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PureDWTS Season 18, Week 6 – What’s Left to Dance?

So we’re at the halfway point in the competition – 5 more weeks to go, and there’s still 8 couples left…seems like a lot, but I guess numerically it makes sense.  We’ve got party anthem night this coming Monday, Latin night the following Monday, and then who knows.  Will the guest judges cease once we hit week 8? Will the themes cease? When’s the team dance? What other funky sh*t are they gonna throw our way between now and the finale? :-P

I don’t have ALL of the answers, but I’ll try and paint the clearest picture I can of the remainder of the season.  Here’s the list of what the remaining couples have left to dance in the coming weeks – I’ve already removed their party anthem week dances, so consider this the remaining dances for Latin week onward. I’ve added a bit of my own commentary as well.  And because I’m nice, I did it both a list format AND a handy-dandy chart. :-) I have a question mark by the Viennese waltz (see why below) and I honestly doubt we’ll see anyone else doing the swing this season, but I went ahead and included it since we did see it from two couples already.

remainingdances

 Meryl & Maks – remaining regular dances: rumba, paso doble, jive, waltz, quickstep, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: contemporary, jazz, salsa

Kinda interesting how Meryl & Maks have basically done two of everything: two Latin dances, two ballroom dances, and two “other” dances – probably the most evenly divided-up of all the couples, and gives them the greatest variety of dances left to do heading into the second half of the competition. I don’t see her necessarily struggling technically with any of the dances she has left – but I do think some of the relentless shippers have built up their rumba so much in their heads that they’re going to be disappointed if they do anything short of making out on the dance floor. I also think Maks’ skills as a choreographer might make some of these styles questionable – I’m highly skeptical of how he’ll do with contemporary & jazz.  I’m also wondering if he’ll be able to resist the urge to waste time in their quickstep – that seems to be one dance where he seems to love throwing in long sections of running up and down the stairs or fiddling with props.

Charlie & Sharna – remaining regular dances: samba, paso doble, waltz, foxtrot,  quickstep, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: salsa, Argentine tango, swing

Charlie’s only burned through one ballroom dance so far, and I think he has the potential to really kill it with the ones he has left – if Sharna can choreograph some impactful routines.  Kinda glad he got rumba out of the way already, since he seems a tad uncomfortable with the really lovey-dovey dances; I think he’ll probably handle Argentine tango better, because it has such a strong technique component and it moves faster.  But I’m fully expecting rumba to crop up again for him as his “redemption dance”.  I’m hoping he can really summon some rage (does this kid even have an angry bone in his body? :-P ) for the paso doble, as that’s one dance that I see going completely against character for him.

James & Peta – remaining dances: cha-cha, samba, rumba, paso doble, waltz, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: jazz, Argentine tango, swing

Unlike a lot of the others, who have burned through almost all of their Latin dances, James has actually gotten all but one (maybe two) of the ballroom dances out of the way, and still has 4 Latin dances to work with – and considering he handled his salsa & jive pretty damn well, he could potentially ace the Latin dances he has left and really build some momentum headed into the finale.  I’m hoping Peta learned her lesson with the judges during switch week, and is able to choreograph a really by-the-book rumba for James;  maybe getting hosed during a week when nobody actually got sent home was a blessing in disguise for James.  I’m thinking his Argentine tango has the potential to make jaws drop – he’s proven he can handle complex choreography and can commit fully to the mood of each dance.

Amy & Derek – remaining regular dances: samba, rumba, paso doble, tango, foxtrot, quickstep, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: Argentine tango, jazz

I love Amy to bits, but YIKES – I worry that they got the majority of the dances that were going to be easier for her out of the way early, and now she’s stuck with the stuff that may prove pretty difficult on prostheses.  She’s probably going to struggle with tango,  since she can’t really pivot; I think quickstep & Viennese waltz could cause problems since they involve crossing one ankle over the other at some point; rumba will probably cause problems due to the hip action; she might actually be able to do samba decently, since she is actually able to bend her knees and has a strong core from which she can get the bounce, but pivoting steps like samba runs may be out of the question.  Argentine tango? I’m having nightmares of her getting her feet tangled up during one of the sequences of footwork.  I’m hoping Derek has got some serious tricks up his sleeve, because I think Amy’s going to really need them in the coming weeks.

Danica & Val – remaining regular dances: rumba, paso doble, waltz, tango, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: salsa, jazz, Argentine tango, swing

Danica is one big puzzle to me – I don’t think she technically struggles with any of the dances (she’s conveniently overcome her arm problem), but at the same time I don’t feel like she really masters any of the dances like Meryl & Charlie, either.  I think she may hit a snag with the rumba as she seems to obsess over dance steps, and rumba is one dance where you have to let go a bit and just let the emotion take over.  I don’t really  have a whole lot else to say about Danica – she’s not the best for me, but not the worst; and she’s not really leaving a very lasting impression on me, either way.  Bad? :-(

Candace & Mark – remaining regular dances: paso doble, waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: salsa, jazz, Argentine tango, swing

Thankfully, she’s gotten most of the Latin out of the way – she really only has paso doble & salsa left to contend with.  I think she’ll handle the ballroom better than the Latin, but I still worry that the judges are just gonna nitpick her to death like they did with her quickstep, because they’ve decided she’s disposable.  Will be interested to see if they let her do jazz at some point – with the season half over and the theme weeks winding down, I’m wondering if we’ll begin to see less jazz & contemporary.  I think she & Mark would knock the jazz out of the park – so if she does get to do it (maybe as a trio dance?) I think it has the potential to be a comeback for her.

