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Former Dancing With The Stars Champ Jennifer Grey Judges Strictly Come Dancing

Several of you asked if we’d report on Jennifer Grey’s appearance as a replacement judge for Len Goodman on Strictly Come Dancing in the UK last night. According to Metro, Jennifer was most impressed last night with Chelsee Healey and partner Pasha Kovalev. Right after their Charleston, Jennifer quoted a line all too familiar to us all and said, “You’re the baby in the competition. Well after that performance, no one is going to put baby in the corner.” Watch below…

There is a super write-up in the Daily Mail on the entire show last night (which also includes some great pictures). Of Alex Jones and James Jordan’s Quickstep, Jennifer remarked, ‘It was like a fine champagne. It was bubbly, effervescent, and made me feel giddy.’

Receiving some of his worst comments from the judges was Jason Donovan and his partner Kristina Rihanoff. Of their Rumba, Jennifer said, “You killed me softly with the that rumba. I think you need to dig deeper and connect more to your sexy power. I wanna feel more lust.”

Lulu and her professional partner Brendan Cole opened the show. Judging their Tango, Jennifer remarked with this: “How gorgeous are you? That was phenomenal. I don’t know what they’re putting in your porridge but I want some. Obviously, we have little slip-ups but I couldn’t help but love everything about you.”

If you go to MrAtariST You Tube Channel, you can watch Jennifer and view all the performances, the judges critiques, and scoring for the night. You’ll also be able to watch the whole episode in a couple of days at Strictly Come Dancing’s official site.

Also, before the show last night, Jennifer did a 60 second chat with Strictly Come Dancing’s online presenter, Nikki Dean (pictured with Jennifer above). Jennifer spoke on her biggest dance inspiration (Derek Hough and Nicole Scherzinger), her future career plans which include something dance related, her time on Dancing With The Stars, and more.

When it comes to dancing who is your biggest inspiration?
I was really just blown away by Derek (Hough) and his dancing and I just wanted to live up to his previous partner, which was Nicole Scherzinger and it was just painful every time I saw one of her dances because I just thought ‘How did that happen? How did she get there?’

Well of course you went on to win Dancing with the Stars with Derek and have starred in arguably the biggest dance movie ever, what career ambitions do you have left to achieve?
I have so many career achievements that I must do before I die, but I do know that I want to create a place where everybody can dance and experience the joy of dancing so I’m working on a project at the moment.

What was you favourite Dancing With The Stars moment?
I feel like the beginning was the best as the pressure hadn’t gotten so intense that it became a misery. It’s almost like there’s cycles and the beginning was like the honeymoon phase, we’re like ‘this is so incredible I get to dance hours every day and I get to learn all these great dances’ you have three weeks to learn basics of one dance. All of a sudden you’re learning two dances a week with only three or four days to learn a whole routine. I was not into the pressure and learning things immediately as I’m a really slow study.

When I was doing the Argentine tango that was one of the most painful weeks in rehearsal and the outcome was so exceptional that that was a real high for me.

How did it feel when you won Dancing with the Stars?
Winning at the end was amazing but I had ruptured a disc the night before in my freestyle so I was in the hospital the morning that I won in the operating room. I still had marks from the oxygen tubes on my face when I was in make up so I was a little like a zombie when I went out there. It was a little bit lacking what you think it might be as I think I was just running on fumes.

What would your advice be to this year’s Strictly contestants having been on the journey yourself?
Go for it, push yourself, break out of the pack, look after your health and do nothing else. Nothing! Just dance and eat and sleep and dance and eat and sleep.

Have you kept up the dancing since?
I wish, no I have not but there’s nearly no place to do it.

How are Strictly judges Len and Bruno perceived by American audiences on Dancing With The Stars?
They are beloved. They love booing Len and they scream with laughter at the hilarity of Bruno, I think they just love the show – they just love all of the bits of it.

You can read the interview in full here.

Sounds like a great night of TV for the UK and Jennifer was beautiful as always!! Here’s to Strictly Come Dancing’s results show tonight!!

November 6, 2011 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

Jennifer Grey On DWTS, Derek Hough, And Judging Strictly Come Dancing

This weekend, Jennifer Grey is appearing on the UK version of the show as a stand-in judge for Len Goodman. She’s hopes to “bring honesty” to the panel. In a new promo interview with the BBC, Jennifer talks of what it was like to do Dirty Dancing and how Patrick Swayze got her the role. She also speaks about doing Dancing With The Stars in the US and a little of what she went through with her partner, Derek Hough. Great article. You can read more in a take from Film News below.

Jennifer says despite her starring role in Dirty Dancing, she is not a natural performer.

“Derek was frustrated because I’m not a dancer. I was only a weekend one. I put on Michael Jackson on my boom box,” she smiled. “I was a lover of dance.”

Jennifer confessed the show was hard work. The Golden Globe-nominated star says rehearsals were gruelling and often left her feeling vulnerable.

“It’s about embracing the opportunity and facing your fears. You have to dig so deep,” she recalled.

“Each week I didn’t feel ready. I could not get through a dress rehearsal without crying or some sort of drama. It’s very intense.”

Jennifer is appearing on the UK version of the show this weekend as a stand-in judge. The 51-year-old hopes to bring honesty to the panel of Strictly Come Dancing.

“I’m a really judgemental person!” she laughed.

“I have so much compassion, and I’m going to be really honest.”

Picture above is of Jennifer and Kenny Ortega at the 2011 Rising Stars Gala on Oct. 29th. You can view more pictures of her at this event at Zimbio.com.

