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DWTS 15, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Once again, I’m left with a week where these rankings are kind of a moot point, since no one is going home – so basically, take these as who I think would go home if there was actually an elimination tomorrow night.  But keep in mind that next week is a double elim, so those who don’t do so hot this week are going to have to really step their game up even more next week, because their chances of going home are even greater – and once again, the multitude of points from 4 different dances (the fusion & marathon dances this week, and a regular ballroom dance and Latin trio dance next week) is going to make the margins uber-close…even moreso than they were last week.  We’re going to have another fanbase battle royale on our hands…hope you guys have created more accounts to vote with!

Well, looks like the judges were back to hitting the wacky tobacky this week – although Carrie Ann seemed at least a bit more sober than those other two goobers.  Definite over and under-scoring going on, and I have to wonder if there are certain celebs that need a bit of protection…

1.) Shawn & Mark (Derek) -  For all the hoopla surrounding “Will Derek dance or not?”, I actually thought things turned out pretty damn good for Shawn this week – she FINALLY got that perfect 30, and I think Derek’s choreo for she & Mark was the epitome of what the judges were looking for in terms of a “fusion dance” (even if they didn’t specifically spell it out) - I literally could not count how many times they switched from tango to paso, paso to tango, and back again.  Derek delivered on his promise – he created a fusion where the two component dances melted together effortlessly, and you couldn’t tell where one ended and the other began.  And Shawn & Mark handled it beautifully – was nice to see shades of the unflappable Team Shark, but with the upgrade of Shawn’s maturity and some of Derek’s choreography.  As for the marathon dance – just as I expected, Shawn had the endurance of a Kenyan, and didn’t even seem to be getting winded, and I thought she and Mark had some great, flashy choreo that SHOULD have kept them around longer.  But as someone mentioned on Twitter (Will, maybe?), I think Mark may have gotten them tapped out when he went for the breakdancing move that left them separated for so long and Shawn…just kinda standing there.  Had he not done that move, I think they probably would have gone on to win the marathon, because they were showing no signs of fatigue.  C’est la vie.  I’m just happy that Shawn didn’t get low-balled by Len for once, and they’ve got a decent lead heading into week 8, for Derek’s return.

2.) Emmitt & Cheryl – These two are one big question mark for me.  I feel like Emmitt isn’t really doing enough to stand out amongst some of the other couples, but I also can’t shake the feeling that the judges just love him, and that he’s getting a LOT of votes.  The guy is charming, don’t get me wrong – and he’s not a bad dancer.  But I feel like he’s kinda plateaued, and the level of difficulty that he’s dancing at isn’t up-to-snuff with what the other couples are doing at this point.  I think their fusion dance illustrated this pretty well – it was better than I expected, and definitely cute and very “typical Emmitt”.  And therein lies the problem: I feel like I was seeing the exact same steps and overall mood that I’ve been seeing in the bulk of his dances this season.  There was no “upping the ante” in terms of difficulty, and we didn’t really see anything new from he & Cheryl in terms of character or mood of the dance.  I felt like I was watching a repeat of his samba a few weeks ago.  Was it a good effort, given their fusion and the song they got? Yes.  Did Emmitt dance it well? Sure.  But nothing really jumped out at me that said “This guy is a contender for the finale.” In the marathon dance, I thought they were cute, and doing just enough lifting and moving just slow enough that they didn’t exert themselves – I don’t feel like they were giving it 100%, though, and probably gone a bit harder and been a bit flashier and still been ok.  If there were an elim tomorrow, I’m fairly confident they’ll be safe.  But I think they’ll probably end up doing the jive as their trio dance next week, and I’m curious to see how Emmitt fares doing a fast dance where he has to remain in sync with not only Cheryl, but another person as well…I think his weaknesses could be on display.

3.) Kelly & Val – These two are also a bit of an enigma for me, since I can’t really tell whether the judges are going easy on her to keep her around, or don’t really care if she stays or goes…and the soap fanbase still remains untested, considering that EVERYONE beat Sabrina last week.  I generally like their fusion dance – was very cute and had appropriate amounts of both cha-cha and foxtrot in it, and I think Kelly’s cha-cha sections were actually much sharper and cleaner than Melissa’s.  But I wish Val would quit incorporating all of these spin sequences into Kelly’s routine – she’s good for the first 2 or 3, then I think she gets dizzy and tends to get off-balance…and thus, off-time.  I did see a few stutters after she finished the spins in this one.  He either needs to cut back on the spins, or teach her how to PROPERLY spot her turns.  Then we have the marathon…*sigh*.  I will say this: they did have some very fun, eye-catching tricks.  But I felt like that’s all they had – tricks.  Not many swing steps in between, and by the end, Kelly seemed to be getting pretty winded, and I saw quite a bit of them standing in place while Kelly caught her breath.  I want to see endurance in the marathon – not short bursts of energy with a lot of panting in between (which is probably how Gilles is in the boudoir – ZING! 8-O ).  If the elimination were this week, I would think they’d have enough of a bubble to stay safe - but I wonder if the tides will turn next week, as I think they’ll end up with the jive as their trio dance as well.  Kelly’s endurance sure didn’t impress me this week…and she’s gonna need even more next week.

4.) Melissa & Tony - She may be at the top of the leaderboard this week, but it’s exactly that fact that makes me worry that the judges feel the need to protect her – could she have been the other half of the unknown bottom 2 with Sabrina last week? I’m really starting to wonder.  I liked their fusion dance, but I didn’t love it – I thought the tango part was far better than the cha-cha part, and the cha-cha part embodied what seems to be my biggest complaint about Melissa: that she still dances a bit too softly.  She’s had ballroom dances the past few weeks, and she seems to hit a bit harder in those (likely because she has Tony leading her), but not that I’ve seen her do Latin again, I’m reminded that she still tends to move kind of “pretty” and delicately, and she never really got a lot of punch in her cha-cha.  I do think the tango section was an improvement over her tango two weeks ago, though.  I think they were really overscored, though – I don’t think I saw enough impact from Melissa (or enough hard-hitting choreography from Tony) to really justify that 29, when I thought Emmitt, Apolo, and Kelly all performed better and got higher scores.  I like Melissa, I really do – and I do think she deserves to be in the finale.  But I can’t overlook some of the lingering problems she seems to have with her dancing, and I think the judges were very, very kind to her this week.  In the marathon dance, I think she got lucky that Mark kinda whiffed it for he & Shawn with that breakdance move, and that Kelly was rapidly running out of steam…because I’m not sure that she & Tony would have won the marathon dance otherwise.  I do think they had a good strategy, though – they paced themselves well and stuck with a lot of basics that were sure to please Len.  I don’t necessarily think they had the best tricks or the highest energy level, but in the end, endurance won out over flashiness, and I am glad they won…like I said, I have nothing against Melissa, or any of the other remaining Team CMM members :-) I’m curious to see what she gets as her trio dance next week – she’s still got rumba and paso left, and since I can’t really picture a rumba trio (kinky…), I’m guessing she’s got paso…which could be problematic, considering it’s the man’s dance.  Could this week’s high scores been an attempt to shield her from a possible fall next week?

