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PureDWTS Season 17, Week 8 – Power Rankings

Did anyone else feel like the dances were a bit…I don’t know, MECHANICAL last night? Almost every dance I saw felt a bit wooden and robotic…like you could practically see the couples counting out the steps as they danced.  Once again, I’m going to chalk it up to all the couples feeling stressed and burnt out, which is unfortunate because I feel like several of them are forgetting that this is supposed to be fun.  Also mechanical? Cher as a judge, as more often than not she seemed like she was out to lunch and just threw in a generic comment and threw up the “9″ paddle when prompted (unless, of course, your name is Bill, in which case she managed to locate her “8″ paddle…convenient.) Say what you will about Julianne as a judge – but at least she was coherent in her critiques, and I understood why she gave the scores she did.  Cher? Not so much. 

Once again, we have a “shocking” elimination that isn’t all that shocking when you really think about it – I’m guessing that Brant’s fanbase, which seemed to be sustaining him sufficiently well since his bottom 2 scare early in the season, just finally gave out this week…with several people left who are likely pulling in a lot of votes, I think anyone with a “young” fanbase is probably in some degree of jeopardy, by comparison.  I guess all I can hope for at this point is that someone like Bill can somehow edge out an older fanbase like Leah’s…because that woman has GOT to go. 

1/2.) TIE: Corbin & Karina and Amber & Derek – Another not-quite-100% night for both couples, and due to the immunity challenge, there’s some trade-offs that seem to level the playing field between these two.  Corbin & Karina’s Argentine tango, while pretty good technically, just left me wanting a bit more emotionally – not sure if it was the strange song or the fact that these two were pressed for rehearsal time this week, but it just felt really cold and obligatory to me. Corbin seemed to be laser-focused on remembering his steps, and seemed to lose a bit of entertainment value as a result. Amber & Derek also had a strange song to contend with, and while I think they actually handled it well, the choreography just felt a little odd to me – like “rumba by numbers”, if you will, with a few sequences of Amber strutting around in a sassy fashion to fill it out.  Did the music necessitate it? Maybe.  But like Corbin’s Argentine tango, it just kinda left me wanting more, and it wasn’t Amber’s best dance.  Now here’s the kicker: while Amber may have gotten the immunity, Corbin actually got the 3 extra points that came with winning his dance-off against Liz.  Amber is still the cumulative points leader for the season – but with Corbin a mere 3 points behind her, one off-dance could shift the balance of power: say Corbin gets his first perfect 30 next week and Amber falters a bit a gets a 26.  That could mean the difference between picking first and picking second in the next challenge.  And as we’ve seen – that can mean the difference between getting a good song vs. a sh*tty song, or a good team vs. a sh*tty team.  It all adds up, kids… Read more..

November 5, 2013 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 Season 17, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Tonight’s episode of Sesame Street was brought to you by the words “bullsh*t” and “inconsistency”.  :-) By the time they lined the couples up for elimination with a mere 5 minutes remaining in the show, my blood was boiling – Len was an absolute terror tonight, the other two stooges were more or less his accomplices when it came to completely contradicting things that they have said in previous weeks (or even earlier in the evening).  Seems kinda obvious that they’ve been told they need to shield certain couples from excessive criticism, while piling it on others like it’s going out of style.  Len in particular has lost all credibility for me this season – he’s not the “strictly ballroom” judge he once was; now he seems to have a personal agenda, and that dictates his scores & critiques far more than any actual ballroom knowledge.  Can we ship him back overseas next week and bring in a guest judge? Pretty please? :-)

As I had kinda guessed, the switch-up dance challenge was a complete turd of an idea – and I think it was quite possibly the most ridiculous-looking thing we’ve seen them make these poor celebs do in 17 seasons.  My best guess is that, immediately following the aftermath of last week’s production Muppet voting snafu, they knew they were gonna  have to forego this week’s elimination, but needed something trivial to fill time…enter this nonsense.  God I hope this one gets permanently scrapped, cause I felt seriously embarassed for some of the couples out there…except for Bill & Emma, who seemed hip to the fact that this challenge was complete bullsh*t and just decided to have fun with it :-) Thrilled that nobody got eliminated – I was seriously scared for Bill by the end of the show.  But likely thanks to the Muppets, we get him for another week :-D