NeNe & Tony – remaining dances: samba, paso doble, waltz, tango, quickstep, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: contemporary, Argentine tango, swing

Well NeNe’s burned through all but two of the Latin dances , and she has only managed to check one hardcore ballroom dance off the list…seems like there’s not a whole lot of flashy dances left for her to really sell.  And I’m not sure that samba & paso doble are going to be ones that she can really “wing it” with – samba’s heavy on the technique, and paso doble is heavy on the aggression.  IF she survives this week – and that’s a big IF – it looks like it’s gonna be a pretty bumpy road for her from here on out.

Drew & Cheryl - remaining dances: samba, rumba, paso doble, foxtrot, Viennese waltz; “other” dances: salsa, contemporary, jazz, Argentine tango, swing

I’m afraid things don’t look particularly easy for Drew, either – the dreaded samba is in the mix, as well as the nitpicky-on-technique rumba.  He only has one or two ballroom dances left, and oddly enough, he’s the only contestant left that hasn’t done at least one “extra” dance – he’s the only that has only done real competition dances so far.  Can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing – did I read somewhere that Cheryl’s not really fond of contemporary and/or jazz?

Other random thoughts…

Where the hell are the paso doble & the Viennese waltz??? Since paso doble has been included in every season since season 1, I highly doubt they’ve scrapped it as one of the regular dances this season – I’m guessing that the theme weeks thus far just have not really been conducive to the aggressive feel of the paso (think personal story week, Disney week, and party anthems week). We’ll probably have a pretty paso doble-heavy Latin week – for some couples, it’s one of only two Latin dances they even have left to do.  Now as for the Viennese waltz – we may or may not see it this season.  The fact that we haven’t seen a single one yet (while we have seen two standard waltzes) makes me wonder if they decided to cut this season down to just waltz, or maybe have the couples do only one type of waltz through the course of the season (either waltz OR Viennese waltz – not both).  They’ve done it in previous seasons – there’s been seasons with only the waltz, seasons with only the Viennese waltz, seasons where the couples did both, and seasons where they only did one or the other. Guess we’ll just have to wait & see what kind of season this is – I personally prefer the Viennese waltz, because I find it more exciting to watch, but obviously I’m not the one in charge (despite what some fringe fans seem to think)…

What about the team dances? I’m hearing week 7, which is Latin week – which means that the team dances will most likely be Latin dances (my money’s on either both teams doing cha-cha, or one team doing cha-cha and the other doing paso doble), and one team will have 3 couples while the other has 4.  They’ll most likely get picked immediately after Monday night’s show, and then go straight to rehearsal.  If they follow the scheme of previous seasons, then the two contestants with the highest cumulative score will serve as the team captains – as it stands right now, that’s Meryl (134 total points) and Charlie (131 total points) – but the scores they get Monday night could change that (I doubt it will, but the possibility is there).  They’ve also done a coin toss and allowed the winner to either get first pick on the song or the team members, but that could change this season, too.  I could go into great detail on all the things that could happen – but that’s best left to a “Team Dance Speculation” post coming up over the weekend ;-)

Are we going to see the trio dance again? Haven’t heard anything official, but I would assume so – it’s been too popular in the past 4 seasons to NOT do it.  I’m guessing week 8, and as always, it will be either a Latin dance or jazz.  I’m guessing they will still be able to pick from either a current troupe member (Sasha, Artem, Lindsay, or Jenna) or an eliminated pro from this season (Henry, Karina, Emma, Witney, or whichever pros are eliminated in weeks 6 & 7) as their third trio member.  No, I have no reason to believe that Tristan/Chelsie/Anna/Gleb/etc. will be available as choices for the trios…and yes, there are fans that still think it’s a legit possibility. 8-O

Anything else coming up? Again, no official word, but I would expect to see the supersized freestyles again (cause they sure seem to love supersizing!) and either an instant dance and/or 24-hour dance challenge during finale week.

So what do you guys hope to see in the coming weeks? Who do you think has the right dances left to succeed this season – and who is screwed? And if you haven’t already, be sure to vote in Vogue’s new poll here! :-)

April 17, 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 17, The Finale – Power Rankings

*sigh* Well kids, all good things must come to an end – and last night, the inspired run that Bill had on DWTS this season came to a close.  As soon as the judges handed out that first bullsh*t score, I think I knew there was no way in hell they were gonna let Bill even get within striking distance of the MBT – but thankfully, Bill went out on a very high note: I don’t think Emma could have choreographed a more perfect routine for him than his freestyle :-) Just wish that the judges had given him just ONE pity 10, but again, I think they were afraid that giving him any excessively kind scores was going to prolong his stay…but it just became even more glaringly obvious when you take into account that each of the other couples got a perfect 30 on their freestyles.  I’m trying not to be bitter about it, but the fact that Len admitted that Bill “did improve” on his Viennese waltz, and then proceeded to give him the SAME SCORE as he got the first time around, just doesn’t compute for me.  Grrrrr.  But alas, I don’t know that poor Bill had the energy in him for more dancing tonight, so I’m partially relieved that the guy gets his life back now…now I just have to work on getting mine back.  Gonna miss Bill & Emma :-(