5.) Apolo & Karina – I’m seriously going to have to run the numbers for whether certain running order positions get screwed in scores (ugh…my brain hurts just thinking about it), because I can only imagine the questions I’m going to get from Apolo fans wanting to know why he got low-balled for what I thought was one of the better dances of the night.  I don’t have a good answer for you, kids, because I haven’t run the numbers to determine whether going first means that you’re going to get low-balled in the scores.  I’ll admit, their fusion dance felt a bit frantic at times, and I saw a few minor bobbles, but overall, I really thought it was intense and entertaining – and that Apolo was really giving it 110%.  I’d definitely say it had a higher difficulty level than everyone except Shawn tonight – Karina didn’t hold back on the choreo, so I do have to give her credit there.  Seeing Apolo doff his shirt was an added bonus ;-) I have to wonder if wearing JR & Karina’s infamous “newsies” jive costumes was a bit of bad juju for Apolo & Karina in the marathon dance – because like the jive she & JR did a year ago, the judges didn’t seem too fond of Karina & Apolo’s moves in the marathon.  :-( Oh well.  I’m just glad they outlasted Gilles ;-) I would be slightly worried for them this week, but I think they have the potential to come back in a major way next week, considering they have another ballroom dance to do (and Apolo seems to thrive with those), and they’re probably going to end up doing a jive trio as well (it will be the week of a million jive trios!), and I think Karina has the potential to rock the choreography for it.  I’m not losing hope yet ;-)

6.) Gilles & Peta – In quite possibly the most crack-addled critiquing and scoring of the night, the judges lavished all kinds of praise over this nonsensical “fusion” dance - first of all, WHERE THE HELL WAS THE SAMBA???? I think I saw a few samba runs and maybe a roll or two at the beginning, and then these two knuckleheads spent the rest of the dance doing Argentine tango…and crappy Argentine tango, at that.  These two seemed to be moving in slow motion, compared to the music – wayyyy too much standing in place and relying on the impact of slow movement.  And sorry, but this was all on Peta – I just don’t think she’s a good Argentine tango choreographer, and knowing Gilles, he was probably so fixated on how much he wanted to do the Argentine tango (and how much he DIDN’T want to do the samba) that he convinced Peta to minimize the amount of samba and maximize the amount of time he could spend reliving his Argentine tango glory days of 3 1/2 years ago.  I would almost put money on it that it went down that way – and it’s for reasons such as those that I’m really starting to get flustered with Peta.  As I’ve said for awhile – I get the feeling that Gilles is driving the bus, and Peta’s just letting him, while periodically shaking her head in shame at his reckless driving.  She needs to put her foot down – both choreographically, and in terms of Gilles’ behavior.  Glad they got a bit of a wake-up call in the swing marathon, because I didn’t really see them doing a whole lot.  I’m wondering how he’s going to fare next week, because he’ll probably end up with paso doble as his trio dance – and while it is the man’s dance, he’s going to run the risk of getting upstaged if they pick another guy to be in their trio, and I’m not sure he could handle leading two ladies.  It shall be interesting to see…it shall also be interesting to see if he’s actually getting a ton of votes or not.  I’m not entirely convinced that he’ll even make it past next week…

7.) Kirstie & Maks – I really hate to harp on these two TOO much, because I do think Kirstie did a wonderful thing by helping to arrange the convoy to NYC and they probably lost a good deal of practice time as a result – but I do think they really stumbled this week in the fusion dance.  The first half was actually quite good – I actually liked this quickstep better than the one they did a few weeks ago.  But the minute it came time to transition into samba…it all kinda fell apart :-( She lost time, there wasn’t any bounce…and I think she and Maks stopped having fun as soon as the samba kicked in.  And really, that’s when I really notice Kirstie & Maks’ shortcomings as a couple – when they stop having fun.  It’s their biggest asset, and once they lose it…I’m afraid there’s not much else to keep me interested.  But I do credit Kirstie for acknowledging that she just didn’t do well, rather than trying to make excuses for why her dancing wasn’t up to snuff (which is a move out of the Gilles playbook, by the way).  No big suprises in the marathon – they were the first out, and probably should have been.  Unfortunately, I think the end may be nigh for Team KStick – I think they’re probably going to end up with paso doble as their trio dance, and I don’t really see Kirstie knocking it out of the park…especially if Gilles and Melissa are doing it, too.  But who knows…stranger things have happened.  The person at the top of the leaderboard went home last week.

So what did you guys think of fusion night? If someone were to get eliminated tomorrow…who do you think it will be? And how do you think things will shake out next week?

November 5, 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 15 – What’s Left to Dance?

So obviously, this season is beyond wacky – double eliminations, no eliminations, new dance styles, guest judges, the whole shebang.  And there have been quite a few questions about what dances are being done each week…while I don’t pretend to have a super-clear picture of how the rest of the season is going to unfold, I do have a little bit of info, and I think the bulk of our readers are smart enough to deduce a lot of things :-) So here’s my best (educated) guess at how the rest of the season will unfold – and keep in mind that, like other things this season, some of the stuff in this post has the potential to change.  The double elim’s were scheduled for weeks 4 & 6, and then were moved to weeks 3 & 8 without explanation.  It’s kind of a crap shoot, kids.

First things first: the question I’ve been seeing the most is “Will the couples be able to get through all of the 10 regular ballroom & Latin dances by the finale?” While I can’t say for sure, in all likelihood I doubt they will, given how many other extraneous dances they seem to be trying to fit into the schedule – unless they try and double or even triple up dances in some weeks, which I think is just asking for trouble.   So it’s entirely possible that you may not see Gilles doing a quickstep, or Shawn doing a samba, or Apolo doing a tango, etc. Sorry kids – don’t shoot the messenger.  So every couple has 5 regular dances still remaining - here they are, in no particular order.

ETA1: That’ll teach me not to look more carefully before hitting “post” ;-) I see now that Shawn & Derek ALSO have a fusion dance comprised of 2 dances they have yet to do, just like Gilles & Peta…while everyone else has done one of the dances in their fusion this season.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say there was a bit of pre-planning in who picked what…but I can’t imagine any way they could do that, judging from how sloppy & disorganized the selection process seemed to be.  Guess it’s all just a coincidence. 

ETA2: Since this seems to be just too difficult for some to process on their own, let me spell this out loud and clear: THERE ARE TWO DANCES NEXT WEEK.  TWOOOOO.  NOT THREE.  I know you saw Apolo’s tweet about 3 dances – the dude is referring to the fusion dance (which is ONE DANCE) as two dances, since it is two dances mashed together into one routine.  Then there is the swing marathon.  1 fusion dance + 1 marathon dance = 2 dances.  I can assure you, there is not some 3rd “secret dance” that the powers that be are going to spring on us at the last minute. Got it? Good, cause I’m done spoon feeding information to anyone that can’t be bothered to read this post.

ETA3: Small update – there will be one more dance this season (in week 9) that is a “new” style that the couples will pick for one another.  No, I don’t have the list.  Still not a peep about the Argentine tango – so at this point, I’m assuming we aren’t going to see it. 

ETA4: Looks like they scrapped the idea of having celebs as the 3rd member of the trio dances, and we’re back to using pros (and troupe members) - phew! Also looks like salsa has been thrown into the mix as a possible trio dance, and it’s been confirmed: back-to-back double elims in weeks 8 AND 9 8-O Start making those extra verified accounts, kids…

Gilles & Peta – remaining dances: samba, paso doble, waltz, quickstep, Viennese waltz

Ruh-roh! Gilles only has 2 “sexy” dances left for him to get overscored on, based solely on his sex appeal.  Then he’s got three of the pretty staunch ballroom dances to contend with – any bets on which of the 3 (or more) that he miraculously won’t get to this season? I could see him somehow dodging the waltz, since that seems to be a dance that has to be amazing in order for a couples to get votes. If there’s any dance I’d say Peta might struggle with choreographing, it’s the quickstep – for the simple reason that she’s only choreographed one so far on the show (for Donald) and I recall thinking it was a tad weak.

Shawn & Derek – remaining dances: samba, paso doble, waltz, tango, Viennese waltz

I think the fact that these two still have paso doble left bodes well for them – it’s a dance for which Derek almost always comes up with stellar choreography.  Viennese waltz will probably be a good one as well.  I do worry about the samba a bit, though, because it’s a dance that Derek has said is one of his least favorite to choreograph, and if I recall, it was one that Shawn got mixed reviews for on her original season.  I wonder if it would benefit them to use it as their trio dance. Read more..

