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PureDWTS Season 22, The Finale – Power Rankings

Man, I miss the good ol’ days, when the Monday nights on finale week were just jam-packed full of great dancing and everyone truly brought their A-game.  I think the last finale that really fit that bill for me was season 17 – when (pun intended) even Bill Engvall really shone.  Tonight was cumulatively one of the weakest we’ve ever had – I feel like 2/3 couples kinda hit a flat note.  And also, even more disappointingly, the judges’ & PTB’s agenda was in high gear tonight – some got the kid glove treatment, others were scrutinized a bit more.  And while I think that there is an obvious winner in this bunch, based on tonight’s performances – I think it could go either way amongst two finalists, given some of the propaganda we saw tonight.

Part of me thinks that we may lose Mark after this season, which is a crying shame, because he & Lindsay are the only pros left that even come close to Derek in terms of choreographic skill and are capable of possibly grabbing an Emmy nod for the show. But the vibe I got from Mark after he & Paige’s freestyle makes me wonder if we just witnessed his swan song – he’s never struck me as a terribly sentimental pro, but he got seriously weepy tonight. Is he maybe finally bidding farewell to DWTS to focus on his marriage & his music after this season? Ack…I don’t want to think about it.  He’s been one of the few bright spots of this season.

Not much else to add – thought Erin looked pretty matronly in that dress they threw her in, and I raised an eyebrow at how much time was spent emphasizing that ABC Golden Girl Ginger was suffering from back spasms.  *yawn* Gonna do things in reverse tonight, starting with 3rd place and ending with the winner… Read more..

May 23, 2016 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 22, Week 7 – The Team Dances!!!

Well, as it was announced on the show last night, for the first time ever, they’ve opted to pit the guys vs. the gals – and to clarify, that is the male celebs and their female pros vs. the female celebs and their male pros.  Everyone is still with their partner, guys – it wasn’t all the male pros & male celebs vs. all the female pros and female celebs, as someone on Twitter was claiming.  Nice try guys…thanks for playing. 🙂

So in case you need any further clarification, here are the teams:

Team Guys: Wanya & Lindsay, Nyle & Peta, Antonio & Sharna, Von & Witney

Team Gals: Paige & Mark, Ginger & Val, Jodie & Keo, Kim & Sasha

As Antonio announced on Instagram, the guys have James Brown as their icon – and source says the teams are actually dancing to a medley of songs from their icon, so I’m guessing it’s going to be 2-3 of the artist’s big hits.  The gals have Beyonce as their icon – be prepared for a lot of hair-flipping, I think. I’m sure “Crazy In Love” will be part of the girls’ medley…as for the guys, I’m thinking “Sexmachine” will work its way in 😛

Also the dances are freestyles, so pretty much anything goes – I was told that Mark and Val were cracking up while samba rolling each other during rehearsal last night.  Boys will be boys, I guess 😛

My thoughts? I have a feeling things are going to tip slightly in the favor of Team James Brown, because I think the guys on that team are probably going to have an easier time embodying James’ style than the girls on Team Beyonce will have emulating hers.  Plus I think Lindsay, Peta, Sharna, & Witney are probably cumulatively slightly better than Mark, Val, Keo, & Sasha.  But that’s just me – and I actually wouldn’t be at all shocked if the teams tied.  Hell, this is the first time in 5 years that Derek hasn’t been part of the team dance…wonder if that means the pressure’s kinda off for the remaining pros?

April 26, 2016 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 21, Week 11 – Final Power Rankings!!! Who Will Win?

At the risk of sounding cliched – where has this season gone? Seems like only yesterday, I was catching flak from Keo fans for predicting that Chaka would be an early out, hoping & praying that Victor would last longer than a week, and was actually enjoying Tamar putting Val through the paces 🙂 It’s been a wild season with multiple curveballs thrown into it, and I’ll be honest – I’ll be glad to get my Monday nights back for a little while. But it’s been a fun ride 🙂

Last night…was a bit underwhelming for me, I’m afraid, save for maybe 2 dances. I think I’ve said this before, but I’m kinda over the “judges’ choice redo” dance – even if the couples don’t improve, I feel like they get lavished with praise, and the dance almost never feels 100% fresh, new, and exciting. On top of that, I feel like some couples get dances that there is really not a ton of room for improvement on (Bindi & Carlos), while others get to redo ones that they completely f’d up the first time around (Nick), and others get saddled redoing dances that so well-remembered for other reasons that their redo dance is bound to be a bit of a letdown (Alek, trying to best his rumba with Emma).  I feel like the only one that really benefited significantly from the redo was Nick – the rest either did slightly better or stayed about the same. I would have rather seen the couples either re-dance their favorite dance, or redo their favorite dance with new choreography and a new song.

