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DWTS 15 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Bristol Palin Edition

We’re mere days away from the premiere of the all-star season – who’s getting pumped??? :-) I find myself surprisingly excited about it, given that I was feeling pretty ho-hum about it only a few months back.  Be sure to keep a close eye on Heidi’s “Who’s Dancing What” post – you never know when someone’s cha-cha song or dance order or phone number might pop up ;-) #justsayin

Anywho, if you’re feeling nostalgic, you can view all of the previous editions of this series here.  Now buckle in, kids, because I’m about to tackle the ups and downs (but mainly just downs…) of the most polarizing contestant in DWTS history: Bristol Palin.

For Bristol’s best dance, I picked her tango:

As her worst dance, what else could I pick but that god-awful monkey suit jive?:

Ok, I will admit that Bristol is not the worst dancer we’ve ever seen on the show (I think’s a dubious honor reserved for Master P, with Kate Gosselin as the runner-up).  On the contrary, I actually thought she was relatively good the first few weeks of the competition – I even threw a few votes her way in week 1.  I think what ended up getting to me as the season wore on, though, was the fact that all the other contestants seemed to be improving by leaps & bounds…while Bristol just seemed to barely muddle through some of the dances, and hit a bit of a plateau in terms of improvement.  To add insult to injury, we were losing MUCH better dancers each week that Bristol remained – and by the time the finale rolled around, Bristol seemed to have developed a sense of entitlement, and copped an attitude when she wasn’t getting the 9′s and 10′s she felt she deserved.  In the end, she just left a bad taste in my mouth, even if some of her dancing really wasn’t all that bad.  SOME.  :-) In rewatching a lot of Bristol’s dances, I noticed that she tended to do MUCH better when she was able to stay in-hold for the bulk of it – so most of the ballroom dances she did went quite a bit more smoothly than the Latin ones.  I don’t know if Mark holding onto her and leading her so directly helped improve her confidence or what, but she moved a lot more cleanly & clearly in dances like the tango – no missed steps, she stayed on time, and had pretty good posture.  And I blame Mark for the silly air guitar break in the middle :-P

On the other hand, in dances where she had to separate from Mark and do some of the dance on her own, she either barely muddled through or seemed to fall apart completely – case in point? The dreaded monkey suit jive.  Right off the bat, she seemed to blank on a good 10-15 seconds of side-by-side jive choreo.  Then, once the suit came off (and even that was pretty rough), she never seemed to get 100% into the groove of the dance, and always seemed like she was 1 step behind or ahead of Mark.  And although we kind of expected it, based on her complete lack of experience in performing, Bristol wasn’t exactly the best at connecting with the character of a dance – and when she didn’t know what to do, she seemed to resort to an expression that reminded her of back home in Alaska: deer in the rifle sights ;-) Maybe this time around, she’ll be a bit more comfortable and will be able to let loose and have fun.  Or not…who knows.  I’m still of the opinion that she likely won’t last past the midpoint of the competition, this time around – she’s up against much better dancers with much bigger fanbases, and I daresay she’s lost a bit of that “single teen mom” appeal she had 2 years ago.  Will be interesting to see what Mark is able to conjure up…

Court’s verdict: Probably the weakest all-around performer/dancer this season, and Mark needs to work on getting her performance value up to snuff…as well as making sure she knows her choreography and is confident enough to not forget it.  She should probably also work on her media presence – she needs to be as likeable as possible if she wants to stand a chance against some of the more popular contestants.

Thoughts on Bristol?

September 21, 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 All-Star Season Music Suggestions & Wish List

So we’re at t-minus 2 weeks until the premiere, and of course, we’re all curious about what songs we might hear this season.  Since we don’t plan to reveal any potential song spoilers until just before the premiere (stay tuned ;-)), we thought we’d take this opportunity to share some of our picks for music we’d like to see on the show – as well as a few songs some of our readers suggested on Twitter.  I’ll try to update the list with songs you guys suggest, but I can’t make any guarantees.  Life gets busy :-P But make your picks good ones, because you never know who might be taking a gander at this list, looking for inspiration ;-)

Court’s picks:

Sunglasses at Night” – Corey HartSunglasses at Night - Corey Hart: The Singles - This has been my “OMG, I’ll pee my pants if they actually use this!” song pick since Guilty Pleasures week in season 12.  I am DYING to see someone (perhaps Joey or Drew) do a paso doble to this, complete with dark sunglasses and a big dose of tongue-in-cheek humor.  The cheese factor would be through the roof!
It’s Not Unusual” – Tom JonesIt's Not Unusual (Single Version) - Greatest Love Songs This song just BEGS for a Carlton Banks-esque quickstep from Mark.  BONUS: It would probably embarass the bejeesus out of Bristol in the process.  :-)
I’d Rather Go Blind” - Etta JamesI'd Rather Go Blind - Tell Mama - The Complete Muscle Shoals Sessions With Etta’s passing earlier this year, I find myself with a new appreciation for her music – and I think this would make a GORGEOUS Viennese waltz.
“Good Time” - Owl City feat. Carly Rae JepsenGood Time - Good Time - Single A totally fun, guilty pleasure song – I could see them using it for a team cha-cha or cha-cha relay.
“Cinema (Skrillex Mix)” - Benny BenassiCinema (Skrillex Remix) - Cinema (Remixes) [feat. Gary Go], Pt. 2 - EP I realize that, between AGT & SYTYCD, this song has gotten pretty overused this summer – but in both instances, it’s been used for a hip-hop routine.  But I’d like to see what some of our pros could do with it – this has a Derek or Mark freestyle written all over it.

Heidi’s picks:

“Swallowed by the Night” – The Floating MenSwallowed By the Night - Tall ShadowsMy favorite Nashville band of all time. Alternative, acoustic and entertaining as hell. This sounds like a quickstep to me, but I could be wrong.
“Goody Two Shoes” – Adam AntGoody Two Shoes - Friend or Foe Kick someone’s ass as a jive. Someone like Bristol. ;-) *snerk*
“Come Dancing” – The KinksCome Dancing - Come Dancing With the Kinks - The Best of the Kinks 1977-1986 (Remastered) [Remastered 2004]  The Kinks just make me laugh.
“Hella Good” – No DoubtHella Good - Rock SteadyReally, anything by No Doubt. I got into them thanks to the TV show Alias – loved it.
“Slow Down” – Brian SetzerSlow Down - Rockabilly Riot, Vol. 1 - A Tribute to Sun Records  Because I said so.  :-)

Vogue’s picks:

“Give Me All Your Luvin’” - Madonna feat. Nicki Minaj & MIAGive Me All Your Luvin' (feat. Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.) - MDNA (Deluxe Version)  Wow, what a Dancing With The Stars show stopper this could be if this song was done for a pro number with ALL the pros and the troupe.
“Finally Found You” – Enrique Iglesias - I’m hoping Enrique will come back for another song performance with the pros dancing to this new song. He’s such a great supporter of the show.
“Partynauseous” – Kendrick Lamar feat. Lady Gaga – This new single is yet to be released, but, you just know it’s going to make a strong showing. I’d like to see what Derek and Shawn could create for it.
“Masterpiece” – MadonnaMasterpiece - MDNA (Deluxe Version) Sorry to add another Madonna song, but, this just can’t be helped. “Masterpiece” was the theme song for Madonna’s movie last year called “W.E.”. It won a Golden Globe Award this year for “Best Original song” and she’s currently singing it on tour. It is truly one of Madonna’s best ballads to date (and I didn’t think she could ever top “I’ll Remember”). It would make such a touching song for a slow waltz and sure to melt hearts if done right.
“Una Musica Brutal” – Gotan Project Una Música Brutal - La Revancha del Tango (Bonus Track Version) I love any and all songs by the Gotan Project. You might remember Peta and Donald doing a Tango to “Santa Maria” last season. Well, “Una Musica Brutal” would be another winner for a show stopping Tango. I’d love to see it.

Lori’s picks:

“Come Wake Me Up” – Rascal FlattsCome Wake Me Up - Changed (Deluxe Edition)Since the first time I heard it, I’ve been wanting to see a Viennese waltz to this song, because it just seems to be SCREAMING out to me, that it needs some waltz choreography. It already seems to have the 1 2 3 and the rise and fall that’s needed…
“Wanted” – Hunter HayesWanted - Hunter HayesThis YOUNG kid is an amazing artist…he’s only 20, and for his debut album, he wrote all of the songs, sang every part in every song, and played every instrument on the entire album. Long process to lay each track separately.  This song is beautiful, and a nice slow rumba song (I think) and I just like the song!
“Another Brick in the Wall” – Pink FloydAnother Brick In the Wall, Pt. 2 - The Wall (Remastered)I love the conflict between the teacher and the students, and the mind control aspect….
“Gangnam Style” – PSYGangnam Style (강남 스타일) - PSY 6甲 (Six Rules), Pt. 1 - EPIt’s catchy and quirky, and a very fun song.