October 31, 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 15, Week 6 – Power Rankings

Well, that was interesting :-P I guess that’s with the overall feeling I’m left with after country week – there were some good dances, some not-so-good dances, and just some general weirdness.  I feel like we saw, quite possibly, the messiest group dance in the history of the show – as some of you saw me say on Twitter, I thought this looked like it was just thrown together this morning, and that no one really & truly knew the choreography.  The solos were an interesting mix of desperate, messy, ambitious, and silly…and at the end of it all, I’m left with the same theory that Heidi & I kicked around earlier today upon hearing about the “judges’ score only” elimination next week: that they’re trying to subtly nudge Kelly out this week so that they can send Kirstie packing next week with a clear conscience and without a ton of backlash.  But let’s get on with the rankings, shall we?

1.) Sabrina & Louis – I’ll admit, I really enjoyed this rumba. Sabrina is really starting to grow on me, and maybe a part of me empathized with her struggles with a drug-addicted ex-boyfriend – I myself am still reeling from uncle’s passing earlier this year, due to a drug overdose.  I guess I just understand how she could feel so hopeless and agonized in that situation – and I think it reflected in her dancing.  Loved the solo, which was a nice combination of hurt and joy.  I actually thought Sabrina’s legs looked pretty damn good in this dance, and she seemed to handle all the passes & turns with finesse.  There also seemed to be a nice balance of light & shade – the dramatic, fast passes & turns contrasted nicely with the slow portions where she took the time to finish her lines.  If I had to pick one flaw, though – I think there was a trick midway through the routine that didn’t seem to come off quite right, and it looked like Louis was just struggling to lift her butt off the floor.  For that reason, I would have probably given it a 29 – but overall, I liked it :-) I think she’s got a pretty decent cushion from elimination this week – at the top of the leaderboard, she’s a full 10 points ahead of Kelly.

2.) Apolo & Karina – FINALLY!!! A breakthrough performance that the judges finally recognize just how GOOD these two are.  Admittedly, I was skeptical (and rather pessimistic) heading into this week, because I hated the song they picked and I was prepared for the judges to just kinda nitpick them to death again.  But man – Apolo seems to really handle the ballroom dances with incredible ease, and I love the way he extends his arms.  And while I was worried the emotion in this one would be kind of over-the-top, I actually thought it had a good degree of restraint, and was more celebratory than sad.  Just a lovely dance :-) And if we’re going to split hairs about the two extra points from the group dance (which I don’t really feel like complaining about too much, because it literally only makes about a .33% difference…basically peanuts), I think Apolo & Karina were the only two that really seemed hungry for the extra points and seemed to cram as many cool tricks into their solo as humanly possible – for that reason alone, I probably would have given them the points, but again…it really doesn’t matter a whole lot this week.  I feel like these two finally have a good dance (and the 2nd highest point total) to keep them relevant – it’s nice to know they’re most likely safe tomorrow night ;-)

3.) Shawn & Derek – Very cute & Western-y, just as I was told it would be :-) And it was fun watching Shawn cut loose and play a sassy little Daisy Duke character in her solo.  But here’s the thing: I actually agree with Len that there was a little too much country, and I could have done with a bit more regular cha-cha steps.  However, I feel like if they were going to call Shawn & Derek out for “too much country western”, then they should have also called Melissa & Tony out for what felt like a TON of ballet in their Viennese waltz…and at the end of the night, it was still country night, so I felt like they did have an obligation to put a certain amount of country steps into that cha-cha.  So at the end, I guess I feel kind of ambivalent about the whole thing – not really Shawn’s best dance, but not her worst, and her song was wonky, and she was kind of injured.  I’m sure she’ll be ok this week, though - and for a few weeks to come.  Thought their solo in the country group dance could have been better and a bit more ambitious, but in the end, like I said – it really doesn’t matter a whole lot.  I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Derek comes up with for this mysterious “dance fusion” we’ve been hearing about – it sounds like something that’s definitely in his wheelhouse. Read more..

October 29, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS 15, Week 3 – Power Rankings

Well, it was a pretty loose definition of “Iconic Dance Week” – it was really more like “Pick an Iconic Dance with music you like and just reuse that” week.  There were gimmicks galore, and the judges giving quite possibly the MOST crack-addled scores I’ve ever seen – so basically, enough to give me a headache…which didn’t help other things going on in my household tonight.  Oh well…I’ll get on with it, so I can hopefully get it over with soon…

1.) Shawn & Derek – Rules be damned – I like this routine, dammit! And just as I suspected, Len backpedaled on his challenge to the couples to “push the envelope”, and docked them points for breaking hold…fickle much? Oh well – this was fun, high-energy, had a lot of great technique, and I thought Shawn & Derek appropriately fulfilled Len’s request to “show us thing we’ve never seen before”.  The trampolines enhanced the routine, rather than detracting from it – which is more than I can say for some of the other couples’ routines.  Overall, I think the judges must be getting a pretty decent share of votes, because the judges will gush about how great their routine is – and then will score is relatively harshly.  They must not be too afraid of her being a shock elim…but this crazy low-balling has GOT TO STOP before someone good is shockingly eliminated.

2.) Apolo & Karina – Best routine of the night for me, yet again – and yet again, GROSSLY underscored.  Seriously, WTF does Apolo have to do to get a decent score from the Three Stooges???  Balance a ball on his nose while doing the samba? Juggle flaming batons while holding Karina in a star lift? This is getting BEYOND ridiculous.  Apolo & Karina danced a foxtrot that was about as close to perfect as anyone got tonight - no fumbling, perfect timing, beautiful lines, smoldering chemistry, and an intriguing concept & choreography – and they got the same score as a crazy desperate guy that hung from the ceiling like Tinkerbell, a girl who dances about as delicately as a Mack truck, and a guy who almost dropped his partner.  Oh, and only 1/2 a point more than a guy who brought a donkey as a prop.  I feel like I’m taking crazy pills, people!!! Like Shawn, the only thing I can think of is that they are see Apolo as such a threat (between his dancing & his fanbase) that they’re trying to handicap him a bit by underscoring him.  I guess you can consider this my official endorsement of Apolo & Karina as the ones to beat this season – I’ll toss a few votes Drew & Helio’s way this week, but after they’re gone? It’s all Team OhYes for me… 8-)

3.) Kelly & Val – I gotta say – Kelly is doing FAR better than I would have expected.  Obviously the chemistry with Val is there ;-), but for the first half of the routine, I actually believed Kelly as a dancer – she was steady on her turns, was moving big, and had great musicality.  Then about halfway through the routine, reality kinda kicked in and Kelly seemed to lose focus – and that’s when some of the wobbling began.  I think she may have gotten a little dizzy trying to spot her turns (and it was actually a pretty damn good attempt), and never quite recovered from that – she seemed to get a little off-time and disoriented, and although she did a good job of soldiering on, she never seemed to regain the confidence and groove she had in the first half of the routine.  Overall, I liked it – but I think Kelly’s got some serious work to do before she actually deserves a 27.  I’m wondering if Kelly’s not quite generating the buzz they expected her to – and thus they’re trying to give her a leg up.  Guess I just can’t fathom how a routine that got that sloppy scored higher than the two best routines of the night for me.  I like Kelly, but that was overscored.

4.) Melissa & Tony – I do have to commend these two on one thing – they did a lot of basic samba steps, and also managed to pick a theme that didn’t seem to steal focus away from their actual dance.  And really, I liked the routine, overall – Melissa’s legs looked great, the energy was high, and I feel like it was a nice homage to JR’s samba.  However – Melissa still seems to move really softly to me.  She was shaking it – but she seemed to be shaking it GENTLY.  And her arms, while pretty, didn’t really seem that impactful.  So at the end of the day, I’m just kinda left without a whole lot to say about these two – other than the fact that they, too, were overscored, and maybe aren’t getting the love the judges feel they deserve…hence the cushy score to shield them a bit from elimination.  Another couple that I don’t really have any beef with – but I just can’t really get excited about, either.