Something else I’m a bit tired of as well? Hearing about how the freestyle is “the most important dance of the season” or how it is the “make it or break it” dance for the couples.  As I think Heidi has said before – the freestyle is not nearly as special as it once was, and hasn’t been nearly as important in affecting the outcome of the show in recent seasons as it has in the past.  Ever since season 15, when they started making the team dances a freestyle, and starting allowing the couples to use massive sets and lots of extra dancers in their regular dances, the actual freestyle in the finale has felt considerably less special – to the point where it can end up looking pretty similar to something the couple has already done (Nick), or is something that doesn’t even seem to fit a couple well, because they’re trying so hard to be “out-of-the-box” (Carlos). And sorry, but if America isn’t already voting for you BEFORE the freestyle round – I highly doubt they’re going to suddenly throw some votes your way because of it. You’re actually probably better off treating it as “just another dance” than trying to outdo yourself – because in all honesty, it’s likely not going to make much of a difference in whether you win or not, unless you completely f*ck it up.

As for Carlos – I doubt anyone was super shocked that the Toker 4 Jesus left us last night (credit to @sally_braden for that gem!), and I started getting an inkling that he was toast after the judges’ OTT gushing about that bizarre foxtrot of his, which felt stiff and awkward, on top of having a lack of…well, actual foxtrot in it. Lawd Jesus, somebody PLEASE reinstate Witney’s outside choreographer privileges, because these last few dances have just been painful to watch. I found their freestyle to be the weakest of the 4 we saw last night, simply because they seemed to throw in several elements that neither fit together cohesively nor really fit Carlos, just for the sake of doing something that had “never been done before”.  The bit with the lights on the hands at the beginning? Looked like they were directing ground traffic at an airport, and also – already been done before (Shawn & Derek’s bhangra in season 15). Including Paula, Hayes, & Alexa? Ok, it hadn’t been done, but did it really improve the routine? We only saw about 5 seconds of each one moving kinda awkwardly. The lift? He seemed to struggle with it, and it was the same one Alek did in his freestyle – only Alek did it better. The one credit I will give Carlos & Witney, though, is that the hip-hop steps they did seemed more impressive than the ones we saw in Nick’s freestyle. But more on that in a bit… Read more..

November 24, 2015 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 21, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Well…if the crew set out to hotbox the  studio, they succeeded 😛 Seriously,  though – what a colossal production FUBAR. I could barely see some of the dances through all that smoke, and trying to even see the judges and Tom afterwards was a struggle. I have to wonder if it negatively affected some of the couples as well – especially the ones that stuck to the main floor and didn’t hop up on any platforms. Talk about props getting in the way – and this, kids, is why themes can really screw up an otherwise decent evening. BEWARE THE SMOKE MONSTER.

And the smoke wasn’t the only monster in the ballroom last night.  Unfortunately, I felt like at least 2/3 members of the judges panel devolved into gossipy teenage girls when giving critiques, and came across as vindictive and childish. I’m also completely OVER the whole “Derek’s never lost!” plotline they pose in every team dance, so now that he’s actually lost – can we please come up with something more compelling to talk about? It was clear Derek didn’t give a rat’s ass, and perhaps the only ones that did were a certain other pro and his fans. It’s time to find some new material, guys.