John’s picks:

NOTE: John sustained some kind of neck injury & is currently bedridden (#getbettersoon @techguy) so he was only able to come up with one song.  He gave me carte blanche to pick some others for him…but let’s just say he should thank his lucky stars I didn’t, because if I had to guess what kind of music John listens to, this would be my first guess;-) -Court-

“Because of You” – Kelly Clarkson & Reba McEntireBecause of You - Reba DuetsI’d love to see them dance to this song…although the band might slaughter it :-)

Reader picks:

“I Won’t Give Up” – Jason MrazI Won't Give Up - Love Is a Four Letter Word (Deluxe Version)
“Lights” – Ellie GouldingLights - Lights
“Super Bass” – Nicki MinajSuper Bass - Pink Friday (Deluxe Version)
“Give Your Heart a Break” – Demi LovatoGive Your Heart a Break - Unbroken
“One More Night” – Maroon 5One More Night - Overexposed (Deluxe)
“Someone to Watch Over Me” – Ella FitzgeraldSomeone to Watch Over Me - Ella: The Legendary Decca Recordings (Box Set)

September 10, 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 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Gilles Marini Edition

 You guys know the drill by now – check out the Melissa Rycroft edition and you can backtrack back to all the rest of the previous editions ;-) Today we finish up with this season’s guys by taking a look at Gilles… 

I picked Gilles’ Argentine tango as his best dance:

 And as his worst dance, I picked his jive:

 No doubt, Gilles has got the full package (no pun intended…): he’s got the stage presence, he’s got great technique, and he’s got an amazing personality to boot.  I still think his Argentine tango is one of the most impressive we’ve ever seen on the show – and that’s a big credit, considering season 8 was the first season that Argentine tango was performed on the show (and consequently, some of the pros were left a bit clueless as to what to do), and Gilles & Cheryl’s routine wasn’t particularly flashy or chock full of lifts, like so many we’ve seen in recent seasons.  What made it great was it was a good, simple, well-executed routine in which they really focused on the character of the dance, rather than going for every flashy, impressive step they could find.  I think almost all of Gilles’ routines are the perfect example of how you don’t need a bunch of flash & trash to get good scores - if you’re focused enough on the dance itself that you can make every step speak volumes.  Gilles is a technician – and he’s a HUNGRY technician, who is highly motivated to do well this season.  While I think every contestant is going to need some degree of “hunger” to do well this season, I fear that Gilles’ hunger could end up hurting him in the end – such is the case with his jive.  I think it’s apparent from the rehearsal footage that Gilles was just not having an easy time with the jive, and it was really getting to him.  I don’t think it helped much that Cheryl seemed to throw everything but the kitchen sink into this routine, and wasn’t exactly a nuturing partner when Gilles was really struggling – but what became apparent in the dance itself was that Gilles was just pushing himself too hard, and I really think it ended up causing him to falter.  The guy that was always in rhythm and in the pocket was suddenly off-time missing steps, and worst of all? He didn’t look like he was enjoying himself anymore.  The dance just became a Herculean task to complete.  And I think that’s one possible hurdle Peta’s going to have to contend with this season – Gilles’ tendency to push himself so hard that he stops enjoying himself.  Gilles seems more determined than ever to win this time around – and it’s bordering on Brandy Syndrome (being so desperate to win that it actually becomes off-putting). Being so intensely focused on the end goal can often result in couples losing sight of what’s important – having fun.  A couple can dance a routine flawlessly, but if they look like they’re getting a root canal while they’re doing it? Fuggeddaboudit.

In some ways, I think Gilles getting Peta instead of Cheryl may actually be beneficial – I know I’ve expressed some skepticism about the whole Gilles/Peta partnership, but after watching Cheryl’s demeanor in she in Gilles’ rehearsal videos (and watching footage of Peta with Donald last season), I think Peta may actually be more effective in keeping Gilles’ feet on the ground and reminding him to enjoy himself.  I almost think a repeat Gilles/Cheryl partnership would be so determined to win that the end result would be kind of scary-focused on the dance floor – and they’d lose a lot of the appeal they had the first time around.  I just hope Peta doesn’t get excited puppy syndrome because she’s got such a skilled partner, and proverbially pee all over the dance floor by trying to cram as many impressive & difficult steps into their routines as possible.  Not everyone can handle a Nicole Scherzinger-level of choreographic difficulty.  :-)

Court’s verdict: Unlike many of the other contestants this season, I think Gilles’ biggest struggle is just going to be letting loose and not taking himself too seriously.  It’s going to be up to Peta to keep him on the right track and enjoying myself, while forging a good chemistry and not trying too hard to choreograph a bunch of crazy stuff to get the judges’ and viewers’ attention.  QUALITY, not quantity. 