Adding: Thanks to @ElmariL, here is the BBC interview;

November 4, 2011 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

DWTS Ricki Lake, Derek Hough, And Jennifer Grey Attend Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater L.A. Rising Stars Gala

Below are new some pictures which show off Ricki Lake’s new figure courtesy of the Daily Mail. Ricki attended the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles Annual Rising Stars Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California this week. Derek and Jennifer Grey were also at the event. Wouldn’t it have been fun to listen to the conversation these three had?

ADDING: People.com also have a new article up where Ricki talks about how losing weight has helped her sex life. Derek commented on it as well. LOL More below….

“When I get home [from rehearsals], I train horizontally,” she said. “[My fiancé] has noticed a difference in my stamina over the last couple of weeks.”

But a bashful Derek Hough, 26 – who stood by his partner’s side as she dished about her deets between the sheets – tried to cut the conversation short.

“Derek knows all about [my sex life],” Lake admitted unashamedly, as Hough turned his head. “He hears about it. Derek and I have gotten to know each other, so, you know, I share stuff with him.”

Hough, who stayed mostly mum on the taboo topic, would only say, “I guess that means I’m not working her hard enough during rehearsals. I want her to go home and collapse.”

October 29, 2011 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

DWTS Who Wore it Better? Part XIV – The Pre-Season 13 Edition!

While you guys got to ooh, ahh, and discuss the official season 13 promo photos, I was busy trying to compile everything for WWIB – so you’ll have to forgive me if I’m a bit cranky in these critiques. :-) In reality, I actually started compiling pictures for this last week, after the first celebs tweeted pix of themselves at their respective shoots, but it still left a lot to do once they FINALLY released the pix today (3 days late, I might add…ahem, ABC, you listening? ;-)).  Anywho! As I was telling Heidi, there were definitely a few…odd things about this season’s promo photos.  So let’s get right to it, shall we?

Battle of the midnight blue, sparkly one-shoulder rumba dress: Anna’s pre-season 13 photo shoot with Carson vs. Anna’s rumba with Evan in season 10

Courtney: I was joking on Twitter that I bet Carson was the reason the promo photos were released later than usual – he must’ve been picky about he & Anna’s costumes ;-) From the look on Carson’s face, maybe he didn’t get his way – he looks pouty.  Then again, maybe it’s just extraordinarily awkward for him to be touching Anna “that way”…look at how awkwardly his hands are placed.  I worry that these 2 could struggle with really romantic dances like the rumba, if that’s what’s really going here.  Then again, Carson could take to the drama of the dances like a fish to water…but anyway! Love Anna, love this dress & the color of it, but I have to go with rumba Anna for this one, for reasons of hair alone – WTF were they trying to do with it in the photoshoot? Seems like they were torn between some Snooki-like bump in the back and loose waves in the front.  Ooh wee.  And can I just say, this dress is far too similar to the rumba dress she wore with Kurt in season 11 – when you’re dealing with various lighting conditions in photos, it’s hard to tell the 2 apart!

Heidi: Yep, I have to go with Rumba Anna too – and it was also about the hair for me too. :-)  I think we’re, like, mind-melding or something.  Poor Carson. His lack of experience with women may end up costing him.  I believe he did say that himself, did he not?

The winner: Rumba Anna!! It’s all in the hair.

Battle of the flowy, white, jeweled ballgown: Elisabetta’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Val vs. Chelsea’s foxtrot with Mark in season 12

Heidi: Do NOT understand the need to chop off the length on these gorgeous ballroom dresses. WHY?? This dress on Chelsea was so gorgeous, long and flowy – and it loses all it’s impact once it’s chopped off.  Gotta go with Chelsea for style….not to mention that I don’t find Val attractive so that kinda hurts Elisabetta’s chances with me. :-)

Courtney: I may have “hated” on Chelsea & Mark all last season (according to some readers…) but I have to say – this was my favorite dress Chelsea wore.  Thought it was simple, elegant, and age-appropriate.  And while I think Elisabetta looks STUNNING in it, I have to go with Chelsea here – the overall styling & very old Hollywood feel they gave her seems to suit the dress better. One funny note: did they catch Val trying to sniff Elisabetta’s hair? Because his face is half-covered by it, and he looks…guilty. ;-)

The winner:  Chelsea by a length.

Battle of the cranberry silk embroidered ballgown: Hope’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Maks vs. Jennifer’s tango with Derek in season 11

Courtney: Can’t remember who it was that called this the “red velvet cake” dress, but you’re totally on the money…and making me crave baked goods.  :-P Or maybe cranberry juice.  Anywho! We don’t see too many cranberry-hued costumes on the show – maybe because it feels like a very formal shade? Idk.  I love the embroidery on the sleeves & waist, and I always love open-backed dresses, but I have to say I think a bit of the magic of the original was lost when they shortened the dress – by shortening it, I think they were trying to make it feel more “Latin” than ballroom, but the color & styling of the bodice still scream “ballroom!” to me…so for that reason, I’m gonna go with Jennifer.  I prefer the dress long, and the pulled-back hair & matching lipstick complete the look.

Heidi: Again, the chopping up of a perfectly beautiful dress. Gotta go with Courtney and choose Jennifer.  Frankly, the dress just doesn’t look right shorter and Court pretty much summed up why. I do like Maks’ matching shirt though – that’s a nice touch.