5.) Sabrina & Louis – As expected, Sabrina hit every step with a sledgehammer in this paso doble – and I think she may have backslid in week 1 territory a bit, when she was hitting everything so hard that she actually got a little off-balance.  There were a couple steps that came out looking kind of wonky, and I don’t know if Sabrina just didn’t hit them right, or if they were just odd to begin with.  I was actually a little underwhelmed by the choreography, on the whole – Sabrina was hitting it hard and with a lot of attack, but the steps themselves were just…meh.  I feel like she could have handled something quite a bit more intricate, and instead Louis gave her stuff that just felt more kindergarten-y to me.  Relative to everyone else tonight, I actually think Sabrina was scored about right – and I think she ought to be safe from tomorrow’s double chop-chop. But Louis has got to reign in all that energy she dances with…ooh wee.

6.) Gilles & Peta – Now for a couple that I must CONDEMN instead of commend for their choice of theme – ok, was it just me, or did the bit with Gilles suspended above the dance floor have absolutely NOTHING to do with the tango that followed, and just kinda looked odd & out-of-place? It was a stunt for stunt’s sake – and I hate those.  Add to that the fact that the choreography of the tango was just kinda ho-hum & ordinary for me, and Gilles was just being kind of a d-bag again, and I’m left unimpressed by this one.  Gilles should be frustrated – with himself, because that desperation to win is seriously starting to mess with his actual dancing.  And he should be happy that the judges were feeling rather benevolent tonight, because I really would have given this routine more like a 23 or 24.  But I did see a glimmer of hope tonight: the dew seems to be wearing off the rose a bit where Gilles is concerned, for the judges.  They seemed less hesitant to critique him tonight than they did in weeks 1 & 2, and I think he may have realized he was getting a little carried away.  Or at least I hope he realized he was getting carried away…

7.) Kirstie & Maks - Sorry, but as highly amused as I was to see Maks doing the Mick Jagger chicken strut around the ballroom in some absurdly tight pants and a wig that would make the Beegees jealous, I found that the real star of this routine was Maks – which kind of defeated the purpose of the celeb being the focal point.  :-) Maybe Kirstie wanted it that way, perhaps to detract from the fact that she really wasn’t moving much at all – but I just kind of found the whole thing to be more style than substance.  I think part of the appeal of the original was that it was a terrible dance, but Carson did it with such gusto and personality that it became a showstopper.  This…was less of a train wreck, but felt a lot more low-energy, too.  They weren’t messing anything up, and everything was on-time…but it just felt half-assed to me.  Like they were dancing it for camera blocking instead of the actual performance.  Was it fun? Sure…but I was just left kinda wanting more.  Kirstie’s more than likely got the votes to survive tomorrow’s elimination, but I think she should really start focusing more on the content of her routines…because at this point, I feel like Bristol actually has more difficult steps than she does.  Yikes.

8.) Emmitt & Cheryl – For someone that came out as strong as he did the first week, I feel like the Emmitt we saw then has been replaced by a much lower-budget generic one…that hasn’t had the same zing the past two weeks.  I guess this routine was kind of fun to watch…in the same semi-trainwrecky way that Kirstie’s was.  But like Kirstie, I just feel like Emmitt’s not quite operating at 100% – he’s having fun, and he’s not really doing BAD, per se, but he’s also just not up to par with the likes of Shawn, Apolo, Sabrina, or even Gilles.  I think the troupe guys at the table in the background were more of a distraction than an enhancement, unfortuantely (expect to see them in the cheese…fer reals), and they actually seemed to be more energetic than Emmitt himself was.  But I did get kind of a kick out of the pencil slide he did at the end :-P Do I think Emmitt’s safe this week? Yeah.  Is he living up to the hype I saw about him in the pre-season? NO WAY.  He, like Kirstie, also needs to step it up if he wants to stand a chance up against the powerhouses this season. Charm will only take him so far!

9.) Bristol & Mark – For as terrible as their rehearsal package was (and how dumb they were for picking the famed “futuristic paso doble” to recreate) – I actually don’t think this was the worst routine of the night, in terms of technique.  I think Kirstie & Emmitt (and maybe Helio) have that one covered.  When Bristol’s actually trying (and NOT breaking rules), she’s actually not bad – I felt like she moved more than both Kirstie & Emmitt, and with more conviction.  But man – after seeing that package, the mood on the dance floore between Bristol & Mark was positively CHILLING. As in “I don’t even want to look at you, get this f%$ker away from me!” chilling.  And unfortunately, I think that may have negated really any positives they had in terms of technique - even though they were chess pieces and were supposed to be at war, the mood didn’t feel warlike & aggressive to me…it felt sullen and detatched.  All that aside – I’m left a bit uncertain about how the big blowup is going to affect Bristol & Mark’s chances of surviving the elim…if it even affects it at all.   Part of me thinks it may actually garner some sympathy votes – part of me hopes it turned enough people off of Bristol completely, so that she tumbles into the bottom 2.  But I’m preparing myself to see her sullen face yet again next week – although I’m hoping that whoever picks her dance sticks her with jive.  Mwahahaha…

10.) Helio & Chelsie – Another couple that should thank their lucky stars that the judges were feeling benevolent tonight – although in the end, I doubt it’s going to matter much, since it’s a double elim tomorrow night and I’m pretty sure these two will make a repeat appearance in the bottom 2.  Helio’s a complete joy to watch – that big goofy grin as he’s bouncing around in his zoot suit just makes me all warm & fuzzy inside :-D But on a night where everyone was pulling out all sorts of bells & whistles & crazy choreo, is a “just ok” quickstep with pretty safe choreography (and a rather noticeable gaffe) going to be enough to keep him safe? I don’t know.  He might get a bit of a surge in votes from his appearance in the bottom 2 last week, but I’m not sure it will be enough to keep him out of the bottom 2.  I’m leaning towards no, and that makes me sad :-( But I think Helio has had the right attitude about this season – have as much fun as possible and don’t hone in too hard on the win.  You listening, Gilles?

12.) Drew & Anna – I think this is one couple that just kinda got dealt a crap hand this whole season – not much love from the judges, some chemistry issues, and just some bad logistics (running order, music, etc.) I think tonight was a bad night to go first – even though I generally enjoyed their cha-cha, and liked that they didn’t seem to let the props dominate it.  Drew did get a little bit sloppy at times, and I think he & Anna may have gotten out-of-sync on some of the open choreography, but I definitely like it more than at least 3 of the other routines I saw tonight.  But in the end, will it really matter? Doubtful, considering that 3 of the 4 couples comprising the bottom 2 in the first two weeks were “middle of the road” couples that did neither good nor bad – and tonight, Drew got kinda low-balled.  At this point, I think he may be a bit out of his element – and maybe it’s time for him to go.  I still think there are 2 (maybe 3) other contestants that should be leaving BEFORE him, but I’m getting to the point where I’d hope that his scores would be improving a bit more.  Oh well – it’s been fun, Drew.  You seem to have brought out a more laid-back Anna :-)

So what did you guys think of “Iconic Dances” night? Love it? Hate it? Who’s going home???

October 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 15, Week 1 – Power Rankings

Eeee gad, I had forgotten how long it takes to offer up commentary on 13 couples as opposed to 11 or even 12 :-P Anywho! Hope you guys are still up to chat about the show (and the site has not crashed…again), because we’ve got a lot to talk about. Overall, I’m left with one big concern after watching tonight’s show: is the high level of competition pushing everyone just a bit too hard to stand out? Because there seemed to be an awful lot of over-dancing going on tonight, and the pros seemed to stuff as much choreography as they could into their routines.  The cha-cha’s seemed to fare much better with the judges than the foxtrots, but I actually think the foxtrots were more technically sound on the whole.  *shrug* Such is life with this show, where, to quote Kanye, sh*t is often pretty “cray”.  8-O Let’s get right into it, shall we?