1.) Amber & Derek – I’m convinced now that there is nothing Derek can do this season to please Len – “there’s not enough content”.  “There’s too much content & it’s repetitive.” The guy is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t – and he seems to be the only one that Len picks apart for these reasons, and the only one that gets legitimately punished as opposed to just getting a warning (looking at YOU, Tony).  And the worst part: Amber just seems to be collateral damage to Len.  I actually thought this routine was a good example of samba – had a lot of textbook steps, it traveled around the room, and Derek took out a lot of the “frippery” that Len has been complaining about this season…and Amber handled it well! But Len has the nerve to whine about it being “repetitive”.  Ok Len, I’ll take the bait: maybe it was repetitive because THERE’S A FUCKING SYLLABUS OF STEPS THAT YOU CONSTANTLY HARP ON, and samba in particular is rather limited in the sequence of steps you can use to get around the room.  And dammit, every single routine is going to be repetitive to some degree – if you want a dance to look like it should, you’ve gotta use a lot of basic, characeristic steps.  Bill & Emma’s tango? Yep, repetition.  Brant & Peta’s tango? Repetitive.  Jack & Cheryl’s paso? Repetitive.  Nicole & Sasha’s foxtrot? Repetitive, repetitive, repetitive. And yet none of those other couples got scolded for it…hmmmm.  I guess my only explanation is that Amber is getting the votes she needs to stick around, so TPTB don’t feel the need to “shield” her from elimination like they do other couples – and maybe, to give the impression of this being a close race, Len feels the need to knock this couple down a few notches.

2.) Elizabeth & Val – Lizzy, Lizzy, Lizzy…I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually starting to feel a bit sorry for her.  This woman just seems like she’s DESPERATE to do well, and might emotionally shatter at any given moment.  By extension, I think I might actually be feeling a bit bad for Val, too, just because I’m not sure that he really knows how to handle it when Liz has a meltdown like she did during her rehearsal footage.  But anyway – I thought her cha-cha was actually pretty good, but I don’t think it was 30-worthy – as I said to someone on Twitter, I MIGHT have given it one “10″ as a courtesy, and then maybe two 9′s.  I will commend Val on the fact that he must really drill proper turn technique into his partners, because Elizabeth, like Zendaya & Kelly, seems to know how to properly spot her turns, and the result is pretty nice to look at.  Can’t say I was wild about Liz’ solo at the beginning, but I guess I understand why Val put it there – it utilizes her ballet & jazz training.  My only other complaint: like a lot of other routines we’ve seen from Val, it just seemed a little bit “stop-and-go”, which interrupted the overall flow of it.  But overall, I enjoyed it, and Liz seemed to handle it well.  The fact that it was given a perfect score, however, makes me wonder if the judges are attempting to shield Lizzy from a Christina Milian-esque ouster – and I wonder if they’ve decided that she MUST be in the finale.  I get that they want to have a strong finale of good dancers, but I think anymore, it’s not just about the dancing anymore…you’ve gotta connect with the audience and really entertain them, and that’s one area where I think Liz & Val could take a page out of Bill & Emma’s book. Liz & Val seem to be more inwardly-focused and taking the competition more seriously; I think Bill & Emma, while still wanting to do well, seem more focused on putting on a good show and really making things enjoyable for viewers.  If Liz could do both, I could see her being more of a contender. Read more..

October 22, 2013 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 Season 17, Week 5 – Power Rankings

I’m currently resisting the urge to go poke obnoxious Christina fans on Instagram with a stick, because so many of them were swearing up and down that she was “the most popular person on this season”, and that anyone trying to say she came across snotty was “just jealous”, and that we all should “just wait – she’s gonna win the whole thing!” *snicker* Hate to say I told you so, kids, but – I told you so.  She was not connecting with viewers, and I think it was a direct result of what many of us perceived as a “I’m too good to be here” kind of attitude – and as a result, she was not getting very many votes AT ALL, to the point where she got painfully overscored and STILL couldn’t manage to stick around.  I highly recommend rereading Heidi’s numbers post from last week, as it paints a rather prophetic picture of what might have happened to send Christina home. 

It’s nights like last night that make me wonder if TPTB do skim Pure from time to time to keep their finger on the pulse of the viewers – because the whole “previous dance experience” bit and the nonsense about lift policing seem like they were plucked directly out of discussions here.  What’s next, guys? Humorous screen grabs? :-P

1/2.) TIE: Corbin & Karina and Amber & Derek – Last night was a bit of an odd night for the two frontrunners – both still had strong routines, but seemed to get picked apart by the judges a bit more.  Corbin & Karina’s foxtrot was a  bit odd for me – the music didn’t seem very foxtrot-ish, and I have to wonder if another style (maybe Viennese waltz) would have suited it better; consequently, I feel like both Corbin & Karina were struggling to make their dance actually fit the music, and while they didn’t overtly lose time, it felt like they may have been on the brink of it at a few times – heck, I even had a hard time keeping a steady foxtrot beat in this one.  Not my favorite dance they’ve done, but I think the whole “lift police” bit was just inane – but I LOVE that Tom actually kinda tried to hold her accountable for it by offering up a “playback” and the option to change her score…of course it didn’t end up working, but I kind of enjoy the fact that Carrie Ann actually had to own her capricious, petty lift-policing this time.  Perhaps she’ll be a bit more cautious about it in the future? ;-) As for Amber & Derek – I enjoyed the routine, except for the bit at the end with the mic, which I think would have played a lot better if it was actually Amber singing instead of just lip-syncing.  Len’s complaint about not enough “in-hold” moves? Really, Len, foxtrot on DWTS has really become more Broadway than foxtrot, and each season we see less and less work in-hold; I don’t think there was any less in-hold work in Amber & Derek’s foxtrot than there was in Nicole & Derek’s foxtrot in season 10, which got RAVE reviews.  But Len usually has to pull out a “7″ paddle for Derek at least once a season, and it’s usually when Carrie Ann & Bruno are pulling out 9′s and 10′s…so I guess we got that out of the way early, eh? :-P

