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PureDWTS Exclusive! An Interview with Randall Christensen, Part II

Last week, we gave you part one of our exclusive interview with Randall Christensen, the costume designer for season 2-12 of DWTS.  Now read on for more insight from the man behind the costumes…as well as some exciting news! :-D

What are some of the shows that stood out for you the most when you costumed them, and why? (i.e. certain theme nights, specific seasons, finales, etc.)

Randall Christensen:  Movie/Broadway or TV night is always great fun.  We get to step out of character even more.  If you can dream it up, SOMEONE will wear it!  Themed nights are always fun.  Loved the Halloween show back several years ago.  Edyta as Morticia Addams (The Addams Family), Monique Coleman/Louis van Amstel in their “Ghostbusters” tear away coveralls, to “slime” green…..great fun!  Doing specific time periods are fun and challenging as well.  Doing a retro ‘50’s Paso Doble for Nicole Scherzinger was one of the most challenging, as the Paso Doble is so serious and passionate, yet the ‘50’s inspired song just didn’t go…..but Derek is a genius with choreography, and we came up with a fun yet strong look for them both.

If you could pick any of the pros, past or present, on the show to be your assistant, who would it be and why?

RC:  Hands down, Edyta Sliwinska would be a great co-designer.  She has such an eye for style!  Lacey Schwimmer has some really fun, “out there” and cutting edge ideas too.

What was the best part of your job on DWTS?

RC:  Hands down, the best part of my job was the trust of the producers, and being able to create with such freedom.  You just do NOT get that in the television industry, and that was the most rewarding thing I can imagine.  Weekly, the most rewarding part of my job was when Harold Wheeler and orchestra start playing the overture, there’s not a week that went by that I was ALWAYS there, with shivers running down my spine.  When those couples came down that stairway……truly a magical moment each and every week.  I never missed that descending down the stairs at the top of the show – NEVER! Read more..

January 17, 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!

DWTS13 Who Danced it Better? Halloween Edition

And the parade of song dittos just keeps on coming.  :-) Seriously, I find myself groaning aloud each week when I see the song list – “Ugh, that one AGAIN!” or “I feel like they just used that song!!!” But alas, at the very least, it makes throwing these posts together a cinch ;-)

Lotsa dittos this past week – the only ones who managed to make it through semi-unscathed by the reuse of songs that probably shouldn’t have been reused were Nancy, Hope, & David.  Guess that was to be expected, though, since there aren’t too many songs that are both Halloweenish and suitable for ballroom!

Battle of Evanescence “Bring Me to Life”

As most of you already know, it was Evan & Anna’s paso doble song in season 10:

And then, this past week, it was the song for Team Paso Doble:

Court’s take: I have to say I was a bit shocked that they were reusing the music from a very memorable routine, and I gotta give this one to Evan & Anna.  Both routines are great, and this song is damn near perfect for a very dramatic, intense paso doble – but compared to Evan & Anna, who were absolutely KILLING their routine, team paso doble was just kinda kicking it in the shins.  :-) And on a side note, it’s amazing what you notice when you watch these routines the 2nd or 3rd time around – Evan looks a lot better than I remembered him being at the time (guess a few seasons of subpar dancing will make you recognize REAL talent even more!), and Hope looks off-time in several parts of team paso.  That cape section Evan did was SUPERB. 

Battle of Rihanna’s “Disturbia”

Lance & Lacey had their tango to it in season 7, Lacey’s very first season on the show:

 And it was Team Tango’s song this past week:

Court’s take: Why oh whyyyy did they pick this song to reuse for a tango??? I mean, the lyrics are edgy…but the beat is so clubby & dancey.  Not edgy enough for a tango, IMO.  But anyway.  As overrated as I thought Lance & Lacey’s tango was at the time (and I still kinda do), it was better than team tango’s interpretation of the song.  I liked how Lance & Lacey went the classy-edgy route, with the dark costuming and slight tweaks in choreo to make the dance feel “creepier”; in retrospect, it just seems like team tango was doing a regular tango in straightjackets and kinda let that be our only indicator that it was a scary Halloween tango.  I will say this, though: I still think Lacey’s ballroom is horrid.  You could drive a boat show between her & Lance…and that footwork? Yeesh.  And as ho-hum as I felt about the team tango on the whole, I actually really liked JR & Karina’s section, upon second viewing.  Liked that body wave move they did in reverse :-)

 Battle of Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams”

It was first used as Chad & Cheryl’s tango in season 10:

 And then it was Ricki & Derek’s paso this week:

 Court’s take: Considering that most of you probably didn’t remember that it was Chad & Cheryl’s tango, you’ll probably agree that Ricki & Derek had the better interpretation :-) Chad & Cheryl were just a non-event to me – it was just a garden-variety example of their usual routine each week that season, with Chad just kinda walking through the steps while Cheryl danced circles around him.  I think I remembered Cheryl’s dress more than the dance itself – that was during her sheer-skirted ballgown phase, and I remember the back being vaguely…thong-like.  :-P It may not have been the most compelling paso doble that Derek has ever choreographed, but for me it at least managed to take a step beyond the stereotypical Halloween schlock we saw this week.  Plus I just kinda dig Little Red Riding Hood – my favorite Halloween costume everrrrrr. ;-)

 Battle of Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters”

Monique & Louis had it as their cha-cha song during the first Halloween show back in season 3:

And JR & Karina got it as their tango this week:

 Court’s take: This is almost a no-contest to me – Monique & Louis!!! The song was positively sucktastic as a tango and I think JR may have been 2nd only to Nancy in song screwage this week.  Wayyyy too hard to keep timing.  And let me just say this: I think Monique may be one of the most underrated contestants that’s ever been on this show, and I think Louis is capable of being every bit as creative as Derek, Maks, or Mark – when he has the right partner :-) I loved this cha-cha – it was fun, cute, cheeky, creative, and yet still a proper cha-cha.  And Monique is like the DWTS-conceived love child of Kyle Massey & Lil Kim – she was a sassy showgirl like Kim, with the skill & youthful appeal (and Disney pedigree) of Kyle.  That girl could DANCE, too – kinda makes me wonder if she would have fared better (and possibly won) if she was in a less-competitive season. 