Courtney: I think I figured out why exactly I don’t love the shortened version: it looks too much like a figure skating costume.  Slap some skates on Hope and she’s ready for Skating with the Stars. Why couldn’t they have put her in a different cranberry-colored Latin costume? Like maybe Audrina’s Argentine tango costume?

The winner: Red velvet cake is always a winner…but we prefer our pieces with some length to them.

Battle of the silver-fringed, jeweled Latin dress: Karina’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with JR vs. Chelsie’s pre-season 12 photoshoot vs. Chelsie’s cha-cha with Jake in season 10

Heidi: I love Karina’s bangs!  She looks very pretty.  But I think I’ll go with the middle Chelsie…I deduct points for the long black gloves as an accessory choice with this dress. I do not like the above-the-elbow gloves with the short latin dresses. Just don’t get that fashion choice at all. So, while middle Chelsie wins for me, Karina takes second and right Chelsie gets third place. :-)

Courtney: This was one of the many oddities I noticed with this season’s photo shoot pictures – why did Karina decide to reuse a dress that had already been worn for a promo pic? Let alone one that was just used LAST SEASON.  It may not seem like a big deal, but to my knowledge, no costume has ever gotten used in a promo shoot more than once, and since the promo photos are often the ones that linger the longest of any of the photos taken during a particular season, you’d think they’d try harder to make them more…unique.  It’s not like they don’t have a ton of costumes to choose from :-) But I digress once more.  Gotta stick with Chelsie on this one, because this doesn’t look like something Karina would design for herself – all the more reason I am befuddled as to why it was picked for her.

The winner: Chelsie still owns the battle of the silver fringe.

Battle of the cranberry corset-top, tulle-overlayed dress: Lacey’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Chaz vs. Lacey in the “Toxic” showdown with Val in season 11

Heidi: Gotta say, I think this one is a draw for me. I think it’s a rather silly dress to begin with, and while I like the red streaks in Lacey’s hair on the right, I despise those little chopped up gloves that she’s wearing. So….a tie. :-)  I will say though, that that lighting on the left-hand picture compliments the dress more – you can see all the detail work on it much better.

Courtney: Tee hee…my screen-capping skillz make me giggle sometimes ;-) If you’re wondering exactly what Lacey is doing in the photo on the right – I think she’s attempting to make some sort of come-hither gesture to Val and is failing.  :-P I can’t say I’m wild about this dress, but it does look very “Lacey-ish”.  I guess I prefer it in the “Toxic” number – the streaks in the hair & the edgy makeup seem to suit it better than the more plain makeup & hair they gave her in the pre-season photoshoot. Another observation: I know some people are saying “Oh, Chaz must not be that short after all – Lacey’s standing next to him wearing heels.” Well, he may actually be a bit taller than her, but I think they’re already employing a few tricks to help as well – Lacey’s standing further back than he is, which could alter the perspective; and it looks like Chaz’s hair is gelled straight up, and he may have a bit of a heel on his shoes.  Now let’s see if they have tricks to minimize the height difference between Peta & Ron, too…

The winner: Lacey…and no one else. :-P

Battle of the pearl-encrusted, cut-out tango dress: Kym’s Argentine tango with Hines in season 12 vs. Kym’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with David

Courtney: My favorite dress of season 12, PERIOD.  Love the racy cut-out sides, love the nude color, and ADORE the fact that Kym eschewed the cliched rhinestone coating and had it encrusted with pearls instead.  Love the dress in both pix, but I gotta go with photoshoot Kym – the loose, romantic waves they put in her hair seem to really sexify the dress.

Heidi: Ditto – I also like her partner on the right (cute!) and just her posture is better and works with the dress better.  Totally agree about the hair.  Doesn’t Kym choose this color for her photoshoots a lot?? It’s a color that really works on her.

The winner: Photoshoot Kym proves that pearls can be sexy. 

Battle of the black mesh, fringed & jeweled dress: Ricki’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Derek vs. Marissa’s 2nd rumba with Tony in season 6

Heidi: Mmmmm….Derek. :-)  I’ve got to send his trainer cookies or something for the work he’s done on Derek. He looks…bigger. Or in the words of his trainer…”jacked up”. All growed up. Oh. Dresses. Well, since I don’t like Marissa’s stockings, and I don’t like her hair…and, well, I don’t much like HER, I have to go with Ricki for better hair and a hunkier than ever partner. :-)

Courtney: Love that they’ve got 2 former Tracy Turnblad portrayers in the same dress :-) Seems like kind of a cool homage.  I don’t exactly love this dress, so it makes it hard for me to pick a winner.  Seems to look better with Ricki’s coloring, but that could just be a spray tan and some photoshoot lighting giving her a nice glow.  But wait – is Derek wearing a black shirt with brown pants? WTF???

Heidi: Derek’s wearing pants??  Oh…yes, it appears they are a different color. ;-) Seems to be an odd choice for him. Very out of the ordinary. Wonder why?

The winner: In the tale of two Tracy Turnblads, Ricki emerges victorious :-)

Battle of the brown fringed & jeweled Latin dress: Nancy’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Tristan vs. Kirstie’s 1st samba with Maks in season 12

Courtney: Nancy actually looks quite nice in this dress, methinks.  Perhaps even better than Kirstie.  She’s certainly got her tatas ready for battle! Gotta say – Nancy is pleasantly surprising me so far.  She seems like she’s actually excited to be doing this, and has set aside her courtroom aggression for the meantime.  And Tristan, good on ya – you look happy :-D

Heidi: Ah, we finally disagree on one. I have to go with Kirstie. I think she works this dress better just by nature of her hairstyle which is long and flowing rather than…helmut-y.  Yes, I am making up words as we go.