3.) Nicole & Sasha – This actually ended up being one of my favorite routines of the night – just  pure fun and pure “Snooki” :-) I just love the way these two work together – and while they may not be the best or most impressive couple on the floor, everything they do entertains me, and has a good energy to it.  Love that they have a bit of a “signature move” now – Nicole sticking her leg out and Sasha jumping over it.  I just think it’s a cute analogy to their partnership: Nicole’s always doing stuff to mess with Sasha, and he just laughs it off and keeps going. I don’t think they could have picked a better partner for Sasha – she meshes well with him, she’s tiny, and she can do some of the gymnastic-y stuff we know he loves :-) I’m hoping they’re getting the votes to stick around – because I think they’ve got the right attitude about this season.  They’re just working hard and having fun – they aren’t tunnel-visioning towards the MBT or trying too hard. 

4.) Bill & Emma – Not the best routine we’ve seen from Bill, but a very sweet, honest routine nonetheless :-) He seemed to have a few timing issues with the Viennese waltz, which I kind of expected, but he seemed to handle it well enough; I think he may have messed up a few steps, but god bless Emma, she was able to move with it and minimize the effect.  Overall, I think the routine was a sweet tribute to his wifey, and it brought back memories of Andy’s Viennese waltz for his daughter last season – both routines that weren’t technically perfect, but were just lovely for their message :-) I do think Bill is gaining some momentum in terms of votes, and has the potential to overtake some of the better (but less popular) dancers if he can continue to improve and entertain us (and not be a douchebag :-P).  Do I think he make the finale? Probably not.  But I still think he’s got at least a week or two left in him…which I’m totally fine with :-)

5.) Jack & Cheryl – I think Jack may be the most underappreciated dancer this season right now – if you really watch him as he dances, you’ll see that he actually GETS the concepts of rise & fall, and actually has a great frame. Cheryl also seems to have instilled in him the ability to really “be there” for his partner, as he seems like he’s never in danger of dropping her or mowing her over.  And man, this routine was just gorgeous to watch – both in terms of technique and feeling.  He certainly didn’t take the easy route with his song, either – the tempo changed quite a bit, so I find it really impressive that he managed to stay on-time. My only complaint? I feel like he’s getting shoved in crummy running order positions, and just seems to be getting lost in the shuffle – last night he was stuck between a ridiculously overscored routine (Christina) and a really, really bad one (Leah).  He’s neither at the top of the pack, nor the bottom; he’s just a pretty good dancer that is slowly improving. I don’t think he’s in danger of getting sent home – yet – but I just feel like I’m not hearing as much “buzz” about him as I am some of the other couples.  Hope he’s not getting forgotten!  

6.) Brant & Peta – It was the better contemporary routine of the night – but unfortunately, that was a pretty easy feat, considering how truly BAD Leah’s contemporary was :-( Generally, though, I thought Brant’s contemporary was pretty good – he handled what he was given well, and he did inject a good deal of emotion and conviction into his moves.  Thought it was a little lift-heavy, and a bit too flaily; but anymore, I’m just kind of “whatever” about contemporary routines on this show, since most of these pros don’t have the contemporary experience necessary to choreograph something great – they’re just flying by the seat of their pants, probably watching YouTube videos for inspiration, and trying to throw something together that their partner can handle while still somewhat-resembling a contemporary routine you might see on SYTYCD.  He seems to be back in favor with the judges, so barring any huge snafus next week, I think he ought to be ok.  He seems like a good kid – I’d definitely rather see him stick around than Leah or even Elizabeth.  Let’s just hope Peta resists the urge to “sex up” any more of his routines…