Now let’s hear your thoughts on Gilles.   Do you think he can finally nab the MBT with Peta…or will he flame out in the process?

September 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!

DWTS 15 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Melissa Rycroft Edition

 Let’s continue on with my analysis of this season’s contestants – today we move onto Melissa.  Finally getting more into the ladies of this season! To check out any of my previous posts in the series, check out the Sabrina Bryan edition…there are links to the previous editions.  :-)

For Melissa’s best dance, I picked her samba – which I believe she performed about 3 times in a 2 week period:

For her worst dance, I picked her jive – which she never actually performed live, due to injury:

I think Melissa’s biggest asset could also be her biggest obstacle to overcome: her cheerleading background.  It does give her a bit of an edge in terms of picking up choreography, having rhythm, and just having good movement quality – but I think it also tends to make her look a bit wishy-washy in terms of ballroom technique, judging from these videos.  If my big complaint about Sabrina is that she hits everything too hard, my big complaint about Melissa is that she tends to hit everything a bit too softly and fluidly – perhaps even a bit generically.  It’s the same problem I see with some of my friends who have gone on to dance for NBA & NFL teams: their movement takes on almost a robotic, inoffensive quality, which I guess does come in handy when dancing in sync with 30 other girls and no one is supposed to stand out.  But blending into with everyone this season is definitely NOT something Melissa should be aiming for – so I think she’s going to need to sharpen up her steps and avoid any of the cheerleading “pitfalls”…are you listening too, Tony? Because I think the choreography is part of the problem, too.  I can understand falling back on her high-kicking & piroutting skills the first week – poor thing only had a week to learn the waltz.  But beyond that, I think Tony really should have avoided a ton of “cheerleader tricks” and really made Melissa focus on ballroom technique – and unfortunatley, I think the majority of their routines were less meat-and-potatoes ballroom and more “ok, you’re going to high-kick here, do a series of pirouttes there, and then do a split – and we’ll just shove some easy ballroom steps in between!”.  I’m not saying he should totally abandon her obvious dance skills – I’m just saying he should probably figure out a better way to make them more “ballroom-y”.  Some of the fundamental principles are the same – spotting turns, using your core to really elongate your limbs, etc. – and can be easily incorporated into a ballroom vocabulary.  If she can do an underarm turn using the same principles she would use to do a piroutte – Melissa could have the best damn technique of any of the dancers on the show.  But Tony MUST teach her how to apply it.  Melissa IS a good jazz dancer – now she has got to become a good ballroom dancer.

Melissa’s injury also brings up an interesting point: how are injuries going to come into play this season? With the level of competition so high and all of the couples working harder than ever before to up their game, there’s bound to be injuries – the question is, who will be smart enough to avoid them, who will be able to work through them, and who will be sidelined by them? I’m inclined to think that those who got injured on their original season (Melissa, Gilles, & Pam all come to mind) may be at a greater risk to incur the same injuries – will they be able to work through them this time? Gilles’ performance in particular seemed to really suffer due to his shoulder injury.  I think it will be interesting to see who is able to soldier through the pressure of this season, and whose injuries really affect their performance negatively.

Court’s verdict: Melissa’s a good dancer – but she needs to shake off the “cheerleader-yness” and focus on ballroom technique.  Ditto for Tony – cut back on the high kicks & pirouttes and really drill that Latin technique into her. 

So what do you guys think? Is Melissa a contender…or is she still stuck in cheerleader mode?

September 5, 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 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Apolo Ohno Edition

Today we continue our series with season 4 winner Apolo Ohno – and if you’re still playing catch-up, be sure to check out our previous editions featuring Kelly Monaco, Emmitt Smith, Drew Lachey, & Joey Fatone 8-)

For Apolo’s best dance, I picked his samba – which I still think is the best samba from a contestant that we’ve ever seen on DWTS:

For his worst dance, I picked the ill-advised Pulp Fiction jive he & Julianne did:

I think the most obvious advantage that jumps out at me when I watch these videos is chemistry – Apolo & Julianne had FANTASTIC chemistry, and I think that helped carry them through week after week.  The question is: can he forge that same chemistry with Karina? If he can, then I think these two could be frontrunners this season.  Apolo’s obviously got some natural rhythm and is comfortable moving his body, so Karina’s definitely got something to work with.  However, Apolo’s Achilles’ heel (hehe) does seem to be really refined footwork – I saw instances in both his samba & his jive (ESPECIALLY his jive) where he just seems to put his feet wherever they feel comfortable, and the end result looks a bit confused and purposeless.  POINT YOUR TOES, APOLO! I also think his showmanship could use a little work – Apolo mentions in samba rehearsals that he’s used to keeping a “poker face” in speed skating, so it’s hard for him to really use his face to emote.  He did pretty well in season 4, but I still saw a few instances of “poker face” – especially if he wasn’t quite sure of what he was doing and was trying to regain his bearings…I noticed it in his jive, whenever he seemed to foul up.  With such big personalities like Joey & Kirstie around this season, I think Apolo is going to have to really work on projecting a BIG personality on the floor – he’s got the range of motion, now he just needs the range of personality :-) I also hope that Karina is able to strike a nice balance between dancing well and not outdancing Apolo – as much as I loved Julianne with Apolo, I do think there were times that she really outshined him, and I noticed it big time in their samba.  I do think Karina is a pro that is able to find that right balance, though, so I think that’s an advantage.

Court’s verdict: Definitely one to watch, especially if he can forge a good chemistry with Karina & clean up his footwork – and if he can bring enough personality to the table to compete with big personalities like Joey & Kirstie :-)

So what are your thoughts on Apolo? Does he have the juice to go all the way?

August 23, 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 All-Stars: The Great “Previous Dance Experience” Debate – Joey Fatone Edition

Today I continue my series with season 4 runner-up Joey Fatone – for those who want to play catch-up, check out my previous editions featuring Kelly Monaco, Emmitt Smith, and Drew Lachey :-)

For Joey’s best dance, I picked his 2nd jive to “Jump, Jive, & Wail”:

And for his worst dance, I picked his 2nd cha-cha to “Groove is in the Heart”:

Without a doubt, Joey sure has got the showmanship portion of dancing down pat – to this day, I  still think he’s one of the most entertaining celebs that have ever graced the DWTS floor.  And he moves big – he always seemed to do a really good job of using the entire floor and stretching each step to its limit. However, the big caveat that often comes with moving big is moving sloppy – and I think Joey, being a bigger guy, sometimes loses a bit of technique & precision in the process of “moving big”.  I find it a bit interesting that he & Drew seem to have the opposite problem: Drew has the precision, but not the size & degree of motion; Joey has the size & degree of motion, but seems to lack the precision.  And unfortunatley, when it comes down to it, I think the judges will (or at least SHOULD) favor precision & technique over size & impact.  With strong technicians like Gilles in the competition, I think Joey’s going to have to work on really refining his movements, while not sacrificing the big entertainment value he brings to the stage.  I’m also noticing another possible problem – and I actually think the fault lies more with Kym: some of their choreography in their original season seems to favor style over substance.  I’m guessing that Kym was trying to really choreograph to Joey’s strengths as a showman, but upon close scrutiny, it seems like there’s a lot of “fluff” and not a whole lot of basic steps in some of their routines – I think they got called out for it big time in that 2nd cha-cha.  They may have been able to get away with excess “fluff” in their original season, but with so many talented, strong technicians this season, I don’t think they’re going to have any choice but to buckle down and give Len some good meat-and-potatoes choreography.

So now comes the obvious question: how is his time in the Vegas show going to give him an edge this season? Well I think obvious benefit is just being in the “swing” of being onstage – as I said in my post about Drew, I think anyone who has been performing on stage within the last year or so is probably going to have a bit of advantage in that they are still in the groove of performing, and are likely feeling confident in their stage presence..  Given that Joey has actually been doing ballroom for the past few months in the DWTS Vegas show, too, I daresay he is a lot less rusty than some of the others who haven’t done any dancing since their initial seasons.  In particular, he seems to have cleaned up his technique and become quite the lifter:

All in all, I think it will be a big advantage for Joey, given that it’s actually given him time to sharpen up his skills.  But I do see a few possible drawbacks, the biggest of which being burnout – Joey has already been dancing for a little over 3 months straight in the Vegas show, and although he seems to have a bit of a break between when the Vegas show wrapped earlier this month and when rehearsals begin in the next week or so, I think its entirely possible he may just get exhausted by the middle of the season.  We’ve seen how celebs meltdown after only a few weeks – can you imagine a few MONTHS? And keep in mind that the pace of the tv show is pretty breakneck compared to the Vegas show – Joey really just had to repeat the same routines night after night out there; now he’s gotta go back to learning & performing new ones (and performing them well!) in only a few days.  Keep in mind, too, that the Vegas show is a lot less “strictly ballroom” than the show – there was quite a bit of hip-hop, jazz, disco, and other genres thrown in out there.  It was what I like to call “watered-down ballroom” - and we all know that’s not Len’s cup of tea.  Will Joey be able to make the transition?