1.) Emmitt & Cheryl – Is anyone else having flashbacks to last season, when William & Cheryl could do absolutely no wrong in the judges eyes, no matter how badly they danced? 8-O Don’t get me wrong, I love Emmitt – probably one of the most lovable contestants ever to do the show, along with Warren Sapp & Donald Driver.  But REALLY, Len??? Best dance of the night?! I’m calling bullsh*t, because while Emmitt was very fun to watch and definitely got into the groove of it and didn’t miss any steps or get off-time, I daresay many other contestants had far more content and a higher level of difficulty…and they, too, were fun to watch.  And yet again, I saw Cheryl doing an awful lot moving around a stationary Emmitt – not as bad as a regular season, but still there.  *sigh* I thought it was odd that they got the pimp spot, and now after the gushing & overscoring (one of a few incidents of suspicious scoring tonight), my only theory is that they might want to keep Emmitt around in order to stand a hope & a prayer of competing with Monday Night Football, which consistently tops the ratings.  I highly doubt they’ll succeed, but they will likely die trying – and we’ll probably lose some stronger dancers as a result :-( I like Emmitt, and I liked this dance – but I already smell a rat.

2.) Gilles & Peta – A very well-danced, well-choreographed foxtrot – definitely the best of the night, and very pretty to watch. But was it REALLY a full 2 points better than the next highest-scoring foxtrot? Or either of the other foxtrots done by male contestants? I really don’t think so – I think Gilles may have benefitted from a more classic song and just a generally more calm demeanor, but I don’t really think he was leaps and bounds better than Shawn or even Drew’s foxtrots, and and I actually think Shawn’s had a far higher level of difficulty.  I’m also just feeling kinda lukewarm about Gilles at this point – some of the laid-back charm that made him so appealing in season 8 seems to have been replaced with this brooding intensity and extreme desire to win…which is actually off-putting.  No doubt Gilles is a great dancer and a great showman – but as of right now, I’m on the fence about whether or not he’s the full package of skill, charm, and entertainment worth of the MBT this time around.  However, I do think he may have a bit of a leg up in that he’s part of the ABC family – and thus the TPTB likely have a vested interest in keeping him around for awhile and drumming up publicity for his new project.  I anticipate we’ll see him around for awhile – even if his dancing isn’t quite up-to-snuff and he doesn’t loosen up.

3.) Apolo & Karina – I actually think these two came the closest to being the “full package” tonight – they were fun to watch, had great chemistry, and a good amount of skill in their routine.  And I do think Apolo has the right attitude about this season: he wants to work hard and do well, but he’s there to have fun, too.  Yes, there were a few stumbles – mainly due to “overdancing”, which is a problem just about everyone (with the exception of Pam, Bristol, & maybe Kirstie) had tonight.  Folks, when you push too hard and throw too much stuff into a routine to try and get noticed, it likely will backfire - and it seemed like with the costumes, lights, pulsating music and over-the-top dancing, there was just a tad too much going on in their cha-cha tonight.  I think they may have fared better with a little more subtlely to their choreography – but there really isn’t anything subtle about LMFAO or “Party Rock Anthem”, so I can’t really blame them for going that route.  I actually think Apolo’s Latin technique has improved since his original season, and he’s good and knowing where to place his weight in order to create Latin hip action.  Still a bit stiff in the hips, but I’m counting on Karina to help loosen them up this season – just like I’m counting on Apolo’s Olympic fanbase to carry him through to the finale.  I still think Apolo’s gonna walk away with the MBT this season, when all’s said & done…

4.) Shawn & Derek – One thing’s for sure: Shawn is definitely NOT the timid, well-mannered girl next door I remember from season 8! I actually found myself far more impressed by her dancing this time around – she seemed to let go of the constant desire for perfection in her movement that I seemed to see in season 8, and actually managed to let loose and really work on her performance quality a lot more.  This dance was punchy, energetic, and Shawn didn’t miss a bit – which is impressive, considering how much content this foxtrot had…almost too much content.  I’ve gotta say – I think of all the foxtrots tonight, Shawn & Derek were the most screwed right off the bat just because of their song.  It was this season’s “Easy Lover” – a song with a foxtrot rhythm so buried underneath a heavy drumline, vocals, and melody, that it forces the dancers to move at hyperspeed just to look like they’re actually keeping up.  Can you really blame them for having so much movement in their routine when the song is here, there, and everywhere – all at once? None of the other foxtrots tonight had songs that were nearly as difficult – which leads me to wonder if they were trying to either a) handicap Shawn a bit due to her Olympic fanbase, b) challenge Derek to create another incarnation of his 50′s paso doble/Psycho tango/”Material Girl” rumba, or c) all of the above.  Regardless of their motives as far as Shawn & Derek are concerned, I still think we’ll see these two in the finale – as long as wacky decisions like this made by TPTB don’t somehow ruin them :-(

5.) Kirstie & Maks – I was pretty unimpressed by this foxtrot – I’ll get that off my chest right off the bat.  Yes, they did get a bit of a crummy song FOR A FOXTROT (note me qualifying in caps, for all the Adele fans out there who are only selectively literate and likely inclined to attack me for *gasp!* disliking Adele), and that likely hindered them a bit – but I actually feel like Maks held back a bit with the choreo, and Kirstie felt a little heavy on her feet to me, compared to how I remembered her from season 12.  I think Kirstie probably could have handled a few more bells & whistles, because this felt a bit bland…seemed like a lot of foxtrot basic steps with a turn here & there.  But for what they lacked in choreography, they more than made up for in chemistry – these two are still a hoot to watch a year and a half later :-P And leave it to Kirstie to put the patented Bergeron ass pinch to shame by laying a long, hard kiss smack dab on The Berg’s pie hole.  Talk about stealing the show :-P Anywho, even if these two aren’t the judges’ darlings this season (and I don’t really think they were most of the time in season 12, either), I do think they have some longevity, between their collective fanbases and just how freakin’ fun they are to watch :-P

6.) Sabrina & Louis – Kids, remember my main complaint in The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate: Sabrina Bryan Edition? Anyone? Well, reader Melissa remembered that I pretty clearly stated that Sabrina danced wayyy too aggressively, and that everything she did seemed so hard-hitting.  And wouldn’t you know – the judges main complaint tonight was the exact same thing! Not much has changed in the 5 years since Sabrina originally did the show – she is still hitting every line so hard that’s almost unpleasant to watch, and she even seems to throw herself off-balance in trying so hard to punctuate every single step.  Yes, she’s a good dancer – but a great one? I don’t believe it yet, because to be a great one, she’d have to soften up her lines and incorporate more light & shade into her dancing: periods of punctuated movement juxtaposed with softer, more fluid movement in order to enhance the impact of both.  Right now, Sabrina is just “LIGHT!!! LIGHT!!! BRIGHTER LIGHT!!! EVEN BRIGHTER LIGHT!!!”, and I kinda had a feeling this would be something even Louis would struggle with: dimming Sabrina’s “light” in order to show her versatility.  I know Louis is probably out to prove something, and if he’s anything like he was in season 12, when he thought Kendra was the sh*t, he’s going to dive head-on into his bag of tricks and pull out every single flashy, impressive move he can in order to say “Look at me!!! Look at me!!! I AM AN AWESOME DANCER AND CHOREOGRAPHER!!!” And this cha-cha was unfortunately a prime example of both Sabrina AND Louis enabling each other’s choreographic problems – impressive choreography, yes, but I think I would have appreciated it more if every step wasn’t punching me in the face.  Can they soften things up? We’ll see – I still think they’ve got a few weeks in them, just due to scores.

