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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!

Vote for Your Favorites in the PureDWTS Season 14 End-of-Season Awards!!!

 Ok kids, it’s time once again to vote of our biannual “end-of-season” awards…our sort of “wrap up” for season 14, where we see what you guys think were the highs and lows of this season :-) If you want to get a feel for how these awards work, you can check out previous seasons’ award recipients here.

First, the rules: I’ve picked what I deem to be the most likely candidates (with the strongest chance of winning) for each category – of course, some of you are going to disagree, and that’s fine.  If you don’t see your pick listed as an option, you can write-in your own nomination in the “other” box.  But here’s my biannual disclaimer about the dreaded “other” box: if I can’t read what you wrote because it’s badly misspelled/grammatically nonsensical/generally incoherent, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  If your response to the question does not make sense (i.e. you simply vote “Donald” for best dance), YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  If you simply repeat one of the already listed responses because you can’t be bothered to actually pay attention, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  If you’re just generally being a nudnik and giving harassing responses, YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT.  *shakes head* I still can’t believe that I have to give this spiel twice a year…

…anywho, we’ll give you guys a week to get your votes in, and then we’ll reveal the results in a series of posts starting next week.  Now ready…set…VOTE!!! :-D

Read more..

May 24, 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!

Court’s DWTS Las Vegas Adventure (Live Show Review & Other Miscellanery)

As many of you know, I was in Las Vegas last weekend and had the pleasure of seeing the DWTS live show at the Tropicana – which, of course, I will review for you guys, since certain other individuals *cough*JOHN*cough* haven’t managed to write the 2nd half of their review of the premiere of said show ;-) This post could get a bit wordy, as I took quite a few notes (and just have a really good memory, to boot) and I’ll throw in a few other possibly-unrelated-to-DWTS details for context, as well as some general Vegas info, since some of you have asked about my trip - so if you’re only interested in my review of the show, feel free to skip the next few paragraphs.  And if you hate spoilers (i.e. you want to be COMPLETELY surprised when you see the show), I’d either just skip this post altogether or just read my overall take at the bottom - because I’m not holding back.  You’ve been warned ;-) And special thanks go to Heidi, for helpin’ a girl out with some picture merges that were driving me cray-cray :-P

So why was I in Vegas in the first place, you ask? My best friend Kendra is getting married at the end of July, and she wanted a bachelorette party for the ages – so naturally, we HAD to go Vegas :-) There were 12 of us altogether (11 rowdy bachelorettes and 1 gay bachelor, who I must say put us all to shame with how fabulously he was dressed the entire trip ;-)), and the majority of us stayed at the Flamingo, since we were able to get a great rate on standard rooms – with 4 girls to a room, it was only $82 total for each of us for 3 nights, which is pretty awesome for a well-known hotel on the strip that isn’t a total dive.  Overall, I wouldn’t say the Flamingo is a particularly special or ritzy hotel (if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d go with the Bellagio, Palazzo, or Venetian…but be prepared to shell out big $$$), but if you’re on a budget, it’s certainly more than sufficient – the rooms are clean and the decor is kitchy & cute (think 1960′s, Rat Pack, original Ocean’s Eleven – lots of dots, stripes, retro furniture, and of course, pink :-)).  I’m very into the nostalgia of Vegas, so the Flamingo appealed to me in that it was originally built by infamous mobster Bugsy Siegel, and legend has it that the actual motive behind his murder was to change the management of the Flamingo.  But anyway – if you’re in Vegas, I definitely recommend trying their Paradise Garden Buffet – it’s pretty affordable, as far as buffets in Vegas go, and is quite good…especially the brunch buffet.  Plus the views of their courtyard and flock of live flamingoes are gorgeous :-) Also at the Flamingo? Donny & Marie Osmond’s live show – I didn’t see it (no time, and honestly, not much of a desire), but I did see these in the lobby:

The one on the left is Donny’s costume from his freestyle with Kym in season 9, as well as his MBT (and yes, according to the guest services director that I asked, it is his real MBT – apparently he insisted it be put in the case with his costume); the one on the right is Marie’s dress from her quickstep with Jonathan in season 5 (and one of those freaky dolls she designs – guess they had to put SOMETHING there when they found out that Donny wanted to display his MBT, although I’m not sure why they didn’t display this doll instead).  I found Marie’s costume pretty unremarkable up close – for as fabulous as it looked on the show, upon further scrutiny, it’s really just a tan silk gown with some gems glued on; but Donny’s suit is very well-made and clearly took a lot of work.  Interesting how different the costumes look on tv vs. in person (more on that later). Read more..

May 19, 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 Week 9 Power Rankings

Well kids, I’m back after a few days in Vegas, with a few fun stories to tell (be on the lookout for my review of the DWTS Live in Las Vegas show later this week!), but first, let me get back into the swing of things with this week’s power rankings – I’m gonna try and keep tonight’s kinda short, as I still seem to be suffering the effects of the time difference…or just burnout.  Vegas is tiring!