The winner: It serves both Nancy & Kirstie pretty well…so what can brown do for YOU? ;-)

Battle of the silver silk jeweled ballgown: Pam’s foxtrot with Damian in season 10 vs. Chynna’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Tony

Heidi: Chynna isn’t wearing this dress, the dress is wearing her.  Pam embodies what that dress was designed for – she owns it.  Even the elbow length gloves work with this dress and her hair…and her makeup.  Just gorgeous! And am I mis-remembering or is this another dress that was nearly full length and they’ve chopped it again??  Step AWAY from the scissors!

Courtney: Chynna has aged incredibly well, but the overall effect of this silver gown on her seems…bland.  She’s very pretty, yes, but there’s nothing about the picture that really jumps out at me – and I’m afraid that may be the theme for me with regards to Chynna & Tony this season :-( Whenever I’m rattling off the names of the couples, they always seem to be the ones I forget, maybe because there’s been relatively little media coverage of them.  Idk – maybe they’re deliberately flying under the radar so they can surprise everyone in week one.  Time will tell! But Pam, my little blonde bombshell of season 10 – she’s a total Marilyn in this one, down to the sex kitten hair, elbow-length gloves, and red lips.  *sigh* I miss Pam & Damian…

The winner: You don’t mess with Pam Anderson.

Battle of the black, lacey, fringey dress: Cheryl in the season 12 finale opening dance with Chris vs. Cheryl’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Rob

Courtney: This must be one of those generic dresses they always seem to have on-hand in order to fit a particular color scheme, because nothing about it was really triggering a ”Eureka!” moment for me until someone mentioned that it could be Karina’s dress from the season 11 finale – of course it wasn’t, but it at least got me thinking along the lines of finale performances and that’s where I finally found this one.  It’s pretty, but unremarkable for me – Cheryl herself doesn’t even seem to be uber-excited to be wearing it in either picture.  I guess I’ll go with photoshoot Cheryl, because she’s at least smiling…although Rob still looks like kind of a putz to me.

Heidi: Blah. Boring. Both times. :-(  I think Rob IS a putz. It’s actually painful to have him in my DWTS List on twitter.

The winner: Zzzzz….oh, we were supposed to pick a winner? I guess photoshoot Cheryl…now let me sleep…zzzzzz

Battle of the gold lame/gold sequin romper: Kristin’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Mark vs. Julianne’s freestyle with Helio in season 5 vs. Karina’s pro dance to Selena Gomez with Derek in season 9

Courtney: WARNING: this is NOT the same costume.  Well, Kristin’s is not – I’m convinced they bought that nonsense on the clearance rack at Wet Seal…or bought it at a costume auction after Take Me Home Tonight wrapped (BTW, good movie for a few laughs – well worth the $1.08 the bf & I paid for it at the Redbox ;-)).  In other words – I hate that gold thing and I have no idea why they decided to put such a pretty girl in such a tacky costume when they clearly have a bajillion suitable leftover costumes at their disposal.  *stamps foot* Seriously…whyyyy? Even the the very similar gold sequin romper that Julianne & Karina both wore would be an improvement over this…thing. And don’t even get me started on Mark’s shoes…although, if they were going for the 80′s theme with their photoshoot, he does look vaguely like Duckie from Pretty In Pink…except Duckie is wicked awesome and Mark is just kinda bogus, dude. </80′sslang>

Heidi: Pretty sure they give the dancers a selection to choose from. Just sayin’.  This is one gawdawful dress that made me think trailer park Saturday night when I first saw it. Maybe that’s harsh…but didn’t gold lame dresses go out in the 90′s. Or the 70′s?  Or both?? I mean, really, at least that gawdawful romper (and you all know how I feel about that cut around the legs) IS a romper.  Kristen’s is a dress that is cut up to THERE.  Seriously? You’re going there on day 1? Also, you do realize that Mark got those damn shoes bedazzled don’t you? Because we couldn’t see them well enough as it is – because it is much more important that we see Mark’s feet than his partner’s.  Or…the dude is just tacky.  Are we picking a winner here? I go with Karina because she’s suffocating Derek with her hair. :-)  Helio is cool too though.

The winner: Helio & Karina. And perhaps Jon Cryer.

And a special note on Peta’s dress…

We tried, kids, we really tried…but we (and the many PureDWTS readers I solicited both here and on Twitter) were clueless about this feathered thing Peta is wearing.  I (Court) swear I’ve seen her wear it somewhere OUTSIDE the dance floor (either in the audience of DWTS or another premiere or something), but for the life of me, I cannot recall specifics.  I even asked Peta on Twitter – no response. If you have seen this dress before and can tell us where exactly, we’ll update this post and give you credit :-) But until then, here is some commentary from Heidi & I…

Heidi: What in the hell was Peta thinking?  From the psuedo dress to the pose it’s just all the way wrong.  I think it might actually be the pose that really caps it off.  It kinda looks like Ron is carrying his child in her swimsuit on his hip.  Or you could go slightly porno if you want, but I’m trying not to think about that.  This is actually a horrendous picture for me – such a gorgeous woman but how did she get to this pose in this outfit??