Speaking of that blasted “judges’ choice” dance – I don’t know what the hell was going on with the scoring & commentary there.  They tell Bill he improved, but give him the same score as the first time he did the dance; they tell Corbin he didn’t improve, but give him a higher score than the first time he did his dance.  I thought both improved, but from the way the judges were talking, you would have thought both had completely bungled their dances up even worse than the first go-round.  But once again, I think the judges had an agenda there, and the scores and commentary given for those two dances in particular had little to do with the actual quality of the dance.  The secret judges’ mission statement of finale week, night one seemed to be “make sure Bill goes home at all costs”. Oh well.

Gonna do my rankings in reverse order tonight – starting with 3rd place and working up to the winners.

3rd place: Corbin & Karina

Corbin’s a fantastic dancer, no doubt, and he definitely delivered in all three of his dances last night – but I’m still left just a bit chilly after watching him dance, and it seems to be a sentiment shared by many of our readers.  Something about Corbin’s dancing just doesn’t feel connected to me – it’s as if he’s dancing for himself each time, rather than for an audience, and the end result just seems to create a barrier that prevents me from really connecting to him.   As I said before, I thought his quickstep was an improvement, but I still felt a bit of a disconnect in it – like he was more in his own head than interacting with the audience.  He handled the samba pretty damn well for not having done it before – and while I do agree that he deserved to win the samba relay, I can’t really say that his samba was my favorite or the most fun to watch; it was just very technical.  His freestyle was pretty impressive and very ambitious – taking on MJ is no easy task, but both he & Karina did rise to the occasion.  Wish they could have made it their own a bit more, as opposed to just throwing in a small section of tango before breaking into a hodgepodge of MJ moves; I also could have done without the extra people, as they only came in for a small portion and they damn near dropped Karina during the one stunt they assisted with.  I think he’ll probably handle his cha-cha/foxtrot fusion decently well, but when it all comes down to it, I just have a feeling that he’s going to end up in third place – between the way the judges run hot & cold with him, to the way some of the viewers haven’t been able to connect with him, to a fanbase that I’m really uncertain about, I just think the best he can hope for is third.  Amber’s got the judges on her side, and Jack seems to have the viewers – not a whole lot left for Corbin :-(

2nd place: Jack & Cheryl

For what Jack lacked in terms of technique and energy last night, he more than made up for in heart :-) As I found myself tweeting more than once last night, I think poor Jack is just absolutely drained at this point – as someone who lives with someone with an autoimmune disease, I can tell you that the fatigue is neverending; sure, those suffering have good days and bad days, but most days they do just feel kinda sluggish…and on really bad days, they can barely get out of bed.  I think after 13 weeks, Jack is just plain pooped – and as a result, his first two dances got a bit bungled.  You could tell he was really trying hard with his jive, but he just didn’t quite have the energy to pick his legs up and he may have gotten a little foggy on the choreography.  At the very least, he admitted it wasn’t his best and he was mad at himself - I don’t think I would have been as sympathetic if he had acted like that jive was better than his first attempt.  I agree with Len about their samba relay – it felt a tad safe and slow-moving, but I’m wondering if that was an intentional choice by Cheryl in order to somewhat preserve his energy for the freestyle.  But man, was that freestyle something to behold – Jack seemed to come alive again, and I actually found that the Fred Astaire theme fit him remarkably well.  And the tears both he & Cheryl shed after getting through it flawlessly? Just precious.  If I think Bill & Emma were the best-matched couple of the season, I think these two were a very close second – I think Cheryl needed Jack just as much as Jack needed Cheryl, and this season has been an epiphany for both of them.  I gave all my votes to Jack this week, and I could have sworn that I saw Bill whisper “Now you win this mofo!” in Jack’s ear as the credits were rolling last night.  I actually think he’ll do quite well with his paso/salsa fusion – I think Corbin was pretty kind in giving him that, as he would have ended up with jive again, otherwise.  I think Jack may benefit from the fact that he’s the only remaining finalist that has really had a strong “growth” arc on the show, and also the fact that he’s fighting with an incurable disease as he’s been learning.  Saw a lot of Bill fans tossing their votes to Jack – I’m hoping it helps him pull out 2nd place.  Although seeing him hoist that MBT would be nice ;-)

 Winner: Amber & Derek

Amber was flawless last night – I don’t think she could have done any better with her Charleston or her freestyle. They must have really drilled synchronization when rehearsing that Charleston, because I didn’t see them out of step at all.  While they handled their samba relay routine well, it seemed to get a little repetitive to me – a lot of samba runs and pivots – and I think that may have been what Len was referring to when he said that one couple had “almost” nailed it.  Loved the concept and execution of their freestyle – the stepping was definitely something that’s never been done before for the freestyle, and this was one instance where the extra dancers actually served to enhance the routine as opposed to just being in it.  And best of all: it highlighted Amber and what she is capable of.  I doubt the samba/quickstep fusion will give them any trouble – just hope they don’t try to pull out “Sir Duke” yet again. Given their scores and the undoubtled large Glee fanbase,  I would be surprised if they didn’t win – still think there’s an outside chance that Jack maybe gained some support after last night, and there’s enough “Derek doesn’t deserve a 5th MBT” naysayers out there that it could make a difference – but at the end of the day, I think Amber deserves to win.