On the upside? I actually found Leah a lot more natural and enjoyable last night, and she seemed much more at ease. Much more like the Leah I loved hosting back in season 19.  As for Hayes getting eliminated – he did far better than I thought he would this season, so I give him BIG props there.  But though I hate to say it, I think he’s partially responsible for his own elimination – as I mentioned last week, he seemed to place too much emphasis on #VoteForTeamSlayes trending on Twitter and not nearly enough on actual voting…and when your fanbase is a bunch of impressionable teenage girls that will blindly follow your every whim, I think you need to be VERY CLEAR on what it is you need from them. Remember, kids: as much emphasis as this show sometimes puts on social media, Twitter hashtags will not keep you in this competition – only votes will.  So you may as well forget about Twitter and just focus on the votes…something to keep in mind next week… Read more..

October 26, 2015 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 21, Week 7 – And the Teams Are…**SPOILERS** and POLL

It’s super late/super early (depending on where you are),  so I’m just gonna get right to it.  These are your teams: Read more..

October 19, 2015 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 21, Week 7 – Team Dance Predictions

So according to our source, the teams for the team dances are getting picked immediately after tonight’s show.  What does that mean? That probably the only couple to do the press line will be whoever gets eliminated tonight (most likely Paula), and the rest of the couples will get rushed directly into their first team dance rehearsal. Tonight and Friday (or Saturday) will be the only time the teams will be able to rehearse together, so the pros will likely work on getting the group portions of the dance choreographed tonight, and polishing later in the week; the couples will be responsible for choreographing their individual parts of the team dance on their own time. So all that being  said – what can we predict about how the teams will turn out? Read on…

Who will the captains be???

Assuming they’re following the old “the two highest cumulative scorers this season are the captains” rule, then the two most likely candidates are Bindi & Nick.  Bindi is currently in the lead with 151 cumulative points, and Nick is in second with 150 points.  The PenaVegas are tied for 3rd at 146 points apiece. I’d say Bindi is pretty much guaranteed a spot as one of the captains, given that if she scores at least a 36/40 on her rumba tonight, nobody can get past her. I think she does this easily, given that she’s already gotten solid 9’s and a couple tens in the past two weeks. If Nick scores at least a 37, he, too, is untouchable – might be a bit more of a struggle for him, as it means he has to get at least (1) 10…a score which has evaded him thus far. But neither one has to be untouchable if the PenaVegas don’t get a perfect score – and I don’t think either one will.  I’m guessing Alexa gets 9’s and Carlos maybe gets 8’s & 9’s – unless Bindi or Nick really steps in it tonight (or the judges just completely lose their minds), I think both have a solid chance of being captain.

Who gets first pick?

I think a lot of this depends on whether or not the pros are even in the room when the captains pick their teams – in the recent past, they haven’t been, so they exert a lot less influence over the picking. They usually give the higher-scoring captain the choice of first pick of music or first pick of teammates – and if Derek has dropped any hints or made any suggestions to Bindi, she’ll opt to pick music first. So I’m guessing Nick gets first pick of teammates.

Who will pick who?

This is where it gets really murky to me, because neither captain seems to have a strong sense of loyalty to any particular couples – Bindi loves everybody, and Nick…strikes me as a bit of a lone wolf. After listening to Nick talk last week about Witney & Carlos, I wonder if he maybe feels his position as the “alpha male” in the competition is threatened by Carlos doing well…so the only thing I feel somewhat certain about is that he will not pick Carlos if he can help it. So maybe he picks Alexa first? And then maybe Bindi picks Carlos, just to keep their team strong. Nick seems like he might have a bro-like appreciation of Alek, so maybe he grabs him. Can’t decide if Bindi is more likely to pick Andy or Hayes – but whichever one she doesn’t, I think Nick snaps up, and Tamar ends up on Bindi’s team.  Since I don’t see Paula surviving tonight’s elim, I didn’t even factor her into the equation. The interesting thing  about this season is (assuming that Paula goes home tonight) that there really isn’t an obvious “weak link” or “toxic asset” that is the last to be picked for the team dance – everyone left is either of average or above average competency in terms of dance skills. So whoever is picked last may not necessarily be the “weak link” – they just might be the one that nobody dislikes, but they just might like someone else more. And in this instance, I think that’s Tamar – like Nick, she strikes me as a bit of a lone wolf; also wonder if her being sick might be a bit of a deal-breaker. So to recap, my official prediction is this: Team Bindi – Bindi, Carlos, Andy or Hayes, Tamar; Team Nick – Nick, Alexa, Alek, Andy or Hayes

What songs will they get?