Courtney: I’m sorry, but this seriously seems like the worst of this batch of promo photos to me.  The pose is just totally weird – can you believe that Peta’s leg is actually hidden behind Ron’s back? Believe it – Peta confirmed it.  And this dress just feels odd to me – like they just took a tank top and slapped some feathers on the bottom.  And speaking of bottoms…I hate that Peta’s is just kinda hanging out in this pic.  Add to that the strange pouffy hair, and I’m just left thinking, “WTF???”

September 7, 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!

Dancing with the Stars Celebrities: “What Do You Mean, I’m A Ringer??” Part 1

This is the one issue that comes up over and over again when discussing DWTS. We see it in our comments; you see it tossed about on message boards like an accusation or castigation. Almost always it’s in reference to ALL of Derek’s partners, which is just ridiculous. Most of the male pros and a few of the female pros have had a ringer of one kind at one time or another – that’s just the way it goes. NO ONE has a ringer, or “dancer” every single time – that’s abundantly clear to anyone who engages their brain.  Frankly, if we didn’t have the occasional ringer and had a season of mediocre dancing, I think people would tune out very, very fast.  I don’t mind an amusing or talented ringer – what I DO mind is the revisionist history that follows a DWTS season where the accusations start to fly.  Even the mainstream media and certain pro dancers (cough-Louis-cough) – never very clever at the best of times – chimes in on this hue and cry.  It’s quite narrow minded. And it’s just not that simple – as I will show.  :-)

How do I define “ringer” – well, for me, it’s not so black and white. ALL kinds of people have advantages over other people going into the show that have NOTHING to do with dancing.  To isolate ONE positive attribute (dance experience) and ignore the others is too simplistic and narrow minded. There are also degrees of dance experience from someone who taught dance (Mya) to someone who was in a music group which performed a lot of choreography (Nicole, Lance, Sabrina, Mel B, etc.). Even college or professional cheerleaders fall into the ringer camp, albeit a bit lower on the sliding scale than your average boy bander. There is no denying that training to be a cheerleader and learning the choreo gives you a leg up (cough) on someone like Shannon Doherty or Tom Delay. But if you took dance when you were a little girl, prior to even being a teen ager? Give me a break.  We can certainly debate if there is a real difference between cheerleading and the Pussycat Dolls – but spare me the sermons on how Joanna took ballet until she was 11. If anyone is silly enough to point to that as an advantage – well then nearly ALL the female celebrities have that advantage. Not so.

But those are your ringers with dance experience – what about someone who comes on the show and you know instantly that they are going to win?? Wouldn’t they also be a ringer? I say absolutely. If you come on the show and you’re so beloved or popular (with the DWTS Demo) that everyone knows you’re going to win, then I say that’s a form of ringer all its own. Kristi, Shawn and Donny – all extremely popular athletes and entertainers and all nearly guaranteed a win. I say “nearly” because Shawn was nearly unseated by a hot, gorgeous, very talented dancer in Gilles Marini. On paper, however, Shawn was a shoe-in.  Evan Lysacek almost falls into this camp and I thought he would win his season – but he apparently burned a few bridges in his time with a potentially huge voting block of skating fans.  I would ordinarily put someone like Jennifer Grey in this category, but not this time, simply because her liabilities really did outweigh her popularity. Being age 50 is no small thing when it comes to the task of dancing on DWTS; add in the screws in her neck and the problems with her foot and you’ve got someone unlikely to actually win. That she did win is likely a testament to Derek’s ability to choreograph entertaining routines around a fairly limited amount of motion, compared to her competitors, most of which were at least 20 years her junior.  All that said, I did give her a low level ringer status due to the age and physical ailments offsets.  I also put KirstieAlley in this group at a lower level – she’s another older, beloved, iconic actress, although possibly not at the level of Jennifer Grey. Hard to say where to draw the line on that one, as she was older than Jennifer, but didn’t have the same physical ailments.

This is what I mean when I say all kinds of people have advantages (and in some cases huge disadvantages) coming into the show.  You don’t get to just point and scream “RINGER!!!” unless you’re a child who doesn’t know any better.  We’re going to use this blog to actually THINK about this. We’re going to discuss how the *disadvantages* a celebrity has have just as much impact on their chances of winning as their advantages do – no one is just a ringer in a vacuum. And we’re going to list all the pros and their partners, and where they fall on the sliding scale of “ringerdom”. :-)  We’re also going to discuss the difference between dance “experience” and dance “ability” because a lot of people seem to think the two things are interchangeable.  If you need Websters, this would be a good time to pull it out. :-) I’ll also talk about the difference between hindsight (all of Derek’s partners are dancers!!!), and who were actually likely to be good on paper going in. And who weren’t.

We’re going to start with the female pros, mainly because they are easier – and there are fewer true ringers. That will be in Part II – first, some notes on how I got to where I did on categorizing the dancers over the seasons.

Notes: Read more..

September 3, 2011 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. :-)

DWTS13 Casting Rumors – The Typecasting of Season 13, Part II

 So with each hour closer to the cast announcement that we get, we seem to be getting more and more leaks of who’s in – the next 24 hours will definitely be the time to stay tuned to PureDWTS, as we’ll be posting any potential last minute leaks as soon as we hear them! I dunno about you guys, but I’m getting excited…so let’s take a look at who else we might expect to see, based on casting patterns ;-)

The Teen Idol

Previous examples: Joey McIntyre, Aaron Carter, Donny Osmond, Lance Bass, Mel B., Joey Fatone, Drew Lachey, Joey Lawrence, Ian Ziering, Cody Linley, Sabrina Bryan, Mario Lopez, Kyle Massey, Chelsea Kane, Romeo

Advantages: If sales of Tiger Beat are any indicator, the teenyboppers will come out in full force to support their favorite heartthrobs/idols.  Being young & good-lookin’ sure doesn’t hurt! Many also have the added advantage of having a decent dance background, especially if they were part of a musical act.