So what did you guys think of last night’s show? And who do you think will be walking away with the MBT tonight?

November 26, 2013 I Written By

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

PureDWTS Season 17, Week 7 – Power Rankings

Kind of a strange, low-energy night for me – I feel like everyone, across the board, had kind of a so-so night, and I think it’s due in part to the fact that two dances a week are really starting to wear on some of the couples.  I think I notice it more this season than any other season – some are dealing with injuries, some are dealing with strained partnerships, some are dealing with illnesses, and everyone seems to be feeling the pressure.

I think most of us can agree that it was not Nicole’s time to go home – however, I’m appalled at some of the sources of blame I’m seeing from those who are upset about it, and I place a lot of blame on the shoulders of TPTB for some really sh*tty scoring decisions.  Nicole got a very kind score for her samba – while it wasn’t bad, I certainly don’t think it was 27-worthy, as she seemed to struggle with timing and there was very little hip action.  So you can’t blame scores for her exit…although the judges likely screwed her over by overscoring just about everyone except Bill – it only served to make the margins smaller, which meant that someone below her needed even fewer votes to surpass her.  And this was ON TOP of the big points dump from last week, so the margins were itty bitty.  And sorry, but those of you upset about her going home – you were actually voting for her, right? Cause I’m finding that the biggest complainers about Nicole’s exit were people that didn’t bother to throw a single vote her way all season.  If you didn’t vote, you don’t get to bitch & moan, and you are part of the problem.  Snookole needed VOTES…and she didn’t get them.  Kinda how this show works…this isn’t really a revelation, kids.

And fair warning: I’m going to be prone to bouts of rantining this week, after some of the wanton idiocy and deductive reasoning leaps I witnessed after last night’s elimination.  I’m allergic to stupid, y’know ;-)

1/2.) TIE: Corbin & Karina and Amber & Derek – Just kind of an odd night from both of these couples – I don’t feel like either one was operating at peak performance levels.  I think Corbin & Karina coped as well as they could with a rather odd cha-cha song – seemed like there was a lot of what Len would call “frippery”, though…lotta side-by-side hip-hop sections, but I kinda blame the rhythm changes in the song for that.  Someone on Twitter remarked that Karina seemed stressed – and yes, I have to agree, and wonder if the constant pressure to make their routines better and better is beginning to wear on she & Corbin’s partnership.  Then there was Amber & Derek, who both had injuries to contend with – while I think they handled their paso doble well, I think Derek did kinda take the safe route on it; seemed like it wasn’t as daring or impactful as some of the other paso dobles we’ve seen from him.  Pleasant to watch, yes; super-innovative and exciting? Not really.  Let’s hope they can get back into good physical form so they can tackle more daring stuff.  Read more..

October 29, 2013 I Written By

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

Vote for Your Favorites in the PureDWTS Season 16 End-of-Season Awards!!!

 Ok gang, now that the hype has had some time to die down…it’s time to vote for your favorites & least favorites in this season’s end-of-season awards :-) Pretty self-explanatory – just select what you think is the best option for each category and submit it.  “But Courtney, you don’t have my favorite listed!!!” Yes, there is an option for write-ins…HOWEVER…

…after the absolute chaos that was the HUNDREDS of write-in votes last season, I’m going to really crack down on the write-in votes.  If you absolutely MUST write-in a response other than the ones we have listed (and I took great pains to include the responses that I thought would be the most likely choices for each category), you MUST do so with a certain format in mind…for example, if you were trying to write in “Zendaya & Val’s Argentine tango” for the best dance, you MUST do it just like I typed it – captalize the first names of the celeb first, then the pro; throw an “&” in the middle, and then put the type of dance after that.  Examples of what not to do: “zendaya val tango” or “Zendaya tango” or “any dance Zendaya did!!!!” Yeah, especially that last one – you get to choose ONE DANCE, not 13.  Any responses that don’t fit the scheme I just laid out are getting thrown out – sorry guys, but I just don’t have the energy (or desire) to weed through 300+ nonsensical, misspelled, & obnoxious responses.  Got it? Good.  Now vote away :-) We’ll share the results in the coming weeks.  Read more..

June 4, 2013 I Written By

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

DWTS 16, The Finale – Power Rankings

Honestly, this may be the weakest finale performance night I think we’ve seen since season 5.  I think almost everyone did worse in the “judges’ choice” round than they did the first time; only one freestyle really wowed me, and the rest ranged from “eh, ok” to “WTF???” Oddly enough, the only dance I found myself really enjoying was the cha cha relay – seemed like everyone just let loose and had fun with it.  I think the judges made their agenda quite clear tonight, and I know I can’t be the only one that’s a little suspicious that the online voting is down on finale night FOR THE SECOND SEASON IN A ROW.  No excuses, Muppets – you should have had it sorted out by now so that this type of thing doesn’t happen.  Curious to me that you haven’t (or chose not to) worked out the kinks yet.  Hmmm…but anyway, let’s start in reverse order, shall we?