 Battle of “The Addams Family Theme”

Another gimme from the original Halloween episode in season 3, it was Joey & Edyta’s tango:

And Rob & Cheryl had it again this Halloween episode:

Court’s take: This is a little bit of a weird one for me, as I’m not particularly fond of “The Addams Family” as a tango – even though it has a strong tango beat, it just seems…hokey. :-) And I think both guys had different strengths in their respective routines – Joey’s was definitely better from a technical standpoint, but I thought Rob played the character a bit better.  I enjoyed both for different reasons.  But overall – I just don’t ever want to hear this song again on DWTS!

November 2, 2011 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 Tacky Dance Themes

So I was going through old dances and remembered how on Season 10 there was a “Movie Night” where every dance was a theme song to a movie. But there have been other dances that were done over the seasons that were themed to a movie in the past… So stemming from “Movie Night” and some of the tackiest dances to come with it, I decided to come up with a few dances from the past that were just as tacky, if not funny ;)

EDIT: So what is my criteria for a “tacky” dance theme? Three simple factors naturally (music, costumes, nuances), but they all have to tie into one thing: the television or movie program that they are tied to. Each factor will be rated on a scale of one (not that tacky) to three (way too tacky). You’ll see what I mean as I go through each dance.

Season 4: Joey Fatone & Kym Johnson
Dance: Tango
TV/Movie Program: Star Wars
Tackiness Quotient
Music: Star Wars Theme Song… enough said. Score: 3
Costuming: So we have Kym dressed up as a Princess Leia wannabee, and Joey Fatone starting off as a Jedi Knight, complete with a lightsaber. Granted Joey shedded the cloak and had a suit underneath rather than the Jedi cloths that are so prevalent in the movies, so it wasn’t totally tacky, but still. Score: 2.5
Nuances: First they started the package with having R2D2 in rehearsal, and then the dance started with a lightsaber sequence? Yeeeaaaah, how about no? I’ll give them props in having Joey wearing a suit rather than a full Jedi getup, so it’s not totally tacky, but darn it’s high up there. Score: 2
Conclusion: Total Score: 7.5 out of a possible 9.
Yes, I think this dance was tacky, but hey, Joey likes Star Wars so I can’t fault him for that. In fact Joey liked this dance so much that he wanted to reprise this dance for the finale… Que sera sera.

Season 3: Joey Lawrence & Edyta Sliwinska
Dance: Tango
TV/Movie Program: Addams Family
Tackiness Quotient
Music: Addams Family Theme Song… again enough said. Score: 3
Costuming: Edyta as Morticia and Joey Lawrence as a taller, skinnier, and mustache-less Gomez? uh… Well it doesn’t necessarily invoke the movie as much as one would think so… Score: 2
Nuances: The dance steps are pretty cut and dry, and it didn’t really invoke the Addams Family mood, let alone the “tango” dancing that Morticia and Gomez are known for.. so Score: 1
Conclusion: Total Score: 6 out of 9.
So this dance happened because waaaay back when, Season 3 happened to coincide with Halloween, as thus every song danced for “Halloween Night” had some sort of spooky theme to it. And what is a Halloween Night without an Addams Family dance?

Season 3: Monique Coleman & Louis van Amstel
Dance: Cha Cha
TV/Movie Program: Ghostbusters
Tackiness Quotient:
Music: The Ghostbusters? Eh, not as bad… but still pretty bad. Score: 2
Costuming: So they both started with the Ghostbusters getup before stripping? But what the frack is Monique wearing? Forget what she was wearing, look at her make-up and hair! Ugh! Just for that alone.. Score: 3
Nuances: For me, there wasn’t really anything that invoked the Ghostbusters as much as I would have thought. So they lucked out. Score: 1
Conclusion: Final Score: 6 out of 9
Same as above, what’s a Halloween Night without some ghosts? Who do you wanna call when there’s a ghost in the neighborhood? Ghostbusters! But in all seriousness, other than the song (and even the song wasn’t all that tacky) the dance to me seemed a bit cut and dry… so not really as tacky as other dances because it could have been a lot worse.

Season 7: Kim Kardashian & Mark Ballas
Dance: Foxtrot
TV/Movie Program: Pink Panther
Tackiness Quotient:
Music: Pink Panther Theme Song… It’s an instrumental, and more often than not instrumental piece don’t induce tackiness to me, but the Pink Panther (I believe) is a bit more widely known and as thus… Score: 2
Costuming: What’s the Pink Panther without a lot of PINK… ugh. Way too much pink for my liking… Score: 3
Nuances: Overall it’s a decent routine, for what it was. Lots of finger snapping and what not. There are times that I kind of cringed as thus this gets… Score: 2
Conclusion: Final Score 7 out of 9
Nobody pulls off pink better than… Mark! With some well placed nuances and what nots it isn’t a bad routine… it’s just ok for what it was.

September 7, 2010 I Written By

My life can be summed up in the following two quotes: 1) "I am married to engineering and am its faithful wife by day, but at night my wanderlust takes hold and the arts becomes my jealous paramour." and... 2) "Engineering is my safety net. Writing is my passion. Acting is my escape when the other two become too much." So where does dancing fit in? Pretty much anywhere at this point... =)