Disadvantages: Youth can also have its disadvantages – as in immaturity.  What some might call “youthful exuberance”, others might call “immaturity” or “attention deficit disorder” – poor Cody Linley had a hard time sitting still! Emotional immaturity (a la Aaron Carter’s post-rumba meltdown in the confessional) can be especially off-putting. They’ve also got to contend with the large middle-aged female contingent of viewers/voters – they far outnumber the young viewers likely to vote for them.

Possible candidates this season: Now that the Candace Cameron-Bure rumor seems to have died down, it looks like we’re going to be seeing former child starKim Richards, also of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fame…maybe she’s doing double-duty as the reality star this season, too!

The Host

Previous examples: Jerry Springer, Brooke Burke, Leeza Gibbons, Mario Lopez, Kenny Mayne, Lisa Rinna, Tucker Carlson, Mark Dacascos, Rocco DiSpirito, Erin Andrews, Wendy Williams, Mike Catherwood

Advantages: Being that they’ve been at the helm of their own shows, these guys usually have the media savvy & charisma to appeal to the masses, as well as the previous exposure & recognizability.  Most (not all!) are also decently attractive, which never seems to hurt (unless, of course, you’re a model – see previous post for explanation).

Disadvantages: Many hosts are only used to hosting – as in just sitting down & talking (or dodging the occasional punch, if you’re Springer), so the lack of movement experience problem seems to come into play. 

Possible candidates this season: I’ve started preparing myself to watch Nancy Grace try to hoof it this season, though I can’t say I’m even the tiniest bit excited about it.  Someone hosts I’d rather see? Craig Ferguson or Ricki Lake – the former is just hilarious, and the latter might actually be pretty good due to her Broadway background.

The Actor

Previous examples: John O’Hurley, Melissa Joan Hart, Steve Guttenburg, John Ratzenberger, Debi Mazar, Denise Richards, Ted McGinley, Shannon Elizabeth, Jennie Garth, Vivica Fox, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Shannen Doherty, Jennifer Grey, David Hasselhoff, Ralph Macchio, Kirstie Alley

Advantages: Being that their bread & butter is acting, most can usually nail the emotions of the dances. Bonus points if they’ve done any Broadway (like Winokur) because they have likely had dance experience.

Disadvantages: For lack of a better term, many of them seem to be “has-beens” – actors that haven’t been particularly active in the mainstream in the past several years – or were never that big to begin with (can anyone else think of anything John O’Hurley has been in BESIDES Seinfeld?), making it harder for them to garner votes from a public who may not remember them. 

Possible candidates this season: I think it’s safe to say David Arquette is a lock.  There’s been a couple of murmurs about Henry Winkler as well, and I’m still wondering if Lorenzo Lamas is gonna crop up, after all the talking he did last season.

The Reality Star

Previous examples: Kim Kardashian, Kelly Osbourne, Melissa Rycroft, Steve-O, Holly Madison, Trista Sutter, Shanna Moakler, Kate Gosselin, Jake Pavelka, Audrina Patridge, The Situation

Advantages: Many have achieved pop culture icon status on their respective reality outlets, making them fairly recognizable.

Disadvantages: They may be memorable for the wrong reasons – people tended to remember things like Kim Kardashian’s sex tape more than her reality show when she was on DWTS, and people seemed more focused on Holly Madison’s split from Hef than her antics on The Girls Next Door.  Many can also come across as attention-hungry & talentless(*cough*JakePavelka*cough*) – reality TV is often looked down upon as a way to get famous without having any talent whatsoever. 

Possible candidates this season: We had the great Snooki scare of 2011 (which I doubt is going to amount to anything), but Rob Kardashian & Kristen Cavallari’s names are still being tossed around. 

The Singer:

Previous examples: Mya, Billy Ray Cyrus, Mario, Belinda Carlisle, Master P, Chuck Wicks, Sara Evans, Willa Ford, Monique Coleman, Toni Braxton, Macy Gray, Nicole Scherzinger

Advantages: As with the teen idols, many have had dance experience concurrent with their music careers. 

Disadvantages: Most seem to be committed solely to one genre of music (often R&B or country), making it hard to appeal to a wide fanbase.

Possible candidates this season: Christina Milian’s name has been said quite a bit, but we haven’t had any confirmation. But rumor has it Chynna Philips is definitely in. 

The Wild Card

Previous examples: Heather Mills, Tom DeLay, Mark Cuban, Steve Wozniak, Priscilla Presley, Buzz Aldrin, Bristol Palin

Advantages: The sheer novelty of having someone with such an off-the-beaten-path claim to fame (famous divorcee/widow, entrepreneur, disgraced politician, etc.) may be enough to have the public voting them – just to see what happens.  Being the “underdog” is a powerful thing…as we saw with Bristol last season!

Disadvantages: Due to their often dubious fame, people just may not have any clue who they are – I personally had to Google Mark Cuban’s name. There’s also the risk of backlash from some viewers who don’t think they’re “stars” per se, and shouldn’t even be on the show in the first place.

