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DWTS 15: Why I Hated the All-Star Season

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated…much to the chagrin of my detractors ;-)

Yes, I am back, after a rather prolonged post-season 15 hiatus. Part of it was due to a hectic year-end at work, part of it was due to other stuff, and part of it had to do with what I’m about to elaborate on in this post. Thanks to everyone who checked in on me on Twitter, and I can assure you I’m back full-time now :-)

Many of you have noticed that I tend to take a bit of a break from Pure after the end of each season – mainly due to the level of burnout we all seem to reach after being in full-on DWTS mode for 3 months straight while we’re covering each season. Generally, I just need a break – some time to appreciate other things in my life besides DWTS – and I’m back after a week or two. This time, though, I had a harder time getting back into the swing of being excited and inspired to write about DWTS – and for awhile, I couldn’t figure out why. Then I had a revelation…

…I HATED THE ALL-STAR SEASON.

There, I said it. I hated the all-star season, and I think it has now surpassed season 9 as my least favorite season of DWTS EVER. Reflecting on this past season, aside from a few standout performances (and all the great interactions I had with Pure readers :-)), I was hard-pressed to really feel nostalgic and pleased about it. In fact, what I tended to remember the most was all the frustration, chaos, and general feelings of “WTF is going on???” that I had while watching and blogging from week to week – and when I really got to thinking about it, I found that there were 5 key problems that left me feeling totally turned-off the all-star season. Without further ado, I give you those reasons… Read more..

February 13, 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 4 – Power Rankings

Well, this blasted non-ballroom (save for the mambo, and sorta-kinda the bolero) night played out just about like I thought it would: the hapless judges (aided and abbetted by the perpetually out-to-lunch Paula) kind of copped out on giving any seriously harsh scores, likely for the simple reason that they just didn’t know enough about the dances themselves to actually score properly.  The end result was some pretty general overscoring, and perhaps a tiny bit of relative underscoring.  But what worries me is that even though the spread may seem pretty big this week, more total points = smaller margins between points…meaning that it’s going to require fewer votes for those at the bottom to catch up with the rest of the pack.  And it makes me nervous for another “shock” elimination…but this time, I think it has the potential to be truly shocking.  8-O Let’s get on with it, shall we?

1.) Shawn & Derek – Best routine of the night, without a doubt – great, PROPER mambo choreography, and flawless execution.  I think these two may have had the toughest dance to contend with, for the simple reason that mambo has been done on the show before as a regular dance – and it has been done far more than any of the other dances on the list.  Add to that the constant pressure of the all-star season? If they had a bit of an off-week, I wouldn’t have blamed them.  But luckily, they absolutely KILLED this mambo – great tricks, a good amount of meat & potatoes choreography, and best of all – Shawn pulled off the “sassy” and sexy without a hitch, and looked great doing it.  :-) Very impressed with how she’s matured since her original season.  If I REALLY had to nitpick, I would say that it seemed like Shawn was sliding a little bit when coming out of her turns – very slight bobble, but it made me wonder if the floors tonight were a little slick – and could also be the cause of other snafus tonight.  Anyway, I think if they gave that hot mess of a Bollywood number that Gilles crapped out a 39.5, then this should have been a 42.  But Len, ever the fuddy-duddy, withheld that last half a point that would have put them at the top of the leaderboard.  Oh well – luckily it matters even less this week :-P

2.) Kelly & Val – Like almost all of their other dances this season, this came out far better than I would have anticipated – even if these two were kinda giving me the creeps with all of their brooding in the background all night.  :-P Was it truly “contemporary”? Meh…it had elements of contemporary, and it came far closer to contemporary than Emmitt did to bolero or Bristol did to rock ‘n’ roll.  But it was a pretty dance, and I do feel like they injected some emotion into it – which is really how contemporary came to be in the first place: ballet with emotion.  Kelly had some nice extensions and seemed to really connect to the dance…and really, Val did too, as much as he may have hated the style they got.  And he did get a few brownie points from me for calling Cheryl the b-word on national television, for all to hear :-P I think they may have gotten a little out-of-synch on the side-by-side sections, and I must confess that I didn’t really understand the purpose of the platform they climbed onto.  But overall, a very nice effort for a dance that neither party was particularly jazzed to have…and I’m sure we’ll be hearing buzz about this one for the rest of the week.  ;-) Read more..