4th Place: Jacoby & Karina

Poor Jacoby…he just really seemed to fall apart tonight, and it’s sad because 3 weeks ago I would have said that he had the MBT in the bag.  Now, thanks to the machinations of TPTB, I think the poor guy is just suffering from a major case of burnout and just broke down tonight.  While I agree that his judges’ choice jive was slightly better from a technical standpoint, I still prefer the first iteration – because it was SO DAMN FUN.  Jacoby looked downright miserable doing this one – like he was so focused on getting the technique right that he forgot to enjoy himself…and that was really the appeal of Jacoby’s dancing all season: he just looked like he was having so damn much fun.  Was a 27 rather kind? In the great scheme of things, probably; but since the judges were handing out 30′s like Oprah again tonight, I think 27 was relatively fair.  I actually found myself enjoying he & Karina’s portion of the cha cha relay most – and I don’t think anyone can really disagree that they had the best ending transition ;-) The slide through Aly & Mark was pure genius and totally Jacoby :-) And speaking of “being totally Jacoby” – I actually liked his freestyle, and wasn’t expecting some of the incredulous responses I was getting on Twitter when I *gasp!* said I enjoyed it.  “But Courtney, it was SO MESSY!!!!” Was it messy? Yes.  I saw the exact same routine you guys did, and I’m fully aware when something is messy.  But at the same time, I think there’s more to a good freestyle than clean footwork and execution – there’s also HEART, and staying true to who you are.  And while some of you may have balked at his freestyle as if it were the 2nd coming of the Marie Osmond doll freestyle (it wasn’t THAT bad, guys), I applauded him for sticking to his roots and sending a dance love letter to New Orleans…that routine was NOLA & Jacoby FOR DAYS.  The band, the stepping, the tapping – I think he perfectly captured the dance culture of the Big Easy, while also dancing a routine that felt like something he’d do.  He didn’t try and act like something he’s not (unlike a certain other couple…), he didn’t pick some random theme that he had no connection to – Jacoby did Jacoby, and I dug it.  And he seemed to enjoy himself, which is why I’ve been a fan all season.  But, thanks to the judges, who have given Aly a pretty comfortable cushion, I don’t think Jacoby can really hope for any better than 4th place tomorrow.  He may, by the “grace of god” (as he put it), somehow bump Aly and take 3rd, but I’m not feeling optimistic. But I’m glad he made it to the finale, and got to dance for his hometown :-) Read more..

May 20, 2013 I Written By

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

DWTS 15 End-of-Season Awards: Which Dance Was the Worst?

And the fun continues…

 worst15

Write-ins:

Gilles & Peta’s Bollywood – 3

Bristol & Mark’s cha-cha – 2

Shawn & Derek’s non-samba samba – 2

Kirstie & Maks’ paso doble trio – 1

Shawn & Derek’s bhangra – 1

Gilles & Peta’s cha-cha – 1

Melissa & Tony’s freestyle – 1

Sabrina & Louis’ paso doble – 1

Shawn & Derek’s rumba – 1

Kelly & Val’s contemporary – 1

Courtney: This is all I’ll say about the write-ins: it’s obvious when someone is writing in a certain dance simply out of spite, or just to try to get a reaction out of people.  How very puerile of them :-) Was Pam & Tristan’s cha-cha a bizarre, fumbly train wreck? Yeah, but I almost think it’s unfair to even count first week dances…because they’re the ones with the highest potential to look like crap.  I usually find myself more turned off by bad dances that occur later on in the season – because by that point, you can’t cite “first week jitters” as a reason to f*ck up.  For that reason, I actually think I chose Gangnam Style – I hated that dance because it was a cop-out.  They basically got a free pass to do ANYTHING they wanted – they could have put a completely unique spin on it, thrown in some cool tricks & lifts, and incorporated some ballroom steps to please Len.  Instead, it was as if they said “Y’know what? Let’s just copy the video, add some additional raunch, and call it a day.” Was it fun? Sure.  But I can think a dance is fun and also think it’s terrible. Case in point? Carson & Anna’s pirate Viennese waltz in season 13.  Amusing in a trainwreck fashion, but I definitely wouldn’t say it was my favorite of that season…or even that week, and it was still a complete mess. I think my second choice was Bristol & Mark’s quickstep, because it just ended up being a complete mess, both in terms of choreography & execution.  Not sure what to make of the surfer flamenco – I guess I would categorize that one as a “cop-out” as well, since it seemed like they said “Welp, we don’t know any flamenco, so let’s do paso in skimpy swimsuits and hope nobody notices!”