Court’s verdict: Joey will definitely be one to watch this season, but he’s going to have to clean up his technique quite a bit if he wants to be a real contender.  Kym is also going to have to focus on giving him routines with a lot of basic steps and without a ton of fluff, so they don’t get called out for lack of content.  Overall, though, I see him lasting quite awhile, and possibly even making it to the finale 8-)

So what are your thoughts on Joey? Big contender, or overrated?

August 21, 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!

Random DWTS Trivia – Old School Latin Dancing: Yes, They Actually Danced Liked THAT!

We all marvel over the slick, complex moves and lightening-fast turns & spins we see from the pros on DWTS.  But as I mentioned in my last trivia post about Len, the way Latin is danced now is a far cry from how it looked back in the days of yore – and without saying too much, let’s just say that Latin ballroom has changed for the better since the days of Len ;-)

What has stayed the same? The timing of the dances, and some of the original steps have been adapted slightly to be a bit more impressive and a bit less…hokey.  :-) What is different? Pretty much everything else.  Case in point? Believe it or not, below is a cha-cha from the 1972 World Latin Champions:

I don’t know about you, but I am thoroughly titillated by those sweet moves…and those hot costumes :-P Notice how bouncy and campy everything is. If you’re in need of some more entertainment, I recommend grabbing yourself an adult beverage and taking in this clip of the professional samba round from the old BBC show Come Dancing back in the 80′s:

 Still craving some sweet samba jazz hands? How bout a kinder, gentler paso doble? A throughly UN-romantic rumba, complete with elevator muzak, perhaps? Look no further, because 1979 World Latin Champions Alan & Hazel Fletcher have got you covered:

 Amazing how a powder blue, bedazzled jumpsuit that would make Liberace green with envy can make the paso doble look so…sissyish.  :-) You know something is truly cheesy when, years later (in 2007), a current professional Latin couple pokes fun at the old style in their show dance – and everyone, including the commentators, has a good hearty laugh, because they all realize how silly they looked back in their heydey :-D

 I hope you’ve enjoyed this little Hump Day “blast from the past” – so the next time you find yourself complaining about a routine on the show looking dumb/hokey/boring/etc., just think: it could be worse…they could all still be dancing like this ;-)

July 11, 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!

Random DWTS Trivia: Len Goodman Was Young Once???!!

Another slow news day, kids, so I thought I’d continue my little “Random DWTS Trivia” series in hopes of entertaining you all while we wait for some real news to break :-P

One of our readers (can’t remember who) requested a month or two ago that we hunt down some pictures of Len Goodman in his youth…perhaps to prove he hasn’t always been the crotchety ol’ coot we see on DWTS.  I made a mental note to do it “someday” and then didn’t really give it much more thought, but for whatever reason, the mood struck me last night to go a-googling – and these are the results :-) 

Here we have a 12-year-old Len at home in London.  He’s apparently pretty amused by something off-camera.  Not gonna lie – at first I totally thought this was a girl with an ill-conceived Audrey Hepburn pixie cut.  But alas, it is, indeed, our pal Len…I think the teeth & the eyebrows give it away. 

Here we have Len & his dance partner/first wife, Cherry Kingston.  Anyone else think he looks vaguely like Captain Kangaroo here? I’m just thankful that dance fashion & hair styling for ladies have improved quite a bit since the days of yore!

 Here are Len & Cherry again, looks like some sort of competition.  Couldn’t tell you what dance they’re doing – jive, maybe? Hard to tell, since the look of a lot of the Latin dances has changed so much from back in the day.  Watch that leg, Cherry! You might hit Len in that “old sausage” he’s always yammering on about.  

Here’s Len with his 2nd wife, Lesley, likely sometime in the late 70′s-early ’80s.  He looks like he belongs on a golf course in Boca Raton, with that getup!

I culled most of these pix from an article I dug up from the Dailymail from back in 2008 – it was written by Len himself, and he related the saga of his 3 marriages and the lessons he learned from each.  It’s sometimes sad, it’s sometimes uplifting – but you can really see that Len has gained a whole lot of wisdom over the years, and like the rest of us – he’s human too, and has made some mistakes.  It’s a good read :-)

July 3, 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 14 End-of-Season Award Winners – Which Dance Was the Worst?