October 15, 2012 I Written By

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

DWTS 15, Week 4: Anna Trebunskaya & Chelsie Hightower Explain This Week’s Dances

Nice to see that Anna & Chelsie haven’t completely moved onto other projects since being eliminated on Tuesday :-) They did a bit for DWTSRadio in which they briefly describe what we can expect to see this week in terms of dances – you can listen to it HERE.  I think they’re option #4, so you can toggle through - but don’t do like I did & get impatient and click too many times, because it will only let you “skip” so many times before it forces you to listen to the segments in order.  Grrrrr.

 

October 12, 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!

PureDWTS Ask Courtney: What’s the Difference Between Jive/Lindy/Jitterbug/Charleston/etc.?

This is a very good question :-), but unfortunately one that required a bit of research on my part…so please bear with me as I give you guys a brief history/background of the swing dances.

First things first: all of the above dances are related, and evolved from one another, so that’s why they all look so similar to the naked eye.  Even I often have a hard time discerning between them, especially within the context of DWTS, where I think sometimes even the pros themselves aren’t quite sure about some of these dances – especially the Jitterbug & Lindy Hop. The lines between them are very blurred, because there’s often a lot of overlap in terms of steps, timing, & styling.

Charleston was the earliest of the swing dances, originating in the speakeasies during the 1920′s, and is usually associated with the “flappers”, who danced it alone or with each other to mock the “drys” – people who supported Prohibition.  At the time, it was considered to be a pretty provocative dance.  It has a bouncy feel to it, and the basic step does have the backward rock-step characteristic to almost all of the swing dances.  Here’s a good example of some other Charleston steps – note how it also has some twisting movements, high kicks, and very jazzy arm styling. The music was a swing beat, with perhaps a bit more of a ragtime feel than other swing styles to follow – think “Hot Honey Rag” from Chicago. These days, it more often lends steps to jive & quickstep, rather than being danced as its own, exclusive dance – my boyfriend’s studio doesn’t have an official Charleston syllabus (just not enough steps), but he does often incorporate Charleston steps into other dances.  One example many of you may have noticed is that funky leg flick that the pros often add to their quickstep routines – Mark does it at about the :55 mark of he & Chelsea’s quickstep.  Yep, Charleston moves fit Mark’s jimmie legs perfectly :-) Which is probably why he & Melissa’s Charleston in season 9 sticks out to me as the best representation of the dance on the show – it has the characteristic steps, and they stuck with the 1920′s flapper theme.

Out of the Charleston came the Lindy Hop, which had its heyday in the big band era of the late 1920′s-40′s. It was a product of the Harlem Renaissance, and was born in traditionally black clubs like The Savoy & Cotton Club in New York.  Its footwork was similar to the Charleston, but it had elements of other vernacular/folk dances (such as the cakewalk and Texas Tommy) and also included a breakaway/throwaway step, which allowed the couples dancing it to do more open work than in the Charleston.  It was also quite a bit more daring – when wealthy white patrons descended upon Harlem clubs to watch the black dancers, the dancers themselves upped the ante, and began doing increasingly more dangerous & eye-catching lifts, flips, and tricks (“air steps” or “aerials”) to entertain them.  This often resulted in the dancers being hired to perform or teach Lindy Hop to the patrons. I would say it’s definitely the “showiest” of all the swing dances, due to all the tricks that have come to be standard fare in the Lindy – and with the pros on DWTS, nothing seems to scream “Lindy!” more than some crazy lifts.  In terms of said lifts, I would say that Melissa & Tony’s Lindy in season 8 is the best example; but in terms of overall “feel” (and good use of basic steps), I’d say that Ty & Chelsie’s Lindy is the best example. Read more..