Since next week is Halloween week, I’m assuming some vaguely spooky-sounding songs – or ones that just sound edgy.  Past examples? “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence, “Disturbia” by Rihanna, “Time Warp” from Rocky Horror Picture Show, and “Black Widow” by Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora. My guess? One song will likely be more current, while the other will probably be older but more familiar. Kinda wonder if they might whip out some Ozzy Osbourne.

What style will it be?

Seems like they’ve stuck with the freestyle format for a few seasons now – I don’t see that changing.

 

So do you have any  predictions about how the team dance will shake out??? Let’s hear ’em. 😎

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 20, The Finals – Power Rankings

Well,  that was a pleasant little finale night – not terribly exciting, but pleasant nonetheless 🙂 I found that, for the first time, all three of the freestyles felt a little bit…recycled to me.  They were still nice to watch, but none of them  jumped out at me as something totally fresh and never-before-seen.  I guess we’re reaching that point in the lifespan of the show where “it’s all been done”, but still – sometimes I miss that sense of wonder of the early seasons, when “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” was the most innovative freestyle ever, or when Apolo & Julianne danced “Bust a Move” blindfolded.  *sigh* It’s bittersweet.

Can’t say I’m too surprised at anything the judges said or any of the scores they gave – still think they’re pulling for Rumer to win and have pretty much ensured that Noah won’t run away with the MBT, but I think Riker stands a decent chance at playing spoiler to the “Valenrue” pimping machine we’ve seen all season.  Will be interesting to see how things shake out tomorrow night, for sure. For tonight, I’m just thankful that I managed to get all of my phone  votes in already, and that the show was only an hour long – got a cheesecake to make and a new MAC eyeshadow palette I want to play with 😉

3rd place: Noah & Sharna

Had Noah not slightly bungled his redo Argentine tango, I think my rankings could have looked different tonight – but alas, by handicapping him 8 points behind both Rumer & Riker, I think he’s gonna have a pretty tough row to hoe in order to get any better than 3rd place – and that’s even though I think he’s getting a LOT of votes, still. I have to commend him, though – the commitment I saw from him in the first 20ish seconds of his Argentine tango was the most comfortable and in the zone as I’ve seen him all season…he was dialed in, no doubt.  I think he maybe got slightly off-time on one step, though, and it seemed to throw him a little off his game for the rest of the dance – a bit of a bobbled lift, and he also seemed to lose the confidence he started with.  Not sure I would have docked a whole 8  points for it, but I can’t say I was entirely surprised to see the judges take advantage of the chance to give him a bit of a handicap against Rumer & Riker by doling out straight 8’s.  His freestyle was lovely, though – and I was floored at how well he handled that star lift.  No bobbles there, and he only had 1 arm to support her! 🙂 Overall, I don’t think Noah placing 3rd is anything to be ashamed of – the dude overcame some pretty ridiculous odds to make it all this way, and I daresay he’s proven that he’s a decent dancer, PERIOD…and not just a decent dancer, for being an amputee.  And I’ve loved watching every step of the journey 🙂

Runner-up: Rumer & Val

I think the fact that these two kinda went the safe route on a night when another couple (Riker & Allison) took more risks may ultimately relegate them to 2nd place.  Honestly, kinda shocked that the judges (or Rumer & Val, or whoever picked the redo dances) picked their foxtrot for them to redo – I wouldn’t exactly say that it was their most impactful dance, nor was it particularly well-executed or interesting to watch.  I found it kind of odd & flaily on premiere night…and I found it odd & flaily tonight, too.  Just…hmmm.  Also, food for thought: for last season’s redo dances, those who picked their week 1 dances to redo (Alfonso & Bethany) were required to add an extra 30 seconds of content in order to make the dances longer, since the week 1 routines are so short.  They didn’t make that requirement this week…why? Just something to contemplate.  As for their freestyle – eh. Felt like a garden-variety Argentine tango – and part of me wonders if they were just   so set on doing Argentine tango at some point (remember, they thought they had it last week for the judges’ choice!) that they just reworked their original routine a bit in order to turn it into some semblance of a freestyle. I get that Val was going for the “stripped-down, back to basics” look (hehe…where have I heard that before?), but in the process, I think they lost a bit of what makes the freestyle special: that knock-your-socks-off performance value.  This was nice to watch – but it didn’t leave me feeling forever changed or dazzled.