7.) Kelly & Val – Kelly was the revelation of the evening for me…contrary to my initial worries, she ROCKED this cha-cha, and seriously made me wonder what she had been up in the past 7 years that created such a vast improvement in her dancing. I don’t know if it was anything she did (except maybe breaking up with her deadbeat boyfriend of 18 years), but I daresay the chemistry (and that should be spelled in all caps – CHEMISTRY) she has forged with Val has taken her from Bambi on ice to contender in no time flat.  Now I’m by no means one of those “crazy fangirl shippers” that I roll my eyes at on Twitter when they’re trying to fabricate romances between Hines & Kym/Bristol & Mark/Kirstie & Maks/etc., but with the amount of sexual tension I was sensing between these two? Get thee to a hotel…forthwith, my dears.  ;-) I thought Val was the calm, pragmatic, unflappable Chmerkovskiy – but the way I saw him all twitterpated in the celebraquarium when Kelly’s hair brushed his face? Or when he was spellbound by her tatas in rehearsal? Val has become one smitten kitten, I daresay – and I actually don’t see anything wrong with that, especially since it seems to be working well for their dancing.  I’ve never seen Kelly so confident, sexy, and fun-loving out on the floor – and I am excited to see more :-D

8.) Joey & Kym – I’m actually a little bit puzzled as to why they picked these two to kick off the show, as I thought Apolo & Karina’s cha-cha was far more impactful – but these two were fun nonetheless, and I can see that doing the Vegas show has paid off for Joey.  Very high-energy & fun – but, like many other celebs tonight, a little too hard-hitting.  Joey got a bit of excited puppy syndrome and may have proverbially peed on the floor, as he seemed to get a bit ahead of Kym at a few points and hit a few lines just a bit too enthusiastically.  It was a fun, well-executed routine – but as I predicted, Joey will probably have to work on refining & tidying up his movement, and becoming a bit lighter on his feet…because this felt a little messy.  He’s got showmanship for days, don’t get me wrong – but he seems to lack the refinement and laid-back charm that Apolo & Emmitt had in their cha-chas that likely got them better scores.  I still think Joey’s a contender, no doubt – but he’s gonna have to buckle down (and calm down) if he want to go toe-to-toe with Emmitt, Apolo, & Gilles.

9.) Bristol & Mark – Bristol actually surprised me a bit tonight – she seemed quite a bit more relaxed and confident than her initial cha-cha 2 years ago, and I daresay this cha-cha was an improvement for her.  At first I think I rolled my eyes a bit at how many of their “old standby” moves from season 11 Mark threw in – a lot of shimmying, hip twists, and hair flipping.  Then I realized it was probably a smart move on his part, in order to make Bristol feel more comfortable and familiar with the dance.  She’s still a pretty tentative mover, and likely not even in the same league as some of the other female contestants in terms of skill – but I do think that she’s better than before, and I do see potential for improvement.  For tonight, I was just glad to see her scored properly – no cushy 8′s or sympathy 9′s to make her feel better.  As cruel as it sounds, I think the judges created some pretty unrealistic expectations on Bristol’s part in season 11 by giving her such generous scores – by the end of the competition, she seemed to assume that she just deserved them outright, even if her dancing was clearly not up to snuff with the other competitors.  By starting out scoring realistically, I think they’ll nudge her to improve each week…the question is, can we rely on them to score her realistically week after week?

10.) Drew & Anna – It really pains me to put these two here, because I really had high hopes for them going into this season.  But Drew just seemed so damn tense out on the floor, and I think Anna may be pushing him a bit too hard in rehearsals – and it’s creating an uneasy dynamic between them that seems to spill out onto the dance floor.  There were parts of this foxtot that were really good – mainly the parts that stayed  in hold, in which I thought Drew had gorgeous posture and some clean, gliding feet.  Then there were parts that just kinda made me cringe – like those silly jumps Anna was having him do that he was just fumbling pitifully with (he should have asked Helio the jumping bean to give him some pointers ;-)).  I don’t know if it was just nerves from opening night, or just shaken confidence in being in such a competitive season – but I just felt bad for Drew tonight, because he just struck me as being petrified. I’m really hoping these two can learn to relax & have fun, because I do see a lot of potential in Drew – potential that could definitely be harnassed again.

11.) Melissa & Tony – I generally liked their foxtrot and I’m just in awe of Melissa’s ridiculously fit physique after having a baby, as well those crazy long, flexible legs of hers.  But I’m getting a bad gut feeling that these two may have gotten a little lost in the shuffle tonight – a moderate-to-good dance that may have been lowballed a bit in the scores, wedged between a pretty memorable, good dance (Apolo & Karina) and an astonishing train wreck (Pam & Tristan).  I loved the beginning part with Melissa showing off her mad stretching skills, and the more Broadway-y parts she & Tony did side by side.  But when they got in hold, I was actually a little taken aback by Melissa’s posture; something about it just seemed…wonky.  And just as I did in season 8, I once again found myself a bit annoyed by Melissa’s spaghetti arms – just a bit too soft for some of the moves she was trying to hit hard.  Generally, I liked it – but is it the first dance that pops into my head when I think about tonight? Definitely not – maybe not even the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th.  And that’s what has me worried.  I think she’ll be safe this week due to Pam’s trainwreckittude, but I would not be surprised if she was a “shock” elimination within the next few weeks.

12.) Helio & Chelsie – I like Helio, I really do – maybe it’s the Indycar fan in me, but I just find him to be so damn lovable.  But tonight? He was easily the weakest of the male contestants, and was maybe only slightly better than Kirstie in terms of content & execution of his dance.  I did see some posture & footwork issues, and I think he may have gotten a bit lost at a few points because I caught him looking a bit sheepish just kind of standing there awkwardly.  He also seems to want to stick his little Brazilian tushy out behind him when he’s dancing – which is unfortunately no bueno.  On the other hand, he was grinning like a kid in a candy store the whole time, and is actually pretty good at those kooky jumps Anna was having Drew try to do (Helio, help a brother out and give Drew some hopping lessons ;-)).  So it actually ended up being kind of a fun dance to watch, in a similar vein to Gavin’s wacky boat samba last season.  But I find myself kind of forgetting about these two – and I’m not sure Helio & Chelsie have the same endearing chemistry that Helio & Julianne had.  Are they safe this week? Probably – I hope.  But I’m skeptical about the next few…

13.) Pam & Tristan – Ohhhhh my.  I really wish I had something else to say other than “WTF was this???” I daresay this aimless, bizarre cha-cha was a prime example of how lack of practice time makes you stick out like a sore thumb – and both Pam & Tristan looked like they had just rolled out of bed with a hangover and were just shuffling through it (did I miss something? Was that intentional?) Even Tristan, who’s usually pretty energetic (and with women far older than Pam, no less!) seemed kinda apathetic about the whole thing.  Yeah, they were kinda screwed by their song, too, but that was the least of their problems.  Honestly, I will be very, very shocked if they’re able to stick around after that hot mess.  Love both of them – but that was just bad to the bone 8-O

So who do you guys think is going home tomorrow? And who are your favorites so far? :-)

September 24, 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 15 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Sabrina Bryan Edition

Let’s continue on our journey through this season’s couples today with a look at the fan-appointed 13th contestant – Sabrina Bryan.  And if you want to refer to my previous editions of the series, check out the Helio Castroneves edition – there are links to all the previous posts at the top.  :-)

I picked Sabrina & Mark’s perfect-scoring paso doble as her best dance:

And as her worst dance, I picked her foxtrot, which was the dance that ultimately sent her home:

Echoing Len’s sentiments after Sabrina’s foxtrot, the thing that jumps out at me in both dances is that Sabrina just hits everything so HARD – which is sometimes good (in dances like the paso doble & tango), but can often be bad (in slower, more fluid dances like the foxtrot).  The impact she gives each line & step seems to be a product of her hip-hop training from the Cheetah Girls, possibly mixed with some jazz/Broadway musical-style training.  If having really sharp, flashy hands is considered “jazz hands”, then I think Sabrina might have an entire jazz body – which could be problematic.  Obviously it’s a huge advantage in very aggressive dances like the paso doble (which is why I think her paso doble is her best dance), but when you’ve got a dance like the foxtrot that is supposed to be slick & fluid, and you’re hitting each line with the force of a sledgehammer – it’s time to dial back the aggression.  If she can overcome that, she’s obviously got some good musicality and stage presence for Louis to work with…but the question is: will he know how best to utilize it? Even in Louis’ stronger seasons (like Kelly Osbourne’s), I find that he often doesn’t seem to know quite how to choreograph to his partner’s strengths and weaknesses – and even though Sabrina might be his strongest partner yet, it won’t mean anything if he doesn’t know how to tap into that talent.