Possible candidates this season: I’d say our best bet is Chaz Bono

So we’re mere hours away from the official announcement, gang – who do you think is in and who do you think is just wishful thinking? Be sure to check back here for Heidi’s Casting Announcement Live Blog starting at 8 PM EST tomorrow night …she (and the rest of us) suffer through Bachelor Pad so you don’t have to! And make sure you’re following @puredwts & @tvblog on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates on who’s in!

August 28, 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 Party at the Malibu Beach House (Video)

Cute video of Derek, Anna, Lacey, Melissa, Tony and the rest of the gang out at the Malibu Beach House!!

August 27, 2011 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. :-)

Dancing With The Stars Malibu Beach Party 2011 (Photos)

How about some fun in the sun? Yesterday, the Malibu beach came alive with a Dancing With The Stars party. Dancing With The Stars alumni such as Giles Marini, Melissa Rycroft, and Jennifer Grey showed up for the event as well as current cast members Cheryl Burke, Anna Trebunskaya, Lacey Schwimmer, Kym Johnson, Derek Hough, Tony Dovolani, and Maksim Chmerkovsky and more. Below are a few pictures of Derek, Cheryl, and Maks partying and living it up. There are lots more of where these pics came from at Imnotobssessed.com, Wire Image, and the Daily Mail. Looks like a HOT day with some HOT bodies! :)

August 26, 2011 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

OT: Should “Dirty Dancing” Be Remade? (TAKE POLL)

Hey All! I’m curious about what you think of the news on a new “Dirty Dancing” remake? If you haven’t heard yet, one of the most loved, iconic dancing movies and classics of all time is in the works. Kenny Ortega is set to choreograph the second as he did the first. His producing, directing, and choreographing credentials are a mile long including the recent Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” concert tour and movie. Kenny had this to say about it…

“Patrick Swayze set the bar for men dancing in the movies as Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire did before him,” Ortega said in a statement. “I believe everywhere you look there is evidence that the talent is out there and I can’t wait to begin the process of discovering the next breakout triple-threats.”

Jennifer Grey, the female lead in the first “Dirty Dancing” and Season 11 Dancing With The Stars Champion is excited about the project. When she heard the news, this is how she reacted….

“I’m so excited about this news, and I think there’s nobody better to do this than my beloved Kenny Ortega, who is as responsible as anyone for the success of the first one,” Grey said. “I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do with it.”

So, what do you think? Do you support the idea of this remake? Will the Dirty Dancing remake be as good and as successful as the first? Do you think a remake is disrespectful to Partick Swayze’s memory? Did any of you see “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” seven years ago? It was good. I love dancing movies of any kind, but, it was lame compared to the first. Lastly, who should play the leads in the movie? I have not a clue who the female lead should be. But, last night at twitter, several of us were commenting how perfect Derek Hough would be in the Johnny Castle part. I couldn’t agree more!! I say bring the remake on!!

EDIT TO ADD: ABC is reporting on the “outrage” over the news of this remake. Also, read below for who the front runners might be for the lead predicted by an Irish Bookmaker. Carrie Ann’s tweets are also being reported by the link as well. It appears the promotion for Derek Hough to star in this remake has officially began. :) ;

According to Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, Justin Timberlake is the front-runner to fill Swayze’s iconic role, followed closely by “Thor” star Chris Hemsworth and Derek Hough from “Dancing With The Stars.”

Hough’s close pal from the show, Carrie Ann Inaba, is already leading the campaign for him to win the role.

“If they do a dirty dancing remake – THEY BETTER USE DEREK HOUGH,” she tweeted Tuesday.

August 9, 2011 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

PureDWTS Rants & Raves: To Lift or Not to Lift?

For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed me “getting up on my soapbox” the past few weeks regarding something that has been debated from several different angles around PureDWTS: lifts.  We’ve casually kicked around the pros & cons of them: do they enhance the routine, or are they just filler? Should they be required? Should they be prohibited? Are they safe? What exactly constitutes a lift, anyway? Well here it is, kids – the place where we can really get down to the nitty-gritty of lifts.

My sudden fixation with the topic started about 2 weeks ago, while watching a movie with my boyfriend (who, as many of you know, is a pro ballroom dancer/teacher).  He kept squirming around, trying to get comfortable, and failing.  Finally, getting annoyed with all his wiggling, I asked what was wrong.  “Oh, I just strained my neck a little bit doing a lift with one of my students today.  It’s just a little sore.” Seemed benign enough – minor soreness from doing a new lift.  But over the course of the next week, the pain intensified, to the point where he was unable to turn his head to the right AT ALL, and had to turn his whole body to face me when I was talking (which was actually kind of cool, since it made me think  he was just really listening to me intently ;-)) and had to institute a temporary ban on lifting at the dance studio. He iced it.  He put a heating pad on it.  He stretched it. He used a special neck pillow. He took some Tylenol. He went and got 3 massages in one week – all to little avail.  Things were starting to take their toll on both of us, as my bf was in too much pain to ride his motorcycle, sit upright for very long, or do any sort of vigorous activity. Finally, at the recommendation of one of his students (and me, as I had been HOUNDING him about it), he finally went to the chiropractor last Friday, and after taking one look at my bf’s x-ray, the chiropractor exclaimed “Ooh, no wonder you’ve been in pain – your C4 & C5 vertebrae are wayyyy out of alignment!” A few minutes with the TENS unit and some adjusting with the chiropractor later, he was FINALLY experiencing some relief.  That was a week ago – he’s been to the chiro a few more times since then, and he’s probably 85% better. But the no-lift rule at the studio still stands until he’s back to 100% and gets the all-clear from the chiropractor.