Winner: Riker & Allison

I think these two came into the finale with the right strategy: knock ’em dead with 2 showstopping dances.  God bless that pirate paso doble – I think Riker could have easily slayed any dance that Rumer may have redone with this  number…it was THAT good, and he was even more on-point doing it tonight. As I mentioned on Twitter – I kind of  love how committed Riker is to the character of Captain Jack.  When that costume goes on, he’s 100% Jack, and his technique is flawless.  And then the freestyle – it felt like a bit of a riff on Alfonso’s freestyle last season, but I loved that dance so much that this really felt like almost a sequel or a remix.  A really nice combination of the old and the  new, and Allison killed the choreo…even saw a few signature Twitch moves thrown in 😉 And that bit at the end with Riker dancing with the guys in the troupe? A few times, I thought I saw Derek up there – he’s got that same great quality of movement and sense of ease onstage that D has.  When it all boils down tomorrow night, I think Riker may have played all the right cards – because I think full-out and flashy won out against simple and stripped down tonight.

So what freestyles did you enjoy the most/least? And who do you guys think will win? 🙂

May 18, 2015 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 19, The Finale – Power Rankings

ZOMG guise Janel r hurt! Janel didnt getz enuf rehursul tyme! O the humanatee!!! Seriously, felt like the lolcat sympathy hour for awhile there, with everyone reacting with such horror at poor Janel and her rib injury and lack of rehearsal time.  Nevermind the fact that Alfonso has been injured FOR WEEKS, or that all of the contestants this season have outside commitments.  I took Tavis to task almost 2 months ago for complaining about not having enough rehearsal time – you best believe I’m an equal-opportunity chastiser, and I’m gonna take Janel to task for it too.  You don’t get to sign up for DWTS, knowing you have another commitment, and then complain about how little rehearsal time you have.  Bethany & Derek made do with 7 hours for one dance. Suck it up, buttercup.

All that aside – tonight was a pretty strong night for just about every dance.  Probably the strongest freestyle round, across the board, that we’ve seen in awhile, with everyone committing 100% to their dances.  I don’t think anyone struggled with showmanship.  Judges’ choice round could have been a bit better, but overall I think  everyone did ok.  Tomorrow night should be interesting, though – with only 3 points separating the leader (Alfonso) from the third place (Janel), they really are kinda throwing it to the fans to figure out – and while I’m pretty sure I know how things will shake out, the fact that they did a real bottom 2 tonight will probably whip some fans into a voting frenzy.  How convenient.

As for Bethany – she should’ve stayed.  Even though she fumbled a bit on her jive (dumb bed), I thought her freestyle was spot-on and was her strongest dance yet. Sorry to see her go – she seemed to have finally blossomed. But I think she and Derek went out on a high note, and can take pride in what a fantastic job they did this season. 🙂 Read more..

November 24, 2014 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 19, Week 7 – Team Dances REVEALED!!! *SPOILERS* & POLL

It’s super early, and I’m tired, so I’m just gonna cut right to the chase – the teams for the team dances are…

ETA #1: Updated with songs for both teams.  Methinks this should level the playing field a bit…

ETA #2: Added two polls to see how things stack up…

Team Alfonso (song: “Time Warp” from Rocky Horror Picture Show):

Alfonso & Witney
Sadie & Mark
Antonio & Cheryl
Tommy & Peta

Team Bethany (song: “Black Widow” by Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora):

Bethany & Derek
Janel & Val
Lea & Artem
Michael & Emma

It sounds like the team dances are freestyles once again, and they both have Halloween music.  One team has “Black Widow” by Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora.  This is all I know right now.