So obviously, like Joey, one thing that may give Sabrina an edge in this season is the time she’s spent in the Vegas show prior to now – she’s been dancing for 3 months already.  Will it help? Well…I’d say yes & no.  I’ve said it before, but I think anyone that’s been doing any kind of onstage performing the past year or so will likely have a bit of an edge, just due to their performance skills not getting rusty.  However, as with Joey, I think Sabrina spent a good deal of time in Vegas doing stuff that wasn’t “strictly ballroom” – she did quite a bit of more jazzy, hip-hop influenced stuff, and even her paso doble with Ryan DiLello felt a little watered down to me.  Is Vegas really going to help when it comes to remembering the finer points of samba & foxtrot? Probably not.  And you also have to keep in mind that Sabrina was doing the same routines, night after night – if they looked fabulous, it was because she had had weeks to perfect them.  Will she be able to adjust to back to the breakneck pace of the tv show, where she only has a few days to learn a dance? 

Court’s verdict: Sabrina’s got potential – she’s a good dancer and a good showman.  But if she wants to be a contender, she needs to soften her lines, and make sure she’s “strictly ballroom” – no hip-hop or jazz infusion.  And Louis will have to deliver some great choreography to really make her stand out.

What are your thoughts on Sabrina? Is this her season to win, or could it just be a repeat of season 5?

August 30, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS 14 End-of-Season Award Winners – Which Dance Was the Best?

Lesson Court learned from putting together these awards: perhaps the “other” option should be eliminated, starting with next season’s end-of-season awards :-P I got an insane number of write-in responses for the “best dance” and “celeb you most want to see on the all-star season” categories, and let’s just say it was no easy task weeding through all of the write-ins 8O I also learned that some people are too lazy (or inattentive) to click “read more” and vote in the other categories, and as a result we got almost double the number of votes for the “best dance” category than we did everything else.  I love our readers, but sometimes they drive me a little bit bonkers :-P

Other responses:

Donald & Peta’s freestyle – 23
Melissa, Maks, & Val’s samba trio – 10
Katherine & Mark’s Argentine tango – 8
Maria, Derek, & Henry’s samba trio – 4
Katherine & Mark’s jive – 4
Maria & Derek’s rumba – 3
Roshon & Chelsie’s freestyle – 3
Katherine & Mark’s freestyle – 3
Maria & Derek’s Viennese waltz – 3
Katherine, Mark, & Tristan’s cha-cha trio – 3
Sherri & Val’s foxtrot – 2
Team Paso Doble – 2
Maria & Derek’s Argentine tango – 2
Katherine & Mark’s 2nd paso doble – 2
William & Cheryl’s samba – 2
Gladys & Tristan’s cha-cha – 2
Tristan & Karina’s waltz demo – 1
Tristan & Chelsie’s DaD samba – 1
Melissa & Maks’ paso doble – 1
Katherine & Mark’s samba – 1
Roshon, Chelsie, & Sasha’s paso doble trio – 1

Courtney: Can’t say I’m too surprised at the results – the two that I predicted would do well ended up on top, and the rest got a small share of votes, likely from diehard fans of that particular couple.  I do think the jive trio was the dance of the season – the fact that they took a dance that was hard to do with only 2 people and managed to create something fun, energetic, and proper with 3 people was beyond impressive to me.  And the fact that they DIDN’T get a perfect 30 for it??? APPALLING.  I seriously think people don’t realize how HARD it is to lead 2 women – and Donald’s the only one that took on that challenge in his trio dance, and he KILLED IT.  I didn’t see Roshon or William trying to lead two ladies.  Maria & Derek’s paso was good – for this season.  I just can’t seem to get too excited about it, though, because it just wasn’t up-to-snuff with the paso choreography I’m used to seeing from Derek.  As for all the other responses – I think they all were those couples’ best dances, but probably not the best dance of the season.  Write-ins? It’s the usual smorgesbord of random dances, and I usually find myself shaking my head reading some of them, and saying “Really? You REALLY think that was the best dance?” But alas, different strokes for different folks.  :-) The only one I’m gonna comment on is Donald & Peta’s freestyle…and I guess Katherine & Mark’s, too.  I always shy away from including those as options in the “best dance of the season” category, because it seems that, unless a couple REALLY picks a dud, it’s a dance that most couples do well with, and the scoring is pretty inflated – it almost seems like too much of a gimme.  That said, I did really enjoy Donald’s freestyle – but I didn’t think the level of difficulty was as high as his jive trio was.  And I thought Katherine showed better endurance in her jive than in ther freestyle.

Vogue: Court, you took the words out of my head this time. My favorite dance of the season (and the dance I thought was the best) was Donald and Peta’s Jive trio. Donald’s fast leg and footwork amazed me at the time. So much so, I screamed to my husband in the other room to come watch (and we had to replay it after the show several times …which I don’t ever remember doing with him as long as I’ve been watching this show). Our mouths literally dropped to the floor especially when Donald jumped over the top of both girls. 8O A blow away for me as well was their Freestyle. I also loved their Paso Doble and Argentine Tango with the amusement ride twirl. Other stand out dances for me that I thought were the best were Derek and Maria’s Bollywood Trio dance and Paso Doble. Looking back now, I will remember Derek and Maria’s Bollywood Trio dance the most of their dances even though it probably wasn’t her best dance technically, but, it was different, so creative, theatrical, and entertaining. Another dance I have to give props too is also William and Cheryl’s Argentine Tango. I loved all the passion in that dance. William was so into his character and I loved his tails which is when he looked the sexiest in my opinion. :) Anyway, great poll and results!!

Heidi: Yeah, I agree with the top two – by a MILE. Say what you want about the “talent” this season, but Donald and Maria were the two most memorable. As for Derek’s choreography –  I think that Maria was one of his least naturally talented partners EVER (she’s in a club with Joanna and Shannon and wouldn’t have gone as far with ANYONE else), yet his dances with her were just as memorable as anything anyone else did. That’s quite an accomplishment for both of them. He has a way of doing that. He was really challenged with her – she wasn’t naturally talented and she was pretty injured the whole time.  Poor Derek though – he’s set his own bar too high. :-)  But the Bollywood Samba I also loved, and their rumba just because they were so into it.  As for the write ins?  Sad to say I don’t actually REMEMBER a lot of those dances. Most of Katherine’s dances have left my brain. Oddly, several of Willy’s I remember out of sheer disgust.  Someone wrote in DaD?? All I remember is Chelsie almost getting blown off a table. :-)

 

 *photo courtesy ABC/Adam Taylor

June 11, 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!

Vote for Your Favorites in the PureDWTS Season 14 End-of-Season Awards!!!

 Ok kids, it’s time once again to vote of our biannual “end-of-season” awards…our sort of “wrap up” for season 14, where we see what you guys think were the highs and lows of this season :-) If you want to get a feel for how these awards work, you can check out previous seasons’ award recipients here.