7.) Elizabeth & Val – After all the hype we saw for this jive throughout the show, I was thinking “This better be the best damn jive this show has ever seen!” Aaaaand…it wasn’t.  Sorry, but the whole SBTB, caffeine pill-throwback skit at the beginning just felt awkward and desperate, and like a waste of time – and I think Liz & Val may have mixed up their 90′s teen sitcoms, because I don’t recall Zack Morris ever climbing through Jessie’s bedroom window (that was a move credited to Sam from Clarissa Explains it All – duh ;-)). It only go worse from there – Liz’s little solo bit at the beginning felt like she got a little too excited and desperate, as she fell out of her pirouttes…and with her dance background, that’s one move I would expect her to EASILY nail.  The actual jive portion started out promising – she stayed on time, her flicks and kicks looked good, and I actually have to commend her on handling the simple spins (which are anything BUT simple) well; but after that, I think she lost some steam, as she seemed to struggle with picking her legs up quite as high and started looking a little winded.  Consequently, it looked like she may have lost time at a few points.  Overall, I admire her effort – but if she wants a hope and a prayer of making it to the finals, she is going to have to step up her game…because I think both Corbin & Amber danced circles around her last night.  The whole “in jeopardy” thing happening AGAIN also doesn’t seem to bode well for her…

8.) Leah & Tony – Ummm, wow.  I think we have our first nominee for “worst dance of season 17″ – because this was a real turd, folks.  I do not care that Tony “has never choreographed contemporary before” (not entirely true); I do not care that Leah is “not a dancer” (heard you the first 10 times, dear); I do not care about how well you did or didn’t “tell a story” (you took too long doing it, anyway) – this routine was just crap.  The cheesy bit with the marionette at the beginning was just that – cheesy – and it took too long to get going; the lifts didn’t feel so much like a part of the dance, as they did just moves that were arbitrarily thrown in “because contemporary!” – oh, and Leah looked heavy going up into them, and it seemed like she was stopping every other beat and just waiting to be lifted.  The ‘tude they were throwing the judges’ way when being called out on all of these things was just the icing on the cow pie for me – everything about this routine and Leah & Tony themselves just left kind of a bad taste in my mouth last night.  And I daresay Leah got a bit of a wake-up call standing up there with Christina last night – I hope she realizes that the sense of entitlement we’ve seen from her is not going to guarantee her safety (if anything, it might guarantee her elimination – she should go ask Christina), and I hope Tony realizes that he has got to kick his choreo up a notch…because they have an uphill battle to stick around next week, and I’m not sure it’s one that they’re going to easily win.

So how do you guys feel about last night’s elimination? And who do you think is on the chopping block this coming week?

October 15, 2013 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 Season 17, Week 4 – Power Rankings

 Overall, I think I enjoyed last night – liked that there wasn’t a particular theme, and everyone got a different dance, so as to avoid being compared against another couple.  Wasn’t particularly wild about the Ray Leeper-choreographed opening number – to quote Mama Spence, “That was a whole lot of nothing!” and goes to show that choreography created for ballroom dancers by non-ballroom dancers doesn’t always work well. 

I think Julianne actually ended up being a pretty fair judge – granted, I think it was decided before the show started that she was simply going to echo the same score that Carrie Ann & Bruno called out, but I still feel like she gave constructive criticism and didn’t put anyone down…which Len has a tendency to do on the regular.  Not gonna lie – I’m kinda glad it was Julianne judging instead of Len during the week that Bill & Emma did their samba ;-)

As lovely and inspirational as Valerie was, I do feel like it was her time to go – she seemed to be really struggling these past few weeks, and the poor woman is probably getting really tired.  But I’m SO glad we got to see her this season, and her foxtrot from week one is probably going to remain one of my favorites :-) And god love Tristan – there’s a pro that gives a whole new meaning to “being there” for your partner.  I don’t think there are too many male pros on this show that could handle both the physical and emotional strain that having a partner with terminal cancer can bring – and he handled it with such poise. 

 1.) Corbin & Karina – For all the ado about him dancing shirtless before last night’s show, he really wasn’t shirtless for long – and it actually did fit the routine, IMO.  After he and Karina stalked around each other and let the tension build, the shirt coming off was kind of a gesutre of “Ok, now I’m throwing my hat in the ring.  It’s ON!” and it worked with mood.  Anti-shirtless brigade, take note: this is an example of the correct way to go shirtless. :-) Really and truly, I thought this paso was fantastic – Corbin never missed a beat, he was invested in it, and contrary to what the judges said, I didn’t think “his hip-hop moves were creeping in”; I actually thought he was creatively styling some of his arm & hand gestures, which I’ll take any day over limp, apathetic, purposeless moves.  Anyone else think the judges were intentionally being REEEEEALLLLY nitpicky about this one? I’d say this worthy of at least one “10″ – it was that good, kids.  And I know there’s been some talk from some here about “Ehhh, I kinda don’t like Corbin & Karina, they’re desperate, they’re trying too hard, etc. etc. etc.” I’ll just say this: if this routine was the result of their “desperation” and “trying too hard” – then more power to them. :-) Read more..