Heidi: Courtney!! How dare you say that people write in comments just out of spite!! That NEVER happens here!! Well, okay, only every other day. ;-) Totally agree with you that I wouldn’t look at first week dances and cry out “worst dance ever!!” So many of them DO look like crap in the first week. Anyway, when I looked at this category two dances immediately came to mind – Team Gangnam Style and Gilles’ Bollywood nightmare.  Team Gangnam style just disgusted me because they didn’t even TRY. Any actual dancing that was included was sloppy and disjointed – I seem to recall thinking that Emmett was the only standout from that mess.  Pretty sure that’s the one I voted for…although I could have written in Gilles. :-)

Vogue: When I saw this poll, I almost voted for the Team Gangnam dance as the Worst dance. I remember thinking it was just awful comparted to Team Call Me Maybe’s dance which was so well executed, choreographed and full of creative content. In the end though, I voted for Val and Kelly’s Surfer Flamenco (what an awful combination) as that dance beat them all as worst dance ever in all of the seasons of Dancing With The Stars PUT TOGETHER! 8O

February 21, 2013 I Written By

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

DWTS 15, Week 10 – Finale Power Rankings

First off, a bit of an apology/explanation: some of you may have noticed me being a bit quiet and scarce both on Twitter and here at Pure the past few days – that was due to a rather intense bout of the stomach flu which had me sidelined for 5 days.  I’m feeling much better, but still not 100%…and thus I’ve just been taking it easy, saving my energy for things like the cheese and power rankings.  Thanks for hanging in there with me :-)

Anywho…

…I find myself repeating a lot of the “guidelines” Heidi & I set forth about a year ago when we did our Top 10 Best & Worst freestyles in DWTS history, after watching the freestyles tonight.  I feel like only one couple really knocked it out of the park, and the other two made some pretty amateurish mistakes…one in particular showed us just how green he is in the freestyle arena.  And I’ve decided that I just HATE the “favorite dance” round, since it’s nothing really new, and I think it’s seldom a vast improvement on the original performance…and I think it can often turn out WORSE.  Can’t we just go back to the redemption routine, where it was completely new choreography, new music, and a clean slate?

Gonna do things differently tonight, and start off with 3rd place and work my way up…

3rd place: Kelly & Val

I’m left with mixed feelings for both of their dances, overall.  The paso doble started off very promising – lots of attack, and not a single falter UNTIL that rather noticeable slip of the hand and momentary loss of connection, which I have to assume was due to Kelly’s nerves.  I seriously thought she might pass out, as anxious as she was looking beforehand.  But she did manage to regain her footing, and I was actually impressed that she managed to do her whole turning sequence without getting dizzy or off-balance this time.  But she just looked so SCARED, and while she corrected the problems from last time, she had problems with a different section this time.  Was it an improvement? Sure. But I don’t think it was perfect, and I kinda wish Bruno had docked her half a point as well – if you’re going to point out an obvious error, I think you should adjust your score accordingly.  Len may have given her a 10, but at least he did it WITHOUT also pointing out the mistake she made.  Moving on to the freestyle…*sigh* This is the part where I chastise Val for making the rookie freestyle mistake of kinda copping out with a movie theme that is SO iconic that he & Kelly had no hope of ever living up to the original – and then even going as far as to copying some of that iconic choreography, so it makes the contrast to the original even more obvious and just makes the copier pale in comparison to the original.  Historically, dance movie-themed freestyles on the show have not gone over well - examples that come to mind are Mya & Dmitry’s Hairspray freestyle, Gilles & Cheryl’s Flashdance freestyle, Evan & Anna’s Footloose freestyle, Stacy & Tony’s Saturday Night Fever freestyle, and Bristol & Mark’s Chicago freestyle.  Why? They’re almost always cheap, generic knockoffs of the original, and we’re kinda just left feeling “meh” about the whole dance.  I think this was the biggest flaw of Kelly & Val’s freestyle – the overall theme (and choreography) was a watered-down, lukewarm copy of the show-stopped Swayze & Grey number from the end of Dirty Dancing.  Did it have relevance to Kelly & Val’s relationship? Ok, maybe – but I think they would have fared better had they stayed away from such a recognizable piece of music and the choreography associated with it, and done something more unique to them.  As for the dancing itself – as with many of their dances, it felt like it took a long time for them to finally start dancing, and there seemed to be a few stutters and what I call “empty space”: gaps in the choreography where more dancing could be fit in, but instead we had…standing around.  The lifts were decent, but I think they paled in comparison to both Melissa & Shawn’s; I thought the troupe rushing in like a disorganized herd of elephants was a BIG mistake, though.  It was at that moment that I really lost sight of Kelly, who should have been the focus for the whole routine.  The choir? Ok, cute touch, but I think it too distracted from Kelly.  Overall, just wayyyy too many people onstage for her dance, and if they were going to copy anything, they should have copied the section of Tony & Cheryl’s DD routine where the group comes in, because it was far more organized and not nearly as distracting.  Yes, Kelly & Val had great chemistry – but has that ever really been a problem? I guess I’m just glad they didn’t go the route of over-the-top mush, so I will give them props for that.  Was it a good routine? Mehhh…they danced what they had well enough, but I just think the content (and theme) could have been much better thought out.  In the end, I think Kelly will likely end up in 3rd - especially if things end up like I think they will after the instant dance.  I’m guessing it’s going to be ranked, in which case I think the judges easily give her 3rd place; and “soap fanbase” or not, I think Shawn has always had her beat, and I think Melissa’s more buzzworthy at the moment.