Overall, feeling a bit ho-hum about tonight – no truly stand-out performances; some overscoring going on across the board, likely to keep the margins close; and an overall lack of content in the bulk of the Latin dances (with the exception of Donald).  Not exactly the nail-biting semifinal I was hoping for, but thankfully, it was only 90 minutes, which may actually give me a chance to catch part of the Hawaii 5-0 finale or America’s Got Talent premiere before dozing off :-P

1.) Donald & Peta – After tonight, the only thing I feel fairly confident in saying is that Donald is a shoo-in for the finale, based on fanbase alone - and that’s even with the 2nd lowest score of the night.  I don’t think there has ever been a more LIKEABLE contestant to do the show – seriously, I grow to love Donald more and more every week.  And doggonit, some of the Pack FINALLY came out to support him tonight! Loved seeing Aaron Rodgers in the audience, cheering for “Quickie” :-) I liked his waltz, but didn’t love it – the music was throwing me a bit, as it actually seemed to make him look kind of off-time, even though he wasn’t.  His posture does seem to be improving, though, and he seemed to really connect to the emotion of the dance.  His samba was actually my favorite dance of the night – I think it was the only Latin dance tonight that truly had a lot of real content, and I loved that they opted to go a different route than the standard “shake your ass as much as you can, and we’ll just call it samba” route.  It had a storyline, it was different, and it was cute.  My only complaint? Donald seems to stutter a bit when getting back into hold from being out of hold – he seemed to miss a few hand leads with Peta, and she ended up finishing them herself.  Overall, I think they had a pretty damn good night, and I (knock on wood) don’t foresee any big problems with them making the finale.

2.) Maria & Derek – I’m surprised about these two for 2 reasons: despite some pretty bad injuries, they managed to crank out 2 dances that didn’t completely suck, and the judges didn’t lowball them.  If anything, I think they actually overscored them a bit – I don’t think their Argentine tango was even close to being as good as their paso doble, although the choreography was great and Maria didn’t mess any of it up; she just seemed to dance it very cautiously, though, and her legs looked pretty soft – kinda expected for a dance done on such broken feet, but I can’t really overlook it.  I did love the beginning of it, though, with just their feet visibile under the curtain…kind of a nice twist.  I wasn’t too keen on their jive, for the simple reason that there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of jive actually in it – again, likely an attempt to baby Maria’s injuries, but I can’t really give it a free pass.  Maria seemed extra cautious in this dance, as the actual jive steps she did didn’t really have much bounce to them.  Plus I’m just getting kinda sick and tired of that damn “Tightrope” song – they use it in the DWTS Vegas show, too, and I don’t really like it there, either.  Not really a fan of their jive, but I can’t say it was terrible, either – it was adequate. Overall, I think the judges were awfully kind to them tonight – I like them as a couple, but tonight wasn’t their A-game.  However, I think their high score (though still decently close to pretty much everyone else) will likely usher them into the finale, since going into this week I really saw Maria & Katherine duking it out for the 3rd spot in the finale (along with Donald & William) in terms of votes…and although I’m not so sure now that William has the finale all tied up, I do think Maria has done enough to make her untouchable to at least Katherine, which basically ensures she’s in the finale.  I think we’re in for another Hough freestyle – here’s hoping that Derek finds a way to work around their collective injuries and redeem himself a bit from his so-so freestyle with Ricki last season!

3.) William & Cheryl – William seems to have worked on his posture in ballroom, but now I see his footwork suffering.  That tango looked more like a paso at times – a little too stompy or marchy, and once again, Cheryl seemed to be doing all of the work.  There was a lot of William standing in place and moving Cheryl from side-to-side…and the big drawback to that is that Cheryl tends to backlead, so she looks like she’s moving too dramatically for the amount of force William is leading her with.  If the guy looks like he’s not leading hard and the woman’s moving hard, it basically screams “she’s doing all the work”.  Not good.  Overall, it wasn’t a bad tango – he didn’t mess up and the character was there – but it wasn’t really great, either.  As for their samba – *sigh*.  Content, people – CONTENT!!! I’m honestly shocked that Len didn’t call them out for a lot of “messing about” and “excessive gyration” in this dance – I thought Donald’s had far more content and far better bounce.  This seemed to be more about ass-shaking and walking from place to place than actual samba steps…yet it got a 30.  *shrug* I gave up last week, so I’m not going to even try this week…guess they need William around for the finale in order to really drive this ABC merger home.  Due to scoring, I think William going home is probably not a HUGE possibility, but I also have to wonder if he’s a whole lot better off in the votes than Katherine - in terms of combined score, I think William might be the only one Katherine might have a chance of catching up to.  Will be intersting to see if she actually does it…

4.) Katherine & Mark – Oy…just not a whole lot to say about these two tonight that I haven’t already said in previous weeks.  I found their quickstep to be rather bland – not just in terms of entertainment, but for once I actually saw Katherine get a bit tentative & hesitant in her choreography.  Some of the bouncing around seemed awfully timid - like Maria’s jive.  There was nothing glaringly WRONG with their quickstep, but it just didn’t seem to make a ton of impact…it was ok, but not great or terribly memorable.  Sorry, but I thought their salsa was bizarre mess – another dance suffering from a noticeable lack of content, and Katherine seemed to be struggling to keep up – and whatever happened at the end that made her freak out just made me cringe, as it seemed like the final nail in the coffin for Katherine on an off-night.  She’s at the bottom of the leaderboard now, and I while the spread seems pretty close, I don’t think she has a prayer of beating Donald (the next person up) in votes, or Maria in combined score – the only person I could see her POSSIBLY catching up to in order to earn herself a spot in the finale is William, and I think ultimately his fans will come through and keep him in for the finale – which may leave Katherine out in the cold…which sucks because I do think she’s the strongest dancer left technically, but she also seems to lack connection to the dance and the audience.  Kinda stinks that she’d be eliminated this close to the finale, but hey – it happens every season, and the show still goes on.

So who you guys actually see moving onto the finale vs. who do you hope is moving onto the finale? ;-)

 

May 14, 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!