October 8, 2013 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 Season 17, Week 3 – Power Rankings

Well apparently I missed the memo that Hollywood night was really “Gatsby Night”, as last night’s show seemed to borrow pretty heavily from the new movie…if Baz Luhrmann was going to be a guest judge this season, last night would have been a good night for him to do it! Overall, almost everyone did well and got a rather generous score from the judges – but the unfortunate downside to that is that we may have seen our first glimpse of the puppet strings from the men upstairs, as there was some suspicious overscoring going on that may or may not have contributed to Bill Nye’s exit.  Granted, I think it was his time to go, due both to his injury and the fact that he wasn’t really progressing at the same rate as his fellow contestants.  But Heidi’s numbers post should be exceptionally interesting this week…

…and once again, my rankings are about as clear as mud :-P I’m seriously having a hard time determining who is the most likely to get sent packing – I’m getting some “struggling with votes” vibes from a few of the couples, but nothing that screams “This person is going home next week!”; I’ve also got the added complication of anticipating the modus operandi of TPTB, who now have the power to influence the outcome since they know exactly how many points each couple needs to stick around.  A rather scary pall cast over an otherwise lovely season to watch, no? For that reason, I could see anyone in my bottom 5 potentially getting sent home – depending on how things go down next week.

1.) Corbin & Karina – I think Corbin had, by far, the highest level of difficulty in terms of choreography in his routine last night – and for what it’s worth, he actually handled it pretty well.  There seemed to be a few issues with wobbly frame, and I saw a couple “deer in the headlights” looks, but he kept up with the footwork decently well and delivered a great quickstep, reminiscent of the quickstep Karina did with Apolo a year ago.  But, like the quickstep she did with Apolo, this one didn’t seem to get the love it deserved – or rather, the love it did get was overshadowed by some suspicious overscoring of another couple.  It also confirmed a fear of mine that has been brewing since week one: that Corbin seems to thrive more in the Latin dances, and loses a bit of his sparkle in the ballroom dances.  He’s got a lot of room to improve, but last night was the first time I’ve seen him be less than confident on the floor – hopefully he can hit a groove with the next ballroom dance he gets.

2.) Amber & Derek – Judging from some of the comments I’m seeing on the show discussion post, seems like there’s a debate raging over who had more “Charleston content” in their routines last night – Amber or Christina.  To be honest, I don’t think either was bona fide Charleston - first off, there aren’t that many Charleston steps that exist; secondly, Amber’s music dictated that she do something more than just Charleston, and Christina had Mark’s tendency toward the theatric to contend with.  I would say Amber had more Charleston basics, but the overall mood, steps, and theme of Christina’s routine fit the Charleston better.  And at the end of the day, I’ll be honest: I didn’t particularly care for either one.  Amber unfortunately got saddled with a song that was really more hip-hop than Charleston, and with a ridiculously long intro that didn’t allow for much dancing – and the dancing she did do was just ok for me.  She seemed to hit a bit of a wall with the foot action of the Charleston (which isn’t easy – they ended up using a dance double for Tobey Maguire for a few scenes in Gatsby), but I will give her this: ever the showman, she sold the performance well…even if she wasn’t really nailing the steps.  Anyone else find it totally trippy that Len was the one that seemed to gush about this routine – and it was Bruno & Carrie Ann complaining about the content? :-P Read more..

October 1, 2013 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 Season 17, Week 1 – Power Rankings

For the first time in several seasons, I find myself very pleasantly surprised by how good everyone looks on night 1 – and how much I like all of the couples (with the exception of one – and I blame that more on the celeb than the pro).  The judges are apparently still on crack (surprise, surprise) and have completely lost touch with the concept of a “middle ground” and seem to be scoring everyone absurdly high or absurdly low; and is anyone else kind of thrown by the judges’ table being on the OTHER side of the dance floor??? Just feels…wrong to me. Like trying to use a pair of left-handed scisscors.  :-P On with the rankings!

1.) Amber & Derek – I think Amber may be second only to Valerie in terms of likeability this season – she’s funny, enthusiastic, not afraid to poke fun at herself, and is proud of her “big booty” :-) She also has quite a bit of stage presence – she struck me as being the most comfortable out on the dancefloor last night, and seemed to really go for all the steps without any sort of timidness or hesitation.  Best cha-cha of the night? Sure.  But 27-worthy, in week 1? Eeeeek.  Seems like the judges were on a honeymoon last night (at least until Bill Nye danced) and I think they may have screwed themselves (and possibly Amber & Derek) when they whipped out those 9 paddles – now they’ve left themselves without much wiggle room to increase scores as the season progresses…and I’m afraid it may have set some unrealistic expectations for Amber & Derek in the weeks to come.  But for now, I think Amber is really safe, given her score and the legions of “Gleeks” that claim to be voting in the thousands. 