January 7, 2012 I Written By

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

Mark Dacascos Sent Home on DWTS

I was really sad to see Mark leave on this note with his partner being out and him not on top of his game but that’s the game I guess…Let’s take a look at some of his best dances, costumes, and let’s see what the twitter world is saying to him :)

BEST DANCE
Jitterbug:  I think you’d have to be crazy not to count this as Mark’s best dance!  I enjoyed this dance because Mark really let his personality come out which made his dancing that much better :)

Paso Doble: This wasn’t Mark’s best technical dance but the two of them here are brilliant!

BEST COSTUMES
Cha-Cha-Cha: This was my favorite costume throughout the seven weeks! It was very him and in his element :)
DWTS

 

TWITTER WORLD
Edyta (@Edyta_Sliwinska)
I’m very sorry for Mark. He is one of the nicest people I’ve met, with so much potential! I’m sorry Anna, you did everything possible.

Lacey (@LaceySchwimmer)
All is good everyone, thanks to those who voted and supported us! GMA in the am then a flight to nyc for the VIEW. How am I gunna get better

November 4, 2009 I Written By

Louie Vito Sent Home on DWTS

He was my favorite and I’m so sad that he was sent home over Michael Irvin :(  I loved his chemistry with Chelsie and his willingness to support her in every dance from week to week!  I understand that he dropped Chelsie twice on Monday nights show and that was a huge NO-NO for the judges but I thought he did beautifully in the style.  Enough venting on my love for Louie Vito…let’s see some of his best dances and costumes :)

BEST DANCES
I think I’m just a hopeless romantic and always hoped these two would get together for the first shomance of the season!

Week 6: Jitterbug

Week 3: Rumba

SEXIEST COSTUMES
Nothing says sexy like a typical Latin outfit!  He was very hot and complementary to Chelsie’s gold costume!

I love him in red!  His muscles are crazy amazing and look how much fun he’s having with Chelsie!

Do you see how in to Chelsie he is right now!  I think this is my favorite outfit on him because he’s in his element with the over sized t-shirt and biker jacket!  This is the only time that I didn’t like Chelsie’s costume with Louie’s

I couldn’t find a picture of his beginning get up but this is equally sexy!  And Chelsie looks so gorgeous!

October 29, 2009 I Written By

DWTS Week 6 Edition: THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE INCREDIBLY HOT!

I’m very sad this week because I loved Louie and Chelsie and was not ready to see them go :(  However, that is the nature of the show and favorites go home every week.

What I was really excited about was all the sexy outfits!  Hello Joanna in her mambo costume, SO HOT!  Kelly in her jitterbug out, SO ADORABLE!  Louie as a ‘nerd’, SO SEXY!  Donny in his train get up, SO FUN!!  And now for the good, the bad, and the incredibly hot!

THE GOOD
Kelly and Louis
These two crack me up every single week!!!!  I love their chemistry and I love that Louis choreographs to highlight Kelly at every stage of the dance!  Her smile is infectious and her feet are getting their :)  Her turns are always off and her feet are sometimes very pigeon-toed but watching her with Louis is amazingly beautiful!

THE BAD
Melissa and Mark
I think Melissa had a lot of potential to go a long way on this show but she got to the point where she was more focused on the destination rather than the journey.  The choreography that Melissa this week was very classic waltz but I didn’t feel like Melissa connected with the piece the way it required.  The technique Mark has been trying to instill in her from day one has been going out the window since after their Charleston and I think this week it was finally all gone.

THE INCREDIBLY HOT
Competition Mambo: Derek and Joanna
HOLY SMOKES…these two were so SEXY!!!!  The choreo Derek gave Joanna was perfect and it really suited her well!  She is beautiful in the latin world and I can’t wait for more from these two!