My thoughts? The teams are far more evenly-matched then they have been in previous seasons, but Team Bethany probably has the edge by virtue of having 2 trained dancers and Derek; on the flipside, I think they also ended up with the weakest dancer currently left – Mike, so he could be a bit of a liability.  Funny how one team ended up with 3 male celebrities & 1 female celeb, and the other team ended up with 3 female celebs & 1 male celeb.

Discuss.

October 21, 2014 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 18, The Finale – Power Rankings

Well, that’s that, I guess – just go ahead and give Maks Meryl her MBT and let’s be done with this.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a finale tip its hand as much as it did last night – it was made quite clear who they wanted to keep far away from the MBT (Candace), who they wanted to make the final two (Amy & Meryl), and who they ultimately want/need to win (Meryl & Maks…duh).  I was rather disgusted that everyone (including Erin & the judges) seemed to jump on the ridiculous Meryl & Maks showmance bandwagon, but then again, I’m not at all surprised – I will forever remember season 18 as the season that DWTS decided to adopt the “tabloid sleaze” angle.  It won’t be a pleasant memory.

And I know it’s not just me, as a jaded DWTS viewer/blogger, that was put off by last night’s show – the bf actually had a rare day off yesterday, after being tied up with a competition over the weekend, and he came over for dinner and decided to stay & watch the show.  Those of you who follow me on Twitter got to hear some of his gems while watching the show last night – but for those who didn’t, I think this quote best sums up his feelings about the whole thing: “This is such a waste of my life right now.” He was appalled at the judging (“When did this bimbo ever do ballroom in her life???”), appalled at the teaching (he was especially taken aback by Mark forcefully moving Candace’s head during rehearsal – and he’s even friendly with Mark!), appalled at the choreography (“Why the hell is Maks doing contemporary? He’s a ballroom dancer!”), and was oddly disturbed by the fact that none of the pros seem to wear the proper footwear to teach in (“They could seriously hurt themselves…Argentine tango is not meant to be done in Nikes.”) He did seem rather impressed with one thing, though: how good Amy is, despite her disability.  He didn’t even realize she was missing the entire lower portion of her leg until I explained her story – and then he was just floored.

Can’t say I’m terribly surprised that James just couldn’t make his way past Candace last night – I think he unfortunately had a bit of an unmemorable week last week, and Candace does seem to have some fervent fan support.  Was left feeling rather puzzled by both of his dances last night – his tango felt a little bit chaotic & desperate (hello, kiss – guess everyone was trying to make a ploy for showmance votes last night), and his freestyle just felt…aimless.  Guess we now know how Peta does with freestyles when she doesn’t have any outward assistance from other pros.

Gonna do things in reverse tonight – start with 3rd place and work up to the winner…

3rd place: Candace & Mark

I think the judges all but ensured that Candace will wind up in 3rd when the chips are down tonight – while I agree with most that she’s the weakest dancer left, I don’t think she’s as bad as some of the scores she was given last night.  I guess I agree with her quickstep score – there still seemed to be a few frame and body contact issues, but really, it’s the finale – would it have killed them to give her just one 10? Or is she pulling in THAT many votes that they’re afraid she might overtake Amy or Darling Meryl? I just get the impression that Candace has been one variable that TPTB hadn’t planned on this season – she seems to have a lot more support than they thought she would, and that has led to some serious hosing over the weeks.  As for her freestyle – I don’t think it was nearly as bad as being 8-worthy across the board.  9-worthy, maybe.  I thought she connected well to the music and gave it a good effort – seemed like she was having fun out there.  Sure, maybe she was a little clunky coming out of some of the lifts, but it didn’t detract from the performance THAT much.  In the end, I’m left feeling a little torn on Candace: I feel bad for her, with some of the unnecessary hosing she’s gotten this season; but in the same token, I think she’s lucky to have gotten as far as she has, and should feel proud to be a finalist.  I think she’s had great journey this season 🙂