2.) Valerie & Tristan – I’m not sure there’s been another contestant in the history of the show that seems so deeply thankful and happy to be dancing :-) If you would have told me that the woman I saw foxtrotting with Tristan last night was suffering from terminal brain cancer, I wouldn’t have believed you – Valerie seemed to move with such ease and joy, she was actually better than some of her younger, more able-bodied competitors! I saw a few small issues with balance on turns, but it’s fortunately something that can be corrected with the right tutelage from Tristan.  I think we’re going to see Valerie stick around for awhile this season – not only because her story is so inspiring and brings hope to others suffering through cancer, but because she’s actually quite good…and I think she’ll only get better.  As Mama Spence said “I bet doing DWTS has added months to her life – people with something to live for tend to live longer!” :-)
Read more..

September 17, 2013 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 16, Week 8 – Power Rankings

Well, this is probably going to be a pretty short ranking, because besides nursing a killer migraine…tonight just kind of sucked.

Ballroom round? Too short, and pretty ho-hum.  Trio round? Only one real standout, a couple that were so-so, and the rest were fails.  And of course, Len continues to be a horrible human being.  I miss Andy more than I thought :-( Let’s get this over with…

1.) Zendaya & Val – First off, I probably would have picked a different song for their foxtrot – the fact that it’s a capella made it feel a bit thin & boring.  On top of that, it seemed like it took a little too long to get into the dance, and what I saw, while pleasant to watch, didn’t really excite me.  As for their salsa trio – where was the salsa? I saw a lot of vaguely hip-hoppy stuff and a lot of side-by-side actions, but very little interaction between Zendaya herself and the two guys she was supposed to be dancing with.  And I generally just found some of the choreography to be a bit odd – once again, rather stop-and-go.  It wasn’t a bad dance, per se, but I would dispute the fact that it was a salsa and call attention to the fact that the bulk of it was done individually, as opposed to in couples.  Hell, salsa’s even one of the easier dances to do with 3 people…would it really have been that hard to do a bit more work in-hold? Oh well…they’ve got a 58, so they don’t even have to worry about it…

2.) Kellie & Derek – I feel like they were the only couple tonight that really put a ton of thought into both of their performances, and even figured out a clever way to link the two together.  The Viennese waltz was very pretty, though I would have liked a little bit more of it to be in-hold, because Kellie can handle it; the paso trio was the only dance that really stuck out in my mind tonight, because it was so exciting to watch and it was the only one that actually seemed to work WITH the props they chose, as opposed to just having them there (like several other couples).  Len’s score AND his comment to Bruno about having “something up his ass”? Uncalled for, inappropriate, and I’m just done with that SOB.  If Fox can issue an apology for Steve Tyler’s behavior on Idol, then they can certainly issue one for Len’s behavior on DWTS.  Dude is seriously crossing the line.

3.) Aly & Mark – Man, they’re REALLY trying to make Aly “happen”, aren’t they? Yes, she has grown – somewhat – in her time on DWTS, but I still find her a bit underwhelming to watch.  I actually agreed with (ack) Carrie Ann about her Argentine tango – for as acrobatic & flexible as Aly is, her leg lines seemed a little…weak.  I don’t think it was 29-worthy – maybe 27-worthy.  As for the jive trio – it wasn’t bad, but it was just so BLAND.  Part of it was Aly, but I really just found the choreography to be a bit blah as well – Mark seemed to be erring on the side of safe again.  I have to wonder if she’s not getting the votes – because they seem to be scoring her awfully kindly these days.

4.) Jacoby & Karina – The Viennese waltz was better than I expected, though not his best dance.  Liked the drama of it, but I thought it could be a bit neater.  Actually enjoyed their paso trio with Cheryl, but I feel like the only real problem seemed to be that there was just so much choreography jam-packed into that routine that Jacoby got a little distracted…which could explain why he just kind of flung Cheryl off to the side.  I think they just got so caught up trying to show everything that Jacoby was capable of doing that they may have overwhelmed him.  But overall, I thought he did pretty well with both of his dances tonight…let’s hope that translates into safety.  Not sure what to think after he ended up in jeopardy last week…

5.) Ingo & Kym – Eee gad…this partnership really kind of imploded this week, didn’t it? Kym seems like she’s at her wits end, and Ingo got really, really whiny this time around – that package did not do them any favors.  For all the fussing that they were doing, I think their foxtrot turned out halfway-ok…it was definitely better than Sean’s tango, despite a few little stutters.  The jive trio was basically a dud – you could tell the ladies did everything they could to ensure that Ingo was moving as minimally as possible during that dance, as they did most of the heavy-duty dancing; there was also a rather prolonged entry & exit, perhaps to cut back on the time that Ingo was actually dancing.  I think they’re definitely bottom 2 fodder tomorrow night, and might even end up going home.  They’re just getting hard to watch…

6.) Sean & Peta – Well, I think Sean is probably the weakest dancer left, and I think the judges made clear that it’s Sean they want gone tomorrow night.  The tango felt stompy & awkward, and I could tell that Peta was doing a good deal of backleading in that one.  Jazz trio? Despite having Sharna there to at least offer up some good advice, I think Sean’s trio was probably the biggest fail of the evening.  Like Ingo’s trio, it seemed like they tried to put the ladies front & center whenever they could, and had them doing most of the real moving…although I feel like there was even less actual dancing in this dance than Ingo’s, and Sean was even more awkward attempting some of the jazz steps than Ingo was with the jive steps.  I was pretty much done with Shawn a few weeks ago, and I’m definitely ready to see him go now…the question is: will it be him, or Ingo?