I think it’s safe to say that this one is pretty cut & dry :-P

Other responses:

Sherri & Val’s jive – 3
Maria & Derek’s jive – 2
William & Cheryl’s rumba – 1
William’s porn “dance” sequences - 1 (Normally I’d eliminate this one for ambiguity, but I’m curious – what’s a porn dance? :-P)
William & Cheryl’s finale cha-cha – 1
William & Cheryl’s quickstep - 1
William & Cheryl’s Argentine tango – 1
William & Cheryl’s paso doble – 1
Katherine & Mark’s 1st jive – 1
No bad ones – 1
NO comment – 1 (Then what do you call your write-in response?)

Courtney:  Poor Martina…she was kind of a shoo-in, methinks.  It was really kinda hard to watch that jive…she just got so awkwardly off-time and never really regained her footing, and you could tell she was really frustrated.  I don’t think that costume did her any favors, either – shame on you, Tony, for dressing your partner in a bedazzled tuna net! Mama Spence voted for William & Cheryl’s jive, because she loved watching the part where William tries to swing Cheryl around and her foot awkwardly thunks on the floor – repeatedly.  And she laughed heartily each time. :-) I think the worst part of that routine was that, by the end of it, I think William was to the point of “f*ck it” and just half-assed the last few bars.  As for the rest of the dances – I think a lot of them suffered because of bad song choice.  Unless you’re a pro who ROCKS at doing out-of-the-box-but-still-proper dances, you’re probably gonna get screwed by a bad song at least once per season.  The Shaft routine? Now that was just a hot mess. :-P And in a move that will probably surprise some of you, I’m actually gonna disagree with all the William write-ins - I actually never thought he was a bad dancer.  Far from it – dude had some natural talent.  But what turned me off is how much they were hyping him, and how oversexed his routines became.  But despite that, I still don’t think he had the worst dance of the season.  Even though I enjoy seeing Mama Spence crack up at his jive :-)

Vogue: As much as I hate to admit it, the voters in this Poll pegged it. Being I was a huge tennis fan of Martina’s, I was really hoping she’d stun the dance world like she did her tennis days back in the day. But, oiy,…as soon as I saw her costume for the Jive, I cringed and could foresee her fate. From there, it just got worse. I felt so sorry for her. It wasn’t like she was trying. Like Court, I blamed Tony for the costume. This dance was proof positive how a costume can set the tone. Even still, she was lagging in time. It was sad and painful to watch. She knew it was bad too. As for the other dances, I was shocked (yes, I am pathetic) to see Jaleel and Kym’s Shaft dance have the outcome it did. I wasn’t a fan to Jaleel all season, but, the Shaft dance actually made me smile and laugh. I liked how it kind of poked fun of him. It was so “him” too.

Heidi: How can you NOT blame Tony for the costume since he’s the one that repeatedly uses that type of costume on his partners? Take a look back at some of Melissa’s dances with him. At least it was better on her. I think Martina looked in the mirror and could no longer focus on dancing because of that horrible costume. Horrendous. Gawdawful. Worse than the dance even. As for William – yeah, he wasn’t a horrible dancer, but he was also not the best thing since Gilles like they promoted him – and I laugh every time I see that Jive too. :-)  Of course, it gave Cheryl something to blame and she ranted about that shoe to anyone who would listen for days afterward.  As for the other write ins – why take the time to write no comment or no bad ones?? And I also think that anyone who writes in Maria or Katherine is someone with an axe to grind. Disgruntled William fan? :-) Same goes for Sherri and Val’s dance, actually. Worst?? With Martina in the running? Right. 

*photo courtesy ABC/Adam Taylor

June 18, 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 14 End-of-Season Award Winners – Which Dance Was the Best?

Lesson Court learned from putting together these awards: perhaps the “other” option should be eliminated, starting with next season’s end-of-season awards :-P I got an insane number of write-in responses for the “best dance” and “celeb you most want to see on the all-star season” categories, and let’s just say it was no easy task weeding through all of the write-ins 8O I also learned that some people are too lazy (or inattentive) to click “read more” and vote in the other categories, and as a result we got almost double the number of votes for the “best dance” category than we did everything else.  I love our readers, but sometimes they drive me a little bit bonkers :-P

Other responses:

Donald & Peta’s freestyle – 23
Melissa, Maks, & Val’s samba trio – 10
Katherine & Mark’s Argentine tango – 8
Maria, Derek, & Henry’s samba trio – 4
Katherine & Mark’s jive – 4
Maria & Derek’s rumba – 3
Roshon & Chelsie’s freestyle – 3
Katherine & Mark’s freestyle – 3
Maria & Derek’s Viennese waltz – 3
Katherine, Mark, & Tristan’s cha-cha trio – 3
Sherri & Val’s foxtrot – 2
Team Paso Doble – 2
Maria & Derek’s Argentine tango – 2
Katherine & Mark’s 2nd paso doble – 2
William & Cheryl’s samba – 2
Gladys & Tristan’s cha-cha – 2
Tristan & Karina’s waltz demo – 1
Tristan & Chelsie’s DaD samba – 1
Melissa & Maks’ paso doble – 1
Katherine & Mark’s samba – 1
Roshon, Chelsie, & Sasha’s paso doble trio – 1

Courtney: Can’t say I’m too surprised at the results – the two that I predicted would do well ended up on top, and the rest got a small share of votes, likely from diehard fans of that particular couple.  I do think the jive trio was the dance of the season – the fact that they took a dance that was hard to do with only 2 people and managed to create something fun, energetic, and proper with 3 people was beyond impressive to me.  And the fact that they DIDN’T get a perfect 30 for it??? APPALLING.  I seriously think people don’t realize how HARD it is to lead 2 women – and Donald’s the only one that took on that challenge in his trio dance, and he KILLED IT.  I didn’t see Roshon or William trying to lead two ladies.  Maria & Derek’s paso was good – for this season.  I just can’t seem to get too excited about it, though, because it just wasn’t up-to-snuff with the paso choreography I’m used to seeing from Derek.  As for all the other responses – I think they all were those couples’ best dances, but probably not the best dance of the season.  Write-ins? It’s the usual smorgesbord of random dances, and I usually find myself shaking my head reading some of them, and saying “Really? You REALLY think that was the best dance?” But alas, different strokes for different folks.  :-) The only one I’m gonna comment on is Donald & Peta’s freestyle…and I guess Katherine & Mark’s, too.  I always shy away from including those as options in the “best dance of the season” category, because it seems that, unless a couple REALLY picks a dud, it’s a dance that most couples do well with, and the scoring is pretty inflated – it almost seems like too much of a gimme.  That said, I did really enjoy Donald’s freestyle – but I didn’t think the level of difficulty was as high as his jive trio was.  And I thought Katherine showed better endurance in her jive than in ther freestyle.

Vogue: Court, you took the words out of my head this time. My favorite dance of the season (and the dance I thought was the best) was Donald and Peta’s Jive trio. Donald’s fast leg and footwork amazed me at the time. So much so, I screamed to my husband in the other room to come watch (and we had to replay it after the show several times …which I don’t ever remember doing with him as long as I’ve been watching this show). Our mouths literally dropped to the floor especially when Donald jumped over the top of both girls. 8O A blow away for me as well was their Freestyle. I also loved their Paso Doble and Argentine Tango with the amusement ride twirl. Other stand out dances for me that I thought were the best were Derek and Maria’s Bollywood Trio dance and Paso Doble. Looking back now, I will remember Derek and Maria’s Bollywood Trio dance the most of their dances even though it probably wasn’t her best dance technically, but, it was different, so creative, theatrical, and entertaining. Another dance I have to give props too is also William and Cheryl’s Argentine Tango. I loved all the passion in that dance. William was so into his character and I loved his tails which is when he looked the sexiest in my opinion. :) Anyway, great poll and results!!

Heidi: Yeah, I agree with the top two – by a MILE. Say what you want about the “talent” this season, but Donald and Maria were the two most memorable. As for Derek’s choreography –  I think that Maria was one of his least naturally talented partners EVER (she’s in a club with Joanna and Shannon and wouldn’t have gone as far with ANYONE else), yet his dances with her were just as memorable as anything anyone else did. That’s quite an accomplishment for both of them. He has a way of doing that. He was really challenged with her – she wasn’t naturally talented and she was pretty injured the whole time.  Poor Derek though – he’s set his own bar too high. :-)  But the Bollywood Samba I also loved, and their rumba just because they were so into it.  As for the write ins?  Sad to say I don’t actually REMEMBER a lot of those dances. Most of Katherine’s dances have left my brain. Oddly, several of Willy’s I remember out of sheer disgust.  Someone wrote in DaD?? All I remember is Chelsie almost getting blown off a table. :-)

 

 *photo courtesy ABC/Adam Taylor

June 11, 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!