First, the rules: I’ve picked what I deem to be the most likely candidates (with the strongest chance of winning) for each category – of course, some of you are going to disagree, and that’s fine.  If you don’t see your pick listed as an option, you can write-in your own nomination in the “other” box.  But here’s my biannual disclaimer about the dreaded “other” box: if I can’t read what you wrote because it’s badly misspelled/grammatically nonsensical/generally incoherent, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  If your response to the question does not make sense (i.e. you simply vote “Donald” for best dance), YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  If you simply repeat one of the already listed responses because you can’t be bothered to actually pay attention, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  If you’re just generally being a nudnik and giving harassing responses, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  *shakes head* I still can’t believe that I have to give this spiel twice a year…

…anywho, we’ll give you guys a week to get your votes in, and then we’ll reveal the results in a series of posts starting next week.  Now ready…set…VOTE!!! :-D

Read more..

May 24, 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!

Court’s DWTS Las Vegas Adventure (Live Show Review & Other Miscellanery)

As many of you know, I was in Las Vegas last weekend and had the pleasure of seeing the DWTS live show at the Tropicana – which, of course, I will review for you guys, since certain other individuals *cough*JOHN*cough* haven’t managed to write the 2nd half of their review of the premiere of said show ;-) This post could get a bit wordy, as I took quite a few notes (and just have a really good memory, to boot) and I’ll throw in a few other possibly-unrelated-to-DWTS details for context, as well as some general Vegas info, since some of you have asked about my trip - so if you’re only interested in my review of the show, feel free to skip the next few paragraphs.  And if you hate spoilers (i.e. you want to be COMPLETELY surprised when you see the show), I’d either just skip this post altogether or just read my overall take at the bottom - because I’m not holding back.  You’ve been warned ;-) And special thanks go to Heidi, for helpin’ a girl out with some picture merges that were driving me cray-cray :-P

So why was I in Vegas in the first place, you ask? My best friend Kendra is getting married at the end of July, and she wanted a bachelorette party for the ages – so naturally, we HAD to go Vegas :-) There were 12 of us altogether (11 rowdy bachelorettes and 1 gay bachelor, who I must say put us all to shame with how fabulously he was dressed the entire trip ;-)), and the majority of us stayed at the Flamingo, since we were able to get a great rate on standard rooms – with 4 girls to a room, it was only $82 total for each of us for 3 nights, which is pretty awesome for a well-known hotel on the strip that isn’t a total dive.  Overall, I wouldn’t say the Flamingo is a particularly special or ritzy hotel (if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d go with the Bellagio, Palazzo, or Venetian…but be prepared to shell out big $$$), but if you’re on a budget, it’s certainly more than sufficient – the rooms are clean and the decor is kitchy & cute (think 1960′s, Rat Pack, original Ocean’s Eleven – lots of dots, stripes, retro furniture, and of course, pink :-)).  I’m very into the nostalgia of Vegas, so the Flamingo appealed to me in that it was originally built by infamous mobster Bugsy Siegel, and legend has it that the actual motive behind his murder was to change the management of the Flamingo.  But anyway – if you’re in Vegas, I definitely recommend trying their Paradise Garden Buffet – it’s pretty affordable, as far as buffets in Vegas go, and is quite good…especially the brunch buffet.  Plus the views of their courtyard and flock of live flamingoes are gorgeous :-) Also at the Flamingo? Donny & Marie Osmond’s live show – I didn’t see it (no time, and honestly, not much of a desire), but I did see these in the lobby:

The one on the left is Donny’s costume from his freestyle with Kym in season 9, as well as his MBT (and yes, according to the guest services director that I asked, it is his real MBT – apparently he insisted it be put in the case with his costume); the one on the right is Marie’s dress from her quickstep with Jonathan in season 5 (and one of those freaky dolls she designs – guess they had to put SOMETHING there when they found out that Donny wanted to display his MBT, although I’m not sure why they didn’t display this doll instead).  I found Marie’s costume pretty unremarkable up close – for as fabulous as it looked on the show, upon further scrutiny, it’s really just a tan silk gown with some gems glued on; but Donny’s suit is very well-made and clearly took a lot of work.  Interesting how different the costumes look on tv vs. in person (more on that later). Read more..

May 19, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS 14 Week 8 Power Rankings

A few things became abundantly clear to me in the midst of tonight’s show: the judges’ heads have been up William & Cheryl’s asses so long that their oxygen supply has been cut off (and brain damage has occured), Carrie Ann switches motives faster than most people blink, Maria & Derek should probably just knock boots and get it over with, Roshon is this season’s forgotten man, and Katherine’s dancing is about as exciting as eating dry white toast.  Let’s just get straight into it…

1.) William & Cheryl – The pimping of these two has just gotten so out of control that I don’t even know what to say anymore – it’s inane, ridiculous, and it’s putting me off this show entirely.  You guys wonder why I’m so far behind on the cheese? Because this season has left such a bad taste in my mouth, and 70% of it is because of these two and the lavish, undeserved praise they get.  But since me complaining about that does little to deter them, I guess I’ll focus on the dancing, which overall was not as stellar as the judges would have you believe.  That foxtrot? Ok, it wasn’t bad, but I’m still not seeing a whole lot of showmanship from William – the man looks like he’s constipated out there.  And Cheryl’s still doing a whole lot of dancing around him, rubbing herself on him, and generally doing some attention-whoring of Ballasesque proportions.  Go ahead and whine about how I “shouldn’t judge the celeb based on the choreo”, but when all he’s doing is standing there and occasionally gesturing, what the hell am I supposed to think? Am I supposed to just ASSUME he’s a great dancer, even though I don’t get to see it underneath all of his partner’s showboating? The dancing isn’t about William at all – it’s about Cheryl dancing around him.  And that was the story of their paso doble trio as well – it was the Cheryl Burke show, with special guest appearances by Tony Dovolani & William Levy.  There was a lot of walking from place to place, and William noticeably got off-time…although it was only mentioned in passing by one of the judges, while they absolutely HOSED Roshon for the same thing.  I give up.  There’s clearly an agenda in place that necessitates William sticking around as long as possible, and I don’t like it.  With any luck, this whole mess will completely blow up in the faces of TPTB…but my luck hasn’t been so great lately, so I’m not holding my breath.  These two will be safe tomorrow night…

2.) Donald & Peta – Thank GAWD for Donald! The man is the personification of what I want in a celeb on this show: he’s having fun, he’s working hard, and he’s giving us some legitimately GREAT performances.  Aside from Roshon’s foxtrot, this tango was the closest thing to perfection for me in the ballroom round tonight – Donald had the attack, and the way he was snapping his head and his feet was divine! I will say that he still seems to get a bit off-balance here and there, and it seems to happen when he gets a little too excited – hopefully he’ll gain a bit more control over some of his more dynamic movements.  I also have to tip my tiny top hat (which I’m still wearing from the team dances last week ;-)) to Peta, for coming up with some choreo that both pleases Len and is also pleasing to the eye – not an easy balance! And that trio dance? Wooooooooooooowwwww.  Just….WOW.  I think the trio idea overall kinda failed, but this was the one gem of the evening – I don’t think I could have asked for a better group than Donald, Peta, and Karina.  Both ladies rock at jive, and Donald impressed the hell out of me with the way he partnered TWO ladies.  You guys notice that neither of the other guys did that in their trio, right? Probably because it’s f*cking hard – something that doesn’t come naturally to a novice male ballroom dancer.  So he gets a ton of respect from me for handling two very vivacious ladies, and also for just delivering a totally FUN performance…props to all three of them for that.   I can only hope that Donald is growing on other people like he’s grown on me, because at this point, he’s the only one I see as a lock for the finale… Read more..

May 7, 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!