So was anyone else let down by this week’s dances? Go ahead and sound off, I need to lie down…

May 6, 2013 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 16, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Well, guess tonight didn’t end up too bad after all – team samba pulled out a win (despite being at a clear disadvantage from the get-go), Len got taken to task by the audience for basically being a douchebag, and perhaps best of all: I made it through the show without committing a felony, due to my asthma medication-induced ‘roid rage :-) But that’s not to say everything was hunky dory.  There was definite overscoring (duh, Zendaya; and to a lesser degree, Ingo & Sean), definite underscoring (Jacoby), and out-and-out cruelty (which left Andy in tears…inexcusable, IMO).  Let’s get right to it…

1.) Kellie & Derek – I think I was prepared for both their quickstep and the team samba to be a trainwreck, after hearing how poorly their rehearsals were going this week…but I was very pleasantly surprised at how well Kellie kept up in this quickstep, and didn’t miss a beat.  She also seemed to correct a lot of the issues I saw with her posture last week, which was an added bonus.  Maybe not the most exciting quickstep Derek has ever choreographed, but when you’re struggling, going for simplicity (and meat-and-potatoes steps to please Len) is your best bet.  I honestly don’t remember a whole lot of their solo from the team samba, but besides a few minor stutters from Kellie, I think they handled it well.  Obviously a front-runner; now let’s hope they resist the urge to low-ball next week…

2.) Zendaya & Val – First of all, if you are not mature (or literate) enough to understand the difference between being mad at TPTB for pimping someone and being mad at the person themselves, then consider this an invitation to stop reading and come back when you’ve educated yourself.  Ok, now that we’ve got that off the table – I really think Val let her down this week, because I found his choreography in both the cha-cha and the team paso to be a bit dumbed down.  The cha-cha was good, and she danced it very well, but I’m starting to notice a lot of stop-and-go in Val’s choreography – parts where they suddenly stop and Zendaya kinda stands still while Val does…I don’t know, something.  A spin, a flourish, whatever.  And it doesn’t do her justice – the girl can handle tough choreography, so she shouldn’t need all these little pauses.  Pauses are for couples who can’t dance :-) I also think that, while she’s great at doing spin after spin after spin (and Val has actually taught her how to spot her turns – something he never really got Kelly to master), he has GOT to do something about her legs. I could have driven a boat show in between them in that cha-cha – you have to close your thighs to get the right hip & leg action.  And here they were complaining about Kellie & Derek having some space in between them while in hold…psssh.  Again, I reiterate: Val, you have got to figure out what you’re going to do with those legs…because Len will cease to be dazzled by her showmanship before too long, and he will start to get nitpicky.  She did well in their team paso…but her solo choreography felt a bit blah.  Like she could have handled something more.  I think her cha-cha was overscored, and the team paso was about right-on, but there’s no doubt she’s safe this week…and that bland team paso will probably get the encore tomorrow night.  Read more..

April 22, 2013 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 16, Week 5 – Power Rankings

Well, side-by-side challenge night went about as well as can be expected when you put complete amateurs (well, and a ringer or two…) next to seasoned pros with years of experience under their belts.  If nothing else, it let us see some sorely missed pros doing what they do best :-) The judges have made it pretty clear at this point who their favorites are (ZENDAYA, Kellie, Jacoby, & Aly), who they are lukewarm about (Sean & Ingo), and who is disposable (Victor, D.L., and unfortunately, now Andy), and seem to be scoring accordingly.  And dare I say that many of the pros came out dancing at full throttle…but noticeably slowed down and calmed down when the celebs joined them on the floor? No bueno.  And god bless Tom for soldiering through what had to be a tough night for Bostonians :-( Let’s get on with it…

1.) Zendaya & Val – It was a good dance, and I was actually impressed with Val’s first venture into Argentine tango choreography – and thankfully, he seemed to eschew the multitude of lifts big bro seems so fond of, and put in some good basic steps.  Zendaya handled pretty well, and I liked the jewel thief storyline – I was worried they were going to go more the smut route, which would have felt…icky. But this was appropriate :-) So that was the good – now here’s the bad: I don’t think it was 10-worthy.  Sorry kids.  Once again, I find myself just fixated on how BENT Zendaya’s legs are – yes, I am aware she is tall, and yes, Argentine tango is usually done with a flexed knee.  But girl was damn near SQUATTING – and consequently, it made her upper body look that much more flimsy when they were in hold.  I hate when tall people (male or female) try to compensate for a shorter dance partner – it almost always looks awkward, and you don’t get the full impact of their lines.  I say stand up straight and forget about who’s taller – the bf has 2 female students that have a good 3” on him in heels, and when they’re dancing to the full extent, it’s MAGICAL…their legs just go on forever.  You don’t even  worry about who’s taller, because the lines are so gorgeous.  So with that said – these two are obviously safe (and thankfully, there were no Twitter machinations this week to tip things in their favor), but I do think Zendaya’s legs will continue to be an issue in the coming weeks.