October 28, 2009 I Written By

DWTS9 Week 6 Power Rankings

Surprisingly enough, another week goes by where I only feel “meh” about most of the routines.  Granted, I was a bit distracted (bf is in Orlando for NDC competition & he was texting me), but I did re-watch a few of the routines to see if I missed something – nope.  It seemed like the couples that danced well had no chemistry; the couples that had great chemistry seemed to really struggle with the dancing portion.  Definitely made it hard to rank this week…

…oh, and one more thing before I move on: the jitterbug bugs the crap outta me (no pun intended).  Or rather, I hate the fact that it looks so similar to both the jive and the Charleston that I feel like I’m watching the same routines over and over.  *sigh* I guess Len’s crankiness has worn off on me and now he’s all sunshine & rainbows…

1.) Joanna & Derek - I actually didn’t care much for their waltz – everything seemed like it was just a bit “off” and wasn’t as fluid as some of their other dances, and I feel like the float on Joanna’s sleeve was getting in the way of everything.  But I will say this: even when they weren’t looking at each other, I still felt a connection between them, which is something that is so often lost in the smooth/standard dances when the couples are looking away from one another most of the time.  And with chemistry playing such a crucial factor this season, I daresay it doesn’t hurt them to look lovey-dovey & be touchy-feely. Loved them in the mambo competition – Derek’s choreography was eye-catching & fun to watch, as always, and Joanna actually kept up with it well.  Thanks to that great choreo & scores (and some heavy-duty Twitter bombing by Heidi to make sure Derek’s fans pulled him through his illness! ;-) ) these two seem to come up at the top of the heap this week, and I highly doubt they’re in any danger of going home.

2.) Donny & Kym – At the request of some of Donny’s fans after my hatchet job last week, I will try to critique him as fairly as I can.  Truth be told, I wasn’t wowed by their jitterbug – Donny didn’t seem quite as crisp as he has been in previous weeks, and again I didn’t find their choreography to be as difficult as some of the other couples’.  I know someone had mentioned Donny’s busy schedule in a previous post – I fear that it may have caught up with him this week as he seemed to almost run out of steam (again, no pun intended) by the end of it.  But they did have the advantage of performing in the Money Spot (henceforth, I shall capitalize it…I would prolly slap a trademark symbol on it too, but I don’t know how to do that. LOL) and they placed 4th in the mambo competition. Wish I could say that I actually saw he & Kym dancing the mambo, but alas, I’m ADD and was having a hard time focusing (too many couples for my brain to comprehend! Aaaaaaggghhhh!) and all I saw was Donny doing some sort of shimmy over a supine Derek as he left the stage.  *shrug* Again, Donny’s fans will carry him all the way to the finals…

3.) Mya & Dmitry – Not gonna lie – I feel a bit vindicated that the judges are also pointing out Mya & Dmitry’s lack of chemistry, as some were arguing last week that they had “great chemistry”.  Don’t get me wrong – Mya is probably the best dancer on the show in terms of technique; but she’s just too cool for school! For anyone else who is a big fan of Top Gun, Mya is “Iceman” for me this season – makes no mistakes, but flies with no emotion.  Aside from their chemistry problem, I also was kinda disappointed by their jitterbug this week – took too long to get going, and generally hate any routine involving a prop.  They also pulled the short straw this week and had to perform in the Crap Spot (just pretend the trademark is there ;-) ).  But luckily, they placed 2nd in the mambo competition, which will go a long way in boosting their score.  And if Mya’s support on this blog is any indicator, her fans will keep her safe for many weeks to come…

4.) Mark & Lacey – Hallelujah! Mark is finally starting to come out of his shell and really wow me.  The past 3 weeks he’s gotten stronger & stronger (after hitting rock bottom with that awful rumba) and tonight was really quite entertaining to watch – I didn’t know Mark could tumble, and he seemed quite a bit more enthusiastic and energetic this week as well.  The cat theme was a cute, memorable touch as well – doubt anyone is going to really remember his flubs (cause there were much bigger ones happening tonight…), and I have to say his “horny” comment in the confessional from last week had me chuckling for awhile.  Middle of the pack for the mambo competition, so not terribly memorable; but I think a lot more viewers are going to start picking up the phones for Mark if he continues to improve the way he has for the past few weeks…

