’s a contemporary dance. We started the choreography yesterday. We’ll be getting the music for our second dance soon. As for rehearsals, we’re only allowed right now to work four hours with a half hour break, for the first two weeks of competition. After that I guess we’re on our own in terms of how much time we choose to rehearse.
This is a fun take about the costumes and the dances she’s dreading the most….
Q. What’s your take on the “Dancing with the Stars” costumes, which can be very revealing and have often been compared to the sparkly costumes of professional skating?
DH: The costumes are very different, though I haven’t had a wardrobe fitting yet. They are very revealing, that’s true. I’m just hoping mine won’t be too revealing. I’m the oldest person on the show this season. That was a revelation! I just have to make sure they cover up as much as possible. But I am looking very forward to the spray tan on my legs! That will be fun. My legs are ice skaters’ legs. No tan in sight.
Q.Which dances are you dreading and which are you looking forward to the most?
DH: I’m intimidated by the Jive and the Quickstep, I think. The quickness and the rhythm of the steps of those dances as far as I’ve seen are very intimidating. In skating we get to glide. Interestingly, Kristi said the Fox Trot was the most difficult for her.
I’d be intimidated by those dances the most I think too. Great interview! Be sure you read it in full here.
UPDATE: And here is Tristan and Dorothy on ET in a rehearsal interview. So cute and I’m loving their moves. What do you think?!!
In a new interview with XFinity Comcast, Dorothy Hamill says she will be calling fellow ice skaters and past Dancing With The Stars contestants Kristi Yamaguchi and Evan Lysacek to get whatever tips she can. She also speaks about what inspired her to dance and what she thinks her strengths and weaknesses will be….
Did Evan and Kristi encourage you to do “DWTS”?
Way back when, they said, “you have to do it,” and, of course, I would have loved to, but one has to be invited to do the show, so I sort of figured it would never happen. But now that I know and I’m allowed to talk to them, I’m going to call them and get whatever tips I can so that I can make it as painless as possible for Tristan.
What else inspired you to put on the dance shoes?
I’ve always been a fan of the show. I think it’s terrific to watch people outside of their comfort zone come in and learn a new skill, especially later in life. I just wanted to learn how to dance for a long time.
Obviously, you’ve already grasped choreography as a skater. What will your weaknesses be in the “DWTS” competition?
I have a really bad memory and I’m a very slow learner, so as far as the choreography goes, I bring all that from my skating. I’m really slow, so that’s why I’ve always been a solo skater because if I mess up, nobody knows.
And your strengths?
I like to work hard, but I don’t know if I can keep up with the pace. Hopefully I’ll be able to. That doesn’t mean I’ll be any good, but I’ll try.
“Trying” is all that matters. I can’t wait to Dorothy’s her “artistry” the most. With Tristan’s artistry, they could be a real force. You can read more of this fun interview at XFinity Comcast.
ADDING: Here is Dorothy and Tristan on Access Hollywwod today.
Kirstie Alley was one of the most popular dancers of the show’s 14 seasons but it’s Gilles Marini who has judge Carrie Ann Inaba’s vote. The season eight runner-up could very well come back to go toe-to-toe with Christian De La Fuente of season six.
If politics come into play, Stacy Kiebler could be high up on the list, as the appearance of her boyfriend George Clooney in the audience could bring in the most viewers ever.
It’s not just the trophy-less stars who will get to come back — winners Donny Osmond, Emmitt Smith and Helio Castroneves could also get a chance at repeating their triumphant seasons.
Oh man, this is an interesting piece from Entertainment Tonight. I’ll let the video do the talkin’ this time!!! Just PLEASE ….No Bristol and No Kate!!! :idea: Lots of names thrown around. Be sure to read the link, watch the video below, and let us know what you think!
TV Guide recently asked their readers to comment for who they’d like to see dance in the all-star edition of Dancing With The Stars next season. Below are their 12 celebrity picks which is interesting in comparing them to our numbers polled in our Dancing With The Stars All-star Cast Wish Post taking place at the moment. Some of the same celebrities are winning in our polls and some are not. So, what do you think of this cast below if it were to come true?
I say bring them on even though I wasn’t real wild about Marie when she danced before. I especially love the idea if Ralph, Evan, Mel B, Drew, and Mario were to come back. Also, to make things more interesting, challenging, and maybe even more fair in some cases, put new partners with them from who they had before.
If you haven’t done so yet and would like to do so, be sure you vote and make your voice heard in our Poll post HERE. It’s fun to watch the results too. Stayed tuned because Marianya has some cool things planned for updating us on the results.
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..
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.
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
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.