So the most obvious question brought up by my bf’s dilemma is “Are lifts safe?” The answer: no.  Read my lips: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “SAFE” LIFT. Sure, there are techniques to make them safer, and some are clearly safer than others, but all lifts are inherently dangerous, as there is always going to be the risk of injury from falling or being fallen on, as well as other sprains, strains, and even breaks from trying to correct a fall that is already in motion.  In fact, the very appeal of lifts is in the danger – the awe-spiring risk of doing them in the first place, and often the romantic notion of the delicate lady being in harm’s way, but protected by the strong arms of a handsome male lead.  No wonder all of my boyfriend’s students want lifts in their showcase routines! ;-)

Which brings up the next question: should they even be doing lifts in the first place? Obviously, it’s always going to be safer for a couple already experienced in lifting to be doing lifts (check out Eric Luna & Georgia Ambarian, the current world champions in the theater arts division), and it’s a downright TERRIBLE idea for two inexperienced individuals to start attempting them without the guidance and supervision of someone with experience (this is a good example of people that should NOT being doing lifts!).  But both my boyfriend’s predicament and that of the couples on DWTS is a bit more of a grey area – the situation where only half of the couple is experienced. In this particular case, I’m a firm believer that the more experienced member of the partnership is the one more likely to get hurt, regardless of gender.  Since they’re experienced, they’re going to be more likely to be hurt by the rookie mistakes of their partner, and more likely to try & protect their partner from harm…and possibly injure themselves as a result.  My boyfriend is a good example of this, as his neck injury was the result of him compensating for a student who couldn’t quite get the right leverage to get up onto his shoulder; Kym’s neck injury this past season is also a good example, as it was Hines who lost his balance and fell onto Kym, likely due to pure inexperience.  Toni Redpath (a former Australian ballroom champion & a frequent guest judge/choreographer on SYTYCD) did a great video blog a few weeks back (thanks for pointing this out, Evaine! Quite timely ;-)) which did a good job of explaining why lifts are allowed in ballroom routines on SYTYCD but not on DWTS – and the biggest reason was *drumroll* EXPERIENCE.  All the dancers on SYTYCD have some experience with dance, which makes the transition to lifting quite a bit smoother for them than a celebrity with zero dance experience. Not only does it make life a bit easier on the celebs, but it keeps the couples safer, too. 

But let’s say experience is not an issue.  From a choreographic standpoint, should everybody be peppering lifts into their routines? I certainly don’t think so.  Heidi always brings up an interesting argument whenever someone starts comparing ballroom on SYTYCD to ballroom on DWTS and the subject of lifts comes up: when used in excess, lifts tend be a bit of a cop-out, choreographically. It can often let bad dancers get away with not really dancing, and results in a routine that is more “flash & trash” than meat-and-potatoes dance steps – and can end up looking NOTHING like the dance it’s meant to portray.  The best example of this that I can think of is Channing & Philip’s samba from season 6 of SYTYCD.  While not inherently “bad”, the routine only has a few basic samba steps in it, and the rest was a lot of shimmying and (rather clumsily-executed) lifts.  Of course the video cuts out before the judges give their commentary, but I distinctly remember Adam actually calling out the choreographers on this one for making the routine “too lifty”.  I feel like lifts can also interrupt the “flow” of a dance if not placed properly – for a lift to work choreographically, I think it has to have proper timing & musicality, and have very fluid transitions in & out of it.  Otherwise you end up with routines like Channing & Philip’s, which feels jerky & disjointed – “Look I’m doing samba, I’m doing samba, I’m doing samba…ooh now I’m stopping samba & doing a lift…aaaaaand I’m back to dancing samba…STOP! time for another lift-and more samba….” It’s just visually…displeasing. Now don’t get me wrong – a few well-placed, well-executed lifts can enhance a routine.  A great example is Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko’s samba showdance from the 2009 America’s Ballroom Challenge (does the move at 1:06 look familiar? Derek used it at the end of his samba with Nicole ;-)).  Only one lift, and they ended up winning the showdance category, over 5 other couples – most of whom had more lifts. IMHO, you don’t need lifts to make ANY routine on DWTS (including the freestyle) look good.  Derek had no choice but to come up with alternatives to lifts in season 11, when Jennifer made it clear from day 1 that her neck injury made lifting an impossibility – and they still managed to win, and create some very memorable routines while they were at it. Their lift-minimal Argentine tango still stands out to me as one of the best we’ve ever had on the show.

So the bf & I were talking about lifts at-length the other night, and he said something that stuck with me: “You know, DWTS is great for the attention it has brought to ballroom dancing & all, but it’s really left some people with an unrealistic idea of what ballroom is and isn’t.” He went on to explain that he gets new students in the studio who are frustrated upon finding out that they won’t be dancing eye-catching routines like the ones on TV right off the bat, and many of them seem more concerned with costumes & music than technique & solid choreography.  I can imagine it gets very frustrating for dance teachers like him – especially when the demand for flashy nuances like lifts necessitates them risking their own safety.  The format of DWTS has actually forced my bf’s studio to start doing more showcase routines with their students (as opposed to focusing on good technique for competition) – and as my bf puts it, “every single one of my ladies wants lifts in her routine – and if they think one of the other ladies has more/better lifts, they’ll ask for more.  It’s KILLING me!” And me as well, since he often comes home cranky & sore and barely able to move…let alone do other activities. ;-)

So I’ve said my piece with regards to lifts…what do you guys think? LAY IT ON ME :-D

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!