2.) Kellie & Derek – I’ve always loved Derek’s foxtrots, and the Broadway quality & character they have to them.  This was no exception – great side-by-side, playful choreography, and Kellie seemed to handle the sweeping motions of the foxtrot well.  She seemed to get a bit stiff in her neck and shoulders at a few times, which looked a bit awkward, but other than that, she handled this routine well and I liked watching her do it.  I think she probably came the closest to mirroring her pro counterpart tonight – and I think she has Derek to thank for not dumbing down the choreography, because in most of the routines, the pros went from dancing full-on, difficult steps to dancing simple, kindergarten steps without much energy.  It gave me whiplash, at times.  But the transition in this one felt seamless – the way Kellie was keeping up, it felt more like another pro couple joining Henry & Anna on the floor, rather than “Oh sh*t, here comes the celeb, better slow it down…NOW!” So even if Kellie “doesn’t like Derek’s ways” – I think it was those “ways” that probably helped her look so good tonight.  ;-)   Read more..

April 15, 2013 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 16, Week 4 – Power Rankings

Well first of all, I’m happy to report that for once, “best year of your life” week was NOT the night of a thousand rumbas!!! It was, instead, the night of a thousand (ok, THREE) Viennese waltzes, and this episode of Sesame Street was brought to you by the awkward men’s Viennese waltz solo :-P OH! And be still my heart…did Carrie Ann actually cop to being remiss in her lift policing the past few weeks???? And then promptly make herself look rather like a douchebagette, when sternly chastising Gleb for carrying a sick Lisa down the stairs? Yeah…that happened.  But let’s just get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?

1 & 2.) TIE: Kellie & Derek and Zendaya & Val – Both ladies had strong showings tonight, yet both of them seemed to have minor technical issues that kept them from being 100% on-point.  Loved Kellie & Derek’s rumba  – very simple, intimate feel, and Kellie does have some fantastic legs.  But I do agree with whatever judge said that she seemed a little bit “clipped” tonight – I don’t know if it was the segueing from very slow, fluid movements to rather fast, crisp ones, but things got a bit jerky from time to time.  As for Zendaya – I love watching that girl dance, and she’s obviously right at home on the floor…just the right amount of attitude to really carry off Beyonce, and the dance chops to back it up.  But once again, she seems to be having trouble with those long legs – Len was right, she was a bit too bent in the knee, and needed to really straighten those legs out in order to get more of a bounce.  She also seemed to get a bit off-balance in some of the faster turns, which I noticed in her Viennese waltz & jive as well.  Long legs are great to look at – but when it comes to ballroom & Latin, sometimes the ladies with shorter legs have it a bit easier, just because it’s easier to move quickly & crisply when you have less to extend.  Also a bit of a warning to Val – there seemed to be an awfully high proportion of jazz-y, hip-hoppy type-moves in that samba.  I know it’s tempting to really go wild when you’ve got a Beyonce song (and a partner that can do those kinds of moves), but if this continues week to week, you’re going to be butting heads with Len A LOT.  Overall, I think I was probably more entertained by Zendaya’s dance, but I was more touched emotionally by Kellie’s.  Enjoyed both, and I doubt either of these ladies are going anywhere.

3.) Jacoby & Karina – I still think this guy is gonna walk away with the trophy when all’s said and done – and the fact that he actually handled his first ballroom dance quite masterfully just makes me believe it anymore.  I was mentally preparing myself for a trainwreck – crummy frame, messy feet, missed beats, etc.  But I was actually impressed at how well Jacoby held his frame – his neck & shoulders looked great, almost hyperextended, although he did stick his butt out just a tiny bit…which I’m sure Karina’s going to chastise him for later, because ballroom law dictates that the man never slouches down to accommodate a shorter lady – it’s the lady’s job to rise up to the man’s height :-) But this guy never missed a turn, stretched those arms out nice & wide, and best of all – he was totally uninhibited, and really gave that solo his all.  And can I just add that his little guy is beyond precious??? :-D And one other thing I have really begun to appreciate about Jacoby’s dancing? He’s there for Karina EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.  No fumbling to get turns straight, no near-misses with tricks, no missing getting into frame – the dude is on-point. Read more..

April 8, 2013 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!