So every season, as we draw nearer & nearer to the finale, it seems like the question on everyone’s lips is “What are they gonna do for their freestyle?” We debate which pros are the stronger freestyle choreographers, which celebs can handle the lifts, who’s got the most dance skills, who is going to struggle, etc. So Heidi & I decided to tackle the big question: what makes a good DWTS freestyle?
While everyone may argue over what works and what doesn’t, with 12 seasons under our belts, we have enough historical data to see some patterns – and there are definitely some things that all good freestyles seem to have in common, and some things that the bad freestyles have in common. Today we’re starting with the worst – these are examples of what this season’s finalists should likely avoid, and of which they should probably try to do the opposite :-)
A little insight into how we arrived at this list: I made a list of my own, and then bumped it against a list Heidi made and we looked for similarities. I also asked for suggestions on Twitter, to see if my finger was on the pulse of the more dedicated viewing audience; I polled my co-workers (likely more representative of the average viewer than most of us lurking on the Net ;-)) as well to get their thoughts. Turns out, most of you guys came up with the same examples of good & bad – which is good, since it shows that opinions on freestyles seem to be pretty universal. But without further ado, I give you the top 10 WORST freestyles in DWTS history:
10.) Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas, season 12
Courtney: This was one that a lot of you seemed divided on – some of you loved it, some of you hated it. I ultimately decided to include it in the “worst” list because it seemed to have something in common with a lot of the other freestyles on this list: it wasn’t reflective of the celeb it was meant to showcase. Yes, it was high-energy, it was well-executed (for the most part), and it was entertaining – but what did it really have to do with Chelsea? While she managed to keep up with Mark fairly well and got through the choreography, I never really got the feeling that it was a routine she really felt connected to, or that she even would have picked for herself. It was as if she had given Mark carte blanche with the routine and he chose everything – the music, the costumes, the theme, etc., and Chelsea was just along for the ride. I think choosing an obscure song didn’t help, and the choreo seemed to showcase Mark more than Chelsea – the poor girl just seemed to be trying to keep her head above water. Add to that some bland costumes and a wardrobe malfunction, and you’ve got a freestyle that’s overall just “Meh.” Definitely not 30-worthy, IMO.
Heidi: Well, this one I would have put in “dishonorable mentions” but it’s almost in that pile anyway, at slot #10. :-) The problem here, like you say, was Chelsea wasn’t connected to it (and similar ideas appear throughout this post). Not only that, but the music didn’t really match the costumes and none of it matched the choreo. It seemed all mixed up to me. It had a latin flavor, yet they were doing a light hip hop type choreo (I don’t really know how else to explain that) and their costumes matched neither. Then – why the lights and the bike?? I feel like I missed something on this one. There was also a section where it seemed like they just went from one cool trick to the next. The best freestyles (including some of Mark’s) had a good bit of actual ballroom dancing thrown in in places. This one is just a bit weird for me.
9.) Evan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya, season 10
Heidi: PEOPLE, unless your pro is Dmitry – do NOT argue with them about choreography. At all. Geez. That said, this is another freestyle that was good on paper, but in execution just didn’t work for some reason. Clearly it worked in person, since the studio crowd loved it…but the dance didn’t seem to fit either Evan OR Footloose. When Derek did Grease with Brooke, there was a clear, but brief, homage to the movie. The dance went with the song and it worked perfectly for Brooke. When he did a song from Dirty Dancing with Jennifer – again, a subtle, brief homage to the movie and it worked for Jennifer because, of course – she was in the movie. I think by the time they get to the freestyle the pros are just drained and they forget to really tie it altogether – and if you pick an iconic song, you have to really tie it altogether so that the dancing fits the iconic song but also works for your partner. It seems like this dance doesn’t fit either. He didn’t dance it badly by any stretch, but neither did Gilles in their Flashdance freestyle. That doesn’t make it good.
Courtney: I was always a bit puzzled as to why they picked Footloose – did one of them really, really like the movie? Or was it just another easy, dance movie theme to go with? I think that’s the one big difference between a freestyle like Jennifer’s and a freestyle like Evan’s (or Mya’s, or Gilles’, or Stacy’s – see below) – relevance. Dirty Dancing was relevant to Jennifer; but was Footloose really relevant to Evan? I want a freestyle to basically sum up a partnership for me – I want it to feel like both the celeb & the pro connect to both the dance and each other, and for the routine to feel like a nice closure to their season together. For me, going with Footloose as their theme left more questions than answers. Ooh, and can I just say that I think bringing in an outside choreographer is the absolute kiss of death? It doesn’t see to mesh well with the chemistry the couple has forged over the course of the season, and usually leads to coupled being led dangerously out of their comfort zone. And both Evan & Anna seemed uncomfortable with this one – almost pained, at times. Read more..