: Shawn & Derek

I would LOVE to be wrong and for these two to win – I think they deserve it.  But part of me just can’t shake the feeling that there are too many people riding on the “Melissa & Tony have never won before so they should win this time” train for Shawn & Derek to overcome – especially since they got reamed for their quickstep, which I’m feeling on-the-fence about.  As I said earlier, I kinda hate the whole “repeat your favorite dance again!” concept, because I feel like the routines only have a small margin for improvement…and even if they don’t improve, the judges tend to cop out and give them inflated scores anyway.  But that said – I really wish Derek would have given my nerves a rest and just tweaked the choreography a bit for a few more points.  I think they still have the opportunity to slide into at least 2nd place – but I’m just not sure that the rule-breaking was worth the risk this time.  The rule-breaking left the door WIDE open for those judges to storyboard the crap out of this week, for them to lowball Shawn, the early frontrunner, in order to give the impression of it being “anyone’s game”.  The routine was spectacular once again – but I thought it was only maybe a tad better than the original, since there wasn’t really a lot of stuff to improve upon, other than the choreography itself.  I would be resting a lot easier tonight if they had just picked their mambo and knocked it out of the park again - which makes me wonder, like Heidi, if these dances were chosen FOR them, as opposed to being chosen BY them.  As for their freestyle – I may have a colorful and varied vocabulary, but I believe the best response to this once was “OMG.”  STUNNING tricks, especially the counterbalance stretch at the beginning and that insane falling-face-first-towards-the-floor-from-my-partner’s-shoulders-but-gracefully-ducking-into-a-roll-at-the-last-possible-moment stunt that left me holding my breath.  I officially crown that the most ambitious stunt ever attempted in DWTS history, because that was some seriously dangerous sh*t, kids.  Loved the fact that Derek included bits & pieces of their mambo, bhangra, Argentine tango, and a few other dances in their freestyle – he knows Len just eats that stuff up.  Also loved the Fab 5 backing Shawn up – so cute seeing them gyrating in their matching black costumes, and nailing the choreography as only a squad of Olympic gold medalists could :-) Overall, if it were up to me, these two would walk away with the MBT tomorrow night – because they have danced flawlessly, entertained me week after week, and have brought something new to the table each time they hit the floor.  That, to me, is what the champion of the all-star season should be…I’m praying I’m wrong about the results tomorrow night!

The winner: Melissa & Tony

In the end, I won’t be upset if these two win – they’ve been working hard and giving us good, drama-free dance each week, and dammit, they’re likeable :-) I think both of them have stepped out of their comfort zone quite a bit this season and have really grown, and even though they may not have been the most technical or the most entertaining dancers each week, I still enjoyed watching them.  But I do think they were a bit overscored tonight, and maybe lacked a little bit of the panache of both Shawn & Derek and Kelly & Val.  Their samba – I actually think it was a little bit of a backslide from the original, because it didn’t feel as fluid to me this time.  Rather than Melissa just moving through it effortlessly like she did last time, it felt a bit more…I don’t know, stop-and-go this time? As if Tony had maybe focused a bit too much on having her really accentuate each step, and the end result looked a bit too isolated.  It defintely wasn’t bad, but I just preferred the original myself – seemed like she wasn’t under as much pressure and enjoyed the dance more.  Then we have their freestyle – as a side note, I have to wonder if Tony was drawing inspiration from Eric Luna & Georgia Ambarian, an incredible theater arts champion couple, when he was choreographing this routine – because a lot of these lifts had a very Eric & Georgia feel to them, and even Melissa’s costume reminded me of one I’d seen on Georgia before.  Anywho! I’m a little bit torn on this one – I normally complain about routines that are too lift-dependent, and I feel like this routine was almost entirely lifts.  But I will say this: Tony is still the best lifter we’ve seen on the show, and I think Melissa may have given Julianne a run for her money as the best liftee tonight – because the lifts they did were just stunning.  It was a beautiful routine – and I do feel like it was a good homage to Melissa’s routine on the show.  But I think going with such a slow song was a bit of a gamble…the only precedent we have for a freestyle done to more of a ballad was Erin & Maks’ in season 10, and it only seem to read lukewarm with fans.  I think Melissa’s was definitely better, but I wonder if she might have a more competitive edge against Shawn & Kelly with a more uptempo song.  In the end, I won’t really mind too much if Melissa wins – she’s nice, she’s worked hard, and I think she & Tony have had the right attitude about this season.  Guess we’ll have to see how things pan out after the instant dance…

So who do you guys think will be walking home with the MBT tomorrow night? And which returning stars are you looking forward to seeing? :-)

November 26, 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!

SPOILERS – DWTS Season 15, Week 5 – Who Got What Scores for Tuesday’s Show?

Well, if you want to know, you have to click on the little “read more” button. :-) Read more..