Runner-up: Amy & Derek

If they gave the MBT to whoever overcame the greatest odds in order to end up in the finale, Amy & Derek would be a shoo-in, for sure.  But unfortunately, there seems to be a different agenda at play this season, so I think the best these two can end up with is second place.  Loved both of their routines last night – thought their salsa was a nice step-up from the one she did with Mark, and had plenty of content; and Derek STILL reigns supreme in the freestyle – I think the edge Derek has is that he’s better able to tell a story than some others with his choreography; I understood the theme and plot he was trying to convey with that routine, and he managed to still do some pretty awesome lifts and creative stuff in it.  Thought the rope was genius at the end – kinda symbolized for me the journey Amy has taken on the show, and her ability to handle things that no one would ever guess she’s capable of.  Of course the naysayers will claim there wasn’t enough content – what they fail to realize is that, just because she wasn’t necessarily on her feet for every single step, does not mean there “wasn’t content”; hell, I think doing that rope spin was far more difficult than any pirouette or pique Derek could have had her do on the ground.  But whatever – these two have already won this season for me, and I daresay Amy has a bright future ahead 🙂

The winner: Meryl & Maks

Since the focus of this partnership all season long seems to be Maks (with Meryl as an accessory), I’ll respond in kind and make this critique about him, since I don’t think Meryl is the problem (other than the fact that she herself seems to have bought into the hype of “Maks has never won, Maks deserves to win” and is falling into step with it instead of actually standing up for herself).  Meryl is going to dance whatever she’s given FLAWLESSLY.  The problem is (and has been all season), that what Maks has given her has not been all that impressive.  And I stand by that statement tonight, because even the redo Argentine tango he gave her (which I guess is his favorite dance) paled in comparison choreographically to what his lil bro gave her over a month ago for me.  And here’s why: Maks seems to have a lot of “moments”, but isn’t quite adept at stringing them altogether to make a coherent routine.  Val, on the other hand, seems to see the whole picture: he understands that a dance, like a story, needs a beginning, middle, and end, plus some fluid transitions to make it all flow together seamlessly.  Plus, Val did his thing with a far more difficult song, and with a partner that he had only worked with for a few days.  And then there’s the freestyle: looks like Maks’ idea of being “creative” and doing something “never before seen on DWTS” involves creating a derivative, watered-down version of a winning freestyle from a year ago and acting as if it’s something brand-new and ground-breaking.  I actually don’t even think this was choreographically as strong as their rumba from a few weeks ago – and that was barely a rumba.  I think if he really wanted to showcase Meryl’s abilities, he would have shunned the ooey-gooey showmance-promoting route and choreographed something more upbeat and full of both lifts and energetic dance steps.  Show us how versatile she really is, instead of rehashing what we’ve already seen from her.  And for Pete’s sake, do something that actually seems to illustrate her journey on DWTS. Hell, at the beginning of the season, I had envisioned some wild, celebratory freestyle to “Gypsy” by Lady Gaga (which would have even appealed to the shippers on some level, while still nodding to all the traveling she & Maks have done together this season). So given what I just said, you’ll have to forgive me when I ask “So WHY does Maks ‘deserve to win’?” He’s struggled with choreography, he’s struggled with crafting routines that showcase his partner, and he’s struggled with his own behavior.  “But Courtney, it’s not about Maks – it’s about MERYL!!!!” I’m sure some of you are going to cry – to which I say “She’s an Olympic gold medal ice dancer that hasn’t been truly challenged all season long.  Should she win the MBT for (no pun intended) skating through the season without much of a struggle?” I look at all the tough stuff that Amy & Charlie in particular have had thrown at them throughout the season by their respective pros – and how they’ve struggled, and toiled, and still overcome those obstacles.  There’s just no comparison for me.  But everyone is going to vote how they’re going to vote (and that’s fine), and I think the die has already been cast that this was “Maks’ season” from the get-go – and everyone has just kind of fallen in line with that mindset.  It will be a hollow win, though, IMO – and it’s one I’m sure we’re going to be hearing about for the next 5 years, a la Donny Osmond.  But whatever helps Maks (and his fans) feel validated, I guess.

So there’s my two cents.  What’s yours? 🙂 Just as a side note: I still do post here at PureDWTS in the off-season, but with America’s Got Talent starting up next week, you’ll probably see more of me over at Pure AGT this summer.   If you’re a fan of the show, come join us! We’re a small (but entertaining) group 😉

May 20, 2014 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!