And the parade of song dittos just keeps on coming. :-) Seriously, I find myself groaning aloud each week when I see the song list – “Ugh, that one AGAIN!” or “I feel like they just used that song!!!” But alas, at the very least, it makes throwing these posts together a cinch ;-)
Lotsa dittos this past week – the only ones who managed to make it through semi-unscathed by the reuse of songs that probably shouldn’t have been reused were Nancy, Hope, & David. Guess that was to be expected, though, since there aren’t too many songs that are both Halloweenish and suitable for ballroom!
Battle of Evanescence “Bring Me to Life”
As most of you already know, it was Evan & Anna’s paso doble song in season 10:
And then, this past week, it was the song for Team Paso Doble:
Court’s take: I have to say I was a bit shocked that they were reusing the music from a very memorable routine, and I gotta give this one to Evan & Anna. Both routines are great, and this song is damn near perfect for a very dramatic, intense paso doble – but compared to Evan & Anna, who were absolutely KILLING their routine, team paso doble was just kinda kicking it in the shins. :-) And on a side note, it’s amazing what you notice when you watch these routines the 2nd or 3rd time around – Evan looks a lot better than I remembered him being at the time (guess a few seasons of subpar dancing will make you recognize REAL talent even more!), and Hope looks off-time in several parts of team paso. That cape section Evan did was SUPERB.
Battle of Rihanna’s “Disturbia”
Lance & Lacey had their tango to it in season 7, Lacey’s very first season on the show:
And it was Team Tango’s song this past week:
Court’s take: Why oh whyyyy did they pick this song to reuse for a tango??? I mean, the lyrics are edgy…but the beat is so clubby & dancey. Not edgy enough for a tango, IMO. But anyway. As overrated as I thought Lance & Lacey’s tango was at the time (and I still kinda do), it was better than team tango’s interpretation of the song. I liked how Lance & Lacey went the classy-edgy route, with the dark costuming and slight tweaks in choreo to make the dance feel “creepier”; in retrospect, it just seems like team tango was doing a regular tango in straightjackets and kinda let that be our only indicator that it was a scary Halloween tango. I will say this, though: I still think Lacey’s ballroom is horrid. You could drive a boat show between her & Lance…and that footwork? Yeesh. And as ho-hum as I felt about the team tango on the whole, I actually really liked JR & Karina’s section, upon second viewing. Liked that body wave move they did in reverse :-)
Battle of Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams”
It was first used as Chad & Cheryl’s tango in season 10:
And then it was Ricki & Derek’s paso this week:
Court’s take: Considering that most of you probably didn’t remember that it was Chad & Cheryl’s tango, you’ll probably agree that Ricki & Derek had the better interpretation :-) Chad & Cheryl were just a non-event to me – it was just a garden-variety example of their usual routine each week that season, with Chad just kinda walking through the steps while Cheryl danced circles around him. I think I remembered Cheryl’s dress more than the dance itself – that was during her sheer-skirted ballgown phase, and I remember the back being vaguely…thong-like. :-P It may not have been the most compelling paso doble that Derek has ever choreographed, but for me it at least managed to take a step beyond the stereotypical Halloween schlock we saw this week. Plus I just kinda dig Little Red Riding Hood – my favorite Halloween costume everrrrrr. ;-)
Battle of Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters”
Monique & Louis had it as their cha-cha song during the first Halloween show back in season 3:
And JR & Karina got it as their tango this week:
Court’s take: This is almost a no-contest to me – Monique & Louis!!! The song was positively sucktastic as a tango and I think JR may have been 2nd only to Nancy in song screwage this week. Wayyyy too hard to keep timing. And let me just say this: I think Monique may be one of the most underrated contestants that’s ever been on this show, and I think Louis is capable of being every bit as creative as Derek, Maks, or Mark – when he has the right partner :-) I loved this cha-cha – it was fun, cute, cheeky, creative, and yet still a proper cha-cha. And Monique is like the DWTS-conceived love child of Kyle Massey & Lil Kim – she was a sassy showgirl like Kim, with the skill & youthful appeal (and Disney pedigree) of Kyle. That girl could DANCE, too – kinda makes me wonder if she would have fared better (and possibly won) if she was in a less-competitive season.
Battle of “The Addams Family Theme”
Another gimme from the original Halloween episode in season 3, it was Joey & Edyta’s tango:
And Rob & Cheryl had it again this Halloween episode:
Court’s take: This is a little bit of a weird one for me, as I’m not particularly fond of “The Addams Family” as a tango – even though it has a strong tango beat, it just seems…hokey. :-) And I think both guys had different strengths in their respective routines – Joey’s was definitely better from a technical standpoint, but I thought Rob played the character a bit better. I enjoyed both for different reasons. But overall – I just don’t ever want to hear this song again on DWTS!