October 22, 2012 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

DWTS 15, Week 5 – Power Rankings, Part I

So this no elim/split performance night sure does throw a wrench into the normal, everyday workings here at Pure :-P I realize that, since there is no elimination this week, it’s sort of pointless to try and predict who goes home – but the power rankings do allow for some interesting discussion, so we don’t want to just skip them altogether.  So just think of these as “theoretical power rankings” – who I would predict to go home if there actually was an elimination this week.  And since it’s split into two nights, this is what I’m going to do: tonight’s rankings are just for those that we saw dancing individually tonight (Gilles & Peta, Kelly & Val, Kirstie & Maks, Emmitt & Cheryl) - so if these were the only contestants left, who I would predict to go home out of the four.  I’ll also include some thoughts on Team “Call Me Maybe”. For tomorrow’s rankings, I will rank EVERYONE – and to save myself the work (and the redundancy) of commenting on every single couple again, I will probably just copy and paste my commentary from this post, and add any additional commentary I feel necessary after seeing tomorrow night’s couples dance.  Make sense? Good…because I’m not so sure I understand it myself :-P

1.) Gilles & Peta – Well, guess I can’t really get too mad at the overscoring of this one, since it’s kind of become par for the course this season.  I actually thought Gilles had some really nice lines in this rumba – he was actually extending both his arms and his legs nicely.  But my big problem was that I still felt like Peta was doing all the work…and it got a little repetitive.  To concur with Len, I got tired of the leg extensions and displays of flexibility really quickly, and it seemed to slow everything down just a little too much.  It was a time-waster in an already shortened routine.  It seemed like the first part (the a cappella part) was nice, and then once the crescendo hit with the instruments it was all overwrought emotion from there on out.  I would have probably given it a 28, tops, because I felt like there just wasn’t as much content as there should have been.  29.5 is an awfully cushy score.

2.) Emmitt & Cheryl – Lack of hip action and excessive shimmying aside – I actually ended up really liking this routine :-) Probably my favorite individual routine of the night, as Emmitt just seemed to be having a ton of fun to a really cheesy song.  I got a little worried at the beginning when I saw Cheryl doing a lot of shimmying around Emmitt, thinking that this would be a repeat of their bolero where Cheryl just did a lot of dancing around him.  But once they got into the routine a little more, I thought he did a pretty good amount of moving himself, and there actually was a considerable amount of samba content in this routine (you listening, Val?) Could have done without the giant inflatable parrots, but hey, we can’t always get what we want ;-)

3.) Kirstie & Maks – Technically, I think it was the best routine Kirstie’s done so far this season, but I just ended up feeling kind of “meh” about it – probably because both Kirstie & Maks looked uncharacteristically cheerless in it.  Seriously, between the black costumes and their intense, focused expressions, I thought they were quickstepping at a funeral.  Did Mrs. Robinson die at the end of The Graduate? I’m confused :-P  Guess after I heard what song they were dancing to, I was expecting this dance to be as camp as Christmas – but it was just too tame.  I think she started off strong and had a good frame, and then maybe got a little bungled up on the bouncing sections, but overall I liked the choreography.  Just wish they would have remembered to have fun with it :-P If we were basing this week’s elim solely on this one dance, I’d say Kirstie should probably be a bit worried – but since she’s got the team dance (and next week’s dances) to give her a boost, I wouldn’t be too worried…yet.

4.) Kelly & Val – Anyone else think they may have phoned it in on this samba, given how stressed and busy they were showing Kelly to be in the reheasal package? :-( I don’t feel like Kelly or Val really got 100% into this routine, and for the first time since week 2, I saw Kelly get a little bit intimidated and unsure of herself out on the floor.  She also seemed a little wobbly, and I saw some funky arms & legs…a few “Bambi on Ice” moments.  I could have done without all of the touchy-feely-sexy-ooh-look-at-how-much-chemistry-we-have stuff at the beginning, and I would have liked a little more meat & potatoes samba in this samba, but that kinda goes without saying.  Len & I were surprisingly like-minded in regards to tonight’s show :-P But again, I have to wonder if Kelly & Val had a rough week between her work schedule and the team dance rehearsal, and maybe knew they were kind of half-assing it – because neither one looked very surprised or upset by the critiques or scores they got.  Perhaps they took a calculated risk in a week they knew wouldn’t matter too much? If I were Kelly, I would be slightly worried after this routine – for the simple reason that it seemed to really expose her weaknesses.

Thoughts on Team “Call Me Maybe”: As I said on Twitter, this routine was so stinkin’ cute :-) But with a song like that, can you go any other route except cute? :-P I thought the theme was genius: it fit the mood of the song perfectly, capitalized on the celebs strengths (3 girls with cheerleading skills and one guy that is just cool…and hot ;-) ), and made for some cute costumes and scenery.  Loved the stepping portion at the beginning with the guys; thought the group sections were a nice combination of freestyle moves and enough proper ballroom to please Len – they were also sufficiently synchronized, given that some of the moves (like the leap frog over their partners) are hard to really do 100% in synch.  I also thought the individual sections were nicely reflective of each partnership – Sabrina got to be sassy with Louis, Shawn & Derek got to be fun & cheesy, Melissa got to be “pretty” and move smoothly with Tony, and Apolo & Karina got to make up for their hip-hop mishap last week :-) At the end, I was left smiling and feeling proud of them – they could have gone totally crazy and gone for shock value rather than technique, but they managed to throw it a lot of real dancing along with a great deal of entertainment value.  I would be pissed at CAI giving them a half-point shy of a perfect 30, but we all know she’s saving her 10 paddle virginity for Team Gangnam Style this week.  :::eye roll::: Oh well – at least they can only hope to get a half point more than Shawn’s team, tops.  That’s good enough for me ;-)

So what did you guys think of tonight’s dances? Be sure to keep an eye out for any spoilers we might post about tomorrow night’s show…and avert your eyes accordingly, if you want to be surprised 8-)

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!