5.) Kelly & Louis – I think these two could make it to the finals on chemistry alone.  It’s adorable watching them interact – Kelly had me laughing so hard during the lead in when she started cussing at Louis.  They remind me of an older brother and a younger sister – always picking with each other, but friends at the end of the day.  Ok, now their jitterbug: it was cute, but not great.  While I feel like Kelly has improved from last week’s ho-hum paso, I still feel like she’s dancing timidly and is continuing to run the risk of being boring.  They came in 5th in the mambo competition, which is actually kind of admirable considering they were the only ones without a choreographed routine and were relying on lead & follow.  Kelly is still America’s Sweetheart though, and she’s likely to still get some sympathy votes from her foot injury last week, so I’d be surprised if they were in danger…

6.) Michael & Anna – Strange as it may sound – I actually really liked his waltz tonight! Yes, it was ridiculously simple choreography, and it was mostly just Anna turning and dipping; but something about it was, as I think Len put it, “charming”.  It seemed like he wasn’t trying to ham it up, for the first time in the competition.  And again, I agree with Len – Michael did actually have some nice rise & fall.  I may be a bit biased though – the song they danced to (“Wonder Why” by Curtis Stigers) has a bit of a special place in my heart (but that’s another story :-) ), and for once the band didn’t seem to butcher it.  They were the first ones tapped out in the mambo competition (no real surprise there), but if the past few weeks have been any indicator, Michaels fans will pull him through yet again, and a few stragglers may contribute a few votes as well after this waltz…

7.) Louie & Chelsie - Anyone else sense a bit of trouble in paradise between these two during the lead-in? I’m beginning to think Louie might be a bit sexually frustrated, hehe.  But anyway – this really had the potential to be a good jitterbug.  Louie came out strong and had more energy this week than I’ve seen from him so far – and then he dropped Chelsie.  TWICE.  Ai ai ai.  And it was all down hill from there! I almost feel like I jinxed him somehow by gushing about how he was “always there for Chelsie” during lifts & tricks week after week.  But I give Louie points for still maintaining a little bit of chemistry with Chelsie, and there was a definite smooch-a-roo at the end (a bit desperate, but desperate times call for desperate measures!).  Second ones tapped out during the mambo, so not great; but they’ve managed to avoid the danger zone the past few weeks…it’s a bit of a draw for me; they might be in danger, they might not.  But I would be surprised if they went home.

8.) Aaron & Karina – Despite the “new Aaron Carter” being a bit more mild-mannered and tolerable than the emotional tantrum-throwing one of a few weeks ago, I’m afraid the damage has already been done…and even great dancing won’t be able to boost them up.  Aaron’s waltz was alright – his arabesque turn was actually pretty good, but he still seems to do awkward things with his hands and tends to get a very intense “deer in the headlights” look when he’s not looking at Karina.  Sorry buddy, I think this new, improved attitude may be too little too late…

9.) Melissa & Mark – I almost would rather talk about Shirley Ballas than Melissa’s waltz…so I apologize for the brief digression.  I heart Shirley Ballas – the woman will kick your @$$, but she will make you the best dancer you can be.  And she’s quite a spitfire, despite appearing to be a mild-mannered British woman…love her.  Now onto Melissa’s waltz: it was stiff, awkward, error-ridden, and boring.  And they were the 3rd couple eliminated in the mambo competition.  Oh, and they were also in the bottom two last week.  I don’t see them climbing out of it this week, and I don’t see them surviving a double elimination.  And that’s all I have to say about them…pity that they’ve become so unmemorable…

Ok, official predictions for the double elimation: Aaron & Karina and Melissa & Mark, with Louie & Chelsie and Michael & Anna rounding out the bottom 4 (I honestly don’t know how the double elimation is going to work, so I’m assuming they’re just going to do 2 separate elims with 2 of the couples in the bottom 4).  But the bottom 2 have been shuffling around quite a bit the past few weeks, so we may get a surprise tomorrow…what do you guys think? Let’s hear it!

October 26, 2009 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!